Previously, on the internet

photo by Gratisography

I recently wrapped up a government contract writing PMPs (project management plans – yes, I speak some PMBOK) and legislative packages. Based on conversations with my government coworkers, I think they imagine my non-office life to look something like the photo to the left. And while the fashion sense may not be much better, real life is a whole lot busier.

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Article 1 §2.2

Recent events have alerted me to the importance of civic engagement. To better understand this political system we have inherited, I’m making a careful study of the Constitution. I’m sharing my process here, in case others similarly engaged might want to discuss it. At the very least, making my study public holds me accountable to stick with it. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

Drummer

I recently was in a conversation with a woman whose husband was in a career transition. He wasn’t making the effort to get his new business started that she expected when she okayed the decision to quit his day job, and she was getting really frustrated. I joked, “Yeah, you married an artist not a drummer!”

“He does play drums!” she wailed.

Oops.

So maybe there is a basis to the drummer stereotypes. Certainly a good drummer is hard to find. I interviewed a lot of Airwaves acts in 2012 on my first trip to Iceland. The search for a good drummer was a common theme in those interviews. One person said that for all the musicians in Iceland, there were only about 30 really good drummers. This is one of them.

Raggi Sverrisson is one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard. A former bandmate claims he can sustain 240 beats per minute with metronomic accuracy and anyone who listens to his bands play can hear the difference a really consistent drummer makes. I think I saw him perform with four different bands at Eistnaflug 2014. I really liked Azoic and Ophidian I, but Beneath is the band I’ve listened to the most. The internet tells me Raggi is no longer with Beneath, and that’s a crying shame, because a good drummer is hard to find.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3663616409/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

 

Article 1, Section 2.1

The Constitution gets referenced a lot in public discourse, and everyone is sure it supports their view. I suspect most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. Then I realized, I don’t know what I’m talking about. The Constitution is only a few pages long, but few Americans have actually read it. I read it through for the first time on Memorial Day, and now I’m going back through it, carefully, paragraph by paragraph, to make sure I understand it. After all, we should all be Constitutional scholars.  Continue reading

Butchart Gardens

 

I’ve visited gardens all over the world, but it took me nearly 20 years living in the Pacific Northwest to get around to visiting Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. I finally made it up there a couple years ago, and felt pretty stupid for taking so long.

As the plural in the name implies, it’s not just one big garden, but a collection of themed gardens, and each is amazing. Their rose garden is much more impressive than the test gardens in Portland; their Japanese garden, while too lushly planted to be entirely traditional, is one of the finest I’ve seen in or out of Japan. The primary garden is the reclaimed pit of an old quarry. I spent most of a day there, and could have gone back the next day and spent just as much time again.

What I love best about the gardens, though, is that they rely almost entirely on the most prosaic plant palette. Perhaps the plant selection was fresh and exciting when Jennie Butchart laid out the designs, but almost everything you see is what I call “landlord plants,” those boring plants you can find at any hardware store that landlords use to fill the open spaces around their buildings.

Every single garden at Butchart is exquisite, and it’s entirely due to thoughtful design and impeccable maintenance – things that a home gardener can aspire to regardless of their budget.

 

On to the Articles!

I write a lot of articles, and this post should probably be a list of them (I try to do that monthly, but life). Instead, I’m continuing my exploration of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution comprises seven articles. I read the Preamble last week, and now I’m going to start the main text. Article 1, Section 1. Let’s roll! Continue reading

Records and Guesthouse

I can’t make it to Eistnaflug this year, but as the festival approaches, my thoughts wander to East Iceland. The tiny town of Eistnaflug has one record store – it’s a pretty good one, especially considering the size and isolation of the town. Upstairs is an apartment where press stays during the festival. I got to pass for press the first time I attended the festival, and met quite a few writers whose work I follow and respect, as well as some folks from record labels that have absorbed significant funds from my bank account over the years. I am quite fond of this little metal building in a remote Nordic fjord.