Friday, April 28, 2006

Random thoughts...

"What's a tweaker?"

That's what I asked when one of the 3 developers (including me) here at work when he mentioned it. I guess it's basically a twitching behavior observed in methamphetamine addicts. It's big news out here. It's in the papers, it's on the news, there's state legislation directly addressing it. So look for it to come you're way as it moves from west to east. There's this really cool show called Oregon Field Guide which I've been DVRing and one of the episodes last night had a 10 minute thing on how meth production is moving into the wilderness. It's toxic stuff. Something like in order to make 1 part meth you get 6 parts of toxic sludge. Houses blow up and it seeps into the drywall. There's some gross pictures on how it ravages you - it needs a place to escape when you take it and comes out through your skin. Check out these photo's - you can mouseover and see the effects. So now I know what a tweaker is. Make sure you use it to rip on your buddy when his leg is unconsciously bouncing up and down when he's sitting in a chair...

WWII Buff?

It's no secret that I enjoy history. Two new movies are coming out based on the Pacific side of the War. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Flags of Our Fathers and Red Sun, Black Sand. Also on Oregon Public Broadcasting there's a two part series, Japan's War In Colour that "uses never-before-seen footage to provide a remarkable color record of Japan from as early as 1931 when it began transforming into Asia's biggest power".

Check it out if it's playing back in the Midwest...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Willamette River

Shot from riding downtown Portland... all sorts of boats and shops along the Willamette River


Monday, April 24, 2006


Another beautiful day here. 77°. Sunny with not a cloud in the sky. Woke up nice and slow, had some blueberry pancakes, leveled the lock to 37 and then headed outside to enjoy the weather. Did another easy hour on the bike today. Toured some more of downtown.

I stopped while heading into downtown to take a couple shots of Mount St. Helens. Heres a shot without any zoom.


Next shot I zoomed in abit. Check out all the bridges. Thats the Willamette River snaking through downtown Portland. Sometimes I need to pinch myself because there is all this beautiful scenery on the horizon and sometimes while youre riding and training you have a tendency to look down or ahead; and rightly so, you don't want to crash. But it's nice to slow down sometimes and take in the day...


Like take this guy painted all silver and standing on a box outside I forget what store. Am I in New Orleans?... these guys are all over there. When I first approached he was doing a statue pose, then he pulled out some glass globes and started spinning them in this shot. He had attracted quite a crowd. Note the Starbucks across the street... you cannot escape these things.


A little further north right in the city is the Portland Beavers baseball stadium. No thats not a typo yes they are called the Beavers. Portland doesnt have a pro team and this is the minor league. Thursdays are called thirsty Thursdays beer is half off and I guess its pretty fun Im looking forward to checking it out. Ive been to a few Milwaukee Brewers games and I was always more impressed with how the small minor league teams treated the fans.


On the way home I snapped this shot of the hill so you could get an idea of the elevation change and climbing required to get home.


Sometimes I'm stuck between feelings of being impressed and then feelings of thinking "Man thats really foolish" when I see where they put these houses...


I probably shouldnt have posted all these shots of a sunny day in Portland... I mean really it just rains here all the time and you should never think of visiting or coming out here to live. Its just terrible. Really.

Saturday Night...

Rather then heading straight to the party I decided to check out Live Wire again. Specifically because one of the musical guests was none other then Art Alexakis the lead singer from Everclear.

I had a good seat. 3rd row. He seemed like a really laid back cool guy that you could sit back and have a beer with. He sang two songs. The show is in two parts, theres a 10 minute intermission after the first hour and you can go buy food or drinks. He played an acoustic version of one of the new songs coming up in the new Everclear album due out this fall during the first half of the show (yes a new Everclear album!). Then in the second half of the show he played an acoustic version of Wonderful. The other musical guest was The Minus 5. The bass player is from R.E.M.

Chuck Barris, who created game shows like The Gong Show, and The Newlywed Game was also a guest. He came out and sand a song with The Minus 5.

I also really enjoyed listening to this Slam Poet named Taylor Mali. He had the crowd cheering. I'm not into poetry and this really wasn't like a poem you'd read in school. It was more like a short story. Very good and inspiring too. He had a lot of nice things to say about teachers.

One thing about Live Wire is its attached to Oregon Public Radio it can get a little left-wingish during the show as they rip on the President or talk about how great and progressive they think they are... but all in all its a very good live show, with great beer, and good food and I cant wait to go the next one in May.

After that I headed out to this party for one of Heidi's & Jenn's friends that just turned 30. Jenn's husband Pat and his band played but they were done when I arrived and were doing karaoke. It was in this smokey dive bar called Wynne's Cafe & Spirits. The bartender was the worst... it took her forever to get your drinks and there was hardly anyone in the darn place.

I was hungry and still feeling the booze from the Friday night so I cut out around 1:30 am since the party was dying anyway and went to this restaurant that Pat recommended called the Original Hotcake and Steak House. Open 24 hours. Man this was good food for 2 am. You basically stood in line and placed your order while watching the short order cook work his magic. It was run by a couple of old guys doing the cooking and working the register. Pretty close to what a diner would be. Since its so close to Heidi's I can see myself hitting that after a night out... like we should've on Friday.

Saturday Afternoon

Doesn't the saying go "beer before liquor gets you sicker"? Can't believe we slept until noon. Not sit in bed having conversation ... literally woke up at noon. I never usually get a headache either. Mental note - no vodka after beer...

Heidi left soon after we woke to go to Eugene. A very good friend of hers is going through a tough time. Her father was diagnosed with brain cancer and given like a year to live... very sad.

I spent the early afternoon finishing up the work on the spare bedroom wall that now has shelves and a counter top for a desk along it. I failed to take a "before" photo so I won't post an "after" photo. I think it turned out really good and it was nice to collaborate together and see the work being completed.

I went for a ride in the late afternoon. I have been mentioning the view of Mt. Hood from here. It's about 75 miles east of Portland. I took a couple shots during my ride down into the city. This one is with no zoom. Hard to believe your looking out across 75 miles.


This one is from the same spot but zoomed in a bit.


I also stopped down at the riverwalk area down near the Willamette River which passes straight through downtown Portland. I wanted to get a shot of these Dragon Boats I've been seeing on the way to work but I didn't see any while I was down there. I explain more on that later...


I also rode past the infamous Bettie Ford


I'm still kind of lost riding around downtown but it's fun to check things out and see where you end up.

Friday Night = Celis White

With tickets in hand to go see Pink Martini at the Crystal Ballroom we left the house thinking it was going to be a nice date. While it was a very nice date night, it also ended up being a late Saturday morning sleep in (well we didn't get up until noon the next day) with a huge hangover...

We decided to have dinner at Henry's. I had forgotten that we went to this same place for Heidi's birthday back in December when I came out to visit. I took a picture of the name of a street in the parking garage. One interesting thing is the parking garage is actually all underground and actually spans streets. So you can actually walk right underneath on the streets with cars on it above you. I took a picture of Couch street because of the way they pronounce it here... it pronounced 'Kooch'... not couch like your living room furniture. Wierd.


Henry's turned out to be the surprise of the evening.


The photo sucks but take a look at their beer list! 2 pages in fine print. All of them on tap.


And low and behold but the beer of all beers. Celis White! Ray is going to be jealous! We used to drink this beer back in the day all the time and loved it. Then one day we stopped finding it. It didn't seem like anyone carried it nor could you go to a bar and drink it. So here it is!!!!


The other really cool thing about this bar was they had this ice block on the counter that circled the bar (the bar was shaped like a rectangle in the middle of the room). So no matter how much beer was left in your glass or how slow you drank; it stayed nice and cold!


I had their fish and chips (chips = fries... what are we in the UK here?). Yea out here it's called fish and chips versus 'Da Fish Fry' back in Wisco. Also you won't be finding any perch or walleye. Halibut seems to be the fish of choice and damn was it good here, especially the batter.

Pink Martini was playing at the Crystal Ballroom. They're a pretty good relaxing band. Think big jazz with a great female singer. Of course there was good McMenamins beer to consume. Only $5.00 for 20 oz. Compare that to $6 bucks for Miller products at the Rave in Wisco. My drink of choice at the McMenamins Breweries is the Rubinator (half filled with Ruby and half with Terminator Stout) - Heidi prefers the straight Ruby. Although the band was great. We started getting a little tired and so left just before the end of the show to beat the crowd. Once we were outside we felt refreshed. Heidi felt like dancing and so we decided to go to Bettie Ford (my second time there). This is probably where we should've stopped the night. Although we had fun dancing, we starting drinking cocktails - vodka with soda's. Also we both kind of felt after talking later that we had outgrown the meatmarket atmosphere here... anyway. The next morning we paid for our consumption. I woke up at 8am - downed some aspirin to placate the headache and when I next looked at the clock it was Noon... ah well. Another fun night in Portland.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New phone #

Motorola RAZR V3c

Well now that I have the new phone I've decided to switch to the new area code, 503. So I have a new telephone number. If you want it - email me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Cirque du Soliel - Varekai

Friday night date night and we got all dressed up to go out. Gotta love sundresses...


We had dinner at this joint called Alba Osteria. Expensive and pretty good. It supposed to be Italian but there wasn't much on the menu pasta wise... I don't think there was anything actually.


The highlight of the night was going to see the Cirque du Soliel. I've never been to anything like this. The last time I went to the circus I was a kid. Well this was an adult version of a circus sans any animals. I guess the Cirque du Soliel has been around for awhile and travels all over the world. They put on 'acts' so going to see one is not the same unless you see the specific act. It's like a combination of opera, singing, and amazing gymnists. We saw the show titled Varekai. The costumes were combo fantasy meets sci-fi thing with unique makeup and hairstyles. It was by far the best live show I have ever seen and I would go again anytime. They also have shows that don't travel around (this even makes it more amazing that the venue you are watching this all take place in is temporary) like in Vegas - I'd like to see the water based on there called 'O'.

Here's a shot inside the tent - these copper colored pipes are like trees and during the show all sorts of cast members were climbing these things and swaying back and forth on them while other stuff was going on.


Here's a shot of the tent from outside...


The rest of the weekend was spent working on the spare bedroom to turn it into a nice small office/workspace area with trips to Home Depot. Leveled the lock to 36. Ate some great Thai food at Thai Orchid. Watched some Soprano's Season 2.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

It may be Good Friday but out here on the left coast we are working. I do remember having that day off most of the time when I worked in the Midwest. Out here apparantly they do not, although we did have President's Day off back in Febuary which I've never had off before.

I heard from Gabi that Butch got stuck in the mud at the race last weekend. Man I wish I could've seen that! Buried up to the axles... too bad my Dodge wasn't there to pull that stuck Ford out of the mud :)

That calendar from google I mentioned before is out... it rocks. Share you calendar, uses Ajax (web page updates without postback), great printing, import/export from Outlook,, etc... very very nice.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cell phone busted...

My PC is now back up and running. The graphics card was the problem. The fan had somehow stopped working and the processor was overheating causing the whole PC to crash. So problem fixed...

And now my cell phone is busted and lying in two pieces on my desk. I dropped it a month ago and the cracked plastic finally gave way. So if it's not one thing it's another...

We walked to our second night of Spanish classes last night. The weather is really mild here - very beautiful. The flowers are blooming large. I cannot believe how green and colorful it is here. I need to take some shots this weekend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catching up

  • Instead of staying in and recovering from illness, Heidi and I went to the Weidmer Brothers Brewery for dinner and a beer and then out to White Eagle to catch a couple bands on Thursday.
  • Friday I went out with Jenn. Had some beers and happy hour food at McFadden's Irish Restuarant/Saloon. We followed that up with some more Irish drinking at Kell's Irish Pub. They had a cool band there with some guy going to town on a fiddle.
  • Saturday Heidi got sick thanks to me... so we pretty much spent the rest of the weekend just hanging out and trying to fully recover.
  • Also, bought a grill over the weekend, put it together, cooked out Monday night.
  • Back is starting to feel better and illness is gone. Otherwise all is well...
  • Got call from Ray - they had their first race. I'm assuming it was the one out on the Mississippi River Island near the Quad Cities. Sounds like I missed some fun riding and catching some sun. Heard Butch did well (5th) and Ray doing his early season sandbaggin (8-9th?) :) Wonder how Ryan and Gabi did. Wonder if Joe was there? I also got my entry form in the mail for the Rockcut State Park race. Going to miss that race. I see it's 37.5 miles - wow - I don't remember it being that long last year - I guess it was though because I do remember cursing as I started the 3rd lap...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm sick

Yesterday I called in sick to work. I woke up in the early morning, around 3 am, shivering and my teeth chattering. I always seem to get a fever when I get sick. Heidi said she thought that was a good thing because it had something to do with white blood cell count rising. So I looked it up. One of the causes of fever is definitely because of your white blood cell count rising and they are attacking the germs causing your body to heat up. What a smart girlfriend I have.

She also stopped at the store and came home early for lunch. I got some chicken noodle soup, OJ, my favorite potato chips, some Breyer's chocolate ice cream and a carrot cake cupcake her boss picked up. Then later that evening she pampered me some more. I'm feeling pretty lucky to have a girlfriend like Heidi.

So in an odd turn of events she ended up sleeping on the couch because I was snoring... I feel really bad about it. Normally when I sleep on my stomach it goes away but I guess this damn sickness has me all clogged up so even rolling over didn't help.

What a way to pay her back...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Red Dress

Friday night we went to Sushi Land with Heidi's long time friend from high school. Sushi Land is this sushi joint where the dishes revolve around on this conveyor belt. Each dish is color labeled as being $1.50, $2.00, $2.50 or $3.00. Cheap (~$40 for 3 people). But not that good.

Heidi and I attended the Portland Red Dress Party on Saturday night... and then spent Sunday recovering from a hangover. Yes I had to go in a red dress. Portland has quite the 'alternative' lifestyle scene. Not that I think the number of people is any greater than Milwaukee or Chicago but that they seem to have a louder voice. In any case, it was a fun party. I kind of thought of it as a Halloween party. All sorts of different outfits. We took a disposable camera so hopefully I might have some pictures later.

My PC is still down... BIOS fixed nothing. It looks like the graphics card has gone south because the fan on it is not operating. But at least I can get the system to crash consistently now. Previously is was intermittent crashes. New video card is on order and should be here Thursday.

I've thrown my back out again. Last year I had to take a 5 week break from racing because of pain in my lower back. I actually had to take 2 days off of work because I couldn't do anything more than crawl around. I also think I'm catching a cold - my throaght is exteremly sore... Ricola...

That's it for now

I'll leave you with a couple of shots from my bicycle commute on Friday.


This shot is from the hillside going down into Portland from Heidi's house. I'm not sure what the elevation is here.


This shot is from the Interstate 5 bridge that spans the Columbia River - I'm just about to cross it north out of Portland, OR into Vancouver, WA. Note how in the distance you can see it rise a couple hundred feet just like a hill...

I probably shouldn't let you see these shots because the sun is out... the Pacific Northwest Intelligence Agency is now going to come looking for me.