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July 1, 2008 10:38 AM

Cashing in on the popularity of the Bourne movies, are we? Is that really necessary?

I'm still waiting for the title to make sense, m'self.

(And yes, I'm excited. Of course I'm excited. Did I just see a Bond girl in jeans, by the way? I only hope that whoever she is, she can be half as cool as Eva Green in Casino Royale.

June 27, 2008 11:28 AM

Yeah, I know, I know. We can all think of several reasons to consider McCain a troll. But I mean this in a slightly different sense. As pointed out by the ever-fantastic Elizabeth of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, whose olfactory delights are an ongoing obsession fascination of mine:

On McCain's "Blog Interact" page, where the candidate's supporters can find recommended blogs of all ideological stripes, the campaign is actually awarding points for trolling.

Here's the text from said page:

Help spread the word about John McCain on news and blog sites. Your efforts to help get the message out about John McCain's policies and plan for the future is one of the most valuable things you can do for this campaign. You know why John McCain should be the next President of the United States and we need you to tell others why.

Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known. Once you’ve commented on a post, video or news story, report the details of your comment by clicking the button below. After your comments are verified, you will be awarded points through the McCain Online Action Center.

McCain's site helpfully points out a few sites his supporters might go troll, and lists talking points that are decidedly lacking in "points," i.e. the insipidly generic "John McCain will put the national interest ahead of partisanship, he will work with anyone who sincerely wants to get this country moving again."

This, my friends, is trolling. Running around posting your agenda without any intent of actually joining in the conversation? Purposefully posting to sites with a contradictory point of view without, again, any interest in discussion? Trolling. Which is unacceptable on several levels — not least because it suggests something deeply unpleasant about how McCain wants to engage with those who disagree with him: with blanket statements and talking points, without any regard for the conversational topics at hand or any interest in listening. Just pour it on until it sticks.

But hey. At least — as we all know by now — McCain is aware of the internet.

June 27, 2008 03:08 PM

Photo by David Gourley

So, yeah, I'm a little late with this one. If I don't blog about something the same night, it can be a while. But today I walked (about) a mile in four-inch (I think) heels to pick up my copy of Frightened Rabbit's The Midnight Organ Fight from House of Records, and that seems to call for a blog post. Right? Though I have so many good things to say about this night that I'm not sure where to begin. Perhaps bullet points are in order:

• Holocene: Gorgeous. Lately, every time I go to a new venue in Portland, I love it better than the last new venue — though the Wonder Ballroom may still own my heart. I fell for Hawthorne Theater's layout, where the drinking oldies and the kids are on the same floor with the bar in the middle, and now for Holocene's several-room setup. Cement floors, new white walls, the bar in a different room than the stage, a fantastic old-fashioned in hand: brilliance (though for the record, no one should ever make a Sazerac with Ten High. I'm just sayin').

• Ulterior motive: I had one. An old friend I hadn't seen in five years is the bassist for the Rabbit's tourmates, Oxford Collapse, and somehow I'd never seen this band of his play before. It's always funny to see people you know on stage. As my companion aptly put it, "In a band of crazies, he's the craziest." Yes. And "Please Visit Your National Parks" is still the best Collapse song, so go find an MP3. I believe there's one here. While you're there, grab the Rabbit's "Heads Roll Off" and "The Modern Leper," mmmkay?

• Listening to people in the know: A good idea. Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson: When Chris Newmyer is really into a band, pay attention. Even if he tells you, say, that Les Savy Fav's name means "the tight pant wearers." It was my loss that I didn't see Les Savy Fav sooner, and when he started hitting his mailing list with all kinds of Frightened Rabbit stuff, my ears, um — while speaking (in a way) of bunnies, this is so lame — perked up.

Another FR fan is Pitchfork Senior News Editor Amy Phillips, whom I suspect is the coolest person at Pitchfork. About FR, she wrote, "I can't explain why this band's jangly, anthemic indie pop hits me harder than everybody else's jangly, anthemic indie pop, or why such terrible-on-paper lyrics as 'you're the shit and I'm knee-deep in it' and 'it takes more than fucking someone you don't know to keep warm,' sung by a guy who sounds like the twee Scottish version of Adam Duritz, come across as so profound. I just don't know. But it works. I can't stop listening to this album." Exactly.

• Oh, right. About the show. Four unassuming Scottish men, at least two of them in plaid shirts (and one with Jack White's hair), take the stage. Portland, or this tiny slice of it (though the show is well-attended), greets them happily. They proceed to be awesome. It really is sort of hard to explain, but it is anthemic indie pop with lyrics that waver all over the damn place; I'm a big fan of the phrase, "I'll make tiny changes to earth," but not so much of that fucking line quoted above (though it is followed by "I'm drunk / and I'm drunk, and you're probably on pills / and if we've both got the same diseases / it's irrelevant, girl!" which is better, in a bleak sort of way). My companion and I yell back and forth: "They're kind of like Snow Patrol, if Snow Patrol was actually indie rock." "Yeah, Snow Patrol of the streets." Um.

But there's something about these guys. Really. The drummer's constant motion is hypnotic; the singer has his eyes closed a lot; the wall of distortion has just the right density, and it builds in all the right place. It takes half a dozen songs for us to realize there's no bass. Nothing is missing. Someone requests "The Twist" and it's beautiful and it all feels like a scene in a movie when someone's making a really bad decision but you know they're going to enjoy it — at least for a little while. It's a soundtrack to falling in love with the wrong person, sometimes, and other times it's a blanket of yearning settling heavily on your shoulders. And sometimes it's the charm of the moderately tough looking drummer singing the funny little "woo-oot-woot" in "Good Arms vs. Bad Arms." Every so often, I get goosebumps, for no reason whatsoever. And some Portlanders actually sort of move around a little. Fancy that.

They should be your new favorite band. They really should. Here's the disarmingly charming video for "Heads Fall Off" to help convince you (I'd say this is their most Snow Patrolly song):

June 25, 2008 01:56 PM

So, as we all know (right?), brilliant Buffy creator Joss Whedon has a new show in the works: Dollhouse, which I believe is scheduled to debut mid-season, in early 2009. (Do take a peek at BoingBoing's take on Whedon fans' nervousness re: its cancellation chances). A while back I posted a link to the Dollhouse trailer, and I do repeat myself here, but still: AWESOME.

But wait! This isn't the only awesomesauce on the Whedon front. There's also the internet-only Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which, frankly, I can't decide whether to italicize, put in quotes or leave alone (oh, the trials of the editor-brain. I went with italics because Suzi said so). Dr. Horrible stars Doogie Howser Neil Patrick Harris, Captain Tightpants Nathan Fillion and potential slayer Vi "The Guild" creator Felicia Day, which makes it several different kinds of exciting. As you can see, there's very little on Dr. Horrible's website — yet. However, the good horrible doctor does have a Facebook page and — even better! — a preview:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo..

Personally, I'm really interested in the Motion Picture Association of My House, Inc.

Gimme more. Please.

June 24, 2008 04:19 PM


Since I was a bitter teenager in Elmira, I've been seeing movies at the Bijou (well, apart from that nine-year break where I didn't live here), and for that long I've also had a soft spot for the theater's resident cat, Boo*. Boo is 23, according to her MySpace profile (I could swear she was only 19!), and for as long as I've been petting her she's been, well, kinda big. But she's a sweetie of a cat who purrs if you scratch her ears just right and who always has a "mrrowp?" for a cat-loving critic who can't seem to see a movie there without petting her first.

But Boo, it turns out, might need a new home. She gets lonely when no one's around. She's quite old for a cat, and she'll need a lot of attention and probably ring up some vet bills as she gets older. But maybe you work at home, or otherwise have a lot of time and love to give to a sweet older cat. If you do, call the Bijou folks at 686-3229. It sounds like at the moment, there's still a chance she'll get to stay, but she might need you.

(That sound you hear? Is me sniffling at the the thought of the Bijou without Boo.)

* March 11, 2009: I'm informed that the cat at the Bijou when I was a wee teen may have been a cat other than Boo. Perhaps I'm mixing up my years; she was there for 11 years, meaning since 1998 — waaaay after I was done with high school. In my mind, though, it'll always be the same cat!

June 18, 2008 04:27 PM

The Register-Guard plans to reduce its workforce by about 12 percent, or 30 positions.

In a statement on the R-G website, the paper's publisher Tony Baker blamed a downturn in the local economy and an increase in newsprint prices for the cuts.

R-G Newspaper Guild Co-President Randi Bjornstad, a reporter at the paper, said that Baker told a general staff meeting today that the paper would cut about 30 workers due to soft sales and circulation in the economic downturn.

It’s unclear if the R-G’s newsroom will be impacted by the reduction. The newsroom is already “lean” with a few vacant positions left unfilled, Bjornstad said. “We don’t know.”

Management expects about half the reduction will come from not filling vacant positions and buyouts and about half from actual layoffs, according to Bjornstad.

The R-G has about 20 news reporters, not including sports, and the Newspaper Guild represents about half of the about 260 employees at the newspaper, according to Bjornstad. The Guild contract specifies that involuntary layoffs are done by seniority, she said.

Bjornstad said Baker mentioned the recent 10 percent workforce cut at the McClatchy chain of 28 dailies in his announcement.

Many of the nation’s newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, have recently announced workforce cuts due to a decline in profits from the down economy and lost advertising to the internet.

“It’s pretty much like everywhere else,” Bjornstad said.

Baker “expects things to bounce back,” Bjornstad said. The paper has suffered similar cuts in the past, but not in at least a decade, she said. “It’s been a long time.”

June 17, 2008 06:50 PM

Eugene's riverfront bike trails are one of the most popular things ever built in Eugene. Last Sunday saw a wide range of Eugeneans out enjoying the sunny weather and riverside parks. Thanks to a video camera strapped to the handlebars with an old inner tube and songs from Mal Webb and David Rovics, here's a quick tour:

June 17, 2008 06:04 PM

Five developers or community groups have submitted proposals to fill the eyesore Sears pit and adjacent parking lot on the half block across from the downtown library.

The proposals to the city include a six-story student apartment building, a five story office/apartment mix, a green housing and transportation center, a hip hotel with 105-120 rooms and a community/art/housing center.

The Eugene Redevelopment Advisory Committee will review the proposals from 4:30 to 7 pm Thursday, June 19, at the Sloat Room in the Atrium Building downtown. The City Council plans to consider the proposals at a work session July 16. For the complete proposals, surf to the city website.

Here’s a rundown of the pit proposals:

• Opus — six-story student apartment building

The $40-million, 200,000 square-foot Opus project has 60 parking spaces embedded on the ground floor and a coffee shop with apartments for 472 students above. The developer says it will pay the city $482,360 for the half-block site. Opus wants the following city subsidies/actions: a 10-year property tax break, closing and selling a public alley, expedited permits, bulk leasing of 100 spaces in the Broadway Place Garage across the street, capping of permit and development fees at $100,000 and two reserved curbside spaces for ZipCars, a car sharing service.

Opus wrote that the project will “activate” the retail area downtown with new residents. The students will be “relying heavily on bicycles and busses for their daily commuting.”

Opus said a market study it commissioned and recent news stories show high demand for student housing in the area. Opus wants to start the project this year and finish it by the spring of 2010. “The timing is critical.”

Here's a look at the Opus ground floor, about half parking:

The ground-level of the west side of the Opus apartment building largely presents an unfriendly blank wall to pedestrians:

• WG — five-story office/apartment mix

Local developers Wally Graff and Nathan Philips propose two floors of offices topped by three floors of apartments. The $28-million, 200,000 square-foot, mixed-use project includes 83 apartments and 65 embedded parking spaces. Pacific University, which offers teacher education in Eugene, intends to occupy a “significant portion” of the office space, according to WG.

WG wants the following subsidies from taxpayers: give the half-block to them for $1, parking rental agreement for Broadway Place, reduced development charges, 10-year tax break, pay for alley and any off-site improvements, consider below-market loan, consider brownfield grant or loan, assistance with market analysis, expanded policing downtown and any potential environmental mitigation of the site.

WG wrote the project will “enliven” the area and increase “eyes-on” security. The building includes a police kiosk, small café, wide-sidewalks, street trees and a “quasi public urban plaza” with event space towards the library. The project may offer bus passes and “could meet” LEED Silver status for green building, according to WG.

The local developers say they have backing from banks and $10 million from unnamed investors for the project. If a planned market study shows lack of demand, WG said it may take a “phased” approach, building only half of the project first.

WG has parking underground in the pit and embedded on the groundfloor, which also includes a plaza facing the library:

Here's another view of the five stroy building from the library:

The west side of the WG project is also not pedestrian-friendly:

• Jim Wilcox — Green Housing Transit Center

Local resident Wilcox proposes an environmental and community-oriented “Tranovation Center.” The proposal has many green elements including: solar powered electric vehicle charging and parking; electric vehicle sales and service; a “BikeStation” with secure bike parking, repair, rentals and changing rooms; a car sharing service; a theater/community education facility; green housing; an indoor/outdoor farmers market; and an environmental transportation R&D center for UO and OSU engineers. The passive and active solar facility will generate as much power as it uses and offer car-free living, according to Wilcox.

Wilcox writes his proposal “lacks many technical requirements” the city asked for. He wrote: “This will not be a simple project. It will require participation by the City of Eugene, LCC, LTD, the U of O and OSU, private investors, downtown citizens and business owners. The City can make an investment by procuring an initial fleet of electric vehicles that could be charged in this location.”

• Canterbury Group — Hip hotel with 105-120 rooms

Canterbury proposes to build a $10-million, “lifestyle” hotel for the “Aloft” unit of the large Starwood Hotels chain. The Aloft vision includes a “lobby with a lively communal setting and a bar” and a futuristic, luxury “loft-inspired design and free flowing energy.”

The proposal includes the following taxpayer subsidies: no property taxes; city help with permitting and no delays; and land subsidized so that the developer will pay only $175,000 for the half block.

Canterbury said the project will enliven the area with an architectural landmark, use green building materials, attract redevelopment and create tax revenues.

• Energy Village — community center/housing

Energy Village is a “grass roots” group of local progressive people proposing a community/education/art center and housing project with a broad spectrum of community-based tenants. The proposal is “exploring design concepts” including possible: modern art museum; rooftop gardens; public park space; education programs, youth programs; childcare; music lessons; jazz jam space; artist workshops and classrooms; and sustainable clothing workshops, classrooms and boutique.

The Energy Village proposal states, “We are currently engaged in a capital campaign for private investment, which we then hope to match with public funds.” The proposal says it will help revive downtown with “creative class” people and provide jobs while providing “truly affordable housing,” learning opportunities and a “vibrant, inclusive” community center. The proposal, “embodies the philosophy of creativity and independence that Eugene is known for and plays it forward in a way that is edgy and truly progressive.”

To email the mayor and council with comments on the proposals, click here.

June 11, 2008 04:31 PM

Today's best news story, hands (hoofs?) down.

Here, you can watch mud-phobic little Cinders the pig trek around in her boots.

Yes, we need this kind of story. It boosts morale. Especially on Wednesdays.

June 10, 2008 11:37 PM

A woman named Loving died last month, a pioneer in the fight for equal rights to marriage. She was black, but the parallels of her case to the current fight for equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples are striking.

In 1958, Virginia deputies broke into Mildred Loving and her white husband's bedroom shinning flashlights and carted the couple off to jail for breaking the state's laws against interracial marriage. Arguing that God did not intend for the races to mix, a Virginia judge convicted the Lovings of felonies, fined them and banned them from the state.

The couple later appealed, and in 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the interracial marriage bans in Virginia and other states as violations of the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.

Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the unanimous decision. The court found marriage discrimination "odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality." Warren wrote, "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital
personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."

Last year Mildred Loving issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of her Supreme Court victory calling for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Last month the California Supreme Court overturned that state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. In 1948, the same court was the first to overturn a state interracial marriage ban, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court two decades later.

June 9, 2008 12:29 PM


I'm not always one for making grandiose claims about the year's best films before the year is through, but this time, I feel pretty justified in saying that Tarsem's The Fall really is the most beautiful film of 2008. I'm absolutely delighted that it's coming to the Bijou later this month. Watch the preview here and then make plans to go. Seriously. Do not dillydally; do not wait. You have to see this. (And not just because it continues proving that Lee Pace is the new Ryan Gosling/Christian Bale/Ed Norton/James McAvoy/greatest young actor, etc., though that is a bonus.)

June 5, 2008 10:16 AM


Which of these did the Eugene planning department require a conditional use permit (CUP) for?

The Dharmalaya Meditation Center, straw bale backyard shelter for quiet retreats:

The UO's 12,500-seat basketball arena, at roughly $250 million, the most expensive arena ever built with plans for games, rock concerts and other mass events almost every weekend:


The Eugene planning department required a CUP for the meditation center but not for the huge arena. Both decisions were thrown out on appeal by a hearings official. Now the arena requires a permit and the meditation center does not.


Did the city of Eugene get bad legal advice on this? The city doesn't have any attorneys on staff. It gets almost all its legal advice from the private law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C.

Harrang Long's president is Bill Gary. Gary served with his friend UO President Dave Frohnmayer as his top deputy when Frohnmayer was Oregon attorney general.

In the past , Gary and his firm have denied any conflicts of interest between the private firm's work for the city and private clients.

June 5, 2008 11:12 AM

From our Summer Guide's captions:

Hermiston, not "Hermistan"
Labyrinth, not "The Labyrinth"
Billy Bob Thornton, not "Thorton"
Amphitheater (or -tre, if you're an annoying place), not ... however else it turned up.

Whoops. But hey, it's done! It's a pull-out for the first time ever! And it's ENORMOUS. So that's cool.

June 4, 2008 12:37 PM

A car struck and killed a cyclist Monday, June 2 at 13th and Willamette.

The Eugene Police Department reported that a car driven by Latasha Ann Williams, 31, of Eugene struck and killed cyclist David Matthew Minor, 27, of Eugene at 3:47 in the afternoon.

An EPD press release states: "A very preliminary review of the investigative information indicates that speed does not appear to have been a factor. It appears that both parties likely had green lights, and that the bicyclist made a left-hand turn into the vehicle’s path."

Cyclists worried about the death may want to check out this web site on defensive riding:

The site covers many common hazards, but doesn't have much on safe left turns at busy intersections. Such turns are perhaps one of the most difficult urban cycling challenges for cyclists.

According to this site, one approach is to behave like a car and wait in the middle of the intersection for a gap in traffic. With tons of lethal hunks of metal hurtling all around, that could require some bravery and muscles for quick acceleration. Another approach is to go to the curb at the right-hand corner, turn your bike and then wait for the green to go the other direction. That may be safer and less frightening but requires twice the wait at the light.

A traffic engineering fix could involve a traffic island in the center of the intersection for bikes. Cyclists could take refuge there while waiting for a safe gap to turn left. The island would have to be designed so drivers could maneuver around it.

The city might also consider reexaming its heavy use of one way streets downtown. Such streets can cause dangerous confusion and are designed mostly to maximize car speeds. That's an odd goal in urban settings where the city is trying to reduce speeding for safety and get people to enjoy downtown. Many cities are converting one-way streets to two-way to increase safety and make downtowns more than just a place to speed through.

Many cities have also installed "bike boxes" to reduce "right hook" accidents where cars and trucks turn across bike lanes. Eugene has had one on High Street near City Hall for years. The boxes could allow a cyclist at a light to more safely shift to the left for a left turn. When painted brightly, these boxes could also help left turns by alerting motorists to watch for cyclists. But Eugene's box isn't painted.

Here's a bike box video showing Portland's brightly painted approach:

In contrast to Portland's highly visible bike safety improvements, below is a tiny street marking the city of Eugene recently put on a bike way through town. It's hard to see how a motorist would know what it is.

Meanwhile, the site of David Minor's death in Eugene has collected a highly visible, growing pile of flowers.