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Trek in the Park

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Today I had the privilege of seeing "Trek in the Park", a wonderful live-action re-enactment of the Star Trek Original Series episode Space Seed - the episode off which Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was built.

In this live performance, the acting was great, the sound effects were perfect, and the experience was deeply satisfying. The actors did an excellent job of delivering the lines with a wink and a smile, nodding toward an enthusiastic audience. And they managed to all of this while performing it all in 90-degree heat. Thankfully, we were in the shade - which only happened because we claimed a spot two hours before the performance started.

Star Trek in the Park; I wish I had a better photo

I was worried about being able to hear them, but the small amphitheater we were in was perfect for this performance. As the actors excellently portrayed Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Kahn, and Lieutenant McGivers, they projected well and were easy to hear. The set, minimalist as it was, was perfect for allowing us to see the action. There was plenty of space to watch the away team beam aboard the Botany Bay (everyone freeze while we change the set and make the sound effect), to watch Kahn romance McGivers ("such men dare take what they want") , and to watch Kirk fight Kahn (with the patented interlocked-fist-hulk-smash)!

Aside from the enactment, of course, the other great part of this experience was the wonderful people who were there. Game designers, former co-workers, and Star Trek nerds; these were my people. The jokes were those I find funny, the references were the ones I get... the company made the experience that much better.

I loved it this year. I'll definitely be back; it looks like they're doing Mirror, Mirror next year!

Cinetopia

Saturday, July 17, 2010
Usually I see a movie and I like to write a few brief paragraphs about it. In this case, however, I saw the movie "Predators" and my review wouldn't say much more than "skip it, it's bad". If I had to expand on that a little I might say, "It's no Alien vs. Predator, but it's still pretty bad. Predictable and afraid to be interesting, it's not a movie I can at all recommend." So there you have it.

What's interesting, however, is that I saw the movie at Cinetopia, in east Vancouver.

Cinetopia, by Cinetopia

Seeing a movie at Cinetopia is like buying a high-end Mercedes-Benz as a commuter car. It's overkill in every delightful way. It's viscerally luxurious yet frighteningly expensive. If you thought popcorn, soda, and an evening show was expensive, wait until you're sitting in a large, comfortable leather seats, being serenaded pre-movie by a live musician, eating a fine meal and drinking a bottle of decent wine. The cost is vastly higher, but the experience can't be topped.

The only problem I had with the experience of seeing Predators in one of their Living Room Theaters is that I saw Predators in one of their Living Room Theaters. The opportunity felt wasted; the main course was served on a shiny, silver platter... and it was, as they say, a steaming pile. No fault of Cinetopia, of course, but I would definitely choose more carefully what I saw there next.

So go to Cinetopia, I say. Support this fine establishment. I know I'll be going back... when I can afford to again.

The Act of Serving

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Astute readers will recall that I was summoned to serve jury duty a little while ago. Well, this past Monday, I made my way to the Multnomah County Courthouse, leaving home at the ungodly hour of 6:45 AM so that I could take the bus downtown.

Jury Duty Badge

So here are a few hints for serving jury duty:
1) The Jury Duty waiting room has WiFi. Bring a laptop!
2) Definitely plan on taking the bus or MAX to the courthouse. It's just off the bus mall.
3) Bring coffee and/or snacks of your own. They have a snack bar, but it's expensive and they have limited options. Bring your own.
4) They pick for Grand Jury on Mondays. From our pool of probably 120 or so jurors, they pulled 45 upstairs to ask us. Fortunately, "not getting paid" counts as a hardship, and I wasn't able to serve (though I wish I could have!)
5) Quit smoking. Breaks are limited.

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