InCoWriMo Doubled Up

There are a couple of letters waiting to go out with the mail. I wrote them today. They are special, being written today. It is the last day of February. The last day of InCoWriMo. International Correspondence Writing Month. As you may be aware, I am not an everyday kind of guy. I could be described as regular. But I am in no way like Kent, or Kat, or Mike, or any of the other people whose writing we see every day. But for InCoWriMo I set out to write every day. Even better, I decided to send mail to people across the borders of the United States. And heck, you cannot leave Mom out of it so I started with her and sent a letter to people in the United States. Every day. Every day to a person in the US and one to a person outside of the US. I started by spending to people on every continent, except for the Antarctic continent. Australia, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. I was lucky there was an address exchange place on their website. Nearly 200 people outside of the US put on their addresses. The problem turned into who to select. Two people in South Africa made for an easy choice. Two in Brasil and one in Chile was limited the people to choose from. For some reason (Rasmussen anyone?) I sent letters to Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain were easy Since we all speak the same language. My Spanish is just barely up to the level where I was able to volunteer writing in espanol, and two people took me up on the offer. (oh, and Australia, sorry about that Aussies) But, yes, I got letters out every day or written every day. During the ice storm, they piled up, waiting for the postman to arrive and talk them away.

Now comes the fun part. I have letters from Boise, Albuquerque, Oakland, Suquamish, Feeding Hills, Scarborough (Ontario), Edinburgh, Willingham, Salt Lake City, and Ninilthek, and who knows where else the USPS will be delivering mail from. Though I have to admit, some of them are not going to be handwritten. If you have not seen my handwriting, perhaps it is a blessing. But then again, my typing is not among the best.

Yes, I know of a guy who did it in part to improve his handwriting. That does not seem to have worked for me. However, it did lube up my ability to write a letter. There is so much to be said. Pick a topic and in little time you have a page filled up and it is time to insert it in an envelope and send it on its way. You can do that secure in the knowledge that they will be happy to receive it. And I know I brought bright days to people seeing that they have mail that someone took the time to send to them.

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

Cheaping Out

It is February. A kind of slow time for business. Unless you do taxes or something like that. But two weeks? I used to get them in two days. From Portland to Denver. From Portland to Little Rock. But now, from Albuquerque to Portland: 10 days. From Feeding Hills, MA to Portland: 8 days. And the real crown jewel, from Southwest Portland to Southeast Portland: four days. Four days to cross town? I am accustomed to two days. I sent something to Eugene, Oregon (that is 112 miles via the I5 route) Sent on a Friday, responded on a Monday via a txt message. Two business days.

Back last fall I asked people who they would be happiest to see replaced by Biden. My response was DeJoy. If our postal service goes downhill there is a bunch of things that just won’t function properly.

OK, enough ranting.

A while ago I wrote about the costs of things we go to cheapest on. A nickel pencil vs a two-dollar one. The paper I am typing this on aside from being the backside of a toss-away piece started as a 3.2 cents. I did not buy expensive bits of paper because I could not use them. At least until I had practiced enough to have a hope of getting good with it. (It equals drawing) Typing about this got me to thinking about the time spent when I used the raw materials. The raw materials are the cheapest stuff in it. Whatever I do with the materials my time spent doing it is way more valuable. So I quit questioning the cost of paper, pigments, pencils and pens. Except for the cost of composition books.
I have grown to like them.

— MichaelRpdx rkmm

I have a special topic for Sunday. Hang on, it will be good. It may even be thought out and pre-typed. Or I might just think out loud.

Typewriters and Huevos

“Does anyone else do that?” Where that is “typing my thoughts out loud.” Serious question? Don’t we all do that? And only that? I do. All the time. I have what passes for thoughts and I let my fingers do the typing and … hmmm maybe there is some taking time to have the thoughts to do things like spell correctly, have it be coherent all the time. (pause to think about what to type next) Maybe that is something for finished pieces and maybe there are some people doing finished pieces here too. By gum, I will try that.

According to the online menu from the Frontier Restaurant they call it “Huevos Rancheros”. I have had “huevos” in lots of places. Never like you can get at the Frontier in Albuquerque. I have not had it in 30 years now. Damn, I can remember the food right now. And how it tasted and now I am drooling. Again.

I have had an argument about apostrophes recently. You will note I did not type “I’ve had …” and I typically I do not, rather than I Don’t. This rule gets a single mention in, or on, the grammarbook. with lots of rules given to possession cases. I am just thinking about the omission of letters. Do you keep them or use an apostrophe or not? What do you say? I am thinking one needs to be consistent. Which I am not. Oops. I think this is also a case for a style book, like for the Chicago Tribune or New York Times or pick your favorite. What do you say?

I believe it was Dato that commented on almost buying a KMM. Almost? Should we start a pool as to when he will join the grand group of people who have and use ones? Herb Caen called his series of them the “Loyal Royal” typewriter. He is joined by a couple dozen other people. People of Fame that is to say. See Richard Polt’s “Writers and their Typewriters” page.

You may note that I have a pair of Hermes 3000s, Yet I am typing this and lots of other posts on a KMM. There is something magnetic in this machine. Maybe I should try other typewriters. Yeah, maybe.

If you have an argument as to why I should try other typewriters do tell me why. On the other hand, forget I typed that in. I know a typewriter and a person is a very personal thing filled with one’s personalized reasons. There is no reason to share your idiosyncratic (spelling??) reasons for that choice. No, please, forget I asked.
(See Mike, does anyone else type their thoughts out loud.)

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

Shots In The Night

I apologize for the upcoming computer plug, forwarded to me on FB.
Go See:
a compilation of bits from TV and films. It is fun. It is good. I will accept any diatribes about my recommendation,

This afternoon I went to the Post Office to mail a letter. Sure, yes, I could have waited until tomorrow and let the mailman pick it up from our front porch. It happens every day, except Sunday. But I did want to keep up with my daily InCoWriMo daily double. Get it in the mail today and I am pretty sure it will arrive this weekend. That was just a part of my reason for going there.

Our closest post office is next door to “I’ve Been Framed”, a great art supply house. Yes, they still frame art. For me, however, they sell stuff. And hopefully, they will continue to be a museum of materials and pieces they have picked up. I wanted to buy something, anything, from them as a show of support. They have been shot.

Four times in the front window. Why would someone shoot an art supply store? It seems it was done due to their putting a piece in the window. It was something you see a lot in our neighborhood. It is a poster. It reads “Black Lives Matter”

Black Lives Matter. So do the people who support them.

As an aside, I have never seen a black person working at or patronizing the store. Maybe I am not observant. Maybe I go there at the wrong times. But I will say that this family-owned decades-old place has been wounded. Not fatally. But I had to buy something.

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

PS – The store’s name is “I’ve Been Framed” not “I’m …” It is a great place. Go buy stuff.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“Every book you could ever need is at City Lights,” lectured Ray Mondini. OK, that may not be a quote. But the words carry his meaning. Ray Mondini was the Art History teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute. It was there that I first heard of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. There are many memories associated with him. The most recent one is of trying to teach myself how to write poetry. What is poetry? In my search for examples, I got a copy of “Poetry As Insurgent Art”, It was one of the best examples of what I was looking for. Here is an excerpt from the book.

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

And so the lessons began. He goes onto sing, “if you would be a poet…” Do not state, sing. It is time to reread this book and learn more.

And learn again.

~~ MichaelRpdx :: rkmm


Bandon Schaefer is an accomplished artist of oil painting and drawing and recently of watercolor. I followed Bandon when I was looking for teachers in the oil color world. He was a guy that would not be afraid to talk about the mistakes he made. I loved that aspect of his work. Sure, his work is great. But his videos, he is a big person on YouTube, are not just a hit parade of how to do the successes he has created. He will spend an entire video discussing his mistakes and warning you away from them. (See “Mistakes I Made Painting Aurora’s Portrait in Oils” as an example.) Anyway, I recently saw a watercolor video from him doing watercolor sketching in Alaska, plein air painting on location. I had not seen his work in years and that was all oil painting and drawing work. Watercolor? This was interesting. I went, I saw, and had a good time. (OK, he posted this in June of 2018. As I said I followed him a long time ago.

But then the interesting stuff started to happen. I got news stories on watercolors. Um, what? I am fairly accustomed to seeing advertisements following my interests. But now I was getting “news” stories on the subject. My news story source in this case is Google.

Is this good or bad? (I took a break at this point. Now back to typing.) Or perhaps hew can I game the system to get the news and ads I want? A few years ago there was a guy who noticed this behavior in his Facebook ads. He tried to get them to show him ads for woman’s bras. Unsuccessfully as I recall. Considering the broad brush strokes they, Google in this case, employs – they show me stuff from watercolors, not plain air watercolors or watercolors designed to show nickgolebiewski’s work. That is fun stuff. (See him on Instagram) But yes, they are much too broad in their descriptions. And I am, or so I think, are far too I’m weird in my tastes to fit their means.

in so critic, no that isn’t right. Off to ask my wife how to spell. And it took a while to figure out what I was after: idiosyncratic. I am too idiosyncratic for their methods. At least yet.

And she agrees. Thank god for that.

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

Power and Movies

“I Care A Lot” — do you care for dark comedies? And I mean REALLY DARK. Well, this one is for you. It is about a series of nursing homes. Well, that is the setting for it. They have a sympathetic judge that grants them guardianship to, well, to do whatever to elderly people. Now, when I say “them” I am referring to Marla Grayson. She is doing very well. Until she picks a woman who apparently has no relatives. Well, it goes from there as they try to convince her to release the woman and she resists. I will also say, they have a crackerjack strong ending. If you can stomach the plot enjoy it.

Power is returning to Portland. There are still about 15,000 people in the dark. But they are getting close to providing for all.

If you don’t care for dark fiction, I will recommend “Blown Away” about people who blow glass. Did you see “Great British Bakeoff”? Imagine something very similar but with people who do glass blowing art instead. Ten people compete. One is kicked out each week. One wins $60,000 and an artist residency at the Corning Museum. And hey, it is Canadian. Expect broken glass, beautiful glass, and watching them work. Well worth it.

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

Lent Arrives

Lent has arrived. No big Fat Tuesday celebration last night. Just a quiet slide into Lent. It is my understanding that most people do not practice it any longer. There is no giving up of something for Lent. I am not Catholic. I have never been Catholic. I have not been any whatever it is that does practice self-renunciation for Lent. Yet for years now I have practiced it.

It is something like the InCoWriMo or Inktober or my Blogging Month of August or other set period of time that I do something different. In this case, I give something up. This year it is eating meat, well actually all animal products. Or to put it simply, vegan.

Going vegan is easy on the world. And it is something to make me appreciate animals and what they have provided to us as we consume them. I think about it a lot and I do not consume them I recall all that I have in the past.

Today is the first of 40.


— MicahelRpdx :: rkmm

No Electricity

Snow in Dallas? Snow in Little Rock? Snow in Cibolo? Yes to all. But in truth, as long as you are not part of the 133 car pile-up in Texas it is kinda, sorta OK. A couple of days of snow falling, ice covering, you stay inside. Snug as a guy pretending you are on vacation. Provided you have power. Electric power. 200,000 plus people in our area do not have it. For days at a stretch. We have had house guests so they can be inside a house with all the comforts of home. Heat. Warm Water. That kind of stuff. Down in Cibolo about 60% Of their electricity is provided by solar. Only with the cloudy weather, they have implemented rolling blackouts. We are lucky here in a part of southeast Portland where there have been no outages. And maybe I should restrict my comment to our block. A half-mile away there were traffic signals out. Everybody switching to four-way stops.

So I do not know how many of you have not had any snow yet. But I do caution you to be thankful. You could have trees on the ground. Or be one of the electrical crews working all day and all night to restring the cables. There are still hundreds of thousands of people who have not had any power for three days. All due to the ice that fell before the snow.

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm

Not Snow, It Is Ice

It is a time to be thankful. Very, very thankful, We live in Portland, southeast Portland to be specific. This part, and I do not know why, is a stable part of Portland. We rarely have power outages only one time for an extended period. And that was during the summer. And it was an intentional power outage. Someone had ruptured a gas line so they shut down the electricity while makéng sure it was fixed without blowing up anything. Other than that summer outage we have had a few intermittent outages lasting for a few minutes at the most.

News reports that 200,000 people were out of electricity. Some, like my sister and nephew, are still out of electricity. My sister reported that she may not get her power restored until Monday. And it has already been out for hours. How can they do anything?

You saw the photo of our street yesterday. It looked like we had three inches of snow. Yet today the governor declared an emergency for nine counties in Oregon, including Multnomah, where I live. How does three inches turn into an emergency? It is a bit of a misnomer to call it a snowstorm. What we had was a rainstorm that froze and got a coating of snow over it. So it was really an ice storm. We have a blanket of ice. Covered by snow. It is great if you like to skate. Not great if you are a transport kind of person. Example: our public transit place shut down the entire system. No busses, no trains, nothing.

We are so lucky. Power is on. We have food. We picked up our niece from the airport while it was still rain turning into snow. We are eating well and having a great time together. Unlike so many others,

— MichaelRpdx :: rkmm