Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Sunny and hot today in Portland. I lost at cards last night (again) but had fun nonetheless. I have always enjoyed cards if for no other reason than to study the ebb and flow of luck and to observe how we deal with risk and opportunity. If the luck is flowing then it's great... you can take chances and come out ahead, often outrageously. Since poker is also a matter of skill and calculation, luck is only part of it.

The most important part of poker is patience. We don't really play long enough... it's unusual for our games to last more than three or so hours. The real game starts after six, seven hours. Then the ebb and flow really kicks in and you can see bigger cycles. I've been in but one of this type of game and I was far out of my league. Mostly I folded, and if you do that you can stay in and watch but be part of the cycle as well.


There is news in the blog world (and not just the Monkey Man. I'm sure you know all about it. fakery, deception, etc etc. The Big White Guy took the fall. AIM can be an instrument of liars. Lies get out of hand so easily, too.

I remember one of the earlier interactive formats, The Fray. When it came out it was revolutionary... people telling true stories on the web and then soliciting responses from readers (which would then also be posted). It was a very early attempt at moderated weblogs at it worked really well. It seemed to attract a certain type of person, artsy and troubled with perhaps a bit too much down time in the late evenings. I still like to look at it now and again.

Anyway, I must work now...

Monday, May 21, 2001

We went out last night with our friends Chris and Sahana to Gino's, a little Italian place in Southeast which has been there since 1934. The sign outside says, inexplicibly, "Leipzig Tavern" and you walk into a great old room with a huge craved oak back-bar from the turn of the (last) century. The food was so-so, but the wine... the WINE. Unreal. This guy has a cellar of unbelievale wine, old Barolos and Chiantis and Ruffinos. The best of the best, and so rare as to be unavailable almost anywhere but New York. But the really amazing thing is that they sell these bottles at about 10.00 over original cost. That is unheard of... we drank a Barolo which was quite possibly the best wine we'd ever had and cost a mere 40.00. It was a '93 and served in huge Riedel crystal balloon glasses. Almost had us crying, it was so good. Of course, Chris and Sahana came over to the new house to take a gander and brought a bottle of nice champagne, so we were already rollin' along. Wine talk nis almost as boring as golf talk, though... thanks for the indulgence.

Needless to say, I have a bit of a headache this morning. And tonight is the annual steak night with the poker boys (including Chris). So it's deja vu all over again! What an expensive week, all on food. Weep for me, weep for me.

I don't eat meat, either, and we're going to Ruth's Chris. That means I'll have to have lobster. Sob. Sob.

Sunday, May 20, 2001

I just installed a dog door using my brother's cordless Porter Cable saw and drill. Nice equipment indeed, but it doesn't make me a carpenter. With dismay I looked at the jagged hole I was ripping in our back door. With alarm I looked upon the misaligned screw-holes. With hollow laughter I saw that the newly and finally installed door is crooked as a radio preacher. But the dogs seem to be getting it. Oscar has seen this sort of thing before, albeit as a pup.

I weigh several things here:

One: Does the freedom of not getting up each morning to let the dogs out balance against the idea that my dogs now have freedom to go in and out as they please? Is my convenience worth the potential scenario of a squirrel carcass spread triumphantly over the living room floor and walls by my in-and-out beasts?

Two: is having a human-sized hole in my door a security risk? Sure, a big hole means a big dog, but is the average stupid junky thief smart enough to consider this? I mean, look at the idiots last night.

Three: Why do I insist on doig a shitty job myself when I will ultimately have to hire a professional to redo my shoddy work, thus incurring a double expense?

I feel like sitting on the porch and smoking a big fatty and squinting at the neighbors and pondering these acedemic arguments. I've been working all day on all kinds of things.

Maybe I'll do that.

What is it, six AM on a sunday? And here I am blogging away? Man, this is dedication! But alas, I have nothing to say.

There was an animation festival last night at the Clinton Street Theater put on alumni from Will Vinton Studios. For those who don't know it, Vinton is a Portland animation house which has produced the California Raisins and the PJ's. It's a sprawling place and employs some 300 or so people (or at least it did... during the dot.com craze, I had several friends talk of "whoring themselves out" to Vinton). Anyway, there were a few student pieces (stinky) and a few real gems. But there was one in particular which made me so depressed it nigh on ruined a perfect evening: a time-lapse film of the building of the Fox Tower set to raunchy rock 'n' roll. It went on and on. It began with an extensive destruction sequence in which anonymous machines knocked and scraped at the old Fox theatre, one of Portland's venerable old gems on Broadway (the building behind it, also razed, was home to Portland's best... and my favorite..French restaurant, the Vat and Tonsure, reputed to have over 4000 French wines in its cellar). From there it got worse. Worse music, the digging of the Vast Hole, the construction of the tower going up and up and up. It's, as my dad put it, an ugly fucking building, and the vainglorious tribute which was devoid of any irony at all made us both mad and sad. Small and in the way of progress, sure. But mostly it was a blown opportunity to say something bigger.

A lighter note: we got home and greeted the dogs. After we'd been home for a bit, they started barking wildly. I went out and saw two figures carrying what looked like my garbage.

"Can you give us a blanket?" one whined furtively.
"A blanket. We're cold."
"What are you doing with that bag?"

They paused for a moment.

"You realize that you just stole my garbage off my porch?" I laughed.
"We took it."
"You didn't ask. That's stealing."
They changed their tack.
"We thought it might be a blanket."
The other one chimed in now. "C'mon. Give us a blanket!"

I shook my head at the two freaks. "No way. Get lost." And closed the door.

You see, it was about 60 degrees last night, clear and balmy.

What is less dignified than stealing garbage and then lying about it while begging at the same time?