Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Climbing the Ladder

I tested to yellow belt in kung fu last night.

I was really nervous. I generally test well, but I also generally take tests that involve sitting and filling in little bubbles, not punching and kicking and jumping. So I messed up quite a lot, and I definitely don't feel like I did my best but it doesn't really matter because I passed and now I get to wear the shiny yellow belt instead of that totally tired white one. Awesome.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Day Without Power Is Like...

I don't know what it's like, but it sucks.

We're approaching our 24th hour without power. I finally packed up the laptop and headed out on a wifi hunt.

I go to the library, where I know there's wifi - and it is closed. Because it, too, has no power. But there is someone surfing away outside, using the library's connection. How it is running without electricity I don't know, but I couldn't take advantage of it because we ran out the battery watching DVDs last night. I thought I was being clever when I plugged into an exterior outlet, only to feel like a jackass when I realized it wasn't working because - duh - the power is out.

So next I try Peet's. I couldn't even find an outlet there, but I did get warm and some coffee. Neither of which is available at home so it was still a definite improvement.

Finally, finally I find the solace that is Moonstruck and I find an outlet where I can recharge both the computer and the phone. And there's also some wifi to borrow (thanks, wifi provider!) and some more coffee. I may still look like I'm homeless, but at least I'm all re-teched.

Here's hoping they figure it out soon. I miss my lights.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

But Is It a Stroke?

As a diabetic I've gotten used to hearing that I am xx% more likely to have (insert some other horrible disease or condition here) than a normal, non-diabetic person. Of course I'm scared of getting any one and/or all of these, but one that scares me marginally more than the others is the stroke. I think it is because I figure that once a person has a stroke that person sooner or later has to go into a store with the sole purpose of buying a scarf to cover their stroke face.

I very much want to avoid that shopping trip at any and all costs. Sometimes if I don't feel like working out I tell myself, "Fine. Don't go. Let's just schedule up that trip to the scarf store right now." This normally works.

So, this morning I'm at the dentist. Again. And the hygenist shoots me up with a lot of anesthetic in the lower left part of my mouth. After a few minutes she asks me if I'm numb and I wasn't really sure so I answered, "Sort of." So in she goes with the water thing and the scrapey thing, and it hurts some but not enough to admit that I might need another injection. This continues for another minute when my right eye starts to feel sort of funny. Like it's swollen or something. Then WHAM! the whole right side of my face goes totally numb and it feels like an old balloon that has lots its air and is all scrunched together.

I totally freak out. I think, "Oh god, it's happened. I've had the stroke." I completely fall apart, especially after the hygenist says, "No, it's impossible for your right side to be numb" when I want to hear: "Oh, this is perfectly normal. Happens all the time." When she finally believes that yes, I have absolutely no muscle control over half my face she hurries away for the dentist. That's definitely what you want to have happen. And back they come to discuss the "interestingness" of my situation. I feel a little better when the dentist explains that it is, indeed, possible for what is happening to be happening. Apparently I have a rare pattern of nerves. I guess if you have to have to a rare anatomical condition this one isn't so bad. Still, come on Universe...How about a rare condition that is very attractive and also makes me a lot of money? I'm not sure what that would be, but I'm pretty sure it's not my job to come up with the specifics, anyhow.

Anyway, you'll be happy to learn that I have dodged the scarf store bullet for another day. I can almost feel almost all of my face again. And any day when you can say that can't have been all that bad, can it?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

December First Thursday

My first First Thursday went well, as I mentioned in an earlier post. My pieces looked the way I wanted them to, everyone was very nice and I met some great people. However, I was a nervous wreck from start to finish.

From the minute I got the first email from the curator to the end of that opening night I worried about - well, basically everything I could imagine going wrong I worried about. What can I say? I'm a worrier by nature. But, thankfully, nothing did go wrong. Everything was fine.

Now I'm happy to say that I've been invited back to the same gallery for December's First Thursday. I'll be in the main gallery again, this time for a group showing. It's going to be set up as a "You should consider buying art this holiday season" kind of show, with each artist showing 3-5 pieces priced under $100. It's a lot less stressful than the first show, so it will be nice to just let it be fun.

I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to put up this month. This month's show is all urban, street themed so I want to do something really different from that. Well, I have a little while to decide. I'll put up a link to the flyer when it gets a little closer to the opening night date for those who may be interested in checking it out.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Holidays!

They're here again!

I've totally already got the Christmas spirit. It's awesome. I started decorating the house today. Our little fake tree is so pathetic, but we love it.

This is the first year we get to have Christmas in beautiful Oregon. We lived here last year, of course, but we were in California for Christmas, with family. I don't think I ever got the Christmas spirit in 2005. So sad. Stress sucks.

But this year I have Christmas planned to the hilt. Christmas ships, Christmas trolleys, Christmas trains, Trees, Tree lightings, Holiday Bazaars - you name it, we're getting our holidays on at it. It would be nice if snow made an appearance or two this season (*hint, hint*)

And so, for the first time in 2006 - *~* Happy Holidays, all! *~*

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Please Vote

Here in OR we have the pleasure of voting whenever we damn well please. I voted today. Please vote. Thank you.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Well, First Thursday was definitely much more fun for me than First Friday.

It makes sense - if the rain is going to decrease the artsy traffic during a big event like First Thursday it's likely to completely decimate the decidedly smaller goings-on of First Friday. Still, I got the work out and showed it to some people. Met some nice artists. And that's what these artsier (versus markety) events are about for me right now.

Unfortunately, I had this blinding headache for hours last night. I'm sure that made me come off a big edgier than usual. Feeling a lot better today, just somewhat tired. I'm glad I have a few days to prepare for the next event, an Arts & Crafts Bazaar in Fairview. It is also the Bureau of Emergency Communication's 911 Awareness event, so it's nice to be supporting a good cause whilst peddling my wares.

Oh, good news, too - minutes ago I got an email...and I was accepted into the inaugural season of Portland's Sunday Art-Mart! Advertised as "Like the Saturday Market - only bigger!" it is going to run on Sundays from July through October. I've really wanted a regular event like this, so I am very happy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hours of Gallery Fun

The show last night went really well. I am exhausted today from so many hours of standing and chatting and being charming.

And it goes on - tonight I'm at Elemental Arts for First Friday (6035 SE Milwaukie for the locals) which should be fun - probably a little more low key than last night, but I'm not sure.

Not a lot of time to update, unfortunately. More tomorrow, I'm sure. Above and below are a couple of favorite pictures from last night.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Finally - First Thursday

Tonight's the night!

Last night the curator emailed me to let me know that if I wanted to I could write an "Artist's Statement" for the show. I couldn't come up with anything that didn't sound incredibly unoriginal or insanely pretentious so I think I'll just let the show ride on me saying things like, "I take pictures. I like taking pictures. Do you like my pictures?"

Last night I attended a Flickr meetup. (I would say something like, "Oh my god I'm such a nerd!" but I hate when people say that so I won't.) It was my first real life gathering of photographers - it was pretty neat seeing the range of equipment people would drag out in the rain to show off. Some awesome digital SLRs, some film gear I had no idea about, and even a pinhole camera made out of a paint can.

I've read about how there is this photography movement that is reacting to the increasing level of technology with each passing generation of digital cameras by becoming increasingly low-tech. Lots of pinhole cameras, holgas, lomos, etc. There were definitely people at the meetup last night that fit that bill.

I'm glad I went. I made some new camera friends, and a few even said they would try and make it to the opening tonight. I hope to see some bright and shiny blogger faces there as well! Come on - it'll be fun!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Few More Details

Here's the flyer for the First Thursday show!

I'm framing the last of the pieces today and hopefully will deliver them tomorrow. I'm getting a little bit more excited than nervous. A little bit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Well, I said "soon" but this is sooner than I thought -

I just got my first show - and it's a month long - in the Pearl District!

I almost literally can't believe it. I'll be showing 10 pieces. The show will open at First Thursday on November 2nd and remain up for the entire month of November.

It's a two person show. The other artist is Marshall Stokes.

The gallery is at NW 14th and Irving. Those of you in the area - I hope you can make it to First Thursday or at another time during the month.

This is just so freaking awesome. I love my life.


Well, I realize I haven't posted in quite awhile. I've been busy getting some new things started, and also quite a bit of time at the dentist.

Speaking of dentists - if you are in the Portland area and are looking for a really great dentist I've got a fantastic recommendation for you - Dr. Maggie Anderson. I have had really horrible experiences with dentists and this has led to a lot of anxiety surrounding dentist visits. Dr. Anderson and her staff have been so patient during my many recent visits - and now my teeth are healthy and look great! I can't tell you what a relief it is to have this problem fixed.

Onto a more fun subject - I'm still focused on my photography, and things have been moving along. My new website is up and running, with many thanks to Jason (the sweetest, hardest working husband in the whole wide world,) and I should have some events and things to tell you about soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Oh, and we finally joined kung fu! After a long time looking and trying to fit it into schedules we are finally in a class. It meets three times per week for two hours a night, and an additional fourth night is Tai Chi. So far I love it!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Life Is Good

The happy couple loved the wedding pictures. They even gave me a very nice tip after the viewing. I am just so thrilled to be making money doing something I love, I can't even tell you.

A Few Favorites

After careful selection and editing I have 292 photos to present to the happy couple tonight, on their one week anniversary.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ten Hours Later...

I can now never say I haven't ever shot a wedding again!

It was long - I've been shooting since this morning at 7am and the reception ended at 5 - but I'm happy with the initial results. Total pictures taken: 1037 (with another couple hundred at the rehearsal last night.) I'll let you know how many survive the editing process.

Pictures to come. For now I'm going to eat a ton of junk food in my sweat pants and watch 6 episodes of Lost in a row with Jason. That is damn good TV.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wedding Plans

I met with the wedding couple this weekend and we came up with a plan of action for the big day. It's going to be long, but it should be a lot of fun!

First thing in the morning I'm going over to their home to record the all-important bride prep. After she's all wedding-ready we're caravaning the couple plus about 15 relatives to the shoot location to do the majority of the photos. This shoot will actually take place before the ceremony, due to logistical necessity.

The best part is the shoot location. We decided, since neither the church nor the reception location would make great backdrops for pictures, to choose a third location for the main shoot. Being in Portland there are many beautiful locations to choose from. Happily, we ended up picking one of my favorite places: The International Rose Test Gardens!

So we'll have a couple of hours to spend there before heading to the church where the pastor (not being a religious person I don't know if this is the correct term. The church guy.) has given strict instructions. I'm only to take a few shots during the actual ceremony. The "important moments." So we decided on each member of the bridal party's entrance, the bride's entrance (of course!), the rings, the kiss and the couple's departure.

And the last segment of the day will be the reception which will last for a few hours. There I'll take the cake cutting, bouquet tossing, toasts and lots of candids while Jason makes awkward small talk with the couple's relatives. And that will be that!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This Week

To all the four and a half people who read this:

I want to go somewhere really amazing for a daytrip this week. Can you suggest a destination, ideally within a couple of hours drive time from Portland? It can be anything - urban, hiking, inside, outside, I just want to see something new and spectacular.

Can you help with suggestions?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Our People

We've got ourselves some people. Real Estate Agent lady and Mortgage Broker guy, to be more specific.

Our current plan is to get into a little condo or townhouse in an area we can afford, then upgrade in 2-3 years. We're looking in Lake Oswego, a few other areas around Portland, and Vancouver (Washington, not BC, although I would be thrilled to live there someday.)

We are really pretty flexible about this first place. We want it to be light (or at least not dark,) clean, and in a relatively safe area that is on good bus lines and is not too far from Jason's work. Ideally Jason will be able to finally take the bus himself, or even walk if we end up in Vancouver.

So, this is the beginning of our home-buying adventures. Stay tuned for the next exciting installment!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

PDX, I Love You

Back from my trip, which will forever be known officially as my "Parenting Boot Camp."

Trauma, drama - the last 10 days had it all. The good news is: my sister is almost fully recovered and her husband is back in the good old US of A. And I am back here, in my wonderful beautiful Oregon on my fantastic couch with my cutie dog. I may never leave again!

Oh, except for on the 16th when - you'll never believe it - I'm shooting a wedding. Me. Yes, I'm serious. Oh. My. I'm totally excited and totally terrified!

Okay, I have to go be around all of my stuff now, and get re-acquainted with TiVo. I'll leave you with my favorite shot from my trip:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Last Minute Trip

I'm heading back to Colorado tomorrow to help out my sister. She's been sick, and has also been entertaining relatives for months. She so deserves a break.

I'll be back around the 7th, hopefully with lots of nice CO pictures. Speaking of pictures, I'm kicking the photography thing up a notch or two. I hesitate to say too much at this point because it's all just getting started. So I'll just say I'm really happy and leave it at that for now.

Sadly I'm going to miss my window of opportunity to climb the volcano. I'm very disappointed. Very, very. But I know that it is the right thing to do to go back to Colorado and help out my family. And I know the volcano will still be there when I get back. Maybe we can manage to get our hands on a few more permits later in the season.

In happier news, Jason and I have started to look for our first home! If anyone has a great real estate agent in Oregon to recommend, please do. We looked at the cutest townhome in LO yesterday. I really didn't think I would be happy with anything but a stand-alone home but I would be thrilled if we ended up in something like this. One floor was one big open room that was half kitchen and half entertaining area. I would love a big, open kitchen, with hardwood floors and lots of light. The next level up was two bedrooms - a good sized office/guest room and a nice large master bedroom. Both had lots of light and interesting windows. Also interesting was another flight of stairs that ran from the master bedroom up into a large loft area that could act as another workspace or living area. I could go on and on. But I won't, except to say that I can't wait to own. Renting sucks.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Camera

The first shots with my shiny new camera.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I Made It

Well, I'm officially professionally certified to restore rivers.


It was a very long, very intense month. That first week, the one I posted about previously, was the best part of the program. It concentrated on river science, hydraulic modeling and other similar topics. I enjoyed learning about the hydrologic and geomorphologic processes much more than, say, the process of getting funding for restoration projects.

As of now I don't know what I'm going to do as far as school and work are concerned. I'm balking at the thought of more student loans. And I'm just not sure exactly what type of "real job" I want to apply to.

I've got a couple of entrepreneurial ideas in the works. Dagny would say I'm being a capitalist, but really I'm just trying to figure out a way to work for myself so I can get my way all the time!

Mostly this week I want to watch TV, relax, maybe do a little hiking. Oh! In hiking news - Mt. St. Helens, which has been closed to climbers since September 2004, has been re-opened! They are allowing 100 climbers per day on the volcano. Jason and I are going up on September 5th, complete with the recommended hard hat (I'm going to try to find a pink one) and dust mask.

Life's too short to not climb a volcano.

Friday, July 14, 2006


This week has been one of the greatest of my life.

River school is better than I even hoped. This first week of the program has been a combination of River Science and Management and Stream Ecology. I've learned a crazy amount every single day, which consist of 4 hours of lectures and 4 hours of in-field study. There are five main facilitators and lots of guest speakers with a mixture of professors and professionals from many different specialties and industries.

The program has ten students - 2 undergrads, 5 graduate students and 3 professionals. Not one has emerged as an egomaniac knowitall. Everyone is nice and smart and laid back and seem really interested in learning.

I've spent about twenty hours this week in rivers. I'm exhausted, and I'm thrilled. I can't imagine ever wanting to do anything else...

This post (rambling as it is) will be my last for a couple of weeks. Next week the program moves to the Oregon coast for two weeks. I'll be heading out Sunday morning and will return on the evening of the 28th - hopefully. This afternoon I got stuck in about 18 inches of mud. I pulled as hard as I could and got me unstuck but not my shoe. So I had to put the foot back in the hole, get the foot back in the shoe and pull even harder to free it and the foot at the same time. I was pretty freaking dirty at the end of it all.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back in School

I received the syllabus for my summer coursework today, along with the reading assignments for the first day of class. So it looks like I'm officially back in school after a very long break from academia. I'm glad to be back, and feel extremely fortunate to have a second chance at this grad school thing. I think I chose better this time around.

This program is actually 5 graduate level courses (a total of 10 credit hours) jam packed into 4 weeks. Weeks 1 and 4 we're on campus in the city for the morning (starting at 8am) and in the field at various restoration sites for the afternoon (ending at 5pm.) Weeks 2 and 3 are spent camping on the Oregon coast and all day every day we're in the field at two major restoration sites.

We'll be doing a lot of team work - gathering and compiling data, monitoring sites, writing reports, etc. It also looks like we'll be presenting our recommendations to various restoration groups and professionals at the end of the program.

I'll admit I'm nervous about going back to school. But there are worlds of differences between this program and my last one. For example: "Insect repellent," "Full change of clothes," and "Waders" were included on the "To Bring To Class Daily" list in the orientation email. And any academic program where students are advised to "be prepared for all types of weather" has got to be at least a little fun.

So, to sum up - I'm back, and expect lots of river pictures to come!

The Columbia River from Hamilton Mountain Trail.
(A nice hike, I highly recommend it.)

Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm Sorry

Dear Pacific Northwest,

I apologize. I'm pretty sure I did it. Caused all this heat, I mean.

See, my in-laws are in town. They are from sunny Colorado and have this thing about making "funny, funny jokes" about our weather. They were pretty sure that it never stopped raining here. They were convinced they wouldn't even be able to leave our house for fear of drowning in the incredible, perpetual downpour. I knew that if it rained even once, even for five minutes, we would never hear the end of it. So...I hoped really really hard for nice weather. And then this happened. I'm sorry. It won't happen again. I swear.

Carnival of the Green #33

The 33rd edition of the Carnival of the Green is up at Jen's Green Journal.

Jen walks us through a future museum display where we learn about the environmental crisis of the past. I like my future-looking with a little positive spin so I highly recommend this brilliant edition - Be sure not to miss it!

(Thanks to Jen for including my post Rivers, Iraq and the Exxon Valdez in the Carnival!)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Conference Call Speeches

Are conference call speeches new or just new to me?

Al Gore gave one, with, on climate change and his An Inconvenient Truth book/movie combo a few weeks ago. Yesterday morning I listened to one given by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm on energy policy, organized by the Democratic Governors' Association.

It's a pretty good idea. You don't have to get people to actually show up anywhere, you just have to get them to call in. The listener gets to hear the speech as it's given, in the comfort of their home or office or even on the bus with a cell phone. They can even be personalized up a bit - for example, at the end of the speeches by Governors Kulongoski and Granholm they each answered two questions submitted by listeners. Of course mine wasn't among them so who knows if they were really from the audience. It's nice to believe that they were though, so I'm going to.

Governor Granholm talked a lot about E85 (a fuel that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.) She said that because Michigan is an automotive leader that it has a responsibility to be a leader in alternative automobile fuels. She also mentioned that she was "sitting in her hybrid car right now!"

Governor Kulongoski emphasized energy conservation. He also made a point of saying that the state should be a role model and to that end he has called for the state government to use 100% renewable resources for its electricity generation by 2010. Not to be outdone by Governor Granhom he commented that one of the cars he rides around in is E85.

Neither Governor mentioned "clean coal" as part of their vision for future energy policy. There was lots of talk of ethanol, wind, solar, geothermal, and even tidal resources.

Both Governors stated that they believed their state would emerge as the leader in alternative energy. Governor Granholm joked that she wouldn't mind a friendly competition between Oregon and Michigan to see who would come out on top.

I liked the conference call speech format enough that I would call in again if given the opportunity. It would have been nice if there had been more time - the whole thing lasted only half an hour. Also, instead of using pre-submitted questions it would have felt more genuine if they had let listeners ask questions live instead of using those that were pre-submitted.

If you'd like to listen to the call yourself the DGA has the mp3 available.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Summer Day !

Here's a happy Summer Day to you - PDX style!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Carnival of the Green #32

The 32nd edition of Carnival of the Green is up at Savvy Vegetarian...

My pick this week is the two-part series on Moon Colonization at debitage. Two excellent responses to moon colonization related questions: First - Will it solve the human overpopulation problem? and Second - Who gets to go?

(Also - thanks to the Savvy Vegetarian for including my post Carbon Neutral Challenge in this week's carnival.)

Rivers, Iraq and the Exxon Valdez

In preparation for River School I've been reading all I can about rivers and river restoration. One of the books I started with was Disconnected Rivers: Linking Rivers to Landscapes by Ellen Wohl who does an amazing job detailing the history of human impacts on rivers (mining pollution, beaver removal, channelization, levees, dams, pesticides, sewage...) and the consequences (decreased habitat, decreased wetlands, decreased biodiversity, decreased water quality, cancer...) in a way that is at once readable, reasoned and passionate.

In the final chapters Dr. Wohl cautions would-be rehabilitators of rivers to plan projects carefully, to avoid doing even more harm to the river. She urges the consideration of questions like:
  • What aspects of the river are the focus of the rehabilitation: channel stability? flood conveyance? habitat enhancement?
  • How will the proposed rehabilitation measures likely affect other aspects of the river and its surroundings?
  • In what condition will the river exist when you are finished?
These seem to me to be very reasonable guidelines for any project. What are you trying to do? How will your actions affect the world beyond your project? When will you be successful, and what will your project look like when you are?

Yes, these guidelines could be used for projects small and large. Starting a small business, say, or running a grassroots campaign. Even waging war...Hey, there's a good one. Wouldn't it be great if we knew the answers to those three questions in regards to Iraq? Why did we go there in the first place? How is the war affecting the people and the environment of Iraq, of the region, of the world? How is the US defining "success" and what do the people in control of the whole thing think the world is going to look like when/if success is achieved?

Unfortunately, it looks like Dr. Wohl's original intentions for her guidelines will be needed in Iraq. 36,000 barrels of low-grade fuel oil a day are being dumped and burned, polluting the groundwater and the Tigris River. That's 1,512,000 gallons, or about 6 olympic sized swimming pools, per day. The 1989 Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons. Or, to put it another way: There's an Exxon Valdez sized environmental crisis happening once a week at just one location in Iraq.

From the NY Times:

The dumping and burning has embarrassed ministry officials and exposed major gaps in the American-designed reconstruction program, even as President Bush appeals to the international community for much more rebuilding money in the wake of his visit to Baghdad.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Come Again? What's That Now?

When the headline "Bush Plans Vast Protected Sea Area in Hawaii" appeared in my rss feeds this morning I literally had to read it twice to make sure I didn't miss a "doesn't" or "opposes" in there somewhere. Then I had to wonder who this "Bush" is - is it someone whose job it is to plan vast protected areas, who just happens to have the same last name as a certain other "Bush" who has been, let's just say, not a great (or the greatest) environmental president?

No, it turns out that the Bush referred to is actually none other than our very own G.W. (Has anyone else noticed that this also stands for "Global Warming"? Heh.) Apparently Jean-Michel Cousteau made a documentary about the Hawaiian area that, according to the NY Times, had a "powerful effect" on GW and Laura.

The 140,000 square miles, currently known as the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, was headed for national marine sanctuary status under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. But this wasn't good enough for that crazy environmentalist George Bush who was chomping at the bit to get some protectin' done. So he used his National Antiquities Act powers to grant the reserve some of the strongest protection available. It's been reported that he's even going to phase out sport and commercial fishing. No, seriously.

The NY Times suggested that the move could be to help Republican governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle's re-election attempt. I guess to show conservative voters that GW is backing her moves to protect her state's waters from commercial activities. I don't care why he did it - the area now has real protection and that is all that really matters! From the reserve website:

The NWHI coral reefs are the foundation of an ecosystem that hosts more than 7,000 species, including marine mammals, fishes, sea turtles, birds, and invertebrates. Many are rare, threatened, or endangered. At least one quarter are endemic, found nowhere else on Earth. Many more remain unidentified or even unknown to science. Unexplored deep-sea habitats, expensive and challenging to survey, may provide new species records to science for decades. Even the shallow coral reef habitats hold new species to science. This is especially true for invertebrates and algae.

Besides supporting these species, the coral reefs and bits of land of the NWHI provide an amazing geological record of the volcanic powers that created the area and the erosion and subsidence that sculpted it.

Update: It's official!

Permits will be required for activities related to research, education, conservation and management, native Hawaiian practices and non-extractive special ocean uses. The commercial and recreational harvest of precious coral, crustaceans and coral reef species will be prohibited in monument waters and commercial fishing in monument waters will be phased out over a five-year period. Oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction will not be allowed anywhere in the monument.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Green Power

This morning I went to the PGE website to sign up for some green power. While there I found three different renewable options to choose from. None of the options is perfect. But all of the options are better than just continuing to pay for the traditional mix.

The first of PGE's options is called Green Source. As a Green Source customer your green power dollars purchase energy from new wind (50%), geothermal (25%), and low-impact hydro (25%) sources in the northwest. Your cost? $0.008/kWh. We use about 1000 kWh per month (and are doing our best to do better) so our additional cost with this program would be about $8 tops.

The second option is Healthy Habitat. Healthy Habitat customers purchase energy from the same sources and at the same rate at Green Source customers. Additionally they pay a monthly fee of $2.50 which goes to the Nature Conservancy to restore salmon habitat in Oregon.

The third option is Clean Wind. This one is a little bit different. Clean Wind customers pay to help build new wind farms here in Oregon. You can purchase units of 200 kWh of new wind at $3.50 per month. However, you actually "receive" energy from both traditional and renewable resources - about 1/3 from coal, 1/3 from hydro, 1/5 from new wind, 1/6 from natural gas and the remainder from "old" wind and nuclear.

Our choice? Healthy Habitat. Green power and habitat for fish. I like it. I think this is the greenest of the three choices - 50% wind is fantastic. 25% geothermal requires drilling and plant construction but is still far and away a better choice than coal. 25% hydro - this is my biggest problem with the plan. Although it is "low-impact" the very existence of dams significantly impact rivers, river habitat and river life - including, but certainly not limited to, salmon and other fish. Still, a better option than coal which, of course, impacts rivers as well:
Many potential stressors are associated with mining activities. The physical and chemical stressors associated with mining are reflected by the composition of biological assemblages and the energy and material flows of the ecosystem ((e.g., Clements et al. [1992]; Starnes [1985]; Hill et al. [1997]). The principal response to physical habitat degradation is loss of biological diversity (fish, macroinvertebrates, algae) at both local (stream) and landscape (watershed) scales. Accelerated morbidity and mortality can also occur. Overall ecosystem function degrades.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Energy in the West

The governors of the west have gotten together and passed a clean energy policy resolution based on two years of research gathered by over 250 participants from a wide range of organizations, from the National Mining Association to the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. While it may not be perfect, it's something. And something's not nothing.

The Western Governors' Association is a group, as the name indicates, of governors in the western states. Specifically, these western states:

and, additionally, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa.

In 2004 the WGA held the North American Energy Summit which led to the Clean and Diversified Energy Initiative. This initiative established three goals for the western states:
  • Develop an additional 30,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2015
  • Achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020
  • Ensure a reliable and secure transmission grid for the next 25 years
The Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee (CDEAC) was created to make recommendations for meeting these goals. The CDEAC was made up of subject-grouped "task forces" charged with making policy recommendations in their areas of expertise. These areas were:
  • Advanced Coal
  • Biomass
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Geothermal
  • Solar
  • Transmission
  • Wind
The CDEAC had a set of guidelines to follow while forming their policy recommendations. As outlined in their report "Clean Energy, a Strong Economy and a Healthy Environment" each task force had to:

  • Examine the deliverability and adequacy of energy resources, including an assessment of promising new resources and technologies;

  • Examine the obstacles to both intrastate and interstate transmission siting and construction in order to access clean energy resources;

  • Consider price, reliability, and the mitigation of environmental impacts of all recommendations;

  • Develop energy efficiency and conservation recommendations that take into account all types of energy used in facilities, not just electricity;

  • Address both technical and policy issues.
Additionally, the WGA stressed the importance of policies that were non-mandatory and incentives-based.

The task forces made production recommendations for each energy resource by the year 2015:
The CDEAC appears optimistic that an additional 30,000 MW, provided by a diverse portfolio, is well within reach. It even went so far as to say that transmission issues shouldn't be a problem:

A Transmission Task Force examined this cross cutting issue and concluded that while transmission is always a large consideration with respect to the location of new generating facilities, transmission in and of itself should not be a barrier to achieving the 30,000 MW goal.

The CDEAC calls the energy efficiency goal of 20% by 2020 a "win-win" for consumers and businesses. The benefits of this increase, as outlined in the CDEAC report are:
  • 48,000 MW of avoided power plant construction during 2005 - 2020
  • Small reduction in electricity prices in the latter part of study period
  • $53 billion in net economic benefits for consumers and businesses
  • Substantial avoidance of power plant emissions
  • Approximately 1.8 trillion gallons of water savings during 2005 - 2020
The CDEAC's recommendation is to utilize current "best practice" methods to increase efficiency to reach the 20% by 2020 goal. It identifies these methods as:
  • Electricity and natural gas energy efficiency programs where energy efficiency is considered a resource and all cost effective savings are pursued with investments of a percentage of revenues
  • State-of-the-art building codes. training, enforcement and “beyond code” incentive programs
  • State appliance efficiency standards on products not covered by federal standards
  • RD&D and technology transfer
  • Public sector initiatives including aggressive energy efficiency and conservation goals for public buildings
  • Tax credits and other financial incentives
  • Pricing and incentive regulation policies
  • Regional cooperation and market transformation efforts
Two days ago, on the 11th, the WGA passed the policy resolution Clean and Diversified Energy for the West based on the CDEAC recommendations.

Renewable Portfolio Standards are being implemented in an increasing number of western states so it makes sense for the WGA to anticipate these energy obligations. While I know that coal will continue to dominate even this energy game it's nice to hear words like "renewable," "solar," "wind" and "clean" coming out of these states:

Monday, June 12, 2006

Carnival of the Green #31

Carnival of the Green's 31st edition is up at one of Science Blog's newest members: Blog Around the Clock.

My favorite article chosen this week: Is the EPA Safeguarding Public Health? at Organic Authority. Apparently the EPA thinks the carcinogen DDVP is definitely not okay for some uses but maybe a-okay for others. Hmm...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Carbon Neutral Challenge

Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth yet? No? Well, please go see it now. I'll wait.

... ... ...

Oh good, you're back! Wasn't that a fantastic, powerful film? Don't you hope that Al will run again in 2008? Me too! Okay, so here's what I want to talk about: Living a carbon neutral lifestyle.

Al posed the challenge to us, as Americans, to do the right thing and reduce our carbon emissions. I would love to be part of a movement that would make me proud to be an American, so I'm on board. Are you up for the Carbon Neutral Challenge?

Jason and I discussed ways to reduce our household's carbon emissions. Here are the commitments we made:
  • Take the Bus To Work/School

  • Reduce Car Use In General
    • Buses go just about everywhere we do. We can even bring the dog.
    • Walking is nice. Our grocery store is a lovely walk through a forested area away and backpacks filled with groceries make the trip back up the hill a good workout!

  • Home Heating & Cooling
    • This is probably my biggest problem. I'm all about the fans and the thermostat. We're going to do our best to use neither.

  • Home Lighting

  • Make More of an Effort to Buy Locally

  • Use Alternative Electricity Sources
    • My goal is to finish our solar generator by the end of the summer. I estimate that we'll be powering 20% of our household electric appliances with it initially and we'll expand to 100% as funds allow.
    • Until then we're also going to purchase electricity through PGE's Green Source program. 50% of our PGE electricity will then come from wind sources, 25% from geothermal and 25% from low-impact hydropower.
How are you trying to achieve carbon neutrality?

Friday, June 09, 2006

What To Do With The Data

Alex Steffen over at WorldChanging has a great post - Virtual Seattle, Virtual Puget Sound - on models and their ever-increasing levels of sophistication. He makes the excellent point that unless we act on the data that models can provide they are near worthless:

The question of course remains, as to whether we are getting any better at all at listening to what our tools tell us. Because unless we're willing to use the insight we're gaining to try to think like a salmon stream, say, and act to meet its needs, the danger always remains of what Thoreau called "improved means to an unimproved end." That is, the danger exists that we will simply more finely and accurately document the decline of what love and depend on.

The whole "caring about data" thing doesn't seem to be happening as of yet. For example, the $200 million (which is what - 15 minutes of war-fightin' money?) climate satellite program has been bumped to make way for the 2020 moon missions. This news follows the cancellation of the already built $100 million Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).

Francisco P.J. Valero of Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego described DSCOVR (aka "Triana"):

Triana will view the Earth in a different way - as an entire planet rather than a patchwork of regions of interest. It will uniquely acquire synoptic (all regions in the sunlit side seen simultaneously) sunrise to sunset, high time resolution data for most points on Earth using state of the art, highly accurate, in flight calibrated instruments.

Triana will collect information on the climate system combining atmospheric dynamics, cloud physics, aerosols, radiation and surface remote sensing.

Before we can listen to what our tools tell us we have to turn them on. I guess Triana is still sitting in a NASA warehouse somewhere - Maybe the next administration will have some use for it.

Do You Like Picasso?

Last night I was sitting outside of the downtown library, reading my book and waiting for Jason to pick me up, when a nicely dressed, older woman stopped, looked at me and said, "I just thought of something. I'll try it out on you."

She seemed to be waiting for some sort of response so I closed my book and replied, "Okay." She asked, "Do you like Picasso?"

Picasso? "Sure..." I responded. She looked at me as if I had just told her I eat puppies and asked, incredulously, "You do?" "Sure." I said again. Now I was intrigued. Where could this possibly be going?

"This is what I think," she said, "Picasso was an artist. A con artist!" And then she just continued on down the street.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PDX Fleet Week

This boat arrived yesterday, kicking off PDX Fleet Week 2006! Big giant boats will be arriving on the Willamette today at 2 and 6pm. Coming from the landlocked state of Colorado I've never had the opportunity to see big giant boats so I'm heading down this afternoon to see them come in.

Also, an update on summer stuff: I've successfully changed to a summer admit and have registered for the summer river restoration extravaganza. :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Anti-Christmas

A LOL kind of comment this morning over at Crooks & Liars, by someone called strawberry:

Crap. I went to bed last night full of hope. 06-06-06. I sprung outta' bed this morning, rushed to my laptop, and found out God didn't come for them afterall. Shit. So much for the meek inheriting the earth. Kinda' like the anti-Christmas.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New and Improved Summer Plans

When I decided to get my GED and go to college it was with the intention of learning about environmental issues and hopefully, someday doing something in an environmental field. I had vague notions of selling solar panels or building trails. I really had no clue about my options - but that's why you go to college, right?

Then I learned about this idea of "restoration" and it opened up this whole world of possibilities. I thought to myself, "Self, this is for me." But then, in my second year, I had this run-in with self-doubt. I still carried around this feeling, as I had for so long due to my lack of a high school diploma, that jobs in fields such as restoration were for "other people" not for people "like me."

So I got off of that track and headed down one that was so, so wrong for me - law school. We all know how that ended. After that I hurried back to environmental science. If law school taught me anything it was that life is short, and, as the Life Is Good people say: Do what you like, Like what you do.

So I thought about what I really, really want to do and I made my way back to restoration. And then I did what I do when I don't know what else to do: Apply to school! I gathered up new letters of recommendation, wrote personal statements, filled out forms like there was no tomorrow - and before I knew it I was in yet another degree program. Phew. Back in school.

Registration day approaches and I have yet to speak with anyone about schedules and my questions about my new degree requirements. So, being the planner that I am, I head downtown to speak with my program's coordinator. While I'm waiting for my appointment I find a flyer that makes me stop in my tracks. River Restoration Field Institute it reads. 4 weeks of intensive river restoration learning fun. In the field. But, damn, it's for the summer time, and I'm not officially a student until Fall. Well, maybe next year.

But! I ask my department coordinator and he says...It's no problem! I can be admitted for summer!

But, there's no way I'm going to be able to afford it, and I've only applied for fall financial aid. Surely I've missed all of the summer aid deadlines.

But! I go into financial aid anyway...and they say there should be no problem! I just have to change my 05-06 FAFSA and I can be packaged for summer.

So...There's still paperwork to do and hoops to jump through but it looks like, more likely than not, I'll be spending my summer in the field "nearly-immersed in river restoration"!

I feel like Cinderella in academia.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oil Crisis, the Sequel

Today the same gas station that increased its per gallon price by 10 cents in one afternoon had a handmade cardboard sign up that read: Sorry, out of fuel.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


As I walked out of Turbo Kickboxing tonight ("TKB" to the initiated) Gym Dude 1 remarked, upon seeing my general state, to Gym Dude 2: Woah. I wish I was that red!


Will JK Get Any Recognition...?

If you had one of these, what would you make invisible?

So obviously the technology will be used to make it easier for people to kill other people, as with most new, cool stuff. But the article added an interesting afterthought:

As well as hiding objects, an invisibility cloak could have other uses, such as clearing away obstructions and eyesores.

Factory buildings or warehouses could be encased in invisibility material to prevent them blocking views of the unspoiled countryside.

I'm all for the pretty views, but it might be good to think about ways this technology could be abused. Big polluters already tuck their emissions away from the public eye - a building sized "cloak" could make it easier for industry to build closer to residential and other sensitive areas, increasing health risks.

Obviously there are many ways this material could be used for evil - there must be some ways it could be used for good, right? I guess researchers could use it to observe wildlife with less interference. That's all I can come up with right now. I'm sure there are worlds of possibilities I'm not thinking of because my mind has immediately turned to spies, and longer lines at airports.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Back to School!

Finally, finally, finally I get to register for my fall classes next week. I plan to take 9-12 credit hours per quarter which puts me on track to graduate December 2007 or March 2008.

This first quarter I'm taking just 3 classes: Calculus, a seminar course and a class called "Fate and Transport of Toxics in the Environment"

I know, I know - most people take calculus before entering a graduate program. I actually wanted to take it during undergrad but my schedule never allowed for it. I'm taking the toxics class because I want to work in land and habitat restoration when I finally, you know, work and stuff.

Just four more months to screw around before it's back to the books. Life is hard...

Monday, May 22, 2006


On May 8th...I turned 29! Only 351 days left of my 20s. Eek...

On May 17th...I celebrated my 4th veganniversary (for those of you not familiar with this overly cutesy term: I've now been vegan for 4 years and 5 days!) Also, next year I'll be able to proudly say that I've been meat free for half my life!

And today...Our first wedding anniversary! Our song is Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's and I still tear up every time I hear it. I love you Honey!

Home Again

Being back in Colorado was a great time. It was a little exhausting, but I was able to spend time with everyone.

My sister and I hung out and watched her ginormous TV (she got me hooked on Big Love) and even got to the gym a couple of times. And of course I was so excited to spend time with my nieces and nephew (7, 3 and 3 months)! And I'm SO excited for my oldest niece to come out to Portland for a visit - all by herself! She's a little nervous about flying alone but I think the prospect of getting to visit our dog is going to be the carrot that gets her on the plane. She actually has done a lot of flying - much more than I have. She's gone to Europe several times already, and recently went to Cancun with her dad where she got to swim with dolphins! PDX isn't going to be quite so exotic but I'm hoping she'll still enjoy the visit I have planned.

I also got to hang out with my mom, of course. We went out to some nice restaurants and saw the musical Crowns. This was an amazing production - I literally laughed out loud and clapped along and even cried. If you see it coming to a theater near you I strongly encourage you to go. I don't know if my mom is going to make it back out to PDX this year. She came out right after we had moved in last year, right before I started law school. We had fun, but we spent quite a bit of time being lost in the mysterious mazes of Portland highways. Now I know where more things are, and even how to get to some of them on the first try.

And I got to see my best friend graduate from college, which was the actual reason for my trip. She graduated with a double major: Spanish and International Affairs. She only participated in the Spanish ceremony, however, skipping both IA and the huge University graduation. I was pretty grateful for that, though I would have gladly sat through it for her. I think she would have done the same for me last year when it was my turn to graduate, but happily for all involved I skipped it too. The Spanish ceremony was very nice. It had a lot of majors graduating but it was still very well organized and very formal. They even made them wear caps and gowns. My Environmental Studies ceremony last year was, well, let's just say, more "home-y feeling."

Now my best friend is in Texas, studying to begin her year long position teaching in the Texas public school system in the Pre-K - 4th grade level. She has plans to come out and visit the last week of July. She hasn't been out here yet, and we really haven't been able to talk very much as she's been busy finishing up college. I miss her like crazy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Good Old CO

Well, I guess we are now officially a part of the Couchsurfing Project, having hosted a great, fun couple from Berlin! We really had a nice time, and I think they enjoyed themselves, too. We learned a little German, and quite a bit about Berlin. There was even talk about a possible apartment swap vacation. I think we've made some new friends. I'm very happy we decided to participate, and will definitely host again - and hopefully couchsurf ourselves in the not too distant future.

We actually got another couchsurfing request last night for the dates of May 11 to May 14th from a couple in Austin, TX who seem really fun but I am going to be out of town myself - I'm going back to Colorado for a couple weeks as a birthday present! I'm excited to meet my new baby niece and to see my best friend graduate from CU. I'm so proud of her, not only for graduating (debt-free!) but also for getting a job in her field right out of college. Who does that?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spinning, What?

I thought I knew what cardio was. I thought I knew how much my little heart could take.

That was all before I found my new gym-love and gym-archnemesis all rolled into one no holds barred, gloves off 1 hour treat: Turbo Kickboxing

At the 13 minute mark I didn't think I had any more turboing, kicking or boxing to give. But my gym ego wouldn't let me leave. So I tried. Hard. I looked like a jackass. I thought I had seen my face as red as it could get - until I hit the 20 minute mark and glanced in the mirror. Tomatoes, I'm telling you. Fire trucks.

Still, I made it the whole hour. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. It was awesome. I'm so going back next week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Out of Control

Gas station sign seen from bus on the way to the gym: Premium $2.74
Gas station sign seen from bus on the way home from the gym: Premium $2.84


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fun In The Sun

Living off the grid. Is it just for the insanely rich and/or those kooky hippies? Jason and I, belonging to neither group (okay, maybe we're kooky hippies) are going to try and find out.

So where to start? Our first step is setting up a small solar generator to power the smaller appliances in our apartment. I'm using this guide as a starting point, supplemented with some additional research. So far it doesn't appear to be difficult at all - or even that expensive - to set up a small system.

Once the initial setup is complete, the solar energy is obviously free, and the system can be expanded to provide more power as needed.

This week I'm going to price components and possibly do some purchasing. I have no idea how interesting this is to anyone else, but I'll keep you updated on my progress. And let me know if you, too, want to join the free energy revolution. We can compare notes. It will be awesome.

Friday, April 14, 2006


I went to a lecture today, given by Dr. Baptista of the Center for Coastal and Land Margin Research (CCALMR), on the Columbia River observation and forecasting system CORIE.

It was a good talk. He went into the structure of the monitoring stations themselves and also spoke about dealing with the realities of funding and organizing the operation. I was surprised to learn how many organizations had their hands in the project, from local (town level) to national organizations like NOAA and even DARPA.

The projects make real time data available to the public. They also provide access to compiled data that have been through quality control. CORIE alone has something like 70 TB worth of data gathered over the past ten years.

I think I'm going to try and take his class. I always get excited about models when I see them used in real-life applications.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Organizer's Organizer

Screw 30 Boxes. Google Calendar is where it's at.


The European Space Agency's Venus Express has sent back some amazing pictures. I can't wait to see more!

From the press release:

Scientists are especially intrigued by the dark vortex shown almost directly over the south pole, a previously suspected but until now unconfirmed structure that corresponds to a similar cloud structure over the north pole. “Just one day after arrival, we are already experiencing the hot, dynamic environment of Venus,” said Dr Hakan Svedhem, Venus Express project scientist. “We will see much more detail at an unprecedented level as we get over 100 times better resolution as we get closer to Venus, and we expect to see these spiral structures evolve very quickly.”

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kicking It Up A Notch

I joined a shiny new gym. Yesterday I went to a great spinning class. Spinning classes always make my face bright red - it's pretty embarrassing. Today I'm going to a lifting class. It apparently is for "full body strength." Which is nice because I do, indeed, want my whole full body to be strong.

I really, really want to be skinnier. But my real goal is to be able to climb big mountains at a somewhat decent speed. Since I'm so short I always feel like I'm holding the pace back. This season we've set our sights on Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, two climbs that we'll likely do with a group. My goal is not only to keep up with the group but also to not be the slowest climber.

It's nice to belong to a good gym again - especially on cloudy, drizzly days like today that make getting out and hiking not much fun.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


After more than a week with no pre-approved credit card offers in the mail I am calling the OptOutPrescreen experiment a success. No longer do we have to deal with 2-10 pieces of junk mail filled with our personal information stuffing our mailbox each day.

If everyone in the US opted out of having their credit information sold to these credit card and insurance companies these industries may choose a different advertising tactic that would result in a lot less paper and plastic moving from the mailbox to the trash can to the landfills. Additionally, the resources used in producing and transporting the junk mail would also be saved.

Another benefit may be a decrease in identify theft. While I don't believe my identity is worth stealing, and would actually hinder rather than help someone wanting to change their financial identity, other people actually do have to worry about such things. There's a lot of info that comes along in those envelopes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just a Weather Note

I walked down to check out the New Seasons that just opened - just opened right by my house I might add, how awesome is that? - in just a T-shirt (well, and pants of course. This would probably be a much different post if I was just in a T-shirt) and I was warm! And the sky was bright blue the whole time I was out. Of course in the past 10 minutes since I got home it got cloudy again, but it was blue, I swear. And it's still warm, so I'll take it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hurricanes and Climate Change

Et tu, NOAA?

Junk Mail Part 2

I recently resolved to try and make the insanity of the junk mail stop.

Since using OptOutPrescreen we have seen a decrease in pre-approved credit card offers, but it is still too early to tell whether this method has really been effective.

A few days ago we received yet another set of yellow books from Dex which reminded me that I need to take care of this problem as well. So I called the number on the big plastic bag the THREE books came in: 1-877-2GETDEX. I asked to have our home removed from the delivery list. This didn't seem to be an unusual request. The customer service rep took down my information and assured me that the books would stop coming. Having worked for a mega-large telecommunications company myself I have seen a lot of "Yes ma'am, right away ma'am, it's all taken care of ma'am"s, all while the rep is actually browsing - so we'll see.

If you're tired of receiving giant yellow books that you never use, must find somewhere to store and eventually recycle you might try giving 1-877-2GETDEX a shot. Let me know if it works.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Counting is Fun!

Over at ScienceBlogs John Lynch talks about the Discovery Institute's latest - a "Dissent from Darwinism" list which includes 600 PhDs. Among them a guy who writes:

I am a PhD mathematician
who has recently (in the last couple of years) examined carefully the claim that the neo-Darwinian synthesis adequately accounts for the variety of life on earth. I have read countless texts on geology, biology (and cosmology) in a multitude of sub-disciplines and can honestly affirm that I am skeptical that the evidence points toward anything like mutation plus natural selection as being the cause of the variety of life that we see both today and in the fossil record.

I'm not writing to address the biology points - I just wanted to point out that it's funny that a guy who has a PhD in mathematics would use the word "countless." Isn't counting, like, his whole job?

Enviromentalists Put Big Yellow Tickets on SUVs

Treehugger's post More Tickets For Big Stupid Cars reminds me of a conversation I overheard a couple of years ago when this type of activism happened in the US:

SUV Lover: Those environmentalists! They're nothing but terrorists! How dare they touch other people's cars!

Treehugger: They aren't terrorists they're just activists. They're putting fliers on people's cars - big deal. It happens at the grocery store every day.

SUV Lover (deadly serious): That's right! They are using fliers! The paper they are wasting - They are causing more damage to the environment than those cars are!

Treehugger (dumbfounded): You seriously believe that a couple hundred pieces of paper cause more environmental damage than a couple hundred large scale SUVs?

SUV Lover: Of course! It's common sense! Not only are they terrorists, they're hypocrites!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My 15 Seconds of (Extremely Local) Fame

Tomorrow morning (and I do mean morning: 5am) one of my pictures is going to be a featured "Northwest Snapshot" on the local news channel. This is the shot (you may recognize it from one of those posted a few days ago...):

This is the mighty Columbia as seen from a height of about 1900'.

This is my second Northwest Snapshot. The first one I missed when they showed it on the air due to a combination of oversleeping and insufficient TiVo communications. It was this shot of Mt. Hood:

Anyway, if you're in the Portland area and you're up with nothing better to do between 5 and 5:30 am watch KOIN News 6 and join me in my 15 seconds of extremely local pseudo-fame!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Not Ready To Make Nice

The Dixie Chicks rock.

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Peace Rally

Wind Mountain

Next Saturday: Triple Falls in Oneonta Gorge with Mazamas.

Let me know if you'd like to join us!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Peace Rally Reminder

For those in the Portland area:

Oregon Rocks

Not only does Portland General Electric sell more energy from renewable sources to residential customers than any other utility in the US, our Governor Ted Kulongoski is calling for the state government to use only electricity from new renewable sources by 2010.

"New renewable sources" appears to not include hydropower. This is good because hydropower dams dramatically change the ecosystem of the waterway they are built on. It does appear to concentrate on wind and solar:

Wind and solar sources are attractive "because there's no fuel -- nature is the fuel -- you have very stable prices over the long term," said Rachel Shimshak, director of the Renewable Northwest Project, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Other renewable sources mentioned: geothermal and plant matter biomass.

(Hat Tip: Gristmill)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tangled Bank

Another edition, the 49th, of my favorite blog carnival, Tangled Bank, is up over at Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Grrlscientist has included such topics as Evolution, Science and Ethics, Neurobiology, Energy in the Future and quite a bit more.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

CouchSurfing Revisited

So I posted about The CouchSurfing Project a few days ago. I thought it was a neat idea, and a way to save a little money while traveling.

I take it back.

After spending some time on the site I now think it is an amazing idea! And I don't think it has anything to do with saving money. Not really.

I think it's about being open in a way that lets you really meet people - to really talk to them, to really get to know them, to really share your life with others.

I think I'm not very open with others, not at all. I have an extremely hard time trusting people. Participating in this project is going to be really good for me. I mean, strangers are going to come and temporarily live in our house. You've got to find trust for that. Plus we'll make new friends - and who doesn't want more friends?

Since signing up I've corresponded with people in Italy and Ecuador, and we've had a request by a couple from Germany to Couch Surf with us next month! We've said yes of course, so I guess that means our own CouchSurfing experiment is underway.
  • Read what other CouchSurfers think about the project here.
  • Listen to the groovy CouchSurfing song here.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Some Good Reading

I came across two excellent posts this morning. I thought I would pass them along:

How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic
by Coby at A Few Things Ill Considered
(Hat Tip: RealClimate)

Activism 2.0
at City Hippy
(Be sure to check out the comments as well.)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Change of Plans

The recent wacky weather successfully persuaded us to postpone our Wind Mountain trip. All hope of getting out was not lost, though. We ended up spending a nice morning having the world's best coffee at Stumptown and then walking along the Willamette.

Next weekend (updated):
Wind Mountain on Saturday.
End the War, Begin the Peace rally on Sunday.

Let me know if you'd like to join us!

Random birdie. Isn't he cute?


I was so, so sad when I upgraded to Firefox and found that my Livelines had been disabled. What the hell? I thought. This has got to be, like, the most popular extension ever in the history of Firefox. Why isn't it updated?

This morning, after going through the incredibly tedious process of manually adding a feed to Bloglines, I thought I would turn to Google and see if I might find out a little something there. And I did. It turns out that for whatever reason the extension update finder thingy wasn't finding the update, but such an update does exist! Oh the joy...

Just in case I am not the very last person to figure this out, I'll let you know where you can get your very own update. It's here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Couch Surfing

So you go on vacation - the type of vacation where the main objective is to see a new place and do new things, not to be pampered at a resort - and the biggest expense after actually getting there is the hotel where you spend a very small amount of time. Doesn't it seem like there should be a better way?

I've thought this more than a couple of times, which is why I was excited to find The CouchSurfing Project. The idea is you contact someone with a spare couch or room or backyard space who lives in your vacation destination and you stay with them for a little while. Then you get home and you host someone else. It's a whole commie, love-makes-the-world-go-round kind of idea.

There's a whole range of CouchSurfing opportunities you can arrange through the site - from "Meet me for coffee or a drink in the town where you live" to "Let's switch apartments for awhile."

We (Jason, Puck and I) have signed up, and will most likely host before we are hosted somewhere else. We have a pretty good arrangement for this, since we have a spare room with a futon and a full guest bathroom. There's nothing like meeting new people in the comfort of your own home!

Let me know if you too decide to become a couch surfer so I can add you to our friends list!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Good Riddance

In her role as Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton has tried to make it easier for industry to drill in the wild, from New Mexico to ANWR.

Now she's resigning, and while I want to be happy my weltschmerz tells me we're just going to end up with someone even worse.

More about Gale Norton and her career can be found at SourceWatch and Wikipedia.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Manhattan in January

It's easy to get overwhelmed by climate change issues. I think the next time I start to feel down about the state of our planet I'll listen to Jill Sobule singing her Gore-inspired song "Manhattan in January." Thanks to TEDBlog you can too!

Hat Tip: WorldChanging

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Please - Make It Stop

90% of what arrives in our mailbox here at the Charismatic Megafauna household each day is junk. It's ridiculous. What is also ridiculous is how many times per year we get phone books - 2 or 3 per delivery. I can't even remember the last time I used a phone book.

I am going to try and end the waste-filled insanity.

My first stop: OptOutPrescreen thanks to Urban Eco's tip. This service removes you from the lists that Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion provide to credit card and insurance companies. By far the largest percentage of junk mail that we get is credit card offers.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Email Void

I'm waiting on so many email replies I'm starting to feel like I live in some kind of email void.

Ah, wait. As I was writing that sentence one arrived. Maybe I've broken the lack-of-email curse by acknowledging yet. Yes, yes, that must be it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Grad School 2.0

Dear Student Loans,

You're just going to have to wait!


Shannon - Grad Student! Woo!

Sandy River Gorge

Next Saturday: Wind Mountain