liveonearth: (Default)
The uglification of which I speak didn't exactly start with Ailes (Fox), but he certainly boosted it. One of the hats that I wear is at a natural products pharmacy; we dispense herbs and supplements and a few hormonal products. I spend some time sitting behind the counter simply helping the next person who comes to the window. Most people are decent, kind, and even patient. But lately I've noticed a trend. The proportion of cranky, mean and abusive people is increasing.

Today it was a lady by the name of Hammer. What's in a name, I ask? Did your name make you into a prosecutor in the pharmacy line? How many hammering questions does one have to tolerate before you are satisfied? Is there an inkling of generosity in you? A morsel of patience? An ounce of kindness? I saw none. I experienced questions hammering in faster than they could be answered, demands stacked up while I was trying to answer the questions, topped with an insult. Ms Hammer is just the most recent experience of this sort. There was one yesterday, and the day before more than one. Too bad it's nice people who get cancer and not the bitches.

This is Oregon. People in general are nice here. But not the raving maniac that stabbed two men to death the other day trying to get to some young women who were a different color than him. This disease of condemnation and hatred is seeping deeper and deeper into our culture, and leaking out in more settings all the time. I do not know how to fix it. I don't believe in phony niceness, but I also don't believe in punishing people just because you can. I am sensitive and not cut out to tolerate verbal abuse in the course of my work. I try to contain my anguish until I am in private. Then I weep. I try to be kind to the people that I meet. And I may have to find a way to not serve the public any more.

In Japan they have a name for it. Hikikomori. It's a sociological phenomenon in which people simply stop participating in society. If society is ugly, then decent people will not show up. If decent people do not show up, society will uglify even more. If we all retreat into our tiny little bubbles even more than we already have, the fractures in our supposed union of states and free people becomes null and void. This culture is headed for the bloodbath.
liveonearth: (moon)
Today I finally got my updated living will / medical power of attorney updated, witnessed, and notarized, and I also officialized my first last will and testament.  My friends asked me if I was planning on leaving.  It's a good question to ask a person who is settling their affairs at my age, but no, in spite of the depressing state of affairs in the world, my life is good enough that I'm planning to stick around and see what happens next.   In my living will today I specified what I want done if I lose my mind (travel to a country where euthanasia is allowed for dementia--Switzerland or Nederlands allow it as of now), and also where I want my brain to go (for research purposes, to the Oregon Brain Bank of OHSU).  I'm excited and glad to have this done.  I've been meaning to do it and rewriting it for a decade now.

The real reason I was motivated to complete these documents at the age of 50 is that I can tell that I am losing cognitive function.  It shows up in many ways, and people routinely fight me on this observation, saying that I'm fine, it's normal aging, blah blah blah.  Let me just say that I used to be very smart, and I'm not any more, and I know the difference.  A minor example is that I make more mistakes in typing, for example I switch "their" for "they're" and vice versa.  This is a mistake that I used to find utterly mystifying, and now I am doing it.

The other day I updated my lifetime river log with the rivers I have run this year.  I've done 20 new rivers around Oregon this year!  But the shocker finding was that one day in July when I went paddling on the Lower Wind, I could not remember what had happened when I logged the day.  All I remembered at the time (a few days after the actual day when I logged it), was that I had planned to go paddling with Todd.  I did not remember where we went or what happened.

What happened that day was that I hit my head, again, and had short term memory loss as a result.  I have had many traumatic brain injuries over the years, from biking, skiing, and kayaking.  This is the reason that I want to donate my brain for research.  I suspect that my brain will prove that recreational sports participants can also suffer from CTE = chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  It's not just for football players anymore.

On that day I flipped over at the top of a rapid known as the Flume, and was battered on my head and shoulders as I floated through the rapid upside down.  I was afraid to try to roll up because getting in position to roll puts you in a more open and vulnerable position, so I "went turtle" which in this case simply means to tuck tightly under the boat and get my elbows in so nothing gets broken.   I rolled up at the bottom of the rapid and was dazed but otherwise OK.  And yes, for you who do not know me, I was wearing a top notch helmet.  There is no helmet that can protect your brain from the knocking it takes when your whole head is getting walloped around.

This was the third time I'd floated through that particular rapid upside down.  It is a steep, fast, shallow and rocky rapid....brutal, really.  One of my three upside down runs I didn't hit a thing.  Twice I've been beaten silly.  I vowed after this day to not run that rapid at low water anymore.  It's much easier at higher flows and that is the only time I will attempt it.  Unfortunately the portage is difficult and dangerous too... so I may not go on the Lower Wind as much anymore.  Too bad because I do love the waterfalls.

Something else happened that day.  I've thought of it many times since my memory of the day returned.  At the end of the Lower Wind run there are four major drops, three falls and one slide, not in that order. We'd run the first 12 foot falls without incident and were running the tallest single waterfall, about 18 feet vertical.  It's so high that you can't see if the person ahead of you made it, so we just wait a few seconds between boats and then go.  Todd went ahead of me and I waited probably eight seconds, then committed to the drop.  When I crested the horizon line and could see my landing zone at the foot of the falls, he was swimming in it.

He had plunged too deep in the hole below the drop, gotten caught and held, and wet exited from his kayak in the hole.  It took him a while to surface and start floating downstream.  When I saw him I was already mid-air and headed straight for him.  I was afraid that the bow of my kayak would plunge into the water and hit him in the abdomen, rupturing his organs and killing him. That didn't happen.  Thankfully I'd hit a good enough boof from the top that my bow skipped off the surface of the water and I went right over his head.  But the trauma of believing that I was about to kill Todd has not left me.  I am going to require a better signalling system for running blind drops from now on.  I need to know that the landing zone is clear.  We have had trouble at this drop before and still we are too casual about it.
liveonearth: (moon)
1.  Portland has the best Bitters.  From fresh strong coffee to extremely hoppy IPA's, to unique herbal blends to add to your cocktail, you will not find a town with more depth and variety in its bitter beverages and flavors.  Asheville, NC would like to claim that it is a beer capital of the US, but all they did was win an online survey.  Anyone who has been beer-drinking in both cities knows which one dominates.

2.  Portland has ample fresh water, including a well-protected drinking water supply.  The Willamette River splits the town in half, and the even larger Columbia River divides north Portland from southern VanCouver, Washington.  Hydropower plants on the Columbia provide cheap electricity.  Rains fall predictably from fall to spring.  Climate change scientists suggest that Portland will be getting less long slow drizzles, and more intense downpours, but the total amount of precipitation is likely to remain similar.

3.  It is easy to grow things here.  Portland is called the City of Roses because rose sprigs that came from Ireland in ballast took root along the banks of the Willamette.  Today cultivated roses bloom from February until November.  The climate is so mild that the city doesn't own any snow plows, and many plants survive the winter because it doesn't freeze often or hard.  In the summer, with a little irrigation, food gardens are highly productive.  Those invasive blackberries that people can't seem to kill produce delicious sweet berries every summer.

4.  The city is so liberal that even conservatives are welcome!  Everyone can find a community here.  Local pride about the openminded nature of the residents is relfected on bumperstickers that say "Keep Portland Weird".  Here in Portland it is legal to be naked in public (look up the Nude but Not Lewd Law) but people are so polite that they only get naked downtown during the annual naked bike ride, for which people who can't bear to see are well warned and able to avoid the affront.  There are communities of many ethinicities and religions living peacefully side by side, and great ethnic food too.

5.  The roads belong to everyone in Portland.  Cars actually stop to let pedestrians cross.  Bicycles are given a lane, or at least a little attention and respect.  Public transportation in the form of light rail and busses is busily bringing people into and out of the city to limit traffic and parking crunches.

6.  Nature is everywhere.  In town there are large and small parks and lovely pedestrian trails.  The volcanoes of the Cascade mountains are visible from town, and the protected Oregon coast is only an hour's drive away.  The Columbia gorge begins just outside the urban area and is loaded with gorgeous waterfalls and fantastic hiking trails.  A visitor to Cascadia cannot fail to notice the richness of the green.

7.  People are green here too.  We recycle what we can and reuse everything else.  We refuse to drive our cars when possible, and are mindful to minimize our carbon footprints.  We eat local and organic and support sustainable agriculture.  We have solar panels on our roofs.  We are trying to save the world, or at least, doing our own small part and feeling good about it.
liveonearth: (moon)
HRS 707-734 Indecent exposure. (1) A person commits the offense of indecent exposure if, the person intentionally exposes the person's genitals to a person to whom the person is not married under circumstances in which the actor's conduct is likely to cause affront.

I needed to check because I keep wanting to take of my clothes.  It's so warm and humid--people go around, even hiking, wearing very little and carrying less.  I guess it doesn't matter what your body looks like, it's the conduct that matters.  This law does not deal with public sexuality the way the Oregon law does, which is to say you may be nude but not lewd.  Certainly flashing is lewd, but so is a whole lot more.  None of the laws mention lasciviousness.
Journal entry )
liveonearth: (Lenticular Cloud)
A recent hike up onto the side of Mt Hood showed me how tiny our resident glaciers have gotten. It won't be long, at this rate, before we have none.

They're melting faster than we've ever seen:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/glaciers-melting-fastest-rate_55bf7090e4b06363d5a2a494
liveonearth: (moon)
https://vimeo.com/111507586

Loved this video showing all my friends getting beat down. Everybody takes a turn at this level of whitewater. If you aren't willing to take a beating, you shouldn't be out there.
liveonearth: (Luke Skywalker et al c light sabers)
The Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians is one of the best state associations for my profession. Ever since the ACA was passed they've been working to force insurance companies to cover ND primary care in the same way that they cover MD primary care. I'm happy to hear that they're going after this particular company. If a licensed ND provides basic medical care in a competent fashion, that care should be covered just the same.

I do have mixed feelings about the ACA and negative feelings about insurance in general. I wish that we had a different system.

Link to press release: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.oanp.org/resource/resmgr/Docs/Lawsuit_Press_Release_FINAL_.pdf
liveonearth: (neuroactive substances)
If you live and Portland and haven't picked up a copy of this month's Willamette Week (free news weekly, online here: http://www.wweek.com/portland/index.php), this issue is likely to get snapped up. They've named it the 420 Issue and it is all about the businesses and culture incurred by the recent legalization of cannabis in Washington and soon Oregon. What struck me initially is the amount of wordplay around the subject, and the generation of witty new phrases, words and hashtags that accompanies the surge in businesses and products containing cannabinoids. There is great excitement about the new availability and openness that comes with legalization.

I for one am OK with recreational and medical use. I think that the risks to society of adults using cannabinoids are fairly minimal. It certainly doesn't make people drive dangerously the way alcohol does. It does have a whole set of risks that aren't covered in this issue, and that really need to be kept high in our awareness as this drug becomes widely acceptable.

One risk that is coming into focus these days is of extreme overdoses. Back when folks just inhaled smoke, coughing stopped them from partaking too much. Vaporizers now make inhalation gentler and it is easy to overdose when consuming edibles. With either method you can't tell how much intoxicant is in there. With humans ingeniously extracting and concentrating the active principles, it could be very strong, or contaminated with solvents. With edibles the effect takes time to kick in. It is terribly easy to overdose for folks who are experimenting for the first time, and who have no tolerance at all.

The conventional media take on overdose--blaming it for many deaths and claiming that it is deadly--is probably overblown. It takes a massive amount of pot to kill, perhaps more than anybody is likely to actually reach because unlike opioids it is so unpleasant getting there. It is however a relative unknown: having been illegal for so long, we don't have scientific studies about overdose. We hardly have science to justify all the medical uses that have already been approved. We are going to find out now.

Another risk is incurred by the fact that edibles make the drug palatable to people who would never smoke it. It is tempting to children as candy. There is the danger that children, teens and early 20-somethings will enjoy sugary yummies containing cannabinoids and permanently alter their brain development. Later on in life there is still a brain changing effect, but in early life when the brain is still forming, the effect can be severe.

On top of these new risks due to the availability of edibles, there is the old risk of respiratory injuries resulting in sinusitis and bronchitis, and risk of more dangerous conditions like pneumonia and COPD. There is also the fact that marijuana increases heart rate significantly in most individuals. Folks who already have hypertension or heart palpitations might give themselves a heart attack.

I suppose my main message in the light of all this 420 excitement is BE CAUTIOUS and PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN because there is a lot we don't know. I believe in freedom and individual discretion as most Americans do, and I also know that people can be terribly foolish and injure themselves and others, especially when intoxicants are involved. I cannot protect the whole world from poor choices, but I do hope that this warning is heard widely. Please take care of each other and if you are going to play with the newly legalized products, start very small.
liveonearth: (Gay_batman_n_robin)
The city with the highest concentration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is no surprise: San Francisco at 6.2%. Next is my new hometown Portland, Oregon, at 5.4%. Austin, Texas is third at 5.3%. The surprise was fourth place. Salt Lake City came in at 4%. I must say, I have known more than a few lesbians who were closeted within their LDS communities. Here in Portland I keep meeting jack-Mormons.

SOURCE
The Week, 4/3/15 issue, factoids taken from The New York Times
page 14 in the "Noted" section
liveonearth: (trek jive)
This state is so delightfully progressive it curls my toes. Much as I liked Kitzhaber, I think I am going to like our new governor Kate Brown more! She was sworn in yesterday. On Monday this week (when she was still Secretary of State) she made the announcement that the Independent Party of Oregon qualifies to be a MAJOR PARTY claiming as members more than 5% of registered voters as of the 2014 gubernatorial election. The total membership of the Independent Party as of 2/2/15 was 108,742, which is three voters over the minimum to become a major party. I suspect that with the publicity incurred by this landmark change, more people will change their voter registration from Dem or Rep to INDY.

SOURCES
http://www.indparty.com/node/25
http://time.com/3709837/oregon-kate-brown-governor/
liveonearth: (moon)
If the truth brings them down, then by all mean let them go down. This story reinforces for me the fact that businesses are never as ethical as people. It's no surprise that a wind power company would want to bury bird death data, but it reminds me of pharmaceuticals that try to hide negative findings about their drugs. You might think wind power is green and renewable and good, but perhaps it is not. You might think that nuclear power is suicidally dangerous and evil, but perhaps it is not.

http://www.capitalpress.com/Energy/20141117/wind-firm-sues-to-block-release-of-bird-death-data#
text )
liveonearth: (moon)
RCW 79A.60.430
Vessels carrying passengers for hire on whitewater rivers — Safety requirements.
See the legalese. )

nice shot

Feb. 3rd, 2014 08:53 pm
liveonearth: (moon)

I'm the one in the red helmet, and this is the portage, not the rapid. A friend took the photo and just won a prize for it. Location: the mysterious Opal Creek in the upper reaches of the North Santiam.
liveonearth: (business dance)
Apparently 39/50 states have laws protecting the licensed apologizer. To find out if you are safe to say you're sorry, google your state name and "apology law". Here in Oregon, licensed medical practitioners may express regret and make direct apologies when it feels right. I am glad. I want to be able to communicate openly with my patients, and not to feel that I am constrained by risk of liability. If I make a mistake I'd rather talk it through than clam up in fear.

There is a neverending discussion in the medical world about malpractice suits. Doctors who take the time to talk to their patients, and actually care and connect, are not the ones who get sued. Hurried docs who treat the patients as unimportant are the ones who earn malpractice suits from regular people. Of course there are exceptions. There are a few patients who simply wander through life looking for someone to sue; you can't do anything about them except pass them on, and not to a good friend...

MORE INFO
http://mississippimedicalnews.com/legal-perspective-the-ongoing-debate-over-apology-laws-cms-959
The Oregon law )
liveonearth: (Where the wild things are)
This is great news in my book. I was out at the Imnaha river in spring and there is one of the first packs reported to have pups. I saw no sign of them. Now it sounds like most of the known Oregon packs have pups this year, even the newly discovered pack. Wild carnivores on the rise! We now have 53 wolves in Oregon. The ranchers hate it of course, but hopefully we can reach some equilibrium between livestock and canines that everyone can tolerate. I wonder if there might be some way to keep wild canines at bay that is as elegant as moving lights to keep away lions. Of course it's hard to protect your bovines when they're wandering far and wide...like those cows all along the Yampa. Need a wolf network up there too, keep the ranchers in line.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/index.asp
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/wolf_program_updates.asp
liveonearth: (Default)


The rain began the night we got home from our Grand Canyon adventure, and I've been getting out every weekend day. We got on the Sandy Gorge at something just shy of 3000 cfs, and again at 1200 or so, the North Fork Washougal which usually doesn't run in October, Opal Creek at something like 900cfs, and the Tilton at a lovely 1300 cfs.

notes by river )
liveonearth: (water_dropping)
We're leaving tomorrow and I'm to row a raft again. How did everybody find out that I can row? I guess I better read the guidebook about the river. I'm mostly packed and ready to do the pre-trip garden harvest and cooler pack in the morning. The temperature is going to be in the 100's. I have a big hat from Africa, a long sleeved shirt and an umbrella for shade. I have a lot of water freezing in the two house freezers. The meat (for a taco meal and a curry) is precooked and frozen solid. I went to the big local beer store (John's) and picked a sampling of beers, mostly IPA's but also a couple of porters and stouts. Will brought a German lager. Hopefully it won't be too hot to drink beer. Is that possible?
liveonearth: (bright river)
Water's creeping down toward low here in Oregon. I'd only ever run the Breitenbush at 1,100 and 1,200cfs, so this run was at approximately 1/3 the flow I'd seen. It was fine. It got a little scrapy in the second half, but overall channelized well. The trip was a LCCC trip so Mark shot some video, here it is:


Last night we ran the Lower Wind at a gauge reading of 3.2, or 162cfs (internet gauge). I was worried that the flow might be a little much for the falls, but it was fine. Willie made it look like a perfect flow for hand paddling, and I noticed how powerfully he could boof with simultaneous hand-paddling forward strokes.

The cross-river log at the top of High Bridge rapid was easily hopped on the right. I think we ran it about that high last year. The bony big one was easier just fluffy looking, and the falls went fine by the standard lines. Nobody wanted to catch the eddy at the top of the fish ladder on the left (boily in front of the sucking wall hazard) or the eddy on the left above the final man-made weir. We got in the hotsprings on our way out, then saw several bald eagles downstream. It was a lovely evening and the perfect reward for studying all day.

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