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30 November, 2012

My Little Pony

Like most little girls, I believe in the magic of ponies.
A few months back, I heard an elder explain to a room of non-tribal folks that he had an uncle who said his truck was his pony, that uncle and truck had a relationship like their forefathers did with their most cherished war ponies. This needed to be said, because the non-tribal people were drifting off into the peculiar fantasy that maybe the native people should be more old fashioned. As in, if you want to exercise your treaty rights and gather plants in the woods, walk or ride a horse, but don't expect a key to the gate so you can drive in. And so we got a lesson on the fact that native people may adapt, but that beneath adopted trappings lies a resilient culture. 

But the last thing we need is more of a white guy interpreting native stories. What I really wanna talk about is my pony, the steel steed that carried me across the continent, that pulled my wagon along the Oregon Trail all the way to Olympia. 

For several years, it sat mostly idle, gathering moss, but recently it's my main ride...other than the bus, or my legs...and I'm enjoying being back in the saddle. I spent alot of my adolescence and adult life rebelling against the redneck, confederate rebelry revering culture surrounding me, and so it comes as a surprise that I'm so attached to a pick-up truck. 

Much less the F150, iconic old school Red State chariot. I never figured I'd ever participate in the sort of vehicular manslander that leads to bumper stickers like "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Chevys," and heated debates of the merits of a Dodge hemi, whatever that is. Maybe I'd poke ironic fun, but that kind of thing has a way of slipping into iconic seriousness. And so I drive a Ford and consider all the other ponies malformed and weak. I've come to learn from my daughters that they too would chafe at a Chevy and disdain a Dodge, more or less out of loyalty to me and their belief that I seriously am a Ford Man. 

And maybe I am. Or maybe it's just the only truck I've owned. Or maybe I just like the stripped down-ness of it. No extended cab, no electric windows, no cruise control (OK, maybe I'm not thrilled about that part), no working CD (much less an i-whatever or satellite radio), no all sorts of shit. Yes, eight-foot bed. Yes, 4-wheel drive. Yes, that little slidy window in  back to let air flow through. Yes, heavy-ass 20th Century steel, built in my home state. 

Oh, and yes, paid for. Running for almost 15 years with just a little over 100,000 miles, so plenty more years left if I treat it right. Not the most efficient beast on the road, but then again I don't drive a lot and there's much to be said for squeezing the most out of a car already there and avoiding the new car(bon footprint). And in case I have not already said so, it's paid for. 

It may not be my war pony (a peace mule, maybe), but I do have to admit I like that truck.

24 November, 2012

Two Ferries




Apropos of nothing, i drag forth from the archive a couple of photos from ferry rides. One of a San Juan run so sunny and clear that I felt like I was on the boat to heaven. Another on a greyer, more ambiguous day when the destination was shrouded until we were nearly there. These were both fun rides, one not really better than the other, each merely a means of transport to the observer, but each also an adventure and miraculous journey in my mind. The ferries of Washington, white and green, filled with cars, thrummed forward and back by diesels, seem so same, but each route is unique, each passage a new experience. Commuters may dull to the beauty, but I love each ride.

21 November, 2012

Up Ballot, Down Ballot




Too cheap to spring for a stamp?
If I were a real political blogger, I'd be standing on a fiscal cliff right now, looking at Gaza, but procrastination is more my style, so here goes some election analysis.

In Washington State, progressives did pretty well, winning all the statewide offices but one, throwing their lot with Obama, and approving a couple of intiatives that would make most of my native Virginian cohort shake their heads in pity or raise their voices in rage. So, it was an excellent election.

But it struck me that an interesting thing about the final numbers (these can take a while to generate in a vote by mail state. which is pleasing to pro crastinators), is that they don't just tell us who won, but maybe also what is most important to Washington voters. Take a look at this table, which compiles the results as of November 16, 2012.