Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What really happened on the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig

60 minutes had a remarkable interview on May 16th with one of the last oil rig survivors (Mike Williams) to get off. It really helps get past all the finger pointing so the average Jane/ Joe can understand what a "BOP" (Blow Out Preventer) is, what caused the blow out int he first place, who was pushing to ignore the known safety issues, who was responsible for what part of the operation (apparently, nobody...) etc.

Part 1:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Part 2:
Watch CBS News Videos Online

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pig from IOWA? Defend yourself!

This is what happens when you piss off the locavores: Portland Pig Cook-Off followed by drunken brawl over the provenance of pork. (Leslie Cole, the Oregonian)
Snip: "A prestigious pig cook-off at the Governor Hotel Sunday night was followed by at least two head buttings and a fist-fight outside an Old Town strip joint. Portland police were called to break up the rumble, which sent a renowned chef and the event's organizer to jail after one had been pepper-sprayed and the other shot with a taser.
And it was all over a pig. "
The comments are even better: "Pretty much a quintessential Portland story: Hipsters, Foodies, excessive drinking and a strip club. Only thing missing was whether they traveled by bicycle, streetcar, or Prius between venues."

"I hope they used locally grown peppers for the pepper spray. Also, what about the strippers? I hope they didn't bring any of them in from Iowa. It's better to eat Iowa pork and support local strippers than the other way around. "

Wonder if this makes us more or less likely to have Bobby Flay visit our belovedly weird little city for a "Throwdown".???

This has got to land right on up there as great city history with the story of how famous brewery mogul Henry Weinhard offerred to pump free beer into the Skidmore Fountain when it was dedicated in 1888.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy 30th Anniversary Mount St. Helens

I was 8 years old when the mountain blew.  I can barely recall the perfectly symmetrical, snow-capped peak from my childhood (America's Mt. Fuji, they said...)  most often glimpsed as we were driving across the I-5 Marquam Bridge through downtown Portland on the way to my grandmother or aunt's house in NE Portland.  This is the image I recall, from 1977:

And this is what was seen a month after the eruption, in 1980:

From our vantage point to the south it just looked like a giant had sliced the top off as if it were a a soft boiled egg.  And the elegeant old lady was quietly, literally fuming like a cartoon character.  But to the north where the massive landslide and lateral blast occurred it was another story.
Before from Spirit Lake:

After from Spirit Lake (1982):

I've camped, and hiked, and explored in the Gifford Pinchot national Forest on the south flank of the mountain for years, but I still have never made it up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. I think the Monkey and I are long overdue for a visit this summer.
Some media retrospectives: MSNBC slideshow,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mahalo for the Sun...

The T-Ball gods smiled upon us last weekend for picture/ game.  I'm no pro but I did get a couple of cute shots. I also got a lovely sunburn. Always happens in May. I'm always sure the sun's not hot enough to do any real damage yet after weeks of cool weather, and end up with a nasty surprise as a result. So note to self: sunblock for the rest of the summer.  And a hat.  And sleeves.

Mother's Day was wonderfully relaxing.  The Monkey made me a picture, Daddy took me out for dinner at Patrick's Hawaiian Cafe  then a movie to see Iron Man 2 at Cinetopia (just a few blocks away). Patrick's had live Hawaiian music (as they do every Fri/Sat & Sun nights, and hula dancers on special occassions...) and the Coconut Shrimp and Kal Bi Ribs were melt-in-your mouth amazing!  Everything was, actually.

While most people think of the wide range of Asian cuisine available in the Northwest (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Lao, Japanese, Malay to name a few...) we tend to forget that Hawaiians were some of the very earliest pioneers here in the Pac. NW. thanks to the old shipping days when Pacific ports were main stops on the way to/from the Sandwich Islands.  

According to the Ke Kukui Foundation, a mainland-based Polynesian group devoted to preserving Polynesian culture and language for descendents of displaced Polynesians, Hawaiians arrived in the Oregon Territory in 1811, settled near Fort Vancouver in the 1830'sduring the Fur Trade and then in California during the Gold Rush in the 1850's at "Kanaka" Villages.  Several Oregon and Washington place names were named by or for these early Hawaiians (like Kalama).  When the states refused to grant them U.S. citizenship (even though Hawaii was a U.S. territory by this time....) many returned to Hawaii.  But many stayed, and of course many native Hawaiians are moving to the mainland again as the cost of living there skyrockets.  As of the 2000 census, in fact it appears there are more people of native Hawaiian ancestry now living on the mainland than in the state of Hawaii. 

And lucky for us, many of those are opening restaurants with fantastic "home cooking" style marinated meat, macaroni salad and Spam derivatives (I don't get it, but Mr. Stang loves his Spam and eggs...). Then there is the quintessential "fusion" of Asian, Polynesian and NW flavors that simmered for decades in those volcanic islands at the Crossroads of the Pacific, generation after generation.  The seafood, of course (drool), and the  Teriyaki/ Yakisoba, sushi, Korean BBQ, and .....
Besides Patrick's Hawaiian Cafe, Vancouver boasts the Hula Boy Charbroil (now with two locations... one on 4th Plain and a new one Downtown).  And Portland has the famous Noho's (original location on SE Clinton St., new location in Medford and according to their website, FRANCHISES coming soon!); and the Mamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille on Macadam which was one of my fave lunching spots when our office was down on the River.

And a few I haven't been to (yet):  Ohana Hawaiian Cafe (two locations:  one on NE Sandy Blvd and one in Milwaukie).  and Tommy O's (two locations as well: East Vancouver and Downtown Vancouver).  Urban Spoon has a much more extensive listing for the Portland/Vancouver area. 

In recent years, the Ke Kukui Foundation has launched an annual Hawaiian Festival at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver where you can experience a little piece of the Aloha Spirit without having to buy an expensive plane ticket. Hula dancing, music, arts and crafts..... and of course, the FOOD.  This year it's scheduled for July 31st. And it's FREE!!!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Weekend Warriors

Excuse me for a minute while I wallow in misery. My body, it hurts.  Stump removal, blueberry bush planting, and paver stone transportation is not good for the slacker lower back of a computer jockey. But it's not like I was doing this sort of thing all weekend:

Parkour from Mustang Sally on Vimeo.

This group of guys has been at the Open Gym at the local gymnastics school almost every time we've taken the Monkey and are pretty amazing. I'm pretty sure they're practitioners of "Parkour" but maybe they're just gymnasts or cheer dudes.  They are very entertaining to watch, however and are usually pretty respectful of the little guys in their midst.  Like ours:

Duncan at the Open Gym from Mustang Sally on Vimeo.

Sunday night Open Gyms are a kick.  There's the little kids diving into the cube pits, and the parkour/ gymnast/ cheer teams, but it's also apparently very popular with the teen set for date night.  You can almost taste the angst and anxiety along with the stench of stale sweat and hormones in the air.  But it's good family fun and REALLY burns off the energy, especially when the weather outside prohibits a trip to the park.

Though one time Mr. Stang did have to about open a can of whoop-ass on a little pre-teen punk who didn't wait for the Monkey to get out of the cube pit before cannon-balling on top of him and banged him up real good. Then I had to open my own version of can-o-Whoop on one of the teenage cassenovas after I overheard him "jokingly" crying rape when his incredibly diminuitive date/girlfriend/whatev kiddingly punched him in the arm. Yes, when it comes to rape jokes I'm one of those utterly humorlous hairy-legged feminists. I just told him to look around and realize that 1 in 5 of the girls in that very gym WILL be victims of rape or attempted rape - his "friend" included. And if they are lucky enough to survive it will scar them for life. The poor kids is all, "mmm... OK?" I know he was just one of those good kids who is an idiot but it's precisely those "good" guys who need to take the issue seriously.

The Gods of T-Ball finally showed a little mercy and held off the rain showers long enough for The Mighty Bees to get in a full game on Saturday.  After one rained-out game and two rained-out practices it was great for the Monkey to finally get to see what all the fuss was about!