News from September 2004

First Thursday

Occurred September 02, 2004 (Permalink)

A week ago, you got a story about Last Thursday. Naturally, I had to go see First Thursday (offsite) in the Pearl district. This expedition was quite a bit different--the art galleries I saw were much more formal, they had glasses of wine for sale, and actual mounting pedestals for the artwork. There was a huge wall of glass flowers, a 10' piece of wood for $100k, some blurry-looking things, and all the usual stuff you'd expect.

I also found a furniture store connected to the art gallery. They're entirely run by volunteers, and I started talking to one of the ladies there about woodworking. Strange, as I'm only an armchair woodworker. :P Anyway, she showed me several pieces, including a computer cabinet made entirely of wood that had been pulled off of old ships and old buildings. I must say, it's a better way to recycle wood than to turn it into particleboard...

Next came the student exhibition at the Portland Northwest College of Art. Two pieces stand out in my mind--one was a man attached to a wireframe horse, tethered to a hook in the floor. He was walking around and around in a circle, with the rattling horse chassis dragging behind him. Very amusing... The other piece that piqued my fancy was a large rectangularly crystalline structure suspended from the ceiling. Various letters were glued to parts of the structure, though they did not seem to spell out any words. It was very confusing-looking, and interesting to stare at. Wish I had the kind of concentration and dedication to build a metallic crystal...

Afterwards, the group I was with retired to Ringers Pub for drinks and dinner; several people competed to build towers out of food menus. Much fun!

Sailing II

Occurred September 04, 2004 (Permalink)

Went sailing again. Not much wind until we went back to the marina. Boo. But--I forgot to note in last week's post that we saw a sea otter in the marina. He he he. Didn't think I'd see one there.

Lasagna Without Steph

Occurred September 05, 2004 (Permalink)

I made a giant lasagna! Thanks to Steph for the base recipie and myself for adding vegetables. I remembered the recipie that I used 3 months ago for Steph's Easy Lasagna, only this time I added steamed zucchini and carrots, powdered garlic, onions, Cartini(?) mushrooms, and ricotta cheese. Good, except for the part where I burned the cheese crispy.

Pittock Mansion

Occurred September 05, 2004 (Permalink)

Sunday, I met the MiPL group at Upper Macleay Park for a quick hike up to Pittock Mansion (offsite). For those who don't know, Henry Pittock was the local news magnate in Portland (the Oregonian, in fact) during the latter half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th. In 1909, he decided (at the old age of 76!) that he needed to build himself a great mansion atop a hill overlooking Portland. These photos are the result.

Pittock Mansion is a great huge house built out of cinder blocks. From the pictures, you can see that there are wood panels covering the house's internals. Each room has a distinctly different style and quite a few lovely pieces. I was especially impressed with the intricate woodworking in the library and dining room, the fact that they _had_ a paneled elevator, the huge walk-in refridgerator (before WWI!) and the pipe contraptions upstairs that were called "showers". That and the hardwood floors. The observant reader by now has undoubtedly noticed my affinity for old buildings with hard wood floors.

Afterwards, we sat on the lawn eating lunch. Eventually I got bored and went down the hill and walked around the trails in Forest Park for the afternoon. Unfortunately I was out of flash and couldnt' take any photos. But I have plenty of photos of greenery and will undoubtedly take many more. In any case, I followed the trail so far I wound up in downtown! So I went home.

Photos Reorganized

Occurred September 05, 2004 (Permalink)

Author's note: The Portland photos have been broken out by where they were taken. Also, I recovered the photos I took of being downtown with Greg. And, there are more pictures of the Wall of Boxes.

Columbia River Gorge

Occurred September 06, 2004 (Permalink)

To continue my never-ending Labor Day weekend, I half-organized an outing to the Columbia River Gorge today. Back on Wednesday, I went to a presentation by a guy who wrote a book called "100 Classic Hikes in Oregon" and had drinks with some of the other people who went afterwards. We decided that it might be a fun idea to form a small hiking group and go somewhere. After a few days of trading emails, we settled on a Monday hike to see Horsetail Falls, Oneonta Gorge and Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River. See photos.

We met in the parking lot of the Gateway TC MAX station way out on the east side. Three people showed up--myself, Lara, and Dave. As it turns out, Dave is an ecologist/biologist who studies waterways--nearly perfect for what we had set out to do. We piled into Dave's pickup and headed eastward on I-84.

The first place we went was the Horsetail Falls trailhead. The falls are actually at river level right along the street, and the trail snakes behind the waterfall. It was a fairly steep hike at first, as we rapidly ascended the gorge face until we were well above the initial waterfall. There, we found yet another waterfall in front of a big crack in the rock. Dave said that this was caused by backsplash eons ago when the waterfall was aligned more vertically.

From there, we continued to ascend, and I took pictures of the Gorge area. Wonderful pictures. The next interesting geological feature that the trail brought us to was Oneonta Gorge. As it turns out, you can't really see the associated waterfall from anywhere except river level, and even then only if you wade up the (icy cold) stream a half mile. So we stood above the gorge and looked into the crack. I took more photos of the surrounding area.

From Oneonta Gorge, we took a sharp left and headed inland to Triple Falls. We spent a while watching the river (Dave was looking at water flies on rocks) and getting thirsty--so we headed further inland. I took some pictures of various fungi, mushrooms and spiky plants that we encountered along the trail. But, it didn't seem that there would be anything else interesting along the trail for quite a ways, so we headed back down to the highway and drove to Multnomah Falls.

For those who have seen the pictures from the expedition to Mt. Hood with Steph, it's pretty obvious that my photos of Multnomah Falls are terrible because we got there well after sundown. Not this time. We arrived smack in the middle of the afternoon, when the place was swarming with tourists. Despite them, I managed to get some good pictures of the falls. Steph: You might be interested in these photos.

But we weren't yet finished. Continuing westward on the Historic Columbia River Highway, we drove far up the mountain to a big observatory named Vista House. From there you could see miles up and down the Columbia Gorge and deep into Washington State. Unfortunately, it was a somewhat hazy day and so I couldn't see all the way to Mt. Hood or to downtown Portland. No matter; I captured the spectacular vistas on my camera.

By that time, we wanted some food and drink. Dave brought us to the Tippy Canoe, which seems to be a bit of a redneck bar out in Troutdale. Maybe it was just because there were a lot of bikers and bartenders out there for some reason. In any case, we had delicious burgers and some ice cold drinks. Very good. By this time we were tired, so we ate the food, listened to the overloud live music, and went home. What a day.

Meet any hot biker babes at the Tippy Canoe?

This is the first comment.

This is the second comment.

More of Southeast

Occurred September 11, 2004 (Permalink)

This weekend, I arose at the crack of dawn (namely 10:15) and picked up Jason at the airport. Months ago, he decided to come visit me in September so that we could run around Portland and watch the Everwood (offsite) 3rd season premiere. Anyway, both of us were in the mood for some good Saturday brunch food, so I took us back to SE Hawthorne. We parked and chowed down at the Bread and Ink. The food was delicious, and the egg noodles took care of me foodwise for the rest of the day. Jason professed amazement at some of the SE area high school buildings.

We strolled westward on Hawthorne until I motioned leftward towards some houses. All around that region of southeast are a lot of old houses that are left over from the turn of the century. Some of them, of course, are in poor repair, but others look fabulous. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, so I still lack photos of this amazing area. But wow! Wood frame houses with porches and gables and everything! Some of the sidewalk blocks had dates on them -- apparently that area of Portland was built in the early 1900s, because the sidewalks are 100 years old. The curbs even have rings on them to hitch horses.

These houses were rather small, so we crossed Hawthorne to take a look at some more houses. These houses were every bit as nice, though to me they seemed slightly larger. As one heads north, the houses become larger and newer, though newer == 1930s _here_. We made a very important observation that day: If you go 50 feet away from Hawthorne street, the neighborhood noise drops to zero. In a suburb! This part of SE, between about 20th and 40th avenues, is just amazing to someone who has lived (and still has to put up with) noisy neighbors.

In short: pleasant, calm, quiet neighborhood with quaint turn of the century homes on somewhat small lots. For prices that I might just be able to afford. Oh, and I got a wireless access point for my PowerBook afterward. And we had really yummy pizza at the Old Chicago down the street from my apartment.

Posting Comments

Occurred September 11, 2004 (Permalink)

I finally sat down and wrote out generic comment posting functionality that can be added to any part of any page on my entire website! So now people can give me feedback directly. Knock yourselves out; we'll see how well this works.

The comment feature is pretty sweet.

The comment thingy is cool. Yeah, that's all.

Of Trenchcoats, Powell's, Sunsets and Railroads

Occurred September 12, 2004 (Permalink)

Sunday, we headed out on an excursion to see the Lloyd Center, downtown, and a whole lot of other stuff. See all my pictures.

After a late start, we got on the MAX and took it all the way to Lloyd Center. For those who don't know, the Lloyd Center is a great big mall. By my standards, nothing too impressive. I did get to look at the trenchcoat selection at Meier and Frank. Maybe I'll get one ... maybe I won't. The cold and slight rain that falls upon us now is making a fairly strong argument in favor of this. Something funny happened while we were strolling about the mall:

Mom: I wanna stop in here a moment...

Kid: Mom, NOOOOO...

Mom: But I need underwear!

Kids: (tugging her away) Eww!

Yes folks, we were outside of Frederick's of Hollywood. Continuing our Sunday escapades, Jason and I hopped back on the MAX and took some pictures downtown. We saw the Portland Art Museum exposed, as well as various cool looking edifices on our way towards Powell's. Speaking of Powell's, I ended up buying The Da Vinci Code (we have Steph to blame for this), a book of maps and a big laminated wall map. The big map is now hanging on my dining room wall.

After steaks at Stanford's and a failed attempt to take a photo of a MAX car with an Everwood ad plastered on it, we drove back out to the same middle of nowhere place that I took Brian and Steph to see the sunset. Once _again_ I sort of missed the sunset, though this time I got really awesome photos of the silhouettes at sunset and the surrounding fields. Since Jason and I didn't really have to get back at any set time, we decided to see where the little country road would lead us. That was a bit of a bad idea, because we ended up on a gravel road for a bit ... but it also led us to four mouldering railroad coach cars.

From the pictures, the four cars look like they've been abandoned. Surprisingly, they haven't been--someone had painted "5/16/04" on all four of the cars' underbellies. So there must be _somebody_ (besides a couple of yuppie cityboys) who care about these cars. So there are the cars in my photo album. They're sort of decaying and obviously not well watched; they have also come quite a ways. Two appear to be from the Boston area, which is a good 3,400 miles from where we were. Oh well. I got some cool photos of the cars and their trucks. I am a nerd, what can I say.


Occurred September 14, 2004 (Permalink)

A few new things around here: First, all recent (Spring 2004 and beyond) photo albums have the new comment code attached to them. Second, Jason and I put up a major amount of the wallhangings that I brought with me. The pagoda print is now in my bedroom. One of the Shanghai pictures hangs over the bookshelf in my dining room. The huge map of Oregon that I bought is now in the dining room. My big scroll hangs in the hallway. At last, this place is coming together!

Sailing III

Occurred September 18, 2004 (Permalink)

Well, Grandpa Vernon and I went sailing again today. Except today there was an Alaskan storm blowing through Portland, so it was cold and rainy. So we spent most of the time going up the Willamette with the motor on, till we reached what used to be shipyards during WWII. We motored around there too, looking at the remains of a mighty shipbuilding empire. After that, the rain went away and the winds came up, so we hoisted the mainsail and ran downriver back to Multnomah Channel. I motored up there a ways just to see what it looked like; finding nothing, we went back, moored the boat and left.

Mushroom Hunting at Ramona Falls

Occurred September 19, 2004 (Permalink)

Where do I begin today's wonderful story? Oh yes, with another photo album. This weekend's adventure takes us to the western side of Mt. Hood, along various forks of the Sandy River, up to Ramona Falls for some mushroom hunting escapades. Unfortunately, the resident mushroom expert could not attend, so perhaps she'll slip into a future journal entry.

At 9:30, Lara, David and I met at the Stumptown on 45th and Division in southeast. After ingesting some warm drinks, we piled into David's pickup and headed east to Mt. Hood. The plan was simple: Hike the Ramona Falls loop trail and try to find and identify as many mushrooms as we possibly could. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring mushroom guidebooks, so we snapped a lot of photos instead and now hope to identify them from the warmth of our homes. Names of the mushrooms will, of course, be added as they come in.

As we were heading towards the falls, David pointed out various features of the meandering Sandy River (apologies to him for whatever bits I get wrong). The photos I took show a fairly flat basin with a lot of former riverbed piled up with small stones and gravel. I think he said that the wideness of the river's path of destruction relative to the actual width of the river indicates that the path of the river changes frequently, but that it hadn't endured a tremendous flood recently.

Continuing along the trail, we found the first mushroom! A little tiny reddish orange thing. It turns out that there were more that were closer to the parking lot, but at that point we were too busy chatting to notice. Up the trail we went, following the river's crazy course, until David pointed out some really tiny mushrooms. See picture a9190032 for what I'm talking about. I'm quite impressed with the (auto)focus that the camera settled upon, and wowed by the clear foreground and the blurry background, which make the mushrooms easier to see. But enough about my camera.

Further up the trail, we saw more trees and a few more tiny mushrooms...and then we hit Ramona Falls. These falls, said David, are made from basalt formations. However--basalt is very very hard and not especially porous, so the water is forced to come over the top of the rock, instead of being able to wear its way through it, like what we saw with the falls at the Gorge. By this time, it was raining quite hard, so I only had enough time to snap a few pictures of the creek as it roared away from the falls. Later on, the rain stopped long enough for me to whip out the camera and record some more basalt deposits along the canyon that the creek runs through. The walls of the canyon were steep, and thus the creek looks like it doesn't shift all that much.

Downstream from the falls was a canopy of trees. This meant that the ground and the trees were damp, moist, dark, mossy ... and full of mushrooms! I saw a fair number of varieties of mushrooms--most of them were a blend of red, orange and yellow (see a9190050), though I saw a lot of brown ones (a9190094) too. There were a few that looked like pastries that I've eaten (a9190058), one that looked like it was from a fairy-tale (a9190061), corals (a9190070), clusters (a9190080), and "funny orange slimy things (a9190098). I don't know their names; this is new to me. I noticed a disturbing trend among some of the mushrooms that I saw--a lot of the mushrooms had been pulled out of the ground! We suspect that's the work of mushroom hunters; indeed, as we were pulling out of the parking lot, we saw some Asiatic people with buckets and knives.

Returning to the trail, we eventually left the company of the thick tree canopy and returned to the river. By this time, the rain and clouds had really come in thick; compare the river pictures at the end (a9190105-107) to the ones at the beginning. Actually, I like the fog effect quite a bit, except for the rain-getting-on-my-camera part. :P

Just outside the parking lot, I saw a boulder that had obviously been cleaved in half by water. I've seen things like this before, but the match between left and right half is spectacular. Amazing what a bit of moisture can do to big boulders.

As a side note: After I went home, I attempted to make beef with snow peas. Unfortunately, I forgot the peas and threw in all the vegetables that I had left. The strange but tasty result can be seen in the Food! section.


Occurred September 22, 2004 (Permalink)

I spent the second half of this week in San Jose, CA for some training classes. However, I had a vacation day to use, so I spent it travelling around the bay to see Greg (offsite). As usual, see the pictures and read the story. This time, the story is short.

After waking up far too early to catch a 10am flight out of Portland, I arrived in the Bay Area, got the rental car and drove to Menlo (offsite) for lunch. Needless to say, I took some pictures of the rather plain looking buildings that were put up last year; look here if you dare. Didn't see too many teachers, but I arrived at the end of lunch and didn't have a whole lot of time to spare.

Departing Menlo, I drove north to the Daly City BART station. While there, I took some pictures of the station and the train because both were nearly empty. Half an hour later, I literally ran into Steven outside the station on Shattuck Ave.; turns out he'd been talking to Greg while he waited. Greg showed me around Berkeley (not that I really needed all that much of a tour) and finally took me to visit the windowless concrete bunker that he'd spent too much of last year underneath. I declined to put such despairing photographs on the web, but I did snap some shots of things that had been printed with an inkjet printer somehow (see a9220019 and 20).

Coming from foggy Oregon, I suggested that we go enjoy the sun some. We hiked up Tightwad Hill, from which one is almost as high up as the Campanile, and has almost as good a view...but without needing to pay money. From that vantage point I took some hazy pictures of the Oakland waterfront, San Francisco, Memorial Stadium and the Cal Bears practicing inside said stadium.

Next, we walked back to Greg's car to see the funny looking vehicles that he says are routinely parked down the street from where he parks. Alas, it _is_ a really long way out there, but the cars were worth it (a9220034 and 35). Greg drove us to his grandfather's house (a9220043 - 45), which looks as if it was straight out of some fantasy story. I fully expected to see a gnome sitting atop the roof and hurling bananas at passers-by!

The plan after that was for me to meet Woodley down at Ti Couz in the Mission district of San Francisco, so I bade farewell to Greg and headed back to the BART system. While on BART, I took some more pictures of the golden sunset over the West Oakland docks, had dinner with Woodley, and went home.

Incidentally, the remaining photographs in that set (a9250055 - 67) were taken from my uncle and aunt's place in Emeryville.


Occurred September 28, 2004 (Permalink)

Tonight, Ted (of MiPL fame) organized a sushi dinner at Yuki in NE. The sushi was quite tasty.

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