Thursday, July 12

Wheels and feet

Hey all you runners and cyclists out there:

Please try to be considerate of those of us who also use the sidewalks and streets. If you're on wheels, get off the sidewalk. There is a perfectly good street right there meant for vehicles - including bicycles. If you're on foot (and this includes you runners), get on the sidewalk and out of traffic - that's what the sidewalk is for.

The only thing worse than trying not to flatten some speed bump in training jogger in the middle of the street is diving out of the way of some homicidal cyclist screaming down the sidewalk.

I'm not a runner, so I don't get the "never mind there's a perfectly good sidewalk 10' away, I'd rather run right down the middle of the street" thing. I walk a lot of places, though, and have been quite pleased with the quality and quantity of Portland's sidewalks. You runners should try them out sometime.

As a bike commuter, however, it really gets on my nerves that inconsiderate cyclists give the rest of us a bad name. If you're not walking your bike, get off the sidewalk. Portland is a very bike-friendly city with lots of bike lanes on its streets - use them!

As a (rare as possible) driver, I don't mind going around bikes in the street. After all, they're legal vehicles, too. But I really get annoyed at joggers who run down the middle of the street and 1) refuse to get out of the way of bikes and cars and 2) get annoyed that anyone else would dare use their street. See that sidewalk? Yeah, that one. Use it.

Is this just a Portland thing? Or is it everywhere?

Wednesday, July 11

Sign on a lunch cart

Closed today. Too damn hot. Gone surfing.

Damn, I wish I could get away with that!

Tuesday, July 10

Funny web site

This has to be one of the funniest Flash-based web sites I've ever seen:

It's enough to make me want to go see the movie when it opens at the Hollywood Theater later this month.

Saturday, July 7

"This is War"

A's father and A and I went to go see "This is War" at the Hollywood Theatre this evening.


"This is War" is a remarkable non-political documentary about the experiences of an Oregon National Guard unit in their own words using their own video. With the near-ubiquity of digital video recording devices and Internet connectivity, this is the first war where those of us back home can see what the soldiers are seeing in near-realtime. This film captures the essence of what it is to be an infantry soldier in Iraq: hot, dusty, boring, terrifying, bloody.

The film relies primarily on the words of the soldiers themselves. Both on video they shot themselves while in Iraq, as well as in interviews after they returned home. The images are shockingly violent, the language unsurprisingly profane, and the message ambiguous. It's absolutely not something I'd want to show to young children. On the other hand, it's exactly the sort of thing the teens and adults of this country need to see.

The film doesn't try to tell the audience what to think, rather it attempts to portray the soldiers' experience as vividly and accurately as possible. While I think it succeeds for the most part, I think the violence was somewhat toned down for the film to make it more palatable for a wider, largely-sheltered American audience. I walked out of the theater after the film certain the segments on Fallujah did not include all the footage it could have. On the other hand, had they included more graphic violence, the filmmakers would have risked alienating their potential audience and negating the film's purpose.

All in all, I think the film was excellently-done. Absolutely worth seeing. Bravo to the filmmakers for producing a gripping and respectful portrayal of these soldiers' experiences.