2009-02-26

Yet more snow... and whistling

Yep, this is a record winter. Another snowfall today, no accumulation on concrete at this elevation, but outside the main metro area there is.

Not since my mother was young have we had snow this late in the season here in Portland. Of course, in my mother's youth the casting pool in Moreland Park would freeze over enough for ice skating in April, which goes to show you how much of a climate change we've had in the last 70 years.

"Casting Pool?" I hear you ask, "What's a casting pool?" A Casting Pool is used for practising fly fishing casting. Big puppy, over 100' each side, with piers projecting into it to provide a place for the fly fisher to stand whilst practicing. Couple of yards deep, takes a lot of water to fill, and to freeze over enough for skating calls for an extended period of very cold weather. Don't know if it's been used for practicing casting in my lifetime, I have seen it used for RC model boats, and also for milk carton boat races. Clearly, when they built the park, fly fishing was much more popular than today.

And now to whistling. Finally, at 48 years of age, I've suddenly learned how to whistle, not very well mind you, but still the ability to whistle at all, and repeatedly verified over a 20 minute period so it wasn't just a fluke, well, it just made my day enough that I had to post about it! Already figured out how to whistle on the inhale as well as exhale, and to do a wolf whistle, and some controlled changing around between notes. Don't expect to hear the national anthem anytime soon. Not sure what my range of notes is just yet, and I whistle in the Soprano range, no deep notes, not that I know that anyone can whistle in deep notes.

So, there you have it, snow, history, and whistling.

Guess I'll just post this puppy now.

2009-02-09

Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail

So...

Decisions, finally, have been made about the oft proposed SE light rail, or at least the first installment. trimet.org/pm for full details, will run from PSU, through OMSI, stops at 17th & Holgate and then SE Bybee & McLoughlin, various other stops finally ending in Oak Grove. Scheduled to be complete in 2015.

We're right inside the 5 minute walk radius of the 17th & Holgate stop, which TriMet's project folks see as being the most heavily impacted, the 5 minute walk radius around each stop, that is.

The one for sure thing is that property values will go up. And the demand for housing in this area will go up.

If you pull up the TriMet site and then look at their brochure about the 17th & Holgate stop, you can see our property on their aerial photo, not on page one, but on the other pages, Milwaukie Ave is the angled street running north/south and from the west toward the east as you look down the map, positioned partway between where 14th & 13th are further north and south; Mall street is one block north of Holgate, the east/west white rectangle in the SE corner of that intersection, with the really tiny white rectangle snuggled up below it, that's us, and Bill's old truck before we got it hauled away; the incredible dark green foliage in the lot to the east of the building is the blackberry, etc., brambles which I've written about clearing out.

We're grandfathered as mixed use residential/commercial, due to the various businesses which have operated out of this building over the years, and we've got a double lot, so I foresee developers being interested in this location.

Interesting times ahead, interesting times.

2009-02-08

Fear

Fear is the great disabler.

Fear requires no basis in reality, or it may have a basis so long removed that it no longer has relevance to current affairs.

Fear can control your life, preventing you from trying new things.

All of these presume that the reaction to fear is to pull in, to hide, to retreat, to entrench, to shield oneself from imagined harm.

I am far too intimately familiar with these forms of fear reactions, they have controlled me for all of my life. The most overwhelming has been the fear of the negative reaction of those whom I know and respect, in situations where the fact that I know them should show the fear to be with no basis, for the fear presupposes their being negative, judgmental, and self-centered, all of which I knew to be false images, yet still the fear would hold me back.

There are times when it is right to fear, but where possible one should strive to work through the fear to the underlying reality, and then take considered action to deal with the rational basis for the fear, to be advised by your fear but to not be mindlessly driven by your fear. Devise ways of testing that which you fear so that you can find out if it is rational to fear, and if it is, then work to define the factual dimensions of rational fear so that it may guide you, not blind you.

It is rational to fear fire, but we have learned to harness fire, answering our fear by learning about that which we fear, and through that knowledge, reducing the threat posed by fire; never eradicating the threat, for it is real, but devising safeguards such that with a healthy fear we can use fire to our benefit. Without fire, flint was as far as we could progress in tool making; with fire, we could eventually progress to building computers.

And I read over this, and fear that it is too fragmented, that too many different forms of fear are dealt with without proper exposition or transitional writing, that maybe its not perfect.

It isn't perfect, but it may spark useful thinking anyway, so I'll post it, in despite of my fear.

2009-02-01

Once a Librarian...

Now, over the years I've done some pretty geeky librarian things, such as assigning Dewey Decimal Classification call numbers to the non-fiction in my library, several thousand volumes worth, and ordering book jackets to protect the dust jackets, but I think I'm now starting on an ├╝bergeek undertaking, to wit, creating a bibliography for a book I'm reading. We'll see how long I keep this project up, n'est ce pas? [And as a former Spanish student, I've no clue if I either spelled or used that French phrase properly, so there, nyah!]

The book: Leonard Lee, The Complete Guide To Sharpening, The Taunton Press, Newtown, CT 1995. And yes, Leonard Lee is Founder and President of Lee Valley Tools, which right off gives him some street cred, added to by the very scholarly technique used in the research for the book. One of the things he did in researching the book was work with one of Canada's foremost electron microscopy technicians in analyzing the tools and the impact various sharpening techniques had on them, and where possible using tools from the same production run to as nearly as possible present the results of different sharpening techniques on the same tool while still having different tools to physically compare, to remove as many variables as possible from the project. In other words, the scientific method lives!

But the book lacks one thing, a bibliography. Works are mentioned as they are come across, but not in full bib format. While the first item mentioned, being a publication of The Taunton Press, is easily tracked down, the second item is a dissertation published in 1950 in Finland, and while the Author is given, I suspect that the True name of the publishing entity is not Finland Institute of Technology, but rather something akin to that in Finnish, and that, to those of you who know me, is what got me interested in making a bibliography for the work.

So, we'll see how long this obsession lasts, and how far I actually get on this project. The spreadsheet has been created, the first two items entered, and I'm about to start searching for a certain Finnish Dissertation from 1950...

The frustrating thing is that there are so many other, more practical things I should be doing, but this demonstrates precisely how irritating my disability is; I can't control what grabs my attention, and if it doesn't grab my attention I'm not able to force myself to work on it. This has resulted in short term brilliance throughout my life, followed by substandard performance once the obsession is appeased; in many classes I was doing A work up until a certain point, that point being when I'd gotten from the course what I was interested in, and then my work would plummet such that I'd come out with a B; this is how I know that my mind really does mesh with COBOL, I got an A in that class, well deserved too as I came out of it understanding the language better than the GTF teaching the course, but enough, off to Finland!

[Later...]
Well, that was easy! Searching Google under Eero Kivimaa, the sixth item was a patent application which provided the bibliographic information required. Seems he's gone on the great things, numerous patents over the years, numerous publications; good street cred.

Didn't even get to try to locate an appropriate Finnish repository and track it down that way, just searching his name was enough. Could not have done it this easily ten years ago, twenty years ago it would have been well nigh impossible without the resources of a major research library and for pay online searching. How the world has changed! Of course, properly I'll need to verify this with another source, to confirm the validity of the posted information.