Friday, November 24, 2006

COPILOT! 1997-2006

Well, my friends, the inevitable has come to pass, and the great Copilot is no more. He shuffled off his mortal coil today at approximately 4:00 pm. A vein was found, the sodium pentobarbitol was administered, and the rest went pretty quickly (thankfully). Once Cope stopped moving, the vet, who will remain nameless (we'll call him Dr. No-Bedside-Manner) listened with his stethoscope for a few minutes and proclaimed that "she's passed."

Now there are a couple things about this statement that don't sit that well with me. The first is perhaps a bit inconsequential, maybe even a little petty, but I'm grieving, so humor me. Copilot did not "pass." He died. There's nothing wrong with that word. Dogs die. Cats die. People die. Protozoa die. They do not "pass." They die. This euphemism has always been a pet peeve of mine (I also take issue with "bless you." I'm very solidly planted in the "gesundheit" camp. I am, however, very much in favor of the above-mentioned "shuffled off this mortal coil" euphemism), but I realize that I'm in the minority on this point, so well, there you have it. I digress.

The other problem is that COPILOT WAS NOT FEMALE!!! You're a doctor of veterinary medicine, for the love of Pete, have at least a cursory glance at the chart before dealing with your patients! Jeez! I know this, and I don't even have letters after my name! And to make matters worse, at one point, he called me "dude"!!! I should say though, in Dr. NBM's defense, that he did manage to complete the task quickly, and with the utmost competence. Copilot did not suffer in his last moments. And for that, I thank you, Dr. NBM!

Any of you who were acquainted with my dog surely know how wonderful a companion to me he was, and I can assure you that he loved and appreciated anybody unlucky enough to find themselves at the sharp end of his fetch obsession (Lowrey...).

And check out that techincolor neck fur! This wonderfully abstract photo was taken from way down on the floor of my kitchen, in some kind of weird afternoon light.

He was such a good dog! He is sorely, sorely missed.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Now soliciting snarky captions!

"Hmmm... the democrats have congress, Rummy's history, and Karl's gone into hiding somewhere on Fire Island... I guess I'll call up that Putin fella and see if he wants to try out for Cirque du Soleil with me."

Well, that's mine. Anyone else wanna take a crack at this?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

No small victory for the sane...

Paul Krugman and Tom Tomorrow put it best. Check it out:

I’m not feeling giddy as much as greatly relieved. O.K., maybe a little giddy.
–Paul Krugman

That about sums it up for me. It’s as if the biopsy results just came back and you don’t have cancer after all. You’re not giddy, exactly, but you can finally take a deep breath and maybe let some of the tension drain out of your shoulders. The future remains uncertain but you can begin to imagine it as something other than relentlessly bleak. As a general rule, I don’t have much faith in Democrats, having not fallen off any turnip trucks within recent memory, but I also think that we’re suddenly in an entirely new ball game. At the very least, I believe they will serve as a necessary bulwark against whatever residual craziness the Bushies may be harboring. They won’t be rubber stamping any plans to invade Iran this time around. And maybe they’ll even step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. They’re newly emboldened, and this is their moment. They no longer have to worry about appeasing the sort of people who believe that criticism of the president is an act of treason. Those people have been shunted aside. They’ve been put back in perspective. They were never anything more than marginal cranks, but for awhile there they managed to create their own reality, to create the illusion that they represented some sort of majority consensus in this country. Well, sorry, freaks. You can go back to typing your little manifestos and wanking over your war porn, and yelling at your mom to bring more cheetos down to the basement for you — but the country has seen you for the pathetic creatures you are, and moved on.

It’s time to have grownup conversations now. It goes without saying that the Democrats will disappoint us, one way or another. So what? The test results came back, and it’s not terminal. We got a little breathing room, and isn’t that all you can really ever hope for in life?
-Tom Tomorrow

Monday, November 06, 2006


We had an earthquake here in Portland tonight, at approximately 9:35pm. And the really interesting thing about all of this is that the epicenter of this earthquake, according to the USGS, was literally FIFTY YARDS AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!!! 16 miles down into the earth, mind you, but 50 yards away nonetheless! Click the link, close out the irritating "thought bubble" thing by clicking the X in the upper right hand corner, zoom in all the way, and then pull down with the handy hand tool until you can see the red-roofed house, roughly in line with the green "epicenter" arrow, at the corner of the main street (Belmont St) and the dead end street (18th St). That house is where I live!

I've been on the west coast for 7 years now, and while we've had a number of earthquakes since I arrived, this is the first one I've actually felt. There was about 5 seconds of shaking, which was really more accurately described as a bouncing sensation, as though a very large explosion had taken place nearby. In fact, my roommate, Robert, didn't think it was an earthquake at all at first, because of the unusual bouncing sensation. But he is a fool, as it was indeed an earthquake! All of 2.6 in magnitude. Small by earthquake standards, but still, respectible enough, for one's first earthquake anyway!

An Evening with Xiu Xiu

John the Irishman and I went to Disjecta last night to check out San Francisco's Xiu Xiu (say "shoe shoe"). I've been hearing a lot about these guys from a cat I work with named Zack, who ultimately convinced me to check them out. Neither John nor I had been to Disjecta before, so it was a bit of an adventure for the both of us. Disjecta is basically an arts organization/gallery space which arose from the ashes of the pretentiously-named Portland Center for the Advancement of Culture, best known for a huge project from a few years back called the Modern Zoo, which some of you here in Portland may remember. It's a pretty rough space, in an old warehouse right next to the Burnside Bridge. While Disjecta specializes in the visual arts, they occasionally host bands upstairs (the Shins have played there), which I imagine helps to pay the rent.

We arrived in time to see the third band of the night, Brooklyn's Dirty Projectors. The DPs are basically a six-piece experimental rock outfit with some occasional electronic experimentation. The singer had a sort of Davendra Banhart-ish freak-folk delivery, and the two gals to either side of him offered some very interesting back up vocals. They at times delved into dischordant nonsense, but it was clearly well rehearsed dischordant nonsense. John got fed up with it pretty quickly and wandered off to chat up a girl who'd caught his eye, but I was kind of digging what they were doing, so I hung around for the rest of their set, and was pleasantly surprised to run into an old co-worker from OHSU, Dave Neevel, who plays bass for Fells Acres (shameless name check, Sorry; what's even more shameless is that to this day I still haven't seen his band).

After the DPs were finished, Xiu Xiu's drummer took the stage and played both his drum kit, and a vibraphone, for about 15 minutes. Then we had to endure nearly a half hour of irritating sound-check type stuff, before Xiu Xiu finally went on. A more professional venue might have worked all of this out in advance, but as I said, Disjecta's not a music venue primarily, and they're apparently still new at the whole sound thing. It was worth the wait, however. Xiu Xiu immediately launched into a very compelling set of indie/emo/art rock, with bits of modern classical and post rock thrown in. Xiu Xiu are a sort of musical collective, and they have, at times, had as many as seven members, at other times only two. On this night there were three of them, Jamie Stewart, the only constant member and main creative force, his cousin Caralee McElroy, and drummer/vibraphonist Ches Smith. Jamie covered vocals and guitar, along with various percussion, Caralee played keys and Ches held down the drums, in a very aggressive fashion (nearly knocking over his cymbal stands on a number of occasions), along with the aforementioned vibraphone (which he never came close to knocking over; vibraphones have a fair amount of bulk to them). Our friend Jon the Architect showed up in time to catch their last song. Luckily, he managed to talk his way in without paying the cover charge ("My friends are in there, and I'm their ride!" A skillful liar, that Jon! And a fine architect as well).

Interestingly, I never did run into Zack at the show.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Copilot, meet Burke. Burke, meet Copilot!

I've been perusing the Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue website lately in search of Copilot's successor, and there are a number of dogs that look like they might fit the bill. I drove down to Creswell today to meet the first of those dogs, Burke, a beautiful blue and white border collie. I took Copilot with me so he could make his assessment as well, and I'm glad to report that Cope gave Burke the thumbs-up. Or rather he would have, if he had thumbs. Perhaps "the dew-claws up" is a better way of saying it, but I digress...

Burke has a dicey history. He was found as a stray in Montana, and was possibly feral for a time. He could prove to be a bit of work. He's very uncomfortable with strangers and new situations, but he has a very good disposition and no aggression whatsoever, so he looks like a good candidate for the position of "Tommy's border collie" (Of course Copilot is at this point still very much in possession of that title). I have a number of other dogs to look at in the near future, but Burke shows promise.

By the way, in the photo it looks like Burke is much larger than Copilot. He's actually slightly smaller. Funny thing, perspective...