Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Sly Pedestrian

Really, it's a remarkably short distance from our apartment in Ballard over to Discovery Park. There's no excuse for me not to walk over there more often. I've made the obvious trek a couple of times, crossing the canal at the Locks and walking up West Commodore Way to the north parking lot of Discovery Park. Usually from there I'd stroll up to the Daybreak Star Cultural Center overlook to gaze at Puget Sound.

Tonight, though, after I crossed the Locks and went through Commodore Park I noticed for the first time a little sign indicating a pedestrian / bike trail up a dead end road. Hiking up the road led me to a wooden bridge across the train tracks and along the "Kiwanis Ravine," a wildlife corridor intended especially to increase blue heron habitat. Did you know, great blue herons have built forty-four nests in the ravine this year? I've certainly seen a heron or two at the Locks, but I had no idea there was a protected habitat for them right in the neighborhood.

Charmed, I hung out on the bridge for awhile, hoping without luck to have a train rumble beneath my feet, before continuing on to the South entrance of Discovery Park where I sat down for a few minutes at a picnic table in the sun before retracing my steps.

I love these pedestrian surprises--the stairs up to 85th from Golden Gardens, this hidden ravine trail and habitat in Magnolia, the tiny beach below the train trestle just past the Locks. They make me feel like I've got a secret--granted, thousands of other people know about these places, but everybody knows about Discovery Park itself. I'll wager far fewer know about the Kiwanis Ravine.

I guess that means it's just an excuse for me to feel superior to people who never get out of their cars. Well...I'll try not to be too smug about it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Meaning of Life

A long time ago (in an archived blog post far, far away) I posted a link about the wave of awe that hit me when I got a glimpse of just how big the universe is. Someone responded by saying something like, "What are you saying, the universe is so big that we don't matter to God!!?!!!one! Nuh-uh!!"

I never got around to publicly rolling my eyes at the nervous defensiveness of that comment, but I was reminded of it when I read this excerpt at Pharyngula quoting Townhall columnist Dennis Prager:

Nature has been created for man's use; and on its own, without man, it has no meaning....When man is reduced to being part of the natural world, his status is reduced to that of a dolphin. It is one of the great ironies of the contemporary world that humanists render human life largely worthless while God-centered Jews and Christians render human life infinitely sacred. Man's worth is entirely dependent on a God-based view of the world. Without God, man is another part of the ecosystem, and often a lousy one at that.
Hm, perhaps Dennis Prager doesn't actually know the definition of the word "humanist?" And, what, if "without God" humanity is just another part of the ecosystem, does introducing God into the picture somehow place humans outside earth's ecosystem?

PZ Myers ably heaps some much-deserved scorn on Prager's nonsense:
His irony is a fabrication; humanists don't regard human life as worthless. Rather, one life in the here and now is all we get, and it is infinitely valuable. Furthermore, we don't need to boost our fragile self-esteem by deprecating everything else—dolphins are great and beautiful creatures, as are spiders and sea anemones and scrub pines and E. coli. The universe is a wonderful place, huge and complex and diverse and largely independent of my existence, and I am greatly privileged to be one small but precious voice singing in a mighty cosmic choir. Embracing the majesty of existence does not make me a smaller man.
Exact-diddly-actly. Seriously, I don't understand the barely-hidden panic behind this. The image of humanity as merely one part of the cosmos is hardly a new idea, nor, in fact, an idea absent from the Hallowed Bible Itself, as Josh Rosenau points out in his posting of some choice excerpts from the book of Job.

I Think That You Came Too Soon

Right, I'm only about seven years behind everyone else who's heard of Joseph Arthur, but this song, "Honey and the Moon," was on the "Live at KEXP" CD I got for supporting their pledge drive, Better late than never, for sure. Excerpt:

Remember when we first met
And everything was still a bet
In love's game
You would call; I'd call you back
And then I'd leave a message
On your answering machine

But right now everything is turning blue,
And right now the sun is trying to kill the moon,
And right now I wish I could follow you
To the shores of freedom,
Where no one lives

We're made out of blood and rust
Looking for someone to trust
Without a fight
I think that you came too soon
You're the honey and the moon
That lights up my night

But right now everything you want is wrong,
And right now all your dreams are waking up,
And right now I wish that I could follow you
To the shores of freedom
Where no one lives

Monday, June 27, 2005

Laptop Popsicle

You know, I seem to remember someone commenting a while back, about their new laptop, that it was so pretty and shiny that they just wanted to lick it.

That is exactly how I feel about our newest toy. God, my mouth waters when I look at it. How weird is that?

You have my word that this is our final major purchase this year. We were good, we saved some money, we bought some fun things, and now we can start adding to the savings again.

Now that I have this laptop to lick, I guess we'll be able to save some money on food, too!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

To Whom It May Concern

  • To the person who found my blog by asking yahoo how to put staples in a heavy duty stapler:

  • It was quite a coincidence that on the very day you were searching for this answer, I spent ten minutes struggling with the very same problem! Clearly neither of us are cut out to be office drones. I tried to ram a stick of staples into our heavy duty stapler for almost five minutes before realizing that the stapler was jammed, not broken. I felt very clever that I had mastered the subtle art of stapler diagnosis, un-jammed the stapler, and tested it out on a nearby stack of paper. When I shoved the handle of the stapler down, though, its spring-loaded backside was somehow propelled out and shot across the office, just missing its chance to wound a coworker who had walked away a few moments before.

    This would seem to be final proof that the stapler was broken, but when I examined my sample stack of paper it was successfully bound with a heavy duty staple; so, I retrieved the spring-loaded portion and surreptitiously re-inserted it into the stapler, which now waits ominously in the file room, all primed to assault the next unsuspecting office drone. I sincerely hope it won't be you, yahoo-searcher!

  • To the person who was searching for a "cool aunt:"
  • Well, shucks, I guess that'd be me. And it's about to be "cool aunt x 2," because my sister will be giving birth to another little girl any day now. Last time I saw them, my sister's three-year-old was talking a lot about the "tiny little baby" on its way. She was also very interested in the fact that, "I was a tiny wittow baby, but now I'm not. Now Ehwlie is a tiny wittow baby."

    I asked her, "Are you still tiny?"

    "No!" she laughed.

    "So are you big?" I said.

    "No!" she laughed again.

    Confused, I asked, "Well, what are you?"

    She looked at me with wide, serious eyes and said matter-of-factly, "I'm Ruth the superhero."

    I'm thinking if I have a superhero for a niece, my ticket to coolness is all ready to be stamped. See, I have it right here in my pocket. Wait, no, look! Don't run! I'm cool! Come see my ticket!

  • To the googler who also loves Thomas Voeckler:
  • Well, I saw him first. But hey! the Tour de France is less than a month away, right? I'm sure we're both looking forward to seeing that grim determined smile again!

  • To the Brazilian googling for "She can turn a drop of water into an ocean:"
  • I do believe you're the first person ever to find me by searching for the Dream Theater lyrics. Mr. Thel is a huge fan (why yes, we do own two full DVD's of live Dream Theater concert footage!), and I have to admit that I've been drawn into the love a little--enough so that I happily went with him to a Fates Warning / Dream Theater / Queensryche show at the Paramount here in Seattle a couple of years ago. Good times with the metalheads, good times.

  • To all the people around the world who are finding this blog through pictures on Google Images:
  • What on earth are you searching for that my silly pictures pop up? Alas, my referrer will not say. Teases.

  • To the seekers of "God beyond all names:"
  • I'm with you.

    And to everyone who reads without commenting: I dare you to say hello. I double-dare you! No, I triple-dog-dare you to comment on this post.

    Please? [whine]C'mon, I had cancer![/whine]


    Mr. Thel the accomplished carpenter (like Jesus, but with more swearing!) has headed south for a week or two to do some work on a friend's house down there. I am left here in the cold for the duration--literally in the cold, as it's barely fifty degrees this morning. My breath visibly steamed out into the chilly air this morning on my way to work, and I was all shivery when I got out of the shower. This seemed...unusual for June, even in Seattle. Beautiful vindicates this impression by noting that June's high temperatures for this year so far are about four degrees less than normal. Which doesn't sound like a big deal, but, you know, I could see my breath this morning! NOT normal.

    Nevertheless, I went ahead and cut off all my hair last night. Now I am a superstar! With short hair! And a bachelorette for another week and a half! Boy, I'm really gonna live it up.

    Just as soon as I can find my hat and a sweater.