The girl and I were in Portland this past weekend, visiting Pam, Vicki and the University of Portland.
It rained. Surprise. Probably a good thing as it gave the girl a taste of life in Portland.
We visited U of P Saturday morning. I enjoyed it, but the tour itself was difficult due to the rain and my inability to hear our two young tour guides. I had to keep pushing my way to the front of the group in order to hear. It's a very small school. There are only about 3,800 students. Average class size is 23, but range anywhere from 15 to 35.
There are five "schools;" Arts/science, business administration, nursing, education and engineering
Freshmen are required to live on campus their first year
All classes are taught by professors
There is no "Greek" system, as it goes against the idea of "community," though I think the real reason is because they're full of douchebags
The girl seemed somewhat indifferent. She liked it, but it didn't seem to speak to her, to whisper the words "you belong here." So we'll see. They've waived her application fee, and the sooner you apply the sooner you hear about merit scholarships and the like, so we'll continue on down the road and see where it goes.
(The girl and dad on campus)
Yea, so after the educational portion of our visit we went on to do a few other things. First stop was lunch at Little Big Burger. As the name implies, the burgers are a wee bit on the smallish side, but tasty as all get out. And the fries? Fried in truffle oil. Oh baby but they's good.
(them at LBB)
After lunch we tooled into downtown and paid a visit to Powell's, one of the most awesome bookstores on the planet. I could have spent the rest of the day amongst the stacks, but we only stayed for an hour and a half. I found a couple of teacher books that Lisa wanted and then spent the rest of the time drifting around the fiction section. I had an armload of books but decided to only buy three; Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollak, When we talk about Raymond Carver, interviews by Sam Halpert, and a first edition, signed copy of Another Day in Paradise by the late Eddie Little. I actually already have copy of ADIP, but $4.95 for a signed first edition? It was a steal that I could not resist.
From Powell's we headed across one of Portland's five bridges en route to the Bagdad Theater for the 5:15 showing of World War Z. For those of you unfamiliar with the brothers McMenamins, they are considered "two of the pioneers of the Northwest microbrew and historic hotels industries." The Bagdad is one of their theater pubs and we dined on pizza and what not while watching Brad Pitt battle zombies. Pretty awesome.
(swiped from Google images)
We actually were pretty beat after our day, and all turned in early. Sunday morning we made a late breakfast and then hit Voodoo Donuts for a "second breakfast" on our way to the airport.
(Waiting on line at Voodoo)
(The girl got a shirt and a donut. I just got a donut. But the "voodoo man" was tasty)
And that's it. Thank you for coming along on our trip to Portland. And thanks to Pam and Vicki for their hospitality.
So here's a picture Lisa took of the Mt. Diablo fire, a local conflagration that firefighters have been battling since September 8. The most recent reports indicate that the fire has burned about 3,500 acres and is 45% contained. For many more photos check out Claycord.com.
As another local man of words recently wrote, this brings back exciting childhood memories of the last big blaze on Mt. Diablo, or as I like to refer to it, Firestorm '77.
Twin lightening strikes on August 2, 1977 begat a blaze that destroyed 6,000 acres and had our neighborhood on edge for several days, watching nervously in fear that the fire would jump to Mt. Zion, a smaller mountain range at whose base our neigborhood huddled.
I recall various neighbors with folding chairs establishing a "base camp" on our front lawn, which offered a great view of the smoldering mountain. In my memory, adults sat outside most of the night keeping tabs on the advancing flames. I also remember seeing a few suitcases sitting in the entry hall of our home, presumably packed with essentials, but mostly photos, home movies and other irreplaceble items, lest we were forced to beat a hasty retreat. I remember a family friend, maybe 6 years older than me, who knew the mountain and volunteered to help in some way, perhaps as a guide or maybe a volunteer firefighter. I don't recall. I'll have to ask him next time we speak.
Naturally, this was an exciting few days for an 11-year old boy, getting to stay up later than usual, hanging about in the shadows outside the circle of adults who sat speculating in hushed voices, excited by the danger of it all. We neighborhood kids roamed the summer street, discussing the fire and what we'd do if it jumped the line, almost hoping that it would.