Different ways to park your bike

Let’s talk bike parking.  Here, we have two examples of bike racks you would see in Portland, Oregon: the wavy line and the staple.  You will notice that nearly every bike is parked perpendicular to the bike rack.
The reason that one should park perpendicular to the bike rack:  other people.  If we lived in a vast world with few people in it, then it would be fine to lock your bike parallel to the bike rack.  But we do not.  Bike racks get a lot of use, so you need to leave room for others.

This e-bike riders has not gotten the memo. By choosing to park their bike in this manner, they have denied another biker a spot on the rack.  Because these bike racks are full, this is a particularly egregious gaffe.
If one wants to lock up both wheels, this can still be done.  After my expensive back wheel was stolen (back in 1996) I started locking both wheels.  I lock the expensive back wheel to the rack and lock the less expensive front wheel to my bike frame. I figure two locks are better than one, especially with my economical bicycle.

The imbalance of power

There are a lot of words being written about Harvey Weinstein.  A lot of people are having to check if he’s an E-I Weinstein or an I-E Wienstein.  I think this photo sums up the overall problem, in Hollywood, and in general. The woman on the right is Weinstein’s wife. She’s 41, and looks great. Because ultimately, that is women’s job in this world: to look pretty, to keep their figure, to be the sex object. In contrast, Harvey Weinstein is 65 and looks like crap.  Because it’s not his job to look good.  Instead, he gets to make a lot of money and acquire certain things: a successful movie producing company, willing to pay to settle multiple harassment cases with seemingly no penalty to him; plus a good-looking wife young enough to be his daughter.

I can’t know the specifics of the relationship of the two people pictured. But I know that finding a counter example–a couple consisting of a shlubby female successful 65-year-old business mogul* and an attractive 41-year-old man–would be tough enough that they would probably be the exception that proves the rule. Because men still run the show in this country.  And what a lot of them chose to do with their power is exploit other women, elevate men like them who won’t rock the boat, and keep women in their place.

(*Because 65-year-old female business moguls are few and far between and the ones who do exist are decidedly not schlubby. Because: not allowed.)

Hollywood and the media’s focus on style over substance magnifies this situation, but it exists in every corner of our society.  Things are changing, but not fast enough.

An obituary that caught my eye

You know how you hear about people having to cross state lines to get married (Mildred and Richard Loving, for instance) and you think that perhaps that only happened in the south? (Maybe that’s just me, thinking along those tracks.) 

Here is a woman who had to cross the Columbia River to marry, because Oregon didn’t allow a white man to marry an Asian woman.  The rest of her life is also interesting.  What stories might her parents have told her, of their life in China?  And what stories could she tell us about being an orphan at 16?  Or her experiences volunteering for the Rose Festival and the Portland Rose Society?

On being raised to “help”

This chart comes from an investigative report done by the Oregonian about nepotism in the legislature.  Apparently, Oregon is fairly unique in allowing our political leaders to hire family members as aides. However, I took this picture for another reason.

Look at the column of “Relation.” Only three of these aides are men: one son, one father and one husband.  Twenty of them (87%) are women: wives, daughters, daughter-in-laws.

When I see this list, I see all the girls who society encourages to be “helpful” and “caring.”  What would things look like if instead, they were raised to be leaders?  Would the spread be more even, on both sides, legislators and aides?  And how different would society look, if that were the case?

Walter Scott’s Personality Parade not needed due to internet

Walter Scott’s* Personality Parade is the feature on the first page of the weekly Parade Magazine.  Tradition is that I read the Parade Magazine while eating my Sunday breakfast. However, I did not read Personality Parade for years because of sexist answers.**  I’ve recently begun to skim it again and you know what?  There is no reason for it to exist.

Back in the day, if you wondered something, like, say: “Did Theo James appear in a TV show before starring in Divergent?” you would have a few choices.  You could just keep on wondering, waiting for the information to come to you.  You could ask your friend who knows everything about movies/TV.  You could call the library reference line.  You could make a bet with your friend, so she would do all the research.  You could write to a columnist and hope they published your answer.

But now?  We have the internet.  If you and your friend have a bet, you establish the parameters and then get out your phones and use them to find out that Theo James was Mr. Pamuk in Downton Abbey.    Thirty seconds after the bet is made, you know the answers.  So why are we still reading this column?

I know the answer.  It has to do with promotion of upcoming things. The Wikipedia article tells me that even back in the day the questions were “composites”  of actual reader questions.  I assume they are fully made up today.

*Who is Walter Scott, anyway?  Wikipedia tells me, it’s a made-up name.  Lloyd Shearer was the original writer.  Today Edward Klein is the author.
**There was an answer to a question about Hillary Clinton wearing pantsuits that was the final straw.  The questioner wondered if it was appropriate.  The answer was that her legs were kind of heavy, so it was probably better that she wore pantsuits instead of skirt-suits.  (Grrrr.)

My favorite letter to the editor this August.

If it weren’t for Mr. Christensen of Forest Grove, I wouldn’t have noticed that there really aren’t very many campaign bumper stickers this election season.  I also enjoy that he includes a tip for displaying the bumper sticker in regions other than the bumper.IMG_5876

Responses to this letter took the theme of “I don’t want my car vandalized for my political viewpoint.”  Which is a bummer.  There should be no vandalizing of cars.

The reality vs. the purported ideal.

I bought Vanity Fair from the newsstand (really from the rack at New Seasons) because Amy Schumer was on the front and because the issue was about sisters.  I should probably just subscribe, as the subscription is so inexpensive, but I haven’t gotten around to it, plus I would really be committing to the long (long long) articles that are the usual Vanity Fair thing.  And then there are the ads.

I don’t really read a lot of magazines with what I think of as magazine-type ads.  You know.  The impossibly thin and tall women who look nothing like nearly all the women I see and fit into clothing that nearly all the women I know will never wear.  I don’t like what they are selling and I don’t like what they are saying and I don’t like that they are some sort of homogeneous ideal.

And this page sums things up.  Who are you more likely to encounter: the sisters on the left, or the naked ladies on the right?IMG_5578

Other than the ads, it was a great issue.  I spent several days contemplating one of Annie Leibovitz’s pictures of Amy Schumer. I couldn’t decide if it disturbed me or was kind of awesome. Matt had no such trouble making a judgement call.  When I showed it to him, he took one look and said, “That’s awesome!” I finally decided if I had been thinking about it for three days it was kind of awesome.

In other news, I’m bummed I don’t have a sister.

November Rain, revisited.

fuKhGI watched November Rain last night for the first time in a couple of decades. And Man! The production values! I’m quite certain that Kevin Smith made Clerks for a fraction of what this nine-minute video cost.
Observations:
  • It’s an Axl/Slash love-fest with hints of Duff and a couple of overhead shots of the drummer.  Was Izzy even a part of the band at that point?
  • There’s a probably-not-intended bromance thing going on. Why does Slash leave the church mid-wedding? Is he sad to lose Axl? Don’t worry Slash, you will soon get to comfort your buddy while he mourns.
  • The sweeping helicopter shots of the guitar solo outside the church are amazing! And very fun to think of the steps of filming them. (We need a church in the middle of nowhere. Lots of–what’s that color? Not gold–gold’s too glitzy. We need contrast here. Amber! No, not the girl! Amber’s the color I’m looking for. And then we need to see Slash from all sides! Don’t neglect the back. And there should be movement! We’ve got the helicopter for five hours! Don’t waste it!)
  • With all the costumes and trappery, no one noticed that Axl is sporting a mustache equivalent to a consummation stalled by impotence.
  • Slash however, looks good. Slash always looks good. I just googled him. Both the jeans and flannel on top of the piano and the leather jacket and chaps totally work. Still.
  • The smoking! Do musicians smoke so much in their videos anymore?
  • I have always loved, and still love, that wedding dress. Probably because it was made for a model, not for a 5’3″ normal-looking female.
  • I had forgotten the wedding-to-death transition. So abrupt!
  • The color change of wedding bouquet to flowers on the casket. Amazing! So obvious and yet so effective!

(Image from: http://i.imgur.com/fuKhG.jpg)

If you’re going to die, you might as well do so on a slow news day.

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Because if you do, you might get a front page cover story, that continues for another half-page inside.  And also a reprint of a past concert review.

Here are my Prince memories:

  • The preview for Purple Rain played during at least one, and perhaps more, movies my family attended that summer.  Maybe during Ghostbusters?  At any rate, I have a strong memory of my dad reacting as if the movie was not for us to see. I was too young then, of course, but I’ve never actually gotten around to watching it.
  • I really liked the song “Little Red Corvette” and I think my mom did too.  I have vague memories of watching the video, perhaps at the neighbor’s house as we didn’t have cable then.
  • “When Doves Cry” was one of those songs that imprinted on me, though I mostly associate it with Romeo+Juliet, where it was used effectively in the soundtrack.
  • The Batman album.  That theme song was all over the radio that summer.  “Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?/Batdance!”  My brother may have even had the soundtrack on cassette tape.  Funny that I haven’t heard mention of this album AT ALL in the millions of laudatory words written about Prince.
  • My brother and are watching the video music awards and Prince is singing in a bright yellow suit.  It’s all par for the course.  And then he spun.  And we looked at each other, our jaws dropped.  Because there was no butt in that suit!
    (image from http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160421153519-03-prince-fashion-prince-get-off–restricted-super-169.jpg)160421153519-03-prince-fashion-prince-get-off--restricted-super-169
  • Two iconic Prince songs I associate more with white artists, which is interesting.  “Kiss” was first introduced to me by Tom Jones.  When Julia Roberts sang along to the song in the bathtub, in Pretty Woman, I was surprised to hear her say, “you gotta love Prince.”  Watch that Tom Jones video at your peril.  It’s heavy on the rad computer graphics.  And of course, Nothing Compares 2 U, the video of which was on repeat ad infinitum, letting us all think that we’d look as good as Sinead O’Connor if we shaved our heads.  I hated that song until I loved it.
  • I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Prince and I don’t know if I could name a song of his after 1990, but an earlier-than-usual death is never a good thing.

Four weeks, one notepad.

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Today is the last day of my fourth week of work and it seems I’ve also completed this notepad.  Work is going well, and I’ve been enjoying learning new things.  The notes above pertain to editing a PowerPoint, where I created a boatload of charts from the data acquired in a phone survey.  The post-it note on my monitor is from my co-worker, as a handy reminder of how charts in reports are centered.  This is the last week of PC usage for this office, though.  Next week we switch over to the other side of the computer divide and everyone gets a MacBook Pro.