Friday, March 30, 2007

Space age toilets

There's a current drive here in Portland to offer more public toilets downtown. Not that I would ever use one myself, but I guess there's a need for homeless, tourists, and people with overactive bladder syndrome. Well in the paper this morning, there was an article about Seattle's problems with their high-tech public toilets. They had automatic sliding doors like on Star Trek that automatically open 10 minutes after someone has gone in, whether they're done or not. Well in the article, it talked about a women who was walking by one of these toilets right as the door swished open automatically like on the starship Enterprise, only instead of seeing Captain Kirk, she saw a naked homeless man trying to wash himself in the sink! When I told this to my brother, he instantly retorted with, "Set phasers to 'stunned'!" Classic.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


There's a guy that Margaret and I keep seeing at Noah's Bagels in the morning who has long hair, which isn't by itself that noticable. What makes it memorable is that it's bright red. We've dubbed him "The Volcano." I'm glad that my brother isn't there to see it, as the mere sight of a redheaded man ignites a fury in him that burns as bright as their hair. I shudder to imagine what he would do at the sight of that much red hair.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Star Trek marathon

Over the weekend, Margaret and I rented an entire season of Star Trek:Voyager from the local independent video rental store. We love the store, as they have absolutely everything... they even have a Czech animation section! How specialized is THAT? It's where I rent Norwegian films, too. Anyway, the way they rent tv series is you have to rent the entire season, not just individual discs from the season. Well, one season of Voyager was comprised of SEVEN dvds! I was watching three to fours hours a day of shows just to make sure I watched them all (except for that Klingon episode... ever since knowing someone in college who was WAY too into Klingons, I've been turned off by them.) We eventually finished the season finale at 10 minutes before they were due back at the rental store... mission accomplished!

Well after 28 hours of watching the 24th century, I'm now seeing all sorts of Star Trekky stuff around me. I'm aggravated that my computers are so slow, I'm having dreams that I'm on a star ship, and I find myself becoming as emotionless as a Vulcan... oh, strike that last one... I confused being dead inside with being emotionless... which is WAY different.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wii health precautions

I don't know if you've seen any of the reports for the dangers of using a Wii. Since people are flailing those controllers around like berserkers, there have been black eyes, broken bones, damaged windows, etc. We're pretty careful to remember to use the strap for the protection of ourselves and those around us. Well, this weekend, a friend came over to check out our new game system and while we were playing baseball, we discovered another danger of the Wii. Margaret was sitting down watching us play. I was pitching and our friend was at bat. (I'm deliberately keeping the description neutral, as it would be easy to guess who it was if I even gave a clue as to the gender of said friend.) Anyway, our friend was standing in front of Margaret, back towards her. When the ball was pitched and our friend swung the controller, a loud fart escaped right in Margaret's face. I fell over laughing and couldn't pitch anymore, and Margaret was left wondering whether it was better to be hit in the face with a Wii controller or a cloud of noxious gas. There's one more thing that Nintendo needs to add to their list of warnings.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Liberal graffiti

This was painted on the sidewalk near our house. Don't you just love graffiti that has a message... at least not the "this is Crips territory so beware" message that is so garish. Plus it's a message that works for all the readers of this blog... well, except for our friend Pam, who is in Belgium... not as many Indians have been there. They're not that into chocolate, I guess.

Speaking of Indian land, that reminds me of the time I was working on the dam breaching hearings that were investigating whether or not to breach the lower four Snake River dams. Growing up in the 70's and 80's, I never felt the direct effects of blatant racism, but wooo-eee, I certainly felt it at those hearings! I remember being confronted by one old lady questioning the tribes' postion and when I brought up the fact that the entire region was once 100% Indian land, she indignantly shouted, "Don't you DARE say that!" I still don't know if she was mad because she thought it wasn't true or that she still felt residual guilt for stealing the land fair and square. I guess turnabout is fair play, since now the tribes are stealing people's money at casinos... and their stealing it fair and square! What a country!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Yesterday Margaret and I had to give our depositions for our injuries sustained after our car accident. It was totally traumatic leading up to the actual date, as this is something we've been burdened with for the past 2-1/2 years. It was good to finally get all the observations, details, etc. down. What was unnerving, though, was when the defense attorney asked me if I kept a journal and I hesitated before I said no. He pressed me on it, noting the hesitation and I fessed up to keeping this blog, but that it didn't really have my feelings, etc. Despite that, he still asked for the address of this site! Yikes! I gave a furtive glance to my attorney, hoping that she would jump up dramatically and shout out, "Objection!" But alas, no... I had to give out this address. I feel so violated!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Street crime

Yesterday as I was headed home from work, I stepped outside to find a crowd gathered around someone lying on the ground. A coworker and I went over to gawk investigate and discovered an unconscious drunk guy (who I'll refer to for the rest of the post as "the vic" so it will sound like I'm on CSI:Portland) lying in a growing pool of blood! Someone had already called 911, and so we waited for the paramedics to arrive. While we were waiting, we got some details, like that the vic had approached some teenagers, that for one reason or another punched the guy in the face and ran off (he probably asked them where the nearest Abercrombie & Fitch store was and they were insulted, because only posers shop there anymore!). The vic's drinking partner was there trying to shake him awake. We had to keep reminding him that the vic shouldn't be moved as he might have a neck injury. When the vic finally came to and started to pick himself up, the other guy tried to grab a pouch of tobacco from the vic's hands. He, through a haze of alcohol and shock, was somehow able to manage "That's MINE" as he snatched it back. To which the drinking buddy said, "No, it's OURS." Good thing they have their priorities! The paramedics got him into the ambulance and I got my blog entry, so everything turned out okay.

Plus, in the grand scheme of things, it was way less traumatic than the guy dying of a heart attack at my gym one time... right on the racquetball court! And our gym has racquetball courts where the rear wall is one giant piece of glass, so EVERYONE coming into the gym got to gawk. It was just below autoerotic asphyxiation and that way that Elvis died in embarrassing ways to go.

When I die, I think a way befitting my station and worthiness would be like the prophet Elijah, who was drawn into heaven on a golden pillar of light without that whole messy "dying" part. Only since I'm WAY more humble than Elijah, God'd probably send down a PLATINUM pillar of light... and Zeus would send down Pegasus for me to ride up... and Odin would send the Valkyries to sprinkle tiny diamonds over my head... and Enya would be there singing in the background... or something like that.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I just got my life back!

Phew! After the past few weeks of, I'm more burnt out than Michael Jackson's therapist! Now I can finally catch up on all the things I haven't had time for... like playing with my new Wii more, actually having a decent night's rest, or going to McDonald's for a shamrock shake while they're still in the stores. Ah, bliss.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hey! I could get used to this...

I could get used to this guest blogger thing. Of course I'd have to screen potential entries to ensure they meet my high and discriminating writing standards--I'm talking Pulitzer-calibre stuff--you know, like you're used to getting from me. We'll see how this all pans out.

Well, it's now been a week since I was running around like a whirling dervish... well, maybe not a WHIRLING dervish, but definitely a casually moseying dervish. I'm still recovering from the ordeal event, and here I am getting ready for another weekend out of town at another 50th anniversary event. I'm going to be so sick and tired of the whole topic that I probably won't be ready to deal with it again until the 75th anniversary.

At least my birthday present from Margaret has been a help in destressing. I love my new Wii. As you probably gathered from Margaret's guest post, we've been having lots of fun performing surgeries. My brother and sister were here when we first rented that game and we all took turns performing routine operations like stitching up cuts, cutting out tumors, etc. As the game progressed, however, the surgeries got more and more complicated. At one point we had to conduct a mitral valve replacement surgery! I guess when you've gone through the entire game, you're more qualified than most Indian Health Service doctors. (And at $50 for the game, it's much cheaper than med school!) Anyway, the games are fun, and I'm making a concerted effort to not hit Margaret in the face with my controller. (Although if I DO accidentally give her a black eye while trying to imitate a windmill, I'll be sure and take a picture and post it here.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Guest appearance

Yoohoo. Internets. It's Margaret here.

I have very sad news for you today. Due to a championship bowling tournament, road rally race, bomb detonation and impending heart valve replacement, Jeremy is unavailable to write in his blog today. Yes. It is true. The Wii has arrived at our house and life is just not the same.

So far, our favorite games have been:

Wii Sports which includes bowling, baseball, boxing and tennis. These games get pretty active. Jeremy only narrowly avoided punching me in the face while we played baseball the first time.

And Trauma Center Second Opinion where Jeremy is preparing for a major career change. Now, if you need a multiple tumor extraction, you know who to call.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Does anyone have a Xanax prescription I could borrow? At least for the next couple of days? Anyone? Anyone?

If not, I'll have to turn to my bottle of Jamaican opium cough medicine, which isn't such a bad alternative, now that I think about it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Day Six: Into the Blue

Our final day on the island, after enduring day after day of near freezing temperatures... where the mercury regularly hit the 65ยบ mark!... what do you think we woke up to? More of the same? A hurricane? A stray iceberg recently calved off the Greenland icecap due to global warming? No... we woke up to a Caribbean blue sky, a bright sun, gently waving palm trees... I swear we could even hear the faint cadence of calypso music in the background... it was THAT perfect! Of course... on the very day we didn't have a spare SECOND to enjoy the beach the weather comes through for us.

After our obligatory feeding of the beggar fish at breakfast, we hurried back to our room to pack and check out of the hotel before our shuttle came to pick us to to go snorkeling. Yes... after all the weather-related delays, we were finally going to get to go snorkeling. And just barely. Our shuttle to the airport was scheduled to leave only 15 mintues after the snorkel tour was supposed to be back, so the whole thing was a gamble. One we were willing to take, though. If we had been that close to some of the most amazing coral reefs and not seen them we would have been REALLY disappointed.

We finally got checked out and were waiting for the shuttle, which was really late. When it finally came, we found out that we were only the second stop on the shuttle's hotel route to pick up the other snorkelers. So we spent the next 30 minutes shuttling around to the other area hotels picking people up. When we finally headed to the dock, we saw that our hotel was only two or three blocks from our hotel! Had they told us that beforehand, we could have just walked the three minutes to get there!

When we finally got on board and fitted with our masks and fins, we headed out to the reef. En route I, of course, had to go the the bathroom and was confronted with the options of "Snapper" or "Angelfish." What kind of gender selection is THAT? Now if the boy's was labeled "Tiger Shark" or "Stingray" or even "Grouper" I could see the connection, but SNAPPER? Geesh.

Finally the moment we had been waiting for arrived and we were cleared to enter the water. I jumped in first and waited for Margaret. Now two things about Margaret: 1) A deathly fear of open water that is only calmed by phamaceuticals or... well, that's the only way to calm it, and 2) A deathly fear of sharks that is only calmed by, you guessed it... pharmaceuticals. When she got in the water, she grabbed my arm and wouldn't let go of me. I kept assuring her that everything was okay and that there was nothing to worry about. We kept close together and she was still pretty nervous, but we both got out our baggies of dog food to chum the fish over to us and finally dipped our heads underwater and HOLY CRAP! SO MANY FISH! SO MANY COLORS! SO BEAUTIFUL! After the first look, Margaret took off away from me, all anxiety melted away in the hypnotic pull of those amazing tropical fish. It was so amazing... especially since the fish had been trained for years to associate snorkelers with food and we were completely swarmed. They would bump up against you, bump into your mask, and have to be brushed out of the way when you would swim. I couldn't believe the variety of fish that were all around us. I thought I even saw a Great White Whale until I realized that it was just some pale American kid.

Now during the course of getting the hang of this whole snorkeling thing, I'd probably swallowed about a quart of saltwater. And you know how you can make yourself throw up by drinking a glass of saltwater? Well I finally couldn't take it anymore. I got so nauseous that I thought I was going to vomit into my snorkel tube and had to get out of water. There was still about 10 minutes or so left in the tour, and to my complete amazement, Margaret was still out in the water. In fact she was one of the last people to finally get back on the boat. So much for all her fears of the open water and sharks.

Then, to add to her string of overcoming fears, Margaret climbed to the top of the rock-climbing wall onboard the boat on the way back to shore! She was on a roll! I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd walked over hot coals or signed up to carry a "I'm proud to be a Democrat" sign in Temple Square. I have no idea of the anxiety-supressing qualities of drinking copious amounts of saltwater directly from the ocean.

After getting back to shore, we had just enough time to grab some lunch before we had to catch the shuttle to the cruise dock. I had read about "conch salad" in our guide book and despite the fact that it was raw conch and tomatoes with a lime juice dressing, I was adamant about trying it. I mean, what better thing for someone so nauseous from injesting a load of saltwater than some completely foreign and unusual food? Actually it turned out to be really good... and the only source of fresh vegetables that I'd consumed the entire time we were on the island!

After lunch, we loaded up and said goodbye to the island. We splurged and bought a cabin on board and even though we were only on board for 5 hours, it was $40 well spent. In fact, now over a week later, I still think back how great it was to be rocked to sleep by the ship swaying on the waves. We didn't spend all our time in the cabin, though. Margaret competed in the hula hoop contest on board, although couldn't make it past 3.7 seconds. Some drunk lady and a little girl ended up being the finalists, which says alot about what it takes to be a good hula hooper. At dinner, we sat with a retired couple from North Carolina who couldn't believe that we were from the west coast and were vacationing in the Bahamas when Hawaii was so much closer. When we told them that the airfare to Hawaii was 2.5 times our flight to Ft. Lauderdale they couldn't believe it. They were even more shocked to find out that our flight was less than $200, as their flight from North Carolina was over $800! I told them that at that price, they could have rented a car and driven to Oregon to fly to Ft. Lauderdale! I totally don't get airline prices.

Anyway, as the sun set and our island vacation drew to a close, we were so happy to have been able to go, even though we didn't get as brown as we'd wanted. In fact the only color change we experienced was blue lips after freezing in the water. I'd love to go back, but I think next time I'll pay more attention to the extended forecast. When I'm in the mood for cold weather along the ocean, I generally prefer visiting Norway... or Greenland... or Antarctica.