mobility = security

i submitted a response to an article in the Seattle Times Opinion Blog in which someone quoted this page, which was extrapolating on content from this NY Times article that it wasn't the black people per se that failed to get out of New Orleans before Katrina struck, it was the poor people who lacked vehicles. it seems a lack of sufficient evacuation transportation brought in by FEMA to the area beforehand, and the city's decision to spend a couple hundred million dollars on short street car lines aimed at tourists rather than on serious transportation infrastructure are both partially responsible.

here's the response i submitted:
(in the interest of full disclosure i should point out that i fixed an annoying grammatical error i caught after the fact)

I agree that O'Toole makes a very interesting point. The vast number of vehicles throughout the United States contributes greatly to the security of any particular area- especially the number of trucks, which are obviously better suited to carrying large payloads. A large number of those trucks aren't even confined to roads at all. I've yet to see anyone make that argument against the envirozealots who want to outlaw SUVs!

I know if I needed to leave an area in a hurry in a time of crisis I'd much rather take my pickup, and be able to carry more (hastily assembled people or stuff) than I could cram in my Geo Metro! Enhanced security is a valid argument for expanding the increasingly taxed capacity of major thoroughfares that's been largely overlooked. Gridlock on your commute is annoying; gridlock during a natural disaster or attack could cost many their lives.

After all, when the interstate freeway system was developed, wasn't one of the intentions to provide for quick, effective, wide-ranging mobilization in times of crises? Infrastructure is key to regional security, and that applies to both times of war and natural disasters. The fact that private citizens and enterprise (read: Wal-Mart) can take advantage of their private and our public infrastructure to the degree they can is certainly more than a happy coincidence.

It's easy to take this line of thinking one step further and apply it to the vast number of civilians with firearms. It's always seemed to me it would be incredibly difficult for any foriegn military to invade and occupy U.S. territory. If the entire coalition of ground forces in Iraq can't seem to lock down the insurgency in a country that small, despite the vast amount of resources poured into the problem and the degraded state of the country's infrastructure, what kind of chance would anyone have of marching down, taking, and holding Main Street, U.S.A., with our relatively huge number of armed and mobile (not to mention motivated) citizens? House-to-house fighting against our civilian population alone would be extremely costly to an invading force, regardless of their number of soldiers on the ground. It seems to follow then that any future wide-scale attack here will be aimed at creating large numbers of civilian casualties, through either biological or (i think less likely) nuclear methods.

And that brings me back to the centralized transportation: you don't see people bombing individual commuter cars in Spain or London, or leaving sarin nerve gas in someone's back seat in Japan. I'm going to remember that when I'm growling about being stuck in traffic, and when it's time to vote on transportation issues.

let the games begin!

a doubly sweet Sunday for this sports fan today, as the NFL regular season gets underway, and it was opening day on NCYSA U14 Division 4 soccer in the greater Snohomish County area.

unfortunately, the Seahawks blew their season opener against the Jaguars, 26-14. i missed the majority of the last half of the game (out buying a second pair of new soccer cleats for Loren so he could play today), but it was only 20-14 (i think) when when i walked away....they must have blown it in the second half.

the first pair of cleats i bought Loren were a fairly middle-of-the-road pair of Adidas, but they were too tight around the ball of Loren's feet and were riding his Achilles tendon unmercifully. they hurt his feet so bad that Phoenix inherited those new cleats and Loren needed a second new pair. it was a little late to be buying cleats, and the selection in the closest store to my house wasn't great (though a little better than i expected, to be honest), and after trying on a few pairs, it was obvious that the best of the lot were (gasp!) $60. but the boy's got to be able to play in what he gets so i sucked it up and paid the money. he seems happy with 'em. Loren's mom asked me how they were doing for him during his game today, and i said they were alright, and they'd better be alright, or else i was going to feed them to him for dinner, which got a nice laugh out of the assembled Live Wire parents. obviously a friendly bunch.

but on to the more important stuff: GAME RECAP!

it was a warm, sunny day at Monte Cristo Elementary, and Field 1, the Live Wire home field, where they'll play fully half their schedule, was in great shape, due largely to the league policy of keeping the traffic down on certain "game" fields this year- a move i wholeheartedly support. practicing on a crappy field is one thing, playing games in a lake of water and mud because the fields are beat down before the weather even gets bad is another.

this year, in this league, the boys will again be playing uphill; they opened the year against a team of fairly big (some of them quite big) 8th grade boys, so they have their work cut out for 'em. when they meet a team that's a little more evenly matched in age, i think they have a great chance, if the way they played today was any indication. they played hard for (expanded this season, likely due to the jump up in age bracket) 35 minute halves- that's a 1hr 10min game for the mathematically challenged- a jump of 20 minutes over last year if i'm not mistaken (which is somewhat likely....)

the Live Wire played strong all game, especially on offense, where they showed both speed and control throughout the game. the team only flagged slightly toward the end. they scored first blood, and coasted along with a 1-0 lead for a fair part of the first half. the point was eventually answered by their opponents, the Snohomish Panthers, despite playing virtually the entire first half on the Panther end of the field. Loren, my personal favorite Live Wire, played center midfield for the entire first half (he played left defender and rode the bench a while in the second). the Live Wire don't have a lot of extra players, so substitutions are going to be at a minimum. i'm all for that, as long as the players don't run out of gas. but back to the action: soon enough, the Panthers scored another goal, to take a 2-1 lead.

fairly early in the second half, Maika (a new addition to Loren's team at the forward position, whom i mention because he scored the only goal i can remember whom to credit) tied it up, and the game held at 2-2 for a while, up and down the field. eventually though, the ball spent more time on the Live Wire end of the field, and the defense softened up a bit, and despite a solid game by Jackson at keeper (whom i mention specifically because it was his first game in the position) and virtually every other Live Wire, the Panthers scored two more unanswered goals to win in regulation, 4-2.

after the game, Coach Poyner seemed confident in his team's ability, stating unequivocally, "this team will win some games." it certainly wouldn't disappoint any of the players or their parents.

i'm in charge of sending the game results in to the league (simple as filling out a postcard and dropping it in the mail), and i've sort of appointed myself team photog this year. since i'm out there takin' a bazillion shots of Loren anyway, i might as well fill up a little more memory and get some of the rest of the team. i might take the team pictures, when the time comes- we'll see if the rest of the parents would rather have the professional stuff done or not. personally, i think the only thing worth having printed are those baseball card type things, which they print on heavy stock and look all professionally glossy- and as far as i know, there's no "sitting fee" for the team- and anyone who doesn't want to buy pictures doesn't have to- so i think it might be easiest to go for that, and do the team photo and the individual player photos ourselves. we'll see how that works out.

but for now, here's a few shots from this afternoon's game:

Loren on the field, pre-game

Loren challenged for the ball by a Panther defender

Loren making a play on the ball

Loren riding the bench in the second half

Loren walking off the field with his friend Jackson after the end-of-game whistle

that's all for now folks. more soccer next week.


current events

well, i thought since it's been so long since i posted i should skip past the remainder of the two month old vacation pics (for now) and do something a little more current. life continues to go on, after all. Loren's started school, 7th grade. he seems to be enjoying it so far, but what can you say, he's only been in for two days and they've yet to throw anything at him. give it a little time, i'm sure it'll get a little more challenging and then there'll be something more interesting to say than "he went to the building and came home". he has a few classes with some friends. he gets a locker this year (which he's only allowed to go to at certain times, for some unknown reason). they used to build the combination locks into the locker doors, don't know why they didn't at his school, but the lockers are supplied with regular combination locks which the students get charged $9 for if they lose. here's hoping Loren doesn't end up with a massive lock replacement bill before the end of the year....

Loren's soccer season's started also. i don't have any info on games yet, but the season generally runs into sometime in Novemeber and i believe they play 10 games, so working backward from the end of November that would make it about another week until his first game. not a lot of time. i hope they end up with enough kids to actually play- it would be disappointing if the kids that have showed up so far had to forfeit some games off the bat, or not get to play at all after practicing for a few weeks. we'll see- i doubt anyone would have actually put the team on the schedule if they didn't have enough kids on paper at least. Loren's had some problems with his feet hurting from his cleats; i put him on the field in his regular sneakers last time and he did fine, which tells me it's the shoes, not his feet- which is good. hopefully i can exchange them, but if not i'll try to beat them into submission a bit before totally giving up. he's really happy with his pads at least- he picked out some really nice ones. i basically let him choose his gear, and he opted for (without seeing the price tags) the most expensive pads, middle-of-the-road cleats, and the least expensive ball- all in all about $75. ouch. then i took him out to buy new sneakers for school and that cost another $65. things'll be a little tight around here for a couple weeks.

that's not good timing considering i'm hoping to get to the Puyallup Fair this weekend. i may be forced to put it off until next weekend- in which case i intend to keep him overnight on saturday until sunday morning, cuz we've got tradition to uphold and that's gonna take until about 10pm- then we have to drive back from Puyallup.

been workin'- not a lot to say about that. running doublers on the Leadwell is boring as hell. last week was kinda heavy for me, what with a night shift building Northgate Calendar Club with Dad until 1am, then turning around and pouring a concrete pad for a shed at work the next day. honestly this was about the easiest build i've ever been through for Calendar Club, i showed up pretty late since Loren's soccer practice (in Granite Falls) didn't get out until 8pm. i mainly handled the electrical stuff and the rental truck- only part of my usual duties. Dad's up and running and from what i've heard business has been pretty decent so far.

so (pardon the redundancy those of you whom i've sent any of these to before) here's one from Loren's first soccer practice, a scrimmage against the kids in the yellow pennies (jerseys over their other clothes)- the kid in the black shirt in front of him's on the other team too, but they didn't have enough pennies to go around.

Loren dribbling in a crowd of defenders

a week later, it was practice #2, and i didn't get any really good shots of soccer- but i got a decent one after practice:

the sun dancing with the clouds before hitting the hay

despite being pretty much wiped out after the long hours thursday and friday, friday night was a party at Nichole & Chris's to celebrate 1) Melissa's birthday, 2) Mom & Dad's 40th wedding anniversary, 3) Uncle Steve & Aunt Jen's 1st wedding anniversary. nothing like killing three birds with one stone....or is that 5? actually, in this case it was more like throwing a bottle or so at each bird. to go along with some great Mexican food whipped up my Nichole & Melissa, there were margaritas aplenty, and when the glasses are as big as you'll see below, that's saying something. Jason however doesn't partake of such, so here he is with an O'Doul's on the couch in the Sargent's living room.

proof that although it's rare, even JASON gets to relax once in a while

the discussion around the table earlier was pretty lively. at one point it turned to a particularly amusing reminiscence by my sisters of Nichole trying to teach Melissa to perform a "slimming" pose for a camera. i didn't get a shot of that at the time (which is LAME, because it would've been a great one of Melissa; she might not have the pose but she nailed the slapstick!), but here's a great one of Nichole striking another pose in the kitchen a bit later.

i turned the camera on her and BAM, instant pose. she's a natural.

Mom certainly loves Mexican (ahem) food, and no, it doesn't have anything to do with margaritas- big, frozen golden ones normally. seriously....


Dad generally doesn't mix his liquor with much, but margaritas might be something of an exception for him. besides, tequila's hard not to like regardless of the medium, especially when it comes in a glass this big!

everything's a little more amusing when your glass keeps getting filled.

Uncle Steve and Aunt Jen seemed to enjoy themselves, and it was a nice end-of-visit thing too, after their week here in the great Pacific NW. hope they make it back out here soon, it was Excellent to see them! i failed to get my camera out for the majority of the night (for shame!) and i only got this one shot of them together, so it's a must-include

the no-longer-newlyweds reviewing a pic or two.

i only got a couple of Aunt Jen, and they didn't turn out well, annoyingly. but i did get one good closeup of Uncle Steve:


Melissa tends to shy away from cameras a bit, so she's a hard one to get a shot of sometimes. i'll keep workin' on that, try to spot my opportunities a little better. but shooting people with drinks in their hand at a Pelkey party seems to be something along the lines of shooting fish in a barrel- or at least it was this night.

a rare relaxed shot of Melissa enjoying a margarita.

wow i just realized all those pictures were taken in less than 10 minutes. when i start snappin' 'em, they come quick-like, i guess. or maybe it was just that i realized i was, and likely the others were, running out of steam quickly. after all it was Melissa's birthday and maybe that made everyone feel a little less spring in their chicken. but that never applies to E-Dog and Coley. i'd give plenty to feel as much energy as these two have.

Ethan riding Jason like a champ, and Cole takin' a little break from dropping butt-first on the piano.

this is another one of Melissa, this time holding something a little less intoxicating.

Melissa holding our youngest nephew Cole

i brought some excellent tequila, saved since last New Years' Eve, for people to mix some margaritas out of, but i don't think it got used even once for that, so it made me happy when Chris decided it was a good chance to chip away at a lingering aversion to the stuff, caused by a prior enthusiastic overindulgence. i did the same thing with gin, but i absolutely can't touch the stuff- hate the smell of it even. 2/3 of a half gallon (hmmm....1/3 of a gallon) straight outta the bottle will do that to ya. now i get a whiff of the stuff and it's instant nausea. could have something to do with the deathly green color i turned at the time, or 24 hours of vomiting and dry heaves, or the three days i spent hung over. ah, the wisdom of youth. it's a good argument for drinking in moderation- get too damn drunk on something once and you could ruin yourself for an entire type of liquor! i must have learned something back then though, cuz i knew i was tired that night, and i forewent the tequila shots for one margarita and a beer. evidently there's hope for me yet.

Chris attempting to lay the smack down on the tequila demon lurking in his stomach....with moderate success.

....and a few seconds later, not really any worse for wear. the therapy's workin', doc.

ok that's it for now- time to crash out. y'all be khoul now, hear?

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