"We are all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing." ~ Charles Bukowski
I went on a bike ride last night along the Pdx Willamette River waterfront. It was great to see the city that way but while heading back over Steel Bridge a female cyclist with a helmet, proper lights and other safety gear on her bike yelled at me angrily, “Get a light, man!,” as we passed going in opposite directions.
I like riding in the dark at night. The streets are usually pretty well lit anyway, you’re more in-tune with your environment and it keeps your night vision intact. But it was the second time a female bike rider yelled at me for breaking the rules while riding here; the other time was after the NBR last weekend when I jumped a red light even though no cars were coming. The women are really vocal in this town apparently.
So I guess I better find a bike store tomorrow or buy a light at Walmart before any more night rides. Portlanders take their pedal transporstion seriously.
So I went to Aiken, South Carolina, last August to see the total solar eclipse and it was sunny the whole time except for the hour before, during and after the eclipse event. That’s when it clouded up as if on cue. The clouds kind of broke up a little bit during the peak eclipse moments, and when it got darkest out all the night-time insects in the woods began chirping, buzzing and chirping at once in a cacophonous chorus of nocturnal alarm.
That was cool. But still, the sky could have been clear, or at least clearer.
I was originally planning a trip to see the event in Eugene, Oregon, and had even booked a hotel room there as a launching pad to drive out to Salem where the path of totality was expected to be fullest. Then I remembered I had a nephew on the East Coast and change my travel plans. Word is that the Oregon sky was cloudless. So it goes.
Below is one of the photos from Aiken as the sudden drop in temperature caused the afternoon thunderhead to thin out. Heavenly objects in alignment!
I went to Portland over the Halloween weekend to finish up getting a thousand copies of issue 50 up in Oregon and while driving around the West side of the Willamette River valley I drove by a hand painted sign that said a surf shop was open. Surf shops are shrine-like outposts to waveriding anywhere you find them in the world so they’re all very similar but there was no way I expected to see one way up here and this far inland in the Northwest, so I immediately made a u-turn and pulled into the dirt parking lot to see what manner of trickery this was.
I have to admit it was the real deal. Dozens of hot boards lined the racks inside the shop (not shown in the video where we’re it’s out in the front yard and in the ding repair shed) and Matt Spencer who worked there was friendly enough to do a quick video interview for Reviewer TV.
I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Oregon attracts extreme action sports types, it seems. Many years ago i first heard the Gerry Lopez, Mister Pipeline himself, had left his Oahu home and moved to Bend to take up residence near the slops where snowboarding is the call of the wild.
So I arrived at Mt. Scott Park in Portland at 8 p.m. to cover the World Naked Bike Ride and first thing I wanted to do, since I stood out like a sore thumb with my two Nikon SLRs dangling from my shoulders and my relatively obtrusive state of overdress, was find the organizers to establish press credentials and get a video interview. Luna was the official “Volunteer Coordinator” and although she was very nice and willing to supply me with any information I wanted she was unwilling to be interviewed on-camera. The media rep was a girl named Megan I believe but she wasn’t to be found amid the jostling crowd of people near the volunteer signup tents. So Luna began to ask around for a second choice. That’s when Stephen Upchurch came to our assistance.
Originally from Chicago I think he said he was, Upchurch described the World Naked Bike Ride in Chicago as being about equal in popularity to the hugely crowded affair that Pdx’s is. He gets into a bit of detail about how in Portland there’s a uniquely permissive legal status due to Oregon’s liberal view about public nudity as a form of protest. Later on I’ll add some pull quotes to this post from the interview but for now I’m hoping that Youtube viewers don’t rat on it for the naked people milling around in the background. This is a news video, people. It’s not a porno. Give it a rest.
Anyways, the World Naked Bike Ride (A Protest) happens every summer in various cities throughout the world and will be held again in 2017 in Portland.
Friend Or Foe: Holding Ground At The Bundy Stronghold
One cold January day Reviewer Magazine went to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff near Burns, Oregon.
by Sarah Shafer @SASzilla
January 9, 2016. With the arrival of another uninvited civilian armed force during the day and a closed meeting with state legislators after dark, Ammon Bundy deals with a shift change a week into his armed occupation of Federal property.
“No one else goes in, got that?,” said the man in a black ski mask and camouflage ensemble. The second guard at the entrance to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge shifts the AK-47 on his shoulder to get a handle on his walkie-talkie.
“No one else gets in but us and Jon Ritzheimer. What are they doing out there anyway? They’re suppose to be helping with the cease fire.”
The man in the ski mask listens to something gargle from his walkie-talkie.
“Listen,” he says to a young man strapped with the AK-47 (his name was Will, I remember from when I first entered the compound), “We’re going to go grab gas and a few supplies and go see what the hell they’re doing out there.”
It’s pitch black at this point. I know this conversation isn’t meant for me but this is the only way in and out, so it’s the way I’m going.
The guards finally see me emerge into the small area lit by their campfire beside the truck blocking the road. I don’t know it yet, but later I realize the guards are talking about the day’s new addition to the occupation. A few hours before my arrival, another group of armed civilians called the Pacific Patriot Network (PPN) and the Three-Percenters, barged onto the scene here in Burns adding to the confusion. According to a statement released by the group, while they don’t support Bundy’s occupation of Federal land, they do: “Wish to establish a safety perimeter of protection for the occupiers so as to prevent a Waco-style situation from unfolding during this peaceful occupation. The primary intention of this outer-ring is to bear witness to any aggressive action initiated by federal agencies or the occupiers, and to encourage an open dialogue towards a peaceful resolution. [They] will serve as a neutral third-party intermediary to prevent bloodshed.”
The group’s president may have stood up with Ammon Bundy’s friend and supporter, LaVoy Finicum, in front of the press earlier in the day. However, by the time the sun went down, it was obvious that communications were strained, and, at least for the time being, the PPN and Three-Percenters would not be welcome to return to the wildlife refuge serving as the Bundy compound.
Sent down unaccompanied by the front guard, I was told I could “talk to anyone that would talk” to me. Beyond that, there was no instruction. It was snowing, dark, and the men seemed more inclined toward trudging on with their work than speaking to the media. A lone cameraman and Julie Turkewitz of The New York Times stood with me unguarded and anxious between the building of the wildlife refuge compound as we awaited further instruction.
Ammond Bundy appeared from around a corner with three of his children clamoring around him. I stepped back before one long-haired little girl holding a blanket could run into me.
“Mr. Bundy,” I said, shaking the man’s hand.
“Who are you with?” he asked each of the three of us in turn.
“I’m from a local independent magazine called Reviewer Magazine,” I said.
“You’re local? Where are you from?”
“Eugene,” I said, “Nice to meet you.”
“You, too,” Bundy said, and looked at his son at his side. Both resorted to putting their hands in their pockets, it seemed, unconsciously. It appeared as if he had run into us unexpectedly.
“This is my boy,” Bundy said, “He hasn’t got to see his dad in a week, have you?”
The boy looks down at the ground so that his cowboy hat completely hides his face.
“How old are you?” says the reporter from The New York Times. The boy makes a start, stops, and stutters.
She says, “How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
“Well,” said Bundy, “how many of you are there?”
The little boy looks up at us from under the brim of his hat with a big smile that is missing teeth.
“Well, I’m twelve. There’s six of us,” he says
The lone cameraman moves off to record the smaller children swirling around the frozen yard.
“Who are you looking for?” Bundy looks from me to the New York Times reporter.
I say, “Are you available?”
Mr. Bundy shakes his head.
“I have a meeting with state legislators in a few minutes in the conference building.”
“State legislators? Who do you mean?” I say. Immediately, I wonder if he could be meeting with local government to try and resolve their differences and his grievances.
“Is that a closed meeting?,” asks the other reporter.
“Yes, it’s closed,” says Bundy, “It’s called The Coalition of Western States. They’re legislators from over eleven western states.”
Before I can ask Bundy a followup question about the role of the coalition in this occupation of Mahleur National Wildlife Refuge, and if he means to try to find a resolution to the situation with them, a pickup truck pulls up to him and rolls down their passenger window. He and the female passenger exchange a few words. Then Bundy starts giving out hand shakes all around as he says goodbye.
“Nice to meet you,” he says.
“You too, sir,” I say.
The gaggle of children walks behind their father as he follows the pickup truck towards one of the buildings down the way.
Online, the Coalition of Western States defines themselves as: “legislators, statesman and patriots united to stand against unconstitutional actions against United States citizens… formed after the Bundy Standoff in 2014.” I wouldn’t know until the next day about the nature of this closed meeting, and that in fact, Nevada and Oregon state representatives were personally meeting with Bundy there.
It’s at this point, after Bundy has walked away, that LaVoy Finicum sees me through an office window and gestures me to join him inside.
“You ask about taxation without representation, this is control without representation,” says Finicum.
The 55-year-old rancher and I go on to talk for well over a half an hour. He tells me his beliefs on how he thinks turning Federal land over to the state authorities will help local Oregonians. He tells me also about the flood of uncontested, bureaucratic laws that he believes prevents men from using common sense to steward public lands, the static nature of these laws, and how restrictions could be regularly re-evaluated to be more effective instead of enforced “at the barrel of a gun.”
Check back for the full interview with LaVoy Finicum at the Bundy compound.