Tuesday, February 28, 2006

OK, everybody, here's the amazing truth you've all been waiting for. The second photo, taken that same evening, reveals that the thing lying on the yellow curb was: a diminutive saddle. I kid you not. Someone brought a saddle, of exactly the right size, for the tiny horse. And we can only guess that the person must have installed it onto the horse, and that the horse must have become agitated at this new experience, and bucked it right off. And then fallen over with exhaustion. Or maybe some semi-conscious passerby kicked him over. becasue as you can see, in the earlier photo the horse was lying down with the saddle nearby, and here someone has righted the horse and put the saddle back on. You can compare these photos with my others over the past weeks and see: first, no saddle; now, saddle. It appears that a number of concerned citizens have become involved in the welfare of this horse.

Sequel Photo Coming Soon

I know the suspense is driving you all mad as you keep checking in to scrutinize that picture, trying to figure out what that thing is lying on the yellow part of the curb. I'm having some minor technical problems combined with a dearth of free time. I see a promising time slot in my schedule late this evening. Stay with me.

And I don't know why there has to be a big blank space here and I hate that.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Unbelievable horse developments!

Last week on my way past the horse I was dismayed to find it lying on its side. I started to walk on when I noticed something that brought me to an abrupt halt. What’s that? There, on the sidewalk, in the lower right corner of the picture, something insane. It can’t be. Oh, but it is.

According to my rules, I did not make any changes. But this time it was hard! I was really tempted. The horse needed help! Someone else must have come to his aid, because later that same day, the horse provided me a different picture entirely. I have to mess with the next picture a bit to make it clear, but I will post it soon.

Meanwhile, can you see what’s going on here? This signals a level of passerby participation unheard of in preceding urban installation history.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Warning to Car Industry: The End is Nigh

So many mornings I’ve ridden by this amazing bike parked in front of a school. It’s never locked to anything, probably because you’d need a flatbed truck to carry it off, so why worry. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to take it for a spin. Today the owner was approaching the bike as I rode by so I stopped to talk to her. She carried a baby named Luc she plunked into its front wooden cargo bin, and told me she’d just dropped off an older child named Cecilia.

Rianne Taylor, the driver, brought this machine over with her from Holland -- land of the Hollish people…who speak Dutch, unlike the people of Deutschland, who speak German. Maybe she can write in and shed some light on that morsel of confusion; and while she’s at it, tell us a little more about this fabulous machine. (Is it very heavy?) Can she post the link to its manufacturer?

This ain’t no flimsy bundle of poles and wheels.

This qualifies as a vehicle. She doesn’t drive a car and uses it for every-thing -- from transporting the kids to grocery shopping. Good thing she lives in a flat neighborhood.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A better picture of eyeball as bike rack

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eyeball as Bike Rack

As promised, here's another fabulous bike rack in downtown Portland, plus an amazing bike to go with it. And if you like that bike, wait till you see what's coming tomorrow: THE most incredible machine on the west coast. The.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ding Dong, the wicked bike is GONE!

The bike is GONE! Poof! Completely absent! The telephone post with its handy pipe running down the side is bare. Having been entangled in remunerative pursuits in other parts of the city for most of the week, I retreated to my hideout today, Sunday, for the first time since last Tuesday. On my neglected telephone I found a message from one Goody Freed of unknown spelling, calling from the City of Portland’s Bicycle Program.

She said she was going to be out and about tomorrow [which would have been Wensday] and she would come tag the bike if I would call and give her the actual physical address. Obviously I didn’t do that, but evidently she tracked it down on her own from the description I had given the police earlier. My landlord refuses to install the address numbers on the building’s exterior no matter how much he is begged or threatened by its occupants, some of whom would like a simple way to direct their friends to their dwelling. Because they live there, they would enjoy the occasional visitor. I, however, would not. My purpose in withdrawing myself into its cavernous bowels to escape the marauding hordes from the east, west, north and south. This is a hidey-hole where no one can find me. No one.

But never mind about that. She came, she found, she confiscated. Or she tagged, as indicated in the phone message, and had someone else confiscate it. Who knows, and who cares? The nuisance is gone, and my parking spot is free at last.

THINK NOT, however, that I am now going to abandon my quest for the installation of a proper bike rack. I will resume hounding the city for the promised item. My standards are soaring by the minute as I ride around the city and discover all the clever bike racks installed downtown. I want the stainless steel one built in the shape of the Fremont Bridge, with the miniature cars and trucks careening across its two levels.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Plastic horse survives fall to ride again

...and speaking of horses, here are two recent photographs of the plastic horse. If you recall, the friend who first showed it to me said it had been there a whole week. The next day another person told me it had in fact been there a whole month. I will continue to document the evolving status of the horse, without repositioning it myself.

These photos were taken on February 9th, the first one in the morning, the second in the afternoon.

Screaming Sirens, Flashing Lights

Not thirty minutes after my last posting a policeman called me to say he’d been by to check out the bike. My, things have changed since last time I called the police, which was in about 1987 when four drunken boys were clanging up the fire escape of my four storey apartment building, irate because I’d dumped a bucket of water on their heads for making so much racket so late at night. Fortunately, by the time they got to my window they forgot what they were doing and continued on to the roof, where they partied on for three hours, lowering themselves back down well before the police got around to answering my call, four hours later. Next time that happens, I’ll know to tell the police there’s an abandoned bike on my fire escape.

The officer said he’d spent twenty minutes on the phone trying to track down a solution. “Yep, that’s an abandoned bike, alright.” He said if somebody just cut the lock and removed the bike, probably no one would notice. He called the City of Portland Transportation Bureau and talked to somebody named Goode Freed (he was unsure of the spelling). As for the serial number, he said that didn’t help a lot with these cheap bikes, which he says are often given one number per hundred or so. That’s something I didn’t know. He said now that reported the bike to the city, maybe someone will come remove it. If not, maybe the phone company will take an interest in getting the bike off their pole. Of course I’m not about to pursue that option, since I want the pole for my own bike.

(I didn’t tell him that I’d already reported it to the city and all I got was condolences for the bike’s owner and the promise of a bike rack installation that hasn’t materialized.)

Had I known that my police call was going to produce such speedy results, I would have climbed out to talk to him in person. Little did I know that as I was toiling away in my laboratory he was just a few walls, a tunnel, a maze of pipes and a pile of dirt away, inspecting the poor nag. I emerged from the building a few minutes later to find the bike reared up on its front end in an angry whinny of protest at the indignity of the ordeal.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yikes. Now the police are involved.

I took down a buncha numbers from the bike. Then I called the police to see if it was stolen, but they said they couldn’t tell me that over the phone. I asked, Do you mind telling me why not? They said, “No offense to you or anything, but we don’t know if you’re the person who stole the bike and are just checking in to see if it’s been reported yet. You’d have to actually bring the bike in.” “But it’s locked to the post,” I said. “In order to do that I’d have to cut off the lock, and since it isn’t mine, wouldn’t that be stealing?” “I’m sorry Ma’m, we can’t give you any information over the phone.” “But what if I bring it in and you find that it is stolen. They’ll ask me where I got it and I’ll have to say I clipped the lock and took it from where its owner put it. Would I not then be seen as a person who has stolen a bicycle?” “Ma’m, since you have a lot of questions, would you like me to connect you with a police officer?” At this point I started feeling guilty that I was even calling the police. I haven’t gone around to ask everybody in these two apartment buildings if the bike is theirs. But why should that be my job? Like I have that kind of time. The landlord said he’d send out a letter, but fat chance that’ll ever happen. “Well, just tell me this,” I said, groping for a moral foothold. “I know it’s illegal to abandon a car in one spot forever. Is it equally illegal to park a bike in one spot and never come back to get it?” “That would have to be at the discretion of the police officer, m’am. I can send someone out to take a look at it.”

So that’s how we left it. If they come, I won’t even be around to ask or answer questions. I won’t get to have the ending of the story. I won’t know if it was a stolen bike or not, or if it ever finds its way back to its rightful owner. It’ll just be gone – poof – next time I’m over here. Now I wish I’d never called them. I wish there was a big list of stolen bicycles somewhere that I could check myself. Maybe I should post the information on my blog. Does anyone out there have any advice for me? [the bike has a California license]

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bike-on-Pole update

Since returning from Mexico I’ve called twice about the promised bike rack. (scroll down and see "Rackless Endangerment" below) with no results. I’ve left messages, but – nice man no call back. Am I to conclude that he is one of those people who effuse promises and don’t follow through?

The aforementioned bike is still there, sagging more with each passing day, hanging there from my stolen pipe on the telephone pole, dying slowly of drowning, rusting away while simultaneously parched from a lack of oil.

The very picture of pathos. It’s cruel.

Not to mention inconsiderate, since all this time I’m still having to practically stand on my head to lock my bike to a banister by its back wheel.

The whole thing is too disturbing. What can I do to end the misery for all concerned? I’m thinking.

I just had an idea!! I should get the number off it and check with the police to see if it’s a stolen bike! Maybe that’s why the owner doesn’t care about it – it wasn’t really theirs in the first place. If it's stolen, I can get the police to come take it away and restore it to its rightful owner.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Portland You Would Miss from a Car

I’m with a friend downtown today and she points ahead of us and says, “See the horsie?” And I look ahead and I see nothing. She keeps pointing and asking and I keep seeing nothing. I’m thinking, “How can I miss a whole horse?” and I’m panning around expecting she must mean one of the mounted police, since what other kind of horse are you going to see in the middle of downtown? And she keeps saying “On the sidewalk, on the sidewalk!” And good grief, that’s where I’m looking and I swear there ain’t no horse from here to Idaho. Finally I realize she’s looking sort of downward, and I see this plastic horse standing on the sidewalk about six inches tall. And she says, “And it ain’t going nowhere either.” I said, "What, you mean it’s glued to the sidewalk?” and she says “Let’s go see…” And we walk over to it and there’s this cable around the horse and the other end of it is attached to one of those rings that they’ve left in the curbs all over Portland from the olden days when they were needed for horse parking.

In fact, these rings were gradually being usurped by concrete workers as they repaired the sidewalks over the years until some citizens spoke out against it and said “NO! You can fix the sidewalks, but we want the horse rings left there when you’re done.” And so it was. And still is to this day.

And the other weird part of this story is this: My friend tells me the horse has been there for a whole week. I’ll be watching to see how long it stays, and will report accordingly.