Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fog

In Bellingham there is a continuum of weather: On one end is clear skies and dryness; travel along that continuum and the somewhere towards the wet end you will find an evening fog that saturates the air to the point of a fine mist that dampens your face. That was tonight. And as I sit here writing from my living room, I cannot even see the blinking red light atop the arboretum less than a mile away. I love fog. (I pulled the picture from Google.)

And I am still quite impressed in this temparate climate that I still have three varieties of lettuce growing in the garden with only one beginning to go to seed. Not too bad.

And today's experiment of making bean burgers:
- 1 lb dried pinto beans (soak over night with salt)
- Cook the next day for an hour or two
- Add two large carrots, one sweet pepper, all diced finely
- Grate in lots of fresh ginger
- Mix in 2 eggs
- And rice flour
- And some Bragg's
Makes about twelve burgers.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Consume

Today was a tremendously exciting day. This picture (taken from The Herald) demonstrates this level of activity. But I took the bus to this mall (Bellis Fair) for an hour to pick up some things.

My highly scientific research (I commented to the check-out girl at Target how few the lines were) indicated that this was going to be a slow season of consume spending.My East Coast contact (my aunt in Cleveland) also received information (another salesperson) that the Sears opened at 5am and was dead. Oh well. To me, it looked just like another day at the mall with screaming kids and frumpy people.

I wish that I had more to say. But a friend is coming by and we are going out to see the Paper Boys at the Wild Buffalo. I need to get out of the house tonight.

YIkes

So today I need to combat the warrior consumers and take a bus out to the mall. Normally I would bike, but it is one of the most dangerous places to bike in Bellingham; add to the equation the horribly aggressive Canadian drivers and it makes for a dangerous scenario. I do not know these people at the mall - they are of an entirely different type than what I see out and around Bellingham. But the girl that cuts my hair used to be right down the street and now she moved to a place at the mall. I really dislike malls.

And I could write about my disdain for malls and the aspect of many of these people spending money on things they don't need with money they do not have. The U.S. as a whole saves -.5% of earnings, meaning that we make less than we spend. I read somewhere that the 35-34 age bracket actually has a -16% savings rate. Initially shocking, but then not really considering the expenses this demographic is faced with - from college to housing to the latest cars and electronics to which they've grown accustomed.

I can't really think of anything that I need to buy right now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Success

A day I managed to not leave the couch for a good part of the day. And I only left the house to pick lettuce for dinner and to check on my housemate's car, as she is out of town. It's nice that the bib lettuce growing in the garden is still a deep green in spite of the many frosts that we have had. Growing things year after year (and this has only been the second in this yard), you get ideas of what grows at what time. The kale needs to be planted earlier, and I could probably have lettuce longer into the winter. Quite surprising. Carrots too.

I cannot remember the last time where I didn't leave the house. But when I need to relax, I follow the lead of Magilla, the boxer-pit bull mix that lives in the house. There is a reason that one of her many names is Sluggo, and anther is Sluggella. She easily can sleep for twenty hours out of the day. And today we shared the couch for a good chunk of that. I need another day or two like this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Food

I think that I may have posted this picture before. It's of the tip of Mt. Baker from the end of my block five houses down the street.

After pulling a double shift at the Food Bank, and realizing the time of the year, I become aware of how grateful I should be for the hand I was dealt in life. Things are pretty cool right now. But one of the reasons I work at the food bank is because its tremendous fun and probably the most laughs I get all week. Some other volunteers are there every week; some nights, like tonight, I see other volunteers that haven't been there in months; and then there are the periodic newcomers - some come back, while others do not. And I guess I'm doing something for the community too, but selfishly, that's an afterthough.

And if I am lucky tomorrow, I might decline numerous invitations for Thanksgiving Day and spend the day curled up on the couch with a book, movie or both. And hopefully I can keep the computer off. That has a tendency to suck hours out of my day.

But I write from my happy little Dell with Linux (Ubuntu) tonight. Swiching from the Lenovo Windows (my work laptop) to the Dell Linux is like getting into comfy clothes after chaging out of your work duds. So far, the Dell Linux is far ahead in every aspect. Except that the sounds sucks, and the mouse sometimes doesn't react. (But I think that is more of a Dell issue.) Maybe I need to find some web forums on it, or call tech suport. But it's not that big of an issue. Overall, the Dell 1525N's Linx software has some rather advanced software already installed, not to mention the a game like chess that I recently found. Drat.

Bird

video
Here is a movie of Orcas Island taken this summer. I am supposed to go over to visit a friend there on Wednesday, but I'd rather just stay home. It's not uncommon to get invited to many place on Thanksgiving, but if it goes as planned, I'll stay home and read and watch a few movies. Or it may not.

Tomorrow is a double shift at the food bank (for a whopping five hours total) to hand out turkeys and hang out and do some work. This is the third Thanksgiving that I've done the turkey thing at thefood bank (although we work there every Wednesday) even though I don't eat the bird. This year is unfortunately likely to see more people in line.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet

This is what the soybean oil pricing looks like for 2008. Pretty exciting. But it is what I have been reading about over the past few days. Years ago I worked in this industry (to a degree), so something I thought I'd never use again in my life has been brought to the forefront of my memorial recollection. A simple observation of this chart would indicate the volatility of this (and other commodities') market(s).

A night of moonlighting and being quite tired. By the time I get home and relax, it's passing midnight. And the house is chilly, and my housemate went back to her kinfolk in Texas, so it looks like her ugly dog will be sleeping with me tonight. Magilla is like a heated sandbag.

But like always, the ride home after eleven was beautiful and no matter how cold it seems, I always end up at the house perspiring. And riding allows me to eat Mrs. Fields Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches with impunity. Yummy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watched

Here is a randomly taken pictures a few weeks back. It's heading west on Illinois towards Meridian. The Dark Haggen (so I've heard it called) is on the left. I've heard they call it that because the parking lot is not lit too brightly.

Today, like a dog or cat (or any animal of lesser intelligence), I was able to bask in the sun for an hour or two. It was warm and pleasant. I wish I could do that more often. I guess I can learn something from my dog. But after that it was reading a hundred pages on the fundamentals of the futures market. And I thought things like limit and stop-loss orders were behind me forever.

But it was enjoyable to clean out the garage to start on some winter projects. Tonight I pulled and cleaned the bottom bracket on my Trek Classic Cruiser. That bike is going on its third year and has been a true workhorse with minimal cleaning and virtually no repair. Oh, and they finally posted my article to the Whatcom Watch site right here. No more to say tonight.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Helmet

I have nothing to really say today, although I could share about the joys and rigors of putting in storm windows (many have original glass). But I won't.

A very windy last night, and a wet morning with a break in the afternoon weather and a beautiful night. And even more beautiful was being able to bike around in the brisk air.

And today my helmet finally gave up the ghost. It was dangerously old and the strap broke. So immediately over to Fanatik Bike to replace it. I like Fanatik - the people that work there are cool, and they always have what I need - and it's only five blocks from my house. And they let me take all the cardboard that I want from their dumpster to sheet mulch my yard.

More Ubuntu

Another day, another 6.5% swing in the Dow Jones Industrial Averagemarket. I think this volatility in the equities market is here to stay. I wonder what it must be like for those nearing retirement that just took a huge hit in their IRAs. I think that since the days of defined benefit plans are long behind us, many boomers will unfortunately will be able to ever truly retire as planned.

But I don't really understand retirement. I've taken many breaks in my life from work - maybe I could call it stints of semi-retirement - and I'll probably have a few more. But work is fun, and I find it to be invigorating, so why would I ever want to stop? Just give me a few years here and there in my forties to sail the Pacific or live in France and I'll be satisfied.

But on the Linux versus Windows front, I have to say that the Ubuntu (Linux) continues to pull ahead. Both laptops (Lenovo R400 running XP and Dell 1525 running Ubuntu v8.04) are pretty much brand new and I use them equally throughout the day. Here's what I feel so far.
  • Dell (Ubuntu) - I turned the computer on and started using it. Open Office was already on it, so I did literally nothing but start typing away. Yes, it was frustrating learning a new operating system, but the layout was logical and it reminded me of using a Mac-type operating system. No crashes yet, but I did get a nasty error when I tried to unplug the USB flash drive, but it forgave me. The mouse was quite sensitive, but that was more of a hardware adjustment.
  • Lenovo (XP) - We were lucky enough to get these laptops with XP on them versus Vista. Our IT guy needed to install the newest Office, so that took a few days. But it was worth the wait to get all the trial software off of it. And there was the enjoyment of learning the new Excel, dramatically redesinged for reasons unbeknownst to me. Oddly enough, Open Office is more closely related to the old Excel than the new Excel, if that makes sense. Numerous ongoing Office crashes, and this morning a horrible sound when I tried to close a spreadsheet file. A co-worker and I both agreed the computer may be possessed. Another quality product from Microsoft. Keeping your fingers crossed while typing also makes Windows a bit more difficult to use.
Sorry about the geek update. I really am not one, but this juxtaposition of these brand new laptops is quite entertaining, and I am sure that you will hear more about this foray.

The picture above is looking down my street towards the high school on a day when there was sun. Certainly not today. My place is by the VW bus. And the arboretum is the hill in the background.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SeaTac

I do not know if this will get posted tonight, but I am sitting in SFO about to board my plane. After going car free here in the Bay Area for a few days (on the wonderful train and bus system of Muni and BART) I am faced with the biggest challenge of the trip in getting from SeaTac to the Lynnwood convention Center for an 8:00am conference. The fifteen miles north to this suburb Seattle will require one transfer in downtown Seattle and over two hours of travel.

Maybe I will be surprised, but so far the public transit in Seattle is quite dismal compared to what I am leaving here in San Francisco. But tomorrow night I will be back in Bellingham with my bicycle at my disposal back in my little town of rain and clouds.

But right now I need to leave to get a drink of water before leaving. I too need to get away from the people around me talking loudly on their cell phones about their bland lives.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Haightful

So although things do not work out the way I ever anticipate, it was still a quite enjoyable time in San Francisco - even though I needed to remember what day it was and where I stayed last night. It turns out that it was Walnut Creek, a nice little hamlet east of the city. Not really my speed, but quaint and nice none the less. Then back up to a meeting on the Panhandle right near Ashbury after taking the BART into town with all the working stiffs.

I spent a good chunk of Sunday up in the Haight-Ashbury District, the place where the music scene of the sixties evolved. And up to 710 Ashbury, where the Grateful Dead band members once lived. Then over the the beautiful Golden Gate Park, where I laid in the warm sun and slept for awhile among the hippies playing drums. Lying and dozing in the midday sun brought back some fond memories.

A beautiful day and then the late morning fog rolled in and the weather turned more into what I would expect in San Francisco. But heading north into Marin County the top of the Golden Gate Bridge disappeared into the fog. And coming to the end of the bridge, the fog lifted and the blue skies cast the sunlight back down upon us in our little biodiesel powered Mercedes. More meetings in Marin and a relaxing house staying at colleague's home in the hills of Corte Madera. Whenever I am at this home in the hills, I truly feel like I am in California.

Tomorrow is off to Santa Cruz and Salinas, and then back to SFO on a 9:30pm flight. Tomorrow may be another night of traveling, and hence, no posting. Probably see you Friday. Too much has been crammed into these few days - mostly eork, but much pleasure also. I am growing to love this part of the U.S., yet look forward to getting home to Bellingham to my mellow life. Soon enough.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mission

"All the things I planned to do
I only did half way
Tomorrow will be Sunday
born of rainy Saturday

There's some satisfaction
in the San Francisco rain
No matter what comes down
the Mission always looks the same."
- Robert Hunter

So instead of sleeping last night, I met some friends out and of course was scurrying about at 1:50am to catch the shuttle to SeaTac. And of course I made it there with little disruption and little sleep. But I am running right now on the thrill of being in San Fran on a wonderful winter day that actually feels more like Spring. Check in at the hotel is 2pm, so I am getting caught up e-mails (much needed) at a small coffee shop just down the road on Van Ness. The picture is a pretty good example of what it's like right here right now, although I did not take it.

Later I plan to hop the 49 Muni and head down to the Mission District to meet some friends, and hopefuly pick up business cards - the only thing that I think I forgot - from a colleague returning to the Bay Area tonight.

And I forgot about the many pretty, stylish and fit women in San Francisco. Although I am not a big city person anymore, the energy here is quite rejuvinating. Well, I'd better run. I've ben here for three hours using their wi-fi and barely spent five bucks.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday

Day Three on the new Linux laptop (a Dell). Still no real difference on the operating systems - both are intuitive. But it was nice to turn the computer on and have all of your software already installed. Set up time literally took thirty seconds.

A day of doing as little as possible. But running morning errands I had a near collision with a vehicle. It's funny how you notice things that raise your level of alertness. This car was a high alert from the get-go: Newer BMW 535e (or something like that); Seattle license plate holder. And biking down Railroad Avenue always has its share of surprises. I generally a mellow biker.

Time to rest before flying off to San Francisco. Tonight will be a night of fragmented sleep, as the bus to SeaTac leaves at 2am for a 6:30am flight. Tomorrow should be a surreal day. At least I was able to spend some quality time napping with Magilla (above).

Glacial

So we went a a very neat cabin in Glacier, Washington. It was "green built" (a term I fully have yet to understand), and wonderful to spend time with people that I interact with on a more formal level. We basically spent a day-plus out of cell phone and wireless range about thirty miles east uf Bellingham up the Mount Baker Highway. The Northern Cascades are remarkable at this time of year and the and the companion Nooksack River was raging. Very little sleep, as a productive day was followed by a very late evening of merriment.

I am horribly lucky to work with such wonderful people. Although I've worked with many good people in my career, I feel that I have found something very unique in this company that I've been with for the past year. And although working with emerging companies can be very stressful at times, it is the most exhilerating mental thing I've ever done.

A day of down time, and then the commencement of a journey to San Francisco early, early Sunday morning. Still getting used to the new laptop and the Ubuntu. So far, a refreshing change. Oh, and the picture was taken down near Taylor Street Dock a few days back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ubuntu II

Today I entered a new world. I cast aside Microsoft garbage for an open source Linux operating system call Ubuntu. I never thought there would come a day where I could take a computer out of the box, plug it in, and use it within ten minutes. It's a Dell Inspiron 1525N and was surpriisingly inexpensive (around $650) and came withink a week. The screen is big and the laptop is dark blue. That's about the extent of my technological savviness. It even came with a charged battery! I am sure that you will hear more about Ubuntu as my experience progesses.

But I will probably not write tomorrow. We are going on a company retreat and will be out of cell and computer range, so it will be a night in the mountains - in Glacier, Washington.

The picture above was taken yesterday down along the water near Fairhaven looking north.

Fairhaven

"Your rain falls like crazy fingers
Peals of fragile thunder keeping time

Recall the days that still are to come
Some sing blue

Hang your heart on laughing willow
Stray down to the water
Deep Sea of Love

Beneath the sweet calm face of the sea
Swift undertow"
- Robert Hunter

I used to spend a lot of time in Fairhaven, where I did quite a bit of work. I really don't go there much anymore, but today I hung out a t Tony's Coffeehouse, did some stuff, enquired about yoga, and made a second trip down to Happy Valley where I got wet. I do not know why, but I didn''t feel like taking rain gear, and instead dealt with being quite wet drying, and getting less wet on the way home. I am glad I have a warm, dry home to go to with an uglydog that has the qualities in bed of a heated sandbag. And that's not all bad on a night like tonight when the wind is gusting to fifty-plus knots.

The picture abouve is from the Taylor Street dock looking towards the Fairhaven Boatworks with Orcas Island in the background - taken today. It is sort of blurry, but the top half of the island is enshrouded in clouds. Very ethereal, beautiful.

I was to post another heinously ugly house picture but decided not to. You'll probably be seeing today's pictures on this site for the next week anyway.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bitter Pill

Today, like bitter cough syrup, I had the new Office installed on my work computer. Now my home computer will be a Dell with Linux (Ubuntu v8.04), but my work computer (that I am, um, using now until the home laptop arrives) has Windows XP and the newest version ov Excel and Word. My stodgy reluctance to accept and learn this updated software made me feel like I was experiencing the onset of middle age. So I swallowed the bitter pill and took my first steps to learning it. And by the way, I've been using Excel since since it was called Microsoft Multiplan in 1984.

But a goal is to eventually get the work laptops (on the next cycle) all installed with Linux and Open Office. It seems like Linux has finally matured into a viable operating system. We'll soon find out.

Here's a picture taken a a few weeks back a half block from my house looking east. You can see Mt. Baker peeking above that ridge, which is about fifteen miles away as the crow flies. On the west side of these mountains is SR9, a winding road that is a great bike ride through the town of Acme, and then turns back home through Lake Whatcom. Oh, and Mount Baker is about fifty miles away

Actually, I'll be traveling out this way on Thursday for a work retreat up in Glacier (staying in a cabin), then on to San Francisco next week.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Letting Go

One of those groups is coming around in a few days to pick up clothes that I want to donate. So I gather up some stuff that I've been moving around with me for the past few moves to give to charity. Somehow I don't think I need my first pair of boat shoes from when I owned my sailboat (I have two other pairs), or docksiders from the early eighties, or my two pair of Birkenstocks (c.1989 and 1995). The stories all these shoes could tell...

I know why my Sunday's slip away from me. It's because I get sucked into the Internet around eleven, and the next thing I know, it's mid-afternoon. Today I didn't turn on my computer until eight o'clock tonight and hope to have it turned off by nine.

Here's a picture from a friend's house over in the Columbia neighborhood I took this afternoon. She let me borrow a bike when my friend came in from out of town, so today I cleaned it up and returned it to her. Columbia has some of the older homes in Bellingham, and she and her husband are fixing up theirs.

A relaxing, cloudy day. At least it was warm and not rainy. Not much more to say.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seeds

So I don't frequently do this - posting personal details about myself - but tonight I shall gloat. Here is another article that was written about a partnership that I work with just south of Bellingham: we take the biomethane that comes off the Cathcart Landfill down in Snohomish County and use it to dry seed. Some of that dried seed will be crushed into oil and meal, and we taeke the oil and make it into biodiesel. I was told that 1,000 acres of rapeseed (canola) can be used to power the entire Snohomish County municipal fleet on a B20 (20% biodiesel) blend. I'm the one on the far left (click the picture to enlarge; here is the story.)

And a day trip that began in Seattle and ended twelve hours later finishing up a business plan. The trip included a most unpleasant meal at a Taco Time in some generic strip mall somewhere north of Everett bus south of Alger. I haven't eaten in a fast food joint in well over a year, and now I remember why.

Tailwind

Oh, and one more thing on the election: I watch Fox News on rare occassion (when I have access to cable), but never thought that I could ever witness Britt Hume any more glum than he is every time I see him. (Did that make sense?) Until Tuesday night as the electoral map behind him turned blue. Priceless. I am ecstatic that we put a younger hipster in the White House versus another old-line aging fart. Christ, Obama's only a bit older than I am. McCain on the other hand seemed more like your typical established corporate type with a hot assistant.

But it was nice at my moonlighting gig tonight - when I rode to the shop, I faced a stiff headwind. And fortunately it maintained all evening and gave me a brisk tailwind push back home from Fairhaven. The laugh tonight was when someone inquired about employment asked about working at this convenience store, we told them they need to have a graduate degree to work there (as we both do). For me, it's a tremendous fun. I remember the days of yore standing in my window office on the 31st floor in my suit and tie with reports piling up behind me and phones ringing how I'd gladly trade this life for the simplicity of working in a convenience store some day listening to classic jazz. And here I am. For one or two nights a week, at least.

And a firend gave me leeks a week or two back. I was glad that I could finally make a soup out of them. Off to Seattle tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Boots

Here's a picture taken from today's Herald. The golden leaves scattered about town are beautiful, interspersed with the majestic evergreens. Although it poured today (again), it was a most refreshing day to be on a bike. Nothing is as great as showing up at a 7am meeting with the same feeling of just completing a powder run. And it is wonderful at this (ungodly) early hour to see the flicker of other bicycles' lights. I am very lucky to need not be confined to a car.

But I did buy a pair of Bean Boots online today (the 6" go perfect with rain pants). I don't know why more people do not wear them here, as they are perfect for this type of weather. Back east they were common, but that's just my Pennsylvania roots. And the last pair were acquired by me in 1985, so I do not think my spending habits are over the top here in Bellingham.

Nights like tonight: the clock strikes two bells (9pm) and you feel like it's midnight. But listening to a Pete Fountain CD borrowed from the library (of which I've frequent with regularity in hopes of relaxing and reading more over the winter) helps smooth out the evening.I am glad to be in a dry house with an ugly dog. She and my housemate returned safely home early this morning.

And if you feel like reading something interesting on global finances, click here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jubilate

Another picture looking up Cornwall taken a few days ago. This is about six or eight blocks from my place. The Pickford Theater (they show the indie films) is on the right.

A day that I wished I could have gotten out earlier to experience this New Day in America. When I finally made it out of the house (around three), people still were giddy with the possibility of what can be. I personally think it may be an uphill battle for Obama (or McCain, for that matter) considering what the country faces, but I should remain positive. There is always hope.

The many things I started today are getting completed, and I finally feel like I got something accomplished. And when there are no defined starting and stopping points in your work day, one frequently gets confused in the blur of time. Fortunately, volunteering at the food bank is one of the few consistent anchors I have in the week, so I know that today is Wednesday. Back to work.

Obama

So what can one say about tonight. Finally, the vast majority of Americans got their heads on straight and offered a collective "f*ck you" to the establishment. Maybe I contradicted myself from an earlier post, but it's about time getting someone in the driver seat that represents everything that Washington isn't. There may be hope for this countrry after all. Hope. A friend at the bar tonight said "we have destroyed the Death Star." Mr. Obama has a horribly long road out of this ditch where we've spent the last few years rumbling along.

And another crazy night down town. I shot a video, but it took too long to upload. I will try to upload it later. Bellingham is a pretty liberal Pacific Northwest college town; I wonder if the rest of the country was like what I witnessed here: Fireworks. Police. Drumming. Blowing horns. High fives. Yelling. Hugs. People screaming the name Obama as they pass you on the street. Jubilance.

I was not a huge fan of Barack Obama, but I have grown to accept and respect him, and be proud to call him the President of my country.

But it is later than I've been awake on a work night for a long time.

And I did end up ordering the Ubuntu v8.04 operating system on my new computer - a cheap Dell Insprion 1525N. I buy few new things in life, but a laptop every few years is one of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ubuntu

Here is what downtown Bellingham looks like around 3:30pm when the daylight starts to fade and one stops getting sidetracked by work things and heads out to drop off (late) a video and remembers to take a camera on the ride to a coffee shop to finish a flurry of e-mails in a day of feeling like little got done. This is Cornwall Avenue looking south.

But today I spec'd out a new Dell laptop. My old Dell died and I don't have enough jack for an Apple notebook. Yes, I just got a new Think Pad for work, but I will need another laptop for my personal use.

Problem is, I do not feel like having to deal with Windows. Microsot Windows sucks. And the new Vista comes standard on most Dells - to 'downgrade' to the more stable XP you need to pay Microsoft an extra hundred bucks to overinstall its better, older version, that it won't even support after the year's end. This is entirely ridiculous. And I think twenty years of having to use shoddy products put out by Microsoft is enough.

So my other Dell option is to use the new Linux operating system called Ubuntu. From reviews I've read, it's a good match for this computer and should be out-of-the-box ready. But I hope that I am not biting off more than I can chew. I am not a big tech person, nor do I have the time to devote to making things work on the computer like when I tried to load Mandrake or Red Hat years back. But I am sure that you will hear about it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Moist

"When the winter rains come pourin' down
On that new home of mine,
Will you think of me
and wonder if I'm fine?"
- Neil Young

Once or twice a year, it friggin' pours here, and this morning was one such morning. I had to bike three miles or so to work and arrived a bit moist. But things are drying up, and the low clouds over Chuckanut Ridge put on a dramatic show this afternoon. A least I have a warm dry home to go to, and the ride home turned out to be generally dry and without incident, although I was sidetracked by the warm glow of the frequently patronized Caffe Adagio on my route home. So here I sit at 5:24pm on a cloudy, pitch black Sunday evening drinking yet more coffee. Still reeling from the weekend, although decompressing.

And it was good to read up today on the economy. Call me a simpleton, but I do not think this $700 billion subsidy to (or socialisation of?) the banking industry is going to do much good. Every indication leads me to believe that we will still feel some huge fallout of our (personal, governmental and corporate) overindulgence throughout the past decades. From the credit default swaps to the risk aversion of banks (and their reluctance to lend to small business, as well as increasingly consumers), increased Treasury default risk (read this interesting link to a blogger that shares my economic sentiments), decreased federal tax revenues (due to shift to service economy and downturn in the economy) – I think that we will be in for a very interesting next few years. To call it catastrophic might be an understatement. But hopefully I am wrong. But fortunately I have reduced (eliminated?) my equity exposure, as well as paying down debt (screw putting money into the market it into stocks – no debt allows one to be more nimble; I am not going to subsidize the baby-boomers' retirement, but that's another thread for another time).

Gotta run.

Thriller

Last night was indeed a strange night in Bellingham. Actually it was the strangest that I think I've ever experienced here. It was Halloween. Now I have not dressed for Halloween in years. But last night I donned (or undonned) my "flasher" attire and went to my moonlighting gig, and later to join a huge party downtown.

Thousands and thousands of people congregated downtown - most in full regalia and costume - and as happens many times, someone called out my name (I don't know how she, a friend of my neighbors, recognized me in my shades and baseball cap and overcoat on my bike - especially since I'd only met her briefly and she was a tad bit tipsy). But it turned into a night of revelry and dancing in the streets following (of all things) a bicycle with a trailer holding huge stereo blaring disco. I laughed (until it hurt) at the antics of all the fellow Bellinghamsters. How funny.

You must watch this video, a choreograped "Thriller" with costumed dancers on a main street the city closed down for this event. Crazy.

And since I wasn't home all night, I left the front light on with a basket full of candy. When I returned home, most of the candy was gone, but a Tootsie Roll and two Smarties remained in the baskets. I thought the politeness of the trick-or-treaters was pretty cool.

A warm day today with rain and drizzle, and the dry wind blowing from seemingly all directions.