13 November 2006

the agony and ecstacy

yesterday marked the first rehearsal for "private lives", for which i was luckily cast (performance dates coming soon to a blog near you). it was 9a-12p and a rigorous exploration of impulse, cooperation and body language/cues. we all seemed pretty exhausted by the end of it (LOTS of running around). i am ashamed to say that for a few cynical moments i was remorseful that i had to go directly from that workshop to a bike move, but once i was actually on the road there was nothing but eager anticipation for Matt's Distinguished Tie Move (also known as "The Girl Next Door").
supreme kudos go to Matt for his very tall load and to Aaron who hauled a hide-a-bed couch over the Broadway Bridge. man, i feel like such a wimp sometimes!
just one more reason i love portland. hopefully i'll be able to steal some pictures soon.
usually i have moved by myself on mass transit (new york, changchun, dalian, bangkok, suratthani 1) or multiple bike trips (suratthani 2). i almost wish i could move just to enjoy the parade and find an excuse to cook for people.
after the bike move, i jumped back on my bike to head downtown just in time for the wind storm and, with shoes soaked and socks squished, headed to hang with my family. Colleen was in town from boston, and we had a grand old time together. i never notice how much more we seem to laugh than other families until we're in a public space. wouldn't have any other family in the world! they even agreed to not do presents this year. hip hip hooray!
this morning my body revolted, however. i could barely extend my legs because my calf muscles were so tight. wimps.
and now to homework.

11 November 2006


Ken and Don are off the streets!
Don called shortly after dragon boating practice to tell me that they had gotten their first social security check and had checked into a hotel for a few days until they could get a longer-term place on monday. i asked them what they did the first thing they got into their hotel room. they took a hot shower. got some dinner. took another hot shower. and they'll probably be taking showers straight on until monday morning! they were watching "The Dukes of Hazard" when they called. they also promised that they would have christmas with my family again this year, though they had mentioned moving back to vegas.
it's going to be strange not seeing them every morning on yamhill st., and now i'll have to make an appointment and hope to make it into their busy schedules. at least i get to see them on monday because the by-the-week rooms for some reason need some extra paperwork done, and i'm to help them with that.
we talked for so long on the phone that i was late meeting my friend Fillard for lunch. punctuality is important, but i've never had a better reason for being late (sorry, Fillard).
over the moon.
we'll miss you, fellas. drop us a line from time to time, will ya?

10 November 2006

thank you, BonB

just found this write-up about a recent transportation-related film extravaganza at the Bagdad in the Oregonian by Joe Rose and repost it here. the apples he mentions were leftover donations from BonB the day before. i don't remember having been quoted in an article before. what fun!

and here's a poster for Junk to Funk on december 2nd. Ashlee, my roommate, has graciously agreed to wear my design, which means i need to spend this weekend making it look a little better than it does. it is going to be great fun, and i can't wait!

09 November 2006

donald and me

now that our secretary of defense is on his way out, i can safely post a picture of my office. if i had a nickel for every time since the beginning of this administration i heard, "hey, you stand at your desk, too? you know, so does Donald Rumsfled". i know i know i know. comparisons between me and our (SoB) SoD are obviously precisely the look i was going for.

thankfully he's losing his desk and will consider taking up different work habits that do not inspire comparison between us.
by the way, the computer desk is one that Dad and i made together when i first got my current position at Green Empowerment. it's made from melamine and soldered copper tubing and wire. we were going for a Brooklyn Bridge look on the keyboard portion. this is by far the best standing computer setup i've had (previous incarnations at other jobs have included basic pine and ikea assembly leftovers, recycled paper boxes, magazine file holders, etc.). this one actually LOOKS nice. next one will be adjustable. from now on only recycled materials - i felt a little tawdry buying melamine from a lumber store. eesh!

02 November 2006

lessons from Katrina - united in homelessness

first, brief random updates:
*my submission was selected for the Junk to Funk fashion show. yeay!
*i got callbacks to "Private Lives". yippee!
*did callbacks for "If You Take One Elf off the Shelf". hot diggity!
*started hard-core plans for Green Empowerment's Burma fundraiser at The Monkey and The Rat on Nov. 18th. meow!
*actually rented "V" for the weekend. thrilled!

okay, and now for the title event of the day . . .
this evening there was a panel lecture hosted by the Oregon chapter of the APA (American Planning Association) entitled "Lessons from Hurricane Katrina" (http://www.oregonapa.org/content/view/106/80/). the panelists included a FEMA volunteer, Gulf Coast Program Manager from Mercy Corps, NW Medical Teams volunteer, legal volunteer, and a PSU urban planning graduate student who did undergrad at Loyola in New Orleans and went back to volunteer after Katrina.

i am sorry to say the PSU student's name eludes me now, but let's call her Kaye for brevity. Kaye's story killed me. She talked about a fellow named George who was a handyman who traded his skilled labor for rent in his New Orleans apartment and, due to the fact that he didn't pay bills associated with his house and had lost his ID during the evacuation, couldn't receive FEMA aid for lack of residential proof. George and Kaye went through a labyrinth of bureaucratic hoops, including Kaye physically driving to New Orleans to get a copy of a form that in the end couldn't be printed due to their lack of printer, then finally giving FEMA the information they needed in a format they would accept only to have it lost later due to a data entry mistake. they have not been able to find George since the last letdown, and he is homeless somewhere without any way to locate him.

the panelists' stories reminded me a great deal of life shortly after the tsunami in southern Thailand. but sadly, they actually reminded me a little more of life in Portland. most of my friends and family have either met or known about Don and Ken, two really cool homeless guys that hang out between 1st and 2nd and yamhill in the mornings. they have been trying to get assistance for years from social security, since Ken has not been able to work since a train accident that made his arm nonfunctioning at best and a serious threat to his kidneys at worst. their prospects got a little more hopeful a number of months ago when Ken had to have his arm amputated, thereby eliminating all doubts as to his disability. and yet it's been months of waiting for them. we talked this morning (as we do most mornings), and we had all hoped for some final good news in the form of a social security check that would help get them off the streets. due to clerical error (tell me if you've heard this before), their processing has been delayed, and they'll have to wait a little longer. did anyone else feel how cold it was today? and wet? it certainly wasn't this cold in june when Ken's arm was amputated and they started the process. now it might not be until december. the whole time Kaye was talking about George and everyone was shaking their heads in wonderment, i just wondered whether the system ever actually worked in someone's favor. i am sure many social service workers try very hard and put their hearts into their jobs. there are many heroes among them, and nothing in this little rant is meant to say they are anything less than wonderful and well-meaning folks trying to make a difference (the ones that don'e make silly and frequent data entry mistakes, anyway). however, i struggle to see how efficacy and accountability can coexist in such a bureaucracy-laden society.

i won't start on post-tsunami aid or displaced persons and developers' ambitions. that is a travesty too often told and too often forgotten. and i've already ranted enough.