17 Oct


When I want a good ‘n healthy satisfying meal in lean times, I look for a  place that’s cheap yet semi-luscious as a tenderloin steak from WinCo or a strip club that can only afford hermaphrodites. I have standards.

14 Oct


Our oldest son, Travis, married Sara last Friday at Multnomah County Courthouse in front of his mom, pop, sibs, and uncle; her mom and pop (and their SO’s); and one each of their BFFs to formally witness. They picked the judge based on online reviews–and sometimes reviews are right: the Honorable Youlee Yim You was terrific, very sweet, relaxed, and clearly enjoying her task. Her clerk was efficient and happy like she’d just won a prize in leading these two kids to the docket of matrimony. (Her funnier lines included “She’s a judge so when she says anything, you reply Yes.” “Anyone with a camera needs to stand over here or lean way over, as if the judge was only this tall.”)

From the ceremony start to end, I’m pretty sure that Travis and Sara saw only each other and heard the judge. The rest of us popped back into existence at the end of their kiss. (Not a bad way to reenter the world.)

I had coffee with him today. I asked him if he and Sara felt any different. He said they fist bumped when they returned home, then he grinned big and said, “God, I love that woman so much!” while people at nearby tables–those okay with love, looked on in approval.

Photo: Travis and Sara celebrating later that night with friends

Now I can stop calling Sara “Travis’s fiance” or my “soon to be daughter-in-law.” This is Travis and this is Sara (he’s her husband, she’s his wife), and they spend a fair amount of their time like this.

14 Oct

Green Acres is the Place to Be

A couple of years ago, several friends told me that I should reserve short posts–especially the personal ones–for platforms built to serve them up to a broader subscription audience of friends, like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Cue the themes for Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies.

I did that and learned (after 2 years of self denial and hopeful recrimination that turned me into a social media troll on Facebook) that those platforms–used as encouraged–hook users on compulsive, mundane personal storytelling: “There was this one time at band camp where we made breakfast for dinner and everyone laughed and said Best Pancakes Ever–except mine came from the bottom of the stack and were wet from the other pancakes sweating downward, but I didn’t mind, because people!” People either get you (lotsa Likes), feel bad or supportive (lotsa Likes), or go Huh (lotsa crickets). And you get to see your writing pressed down into the sedimentary layer at a demented rate that goads you to share more trivial info just to feel alive and hooked on human recognition when it often doesn’t matter. And play Candy Crush. Because, high scores.

So, social media: wrecking ball for the writer with limited time for creative outbursts. I uninstalled the Facebook app on my phone, using  the account via a browser only to post life events for family and close friends. Twitter–I love writing short punchy lines but use Twitter exclusively as my outlet? (There are WP plugins but they work better from Twitter than to Twitter.) Google+ is more laid back and less demanding of specific forms, but it’s still a second job (unless it’s your first).

For now, I’ve pulled it all back here to Wist, including the caffeine-generated motor mouthed sunbursts. Post trend simplicity.

14 Oct

Snowden, Omelas, Terrorism, and Privacy

It’s not much of a stretch to say that Edward Snowden, whether you think of him as immature or dangerously idealistic or idealistically heroic, was one of those who walked away in the parable of Omelas–and right into a complex dystopic saga. Uncovered, the NSA’s actions could have the same impact as an act of terrorism (where the T’s are the NSA and other agencies who surveil without serious oversight)–generating paranoia or helpless complacency or fear of repercussion within the general public. The federal sector–where it overlaps the small piece of the defense industry that employs me–shrugs off the surveillance with an “It’s been going on and will continue to happen regardless of public outcry. If we’d left it alone, we could have carried on feeling secure instead of fearful.”

We’re a comfortable, conservative country, willing to shout our fear, indignation, and anger via intertwining streams of personal and public media, than rise up in revolution. We’ve seen government response to physical public displays in our cities and other countries. That looks pretty uncomfortable.

So where can I get an affordable, portable TSA-like gateway to pat down in- and out-bound packets?