Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Afternoon with the Architect

:: not my car ::

I had a good afternoon with the Architect in my story, all this while a student of Systems Science at PSU, an unusually esoteric discipline for a PhD in the US of A, but not unheard of.

When my dad was getting his PhD in urban planning, around the late 1950s, only University of Chicago and Harvard offered it, or so I've been told.

North Americans are suspicious about planning of any kind, as if you're a big time polluting industrialist, you need your neighbors to see you as part of God's Will.

Planners with their pesky zoning ordinances and growth boundaries, public land use plans, are the thorn in the side for any would-be land-grabbing developer with nary a need but his or her own in focus.  Elizabeth Furse, an ex Congresswoman who sometimes joins us at the Linus Pauling House, could tell you some stories.

We sat at this table in the photograph above, outdoors at Angelo's, and if you click through you'll get to more of a timeline, a well known secret if you're a long-time blog reader. Back up a ways and you'll see slides from our most recent Wanderers talk for example, about projects in Senegal / Guinea / West Africa.

John Driscoll is the Architect's name. He showed up in Portland having ridden across the country on his bicycle, then living in the Netherlands or vice versa.

He landed in the so-called Voodoo House, so named by Willamette Week in its attack-piece on Santo Damie, must have been pick on some tiny religion week.

Anyway, one of the top dudes in that faith was the property owner. As renters (John and housemates), myself their visitor, their / my closest contact with actual "cult practices" was just to admire the tasteful decor.

John was not so pleased with the ending of Her (see movie review), which I thought was brilliant, but then that's a story worth telling in many ways, with many endings.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rich Cultural Heritage

I started my morning one day this week, with a couple of treats:  these two episodes from The Secret Lives of Machines

Barry had been bugging me to see these, as he thinks they're excellent, and now I do too.  Count me a fan. 

The edgy somewhat South Parky animations really add to the texture, as does the whacky inventor.  Shades of Myth Busters too, but of course it predates all that.  Bill Nye...

What a privilege to be able to dial in / dial back.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gay Pride

I dressed up in my AFSC clothes, meaning I had a tasteful / small badge on my lapel, but then donned the giant nametag and had Patrick take my picture.

Like just about every other government, church and nonprofit, I wanted to show solidarity with a huge percent of the population, the GLTBQQI (gay, lesbian, trans, bi, questioning, queer, inter-sexed).

First came government, with police and military, then came the high powered politicians, then the corporations, then the churches, then the more theatrical and artistic, friends of, fellow travelers, and scattered non-profits.

Churches included official congregations, in recruit mode:  Lutherans, Methodists, Unitarians, United Church of Christ, Havah Shalom, West Hills Friends Church (no sign of Multnomah this year, Liberal Friends conspicuously absent).

Some Catholics and Mormons were also present, the Mormons least officially, as families for marriage equality, not branded congregations.   The University of Portland's psych department was well represented, but not its theologians.  Theologians (students of Theo I guess that means) tend to be more threatened by the human species and it's unprogrammed (unpredictable) behaviors.

Corporations included Nike, Adidas, US Bank, Alaska Airlines, Chase, Citibank, Nordstroms and many others.

Friday, June 06, 2014


I read in Confessions of a Failed Egoist as I awaited my procedure this morning.

I walked some miles to the venue on a bright summery day, but was escorted home by a computer scientist, a precaution, given the drugs involved (nothing that put me under this time).

I was wondering about linking Trevor Blake's writings to Rorty's (my thesis adviser's, one of them), in terms of standing up for oneself.

Thoughts for another time, as appointments must be kept.  Tea with Lindsey.  Looking forward.

Follow-up:  the procedure was routine and fairly uneventful.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Falling Down (movie review)

Michael Douglas is exquisitely good at portraying psychos or getting caught up in some psycho situation.  I'd not seen this before.  Look how she runs to the phone, even though she knows it's probably her anger management problem ex.  They're slaves to that ringer, and when I hear it again, I remember, you had to run.  It was always important.  No caller ID.  No voicemail.  Dark ages.

This is a dark comedy about a defense contractor who loses his job and goes postal but in a way that builds.  The funnier role is the old cop (probably my age) about to retire (last day) who starts seeing the pattern and can't help but jump in.  It's a personal growth experience for him as well, and ex dad gets to go swimming while angel child has her birthday, so happy ending.

Anyway, Lindsey pulled this from her stash of VHSs because I'd told her I was "resigning from Oversight" (as an Overseer of our Quaker meeting) and that sounded melodramatic, like maybe I'm being "Mr. White" (Breaking Bad) or this guy, in Falling Down.

Although I've been dressing up more, sporting a blazer, I'm actually more the Voodoo Donuts guy, pushing something softer and sweeter (new donut place on Hawthorne, Blue Star).  And no big deal on the Oversight thing as I worked double time in April-May so earned early retirement big time.  I deserve the R&R and left a flurry of fun memos.