Friday, December 31, 2010

A few of my favorite 2010 things...

Favorite Album
(Do the kids still call them “albums”?) - Die Antwoord, $O$.

This South African sensation (Ninja, Yolandi Fisser and DJ High Tech) keeps you guessing as to their intent and their legitimacy. All the songs are real toe tappers, with lyrics that bounce between obscene and descriptively clinical. I don't think any of their videos are something you would want to watch at work or with your mom. My favorite is Enter the Ninja.

A close runner-up is Major Lazer's Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do.

Favorite Kilts - Utilikilts are great. They are made in Seattle and are really pieces of art in themselves. However, lately I tend to favor Sport Kilts, made in So Cal. They have more options than Utilikilts - lots of different tartans, designs and colors. Plus they weigh a lot less than a Utilikilt. Unlike Utilikilts, unless you order a Sport Kilt with pockets, you will need to get a sporran too. I think your best bet is buying The Works version - it comes complete with belt loops, leather straps and a fringed side. Think of all the money you can save not buying underwear anymore.

Favorite Restaurant - For consistently good meals with great service, it's hard to beat Picabu Bistro.

The menu has almost all bases covered, and when you factor in their daily special, it's gastronomically unstoppable - in a good way.

Favorite New Store - The Apple Store. Hey, I know it's corny, but buying an IPhone there was futuristic and smacked of fraternal lodge pledging with less hazing. It is an awesome place to people watch.

Favorite Old Stores - A tie - Boo Radley’s, Time Bomb and Harbor Freight.

Boo Radley’s always inspires. We have friends who live in fairly cosmopolitan places, but Boo’s is usually on their list to visit when they come to Spokane. They don't have anything like it where they live. If you are ever undecided on what to gift someone, go to Boo's.

Time Bomb has some of the best antique toys and furnishings around. A while back, I was waxing sentimentally about my 3rd grade bike - a Sears Super Spyder 500 from 1968. Time Bomb’s owner pulled out a 1968 Sears catalog and there it was! $5 later I was walking out with this catalog - a tome of Christmas wishes past.

Lastly, Harbor Freight is a Chinese dumping ground of cheap tools, sporting goods and all sorts of oddball crap - solar panels, combo radio/flashlight/fishhook removers and inflatable doll scarecrows. I try to buy American, but if I am faced with buying a $20 made-in-China, with an established name or a $3 no-name made-in-China, I go with the cheapo most of the time. You will walk out with some weird shit that you didn't know you needed to have until you saw it. Then you will have to figure out what you want to do with it.

Favorite Running Shoe - OK, not so much one shoe, but a company. New Balance features many shoes that are made in the USA. So I buy them. When I was a kid there was not much of a push to buy stuff made in the USA. Why? Because it was almost all made in the USA. It only made sense. Why get your tube socks shipped in from Pakistan? Thanks to other nations maintaining their tariffs and the USA abandoning ours, almost all of our manufacturing has moved to China. Here’s the good news, though. Sure we have lost a lot of good paying jobs and increased our global warming and oil dependency by having to have our Depends shipped in across the ocean. Yes, we have killed off entire US cities, and we drown in a mountain of cheap crap we don’t need (see favorite store - Harbor Freight above). The upside is that we have enabled investors and CEOs to become more wealthy and hire better attorneys and congresspeoples, so they don’t have to pay taxes. Pheeewwww. Now, you have to work really hard to find stuff made in the USA. New Balance is the last of the running shoe companies that still provide manufacturing jobs in the USA. Their shoes will have to get really bad before I quit buying them. New Balance, there is your challenge.

Favorite Firefighting Tool - the pick head axe. Sure, it’s a pretty old design but this beauty does it all. It chops walls. You can pull ceilings with it. Hold it horizontally like a battering ram and it makes short work of opening doors (both literally and metaphorically). You can pry open car doors to get a puller in there to unlock a door. It is the best. Make sure you get one with a wooden handle.

Favorite Paramedic Tool - The EZ IO.

Its a small electric drill. But, instead of a drill bit you use a big-ass needle. Whhhiiiiirrrrrrrrrrr! When you can’t get an IV because there are no good veins and the person is dying, you can instead drill into their tibia and deliver the goods into the bones vascular system. You have to use a pressure bag to keep the IV flowing, so don’t forget that. This device has saved more than a few in Spokaney-town.

Favorite Book Series - Flashman!

This series began in 1969 and continued until 2005. The author, George McDonald Fraser is now dead so there isn’t much chance that he will be writing anything new. The protagonist is a character who reminds me of Dr. Smith from Lost in Space only with skills and self awareness. He is lazy. He is a drunk. He is a cheat and scoundrel. He is a womanizer and a lousy human being on just about every level. His only redeeming grace is that Flashman knows these things about himself, and as he writes his memoirs, he is pretty honest with the reader about his motivations and shortcomings. You find yourself rooting for this scalawag, even while cringing at his utter contempt for anyone but himself.

Podcast - A tie - Marc Maron’s WTF and AM Coast to Coast. If you read this blog you already know of my affinity for Coast to Coast . Marc Maron is a comedian who you might remember from Air America’s Morning Sedition. He doesn’t talk much about politics anymore. Now, he talks about his personal life a little and talks to other comedians a lot. Funny stuff with a lot of behind-the-scenes glimpses of other standup comedians’ lives. I believe that doing a standup comedian’s job takes a lot of courage, and this podcast always makes me wonder what that life would be like, if I ever had enough guts to do it.

Favorite European Fast Food - Bicky Burgers got its start in Belgium, I think.

It isn’t much like McDonalds, in that the ones we saw were all kind of small, run down and with a lot of personal touches from whomever owned the individual store. There’s a counter at which you order. Under this counter, is a bunch of frozen items - burgers, McRibbish looking things, fish, you name it. Whatever you want, they throw in the fryer. There is no grill. Just a fryer. Maybe two fryers. The food tastes great. How could an entirely deep fried bacon burger not taste great? Plus, they're all located in the holy birthplace of the french fry! The meat tastes like it might be mostly-meat. The food and advertisements have a Lego feel to them. They’re cute. The startup costs would be minimal. A fryer, some cases of frozen food, lots of mayo, some buns and a spork or two. I don’t know how it would go over here in the USA. It might be fun to see.

Favorite New Bike Stuff - My Carradice Camper Long Flap Saddle Bag and the shop apron Sarah made me. Again, you might have already read about the shop apron here. John let me borrow his Carradice and I was hooked. This thing expand mega big. It smells like an old canvas tent, and is made by nonslaves in England. Cheerio.

My only complaint is that it really moves your center of gravity up kinda high. The effect on me, in this regard, was to fall down a lot when I got stuck inside ruts.

That’s enough. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bald Eagle Returns to High Drive!

While out running today, there was a bald eagle swooping above Latah Creek. I tried to get a picture of it, but I was slow on the draw. So I photoshopped a facsimile. A magnificent creature and the symbol of America!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slippery and fun ride this morning.

We had to chain up the fire engine this morning, after our last call at around five. I knew the ride home was going to be fun, and it was. The deep snow was a kick, but the rutted areas not so much. Saw another cyclist heading down Howard. The snow was flying!

I was the driver of the engine yesterday. Not usually my favorite thing, but yesterday I had a good time. It wasn't nearly as violent as Christmas Eve. That shift, almost every call was a stabbing, beating or overdose. Maybe everybody is getting an early start on their New Year's Resolutions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Manito Greenhouse Christmas Lights

A cool moon on the walk over:

The place was packed:

OK. This is not very timely, but I will have something better in the next couple of days. Merry Christmas! Happy New Years! Happy Holidays! Seasons Greetings!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Portland and other stuff

I usually come back from Portland and am in a bit of a funk. It is such a coooool place. This time I have to admit, Spokane seemed to fare better in comparison. However, Portland has this cool bike rack:

I was surprised that I didn't see as many cyclists as usual in Portland. This is the first time I have ever visited Portland during mild wintry weather and it seems to put a bit of a dent in their pedal-pushing. The same can be said for Spokane, but come on, we have ice and snow. However, there are still plenty of cyclists here to be seen falling over in the snow and sliding sideways down the hills.

On another note, when Spokane's new bicycle lanes all disappeared in the snow, did you notice that the cranks continued their anti-bike-lane tirades on the interwebs? I am continually amazed how much power the cranks hold in our city. They are probably 1/2 of one percent, yet when they chat it up on the social media sites, you would think they are legion. They're not. Odds are they don't even live in Spokane. And when they bitch about 2nd Ave getting bike lanes, they probably have never driven on 2nd Ave. I think other nations have cranks, but they usually don't say much because they have some dignity and are afraid people will make fun of them. Wow, I don't know where that came from. Sorry cranks!

OK, back to Portland. We visited the 3D museum. It cost 5 bucks and you get a personal tour. It was fantastic! Did you know ViewMaster was headquartered in Portland? Not anymore of course. They don't even make Henry Weinhard's there now. HW's is now a restaurant where patrons with Klingon face implants hang out. No lie.

I was inspired by the 3D stuff. Here is a picture I made that you can look at with 3D glasses and just go apeshit over:

Many of you recognize this as our home's most endearing piece of seasonal art. Corny, cracked and maudlin - Sad Snowman kinda sums up the season.

Still commuting to work via bike unless the snow is too deep and then I run. I have big plans for improving my running speed in the upcoming year which I have already implemented. I have to admit those gosh-darned cross country runners inspired me, and I figure at my age, I either have to work on getting faster, or continue the inevitable slide of getting slower. Snowman knows.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nike Nationals In Portland

Last Thursday evening we rented a car and drove down to Portland to cheer on Lewis and Clark's Cross Country team. Lewis and Clark's and North Central's teams had already flown out in the morning. Everything was on Nike's dime and they treated all the high school athletes from around the nation like royalty. I suppose, in the running world, they kind of are.

When Lewis and Clark's team and North Central's team were introduced, the announcer called Spokane the "Rift Valley of running in the United States." He pointed out that Spokane was the only city that had two teams to earn a spot at Nationals, and how that is usually the case. I overheard one parent telling another that they had read that if you are a promising female cross country runner, the place to live is New York State. If you are a male cross country runner, the place to live is Spokane, Washington. Pretty amazing, yet pretty unknown by most of us in Spokane, that our city is held in such high regard in the running world. This notoriety is especially amazing when you consider that, for a good deal of the year, our streets and trails are covered in ice and snow.

The day of the race was really cold and windy. The course was on the inside paddock of a horse race track, very muddy with artificial hills and a myriad of hay bales to jump over. It was a mess!

In the end, NC placed 6th and LC placed 15th - a very good showing. LC's Kenji Biering finished 10th and NC's Katie Knight finished 8th for the girls.

Watching these kids race was very inspiring. We will see some of these kids again in the Olympics someday.

Mayor Mary Verner invited the athletes to Monday's city council Meeting where they were recognized by the city council for their dedication and their success.

All Spokane area high school runners, you make us proud! Thanks for a great season!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First snowcthulhu of the season. Nice work Ike and Aidan!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Casualty of the budget?

With a placard reading "STAIRS CLOSED," these steps at Cliff and Lincoln are always cabled off well before the snow starts. This means that people have to step over the cable on the top and the bottom to use them, oftentimes plummeting to their deaths (maybe not physical deaths).

The city usually outlaws the stairs when the leaves start turning.

When you outlaw the stairs in the snow then only outlaws will stare at the snow.

Here is a creative solution they came up with a couple of years ago for the Perry stairs:

It's a good compromise.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's new pussycat?

It's been a while since I posted. A lot is going on!

1. RUNNING - North Central and Lewis and Clark move on to Nationals. LC's Kenji Bierig won Border Clash last week. NC and LC runners are still out there in the cold and snow prepping for the big one. For all of us mortal runners, Turkey Trot is tomorrow.

2. BIKING - First real snow commute of the season yesterday and the day before. Amazingly slippery going uphill. Over 10 percent grade, I was pushing my bike.

3. WORK- Busy with the usual. Almost all of our calls on the big "BLIZZARD 2010" day were alcohol related. One shirtless fellow tried to get into some lady's van while she was backed up on Maple. Scary enough, but more scary when we saw him running across Maple, pants around his knees sporting a homemade g-string.

4. UNION- Local 29 leadership has been in negotiations for months with the city to prevent layoffs. Last week the city accepted an offer made by Local 29. Right now it is being voted upon by the membership. We'll see what happens.

5. SAUNA- Awesome! However, I had it up to 180 yesterday and when I poured some water on the rocks, I think I burnt the top of my head a little. It looks like a sunburn (but it's not).


Saturday, November 13, 2010

LC's Kenji Bierig wins Nike Nationals NW Region!

Pretty choppy video, but it looked like Kenji hung back until the very end and then poured it on to win! LC is poised to win this thing!!! Great job Kenji, Ike and the whole LC TEAM!!!

UPDATE: North Central placed First! Lewis and Clark placed Second! I would say that means Spokane, once again, is the Number One city in the Northwest for high school XC! Eisenhower from Yakima placed Third. CONGRATS TO NC AND LC!!!! Both go on to Nationals!!!

Watch the Nike Regional XC Championships online!

Coverage starts at 11am. I am not sure what the order is. All I know is our boys start at 1:30 pm. You can watch online here.

As seen in the "newspaper" this morning.

Good luck parodying this!

Friday, November 05, 2010

On to State!!

Lewis and Clark High School's Cross Country Team has done really well this season. They tied for first at Regionals with Eisenhower's team from Yakima. The tie was broken by the sixth runner from Eisenhower, so Eisenhower won. LC still continues on to the 4A State Championship this weekend.

LCHS is a 4A school. And, of course, North Central High School (3A school) remains a powerhouse - last year they were the number one high school cross country team IN THE NATION. This year, when LCHS and NCHS have competed against each other this year, it has always been close, with wins going in both directions. The Power Ade Fab 50 ESPN Rise Poll makes special notice of LC's team yesterday, as well as NC's.

I think Spokane has to be seen as the number-one high school cross country town in the nation. All the other 3A and 4A Spokane high schools are right up there with LC and NC too. There is a real kinship among them that I think comes from the heart of what makes these guys so good. At the beginning of every meet, you see the competing schools cooly gauge each other before the gun is fired. At the end of the run, you see all the runners celebrate each others' efforts with genuine joy. You really don't see that in a lot of sports.

Of course, I am writing this as a proud dad. I'm not only proud (more admiring and inspired) of the accomplishments of my son and the entire team, I am moved by the incredible work these guys have done to get here. Running year-round, every day - twice a day, in the dark, in the heat, in the snow, on the ice and on the steep, hot, trails, these guys have shown so much heart and so much dedication that I have to admit I am getting a little choked up as I type these words.

In a place where lunacy and laziness of thought and deed seem to now hold sway, in a time where instant gratification and an almost Alzheimer-like amnesia seems to have stupefied those around us, I look to the work, the dedication, the humbleness and the smarts these guys display - day in and day out - and I feel so good about the future of us.

Thanks for the example and the hope, all you high school runners!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spokane Police Guild Billboards - Looks Like They Will Start Profiling Ninjas...

A target specific graphic

I have seen the black and white smaller version of this newspaper ad for a medicare supplemental plan over the past few weeks, Yesterday, I had the pleasure of viewing the full page insert.

"F@#k the ice cream cone! I wants me the big ass medical sundaes. Mmmmm Mmmmm."

Ironic if it doesn't cover diabetes, bariatric surgery or heart issues,

I can't help but think there are some ad agency types who thought this was pretty funny when they came up with the concept... I hope.

And that's a strawberry, not a cherry, on top.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weird Locker Room Encounter and a cry for help that you can answer.

I was in the locker room the other day, getting ready to go swimming. There was a guy standing in front of my locker. His back was to me. He was furiously pecking at his blackberry. I managed to squeeze in (to the space in front of my locker). As I opened the door, it sort of woke him up from his typing.

"Stupid f#$cking people. I am so sick of this shit. I am trying to sell my coach on ebay and these assholes keep wasting my time. They involve me in these long conversations and then they say, 'I better ask my wife if I can buy this!' Grow a set!" The guy was shaking mad.

Well, what else could I say but, "Heh. You know people. They will be people. That's too bad." WTF? This guy was very worked up, and I, by this point, was almost naked.

"Are you a liberal or a conservative?" he asked while still typing on his blackberry. I was now stepping into my swim suit.

"What? Are you asking me, or are you typing that in your blackberry?"

"I'm asking YOU. Are YOU a liberal or a conservative?"

I replied, "I guess I am into common sense."

"Good." was his response, "Here I want you to have these." And he handed me a stack of these stickers.

"Put these on all the air dryers in restrooms."

I studied these stickers for a moment and then I asked, "Is this about President Bush?"

He stopped typing. His face got really red and he stared at me. "No! This is about Obama! Every time he uses a teleprompter, 20,000 small businesses close their doors!"


Back to typing. "Do you think I should put something on the ebay ad that tells these gutless wonders to talk to their wives before they call me?" I said, "Sure."

Then I went and swam my mile. As I did, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of person unloads on a total stranger in a locker room like that and then asks their political leanings? I think the answer is that a person like this is called "the base" of a certain political party.

In the end, I wondered, How can I help this poor, lost, and possibly violent soul out? I think I have the answer. Thanks to A.J., I have the link for this guy's ebay ad for his motorhome (coach). It is a steal at just over $100,000. If you are interested, or just want to shoot the breeze with this guy, why not email him or give him a call. BUT PLEASE DO NOT, I REPEAT- DO NOT - MENTION THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO ASK YOUR WIFE ABOUT WHETHER YOU CAN BUY THIS OR NOT. This really seems to set him off and it would be a shame to cause him any more stress. Here is his ebay ad. I hope you can help him out. Maybe a couple of us can go in on buying it together.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sad news - bicycle vs. minivan

Please visit the Cycling Spokane website to keep up on this. The Spokesman-Review had a story earlier in the day that was very critical about the possible bike lanes on Second Ave.

Then they had this accident - one in which a driver (with a suspended license with an expired license) pulled out from a stop sign and critically injured the cyclist who had the right of way. The newspaper articles here and here are vague enough to make it look like the cyclist's fault. After the article in the morning, the haters who comment after the story got refueled in the afternoon thinking that it was the bicyclist's fault.

Great idea, Spokesman-Review, to potentially rile up motorists, who are already feeling stressed with road construction, and will see the lone cyclist as an easy target for their rage.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Big fence at Cannon Hill Park

Earlier, I saw a bunch of little kids running around in orange jumpsuits. There was a picnic table with a birthday cake on it. The icing on the cake said "Get Mo! Happy Birthday Maurine."

Some parents have a very sick sense of humor. It looks like they cleaned up the place pretty good, except for the fence.

If you could get your hands on some decent taxidermy, fun could be had by all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bike Lanes

Okay, so I have been wondering how to blog about this and not sound like an ungrateful jerk. How to broach the subject...

It just so happens that the majority of my route to work now has bike lanes. I am talking about Howard Street. I have kind of an overall ambivalent take on bike lanes. I don't like being corralled into an area where I have to worry about people opening their car doors. Also, I don't like the idea that now I am no longer part of regular traffic - I am relegated to a kind of super sidewalk.

On the other hand, bike lanes are a visible sign that a community gives a shit about bicycling. The bike lanes on Howard are nice in that they actually take you a great distance, unlike the ones on 29th or Cascade. I believe, too, that bike lanes will get a large part of the population feeling that it is OK, maybe even safe, to ride on the street (in a bike lane). I was hopeful that these lanes would get a lot of cyclists off the sidewalks too. I think the jury is still out on that one.

I have to say, I have seen more people commuting on bikes now that there are lanes. So, I think I am good with bike lanes and sharrows and all the other bike infrastructure, after I do the calculus. Thanks to everybody who made these lanes a reality. Like so many recent good things in Spokane, these came about only with a big tide change in the city council and the mayor's office.

So my attitude toward bike lanes is not what I am feeling kind of sheepish talking about. There are two items which have left me feeling a little perplexed.

Item One. I was riding my bike to work one morning, proceeding up Howard. At the intersection with Boone there were about 10 people with walky-talkies. At least three total intersections were barricaded with multiple personnel guarding each intersection. Of course, I rode through. As I did, I worried that maybe the president was coming to town and I was now being targeted by the secret service. After work the next morning, there was the striping for the new bike lanes. Some of this striping has since been removed.

Then a week later, there were even more people - a lot of people doing the same thing between Riverfront Park and Boone on Howard. This time, I was told by one of the legions to ride on the sidewalk, so as to avoid messing up the striping. So, I did. I still feel like I need to go to confession.

All to say, the overkill of people working on Howard for the striping seemed bizarre. Now, I know that there are (as D. Rumsfeld would say) things I know that I don't know. I am often on the receiving end of the question: "Why do two big fire trucks and an ambulance show up for medical emergencies?" It's a pretty simple answer when you are in the know, but perplexing when you are not. So I was thinking maybe I am just ignorant about the whole striping process. Yet, I couldn't help myself from wondering, in a fine conspiracy moment, if maybe the anti-bicycle forces actually made this project more expensive, more inconvenient and more of a visual spectacle than it needed to be, in order to negatively sway public opinion. I decided that was ridiculous.

Then one day I rode my bike downtown on Howard - no bike lanes yet. The next day - POOF - bike lanes. WTF? How did they do this part so fast, with all the parking spaces and traffic to contend with? So there's item number one.

Item Two. The shape of the bicyclist's head on the reflective road painting seems familiar to me. What are THEY trying to say about bicyclists?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dr. Smith still at large...

Engine Three responded this morning to a call at a place I had previously blogged about. Here's what happened.

Here's the place:

Here's the previous post.

Had to divert my ride this morning because of all the police tape.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spokesman-Review article on bicycling and walking...

This morning, there was a good article about biking and walking in the paper. It talked about the benefits of exercise built into one's daily life. In other words, walking and biking instead of driving.

The paper lately has had some very "duh" stories. Polls show that the east side of the state is more conservative and northern Idaho seems to vote more Republican than the rest of Idaho, that kind of thing. I kind of lumped this exercise story in there with those, but then I read the comments after the story - it seems like all the commenters are anti-exercise and anti-cycling. Check it out!

I have been pretty busy lately with union work and other writing projects. I have a big blog post percolating. In the meantime, check out this salad made from stuff in our garden!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Coast to Coast - It rocks.

When I first started working at my station, about eight years ago, my officer was Chuck Mauro. If you know Chuck, you know that he is a great guy. One night when we stumbled to the engine for a call, Chuck was mumbling about something he was listening to on the radio. He explained that every night he listened to Coast to Coast whether at home or at the station. Chuck would often comment that it was a seamless transition between the station alarm going off for a guy who is complaining about being pestered by werewolves while Chuck was listening to a "vampire" disclose his dating tips, stories about a bottomless hole near Yakima or a wheelchair-bound sasquatch hunter on Coast to Coast. In other words, when we weren't putting out fires or going on heart attacks in the middle of the night, it seemed like we were dealing with a lot of the same issues Coast to Coast dealt with.

I always like that the host, George Noory, is very kind to his guests and really lets them tell their stories - and they are great stories. I think that as firefighter/EMTs/Paramedics, when we do our job well, we do the same thing. George Noory would probably be a good fireman. The same could be said for Art Bell, the guy who started it all.

For a few years I have subscribed to the Coast to Coast podcast. It costs $50 a year and is totally worth it. I never listen to music on long bike rides, just podcasts and this is a favorite. Last night, we had eight runs between midnight and 5 am. In the 15 minutes between calls, I was treated to this on Coast to Coast:

Here is the Coast to Coast website. You can listen to some stuff, look at some pictures, or subscribe to the podcast.

The Atlantic did a nice story on George Noory too.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bold, Innovative Campaign Pledge!

This is very interesting. Let me get this straight. If you are elected, you will provide more jobs and get rid of taxes!??!?!! Wow!!!! That is really something. I bet you are taking a lot of flak for this unpopular platform.

I have to confide, I like candy. Will you give me free candy too? Maybe you can "trim the fat," and "fill the pot holes" while you're at it.

Sheeesh. Really?

Saturday, September 04, 2010


A great ride to work yesterday. Noticed they were getting ready to stripe bike lanes from Mission to Boone. About 10 workers manning the street blockades. An unbelievable fuss for the little bit of work. I still like the way Mother Nature did it a couple of winters ago:

Had a busy night last night. Lots of fires going on and medical calls. Strangely enough, we had some apparati respond to the working fire on S Riverton by driving right past our station at 2 am or so this morning. Couldn't really figure that one out, as we didn't go on it at all. I suppose the dispatch computer (HAL 2000) knows what it is doing. Still, one after the other the calls kept coming in, and I threw in the towel at 5:30 and stayed up and did a report and made some potato pancakes out of the mashed potatoes we had yesterday. Got two down my gullet when off we went on another fire. Needless to say, it was a sleepy ride home this morning on new bike lanes. A nice surprise was that I could cross Howard at Second, this after a couple of weeks of detouring progressively to the east.

Later, Sarah and I walked down to watch a band at Pig Out. Lazer Wolf did a very nice job.

I like looking at all the people eating at Pig Out. I think there would be a really neat photo essay in that. However, we hardly ever eat there. Sitting on the ground, next to a garbage can shoveling food in as fast as possible has never been that enticing. So, we walked up to the Flour Mill and ate at Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Restaurant. I had met the owner months ago on a call at Clinker Daggers before her restaurant opened, and it's taken us this long to eat there. AWESOME FOOD! Great vegetarian and meaty things. I took this picture after we started eating. I should have done one before. It was a thing of beauty.

On the way home, leftovers in hand, we walked past the old YMCA Building and Sarah stated how much she was going to miss the beauty of the building. She was kidding.

One thing we thought about was how, no matter what the final outcome (I marginally think they are doing the right thing by removing it), most people will probably get on with their lives and forget about the whole controversy, and only see what remains.

I have to admit, every time I walk by the American Pavilion, with its crappy rides and its crumbling potential, I think of Steve Corker and how he fought so hard to prevent the Pacific Science Center from opening a museum there (on their dime) and thumbed his nose at the money, education and opportunity it would have brought to Riverfront Park. He thought losing the carny reject rides would be a blow to the community. Also, I remember Councilman Corker saying that nobody would travel to Spokane to visit a science center. I think he later regretted his stance and that his speechmaking was responsible for stopping the science center. Ooops. But, I bet hardly anybody else but Sarah and I remember that. Right?

On that note (sleep-deprived) I wonder if the city sought to charge every adult an extra dollar a day to improve the city, how many people would miss that dollar? There would be a lambasting in the media. Talk radio would go through the non-gardened roof. The majority would say they couldn't afford it and would vote against it. But if somehow it happened, if it snuck through, how many people would even notice the 1.5 lattes they were no longer "affording" each week? If all that money went to make Spokane better, they might notice that and so would businesses and investors. Maybe.

I am not advocating this. Mine is a fairly ridiculous idea. I am just saying sometimes our politicians should realize that whatever decision they make, it will probably not be remembered by the small (unnoticeable?) effect it has on our pocket book today but by the larger effect it has on the future of our city and our kids - providing the decision is not a colossal waste of money. Hardly anyone remembers the debates, the action or the political fallout, they just see what is in front of their face today, a glimpse of the future and what is right or wrong with it.

My favorite conversation:

"My property taxes doubled this year!"
"Really? How much were you paying before and how much are you paying now?"
And you know the person is thinking that they just have a feeling, or someone told them, that their taxes doubled but they can't say that. All they can honestly say is, "I don't know."

All to say, I get real preachy and goofy when I am tired. I make funny typing mistakes too.

On a religious note... I don't know when this happened, but God isn't so gaga about us any longer, at least according to these Pig Out messianic minstrels:

"Where is the love?" I ask. "Hey, maybe he's just not that into you. I mean he cares for you, but, maybe you're moving too fast."

Do I seem desperate? Needy?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

IPod Mini Dies So New IPods May Spring Forth...

Right before the Apple Press Conference yesterday, this happened to my IPod Mini of five or so years. I hope Steve Jobs is happy.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Cooked these up for dinner the other night. All from the garden. I am really liking the new raised beds. It's a lot easier to see the food. Also, morning slug patrol has been a quicker task. The salsify has been hit pretty hard by the little bastards.

When I am picking slugs out of the garden, my thoughts turn to the recent incarnation of the Dune series, written by George Herbert's son. In these, the Tleilaxu have bred a hybrid of a pig and a slug called a "slig." Delicious! Also, they are used to dispose of discarded characters, kind of like how Bricktop used pigs in Snatch.

I would raise sligs if the city and reality allowed it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The American flags on this House of Security Biz are OK. But, really, are there enough? I have more flags on my bicycle. I wish I could fit a few more, but they keep getting tangled up in my spokes, and I fall down. Nonetheless, I am proud of my bruises. It's the least I can do for the troops. Another reason to not wear a helmet.

If I had a place like this, I would easily have twice as many flags and they would be bigger, a lot bigger. It's almost as if the owners of this place are kind of ashamed of America. I don't get it. Why?

I guess it can be expected though. If you look at their logo - Total Security, they only made one of the Ts in "Total" into a cross. Again, a half-hearted nod to the King of Security Himself. Is this a slap at Christianity? One cross when you could have two? You could even make a cross out of the t in "Security" if you were worried about it looking weird with just two. I don't need to remind you that there were three crosses on Golgotha that day, my friends. It works scripturally and from a design perspective. Think about it.

How are you ever going to get anyone to surrender their trust to your business when they can't be certain of your loyalties?

Total? Hardly.