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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

[#] [2]
last night's eclipse was quite late, but pretty close to perfect. the sky was clear, the field near our house has an expansive southern view, the lights were behind us, and there were even several shooting stars! we snacked on trail mix & mountain dew while we peered through the binoculars until the condensation overcame the lenses. we watched the whole thing from beginning to end, so as the moon was finally setting whole and shining again, dawn was just beginning to lighten the sky behind powell butte.

we timed it perfectly: we took a nap around 11, woke up around 1, packed our sleeping bags, blankets and pod chairs and walked to the field with just enough time to settle down and get comfortable before the shadow of the earth chipped away at the moon. it was only a little cool until after 4 a.m., when the temperature seemed to dip, so despite layering clothes, gloves & hat, i'll wear warmer clothes next time and bring a bigger blanket.

this was toby's first eclipse, but he didn't manage to stay awake through all of it. this was my first time to watch an eclipse with the option of binoculars, and it makes the process even clearer and more fascinating. the next lunar eclipse is february 21, so mark your calendars!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

[#] [0]
sven & i stopped by fup's 19th birthday at powell's technical books today. it was a decidedly low-key affair: fup stayed in the back, where they've built a table with a lip around the edge and a ramp down to the floor. i saw her come down the ramp and totter a few tiny steps before deciding it was too much trouble and went back up the ramp again. every year i worry this will be fup's last birthday. this year i was especially worried because they usually have the birthday party in late june or early july, and they just announced this one earlier in the week.

michaelmas has been to every fup party but had to work at the library today, so we brought him a cupcake from the party to toast to fup's health. then we went to the portland art museum to see photos from the oaks park carousel, a gift from kristen & todd for my birthday. then we did some errands at art media, finnegan's & pearl hardware. by the end of all that my ears were ringing, so we're home again, contemplating dinner after a large, late ole burrito.

Friday, August 24, 2007

[#] [0]
fare-thee-well, all you excitable, flamboyant, bright-eyed burning man travelers! dang called us while stuck in portland traffic: i so wish i could have answered the phone! he was the best burning man neighbor i ever had. may all your days be dustless, and may your nights be full of flame.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

[#] [0]
until the magnificent cheeseburger brown makes it to the san diego comicon, you'll have to travel to the toronto sci fi expo to see him. if you're anywhere near there, i recommend you stop by his booth!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

[#] [0]
dang just found a site that delights me: birthday stars! because it's still august, i figure i can still check:

"Your birthday star is in the constellation Perseus. It has the name ι (Iota) Persei in Johann Bayer's Uranometria star catalog. It is called NS 0309+4936 in the NStars database.

It has visual magnitude 4.05 meaning that you could see this star with the naked eye in good viewing conditions. It is marked in the center of this star chart, at celestial coordinates (J2000 equinox):

Right ascension 3:9:4
Declination 49:36:47.8

This star is 34.4 light years away, which means that the light we see from it today set off on its journey at about the same time that you were born."
i wish i had known that during the perseids: it would have been my birthday star meteor shower!

Monday, August 20, 2007

[#] [0]
dear garth's organic gardening:

don't wait to call me until half an hour AFTER we are supposed to meet to tell me "we don't really have anyone else out that way, so it really won't work out for either of us." when i ask if you have another recommendation ("out there?" no, i want someone else who will stand me up!), don't tell me a name but that you don't have the number "off the top of my head. i'm sure it's in the phone book, though." also, after being so unhelpful, don't ask me to mention your name for the referral credit.

Friday, August 17, 2007

[#] [0]
the best part about watching "stardust" is that nobody talked through it! i was so grateful; i don't think that's happened since i moved to portland! i was also very happy to get to see it with michaelmas (and sven).

the rest of it, though, i was disappointed with. i LOVED the book: michaelmas read it to me over the phone when i still lived in colorado. so i expected to be disappointed with the deviations they made, but it turns out i actually didn't mind many of them; the issues i have with the movie are much the same issues i have with most movies. for instance, i definitely could have lived without the big showdown battle with the witch at the end, and the gender politics are really terrible. however, i feel the movie could have been darker and more complex, which is one of the things that endeared me about the book (unless you're counting robert deniro's role, which i certainly do not. wtf?), and i found tristan (and victoria) to be rather unsympathetic characters. and surprisingly, for being a movie about faerie, all the magic is portrayed negatively: for instance, unlike the book where magic is morally neutral, the babylon candle is considered "black" magic and the only good stormhold brother is the one who doesn't use the runes and has a connection to the bishop.

but most importantly, the movie never resolves something that has always bugged me: WHY do tristran & yvainne fall in love? it doesn't really make much sense in the book, and it makes even less sense in the hastened timeline of the movie. she certainly has no reason to be soft to him -except- that he saved her life, but it wasn't exactly an altruistic act on his part.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

[#] [0]
celeste finally *really* broke monday night and as i was assisting a gocco class the next two days, sven took it to macforce to have her fixed. this is the first time i've ever had to send one of my computers away to be fixed and i can't get her back soon enough, especially since i'm supposed to be starting artist's way promotion this week!

thank god we have a couple of other computers: sven is using planet camino in the studio while i use confessor over at the house. i have us on a weekly backup schedule and i'm so grateful because i am using some of the files (esp. voodoopad) while i await the return of celeste, but i'm missing an interview i was working between the last backup and the final crash, so i'm still paying for the data restore (ouch!). webmail is better than no mail at all, but it's still not very fun, especially since dreamhost's webmail has been sporadic this week. (this might be a good time to refamiliarize myself with pine. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

[#] [0]
tonight was the peak activity for the perseids. i was planning on going to omsi's starwatching party at rooster rock this year, but it's cloudy tonight! just as well, i suppose: i have unexpectedly found myself "assisting" with a gocco class at the oregon college of art & craft for the next 3 days and there's still so much to do tonight to get ready for it.

fortunately, sven & i went to the top of powell butte last night around 2 a.m. to watch the meteors. it was a heck of a climb to do in the dark, but we were rewarded with some really beautiful shooting stars.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

[#] [0]
someone in our asian neighbor household got married today: i woke up to find someone carrying a roast pig on a decorated tray into the house. lots of other people were carrying in bowls covered with embroidered red scarves. the bride came out not much later in a red dress and a cute red hat that was sort of like a wrap-around tiara. so it was all very sweet, but i can't help giggling now as they sing karaoke to "keep your hands to yourself," "dancing in the moonlight" and "does it make you happy?"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

[#] [0]
sven & i were walking down the hill and saw a plane skywriting! because the first two words were already unreadable by the time we saw it, it took a while to figure out what it was: an advertisement for what must be cool moon ice cream, a new ice cream shop coming to portland in september.

Monday, August 06, 2007

[#] [3]
i had a lovely birthday saturday. i wrote two poems and sven made me a waffle sandwich for breakfast.

after a stop by bridget's new house to see her new studio, as is traditional we went to oaks park to ride the carousel (or carrousel, as they spell it) as many time as i am years old. i also love the view of portland from the ferris wheel.

[gl. rides an ostrich]

then michaelmas, mph, kristen & todd came over for delicious homemade pineapple upside-down cake & presents.

[make a wish]

afterwards we walked outside to see the international space station float by like a wandering star. i found a website that shows you potential satellite sitings for your city, and as long as it's not cloudy, it's like magic to watch the iss appear, fly by, and then disappear again.

then we headed back to the house to play a game of apples to apples (which sven handily won). finally, sven & i biked to one of the best starwatching places in portland, the "sheep bench" on the springwater corridor trail. it was a chance to formally appreciate the new bike sven got me for my birthday.

but the next day, i finally had a memorial for amelia, who died two years ago. michaelmas, sven & i went out to powell butte and spoke a few words about what we remembered her for, then i read cheeseburger brown's "goodbye to kitty" and we each scattered a handful of amelia's ashes.

[ashes to ashes]

it was a little funny to have these two things so close together, but after this we'll probably just leave a little candle next to amelia's picture in the laundry room.


Friday, August 03, 2007

[#] [6]
bad abortion news week, of which ohio's proposed paternal notification & consent law is the worst. if we ever develop technology that allows a fetus to be transferred to a father who wants to carry it, then maybe we can talk. but until then, the possibility of this is absolutely horrifying to me.

ohio is also trying to ban all abortions in the state, but there's a lot more craziness this week all over the nation:

* missouri: "A measure is set to go into effect in Missouri next month that will require any clinic performing a certain minimum number of abortions to be licensed as an "ambulatory surgical center." The stated purpose: Ensure women's health and safety. But clinics, of course, have been performing safe surgical abortions for years. The real goal: Put clinics out of (the abortion) business. The end result, ergo: Endanger women's health and safety." (ala salon)

* colorado (grrrrrr!): "Abortion-rights groups have until next week to appeal the language of a proposed ballot measure that would define a fertilized egg, either inside or outside the womb, as a person. The secretary of state’s three-person title board on Wednesday crafted language for a constitutional amendment that would ban abortions. It would define humans as existing from the moment of fertilization and extend the Colorado Constitution’s inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law to them." (via denver post)

* oklahoma: "A controversial abortion law taking effect in November prevents state-funded hospitals from performing most abortions and could result in pregnant women seeking the procedure in other states." (via newsok)

* louisiana: "Gov. Kathleen Blanco has signed into law two nearly identical bills banning a controversial form of late-term abortions, making Louisiana the first state in the nation to adopt its own laws outlawing the procedure after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year upheld a federal ban." (via

and as if that wasn't all bad enough, i have to say the new democrat approach makes me queasy.

among other things, the emphasis on "rare" in hilary clinton's "safe, legal and rare" bothers me. abortion is not an evil that needs to be reduced. no abortion should be criminalized. i want legal abortions at any point, widely available without stigma, and without minimizing sex education. when the top priority is to "counsel more young women in crisis to consider adoption, not abortion," we are "counseling" women to become merely incubators and minimizing the stress, turmoil and risks associated with pregnancy & birth for a baby they don't want. it emphasizes that the fetus is more important than the woman.

i think it would be grand if planned parenthood added an adoption agency and a parenting support arm to its prevention and abortion services. i'd love to see something take a swipe at the "crisis pregnancy" centers with a comprehensive program which supports a woman through -all- the choices. but i understand why planned parenthood focuses on what they do -- because nobody else will do it, and it needs to be done.

(and this should all go without saying, but the debate is so ridiculously polarized i'll say it anyway: i also wholly support people who want to be parents and value legislation to provide for mothers, children & families.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

[#] [0]
i biked to the division bike gallery today for their summer bike sale; i figured it would be a good time to pick up a bike bell and a bike computer. i found a bike bell whose sound i liked, but it says, "i love my townie," so i'm looking forward to covering that up. sven helped me install the bike computer after i struggled with it for an hour.

as i was biking to the bike gallery, i suddenly realized my bike's name is "rose." i named her "andromeda" initially, but even calling her "annie" or "andy" or "dromy" or "dromedary" never felt right. rose is an appropriate name for a stately portland bike and pretty accurately describes her color. if she had a middle name it would be "emily" or "elizabeth." it doesn't go with the stellar theme i've got going on with everything else, but it feels a lot better.

biking during the day sure takes a lot of sunscreen. i still prefer to bike at night.