September 25, 2008

Well, crap

My mp3 player decided mid-song to shut down and when I turned it back on, it decided to format itself, so all my songs were erased. Arg. I suppose I should be happy that it seems to be working fine, I just need to put the mp3s back on it. I could really use some music now though.

In other things-I-don't-want-to-deal-with news, the problem of moisture in my apartment is now something I can't ignore. I mostly was waiting until after I got back from the US to deal with it, which was perhaps not the best idea since 2 weeks of being closed up didn't help matters. But I've looked online for advice and I will see if following some of the tips to reduce moisture in the room will help. I'll also buy a space heater this weekend, since keeping the air warm means keeping it drier as well (though it's such a pain to heat my room, I was planning already in the spring to buy a space heater for this winter anyway). I hope these small things work, though I'll get a dehumidifier if they don't.

September 24, 2008

Notes from Portland

- There seems to be some strange fad where guys wear scarfs tied around their necks with the knot at the back of their neck. I saw this on a couple of guys at the John Vanderslice show I went to, and then later around downtown. It might be something borrowed from street kids?

- On the train back from Seattle, we were actually mooned by some guys on boats near the train tracks. I don't know if I've ever been mooned before.

- Cloth reusable bags, like the ones I saw in Australia, are becoming common, which is great. Apparently stores want to start charging you if you use plastic bags. I'd like to know when the cloth bags are going to start showing up here. They are much more durable and more comfortable to carry than the large plastic bags you get from the supermarkets.

- I finally had a rental car with a direct line-in for an mp3 player, which made things so much easier. However, the dashboard layout was really lame and there was nowhere to lay the mp3 player while it was plugged in. Usually I stuck it in the extra cup holder, but when both cup holders were being used, the only place I could find to put it was under the emergency brake handle. Actually, aside from the mp3 port and the sunroof that the car had, I was not too thrilled with my Chevy Cobalt (oh, I also had heated seats, but I didn't have much use for that). Plus the car had Florida plates, which just felt weird. I imagined that when I was driving around on country backroads the people behind me were wondering what the hell I was doing out there. But it does help if you screw up, you think then that people are just rolling their eyes at an ignorant out-of-stater.

- There is an awesome Jewish deli now on Stark St that I should have made more of an effort to eat at, so it'll have to be an absolute to-do for the next time. I did grab a bagel to-go there on my last day and I saw they had Bundaberg ginger beer, but then they have a soda menu to rival most bars' beer lists. As I waited to order my bagel, a girl who was slicing Swiss cheese came over to show the holes that were showing in the cheese which she thought were really cool. She said she wanted to frame it.

- I brought back the remaining CDs I had at my parents' house, which was quite a pile. Mysteriously, there are 3 REM CD cases which are missing the CDs and the liner notes. I don't know why it's only REM CDs that are missing and I have absolutely no idea where they've gone. I bought used replacements for 2 of them, but I'm still scratching my head over where the CDs are. I also wasn't able to find my videos, which I wanted to bring back, and that worries me.

- When I got back from Seattle, I was waiting in line for the toilets at Union Station in Portland. There were two older women behind me and one was remembering when she once, long ago, had to pay a dime to use a toilet in a station. She said "Imagine! Paying to use a public restroom!" I smiled to myself and thought about telling them how much we have to pay all the time to use toilets here. (And I officially hate the word restroom and refuse to use it, which then left me unsure of what to call them when asking for them in a restaurant or whatever, since "toilet" is a bit rude-sounding to Americans.)

- Regarding the books I bought, there is one, The Girl Who Owned a City, which was read to my class in grade school, but the year ended before we could finish it. The story of a world without adults and of kids having to survive on their own stuck with me and I finally bought it to reread. Only after I bought it did I find out that the copy I have is a 1995 "updated" version of the original published in 1975. Flipping through the book, I found a passage that refers to more modern things that didn't exist in the 70's. I find this incredibly lame, like kids can't understand it if it's referring to outdated things? It's something like the use of American terms in the US copies of the Harry Potter books. Let them learn about another culture or another era. Christ. I'm very annoyed now about not having the original version...

September 21, 2008

An Illustrated Summary of My Trip to Oregon

I returned on Friday from my two weeks in the US. I had a brilliant time, I really enjoyed being back in Oregon. Plus I got one last taste of summer: it was sunny and warm (with some days being quite hot) for pretty much the entire 2 weeks. It was lovely. As was seeing friends, bumming around Portland, eating good food, and taking a side trip up to Washington. Below are a few photos I took (note the copious amounts of sun and blue sky in every photo).

Dragon boats on the Willamette River.

Watching thousands of Vaux's swifts circle a school in Portland before swooping into the chimney to roost for the night. (There are many birds in the sky around the chimney. Really.)

Waiting at Union Station at too-early-in-the-morning to catch the train up to Seattle.

My friend's wonderful flower/vegetable/herb garden in Snohomish, Washington.

The full moon rising next to Mt Hood, taken from Powell Butte park.

A perfect day at Cannon Beach.

View from Ecola State Park.

The pile of books I nabbed from Powell's. With all the books I bought being very cheap or used, the total came to only $50. Plus I sold two books that they gave me $6 for, so they really only cost me $44, or about 31 eur. I love Powell's.

More photos to come eventually, you know, after I'm done with all the photos still from Australia and New Zealand. And Mallorca. Ugh.

September 2, 2008

Sorry, but...

I have to bounce in my seat a bit (or a lot; most of the morning actually) over the weather forecast for Portland. It is meant to be warming up just in time for my return. As one weather report says "Summer Returns", beginning around Friday. It'll be in the mid-80s in the weekend. One weather page with a 10-day forecast has a string of bright, shiny suns from tomorrow until Thursday the 11th (as far as the forecast goes). I am beaming like a little sun myself.