Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yay 49 and yay Max security

I’m so proud of Oregonians for passing measure 49 on Tuesday, which will keep our landscapes from being turned over to developers who will develop any thing in any way that can make them money. This will really make a difference in our ongoing struggle to avoid becoming exactly like the rest of SprawlAmerica in which the unit of measurement is the car.

Yay. Thank you everyone who voted yes. I for one am thrilled, along with hordes of other people.

In other matters: Tomorrow I’ll ride the Max train again. Yesterday was supposed to be the start of the police patrols they’re going to have now. I think that if they just walk around and look decorative, that will do the trick. I’ll report back.

Also, it’s been discovered that the security cameras at the Gresham stations are merely placebos. This came out when security videos were requested for the investigation of the guy who got beaten up with the baseball bat the other day. Sorry, no have video. Now he’s thinking of suing Tri-met.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Plan of Personal Defense at High Crime Areas

Obviously I lied about writing tomorrow. Tomorrow was yesterday and I didn’t write. I’m writing today, which, though neither yesterday nor tomorrow at the moment, it would have been day-after-tomorrow at the time that I made that promise – which isn’t that far off target.

A few months ago, after years of research, Lindi and I got cell phones. We don’t use them much because we only got them for safety reasons and we keep forgetting we have them. Nor do we want to talk to each other every six minutes that we’re apart. If we did that, we’d have nothing to say the next time we saw each other.

If you want to remain attractive to someone, don't tell them about every tedious increment of your life as you move through the day. Most of it isn’t very interesting, such as: Hi, I just stopped by the corner store and got a snack; Hi, here I am at the post office buying stamps; Hi, now I’m waiting at the bus stop; Hey there, now I’m here in the coffee shop with Sam and we’re talking about the president.

Who's going to ask how your day was after all that? Snore! You've spent the day telling them how uninteresting your life is. Whereas, if you would just not call, by the end of the day you yourself will have forgotten about the small, mundane things and will only remember the good parts that are worth telling. If you spare them the minute-by-minute narration, they’re more likely to maintain the illusion that your life -- and by association, you -- is interesting. Now you might actually have something to talk about over dinner.

Getting back to my plan of defense at the gnarly Max stations: You guessed it – at the first hint of trouble I’m going to call the cops on my cell phone. But it’s not that simple, I’ve refined the plan further than that. I’m going to program my phone to call 911 at the press of a single button. I know cell phones can do that, and even regular phones can do it. I believe that’s called speed dialing, and I’ve never used it because I’m afraid it would remove any reason for my brain to hold on to anyone’s number in my head for me. But I’m going to do it with the 911 number, and then I’m going to practice snapping open my phone and calling it. I’m going to keep the phone in an outside coat pocket, with my hand already on it. I’ll have it positioned in a certain way so that I don’t have to figure out which way it goes like I normally do every time I use it.

Besides that plan, I’ve got something else in my favor that the other guy didn’t have, which is that I already know not to call out suggestions when I see people engaged in erroneous behavior. Having tried it out on my own family members for decades, I already recognize that to be a completely ineffective method of behavioral modification. But according to the baseball-bat victim’s sister, it seems that the man might have had words for these kids about mis-use of a crosswalk or something. It would never occur to me to offer that. Given that the caliber of people that he was addressing tend to respond especially poorly to such criticism, I think I’m starting out in a safer place than he was.

So. I’ll stand there confidently with my cell phone in hand, ready to call for help at the press of a single button. That’s my plan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Perceived Danger becomes reality for one unfortunate person

Last week Lindi emailed me an article about Gresham having decided to put cops on the Max trains as they go through Gresham – to which I’m of course thinking, Yay, because most of the time as I’m standing on the Gresham platform in the evening I’m thinking Eeek, not to mention Ug, and other things like, “Good Lordie, where in God’s green hell are you?” And “This would be a great time for you to get down here,” and "Please do tell what you had in mind when you created that person.”

Call me horrible, but that’s what’s going through my mind, I can’t help it. I’m hearing obscenities at the rate of every other word, and the conversations are about jail, parole, drug deals, lewd sex, revenge, and vendettas.

So when I hear that cops are going to start patrolling the trains, I’m starting to get in a much better mood about catching the train there, and I’m hoping they're going to include patrolling the stations.

The very next day Lindi emails me another
article about a 71 year old man who gets beat up with a baseball bat at the exact station where I wait for the train. It happened at 9:30 on a Saturday night, and though I’m usually getting on the train a good three hours earlier than that, at 6:30, that's not making me feel better because it’s just as dark then and the perps described in the article sound exactly like the creatures I was just telling you about.

So anyway, now of course Lindi is worried, so I have come up with a strategy that I think will be effective should an ugly situation start to develop. For now I will just say that it will not involve the wooden baseball bats I keep in the trunk of my car, as one might assume. But I will have to wait and describe the strategy in tomorrow’s post because it's time to end the day. As a bonus, as a reward for waiting, I may also explain why I keep bats in my trunk.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I'm in a rush this morning and can't elaborate on this now, but I just want to remind people to vote YES on 49. If you don't want Oregon to end up looking like California, if you don't want more unchecked sprawl that's pedestrian and bicycle unfriendly, if you don't want reliance on automobiles planned in by the greedy sprawl-headed devevelopers --

if you don't want the above, vote YES on 49.

Please. It's a close race. Be sure and turn in your ballots by Tuesday evening.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

not enough bike parking

Recently, on a Friday morning, I arrived at the Hollywood Transit Center to find the bike rack there absolutely stuffed. It's one of those wiggle-wave style racks, and every single wave had a bike in it. So I had to just nose mine in where I could on the curb side of it.

When I got back that afternoon I realized how my wheel was hanging out over the wheel chair ramp. Do you see it sticking out there? Am I not horrible?
But I swear there was nothing else around that was skinny enough to lock it to. Of course this means that more people are riding their bikes, which is a wondrous and beautiful thing -- but it also means:

HEEEEELLP! We need more bike racks!

Are you listening , Trimet??