Saturday, January 28

Ain't technology cool?

Oh, how far the world has come ...

So we had a small earthquake this evening. Piddling little thing, less than 5 seconds long, 2.9 magnitude. A pointed me at this site for the details. Hmm. Epicenter is 1km east of Portland. So I fed the latitude and longitde into Google Maps

31st and E Burnside? Dang that is close by.

And I found it from my little desk here in the basement within minutes of the actual quake. Amazing.

Tuesday, January 17

Read this. Now.

No matter what your opinion is regarding civil rights and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community, you need to read this.

Beautiful and eloquent. I wish I had the talent to say it half so well.

Thanks, fawnapril, for posting the link.

Sunday, January 15

Gotta love the sneer

Nice work from some creative Aussies:

Thanks, fawnapril for pointing this site out.

My new favorite breakfast

Sunday is generally grocery shopping day here in Chez PDX. So as A and I were laying in bed this morning listening to This American Life on the radio we pondered the consequences of visiting Trader Joe's and Limbo prior to dining. The effect on our budget, of course, would be too horrible to countenance, so we dawdled under the warm blanket and warmer cat and considered our options in light of the fact that cupboard was bare and we were hungry. There is no dearth of excellent breakfast places along Hawthorne and Belmont, but they are all notorious for long lines on weekend mornings. No good. Then it popped into my head that No Fish! Go Fish! had started to serve breakfast a while ago. We'd just never managed to make it down there past Cup & Saucer, Utopia, Cricket Cafe, Hawthorne Street Cafe, Zell's ... well, you get the picture.

Hmm ... our favorite place for dinner and cocktails, entertainment, as well as a fantastically-good inexpensive lunch. Pretty high standards - breakfast has got to be good.


No wait whatsoever. This American Life was still playing on the speakers in the kitchen and dining room. The expected excellent service (as usual). And (this was the clincher) savory rosemary foccacia french toast with hollandaise and roasted vegetables.

Oh. My.

I'm a big french toast fan. As many of you know I have a colossal sweet tooth, so nothing satisfies me better than a plate full of carbs saturated in fat drowning in maple syrup. MMMM. I've devoured french toast prepared more ways than I could possibly count. Thick. Thin. Soft. Crisp. Stuffed. Orange. But this was different. I'd never had a savory, non-sweet french toast before.

I have now. I think I'm in love.

It just plain works. The savory vegetables and foccacia - fried in egg batter of course (sorry TRP) - liberally graced with rich yellow hollandaise. It was SO good!

I know several of you out there are breakfast fiends (this means you pankleb). Get over to No Fish! Go Fish! next weekend, order a fresh-squeezed mimosa (you know you want one, according to the menu) and enjoy one of the best breakfasts in town.

Thursday, January 12

Google Clips

Ahh, Google. You make brilliant stuff, but this is not one of your better days. Your "AdSense" thing isn't making much, well, sense when it pops up recipies for Spam when I open up my spam folder.


Good thing it only serves one, I couldn't imagine who would serve "Ginger Spam Salad" to another human being ...

Wednesday, January 11

"My children"

Paraphrasing Judge Alito: (sorry, I was in the shower when I heard this, so I couldn't write it down verbatim)
"When I hear a case involving children, I think of my own children"

Really? So you'd support the strip searching of your own 10 year old daughter?

Damn, you're harsh!

Sunday, January 1


Years ago before we got married, when A took me to meet her maternal grandfather for the first time she told me that he served in the Navy on a PT boat in WWII but that he never ever talked about it. The mostly-unspoken rule in the family was that nobody was to ever ask him about his experiences in the Pacific. I was curious, but I could understand the rule. I have several Vietnam-era vets in my family form who the topic of their service is too painful to bring up.

A has always adored her grandfather both because of his quietly mischievous personality - he always seemed to have a bit of candy hidden somewhere on his person to slyly fill an unacceptably-empty child's pocket - and for his keen and educated mind - he took his GI Bill and became an electrical engineer working at Bonneville. When he retired, he started taking classes and learned how to build his own computers from thrift store scrap. He never said much, and when he did say something it was usually short and practically unheard in the general ruckus of a family gathering. But it was almost always something that, after percolating in your subconscious for several minutes, would boomerang back around and hit you. Then anyone who was paying attention would wonder what you were laughing at. He is the inspiration to A as she forges onward through graduate school. She wrote a deeply touching dedication on the first page of her masters' thesis to him and had an extra copy printed and archivally-bound with the intent of presenting it to him.

A's cousin M called last week and said that Grandpa was really starting to show signs of dementia - not recognizing kinds and grandkids, forgetting where the tin of Christmas candies went, etc. A realized she had to go visit and give him the thesis. We hadn't been up to visit them in far too long, so we headed up to Vancouver yesterday afternoon. A wrapped up the thesis in some beautiful hand-made paper on the way. We stopped by M's house to pick her and her kinds up to go with us. The kids really didn't want to go, so I volunteered to stay home with them while A and M went over to their grandparents. It seemed like a good compromise at the time, but I'm wishing we'd put our foot down and made the kids come along.

A and M got back a couple of hours later. They said that Grandpa was having one of what Grandma called his "bad" days. He was happy and talkative. Very talkative, almost manic, apparently. One of the things he talked about was something none of the family had ever heard - his war experiences. For the first time, we learned the name of the ship he was on: PT-189.

A and M were stunned. One of the great mysteries of Grandpa's past was suddenly there in front of them, totally un-prompted and unexpected. When they got back to the house and told us what they learned, M said to me, "I want to know all about that boat. Can you find anything?"

We went home. I did. Google is my friend. I was excited enough when I found an image of his boat's squadron-mate, PT-188. I found records stating that his squadron saw action in New Guinea, Aitape, New Briton and the Philippines.

Then I found this:

"189" and "RON 8" clearly visible on the side. I have no idea who the officer (?) is standing on the deck. I haven't found any other information about PT-189. Yet.

I realized last night on an emotional level what I've accepted intellectually for years - there is a whole mass of history contained in our grandfathers' generation that is slowly and surely leaking away. We're losing it to old age and dementia. The men and women of the "Greatest Generation" are quietly drifting away and their stories are, often as not, vanishing with them. It's an utterly foreign concept to me, an IT professional, used to information being ubiquitous and permanent, at your fingertips while in one's bathrobe at 10:30pm on a holiday weekend evening. But I can't just sit down and google what's in Grandpa's head - and odds are that's the only place some of the information can be found.

So now I find myself on a bit of a quest: to find out everything I can about PT-189. It's a task I admit I am a bit rusty at - finding information that isn't online and isn't instantly available. I'm both sad and excited at the same time. I'll let you know what I find.