Family is Family and That’s That

Just a little break from the normal politics and fawkery…

I was strolling through the interwebs and came up with a post on Lifehacker that provides strategies on dealing with family members that drive one crazy. Read through the comments – oftentimes the comments are more interesting than the blog post itself.

A couple of the commenters appeared to be in their early to mid teens judging from the situations they describe. They talk about having hatred for their parents, not wanting to form/improve any kind of relationship with them, etc. For the sake of this post, I am assuming that these two people are not abused and are living fairly “typical” teenage lives.

Speaking as someone who has spent a quarter-century on this planet, I really hope these two people gain some perspective. In fact, one other person followed up with a comment that really resonates with the point I am wanting to convey here:


Step one: remember that some day, your mother will die. And remember that death is forever and ever. 

Step two: try and imagine what it will be like with her gone. Think of the silence where she once will have been. Think of the space where she once will have stood. Imagine the empty, barely-perceptible breeze in the living room, the kitchen, the hallway, that was once her body, flitting to and fro. 

Step three: while imagining what it will be like with her dead forever, add a whopping dollop of regret about the fact that, at some point, you stopped trying to connect with the person who squirted you out of a hole which, while flexible, is not normally bigger than your thumb. 

Step four: maybe try picturing her as your age. If she still has photos, check them out. Ask her what being your age was like for her. What hopes and dreams did she have in that carefree time before she gave them all up just to raise you? 

Step five: ask yourself: if she died tomorrow, instead of in twenty or so years, will you honestly want to have had the negative feelings about her that you do today? How might you feel then about how you feel now? 

(optional) Be super sad. When she asks about it, tell her the plain, honest truth. Let her hug you. Remember her hugging you; store it away for when she really does die, because you’re going to need that memory badly then. 

We all only have one shot at this game called life. Family – especially siblings – are among the few people who will be there with you from cradle to grave.

So The Banks in Portland are Being Shut Down?

That is the stated goal for the Occupiers today. Their antics have already resulted in the closure of the Steel Bridge which almost made my commute a no-go. Their tactics apparently involve marching to banks and businesses and sitting in.

I am curious to see what will happen when the owners of those private parcels of property ask the trespassers to leave? What about the privately-owned Steel Bridge (it is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad with leases to the city and Tri-Met)?

Further more, how does clogging up traffic for middle-class commuters trying to get to work going to help anything? Not one single top executive with any decision-making authority is in Portland. Fucking up the days of commuters and front-line workers in bank branches solves nothing.

Occupy Portland Liaisons Demand Apology

As if we needed yet more comment thread fuel over at the Oregonian. 6 protesters whom have acted as liaisons over the 5 week occupation demanded an apology from Mayor Sam Adams and Portland Police for how they ended the occupation on Sunday. Let’s recap events, shall we?

  • Thursday: Mayor Sam Adams issues a 12:01 am Sunday deadline to leave the park. Two and a half days notice to pack up camp and leave.
  • Friday and Saturday: They ignore the warning and assemble more protesters.
  • Sunday 12:01 AM: The minute comes and passes without a swarm of police or violent activity.
  • Sunday 12:02 – 10ish AM: The police allow occupiers to remain. They tried to keep them from taking a street, but the police show restraint.
  • Sunday Morning: The crowds finally thin out because the novelty of a “party” has worn off. The police finally move in a clear the parks.
Not one fatality, not one use of tear gas or other chemicals, no bullets, no bean bag guns, no water canons. We do have about three-quarters of a million in costs and two trashed parks that are now closed to 100% of the people. And they want an apology?

I think before they cry “brutality” or “violence”, they should check out the Occupies on other cities. Oakland, CA comes to mind. Any city south of the Mason-Dixon line comes to mind. Portland has been the least violent Occupy in the country.

Empty Threats are not Peaceful Protest

Occupy Portland has finally been booted from our parks, but their efforts continue. According to the Oregonian, they will continue to hold rallies and look at other places to “occupy”. One quote from the Oregonian article does concern me:

In a news release, Koch said the mission on Thursday will be to “shut down major, corporate banks in Portland and reclaim our democracy from these financial institutions.”

Are you inciting riot, Koch? How do you plan to shut down these banks? You do realise that as soon as the Occupiers set foot on bank property, the banks have the right to ask you to leave and charge you for criminal trespass should you fail to comply?

The banks are all on private property which makes it much easier for them to legally give you the boot. Making [empty] threats against banks to “shut them down” is NOT peaceful protest.

Further, you plan to “reclaim democracy from these financial institutions”. Really? I agree that big banks suck for a myriad of reasons, but how do they have a stranglehold on our democracy? Last I checked, no one is forcing anyone to open an account at the big banks and no one is stopping anyone from joining a credit union.

The “bank transfer day” was a great idea to bring awareness to the public regarding the big banks and the alternative options. That is precisely the type of action the Occupy Movement needs to focus on as they move forward. Making uneducated empty threats do nothing more than chip away at your credibility.


Our lame duck mayor has finally handed down an eviction notice of 12:01 Sunday morning. Portland Police Bureau are formulating a plan of attack to clear Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. I support any and all actions the police shall take to clear the parks.

This started as a protest with a (mostly) good message. It has devolved into a clusterfuck of drugs, crime, and violence. Anyone who still calls this a “peaceful protest” must set the bong down now and wake up! Stabbings are not peaceful. Manufacturing and detonating Molotov Cocktails is not peaceful. Throwing a police officer in front of a bus is not peaceful.

Many of the original protesters are no longer at the camp so they have been replaced by vagrants. This protest is a joke and has lost credibility with the majority of the “99%”.


My Stance on Extreme Couponing

What do I think of “Extreme Couponing”?

Hrm… One moment please…

Life. Get one. Now

I know someone who has a full binder of newspaper ads to use in price-matches and a large accordion file with coupons organized A-Z. This person sources coupons from 3 or 4 different newspapers on a daily basis. I have personally been with this person in store checkout lines where the transaction took in excess of 15 to 20 minutes.

If I had to estimate the time spent here, I would say a good 10 hours a week is spent on these coupon gymnastics. A job at Oregon minimum wage ($8.50) for 10 hours is $85.

I am the king of thrift, but I don’t use time wasting “extreme couponing” because time is money. Most coupons have stipulations such as minimum purchases or other combinations. I am no accountant, but isn’t it better to not buy something at all then it is to save 30 cents on it?

For groceries, I buy generic with very few exceptions and I am disciplined to not give into impulse or non-necessity buys.

As for the couponers themselves, I die inside a little bit every time I am forced to wait in line behind them.