Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The dream I had a while back

I dreamed that the tallest building in Bellingham had just been built. 30 stories or so, not like anything that's been on the drawing boards so far.

Finished just in time for a recession, but lower floors of condominiums had mostly sold anyway.

On the top floor were two spectacular conference rooms that rented out for big bucks. Weddings, stock broker parties. Folks wanting a spectacular view.

Business was slow so the skyrooms stayed empty most of the time, but the manager was into ecstatic dance. Fun and frolic, like a hippy dance. Also like exercise.

He was able to pull strings and allow ecstatic dance in one of the rooms for minimal cost. Just donation.

Dancing with the view as a backdrop. Playful hippy like dance. Full of energy. Sweaty. Some of the guys went shirtless revealing bodies of joy, light and play. Erotic in a mild sense.

Then, one day, the manager had a worried look on his face. Some big corporation had just booked the other conference room. At the last minute. Same night as our dance.

Would they resent having sweaty dancers as neighbors?

Would they say, "there goes the neighborhood?"

Would they demand their money back?

Who were they? A corporate dinner party? Bankers meeting? Stock brokers convention?

The dance went on, it was too late to cancel. Still we thought dancing days would be numbered if the rooms start getting booked.

Everything seemed as usual until the soundproof "flex-a-wall" between the two sky lounges started to slide open. It reveled who was really on the "corporate side."

A gay porn business.

Models, escorts. People paying big bucks alright. Paying to fondle and photograph nude models. It was business for sure.

The porn company didn't mind having ecstatic dance as neighbors, but I remember thinking that the ecstatic dancers looked sexier than the porn models on the more commercial side of the now combined spaces.

The unlike the dancers, the models were totally nude. Still they looked more artificial and less natural than the dancers.

Then I woke up.

Version one here. See version two also.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The suicide option health plan

There's private options, talk of a public option, how about a suicide option?

The suicide option health plan would most likely be private. It would be a lower cost insurance plan with a low lifetime benefits ceiling. For instance possibly $100,000 lifetime benefits cap. If bills added up to over $100,000 during one's lifetime, the plan would stop paying and dissolve.

A low lifetime ceiling would save money so the plan could offer more affordable premiums and still cover lower end medical expense. Deductibles and co pays could be figured into the plan also.

If no other source of money could be found after the plan dissolves, such as government assistance for instance, and major illness persists, a painless suicide would be recommended.

Laws would have to be changed so suicide could be an acceptable suggestion.

Sounds ridiculous?

Also sounds libertarian.

Just something to ponder? I'm not necessarily advocating this.

I prefer some sort of safety net where income can be transferred from the more wealthy to subsidize a better form of affordable health plan for those who can't afford market insurance rates.

Also, of course, healthy lifestyles and lower medical expenses across the entire population. Otherwise lots of people will have little choice beyond something like the suicide option.

Are we on our way toward some sort of suicide option without intentionally planning it if nothing is done to reform the current system?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Glad the Bush missile plan was dropped

Kudos to Obama for dropping plans to put missiles in Eastern Europe. Now our relations with Russia are improving. Better relations with Russia are more important, strategically, than the shield that those missiles would have provided. That shield of protection against rough missiles from Iran and other places can still be provided from ships at sea.

Meanwhile, better relations with Russia means the biggest country in the world (land area) is more likely to be "on our side," so to speak. Russia is still kind of a fledgling democracy. Not ideal, but better relations with US can help.

Russia could go the "other" way also. It could drift back toward a more dictatorial regime. Trade and communication can, hopefully, strengthen the hands of an open society within Russia.

Even though Russia isn't perfect, by any means, it's a work in progress, like every nation is.

We are still a work in progress.

Russia is, however, important. It's the biggest chunk on that "strategic game board" called Earth.

Maybe we shouldn't think of Earth as a strategic game board, but if that's the thinking we need, Russia is a prize piece.

We need that piece for oil and other reasons. That piece can strengthen our hand in dealing with Iran and other dictatorial states.

The west is still helping to finance the Iranian government; their nuclear ambitions, their military, and so forth. We're buying their oil.

Russia has oil also. Maybe we can buy more oil from Russia and have more leverage in our negotiations with Iran.

Our dependency on oil is a weakness in our strategies.

We could use our oil purchases as a powerful economic tool to push for better human rights in Iran. We can better use it to assist fledgling democratic movements within Iran and other places. If we do that, it helps to be able to boycott their oil, for a short time at least, if need be.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Whatcom County Farm Tour

Lots of healthy looking produce at Bellingham Farmer's Market which was also part of the Farm Tour on September 12.

After the rally for health care reform and then stopping by the market for a snack, I biked out to some county farms that were participating in the farm tour.

Only had time to visit Silver Springs Creamery and Bellwood Acres apple farm. They were near one another south of Lynden.

Many folks were driving to hit all the farms on the tour. Uses a bit of gas. I focused on two and arrived by bicycle.

Sampled ice cream and fresh milk. Tasted apple slices.

Weather was spectacular that day with Mount Baker shining.

Hope most of the people moving to Whatcom County like living in dense urban environments. That way, we can keep the sprawl contained and preserve farmland.

Monday, September 07, 2009

I'm back from my trip which ended at Camp

Queer Camp was another destination along my summer bicycle loop.

Intense, with lots of workshops, dancing, gathering, mingling.

A weekend of gay community in the woods, at a retreat center.

Nice way to end my bicycle tour. People, all scrunched together in cabins, dining hall and so forth. Quite a change after being mostly alone on the road during previous weeks.

Rain was intense also. Seeing the forecast on line, I got an extra large tarp to put over my tent; rather than giving up on my tent and staying in one of the cabins. It stayed mostly dry.

Several carloads of folks from Bellingham came down for Camp. I got a ride back to Bellingham by car. First bike trip that I returned by car. On other trips, I've come back by train, bus or biked back. Our car qualified for the carpool lanes. It was a car full of stories and reflections from Camp.

Now I'm sorting my pictures and stories from both Camp and the rest of my bike tour before Camp.

Everything from the Pullman Lentil Festival to Queer Camp.

Stay tuned. It will take a few weeks to digest things.

Aprox. 3 minutes.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The impressive face of Mossy Rock Dam

Around 600 ft tall. I could just get part of it in this image. Another thing to see on my bicycle tour. Turning the flow of the Cowlitz River into Tacoma City Light. I passed by it on US Highway 12.

Plan to attend Queer Camp over Labor Day Weekend. A group of people from Seattle, Bellingham and other places that rent a conference center in the forest and have workshops, hikes, discussions, yoga, you name it over Labor Day weekend each year.

A few days after that, my current plan calls for taking the train back to Bellingham from Centralia. Heading back to work before too long.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Above Lake Tipsoo

Bicycled over Chinook Pass yesterday. Over 5,000 ft. Looking down on Lake Tipsoo in Mount Rainier National Park. One could also see some of the glaciers on the mountain, but the top was in clouds.

Now I'm back on west side of Cascades for a conference called Queer Camp and another week of vacation. More about the conference later. Also I plan to put more pictures and stories on the web in the next few months after some time for writing and editing.