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Tag Archive | Oregon

San Diego Comic Con 2012: A Nerd’s Perspective

I’ve only been to San Diego Comic Con once. In 2010. At the time I remember how insane it seemed to purchase tickets in September 2009 for an event taking place in July 2010. But it was an exciting life goal to cross off my list. My spouse and two closest friends were in attendance. We booked hotel rooms together and spent the weeks before planning out itineraries and scouting out the convention center. Or maybe just I did. Yeah, I think it was just me.

San Diego Comic Con LogoIt’s a great experience. Not only is there a chance of spotting or chatting with your favorite writer, artist or celebrity, but you end up meeting all kinds of cool people in epic hours-long lines with the same kinds of passions and enthusiasms as you. Magic happens when people with like interests meet. I’m still Facebook friends with a couple we met in line for The Avengers panel, wherein we hugged random strangers afterwards because there was so much joy and love in the room.

Once in a lifetime was enough for me. Especially since topping The Avengers panel is pretty much impossible.

There was a moment in 2010 when we were standing in line to register and looking at the booth set-up for purchasing 2011 tickets. I almost dashed over and bought a ticket a year in advance. I thought better of it.

I don’t regret the decision. As much as I loved my San Diego Comic Con experience, there were parts of it that never jived well for me. The near-crushing at the WB booth, standing in line for hours to get some crappy trinket I wouldn’t buy with my own money (SWAG!), and the cattle like approach to meeting people you’d admire where the seconds-long interaction is a blur.

ALSO: The relentless product whoring and Hollywood inundation was stifling and frustrating. Everywhere you turned some movie or television show was jammed in your face. You essentially pay money and wait in long lines to be advertised to, all for the promise of exclusive content with leaks to the internet within days or hours anyway. You pay for the privilege of being a test market audience, radiating the promise of future box office profits to pleased investors. There is a seedy element to the manufactured fun at SDCC I never enjoyed.

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Nanowrimo 2011: The Winner’s Circle

In the wee hours of the morning – around 2am to be exact – on 11/30/2011, I typed the very last sentences of my 50,000 words. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it’s not the end of the story. Or my story with this story.

Nanowrimo 2011 logoFinal Word Count as of This Morning: 50,167

Page Count: 95 (single spaced, Google Doc with 12 point font)

Even with the holidays this last week I managed to stay on track and pound out several 2,000 word days. I also spent some scheduled time with Dan going over scenes and talking about plot, character motivation and what elements of the science fiction/post apocalypse world weren’t working.

It’s actually shaping up into something that I can be proud of. I was very certain in the beginning it was derivative and overly emotional. But it feels like the start of something great. Just like a first draft should. I’m fleshing out my characters and understanding who they are. What started out as caricatures are gaining pasts and backgrounds and choices and intrigues. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of that process.

WHAT COMES NEXT:

I’m going to spend the next week hunkering down with my homework and internship, because those two elements of my life have been largely neglected and shuffled around in the month of November. I might even crank out a blog entry that isn’t related to Nanowrimo or Couponing! 🙂 Won’t that be a special treat

In the next month I will finish a novel and edit it. Hopefully, if all goes well, by January 1st I will have a final draft published to the Kindle Store. The DH thinks I should charge a dollar per copy. I’m willing to hand out $1 to the first five people that purchase it, because they will no doubt be friends and family. It seems silly to charge you.

Because I started off my first post with the first three paragraphs of the story, it seems appropriate that I should end it with the last three paragraphs I’ll have written in Nanowrimo 2011. 

It’s a long shot that my contact will be expecting me here today, or that I will even find her. We have a meet up spot, but it’s the wrong time and day. Wrong place. Everything is all wrong. But there’s no time to wait. We will be gone by Sunday. So will Gustavo.

As I approach, I can hear the soft churning of the cherry pickers roving the aisles of trees in the orchards. A sweet scent fills my nostrils. I take a moment to glance up at the blue sky overhead and stop peddling. A fluffy white cloud shifts and rolls above me. Bees buzz around a clump of fallen, rotting fruit. Rory Santiago’s question from last night springs up in the back of my mind, “Is he worth dying for?”

It’s hard to say. I’m not sure how much I’ve really lived. Perhaps it’s the last effects of the drugs leeching out of my system, but I stop under the shade of one of the trees and pull out my impromptu picnic. The veggie rations try and remind me of the ill-fated waterfall trip with Brian, but my brain pushes the thought away. A lazy fly lands on my scarred arm as I chew and I don’t even shoo it off. I close my eyes and lean back against the bark of the tree and think, “OK. I’m not ready to die.”

Now I just have to come up with a title. 

OTHER NANOWRIMO 2011 RELATED POSTS:

– Nanowrimo 2011: Week Two NOW w/ Writer’s Block Tips!

– Nanowrimo 2011: Week One

– Preparing for National Novel Writing Month 2011

Tuesdays with Mindy: Yelp’s Pley On @ OMSI

This past Saturday boasted my second ever Yelp event at OMSI. Their Game On 2.0 exhibit just ended on Sunday – the 18th of September and we got free passes from Yelp to enjoy free food, drinks and video games the night before. You can check all the details here at the Yelp website.

Well, we ended up stalling out on the first two and never did get to play Frogger or Pitfall. Major bummer. But they wouldn’t allow alcohol in the exhibit and no pictures either, so you wouldn’t have been able to visually enjoy that part of the evening. If it had occurred.

Instead we gorged ourselves on food and alcohol to the point of an extreme hang-over the next day. But the event itself was well put-together. Everyone there was having  a blast and tons of people were sporting costumes. We should have dressed up – I know. But I didn’t wanna.

Here are the pics from the event:

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Hoping this exhibit comes around again in the future. Would love another opportunity to play some old school games!

Tuesdays with Mindy: Portland Pork Sandwiches

A weekend of drinks and eats

Me and the DH (Dan Robertson) had the extreme pleasure of hosting family last weekend, Dan’s cousin and his girlfriend. They were in town from California following a drunken conversation a year ago about how P-Town is the microbrew capital of the world and overall pretty cool.

We invited Cousin Eric to spend a weekend with us and we’d show him around town. He took us up on the offer and brought his lovely girlfriend Carly along. We secured a bed in the Man Cave and I crafted an agenda full of drinking and eating.

Along with introducing Eric and Carly to new beers and new sites, I made up a rule to eat Pulled Pork Sandwiches at every place we were dining in order to scout out the best. A weekend of Portland Pork Sandwiches, if you will. ********************************************************************************************

FRIDAY

McMenamin’s Edgefield: We sat out on the Powerstation Pub patio and the weather/locale was gorgeous. Probably the most scenic spot we ate and drank the entire weekend. Carly bypassed the Ruby for a delicious cider brewed on site and the boys drank plenty of dark, hopsy beer.

The food was actually quite good, which is shocking for a McMenamins. I’ve never had anything but nasty tasting bar food, so finding a location that boasts delicious Ruby AND scrumptious vittles is probably gonna make me a return customer. Not to mention you could hear snippets of the gorgeous Neko Case concert as background.

We also sampled some of their Monkey Puzzle distilled whiskey and everyone was such a fan, we’re bringing a bottle down in early September (when we attend the Scottish Games!).

Pulled Pork Review: At first the waitress brought ours out with no BBQ sauce (Carly had ordered hers on the side) and so we were like “man, this shit is dry and not very tasty.” Then we realized our mistake, so quickly were able to drowned our sorrows in tasty sauce that had a nice sweet start with a tangy bite at the end. I was pleasantly surprised. There was also lots of heat which I was expecting…but could have done without. Rank 2 out of 4. ************************************************************************************************ SATURDAY

Widmer Brewery Tour: We met up with our buddy Umphress here (he’s a fantastic beer SNOB) and sampled the brews while learning about the Widmer origins and what ingredients went into the construction of the individual beers. We each got a keychain bottle opener and a pint glass at the end. The tour was quick because the upper part of the brewery was actually in use, so we couldn’t see the kegs or bottling. Boo hoo. Ah well.

Back at the Gasthaus Pub everyone seemed to find something to enjoy (beer or food). Carly and I opted for Root Beer – I got a float will Tillamook Ice Cream (oh yeah). The only crowd displeaser was our surly waitress and the lack of fries with our burgers and sandwiches. Wha?

Pulled Pork Sandwich: OMG – so yum! It had a rich flavor and was actually created with one of the Widmer Bocks. Wow. I passed around the dish the sauce came in and made everyone try it. I can’t even describe the awesome. So far it had emerged as the clear winner. Very little heat. Delectable. Rank 1 out of 4. 

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Tuesdays With Mindy: Latourell Falls Hike

This should have been a post about the North American Organic Brew Festival last weekend. If only we’d gone. Instead we took the high road and got some exercise. We decided to bring the pugs along because the weather was nice and they too could use the fresh air and natural scenery.

The first hiking spot after Crown Point and the Vista house on the Columbia Gorge is the Latourell Falls. It’s a short hike consisting of a lower and upper falls, which you can visit in a 2 mile loop.

There’s nothing at the parking area to map the trail or indicate the loop or the number of miles…so when you start on the upper trail past the initial viewing area, it seems like you are just wandering through the forest endlessly. I half wondered if it was going to connect up with the Oneonta Gorge but it was too far away. The Gorge loop only really goes to Triple Falls and then you can head up to Larch Mountain, but we’ve never been that far.

Since we had no idea just how long the hike was, we were considering turning back. Fortunately, as we stopped to give the dogs some water, a passer-by indicated that we were half-way to the waterfall. We were all like, wha? There’s a waterfall? So we drug a panting and exhausted Sun-Dawg and Jabba another 1/2 mile of mostly level trail until we reached the most gorgeous waterfall I’ve seen on the Columbia Gorge yet.

It starts out as a regular waterfall and then twists down into a ponytail or horsetail. Half the falls are obscured by the rock outcropping, but you can see the amazing sweep of the water cascading down into the pool below. Well worth the confusing hike into the woods.

On the way back several other hikers were asking the same questions – what’s the point of this hike? Where are we going? We passed along the information about the Upper Falls.

So yeah, if you decide to make Latourell Falls your first or last stop – do yourself a favor and take the 2 mile loop. It’s one of the easiest hikes we’ve done as far as elevation is concerned. This would be a nice day trip with kiddos.

I just wish they would mark the trail or give some indication of the loop distance and hiking ease. I have a feeling more people would make a point of traveling it.

Here are the pics!

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A few hikes I’d like to take in the next month or two: Wahkeena + Fairy Falls and a hike to the Umbrella Falls on the Hood River side of Mt. Hood. Fingers crossed we can make those happen!

Tuesdays with Mindy: Saddle Mountain Hike

This was going to be a post about the Pedalpalooza Star Wars vs. Star Trek bike ride on Saturday, June 18th, 2011 but we couldn’t rally the motivation what with the relentless rain. Instead we spent the entire day using up a bunch of coupons before they expired. Yay for consumerism.

Instead, I’ll give you some fun pictorial glances of our trip to the Oregon Coast for Father’s Day. We had lunch, walked on the beach and then hiked about a mile up Saddle Mountain, which is inside the Tillamook State Forest in Clatsop County – just a jog off of Highway 26. Then up a ridiculously rutted and curvy mountain road, which apparently they are paving all this week. The park is closed June 20th-28th. Check out more details on the website.

It was getting too late and foggy to make reaching the peak a desired outcome, but we managed to snap some incredible pictures of the Tillamook forest and valley below. Everything was insanely green and muddy, but there were surprisingly few grumblings. We took to calling some of the more notorious spots where people had laid down logs in order to pass “Bogs of Eternal Stench” and quoting Ludo with “smells bad.”

Pleased to announce that my new knee brace and a walking stick provided by Dan made the hike bearable. Yes – I have the knee troubles. It’s a sign of old age and too much exercise. 🙂 But really, despite the pain, I would not miss these awesome opportunities to enjoy the natural scenery the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Since we’ll be spending a week in Rockaway in July for my 29th birthday (holy shit I AM getting old), we’ve made an official goal of reaching the top to get a 360 degree view to the Pacific Ocean.

I mean, it looks like this up there:

Saddle Mountain Summit. How could we possibly resist?

The pretty spring flowers and deep rich green colors will most likely be gone by then, but that means the fogs will probably have lifted as well. Can’t think of a better birthday present than achieving that particular view.

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Tuesdays with Mindy: Let the Sunshine In

More lazy blogging. I have a conference thing! And I’ve started my first baby steps into couponing (not extreme or anything). Just getting discounts on crap we already buy. This is especially handy as I will be gainfully unemployed in the next few months. Gotta cut spending somewhere. Lord knows it can’t be on nerdy things!

Anywho – had a great weekend of sunshine and warm weather, so my AmeriCorps team took a hike around Salmon River and on Sunday Dan and I biked the Waterfront Promenade loop from Sellwood Park. I took pictures of all the really aesthetically pleasing elements of these trips, and thought I would post them here.

Apologies for the crappy Android cam on a few of these. iPhones do have that single advantage. Ah well.

Briefly toyed with the idea of creating another weekly series – Filmed By Bike – where I post all the pictures from our rides of the week every Sunday. So maybe that happens here. We shall see!

Here are the pics – Happy Tuesday! X-Men: First Class Review Tomorrow.

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Free Comic Book Day 2011: Recap

Saturday was my second time participating in Free Comic Book Day, and the first time with my wee little nephews in tow. They are 8 and 5 years old and have been raised on a steady diet of comic book flicks and books/toys we smuggle into them from our nerdy corner of the family. 

It wasn’t a great leap then, to bring them into the fold with their first experience of a comic book shop. In fact, it’s something I’d been scheming since last year when I realized the goal of FCBD should be getting books into kids hands and allowing them to determine what books they want to develop a love for.

Nurturing this love is about 2/3rds desperate hope that it will catch with at least one of them, and 1/3 vague interest on their part. I think the eldest might be the most intrigued – the others are pretty young still. But it’s inspiring that popular culture is so engaged with comic books and their characters. I think it bodes well for crafting future readers and fanatics out of at least SOME of my nephews (and niece).

They certainly seem pleased here (if a little skeeved out by the Pirates from PDXYar):

My nephews displaying their Free Comic Book Day 2011 booty

My personal interest in the books offered on FCBD is vague at best. One-shots are usually not my style, unless they are substantial. None of the  books really piqued my interest, but I did take advantage of the Things From Another World Hollywood special offers: $2 graphic novels (picked up The Stand: Captain Trips) and 60% off The Dark Phoenix Saga graphic novel I’ve had my eye on for a while.

Happy face!

We also picked up more Firefly accoutrements for the Prius, which we’ve already decorated the car interior with:

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Halloween Hinjinks: The Walking Dead and Music Playlist

Halloween weekend was chock full of hijinks – and the topper of the weekend was The Walking Dead television premier at the Baghdad Theatre in Portland, Oregon. 600+ Zombie fans crammed into the ornate location for a costume contest, raffle and unveiling of the episode. This is the first time I’ve watched television with hundreds of people, so it was actually quite thrilling to listen to the roar of chatter during the commercials. We were warned about talking during the episode, so when the show started – the theater became quiet enough that you could hear the rustling of people in the first few bottom rows from the upper levels of the balcony.

The costumes were pretty fantastic. We missed getting pictures of Chairface (The Tick) but there were dozens of other people who really dressed for the occasion.

Check out the pictures we snapped here, as well as some from our Halloween party:

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Another highlight of the weekend was getting to air out the massive playlist of Halloween-y songs I’d been preparing all throughout October. It ended up being about six hours long (three hours of ambient, three hours of dance).

The Top 20 Tracks from each are listed here.

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Halloween 2010: Preparation

Halloween, while my favorite holiday of the year, is also kind of emotionally turbulent. Firstly, there is deciding on the costume. That’s half the battle. It becomes incredibly difficult to center on one when I have a strong desire to dress up in costume every day. In another life I was probably an actor of some sort…or a drag queen.

Which is why I have three tubs full of costume gear. Some years, it’s about accumulation. Building towards a better future costume. I’ve done a bit of that – collecting items for next year’s theme of a famous historical figure. I bought goggles, so figure that one out.

At the Star Wars vs Star Trek ride in June 2010, it became apparent that Dan and I are way over-stocked on Star Wars costuming and are severely lacking in the Star Trek department. Feeling equally, nerdily attached to both – my mission for this Halloween season has been to procure the needed items to deck us out as if we were on board the Star Ship Enterprise.

The tough choice is always between going for authenticity or  buying cheap materials and then being able to accessorize. Since I don’t have the needed sewing skills – this year it’s going to be about pulling out the right accessories, cause the bulk of the costume itself is a plain red dress. Which will most likely need to be tailored.

It looks something like this:

Needed the arm length to cover up the tattoo. Cause nothing says "Star Trek" like a half sleeve. 😛

I’ve already got some fantastic Star Trek shaped boots which I inherited from my Grandma (I love that we’re the same shoe size) and was able to purchase tights and booty shorts off the internets. I’m not exceptionally tall, but as I don’t often dress in short skirts, I get paranoid about dress length and drinking. The chances for accidentally flashing friends and family increases exponentially.

The perfect boots - pegged these for Star Trek costuming the moment I set eyes on them

Also purchased a phaser from the same website listed above for about $5.

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