Saturday, July 29, 2006

Washington D.C., Portland and Points In-between

I had this post tenatively titled "Leaving Washington D.C. or Why I hate United Airlines", but more things than that have happened since our last post.
So, first things first....

Leaving Washington D.C.
Before we left Washington D.C., Adria was able to get a tour of the US Capitol through the office of Senator Gordon Smith. Here are some pictures from the Capitol tour that Adria took:
Here is the inside of the Capitol rotundra.
Here is the base of the rotundra
Here is a hallway inside the Capitol

Here is a statue of Brigham Young that is in the Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol. Every state has two statues there. Utah chose Brigham Young and Philo Farnsworth.

Adria enjoyed the tour and was able to meet Senator Smith. Adria said that Senator Smith was very personable, which is a stark contrast to the stories that my scoutmaster told of when they (my scoutmaster and Senator Smith) were in grade school together. Every story centered around Senator Smith causing trouble and then pinning the blame on my scoutmaster. (As a side note, did you know that there is a Psychic Barber in the UK who also has the name of Gordon Smith? I didn't either.)

Here are some pictures of our trip that didn't make it into the first Washington D.C. blog entry:

Here is a picture of the Washington D.C. Chinatown. Adria really liked being there, she said that she felt at home once she stepped off the bus into Chinatown. She was really excited that she was able to purchase some lychee, chopsticks and a tiny happy Buddha for Garth. Below is a picture of the happy Buddha.

I really like this picture of the Capitol. I think that it has an interpretive story to tell.
Here is the Supreme Court building. It is undergoing some renovation/restoration right now
Here is the Jefferson Memorial.
Here is the outside of the Capital. I really liked the architecture of the Capital.
Here is the outside of the Library of Congress.

Why I hate United Airlines
My flight back to Portland was supposed to be a simple flight from Dulles to PDX with a stop in Denver. The flight from Portland to Denver was nothing if not non-descript, which I think should be the goal of the airlines. We land in Denver and allow the passengers who are either stopping in Denver or catching a connecting flight to get off, and most of the passengers on the 737-300 got off, which made me think that the flight to Portland would not have every seat taken like the flight from Dulles was. However, this was not to be as we were soon told that we needed to vacate the plane because the plane was going to Dallas (which didn't please the passengers who were planning on going to PDX). So we get off the plane and are told that we will be on the next flight to Portland...which happened to be in 3 hours. So I got some food, watched some of Napoleon Dynamite, made some phone calls and walked around a bit (my impression of the Denver airport: It is a lot like the Salt Lake Airport, which means I wasn't overly impressed with it). As I was in line to board the flight, I ended up behind some other people who were also attempting to go to Portland from Dulles via Denver. A couple of those travelers had left Dulles the previous day and still hadn't been able to get to Portland. At least our experiences flying weren't as bad as this passenger's.

Living in Portland
Adria and I are now settled in Portland, where we will be until New Years. We have a nice apartment downtown and are enjoying not having to drive nearly as much as we did when we lived in Keizer. People even seem to even think that we are natives as we commonly get asked for directions while we are on our walks about downtown (Adria bristles when I say that she is not a native Portlander, although she claims Cedar Mill as her hometown when speaking with Oregonians) . I think the fact that I wear sandals, regardless of what I am wearing from the ankles up (kind of like Shawn Bradley on the cover of his biography, except he is wearing white hi-tops and not sandals) makes people think that I actually know where things are downtown. I am enjoying my job with the United States Postal Service and Adria has been able to get her get her old job back (she resigned from the Asian Health and Service Center because we thought that we would be leaving the Rose City), although she is now only working part time. I suppose that Adria continuing to work at the Asian Health and Service Center will lead to more pictures of her in the Asian Reporter and the Portland Chinese Times.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The town that Pierre L'Enfant built

Greetings from Washington, D.C. Adria has been enjoying her oppourtunity to explore the nation's capital. I, on the other hand, have had to work and become orientated to some of the dealings of the Postal Service. Here are some of the highlights from our trip so far:
  • While I was waiting for my flight from PDX to Dulles, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden walked by. He was on my flight as was Oregon's other Senator Gordon Smith. Senator Smith was excited about his upgrade from coach to first-class (Senator Wyden sat in coach on the flight). Senator Wyden must be afraid of DVT as he got up from his seat about every 40 minutes to walk up and down the aisles. At one point on the
    flight Senator Wyden made his way up to Senator Smith in first-class and they had a spirited discussion. Luckily no fisticuffs broke out between the Democrat and the Republican. They were probably discussing their recently announced health care plan.
  • Upon landing in Dulles, I saw what I thought was an interesting ATM (seen to the right). I had never heard of a Chevy Chase Bank, and I didn't know that Chevy Chase had time to start a bank between starting in movies such as "The Three Amigos" and "Fletch Lives". What I didn't know is that Chevy Chase Bank is the largest bank that is headquartered in the D.C. metro area and there is a town in Maryland called Chevy Chase (Adria knew these things, as she apparently gets credit card offers from Chevy Chase Bank "all of the time")
  • Adria flew into Baltimore where her Aunt Connie lives and was able to spend a day with her in and around Baltimore before Aunt Connie drove Adria to the hotel. We had a nice dinner with Aunt Connie before she drove back to Baltimore.
  • We were able to spend some time with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Vance who are serving in the Washington D.C. temple. We were able to go to dinner with them one evening (we went to a Chinese restaurant and Adria was excited for the chance to speak Cantonese to our waitress) as well as to church. Nancy and Vance attend a Spanish branch, which made for an interesting experience as neither Adria nor I speak Spanish (although I did understand when Aunt Nancy asked somebody to speak slower because we don't speak Spanish). After church we had a pleasant Sunday dinner with Aunt Nancy and Uncle Vance before we went back to the hotel.
  • The EPA headquarters building in downtown Washington D.C. (seen to the right) was much, much, much bigger than either of us expected it to be.
  • Adria and I saw fireflies for the first time. We enjoyed watching them light up at night, however we seemed to be the only people who noticed the fireflies.
  • We saw the Hope Diamond. I, for one, thought that it looks much bigger in the pictures. Hopefully they have contained the curse of the Hope Diamond within the 3 inch thick glass case that they protect the diamond within.
  • Adria was able to take a tour of the National Cathedral. She really enjoyed it. Below are some pictures that she took:

  • We also enjoyed the Native American Muesuem. We spent a couple of hours on Saturday looking at the exhibits. We also enjoyed this placard below because it explains how the beaver symbolizes wisdom:

  • Below is a picture of a guitar that was custom made for Prince. It may not come through on the thumbnail very well, but all along the fingerboard, there are drawings of the symbol that Prince went by for a while and because the symbol has no name people were forced to call him "The Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince". You can click on the thumbnail for a better view of the symbols

Below are some pictures that we took, but don't really have much of a story behind them:
Here is a statue of Andrew Jackson
Here is a picture of Adria with the Lincoln Memorial in the background
Here is a picture of one of the surviving sunstones from the original Nauvoo Temple that Adria saw at one of the Smithsonian muesuems
Adria and I at the Jefferson Memorial
The Department of the Treasury building
The Smithsonian Castle with a statue of Joseph Henry (after whom the unit the Henry is named)
The scene at 1600 Pennslynia Ave. The yellow signage on the left is for an anti-nuclear vigil that has been there continously since 1984.
A picture of Adria wearing my sunglasses
A Statue of Ulysees Grant
A Statue of James Garfield, the only President who could write in Latin with one hand and at the same time write in Greek with the other

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Homeless Report: 4th of July Edition

So for the 4th of July, Adria and I went with Adria's family to Cannon Beach where we spent a couple of days. We had a pleasant time walking on the beach and relaxing. The Cannon Beach Library was also having a book sale that we visited and we got some interesting books (I got a book titled The August Coup by Mikhail Gorbachev and Adria got a cookbook that has recipes and tips for cooking with various sorts of grains).

Here are some of the pictures that I took during our stay at the beach:

Here is a sand-dollar that Adria found on the beach

Here is a picture of a really cool sand castle that we stumbled upon on one of our walks. I really like the colorful rocks that are sort of like stained glass.

Here is a picture of a heart-shaped rock that Adria found on the beach.

Here is a picture of Adria's brother Ty holding up a jellyfish that had washed up on the beach.

Here are some movies of my quixotic quest to catch a seagull (movies might need to be viewed in the on-line version of the blog):

We also went to the Cannon Beach 4th of July parade. While the parade was supposedly to honor firefighters, police officers and people in the armed services, it seemed like it degenerated into an excuse to throw candy to little kids and for local businesses to use the symbols of liberty to promote their business (Adria and I have both recently read Neil Postman's book Technopoly which [among other things in his discussion of the surrender of culture to technology] talks about how the symbols of America [i.e. the flag, the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam] don't have the same meaning as they did in the past because he see those symbols much more often than we used to, thus the power of the symbol is diminished, which leads to businesses using the symbols to help them sell mattresses and holidays to becoming an excuse for sales. We both really enjoyed the book and would recommend it.). With that introduction, here are some pictures from the parade:

There was a pirate ship complete with a skull-and-cross bones flag

This dog was not the only patriotically dressed dog in the parade, although he did look to be the least depressed.

Here is one of the Cannon Beach Fire engines that was in the parade.

A giant puffin was also involved in the parade.

On the evening of the 4th, we drove up to Seaside to see the fireworks show. I was surprised by how big of a production the fireworks show turned out to be. They had cordoned off a big section of the beach and had several areas from which they could set the fireworks off from and they had the whole thing set to music. I took a couple of short movies of the event. If you listen closely to the second movie you can hear Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" in the background:

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Homeless Report

First and foremost, congrats to the OSU Baseball team and their national championship.

Previously, I mentioned that I was in the Portland Chinese Times. Here is the web-version of the story. It is of note however that the picture of Adria and I that is in the on-line version is not the picture that ran in the print version of the paper.

This past week Adria and I busied otherselves with getting ready to move. Contary to previous reports, after the two-week training in Washington D.C., I will not be training in Seattle, but I will be training in Portland. Once we got everything moved into the van, we put it in storage and we are presently offically homeless. Adria really liked our moving van because the U-Haul van that we got had a picture of an alien on it. Here is a picture of what our van looked like:
In between packing, on Wednesday we went to a Salem-Keizer Volcanoes game. We used the tickets that Adria got me for my birthday. We got box seats (since this was a minor league game, box seats are reasonably priced), and had a fun time at the ballpark. It was a very pleasent diversion from a long day of packing boxes. A performing group called "The Spitball Gang" was at the game. Although I had never heard of them, apparently "The Spitball Gang" is known all the way from Portland to Trenton. And no, Gaylord Perry was not involved. Other notes from the game:
  • I was quite worried when I heard the name of Boise's (the Volcanoes opponent) leader batter because he had a name very similar to a player on my fantasy team and I was mortified that my player had for some reason been demoted to Class A ball without me knowing. I was very happy once I learned that the batter's last name was "Camp" and not "Kemp" and that Boise is an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and not of the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Had we gone to the game a night earlier (Tuesday), we would have seen the professional debut of Jeff Samardjiza. Samardzija didn't fare well as he gave up 2 runs in 2 innings. Also on the quasi-famous players front, Jeremy Papelbon, the little brother of Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan, pitched 3 innings of one hit ball the night before that (Monday).
  • I wore my Boston Red Sox hat to the game, and a member of Red Sox Nation came up to us and said "Go Sox!" Two innings later, this same individual caught a foul ball.
  • The Volcanoes won.
Here are some pictures from the game:

The Spitball Gang in action

The view from our seats

A report of our 4th of July festivities will be forth coming.