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Governor's Park

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I did an amazing street ramble last night. Starting at REI in downtown Portland, we went towards Governor's Park, a little-known small plot of land in SW Portland. Apparently this park was named in honor of the colorful Sylvester Pennoyer, the governor of Oregon roughly 125 years ago and mayor of Portland at some point thereafter.

The route to Governor's Park

When I started rambling with the Mazamas group I was doing rambles that were rates at a 2 or a 3 (out of a 5-point difficulty scale.) Last night's was a 4.5: the second most difficult. It was advertised as "Governor's Park (and 350 stairs)". I've done many more stairs - at one point I did the Thousand-Stair walk - but this was one of the more difficult rambles I've been on - even more difficult than Council Crest.

Part of the fun of this particular route is that, for several miles, we're basically going up and down the West Hills. We'll find some particularly challenging route up, either by stairs or by the particularly steep SW College St, and then we'll find a route down again, only to repeat the process.

The destination last night was Governor's Park, yes, but the result was rather anticlimactic. Because we're out well after dark there wasn't much to see of the scenery. Yes, we're all carrying flashlights, but it just isn't that helpful in taking in the sights of Governor's Park. Now the view of downtown Portland on the way, however...


Saturday, October 24, 2009
So my girlfriend and I are spending a couple days in beautiful Cannon Beach, OR. The nice thing about going to the beach in October is that it's far less crowded than normal, and because you don't even try to count on nice weather. I'm one of those Oregonians who laughs at every tourist who shows up at the coast in shorts. It's almost always cold here; usually 10-15 degrees cooler than in Portland, and it seems to rarely get above 70 degrees.

Given all this, you can imagine that - when packing for a few days at the beach - I didn't even bother trying to bring warm-weather clothing. No sandals, no shorts - most of my clothing revolved around the theme of "staying warm" and "staying dry".

Imagine, then, my shock at being there for one of the nicest, clearest days I've ever seen.

It was amazing. Pure blue sky, the warm sun shining above, a slight breeze... and yet there was almost nobody there. It was something I've never experienced before.

I, of course, was not properly dressed for the occasion. I managed to find long pants, a thin fleece shirt, and sneakers. That's about as warm as I thought it could possibly get.

I was glad to be wrong.

The Tetris Theme

Sunday, October 18, 2009
I think all of us who grew up as part of the Nintendo Generation would recognize the Tetris theme A if we heard it. It's an iconic part of our cultural identity, and, honestly, makes me smile - especially when I hear it in unexpected and clever places.

So, late one night, I was in the mood to hear the them and I ended up poking around for it. I found many, many versions online (of course), and thought I'd share some of the more interesting ones.

This one really impressed me. I feel like I'm listening to a geeky Mexican wedding band when it starts to really pick up. (Listen past the first three slightly-repetitive stanzas... and click here if it doesn't load.)

Then I found this one, a wonderful piano piece that really embodies the spirit of the music and, honestly, makes me want to take up the piano:

But then again, this gentleman makes me want to pick up the trombone:

It was, all in all, a successful night spent online, looking for geeky nostalgic video game themes online. Wait, I swear it's more exciting than it sounds...

Movie Review: Zombieland

Sunday, October 11, 2009
I saw Zombieland last night with a group of friends. Now, my own prior documented interest in zombies aside, I was looking forward to this movie for a variety of reasons:
  1. humor + zombies = good
  2. the trailer was pretty awesome, and finally,
  3. Woody Harrelson punched a photographer and later claimed he thought the guy was a zombie!

photo hosted by reelmovienews.com

The premise of the movie picks up as our main character, known as Columbus (as in "Ohio"), enumerates his rules for surviving in Zombieland. These are good rules, rules like "Always check the back seat", "Don't be a hero", and "Buckle up". He meets up with Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson), the cunning and distrustful Witchita, and her little sister Little Rock. This band of misfits heads for Los Angeles, looking to find the theme park where "there are no zombies". (And in America, there are no cats.)

The movie is quite funny and enjoyable, especially for the noteworthy cameo that I'll leave as a surprise to the viewer. It occasionally drags, but not enough to be a problem and always makes up for it afterward. Also notable about the film is that it's graphic. I mean, if you ever wanted to see a woman ejected through the windshield of her van after slamming into a tow truck after not wearing her seatbelt, then bouncing face-fist on the concrete, well, this movie's definitely for you. I know I enjoyed it.

Final word on Zombieland: Definitely worth seeing, especially when it shows up at the theatre-pubs. (You might even see me there!)



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