steev's blog

Invierno Portlando

Yesterday it got rainy and cold just as a friend and I reached the Coast to go hiking. We stopped at a cool recycling center called Cart-M off of highway 101 and bought some cheap used raingear, since we had not thought to bring any, and then we went hiking anyway, but it was not as fun, of course, as if it was the hot and sunny weather that it has been all last week, the way it's "supposed" to be in August.

The forecast says it's going to stay cold and rainy for the next 4 or 5 days. I'm going to dub it the "Invierno Portlando," inspired by the Invierno Boliviano - when I was in northern Chile I learned that every summer many roads are washed out up in the Altiplano because intense rains sweeps in from the east. They call it "the Bolivian Winter."

Whatever I call it though, it sucks, and it reminds me that Portland's climate is not suitable for me. However, it motivates me to get my life figured out and to try to come up with a plan for the real winter - I've been planning to go again for the winter to Latin America, but I really know that I need to leave for good. It's not practical to be a snowbird. I need a place to settle and set up shop, so to speak.

I just don't know where, or how. Plus, it sucks that I have to do this, because I have so many friends and connections here. I love Portland dearly, EXCEPT for the horrible weather. Ironically, I knew that before I moved here. I just didn't care because I had to get out of San Francisco.


Spam as AI

Spam is just getting smarter and weirder all time. As long as it doens't give me a virus, if it's this surreal, I don't care. bring it on, this is like one of my favorite quotes, something de Chirico said: "I want to live in the world as if in a museum of strangeness." I think if we ever develop artifical intelligence, it will be from either the spam industry, or the porn industry. Anyway, here is the example of what I'm talking about that I just received:

Most gypsies believe that freight train defined by share a shower with for
turkey.Furthermore, blood clot over cigar leaves, and cowboy related to sell to pine cone for corporation.Still find lice on her from for necromancer, conquer her dust bunny living with with onlooker around.defined by chess board hibernates, and about grizzly bear ruminates; however, turkey inside can be kind to..minivan teach somnambulist related to.Stuart, the friend of Stuart and daydreams with mirror living with particle accelerator.

wifi screwed

i'm finally tired of my stupid little usb wireless adapter that keeps making my ibook crash. so i think, hey i bet apple airport cards are getting cheap now, i should just get one of those. Turns out they have been discontinued just recently and are now practically collectors' items and super expensive. God I hate Apple.

Sea Collective

I've been following from afar some friends of a friend who bought a boat last year and have formed
The Sea Collective. They are finally done fixing it up and are about to set sail for the high seas.
How exciting. One thing I really like is that they've named their boat D

The Chavez Referendum Aftermath

Medea Benjamin posts this nice but predictable story, "Why Hugo Chavez Won a Landslide Victory". Maybe she's right, maybe Chavez is just overwhelmingly popular. But her article isn't that convincing. She only interviews one mother from the barrios. Everything else is vague generalizations.

I believe Chavez is doing good things for his people, but I still have misgivings that he is setting himself up to be a despot. (and others do to - see this post to the quite good Caracas Chronicles blog) A benevolent despot, perhaps, like one could debate that Castro has been. Yes, Cuba has several good features under Castro, but the fact remains that he is a dictator, who has been in power for almost 50 years.

Do we really want a benevolent philosopher-king, ala Plato? Is that the world progressives want, ruled by smiling all-powerful dictators who feed babies all the milk they need?

On the other hand, maybe the referendum was on-the-level. Are there term limits in Venezuela? the thing to watch is what happens in the next election, and the next. How long will Chavez legally remain in power?

I've been thinking a lot lately about process versus product, and I think this relates to that. A system for running society should itself be fair and just - the process must be good, not just the product. In a way the product is the head of state and his policies. Sure, the trains run on time and the babies get fed and people learn to read, but if there's no process in place for people giving themselves these things, then what happens when the philospher king dies, or changes his mind? One cannot justify the abuses of power by the nice effects of some of that power.

Avert a Debacle

Eric Alterman of the Nation posted to his blog some good stuff about the upcoming RNC protests. My friend Brian claims that this was due to his email to Alterman, complaining that an article he linked to was in the Nation's subscriber-only area. So Alterman posted the whole thing to his blog. Hope his editors don't yell at him too bad. Read more>>>

Klein on "Anybody But Bush"

Naomi Klein writes in the Nation a really good take on the Bush vs. Kerry race. I couldn't agree more with her. Let's get Bush out, not because Kerry will be much better, but because we can stop with the silly Bush jokes about how stupid he is and concentrate on more systemic issues.

Billboard Coop

There's a billboard coop in Olympia called FREE TO DISAGREE. Very cool idea. I might think of better ways to spend the money but on the other hand, why be down on someone else's choice of tactics? It's pretty great. It'd be great if every city had a group like that. Especially more conservative cities. Imagine putting a billboard like that up in San Diego, or Charleston, SC. whew.

Good ol' Iowa

Today 3 banks in my hometown were robbed during Bush and Kerry appearances there.
Good old Davenport. Actually I wasn't born there, but I grew up there, from about the age of 5 till I went off to college. I think it's great that the bank robbers of my homeland were smart enough to take advantage of the preoccupation of the city's boys in blue.

I wonder which banks they were. The second-to- last time I was back to visit, I noticed that the old Davenport Bank, which was based in the city's tallest building (I think 12 stories), had been taken over by Wells Fargo. And of course so many other things keep changing all the time. My mother and stepfather live in a suburb that was a cornfield when I was a kid.

fresh air, mountain views and bullets

I went camping this weekend with 8 friends in Mount Hood National Forest, near Estacada, just about 1 hour from southeast of Portland. It was for the most part really great. I really wish I could go camping more often. It's hard to organize a whole group of people to go, and arranging transportation. I almost feel like I should buy a car just so I can get out in to nature more often. Pretty ironic, isn't it. Alter the climate, pollute the air, so you can enjoy nature. sigh.

Anyway, the one part of the trip that sort of marred the whole experience was this morning when the bullets started flying. I mean literally. Read more>>>

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