Archive for June, 2006

Beware The Waterfront

I may be working in Fairview at the moment, but my spies tell me to avoid driving downtown.

That Waterfront Blues Festival has put traffic in a right bad way; the Hawthorne is stop and go and that bridge is never stop and go.

School Zone Speed Limit Changes

This Saturday, new laws go into effect regarding school zone speed limits in Oregon. The legislature is doing their best to keep folks confused on their toes by changing the law every couple of years. The short version is that the 20mph speed limit now needs to be obeyed any time there are flashing lights, or between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM on school days.

The Only Time I See My Portland Geek Buddies Is At Conferences

I’m at Gnomedex. Russ is here. We split the cost of a hotel room. Found a deal for $156 per night at the Warwick Hotel. Pretty good rate for a holiday weekend here in Seattle.

Seeing a bunch of old friends. I feel like my Dad. I remember him talking about all his buddies he’d see at conferences.

But Josh Bancroft said something tonight at the Gnomedex opening reception that made me pause.

He said how come us Portland geeks only see each other at conferences? Greg Hughes was there with us. He agreed. We should meet up more often in Portland.

And it looks like it may happen! We’re going to do a monthly geek dinner! Josh wrote a bit about it tonight. Yippee. Can’t wait. We’ll post about the first one, soon.

By the way, everyone is welcome at a geek dinner. Are we not at all geeks at heart? :-).

Marx Jewelers – goodbye

Marx Jewelers – goodbye

Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

Walking back from coffee at Coffeeplant this morning, a storefront caught my eye. Marx Jewelers is empty, save a photocopied farewell from the owners. I never shopped at Marx Jewelers, but remember the storefront from my childhood. I loved going downtown as a kid and the small family owned stores on Broadway held a special place in my memory warehouse.

Well, the Marx family has finally decided to close up shop in Portland, after 118 years. Think about that for a moment. The Marx family began selling jewelry in Portland in 1888. WOW! I bet Mr. original Marx had some great stories. I think of the memories created by such history. How many wedding bands were sold there? How many sweet sixteen tennis bracelets were purchased there? What about 50th wedding anniversary bands? I can only imagine the numbers of Portlanders who are quietly bidding a sad farewell to the Marx family.

Good luck in El Paso family Marx.

Pictures of Things Going Boom

The Portland area has several big fireworks shows, and as much fun as it is to watch stuff blow up and make pretty colors, if you enjoy photography like I do, it can be fun to take photos as well.

Here’s a few quick photo tips for the aspiring firework photographer:

  • Use a tripod – since you’re potentially using long exposures, trying to handhold the shots will lead to mediocre results.
  • Film speed/ISO – you’ll want to use a lower-ISO film (or equivalent digital setting)… ISO 50, 100, or 200 max
  • Study the scene – look for things, especially lit things, that will be in your background. You won’t want some bright light behind your fireworks shot.
  • Include some context – if you can include some of the skyline or other landscape in the photo to give a sense of location, that will usually improve your composition
  • Shutter speed – there’s no hard and fast rule here, but generally you’re going to want to set your shutter speed manually based on the effect you want in the image. A short shutter speed will help to “freeze” the action, but don’t discount a longer exposure for some nice “fireworks falling through the sky” effects.

Any metblog readers have some good firework photography tips they’d like to share?

It’s Only Illegal If You Enjoy It

Tonight I caught an episode of “The Simpsons” that was about medical marijuana. Is it just a coincidence? Since the federal government has now decided that medical marijuana is illegal. Now the police can bust people growing or using medical marijuana. That’s just great. Doesn’t our local government have better things to waste money on like schools, healthcare, helping the homeless, cleaning up the river, filling pot holes, and maybe keeping a few other hardened criminals in jail instead of giving them an early release due to prison over crowding, instead of spending the time, court costs and taxpayers money on something our local government already said was legal.

Personally I think it’s a big waste of time to make already existing medical marijuana illegal but maybe I’m just high.

Mt. Hood Railroad for Kids and Adults

Looking for something to do? Ready to escape the city?

Thomas the Tank Engine is in Oregon, currently having “Day out with Thomas” excursions at the Mt. Hood Railroad in Hood River. If you have a younger child, take them out to delight in the adventures of their favorite storybook train engine.

For those of us a few years older, the Mt. Hood Railroad also offers very nice dinner and brunch trains. Board in Hood River and take a leisurely trip up to the community of Parkdale on the eastern slope of Mt. Hood. You’ll be treated to some very fine dining on board the train, and can enjoy a nice meal on your way up and later back down the mountain. Whether you fancy an herbed salmon filet with a Reisling-caper sauce, or a vegetable quiche, their menu has a nice variety of fine foods.

As you consider things to do this summer, take a quick trip about an hour east of Portland and enjoy some beautiful scenery with some delicious food. I’ve been up there a few times (hey, I’ll admit I like trains) but even my wife (without any railroading tendencies) has enjoyed the excursion.

Road Trip – Free concert in Bend – Fiona Apple

Kudos to hack Bend for the link to free Fiona Apple tickets for this weekend. Ticketmaster is doing a promo with free tickets to the show on Saturday, July 1 at the Les Schwab amphitheater. Free, plus Ticketmaster’s $1 service charge.

Check it!

From our reader mailbag: Mallory food disappoints

A reader doesn’t have much that’s nice to say about the food at the recently-renovated Mallory – and he/she gave it three tries:

My first lunch: a bowl of mushroom soup. The soup was tasty, but served lukewarm. The soup had an assortment of local mushrooms in a cream base.

My second lunch was a mussel chowder. This was very good – lots of veggies and mussels in a milk base broth.

My third meal was breakfast – fruit and sausage. The sausages were 3 small overcooked links; dried and not very tasty. For the price I would have expected a gourmet assortment presented on the menu. The coffee is awful and the ice water lacks ice.

Notes: The air vent in the women’s restroom on the main floor – the one located in the ceiling of the large stall – is very noisy and clogged with dirt. I have mentioned this twice on my visits and it is still dirty. The kitchen is no longer offering the German pancake for breakfast. This used to be a favorite menu item before the remodel and appears to be a disapointment for many. Bottom line: the menu prices are high for the quantity and quality of the food presented.

Have you been to The Mallory for a meal yet? Is our reader onto something here?

(Thanks, Reader, for your contribution – I’d credit you more fully, but your email address bounced…)

Seven things TriMet could do to ease the pain

TriMet announced the new downtown detour routes for bus lines that’ll take effect next January – you can find the details on their website. (Portland Transport’s got some initial rider feedback already…)

And at first glance, my daily commute isn’t going to be that much more painful. The distance between downtown stops is problematic, and taking the #14 out of the mix (it’s moving to 2nd Avenue) gives me one less bus to catch across the river (it’s also the move people seem to be questioning.). All in all, it could be worse.

But when you toss in yet another fare increase (and more in sight to pay for all these projects), I think TriMet needs to get creative here to proactively woo riders to put up with all the upcoming aggravations. And of course, I have a few ideas:

  1. The five-day passes are a good idea – do more package deals. I’d love to see a reasonably-priced summer youth pass, for example.
  2. This is a no-brainer – give discounts for bulk ticket purchases. Right now, buying tickets in books of ten gives you no price break at all. That’s just silly.
  3. Do the Fandango thing – let people purchase printable tickets (or those five day or special passes I mention above) online.
  4. Start half-month ticket sales at the beginning of the month – color code them differently or something (My kid’s leaving town midway through July, I won’t be buying his pass that month.)
  5. Do giveaways for monthly (or yearly) passes (or those package deals I keep talking about.)
  6. Work with event planners to offer discount passes for conventioneers, good for their duration in town.
  7. Make sure you’ve got staff on hand to help direct people during those first few weeks in January. And hey -handing out free coffee and doughnuts wouldn’t be a bad touch, either.

Oh, yeah – before I forget. Put the Stop ID numbers on ALL of the existing signs already. (Yeah, I just beefed about this last week. But why not consolidate my handy-dandy list of to-dos in one place?)

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