Thursday, October 28, 2004


Mary and I voted this past weekend. This election (as everyone is predicting) is an especially important election. We've got quite a few ballot measures in Oregon, some of which are rather confusing. And, of course, Kerry vs. Bush is on everyone's mind.

The most confusing was measure 37 - which deals with zoning and what the government has to pay you. It sounded like you could look at the potential history of the zoning of your property, and if you "suffered" a loss of potential reduction in property value, the state would have to give you the difference. Voted no.

Measure 36 is popping up all over the country, and Bush is pushing for it as well - defining marriage as one man one woman. There were the most hilarious arguments "in favor" of measure 36 - you just have to read them. A bunch of people got all pissy about those positions for the measure. All I have to say is: if you're stupid enough to believe the argument, then you get what you deserve. It's paid advertising, and you cannot introduce censorship because what may seem as a valid argument to one person (i.e. believing in God) may be ludicrous to another person. Voted no.

Erin Brokovich got my vote for measure 35: the standard "tort reform" aimed at health care. Numbers were flying for this one, and the "pro 35" advertisements were silly - people dressed in lab coats saying ridiculous things. Voted no.

Measure 34: this one was easy - I like forests, I'm a tree-hugger. Voted yes.

Measure 32 wins the "I really don't give a damn either way" category. But since it appeared to mean less money earmarked for roads and parks, I voted no.

Measure 38 just seemed like a scam by Liberty Northwest to get rid of its competition. Let them compete by lowering their prices. Voted no.

Moving on to the race for the presidency:

I've read a couple articles about Bush vs. Kerry. It's pretty obvious that neither candidate is capturing the hearts and minds of the public. Bush has some hard-core supporters - mostly based on moral issues (abortion, anti-terrorist image, "family" values, etc.). Kerry doesn't have the same strength - some people think he'll be a good president, but a lot just don't want Bush.

The question is, "do you vote someone out?" In other words, does it make sense to vote for someone to replace the incumbent because you want a change? Some people think that's not a valid reason for choosing who to vote for. I think it makes complete sense, at least in the U.S. We don't really have a choice in most of our political races. The country has been pretty much carved into either Democrat or Republican - 95+% of the time you know who is going to win each race long before you ever cast a ballot. Nader has been pointing that out lately (probably forever, but come on, who listens to him?). We don't have multiple choices, we have two, so not liking one person is just as good a reason for choosing the other as any other reason.

A pollster (well, a Move-On.Org guy) asked me for the issues that influenced my vote. I didn't know what to tell him, he didn't have a category labeled "Not Bush". But it boils down to the fact that I don't like what Bush has done, nor how he has carried himself as the President. I don't see that I have any other option. I only have two choices: Bush or Kerry. Voting for someone other than those two is tantamount to throwing my vote away.

I don't know how Kerry would be as President. But I don't know that you can really tell how anyone would be as president before they actually assume the position. If you're going to criticize Kerry's behavior as a senator and use it as an indication of his potential as a president, you should criticize Bush by his behavior as president of several corporations (they all chose chapter 11 bankruptcy). The truth is, people as president act very differently than they do as senators/governors/whatever. The Presidency is such a different role, you have such different power and resources available.

I wrote a small snippet on this issue on the Engaging Thought web page.

Now I drop the ballot off and wait for the results.

Phil Wood

So, Ron and I went to Moab this past week. We had a good time. The weather was reasonable, though a bit windy and cloudy. This was the first trip where I didn't take any pictures.

But that's not what I want to write about.

In the spring I decided to buy a new rear wheel (rant1 and entry2) using a Phil Wood rear hub, a velocity deep V rim, and built by Peter White. I used it throughout the summer - though I didn't ride as much as I wanted. Occasionally I heard a little 'ping' when pedaling, which I associated with the rear hub, but I figured that it was just unique to the Phil Wood that I wasn't accustomed to. However, on the second day of riding Slickrock, while riding down hill I heard a loud, metallic grind, and my chain wound up. Ron and I both knew what that sound meant: the rear hub locked up. I could no longer coast - I essentially had a fixed gear bike. I stood there in disbelief, staring at the really expensive piece of equipment that I purchased explicitly to prevent this problem.


I just couldn't believe it. About 50% of the time I ride the Slickrock trail I break a freehub. And I broke a Phil Wood - a product designed for high torque (tandems), a product guaranteed for life, something highly touted as the last hub I'll ever have to buy. Everyone was wrong.

Luckily, I'd talked with a Phil Wood rep before I made the purchase, and he agreed to a refund (not just fix) if I broke it in the first year.

I hope to get a full refund for the hub and will purchase a Chris King - which uses a completely different hub design (more of a gearing than pawls) and will hopefully handle my massive legs.

I'll follow up with what actually happens.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Two Monday's ago I had some minor pain in my abdomen, it kept me up for an hour or so, but I was able to sleep most of the night. The pain level dropped to a 1 out of 10 and everything seemed to be back to normal. Except that my urine was deep, dark yellow.

At first, I thought it was just because I was a bit dehydrated, but on Wednesday I still had the same color, even though I had drunk nearly a gallon of water. This really worried me. That and the fact that Mary was recommending I get this checked out soon.

So, I drove myself to St. Vincent's and walked into the ER. After some blood work, a urine-sample later, and several hours, I was told that I probably had a gallstone lodged in my common bile duct. This is the common drain from the pancreas, liver, and gall bladder into the begining of the small intestine. By having a stone lodged there, all those fluids were backing up into the liver, causing it to work overtime.

What this meant for me was my bilirubin level shot up (yes, the same thing that often happens to newborn babies - though for different reasons), and my liver enzymes were also very high.

The net effect was they had to go in and remove the gallstone, and the doctors further recommended the surgery to remove my gallbladder.

I spent the night in a lovely room with a view of Beaverton, slowly turning more and more yellow. Thursday afternoon I laid on my side in an operating room, they showed me a tube (not much bigger than the cable going to your TV) they'd use to do the operation, and that's about all I remember. The operation consists of putting a tube down my throat, through the stomach, into the intestine, and up the common bile duct to the stone. They make a small incision in the sphincter there to allow the stone to pass, balloon sweep the stone out, and they're done. Half an hour later I was back in my room, recovering.

It's pretty amazing what they can do nowadays - the only cutting they had to do was at the sphincter to let the stone out.

My color is back to normal, I feel great, except for the worry of the remining stones in my gallbladder. Now I have to decide what to do about it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

EFF Action

I posted an entry at Engaging Thought about the EFF.

However, it's an issue I care enough about to let everyone know through both blogs.

Basically, the EFF fights for keeping freedoms we've always had in this country, only these freedoms are being challenged on the internet. The two reasons I find this important are:

1) they are freedoms we should continue to have

2) by restricting our rights, Congress is just ensuring that innovation and development are going to happen in other countries, and we'll be left behind.

So, go visit the EFF and see if any of the issues resonate with you. If you do, fill out the form and let your representatives and senators know. The web page makes it very easy.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I strongly dislike dogs, but I'd never do this to them...

I found this blog entry earlier that shows what screwballs some dog owners do to their dogs.

No cat would ever let you do that to it. And if you managed to hold it down long enough to actually dress it up, it'd never sit there while you take a picture. The only chance you'd have at dressing up your cat is doing it while it's napping in the sun.