2008-06-30

weekend!

Well, we had a busy and eventful, but good weekend. On Friday, we found out that our insurance isn't totaling our Sofie (our car), and not only that, but is covering the cost of repairs. We have a $500 deductible, so we will probably end up paying that unless the repairs end up being less than estimated, but still, better than the $2000-2500 that was estimated for repairs. Yay for an insurance company actually forking over some money, and we didn't even have to wrestle it out of them. Props to them.

Saturday was ungodly hot - it hit somewhere around 95 I think. We went out in the morning to Portland Luggage to get some stuff for our approaching trip to Tokyo (a couple of neck pillows and a neck pouch for me to keep my passport and stuff). Then we headed over to Pioneer Place Mall to look for some clothing and shoe stuff for the trip as well, as it's going to be rather hot and humid there, and we're probably going to do quite a bit of walking. I found a good pair of walking shoes at Aldo, and Trina found a really cute summer dress at Forever XXI, of all places. We had lunch at the food court, and then headed back home to hide in our air conditioning all evening.

Sunday was an altogether busy day - here's a rundown (I know people like bulleted lists, and are more likely to read bullet points than long paragraphs, so here you go all you bulleted-list fanatics!):


  • we participated (a day late) in Miss Vanessa's Mad Hatter's Tea Party :) For a synopsis and some lovely pictures, please visit my wonderful wife's blog at Somebody's Little Weasel.

  • Trina (my wife) then had an hour appointment at a Massage Therapist over on Woodstock - she's been having exceptionally bad back pain and spasms lately, so we're getting her in to see a massage therapist, and a physician later this month.

  • After her appointment, Theresa, Trina and I went to Goodwill, and found some lovely small vintage suitcases, a beautiful 1950's Juice-O-Mat, some really nice walking shoes for Trina to wear to Japan, and a few other random things.

  • Sunday night, the gracious Ashley and Emily invited us to dinner with them and their respective and no less important (despite referring to them as the significant others) significant others, Drew and Josiah. We went to the Kalga Kafe on Division St - it's a vegetarian and vegan restaurant with a wide range of Asian and Mediterranean foods (Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Greek, etc). We had a really nice time, and were glad for the chance of meeting them all.

  • After that, we walked home, watered the garden, and then just crashed for a bit before going to bed.



So, there you have it. Hope you all had splendid weekends, and perhaps we'll see you around in the wide world of the internet soon. Until next time, this is Dave Feucht, signing off. Cheers!

2008-06-25

early birthday...

well, I don't mention it as much on my blog as I do to people in person, but I have amazing parents in many many different ways. they are actually some of our closest friends, and we love being with them. anyway, this year for my birthday, they decided to sort of surprise me by buying me an early present. (I say sort of surprise me, because they told me they were going to get it for me, I just didn't expect them, at that point, to buy it for me, and especially not early). You may remember it if you read my blog often, I posted about it a while back - it's the Electra Amsterdam Classic 3-Speed, in black. So far, I love it. I've ridden it to work twice now, and it's done fantastic - I actually make it to and from work quicker than when I take the bus. So, without further ado - here it is!











2008-06-20

this weekend...

yay, we get to see Get Smart this weekend with my parents, and enjoy a lovely dinner with them as well.

I'm excited for some time to rest and enjoy good company after the last few weeks of busy-ness and mishaps...

bikes, buses, cars, freedom, and America...

With rising oil prices and increasing attention, emphasis and support going to public transportation, bikes, walking, carpooling, etc, it seems that certain people are getting worried that their civil liberties may be at stake.

I've been seeing a number of people in media lately shooting the idea out that cars are one of the biggest symbols of liberty and freedom in America, and that without the right to drive whenever and wherever we want, we are somehow less free, less capable and less American.

These particular people seem to feel that anything and everything should be done so that their driving whenever and wherever they want type of lifestyle should not be threatened. They seem to feel that buses and bikes only get in the way of cars, and that we should focus more attention on making it easy for drivers, rather than making it easier to accommodate buses, bikes and pedestrians. They also seem to think that "those kind of people who think the world would be better without automobiles" (which seems to mean anyone who would dare to suggest they should drive less) are in a united effort to force them to stop driving, and to remove their civil liberties and replace them with socialist practices such as public transportation. They seem to take personal offense at the thought of being encouraged out of their car and onto the street, for any reason.

I find this particular viewpoint really extreme and ridiculous, for a lot of reasons, so I thought I would expound some of my own thoughts on the issue. Here goes.

I think that within the metropolitan area of any city, there are different groups of people with different situations. Trina and I happen to live very close to the center of the city, where things are close together and almost everything we need on a daily basis is easily within walking/biking/busing distance, sometimes even more quickly than if we drove. For people in that situation, I think it's easy to see the benefits of walking, biking or using public transportation. You don't have to buy gas, you can go anywhere you want or need within quite a large distance whenever you want to go, you aren't tied down financially as much, and you even could live quite well without a car at all in many areas.

I understand that this is a very different situation than for those further from the center of the city. I understand that if you live in a suburb and work in the city, it is often much more convenient and practical to drive to work than to bike or take public transportation. I understand that for people outside the city, things aren't so close together and it takes longer to get to things. I understand that driving holds a much bigger appeal and even necessity in these situations.

I also agree that cars do afford us a certain amount of freedom. I can't take a day trip to the coast on a bike or a bus, and it's much more difficult to travel inter-state or across the country without a car. I can't take yard debris to a dump on a bike or a bus, or haul large furniture or boxes, and for commuting into the city from a suburb or vice versa, a car is really handy, there are places you simply can't get on a bus, or require extreme amounts of time and waiting to get there.

So, here's my conclusion. There are a lot of good reasons to think about using your car less. Environmental issues, health issues, community issues, traffic and crowding and safety issues, money issues. I don't want to go into detail on all of those here. What I do want to say is this: I don't want to deprive anybody of the right to own or drive a car. However, I feel that everyone should take a look at how they use their car, and determine if they could realistically reduce the amount that they use it, and increase the amount they use alternate forms of transportation. Maybe you can walk or ride your bike to the post office, the bank, even the grocery store. Maybe you can take a bus to the concert downtown instead of driving. Maybe you can bike or walk to your local coffee shop and actually meet and interact with your neighbors on the way there. Look at how your life works and determine if there are realistic ways you could change certain things to use your car less in your particular situation. I think that we should also recognize that not everyone in America is middle to upper class. Not everyone can even afford a car, much less the cost of gas to drive everywhere they go. Encouraging alternate forms of transportation supports those people in being able to travel where they need to, and makes their lives more productive, safer, and more convenient.

I think if we're careful and responsible with how we use our automobiles, we will make things better for everyone, including people who drive, and if we make an effort to accommodate people who drive, people who walk, people who bike and people who ride public transit, we'll end up having a better balanced, more connected and more smoothly running society.

2008-06-19

one more thought for the day...

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts." -Mark Twain

thought for the day...

"It's life that matters, nothing but life - the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all." -Fyodor Dostoyevski

today...

Well, today started off with me getting a spontaneous bloody nose and dripping on the white shirt I had just put on. Thankfully we were able to wash it out with cold water immediately, and it came out entirely. So, I finished getting ready for work, made it out the back door, down the steps, and realized I was wearing my slippers. Yeah, that kind of day.

We heard from the insurance inspector guy regarding the car - he said somebody should be going to look at the car in the next day or two, we'll collect all the data about what happened and what the damage looks like, and then they will get in touch with Les Schwab (I didn't mention in my first post, but we just got the battery replaced at Les Schwab about a month and a half to two months ago, and we haven't touched it or even lifted up the back seat since then).

So... we'll have to see what happens. Maybe we can get some money from Les Schwab, since it was the battery that started the fire, and the car wasn't running or anything, and we hadn't tampered with anything.

All this waiting to find out what is going to happen has gotten me thinking about why waiting is so hard for humans. I mean, I know consciously that whether I feel impatient or not, whether I worry or not, it won't affect the outcome of whatever happens with the insurance. Why is it so hard for me then to just be patient and not worry about it and just let it be until we hear something? Why do I feel such a need to have it over with and done and why is it so stressful to wait? I don't know... another irrationality of being human, I guess.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week. Cheers!

2008-06-17

what a day...

Well, yesterday was an interesting day... it was a pretty uneventful day, Trina and I both went to work, Trina went to the pet store after work to get cat food for Teagan, and then she met me at the bus stop on my way home, and we walked up to Pho Hung for dinner, then walked back down to the vet to get Piccoli's food, and then came home. We've been having brake problems on our car, so we had gotten some brake fluid, and I was going to put it in to see if it would help the brakes, so I opened the car, climbed in the back seat to pull out the owner's manual to see where to put in the brake fluid, and when I climbed back out of the backseat, I noticed the seat was on fire. Well, it was the battery (we have a 1974 VW Beetle, and the battery is under the backseat). I opened both the doors and ran in to find the fire extinguisher, but by the time I got back out, half of the front side of the back seat had melted, the ceiling of the car had melted and dripped all over the rest of the car, the back of the passenger seat had melted, and the whole inside of the car was covered with soot. Thankfully we weren't driving, and nobody was hurt. We looked at our insurance, and we have fire coverage, so it looks like we'll be able to get all the damage taken care of, and our wonderful brother-in-law Josh, who runs an auto shop with his dad, said just to let them know when we figured out our insurance coverage, and they'd send out a tow truck and just take care of the whole thing. Thankfully it doesn't seem like there was any real major damage, just some melted wiring and the upholstery stuff, so we don't think it will be too bad. We finished off the evening watering the gardens, and then watching this week's Doctor Who episode with Theresa and Linda, we had chocolate, I had a couple glasses of rum, and things felt a bit better. Here are some pictures of the mess for your perusal. Poor little Sofie :(



All the little bubbly, knobby stuff on the seats is melted pieces of the ceiling that dripped and melted to the seats.


The roof:


The visors melted too:


More ceiling drippings:






2008-06-13

something kind of interesting

One of my photos of the Ross Island Bridge in Portland got used for the 2008 Schmap Northwest guidebook.

You can see the photo here in Schmap:

http://www.schmap.com/northwest/historic/#p=123471&i=123471.jpg

Or here in flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/361061160/

Happy Friday everyone!

this weekend

Well, this is going to be an interesting weekend, for sure. Saturday we are celebrating Trina's birthday, with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Chez Machin and then dessert at our place afterwards. Then on Sunday, we are going to a memorial service for my grandpa, who just died yesterday.

It's brought up a lot of interesting thoughts for me this morning... birth and death, both viewed from the beginning of the middle part of life (it was Trina's 30th birthday this last Monday).

Death is an interesting topic for me. It's not really depressing to me, though it seems to be for a lot of people. I find that life has a lot of cycles of beginnings and endings - we start relationships, and at some point in time they change and we move on in life and from each other (not always completely, but things change significantly). We go through periods of life in which we want and need certain things, and when we move to the next period of life, we want and need different things, and that's ok. We change with time and with different experience and so do other people, and so we naturally change associations and circles of friends and all that, and we move in and out of jobs, homes, etc. We become close to and familiar with things and people and then move away again as life dictates, and that's good and natural.

I hope that during my lifetime two things will happen. I hope that I will live a life in which I feel fulfilled, joyful and useful - a life that will make a positive difference in the people and places I end up. I also hope that I will get used to cycles of beginnings and endings sufficiently enough that when it's my turn to let go of life, I won't feel the need to cling to it unnecessarily, that I won't be afraid of letting it go when it's time.

So far, things are going well. I love life, I love living, and I love where I'm at in life, for the large majority. I have the opportunity to do things I love, I have some deep relationships that are really refreshing and encouraging to me, and I believe they are for the other people involved as well. I'm very much in the process of learning how my thoughts and actions affect things and people around me, but I am learning. I've given enough to people and things that have come into my life that it has been difficult and painful to have to say goodbye to them, to let them go, to see them move on or move on from them, and I feel much more at peace about this kind of thing than I have previously in life. I'm excited for the future, I'm excited to see what life will bring along, and I'm excited to do all of it alongside the most beautiful, amazing, kind, caring, deep, giving person...

So, this weekend we celebrate, remember, and look to the future with expectancy, a somber respect for the past, and an excitement for what's coming.

2008-06-05

drooling over bikes...

I've been ogling this bike for a couple months now, and I have to say, it has only grown on me over time. I've read a couple reviews of them and the reviews have been very positive as well - easy to ride, comfortable, etc. And of course, beautiful. This is the Electra Amsterdam, styled after commuter bikes in Amsterdam itself, one of the most bike-heavy and biker-friendly cities in the world. I personally love the Classic 3 Speed model. Anyway, if anyone wants to contribute to the "Save Dave's keyboard from drool damage" fund, I'd be happy to accept offers :) Here's the lovely bike itself.