Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shooting the Sidewalk


Couple of sidewalk photos I took today. The above image is part of the sidewalk around 3rd and Yamhill or so, also known as "Street Wise", a public art piece by Katherine Dunn and Bill Will. It's a block's worth of amusing, offbeat, and just plain weird quotes set randomly into the sidewalk. I always forget where it's at, and keep stumbling across it when I least expect to. If I have time, I stop and read a couple. Seeing things like "the end of life as we know it" in the sidewalk is good for a smile or two. Here's a blog entry I came across with a few more photos of the piece.

Actually there's bound to be a mystical way of using Street Wise to tell the future, by seeing which quotation either you, a friend, or some object, ends up closest to. Whichever one it is, that's your fortune for the day. You could throw spare change down the block and see where the pennies land. That would be simple enough. Or you could maybe get drunk, or spin around and get dizzy, and then see which quote you fall closest to. And if you happen to stumble off the curb out into the busy street, hey, that's your future right there.


The next photo is a closeup of one of the many small round metal plates in the sidewalk we ended up with after the city removed all our old-style parking meters and replaced them with green Euro-licious solar-powered kiosks. This particular one is at the corner of SW 3rd and Pine St., next to the Embassy Suites hotel, in case anybody wants to make a pilgrimage or whatever. Note the web address on the plate. Someday archeologists of the future will be able to date all sorts of objects based on whether they have internet addresses on 'em or not. Supposing that detailed domain registration records survive into the distant future, they may be able to take that Kozmo.com polo shirt and narrow things down to the exact year or two Kozmo was in business. Heck, they may even be able to get DNA off of it, and grow themselves a shiny new dot-com geek in a test tube. But that's all in the distant future, of course.

ParkingZone.com describes itself as "The Parkingzone - Parking Supplies for over 15 years". I have a real weakness for industry websites, trade magazines, and the like. Every time you come across one, it's a chance to learn a thing or two about the parts of our world that we all take for granted. I always end up browsing through 'em for hours on end. I didn't realize just how much equipment it takes to run a parking operation, but once you go through the catalog you go, yes, I've seen them using that, and that, and one of those. I suppose you could even sign up and buy your very own, if you were so inclined. Looking at the catalog, it appears that what we're looking at here is a "gorilla post mounting plate". A gorilla post is the technical term for a temporary post that mounts in the sidewalk (in the aforementioned mounting plate, obviously). So I suppose our city can now easily blanket a large area with temporary "No Parking" signs if need be. The ParkingZone catalog also notes that the mounting plates are only 3/16" thick, so that they meet ADA requirements about not presenting a tripping hazard for disabled people. And despite all that engineering, one of these bad boys will only set you back a mere $9.50 a pop. Which is about the same as a fancy mixed drink in a trendy downtown bar, and those actualy make you more likely to trip, not less. The world can be just so confusing sometimes...


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