Wednesday, December 24, 2008

festive hat wearing

'Tis the season to wear photoshopped hats on your own blog.

God bless the people in my life—all of them, including you, reader—who made the last half of 2008 the best six months I've had in a very long time. It's your investment into my life that has made me hopeful for my future.

I have a lot to be thankful for tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

pdx under attack!

For those of you not in Portland, we've had snow and ice on the ground for a week. This is a real rarity for us. It is still coming down. Check out more, bigger photos on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

winter fun

Here's a fun game my neighbors like to play on the icey steep uphill!

Can you spot my green GTI parked in the bottom right corner of the video?

crafty wonderland

For those of you who don't live in Portland, it's been a mess here, at least compared to what we're used to. Temperatures in the teens and twenties equal frozen ice roads in the Great Northwest, and we don't know how to drive on this stuff, so we stay home. It is definitely pretty though, and a fun change!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

almost a senator

Despite my complete lack of desire to be involved in United States Politics, it would have been a mistake not to have bid.

geography is a subject

After all this time I still have no idea what this Starbucks marketing campaign is trying to convey!

geography is a flavor

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

the sky is falling

What the heck is this white stuff falling from the sky?

Monday, December 1, 2008

daily drawing "mah fludbehta malbo sabé tchralabon"

I've been working too hard. Give me a break!

Man my blog sucks.

mr. picasso head

Monday, November 10, 2008

fall at the park blocks

I told the nice lesbian barista "thank you" this morning with a mouth full of cinnamon roll.

I don't really blame you for not liking boys, barista; frankly, neither do I.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

pouch food

People that regularly follow this blog are not likely to believe that I actually packed a lunch for myself today, so here's photographic evidence.

I didn't make the sandwich though. That was my pay for a night's performance at the Camellia Lounge. Darn good sandwich.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the unwritten

I just took a shower and my mind is now filled with all sorts of new stuff. Curses. It all happens at once and then I never (seem to) have time to write it all out. So here are some short synopsis of things I hope come soon. I have a few other lists floating around that I need to combine up and get studying.

On perfection Each diamond that is for sale in the United States comes with a rating from the GIA Grading System that denotes its level of imperfection. At some point in the scale, about halfway up, you can't even see the imperfections unless you use a tool designed to discover them—a magnifier. So why is it that anyone would purchase a diamond higher up on the scale where you can't tell the difference with your own eye? Yet these sell all the time. People (myself included) are extremely intrigued by the very notion of perfection. When they zoom in, take a closer look, and still cannot point out a flaw, they are even more drawn in! So then, how much could happen, wether it's right or wrong or fair or not, to make hard choices... so you are blameless? What's possible?

On analysis So I think occasionally, yes. I analyze. Too much, some people have told me. Well, God gave us brains and we all analyze all the time, wether we like it or not. We can discover to whatever depth we please; it is our choice. The only fallacy in analysis is when we believe we have analyzed enough and have the right answers, and that we are "right" about any given thing. Hello fellow Christians! Are you really claiming to see, to know everything? In my shallow opinion, it is time to be humble, to behave, and to think enough to listen to God, and then think about what He says, and then listen again. (It's a pattern) And actually, on second thought, I might not have this all figured out. Maybe I need to think more about it.

On simplicity Then again, if analysis isn't for understanding's sake, if it's not for simplicity's sake, then why? What yield do we gain from complexity? People in far (-from-our-understanding) places over have discovered God without even the Bible. Is the truth ambient? Is it there for us to simply discover if we are looking and listening for it? By the way - if by "looking" you are using your brain to comprehend your life's experiences... that is analysis.

On meaning despite people (a follow up from my last post) Sometimes we are told things and we feel moved and inspired by The Truth that we receive while hearing them. Later they turn out to be told by a liar. Yes, we can be hurt and offended and we can choose to discount these things from people, frankly, being imperfect people. But does it have to discount the inspiration you received from your Lord, the source of all good things?

On forgiveness I've discovered the secret to forgiveness, for me, is found in this verse. Luke 23:34 Yah’shua said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."

a clean life

My experiences of 24 years help to form the current desires of my heart:

To hear God, to learn, to obey, over all;
And to love, and to exist for the benefit of others.

(Tell me, what other great pursuits exist in life?)

Distractions simply distract, from these things. Though one can't ever "arrive" by eliminating tangible distractions, it helps to have less to consider.

  • I want to have a clean, simple space, with few distractions, so I can breathe.
  • A place to sit with my legs folded, so I can think.
  • A desk to sit at (preferably one that doesn't tire me), so my hands can work.
  • Books to read, to learn from.
  • A computer with which to create, to communicate, to do.
  • Musical instruments. (I'm still discovering what to do with these...)
  • A deep, clear understanding of priority; God is at the top and my life should reflect so.
  • A deep, clear understanding of my finances, because God has tasked me to do well. (Matthew 25:14-30; and yes, I understand I'm taking this "literally", but there are many meanings to be had in these words, all of which should be heeded! Note the beauty of verse 23: "Enter into the joy of your lord.")

Oh, and time. I want to learn how to earn time.

I want to be more able to think, then I want to think more about producing "fruit", and then I want to produce more.

I fear that many Christians have an incorrect understanding. We think we can use words to do good things (some might also say "the will of God"), to help people, to save people. Meanwhile we are at least somewhat unaware that it is the meaning (which our words are attempting to explain) that inspires a change, not the words themselves.

We share with someone a truth, and they don't understand ("get") it, don't accept it. We conclude that it must be their hang-up, their fault. We have some sort of emotional reaction and then move on.

At some point, repeatedly observing ourselves, our own attempts or the (sometimes outrageous/hypocritical/non-sensical) attempts of others to speak words of Truth, we decide to give up on communicating this whole God thing and forget about the eternity of others. We end up right where Satan wants us, in complacency.

But The Truth is written in meaning, not words. God did not just leave us with a book that says "follow me", nor did He stop at "I love you". He sent Jesus to convey the meaning of Truth through action; the way He lived and the things He did, both of which accurately speak The Truth.

Don't you remember your mother telling you that your actions "speak" (!) louder than words? How about we first just understand that "actions speak". I would argue further that "life speaks"; something is communicated by simply how we live.

Words from the mouth of a person can only mean what their life does, or they are lies, hypocrisy.

My idea is to stop and allow God to saturate myself. I believe (in faith) that appropriate behavior will simply follow.

foray back in

I will be backing up the talented duo of James Kerridge and Jon Hecox

Wednesday, October 8, 9 PM
Camellia Lounge Portland, OR

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


This Jake Shimabukuro arrangement has always given me chills. So beautiful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

startup 1: market research

I've been recently asked to advise an Internet start-up in the early moments, and I'm trying to give good advice based on what I've seen and am seeing in the industry. I would appreciate any comments on the short articles I'm going to be posting here over the next while.


If you want to see your web-based business succeed, my best recommendation is to begin by scouring the Internet and profiling any related sites... because inevitably, you aren't the first netizen with at least similar ideas!

Create a document that lists out every related website you can find and ask these questions about each one of them:

* What do they do?
* What do they do well?
* What do they do poorly?
* What do they not do at all?
* Did I know this site existed before? If not, then why? (What's wrong with they ways they did or did not market themselves?)

Why waste time and make mistakes when you can watch other people do exactly that, and then learn from them the easy way?? Knowledge is key.

If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

-- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

silent killing machine

Prius drivers suck far too much to be in control of a silent vehicle!*

* In general.
* From what I've observed.
* Results may vary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Good luck," I said haphazardly, for lack of a better send off.

She looked back, paused a moment, and then replied, "No, I don't like that so much."

It struck me a day later that luck doesn't exist; our God is far more purposeful than that.

colin at work, volume 2

another photo essay
by colin black

1:29 AM. Comcast is not giving me the answer I want to hear.

4:12 AM. Must... finish... Cisco... configuration...

The end.

See also: Volume 1

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

trade magazine practice

Check out the new photo... I'm practicing for my trade magazine interviews! HA HA

As if...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Some years ago I thought maybe I was called to be a pastor.

I don't think I was. I doubt I ever will be. I would make a terrible pastor. I would spend all week on a message; wear out a few delete keys; in the end I'd deliver about two minutes of content, and about one and a half of those minutes would probably be me looking out at the congregation in pause, hands on the table in front me, staring, saying nothing. (No doubt that is a service you want to be at, so let's see a show of hands and I'll get rolling.)

Words are not a good carrier for God's message, which in my limited understanding is likely written in love... but they're what we Christians readily use. I don't think I like that, but I'm as of yet unsure what a church would look like without them.

Also I am not a good carrier for God's message because my delivery is inherently hypocritical. If I knew God, then sin (the alternative) would not be part of me.

But do you even know what I'm saying when I say "knew"? Wait, do I know?

Words are a shallow descriptor of love, of meaning, of the truth. Words can be delivered hypocritically. Real love cannot.

God is lovely. So is love. So love and seek God; I think that's about enough.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
Jeremiah 3:33

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Please pray for a homeless man named Sevin, who lives a painful existance; he is afflicted by schizophrenia.

There was a man this morning who boarded the streetcar, sat down in the seat facing me and immediately started talking to me.

"Are you an art school student?" he asked.
"No," I replied.

"PSU?" he asked.

"Where are you going, then?" he wanted to know. I told him I was going to work, and he seemed taken aback a bit.

"You are young, to be going to work." Then his face changed a bit.

"I am 50 years old. I have schizophrenia. It is a terrible disease." He started to cry. "My mother warned me about this disease. I am homeless, and I sleep under blankets... blankets... please......"

I looked him straight in the eyes and asked, "What do you need?"

"Pray for me, please. My name is Sevin: S-E-V-I-N. Pray for Sevin, please..."

I got off the train and watched it pull away. He held out his hand toward me as it left the platform. I am shaken.

Please, if you can, I am asking you to take the time to seek the Lord on this man's behalf. All He asked for was prayer.

Soften our hearts. Make us ready to be of assistance to those in need, make us your light, equip us with hearts to love your people.


For maybe a couple months God has been showing me an image of a peaceful ocean. I quickly cut Him off from whatever He was trying to say at that time and interpreted it myself to mean that He wanted me to be like the ocean in my life. At peace, deep and calm; perhaps as a beacon of serenity to people around me.

The problem is that, despite the rains that come along and fill me up every now and again, I am a tiny puddle, compared to The Ocean. A tiny puddle that perhaps wants to be the ocean... but certainly no puddle can will itself into being the ocean; it has no control over such things.

When the sun and the hot comes out, I have a tendency to dry up. Someday The Son will come out and I will dry up completely; I will no longer be. Everything of me relies on rain from Heaven every day to exist. But The Ocean persists without question.

People attempting to find some sort of solace, some form of solution in me will not find it. They might see some water and attempt a swim only to find that their feet are barely submersed in my shallow depth. So unsatisfying; suddenly I'm simply a body of disappointment. It seems that instead of playing party to such ideas, the smart puddle erects a sandwich board next to itself with an arrow that points coastward; "You want to be over there"...

God saves.

Monday, September 1, 2008


GOD has let me in on a few new things tonight. I am writing them here so that I don't forget but also so that perhaps someone else will receive as well.

The name of Jesus, in Hebrew, is written in the NT I believe "Yah'shua", which translates to "God (Yah) saves". These particular facts I have to check when I wake up in the morning and have access to light and reading materials.

In my deepest sleepless struggle His name came to my mind, first in Hebrew "Yah'shua" and then translated "God saves". Suddenly I was hit with a certain clarity. In my struggles, wrestling with myself, trying to solve my own problems, attempting to make myself worthy of God's presence or will through my own means, I have neglected the simplest of truths, that God saves, not I.

Such a profound concept, Yah'shua, that it was our Lord Savior's name. Name above all names, they sometimes say. But why, what's in a name? Could it be that this name is the answer to life, to the world?

The Human condition: our capacity is too small. We were not designed to save and therefore cannot. Our complexity outstrips our capacity; attempts to save self or others fail continually. Failure is pain. So for some, life is continual pain.

To be saved, it seems, is complete surrender of all aspects of life. If we do not surrender all, then which of those pieces of us are we still trying to save, ourselves?

A guest speaker on Sunday described a baby as a blank page on which its parents write through their actions. Oh, to let God write His name (His plan!) deeply into our pages, deeper every moment, that our actions in view of others were so that they would be willing to open their pages to a God who saves...

I have to read this tomorrow, to make sure I have been accurate in passing along this information, that I have not colored it through my own head, my own will. Until tomorrow.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Viognier. Bagel. Pajama pants. Thelonius Monk; April in Paris. And Amy. Lovely, lovely Amy.

If only words could do you justice. Then this blog might be useful.

Monday, August 4, 2008

how to learn

My family, my friends and I are always amused that whenever I go someplace, that people think I'm some sort of photo expert. No, I'm just a guy who likes to take pictures and tries everything out to see what happens. The only way to learn is to push every button, try every menu item and combination of things and watch what happens.

How to Learn

vali thai

Today I gave pizza a chance. (Give Pizza a Chance, food cart @ SW 5th and Washington) It failed.

I've been addicted to Vali (Vela? Veli?) Thai Food, a different food cart on the same block. The Red and Yellow curries are so good that I can't bring myself to try anything else.

I know that one day I'm going to get horrendously sick from one of these carts, but until that day, this is some of the best food that I've ever eaten.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

fire sale

UPDATE! Price drop! Uniden 5.8 ghz expandable phone system with voicemail... excellent! If you have a land line... $40

UPDATE! Wireless card for laptops FREE See below

UPDATE! Infinity Kappa car speakers, component system w/ crossover for each channel, 4" mids and 1" tweets. Yeah, I said tweets. These sound great if you have a subwoofer to fill out the bottom. So buy them from me now. I will install them for you if you have 4" component cutouts already. Do you? Send me your car's info and I'll tell you wether they do or not. $40! WOAH!

UPDATE! More freebies... oh man, this is getting nuts! Hard drives! Speakers! Another bookshelf! See below.

UPDATE! Z-Line Legacy l-shape computer desk $65

UPDATE! Black and Chrome Westinghouse microwave, very stylish, looks like the picture below except it's got the old school "W" logo on the front and mine's in better condition. $30

UPDATE! GE corded speakerphone FREE

UPDATE! Mr. Coffee 10-cup thermal coffee maker, NEW in sealed box $45

UPDATE! S-Cobra 19 Ultra II car CB rig with PA horn $35

UPDATE! FREE: Tons of assorted audio, video, computer and electronics cables, power supplies... Just let me know what you need, I probably have it and don't need it.

UPDATE! Dirt Devil vacuum is now FREE.

UPDATE! Awesome Danby mini-fridge $100

OK, let the fire sale begin... Doors opening today. Leave a comment or call to claim any of these items (with the exception of eBay items)

First item on the block... is my leather couch. You know you want to.

Some people might ask... What is it Colin, what is it that you are going to sit on then? Primarily, my Aeron chair. I've had one for some time, and I can honestly say that it is the best investment you can make to your health if your job is sitting at a computer. You don't hurt and you don't get tired of sitting. Doctors in the Pearl have bought one on my recommendation; this is not a joke. Secondarily, the floor. Tertiary, the extra couch from the old office that I have sitting in the storage unit.

Second item... my old-school LaserJet printer. Here's your chance to own a classic...

Third item is that blasted 32" TV - FREE!!! Come over and take it, please, I'm begging you.

And much more!
  • Desk IP telephone
  • 12-amp bagless Dirt Devil vacuum in good condition, $50, and another one in not-as-good condition for $25 (it's a little scratched up and doesn't stay in standing position but is otherwise fine)

  • Linksys PCMCIA Wireless-G laptop card (get wi-fi on your old laptop)... free to good cause, like needing to be able to do homework
  • Audiovox model 0690 stereo speakers, wood cabinets, dating to the 70's, they sound A-OK
  • Nice little Target-brand 2 shelf bookshelf (as seen in my office)
  • GE corded speakerphone
  • Dirt Devil bagless vacuum cleaner... works
  • Tons of assorted audio, video, computer and electronics cables, power supplies... Just let me know what you need, I probably have it and don't need it
  • Computer and laptop hard drives of all sizes
  • Some cool looking promotional nVidia posters
  • Batch of fireworks (no idea where they came from but they look cool)
  • Respectable looking Target-brand 5 shelf bookshelf, decent sized
  • Purple office chair (don't ask) that needs a couple bolts
  • A number of nice, light music stands
  • Unused brushes, rollers, and other assorted wall painting supplies
  • Hard-shell guitar case, Les Paul style, rather nice actually
  • Bulletin board

Monday, July 21, 2008


Dear Anonymous... perhaps you should think about why it is that you have to hide from your comments. I'm not passing judgement, as I honestly don't know your intentions, I just find it a little strange that a person behaving according to the best of intentions, or better, to the will of God, isn't willing to put their name and face behind what they say.

This deck is lovely. It's probably about the only thing I will miss from this place. I mean, the condo was never anything special on the inside, being quite outdated; it was the view that made it so spectacular. And this deck, overlooking the Columbia, where I could see into Gresham, follow a plane from the ground, past the towers on the West Hills, and into the sky, gliding over the St. Johns Bridge into the sunset. There isn't one thing that's particularly grand about this view—it's no Kerry Park—it's just being able to see this whole huge city in one shot that is awe striking.

So I type this blog entry as somewhat of a closure, getting ready for a new chapter in life and all sorts of mysteries and adventures that I don't think I can begin to imagine.

Speaking of things I can't imagine... if you have an iPhone, you need to go and download Midnight Mahjongg immediately. It's free and it will blow your mind. Not because it's a great game, which it is, but because of the way you can spin and manipulate the board using multi-touch. For some reason it seems really incredible to me.

This certainly isn't the first time I've used something on the iPhone and thought to myself, "the world is really changing." It's moving fast now. Faster and faster, and I must be getting old, or maybe I'm just too much in the know (being a software developer), but I'm getting a little frightened by it. We, humanity, are getting so fast at development of technology that pretty soon there won't be anything "real" that we cannot do. And at that point, who's to say what's a machine and what's not? Yes, of course God can, but what if He just lets us run with it? What could happen?

Two years ago almost to this day I was sitting on this deck, which was new to me at the time, without a clue as to what I was doing besides attempting to scrap together a business for no reason other than to do it. Looking back I guess I feel rather lucky that God has allowed me to come now to where I am, even in the mistake-making and the wandering more than a time or two. At all's end I have found a life of less stress, more love, more realism, and more purpose. I don't feel like I'm faking life.

I've come to the point where I have vague notions but no goals. I let the Lord move me where He needs now, and I try to resist as little as possible, but I still have a lot to learn. He does have the best in mind.

Ready to move.

please take my tv

I'm drinking a cup down at Morning Star Café right now and it's not as good as the last one. Don't drink the dark blend. IMO. The bagel was great though.

In the next couple of days I will be announcing a fire sale on this blog. Basically I'm giving away a bunch of stuff and selling the rest for way cheap prices. Very negotiable, I just need to get rid of a lot of this stuff.

Here's the first deal of the day: A FREE 32" Sansui tube television. As far as tube TVs go, this thing is HUGE and actually has a really nice picture. It's also very heavy. I'll help you get it down to your car if you get it out of my life. Here's a review of a similar model. It looks like the one in the picture except it's black.

Sansui TV review

Friday, July 18, 2008

morning star

Oh my joy, I have found my breakfast spot this morning!

Morning Star Café on SW 3rd and Washington

Served up a fantastic bagel and a great cup of Illy brewed coffee. It was great, quick, cool atmosphere, cute girls. They even have Voodoo donuts. Good job you guys, you have a new repeat customer!


Wonderful day for a sandcastle event... in the middle of downtown. I was at the square today for a few minutes at lunch cheering on Razorfish PDX, who in the end beat W+K... woo hoo! The end product is shown here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

bagel bistro

I love bagels and coffee. I had a place I really enjoyed going - NW Bagel Deli in Hazel Dell - but now it'll be over 16 miles away, so I probably won't make it out very often anymore. I'm spending mornings before work looking for a new coffee and bagel place in the downtown Portland area. I will be reviewing them here.

Bagel Bistro on SW 4th and Stark

I ordered the sesame bagel and a coffee, and both came with a smile. The bagel was a touch salty and the coffee was... well, not. Atmosphere is reasonable, lots of breakfast choices including non-bagel-related items. Overall it's the best place I've been to yet. Sadly it looks like Vancouver has the bagel figured out far better than Portland does.

Monday, July 14, 2008

new home

Well, it's been a year now since Sarah, a week since Amy, twenty-four years I've been on this Earth and perhaps only two months that I've even begun to get any grasp on what life is supposed to be about.

I would question even that, but there is real evidence that suggests it's actually true. Change in my own life.

I was coming home without any sort of real purpose this evening, trying to figure out what would be a good use of the few hours I have left of this day, and not coming up with much. Once I got inside I realized that home wasn't a place I necessarily enjoyed being. What a sad and displacing concept. I felt God putting a new desire on my heart, to make my home a good, complete place, not just for me but for people to come and also relax and feel full of life and worship. I want to make my new home across the river a place where I come home and I can thank God for a great day and not feel depressed. I want it to be a sanctuary, where I can be quiet and alone, or with company, depending on what I am needing.

That's about all. Not really profound but to me it's something new and it feels important.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I've spent two years taking in the whole city from this oversized window. From it I could see life happening far away below a cluster of hills. I watched from the safety of a retirement community across a state line; a place that felt comfortable to me, like a worn-out pair of jeans.

I didn't have a better answer so I never questioned it.

Now that I do... to step out, to move... to not fear what will become of this? If God is in control, what do I have to be afraid of?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


He wakes up at 3:30 in the morning in his sterile white bed in a sterile white room, and he writhes around in restlessness. He has no rest.

Eventually he wanders out to the cafeteria but he only nibbles at bread and sips some very weak coffee. He knows his stomach will hurt all day afterward but he still chooses not to eat.

His eyes are barely open and he looks sick.

Facing east he watches a sunrise through closed curtains in the front room.

Before everyone else wakes up he is back in his room, sitting at a small wooden desk in an old yellow chair, scribbling short phrases and single words onto sheets of paper, which he keeps in a manila envelope at the side of the desk. Sometimes he will take one of the pieces of paper and add a phrase or a word, and sometimes he will pull a fresh sheet out from the drawer of his desk and start new. The ream of white copy paper and box of pens were the only things he'd asked for the entire year.

Looking very fatigued he brings the folder to a close and lies down face up on his bed, waiting for the nurse to come in and do whatever it is she needs to do. Shots, medicine. He rarely says anything in protest because he's well clear enough to know it wouldn't help.

Sometimes he spends the afternoon lying there until he falls asleep. When he can't sleep anymore he'll wander out and around the halls, looking through the windows, wondering at the conditions of other people. He walks slowly because there's only so much to see.

This is cyclical.

Once a nurse watched through his window, unbeknownst to him, while he gazed at a wallet-sized picture tacked above his desk. A picture of a woman, the only thing he'd brought with him from the outside. And he said softly, bringing his face to rest in his hands, "I've got to get better, for you—"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The thoughts and whims of your love will guide you down their path, even when it's not apparent. So who or what will you love the most? Who will you keep an ear for, listening with abated breath?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


What a twist. High school girls who made a pact to get pregnant? This, the reasoning, is so sad.

"They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Amanda Ireland, 18, said. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

colin at work

a photo essay
by colin black

People frequently tell me they wish they had my job.

I forget, is it the green one or the black one?

This isn't even shaped right. I keep it devoid of personality in protest.

A genuine Darth Vader potato head?!?!
Amy pointed this out. I had no idea it was even on the wall of my cube.

The end.

i am not rick astley

I won the Rick Astley poll. By a vote of 15 to 12 I look less like him than more like him. Thanks to everyone who participated in this extremely important debate.

new light

amy seeley

Monday, June 9, 2008

city of roses

I got home after that last cup of coffee and realized I'd OD'd. Strange feeling. I put myself in bed and woke up a few minutes ago, and I have no feeling of what time of day or week it is, which is pretty rare for me. My phone told me that we are in the closing hours of Monday.

As I was telling James last night, the more that I sleep, the more that I want to sleep. It's a vicious cycle. In protest we stayed up all night last night put in a full effort on the new album and laid some comp tracks for R&D. We've already named the album, and funny enough, have had artwork for it for almost a year. It will be called "City of Roses", will probably feature about 10 tracks, and should be done by around the end of the year. More on this later.

I believe I have learned today that selfishness is the killer of God's plans. Is forward thinking simply looking away from self, out?

river maiden and the clover

I stumbled into a coffee shop in the Heights that I've never been to. River Maiden at 602 Devine Road. They serve Stumptown, apparently one of only two places on this side of the river.

More interestingly they have a Clover 1s machine. They are one of only a few hundred places around the world that have one, and it's likely that no more independent shops will get them... because Starbucks just bought the company.

A Clover uses a different brewing technique and only makes one cup of brewed coffee at a time. Reviewers say it makes the best cup of coffee available—of course, depending on what grounds you toss into it. I went with the barista's suggestion on what coffee to use and 60 seconds later I was holding a very fresh cup of coffee. It reminded me a lot of the pure Kona I had in Hawaii—extremely balanced. Too balanced, actually, just like the Kona. It was so smooth it was boring. I think it's a matter of picking a bold enough coffee so next time I'm going to try whatever is strongest. If it fails me again I'm going to say Clover is a no-go. Maybe it will fare better with Starbucks' less-than-par coffee?

A cup of Clover-made coffee here goes for about $2.50 with tax.

The atmosphere at River Maiden was much better than I anticipated in the Heights and both baristas seemed very well versed in the trade. Free WiFi and a very short distance from my pad. Offers some reasonable competition to Savona for my business!

Friday, June 6, 2008


The new Apple commercial, featuring Coldplay, has to be the most beautiful piece of media that I have ever seen or heard.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


We took the Scamp back to her dad's house and she came outside to check it out.

It was a pain, cutting out the solid metal in the dash to make room for a standard car stereo, but luckily Scott had some tools and a vague idea of how to accomplish what needed to be. I handled the electrical and wiring, which ended up being an interesting project in a vehicle from 1972 that came from the factory with one speaker in the dash and no accessory lead. We got it all knocked out in an afternoon and it seemed to work perfectly.

She sat on the driver side and put in a CD. On hearing the music she cheered and clapped in that way, that way that only she could ever do. "Oh Colin, it sounds so good!"

The desire to get on the open road overwhelmed her. She put in her key, shifted the car into drive, and moved it toward the end of the road.

Slowing to the first stop, she suddenly had a puzzled look on her face. I watched her move the turn signal lever with no effect.

She turned the key again, got out and stood there, hand on her forehead. She swore a bit, which surprised me. I could tell she knew we had broken her very first car for probably forever.

I went to her, put my arms around her and pulled her close, and said to her, "It's OK. I will fix it. It's not a big deal, I promise." She struggled, just a bit, but she couldn't escape my eyes, and so she looked straight into them. She found assurance and then her face changed. I could see that she trusted me; it moved me, and it moves me now as I write this. I fixed her car and we went to church the next day.

I think in those nights, those moments of naivety and innocence, of idealism and the concept of romantic love and marriage as an uncharted and perfect idea, we deserved one another.

the dark ages

I remember a night of stars on the way home, the last time, from Chelsea's house. I was driving west over 63rd just after midnight when I looked to the south over the hills and spotted evidence of Heaven. A vast array of bright white stars, all too rare to us city folk, complementing the moon that danced in and out of the clouds. I pulled the car over to the side of the road, mystified; I stood there against the door for 45 minutes and took in the sky while the Improverbs worship record played out the open windows and reminded my ears of some of the goodness in the world.

It was all breath taking and felt significant for reasons I didn't understand. I thanked God and I drove home. Wrote a blog entry about being at "Ground Zero", moving on from my relationship with Chelsea (which that night I had accepted to be over forever) and into a new chapter in my life. I could never have known how long and how desolate that chapter was going to be. I went to sleep and woke up the next day to meet up with an old friend whom I hadn't seen in many years. Her name was Kristen.


"Approach with caution", the non-existent warning label reads.

I shouldn't be so hasty in making a decision when I can get them from God for free. And the answers are always right. So why should I stress?

Guide to Fixing Your Life
by Colin Black

Step 1: Discover direction and capacity
Step 2: Redefine usage of time

what my life means, part 2

Does God want us to go out and save the world through our own doing, with some sort of magical words? Or does He want us to go out and build bridges which He can use? Does He want us to reach out and touch and change the lives of our fellow people through love and kindness, and if so, does He want us to do that with or without condition?

And what is the purpose of life if not to combat evil and darkness through love for each other?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

what my life means, part 1

Shortly after I stepped off the plane this evening, I somehow managed to lock my house keys, both car keys, and laptop into the trunk of my car, while it was parked at my parent's house. So here I rest for the night, on the couch. Work (which here I'm referring to in the traditional sense) is not an option.

That is, I'm unexpectedly continuing my foray into a hobo-nomadic existence of sorts; on the couches, in the homes, borrowing the cars, and using the computers of others, and finding inexplicable peace in that. In fact I'm so OK with having locked my keys in the car in such a silly way, and not being able to go home and rest in my own place, that I am throwing myself off.

It's being proven to me that some of these new theories in my life are true; that the importance of my existence is in the virtual and the abstract, rather than the concrete. My work is examination, processing, and directive output, not "production". If we didn't before, we at least now live in a world where the abstract intangible is worth more.

Thus far I've been so focused on the tangible, the identifiable, and the explainable. It took God breaking everything I knew, everything I could feel, before I was so confused that I was willing to really see something new... and even then only because there was, from what I could see, no other option.

Two weeks ago I began discovered what my life means.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008


Despite the ubiquity of his designs, Ive insists that he doesn't get an ego rush from seeing so many of us using his products. "I'm not driven by making a cultural impact," he says. "That's just a consequence of taking a remarkably powerful technology and making it relevant.

"My goal is simply to try to make products that really are meaningful to people. Ultimately there is something motivating and inspiring in seeing someone using an Apple product and enjoying an Apple product."


Sunday, May 25, 2008

portland as a startup city

Fortune mags sticks Portland in the #6 spot in their recent "100 best places to live and launch" article. Bellevue topped the list; Eugene, Corvallis, and Olympia also made appearances.

I met some people on the MAX yesterday from Indiana who reminded me how well we really have it here.

I may eventually move closer in but for now I'm retaining my apartment; my landlord and I inked a new deal yesterday that allows me to stay and save some money. So no updating the address books yet.

I took a post-concert/travel nap today that lasted about 4 hours. Now I am up and I can see that it is almost 9 PM but my body is very confused. Maybe I'll go out for pancakes in a bit?

ben gibbard also copied me

OK, well, not exactly. His is a G&L and has a different style bridge pickup and a slightly different finish. It sounded great at the amphitheater last night. He used it on "Cath" which I think probably has the best guitar tone and sound of any Death Cab song.

Monday, May 19, 2008

please help

Hi folks. I need your help. Jon is absolutely insistent that I look like Rick Astley. I really disagree.

Rick != Me

Please take a moment to vote in the poll on the right side of this page and bring some justice to this situation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

jonny buckland copied me

I guess he must have seen me playing my '72 Thinline because look what happened now. As if!

Touché, Buckland. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

useless update, but by request

I am the freaking Mahjongg master. I developed a strategy and now I never lose. Well I almost never lose. It doesn't even matter. The point is, if you see me in the street you'd best step aside or I might break your tiles or something. I just thought I'd warn you.

Sometimes really, ridiculously attractive girls will see me playing Mahjongg out on the streets in downtown Portland, and they all kinda get scared because I'm so fast and stuff. But then they get super intrigued and they start watching closer. I let them watch because I'm a nice guy. But also because their boyfriends are all like, really scared. Like with one more flick of a tile, a magical white horse is going to appear and I'm going to take their girlfriend and get on it and ride into the sunset. It's probably a valid fear so I don't mess with them too much more than that.

Sometimes I play against the bums. The bums are pretty good but they have dirty tricks. Sometimes they'll put a booger on one of the tiles and that totally messes everything up because then there's this tile sitting on the deck that you can't match to anything. It's super frustrating. Probably the worst thing about it is that whether or not they lose, they still expect a dollar or they threaten to pee on my tires. I don't know about you but I definitely don't have enough money to keep buying urine-free tires so I just pay them off. It sucks so bad!

Then there was that one time I played against the guy with the self-amplifying guitar? Mind bogglingly good. The man couldn't play a real chord to save his life but he certainly wiped the floor... I mean, sidewalk, with me. But I think he's got some help from high places. I'm pretty sure he's been trained by real Asians. I think he's learned some of the secrets to the universe. I think he rides a unicorn home from his post on Broadway in front of Nordstrom's. I think he knows Michael Bolton.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

becoming a man

There is a paper from a fortune cookie on my desk and it reads
Don't forget to do good deeds as you accumulate wealth.

In my mind's eye there is another one right next to it and that one reads
You are an idiot!

So what does is it going to take God, before I can get to wherever it is you are demanding I be? How much do I have to be able to withstand? How much power do I need to be able to wield over obstacles and enemies? How much, how fast do I have to think, run, find truth, expel rumors, kill evil?


On the outside, I am not happy. But on the inside, I have to wonder what the heck you are doing.

Will my life mean something in exchange?

If I keep running... and then I run even harder, will I someday see the smile on your face? Will I see the smile on my own?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

how are you doing today?

"Good," I replied, with a full body cringe. No exaggeration; I actually felt guilty for telling such a horrible lie. As if she even really cared how I was in the first place. Feeling deeply, physically guilty for sparing the blissfully unaware Starbucks girl from the state of my life has to be one of the most strange and unexpected things that has ever happened to me. I ordered a Caramel Macchiato and ran away.

Today I was sitting outside in the sun and I wanted to smoke.

I've never had a cigarette. I'm almost positive I never will, and when I'm in my right mind there's no way I'd ever touch them. But there have been, maybe three times in my life when I wanted to start. Today was the worst.

There I was thinking about a cigarette. The product of a previous patron's vices, resting there all used up in the tray on the table, asking me to toss in a friend for itself. Considering I didn't have any, I kindly declined. But it got me remembering.

A pastor once told me this story once about the first time that his wife was away for a night. He was so nervous that he took up and quit smoking all in a single evening. Out of his mind, I remember him recalling. An extremely strong man brought to his knees by simply the absence of his beloved, one woman with no supernatural powers. Just a woman.

Or maybe there is more to it than that. Maybe it's not weakness, or simple loneliness; maybe it's no fault of his own. Maybe it's the separation of two that should not be separated.

When I came home from Hawaii, Sarah ran to me and grabbed me and wouldn't let me go.

Monday, April 28, 2008

old song

I find my only comfort this morning in the words of an old song

trust in the Lord with all your heart
lean not on your own understanding
in all of your ways acknowledge Him
and He will carry you through

don't worry about tomorrow
He's got it under control

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I'm sitting here finishing up the work week at Shari's... our weekend software release just failed miserably for the second weekend in a row. Which by the way, is an extremely awesome track record.

Despite the fact that I've been up these wee hours losing sleep for essentially nothing, at least I got to listen to all the hilarious things these clubbing black dudes next to me have been saying... one of them just tried to order a negro forest cheesecake from the waitress. Comedy gold.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I posted more photos today from Vancouver, BC.

I am tired.

Monday, April 21, 2008

four twenty

i was so busy working that i forgot what yesterday was! oh man look what i missed out on i am so disappointed.

woah.  dude.

Friday, April 18, 2008

getting a mac

A friend sent me an email this morning:

I want to buy a mac laptop, but I do not want to pay a ton getting the software I just bought (ie photoshop, microsoft office, etc) to be compatible with a mac. What is the best route for me to go about doing so?

Good news! There are a lot of options, and a lot of them are outlined well on Apple's Get A Mac spiel. Here's the important stuff.

Run Windows on Mac
Here's an easy one. You can either install Windows as a dual-boot with Boot Camp (meaning that you reboot your computer to switch between using Mac OS X or Windows) or run Windows directly on your Mac's desktop using Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion (both of which are $79). But remember that when you run Windows you still have to deal with its issues, like viruses and Windows Update. More from Get A Mac

Mac version of Office
The Home/Student version of Office:Mac 2008 costs $130 on Amazon. The interface is much easier than any version of Office version for Windows, and I've never had an issue with document compatibility. More from Get A Mac

Forget Office and switch to iWork
Or, you can forget Microsoft altogether and move to Apple iWork for $79. iWork is much easier to use and produces way nicer looking documents and spreadsheets. iWork even opens and saves regular Office documents, usually very well, but not always perfectly. Unless you working in an office or school environment where you have to edit other people's documents, iWork is a great way to go.

Photoshop and other Adobe Products
You can call Adobe and they will switch your Photoshop license from PC to Mac and send you new discs. There might be a small fee ($20 or something?) but it is minimal and quite worth it. Running Photoshop natively on a Mac is an experience of its own.

Memory, or RAM, is very important to Mac OS X. Make sure your computer has enough, especially if you decide to run Windows as well. Virtually everyone will want 2GB and some will even want 4GB. But I don't recommend that you buy it from Apple as it's very expensive. Nowadays 4GB of good (working) RAM costs less than $80! And check out how easy it is to install on a MacBook.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

photo mania

It was nice outside! Check out my flickr page for some photos from my around my home!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

mindless self-indulgence?

The correct answer was "What is your blog?". Colin, it's still your board.

Hmm... guess I'll stick with MS Paint art and Taco Bell (is so food) reviews for $1000, please.

daily drawing "parfait"

Oh snap! No spoon! How the heck are you going to consume your parfait now, Jon?!

This was a failed attempt at drawing a Bordas. Maybe another night.

red label

All over the country, then the emotional mind map, and then back, just to do it all again.

I still have to wake up at 5 AM and drag myself out the door every morning. (That's her half.) Tomorrow (or today, that is) I'm not even sure what they're going to say, how they're going to try to change my behavior, and their justification for such things;

9 AM. With your boss. And your boss' boss. That's all I need to know, apparently.

Either Ben quit or they're in a general panic mode or both and they probably want something more for less. Give me one reason, why at the expense of any more of my sanity, I should be compelled to comply with anything that's asked?

Maybe it's the Johnnie Walker talking. I've had some every night for a week straight now and it just gets easier to drink. I'm pretty sure that's not such a good thing. What's happened to me?

And then it's off, for an hour, maybe two of sleep, before I go to do whatever it is that I do.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

daily drawing "bird with seed"

New non-daily daily drawings inspired by Jon's daily drawings. "Bird with Seed"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


It's so hard to deal right. To make any sense of it. So what's there to do but to go to bed and pretend that nothing that ever happens really happens?

Good night.

april fools

Why be deceptive? I'm just going to cut to the chase.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

vitamin cb

Oh sweet Heaven. They refilled the vending machine.

how to afford anything

Don't let this article get lost in the mass of crap that I've posted today. This is an extremely good article that in my opinion is spot on in almost every respect.

How To Afford Anything

I've been relying on Ken Rockwell's website for information on digital cameras for a couple of years now and have always liked his perspective and writing style. But this article is great information for anyone. Highly recommended.

the gem cutter

I knew a kid in fifth grade. Said that when he grew up, he wanted to be a gem cutter. That is actually true.

Perhaps it was a suggestion that was far ahead of its time. Gems; the "clear cut" path to wealth? (No pun intended... perhaps) But not all is glitz and glory.

You've got the... the optics... those big glasses things that are stuck to your face, and you're looking through them like all day... pretty soon it ruins your vision, and you're in your 50's; you retire, and you sit around smoking cigars all day. Leather chair. 19" TV.

Now I'm sad.

Monday, March 31, 2008

up front


It took me about 2 dozen shots to finally get this one, because in order to get a shot where the sign was readable, you had to catch it in the split second while it was lighting up.

I've never been the first one to be stopped by the bridge. To most people on most days at most times (myself included) this would be the worst bit of luck you could have, as inevitably it would be making you even more late going somewhere. Or at the very least just wasting a bunch of your time. But tonight was a different sort of night. I was... appreciative.

That I could leave my house in my comfy car whenever I wanted and likewise come back whenever I pleased.

That I could go to Starbucks on a whim and have a great cup of coffee in the middle of the night.

That I could order food for at virtually no cost... and eat it! Just like that!

I look at where I am now and where I was just a year ago, or two, or five, or compared to the lives of most of the people around me, and I realize how free I am. The only person I have to answer to is God; otherwise I'm basically free to do what I want when I want. Why isn't this more amazing to me on a regular basis? I think I need to live more thankfully. Yes, the events that made me single were and still are pretty devastating, but to not see all of the good and merciful things that have come from this is a tragedy.

The guys at the Bell got a little carried away with extra ingredients and, through careful discerned tasting, I was able to dissect the recipe for the Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito! I sure hope Taco Bell does not sue me because I'm posting it right here! Starting with a standard Bean Burrito:
  • Tortilla
  • Beans
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Red Sauce (I cannot remember if this was present or not)
And then adding:
  • Rice
  • Nacho Cheese Sauce (secret ingredient!)

And here I was thinking they actually had a special cheese mixture for the burrito. Man, these guys are geniuses.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vorbereiten des Bayern für Arbeit

There it is. The 1986 BMW 735i. The vehicle of late 80's nobility. It used to cost $80k. I bought it for $450.

Getting ready to go to Boyd Motorwerks for some final electrical work and a tune up before paint.

Wait a second, I don't think I left it like that...

At least it's a laughable incident. They might have gotten away with about $.50 and some Starbucks mints. In fact, whoever it was probably did me a favor by getting some fresh air into the car while it sat there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I'm apparently, into self-abuse, in the form of staying up as late as I can possibly muster in attempts to create beautiful things, whatever those things are.

Shame on you, beautiful things, stupid
you are the bane of my existance forever

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

battle tested experience

OK, in virtually no way or shape am I inclined politically, but that's not going to keep me from sharing this bit of fun.

She was prettier 12 years ago.

Did I just say that?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Special exceptions for diversity.
--James Kerridge

Well put, my friend!

solaris express

Catching up on geek posts tonight while this dumb array reinitializes. Hope you don't mind!

I wiped out Gentoo and installed Sun Solaris Express developer edition yesterday on my secondary box at Earthlink. As of late we've had a mass exodus in the developer department and I'm needing to take on some of the Java app build responsibility, which would be easy to do under Linux except that one of our clever ex-contractor developers thought it'd be fun to deploy our ordering system as a proprietary Solaris package. Good times. And yeah we've got $60,000 SPARC boxes in the racks but it takes literally 7x longer to build the app on one of those, as opposed to my $900 Core 2 Optiplex. How that works, I have no clue, but I'm not even going there since I've griped about it already for 8 years now.

New Edge (a.k.a. the business side of Earthlink) has been a Sun shop on the production side since day 1, but I've never been fond of it at all because of how slow it always performed, how unfamiliar I was with it in general operation and how much harder it seemed to compile things on it.

While I can't vouch for compilation (yet), I can say that my experience so far has been great. I actually love it! The install process is an absolute breeze and only takes a few minutes on modern hardware. Upon reboot you're dropped into a full blown modern Gnome desktop with the best overall look and font rendering I've seen on any *nix OS (save MacOS, of course). It's fast! Lots of binary packages are readily available at It seems rock solid, and it even sets you up with ZFS by default.

While I seriously doubt that it will replace Gentoo as my server operating system of choice any time soon, it makes for a compelling option as a solid and well-accepted UNIX desktop OS for me.

Before I installed on SXDE I actually tried to install Nexenta OS with ZERO luck. The installer was a pile of garbage that I barely made it through. At the other end there was a command prompt with little to no help that I didn't have time to mess with. I can't exactly judge it but it doesn't feel mature at all. Unless you're a real hacker with genuine interest in screwy versions of Debian and a lot of time to waste, I'd steer clear for now.

sata compatibility mode

I started having big problems today while making a copy of a 7 GB directory structure on a software (Linux md) raid-1 mirror in one of my Linux boxes. It would slow to a crawl/halt and basically do nothing. Didn't seem like that complex of a task to me, but what do I know?

At first I blamed it on ReiserFS since it seemed to be the likely candidate and pulled another set of blank hard drives to move the partition over to a new set running ext3. However, when I ran mkfs.ext3 to format the new mirror, it got about 2/3 done and slowed to a halt again!

Then it occurred to me that for whatever reason the disks showed up as "hda", "hdb", when booting off the Gentoo install CD, akin to the old days of IDE disks. It turned out that the BIOS was stuck in "SATA Compatibility mode" and probably had been ever since I first turned the machine on. I switched it to "Enhanced" mode (i.e. Native SATA) and from then on things started behaving correctly. I'm not sure why board manufacturers (esp. SuperMicro!) would ship a board these days with this setting on by default. I imagine it has something to do with poor Windows support or the like.

If you're running any remotely modern version of the Linux kernel, make sure to turn off SATA compat and keep it that way. Unless someone is aware of something I'm not, it does way more harm than good.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

neues haar

neues haar

Ich liebe mein neues Haarkünstlerin. Sie ist ein kleines deutsches Mädchen... so süß... intelligent... verheiratet?! Crap. I have awful luck.

they're grrrrrrreat

Tony even looks more Asian on this t-shirt! Awesome.

Also discovered Fred Perry today at Urban Outfitters. Great bags and shoes for guys. Stupidly difficult to get in the United States.

Mmmm. Harajuku District. I suppose I could do some sightseeing there.

Mom asked me today if I was obsessed. I thought that was a rather silly question.

Fred Perry's site also had some pretty cool music on it. I discovered "The Duke Spirit" and ended up buying their latest album "Neptune" on iTunes for $7.99. It's a good listen and comes with an interesting music video for free.

In other news, my parents bought a Dyson and my mom's thinking about a New Beetle SE. Progress! Yay Yay!

Here's your homework assignment: try to figure out what this next item says. I'm totally ashamed by it. I'm ashamed. But I don't think that will stop me from buying one anyway.