Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I wore my Pendleton Roundup getup to work today. I love the irony of an Indian working for an Indian agency dressing up as a cowboy. It reminds me of the time my brothers and I dressed up as pioneers for the Pioneer Day celebration in Utah. (Although both costumes are legitimate--I have both pioneer AND cowboy ancestors... well, can you call sheep ranchers "cowboys?")

I remember one Halloween in Norway, the missionaries all got together for a party--which had to be a little secretive, since Norwegians didn't celebrate Halloween and seeing Mormons dress up would only confirm their suspicions that we were devil worshippers. My favorite costume was one of the sister missionaries dressed up as a nun... she even had a tin foil crucifix! We all thought it was hilarious that one over-the-top religious fanatic was dressing up as another over-the-top religious fanatic. I can just imagine how livid our mission president would have been had he known that she was dressed up like that! He probably would have made her say a bunch of Hail Mary's knock on a bunch of strangers' doors and talk to them about God or something. (Shudder.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Urban pastorale

Our neighbors are selling their house (which has been really sad, by the way). But every weekend, the house is descended upon by people gawking through the windows, walking around the house trying to get glimpses inside. Yesterday was particularly busy, as the weather has been sunny and warm (I know, it's like were not in the Pacific Northwest!). Well, Margaret and I probably started out making a great impression on would-be buyers. Margaret was practicing piano, which gives the illusion that this is our town house and that most of our time is spent in Vienna. I happened to be reading the New York Times (which the departing neighbors gave to us as a going away present), so I was giving the illusion that we were transplants from the Big Apple, bringing an air of sophistication to the neighborhood. Unfortunately both illusions are shattered once people walk around the house and see our ramshackle garage with a giant tattered Irish flag (remnants from a baby shower for some Irish friends almost TWO years ago) hanging in lieu of an actual door. That gives the illusion that we are refugees from the Irish potato famine and still haven't gotten back on our feet. And I guess that that's the illusion that people eventually believe, since the house still hasn't sold. (And I'm sure it has nothing to do with my propensity to walking around the house naked, which I'm sure would have ensured that the house would have been snatched up by now!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Standard Time anticipation

Is it wrong or abnormal for me to be so looking forward to Sunday's time shift? I find myself--particularly when the alarm goes off at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am--dreaming of getting to sleep for another whole hour. It's so alluring that I've been thinking about it all week. Unfortunately it only happens once a year, and you pay for that 60 extra minutes of unconsiousness with dragging yourself out of bed an hour early in the spring.

Too bad employers don't schedule the work day according to the sun. During the winter, when my enthusiasm and ambition is sloth-like, I'd like to come to work around 11 and leave around 3 (which by the way, is more of a Norwegian work schedule--they are SO far advanced than we are!). Unfortunately that would mean that in the summer, we'd have to work from 6 am to 8 pm. Maybe this is a happy medium.

I remember one time in Norway, I was living about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It was the early spring, so we had light, but not 24 sunlight like in the summer. Well, one time, we had stayed up a little too late and noticed that the sky was already lightening up. We decided to stay up to see exactly when the sun came up, so we waited, and waited, and WAITED. FINALLY at around 6:30 am, the sun peeked over the horizon. We hadn't realized that the sun's path that far north was so low that the light showed up hours and hours before the sun's actual arrival--the sun hovered just under the horizon. We finally went to bed at 7:00 am, and promptly got in trouble with our leaders, who thought we were just lazy. (Which we weren't--we were conducting a scientific experiement!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Don't you hate it when you forget to buckle your belt back up after you've gone to the bathroom while on the Portland State University campus and don't realize it until you've left the building, waited at a crosswalk, and walked another block after that only to see your belt sticking out in front of you? I'm not saying that that happened to me... uh, I was just thinking how that would be the WORST!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Photo complaints

Yesterday I cheated and just stole a picture off the internet, after searching for "birthday cake on face." Well, after being accused a racist for using a photo of an obviously Aryan baby, I hunted up this photo of me, which was no small task--do you KNOW how hard it is to get photos out of the National Archive's holdings? Evidently the photographer couldn't get me to smile, grin, or even show any happiness whatsoever. They finally contented themselves with snapping the photo the split second after pulling the pacifier from my mouth. I think it gives me that, "you've got to be frickin' KIDDING me" look that is so popular these days. It's evident that even at a few months old, I was already very advanced in my world-weariness and ennui.

Plus-- look at my fauxhawk then, it's almost identical to the one I'm sporting in my bio picture to the right! I have to content myself with that for the time being, since I'm probably going to have to move to a monk haircut with my genes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Wow! A whole year has passed since I started this blog. What started out as a procrastination technique turned into something that I looked forward to doing, even after the thing I was procrastinating was completed. It has allowed me to keep in touch with a lot of family and friends that we live far away from. (Well, not necessarily 'in touch' as most of them never leave comments--hint, hint) It has made me more aware of the happenings going on around me (since I was constantly in need of new blog fodder I had to keep my eyes peeled for unusual stuff, and lo and behold--Portland delivered!), and most importantly, it has made me take more risks or do random things, again so I'd have something to write about--like when I danced in the cage at the dance club with no shirt on... oh, wait, I didn't write about that... uh, maybe later. Anyway! I've never been one to be a regular journal writer, but something about knowing that people are reading some random thought or activity (along with inappropriate comments) is so driving. This past year has been interesting and eventful to say the least (my diatribes on the superiority of peanut butter on chocolate chip bagels notwithstanding), and I hope that the upcoming year is even better!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jury duty experiences, vol. 1

I just got culled from my first call-up: a medical negligence lawsuit. Evidently saying that you don't believe in big medical malpractice settlements because the money could be better used by hospitals in helping more people doesn't endear you to the prosecution. Maybe the next one I get called up for will be a nice juicy homocide that features testimony from CSI:Portland officers. That'd be AWESOME! Stay tuned...

Jury duty

Yay! The jury room has an internet connection! This won't be as bad as I thought it was going to be. This morning, I dodged the bullet by not being called to serve on the grand jury rotation during the course of the entire WEEK! The last time I served on a jury, I had to serve for a week, listening to the ins and outs of brick veneer construction techniques. BOOOORRRINGGG! And prior to that, I served on a jury in college, judging other students on various crimes, such as over-piousness, charges of self-righteousness, and basic ignorance. As a rule of thumb, they were all guilty, which made the judgements quick and easy... in most cases it only took a few seconds. If only the OFFICIAL judicial system were so efficient!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oy! What a WEEK!

Well, the event went off without a hitch... Well, I take that back--we did have someone trying to sell illegal Indian artifacts, which is a pretty severe federal offense--but other than THAT, it went off without a hitch. Oh, yeah, also except the TORRENTIAL RAINS that caused the Vietnam veteran presenters to have flashbacks of Southeast Asia during the monsoons. But other than THAT, it went off without a hitch. Afterward I was looking forward to a couple of days relaxation, or at least mind-numbing paperwork. Well, that wasn't in the cards. Here's a breakdown of the post-event week:

Monday: Take down, transport, and lay out seven SATURATED tepees. If they hadn't weighed 600 lbs. we would have tried wringing them out! I have no idea how the old time Indians moved those things! (I'm guessing they had the sense to only move camp after good weather--those crafty devils!)

Tuesday: Go to Seattle for a salmon-related event up there. (At least that was in the evening--I did get to squeeze in a trip to Ikea AND Red Robin! Yay! Unfortunately, I got a call from work that I was needed the next day to go to Astoria, Oregon to give a presentation first thing Thursday morning! So much for some R&R!

Wednesday: Since I was taking the train back from Seattle, I just got off in Longview, Washington, where the other presenters were driving through en route to Astoria and they picked me up and we all went out together. The train ride was pretty enjoyable, as I was assigned a seat next to a woman born in the same year as my grandfather. And she was more liberal than I AM! (And that's saying something!) The whole trip, she'd comment on people's houses we'd see from the train window, conservation, the war in Iraq, etc. It was great.

Thursday: Gave my salmon culture presentation to a group affiliated with the Smithsonian Insitute. Following my presentation, the City of Astoria presentation included a chef, who showed the group how to prepare pesto-encrusted salmon baked in brie, dungenes crab cakes, and pan-fried oysters, after which, we all got to eat our fill! I didn't need to eat anything else the rest of the day!

Friday: Finally got back to work and a woman who breeds Pomeranian dogs brought in her two new puppies. Now I don't mind pets IN THEORY, I can't stand strange animals. Well, the lady brought them into my office to show them to me. She set them on the ground, where one instantly proceeded to PEE on my carpet!!! She half-heartedly cussed out the dog, picking it up and handing it to me to hold while she cleaned up the mess. Ugg! Anyway, while she was cleaning up the pee, the other dog POOPED on the carpet! I had to leave my office, not being able to even BE in there while she cleaned it up. Of all the offices that that would happen in, it just HAD to be in the germaphobe's office!!! I went to the operations manager, who gave me the good news that coincidentally the office carpets are being shampooed next week. Phew! (Although I got a multi-pack of plug-in air fresheners at Costco for my office.) I just shuddered thinking back on the incident as I typed it! Later, telling the story to our friends who had a baby a few months ago, I got absolutely NO sympathy! Evidently having to clean up a baby that has filled the legs of his pajamas with diarrhea trumps dog poop in your office.

Saturday: First, the gang convened to visit the Velveteria--a back velvet painting museum here in town. I KNOW! Who would have thought that Portland would finally join the cultural ranks of such citites as Paris, Rome, London, or New York! This month's feature exhibit was "The Evolution of Michael Jackson: From Detox to Botox." They went from his Jackson 5 days all the way to the present, where he's a white woman. Some of the paintings were so random, including the Pink Panther sitting on a toilet, Dr. Kevorkian, the Heaven's Gate cult leader, and lots and lots of naked ladies! We enjoyed the museum so much, we're thinking of commissioning a velvet painting of our wedding picture in front of the Salt Lake temple. Nothing says "this is going to last forever" like classy, classy black velvet. Later, the gang reconvened for a late dinner, followed by going to a club. I used the Red Bull trick again and was still going strong at 1:30 when we left. (The others hadn't followed my lead, evidently, or we would have been there till closing with all the caffeine coursing through my veins.) Walking back to the car, we passed Voodoo doughnuts, which is a famous late-night doughnut shop here in Portland that caters to the hipster and alternative crowd and something completely off-the-wall is always happened there. Well, it didn't disappoint! When we looked in the shop, one of the guys standing in line was only wearing tennis shoes and a strategically placed coconut shell! (And with a slight adjustment, he'd be able to carry THREE doughnuts! COMMENT REDACTED AS THIS IS A FAMILY BLOG!) None of the other patrons seemed to even notice the guy (Although I wasn't interested in buying a doughnut after that.) Ahh, Portland!

Tomorrow I start jury duty, so at this rate, I'm tentatively penciling in June 15, 2008 as when my life is scheduled to return to normal. (That's assuming the Greenland icecap hasn't melted, in which case, I'll have to move the date to February 3, 2022.

Friday, October 13, 2006



Thursday, October 12, 2006

Garrison Keillor

I'm swamped today with last-minute to-do's for this weekend's event. But I thought I'd include a couple pearls of wisdom from Garrison Keillor's Columbus Day essay.

Who cares about Columbus Day? Scandinavians don't. They celebrate Columbus Day as we all do, by going to the sale and saving 30 percent on towels and bed linens.

And this little gem that should be a bumper sticker:

Any young persons who have been inspired by Mr. Bush to take up public service should be watched very closely.

Ahh, words of wisdom.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Crippling laminating injury

Yesterday I incurred a workplace injury that I would be humiliated to ever report to the Workman's Comp system. Why couldn't I have a COOL workplace injury, like a particularly deep paper cut or a horrible keyboarding accident. Nope, none of those--I suffered a LAMINATING injury! I was laminating some signs and one of them got stuck in the machine. The only way to get it out of the machine was to push the sign, forcing it through and hope that it catches. Well, I made the mistake of pushing the stupid sign perpendicular to my body, twisting myself as I pushed. This resulted in an unstuck lamination job and a crippling back throw-out. I hobbled around the office after that and it's still giving me grief. Great... just in time for having to help set up a dozen tepees! Thank goodness for Vicodin! It will serve to make me not care about not being able to help all the volunteers.

Speaking of which, I was really prone to throwing my back out when Margaret and I first got married. (I know what you're thinking--don't say a word... plus I've had physical therapy which is why my back doesn't usually go out now, not because... uh, anyway, moving on...). I had a standing prescription for muscle relaxants and I would take them at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I would take them just to sleep, rather than any back problems. (Hey, my back COULD have gone out in my sleep!) Well Margaret eventually took them away from me! Can you believe it?!? I was the target of an intervention!!! Fortunately she only took my muscle relaxants away and never did find my stash of heroin. Knowing her, she'd have taken THAT away from me, too! Althought I'm totally fleeing the country if she tries to stage a caffeine intervention!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The longer I live in Portland, the more I'm convinced that this is Neverland. The entire city seems to be teeming with Lost Boys (and Girls) who refuse to grow up... not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Examples include the Pirate Festival--I mean, can you even imagine such a thing being held in Dubuque, Iowa, let alone being a huge smash hit? How about the city-wide talent show's winner... a couple singing "I Need a Hero" while dressed in tights and leg warmers for the girl, and skin-tight silver lamé pants for the guy? And there's the sporadic pillow fight in the downtown square that attracts thousands of people and leaves the area looking like it's covered with new-fallen snow. Well, this morning's paper had an article that would have been just as at home in the satire paper The Onion. Evidently there's a group here that have started, get this... wait for it... a PENCIL FIGHT CLUB! Yes, all the drama of a real fight club, without the messy bruises, cuts, and accidental deaths (although it CAN leave nasty splinters!) Can you believe that? When's the last time you even THOUGHT of pencil fights? I haven't participated in the sport since I was in the sixth grade. In fact I can still remember a doping scandal in the underground world of pencil fighting at Lapwai Elementary School. When someone complained about the undefeated status of the school champion, people started snooping and discovered that the champion's winning pencil, dubbed "The Punisher" had been carefully drilled out with the lead in the Ticonderoga No. 2 replaced with REAL lead! That thing weighed three times as much as a natural, steroid-free pencil, and sliced through un-doped pencils like butter. That incident drove the decision of the international sporting body World Pencil Fighting Federation to begin mandatory pencil testing. Not coincidentally, that's when pencil fighting became less popular at my school. The WPFF's draconian measure really sucked the soul from the game and forced us all into the shady underground sport of marbles.

Anyway, back to the pencil fight club. Some bar here in town set up a tournament and attracted quite a few competitors. They used up the equivalent of two giant redwoods in pencils in the deadly matches. The winner was a girl who had never pencil fought before. Here's a quote from the article:

"Janet Foxman, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who grew up in Portland before studying poety at Boston University, stashed her battle-worn pencils in her hair as she advanced through the bracket. She shunned the standard pencil-fighting attack in favor of an arm-swinging chop, which was within the rules on this night. 'I just hit as hard as possible,' Foxman said. 'I think the men in the competition were very timid with the flicking.'

"Unger, Foxman's final-round opponent, accepted his defeat but did question the winning technique. 'That was never seen in the hallways,' he said. 'But it's like, whatever, we're having fun here."

See, it's all about the fun. (And using questionable fighting techniques.) I particularly like the reference to hallway fighting etiquette. The organizer is moving on to organizing the next competition of another schoolyard staple... Four Square! I'm just waiting for the wedgie competition and swirly championships.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The opposite of a shotgun wedding

A friend sent me this article. I can't believe that these parents thought this was going to work!

Here’s one way to stop a wedding
Parents drove their daughter out of state, face kidnap charges

SALT LAKE CITY - The parents of a bride-to-be told their daughter they were taking her on a shopping trip, but then drove to Colorado and kept her there until she missed the nuptials, officials said.

Did they tie her up? How hard would it have been to take a bus, call a friend, or even hitchhike! She obviously didn't take to heart Eliza Dolittle's dad's song, "Get me to the church on time." For most people, wild horses couldn't keep them away (although I have heard of some being delayed by hunting season.)

Lemuel and Julia Redd have been charged with second-degree felony kidnapping. Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson said Tuesday he met with the couple’s daughter, Julianna, and her now-husband Perry Myers before charging the parents.

“I’ve never had a case quite like this,” Bryson said. “It is strange that parents would go to that extent to keep an adult daughter from marrying the man that she had chosen to marry.”

You have to wonder what this guy was like thtat they would take such an extreme measure. Was he horribly disfigured? Weak testimony? or the worst: POOR?

The Redds told their 21-year-old daughter they were taking her on a shopping trip Aug. 4 and then drove 240 miles from Provo to Grand Junction, Colo., according to Provo police Capt. Rick Healey. Myers, 23, called police when his bride didn’t attend a pre-wedding dinner with his parents that night.

She should have been suspicious at that point--prior to that they'd only taken her to the Provo Wal-Mart! Plus why in the world did she agree to go to Colorado on a shopping trip THE DAY BEFORE HER WEDDING!?!

The Redds spent the night in Colorado and drove back to Provo, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, the next day, Healey said. They arrived after the young couple was supposed to have been married in a ceremony that day at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Temple in Salt Lake City.

The couple, both students at Brigham Young University, were married in the temple on Aug. 8, Myers said. They are expecting their first child in May.

Hmm, seems a little fast. Maybe they knew that without a child on the way, the parents would have tried to have the marriage annulled.

The Redds didn’t want their daughter to get married, but the bride has been reluctant to say what happened on the drive. Myers said he and his wife were not discussing details of the car ride but said her parents’ objections were not about him.

Can you imagine that 6-hour car ride, with an anxious bride and conniving parents? Did they play it cool and try to convince her that they were shopping for the wedding or did they use the opportunity to give a 6-hour sermon to a captive audience? Maybe they just distracted her the entire way by singing "999 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."

“It really has nothing to do a lot with me. It really is some issues with the family,” he said.


Bryson said after reviewing the police investigation it was clear a crime was committed. Charges were filed Friday.

Lemuel, 59, and Julia Redd, 56, are scheduled to make an initial court appearance Oct. 26. If convicted, the Redds could face one to 15 years in prison.

Talk about awkward family dinners. I guess you just try to steer clear of the 800-lb. gorilla of OUR DAUGHTER SENT US TO PRISON FOR FIFTEEN YEARS!

A call made to a listing for Lemuel H. Redd at the address in Monticello, Utah, listed in court documents went unanswered Tuesday. No attorney for the Redds is listed in court documents and it couldn’t immediately be determined if they had legal representation.

Now these parents are going to be forced to break up the marriage the old-fashioned way: by systematically ostracizing, belittling, shunning, and criticizing the new husband until he leaves their daughter destitute and pregnant. That's a much more effective method than going on an extended shopping trip. Amateurs!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Phew, I'm exausted just WRITING this

Here it is noon on Sunday and I'm still a little bleary-eyed after last night's happenings. Knowing that this coming week is going to be a hell week in preparation for the big event next weekend, I thought that we should go out and do something that would make me forget all about the stress and aggravation in store for me for the next seven days. Well, Margaret contacted the gang with an idea to meet for snacks, etc. around 5:30, then go to PIZZAZZ!, the citywide talent show at our local movie theatre. It was all organized and we were looking forward to it all day. Since the restaurant and theatre are within walking distance of our house, we forwent our car and just strolled down Hawthorne, enjoying the sunny afternoon. Well, when Margaret and I got down to the restaurant (which was on 52nd Avenue), she remarked that she could have SWORN that she'd emailed an address on 42nd Avenue. I called one of our friends to confirm the location for their email, and sure enough, we'd overshot the restaurant by 10 blocks! So by the time we'd gotten to the real destination, we were hot--Margaret especially, since she had on a wig, which is way more insulating that even a Gore-tex ski cap. Anyway, when we got to the restaurant, there was a small sign saying that they were going to be closed that evening for a private event! By this time, some other friends were already showing up. They were looking for a good happy hour, and I called a nearby restaurant and confirmed with them that their happy hour ended at 6, giving us 1/2 hour to get down there. Well, when we got down there, they said that it really ended at 5:30. In frustration, we just went over to a local burrito bar. When we sat down, another couple who just arrived said that the line to get into the talent show was over a block long already... and we hadn't bought advance tickets! Aiieee. A friend and I decided to just get some food at the theatre and went to stand in line right then. It's a good thing we did, too, as the line eventually snaked around two sides of the block!

The talent show was well worth the wait, however. It was hilarious to see some of the random acts that were gathered. It was very Portland to see firedancers (performing with electric fire due to fire codes), singers, dancers, and YODELING COWBOYS!!! It had it ALL! Most of the acts were PG or PG-13, with the occassional spike into R territory, but it was all in good fun. And to top it off, the yodeling cowboys came in second place! Yee-haw!

After the show, Margaret was itching to go out dancing. I've been sick lately, so was feeling a little lethargic, but went along anyway. Well, when we got to the dance club, I was yawning so much it was kind of embarassing... like I was looking like I wasn't impressed with the scene. I decided to try something I've never had before in an attempt to rectify the situation... I had a Red Bull (and they even come in diet, so it was just pure caffeine, etc., and none of the pesky sugar). Well THAT really did the trick. I was going strong, and a couple of times Margaret and a friend that came along with us were ready to leave and I kind of maneuvered them back onto the dance floor. We didn't get home until after 1:00, and at that point, I think the Red Bull had worn off, because I really don't remember much after opening the door to the house. So I'm here to say that Red Bull DOES give you wings, but, like Daedelus, those wings make you fly too close to the sun and you end up crashing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Ugg, these next two weeks are my equivalent to the seventh ring of Hell. I have to coordinate the creation of an entire Indian village in a state park--and it's so authentic that the site doesn't even have electricity! We set up a dozen tepees, and given Portland's infamous weather, there's a good chance that the heavy canvas tepees will be weighed down with 450 lbs. of rainwater as we try to put them up. After the event, I almost don't know what to do with myself, but prior to it, it's all I can think of. I usually start losing sleep over it starting two weeks beforehand, but this year has been different. I am fighting a major cold, and so I have to take Nyquil to get some sleep. Well, a drug-induced slumber is just the ticket to prevent me from stressing about things and keeping me awake. Maybe I should take it until the event, despite the fact that my cold feels about over.

Or I could use my grandmother's homemade cough remedy, which includes honey, lemon, and WHISKEY! That should REALLY get me to forget my stress!

Monday, October 02, 2006


On Friday, Margaret and I went out to dinner and a movie. While we were at the restaurant, I felt my heart start racing, but didn't feel light-headed or anything, so I just ignored it. Later on, at the movie, it started really going--enough so that when I put my hand on my chest, I could actually FEEL the pounding up out of my chest! I told Margaret to feel it the next time it did it, at which time she got all worried. I can tell you that there were lots of things going through my mind during that movie--not many of them were about what was on the screen. I swore I'd give up caffeine, since I thought that's why my heart was racing. I wondered if I had on clean underwear, in case I had to go to the emergency room (thanks, Mom!). I was glad that we'd just paid up our life insurance policies. But through all this sense of impending death, I was perplexed at why I didn't feel out of the ordinary. Then it hit me... on Thursday, I'd started a new chest exercise and had really worked my pectoral muscles. Evidently I'd strained them more than I'd thought. What I was feeling wasn't my heart at all... it was my muscle spasming! Whew!

I celebrated my new lease on life with some sweet, sweet caffeine that I was so willing to forego just a few minutes prior. (And by the way, I DID have on clean underwear.)