Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy Something Local Day

Day 332/366: Race Track for Light Bulbs

Happy Buy Nothing Day. I don't know if I will "celebrate" it this year. I'm working today (or I will be as soon as I finish this blog post--I'm a procrastinator!), so if I do buy something, it will likely be along the lines of a Happy Hour beer at a local pub. And I won't feel bad about it at all.

I've been thinking about the economy (in my own very rudimentary way). I've always been in favor of supporting local, independent merchants rather than gigantic chains and big box stores that peddle flimsy rubbish made in China. I've resolved to be even more conscious of where I spend my money from now on.

Portland has many wonderful, independent shops and businesses run by progressive, community-focused owners. I want to support those people and do what I can to help them weather this recession. There's really no reason to buy a book from Amazon, when I could get the same book from Powell's. All it means is that I have to leave the house rather than click a button. It takes a wee bit more effort, but I like to think that I'm not a completely lazy sod.

Last night B and I were walking down Alberta Street. It was eerily deserted--almost no car, bike, or pedestrian traffic and very few cars even parked on the streets. With two or three exceptions (a Thai restaurant and the oh-so-depressing laundromat), all the businesses were closed because it was Thanksgiving. I couldn't help but think that this could be a preview of what the street might look like if too many people decide they need to save a few pennies and start doing all their shopping at Walmart--a business I never have and never will support.

In truth, I don't think that a recession is an entirely bad thing. Of course, the part about people losing their jobs is bad, but if a recession means that people are forced to curb their out-of-control buying of useless crap, I really don't see that as a downside.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Day 317/366: Not Up to Code

One of Alberta Street's many examples of dodgy rainwater management. Water was gushing all over the place. That whole street gets rather mediaeval when it really starts to rain. Leaf-choked sewer grates turn intersections into ponds. Rain cascades down from on high on unsuspecting pedestrians (such as myself) from rain gutters that end abruptly or that lead nowhere. I found myself looking up to make sure no one was emptying a chamber pot.

Not that I'm complaining. I love rain and gloomy grey skies. Really, I do.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008


Man in the Wall

Does this freak you out?

What about this?

Another Man in the Wall

Actually, I love these and was absolutely delighted that I happened to spot them, especially since it's now moss season again and they are looking at their spiffiest. I've walked by this retaining wall probably a dozen times, but it was usually at night, so I never noticed these mossy fellas before. They're very close to the ground, too (about eye level for cats, i.e., in the catmosphere), which also means that probably very few people ever notice them. But how great is it that the homeowner built these into the wall just for those of us who just happen to be a little bit obsessed with retaining walls?

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pooh and Other Pleasant Things

A Bear With No Brain at All

These books were sitting on the credenza at the hair salon alongside all the Vogues, Cosmos, In Styles, and other thick perfumey magazines that are ubiquitous at hair salons. These books seemed so out of place and yet so artfully arranged that I had to take a photograph of them. My stylist caught me at it and asked me if I'd read this one to her, since no one ever read aloud to her as a child. Of course, I agreed. I have to confess I was quite intrigued by the title. Winnie the Pooh, a hunter? I sure didn't remember that. Well, as it turns out the only thing that happens is that Pooh and Piglet walk circles around "a spinney of larch trees" making more and more footprints that they think belong to dangerous animals (either Woozles or Wizzles). After trekking around the spinney about four times Christopher Robin shows up and points out to Pooh that he's been "tracking" himself. Pooh mulls this over for a bit and then declares that he must be "a bear with no brain at all." The End.

I found the quaintness and simple-mindedness of this book quite pleasant and comforting. Piglet, for example, was able to join Pooh in "the hunt" because he had nothing he had to do until Friday. Imagine that kind of leisure. Pooh and Piglet have no worries.

After only one day of elation over the election, I am starting to worry again about what lies ahead. Everyone I know is thrilled to bits that the president-elect is someone worthy of respect and admiration. And I am, too. But I wonder how Obama can possibly live up to the expectations people have of him, especially given the colossal mess concocted by the Bush Administration. I am certain that things (e.g., the economy, the situation in the Middle East) will get worse before they get better. And will people remember that the circumstances in which the United States finds itself have been brewing for at least eight years if not for several decades? Or will they blame the Obama Administration for not being able to wave a magic wand and fix everything? I hope everyone who voted for Obama realizes that in order for Obama to be able to deliver "change" everyone's got to have patience and be willing to make sacrifices. And I hope that everyone who didn't vote for him will not closemindedly work against him. And I hope that he really does have some new, innovative exciting ideas that can restore unity to our nation.

For now, though, I think I must stop reading and watching the news for a while, as all the speculating, criticizing, and blame-shifting I'm seeing is not helping me be hopeful about the above. It's only making me angry.

Woo Hoo!

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