Monday, July 30, 2007

End of the trip collage

Here's a slideshow of photos from the weekend trip to the east coast for my sister's wedding. If you hit the 'i" icon on the first photo, it will show the captions. Some random thoughts:

Fifteen hours is not a lot of time to travel 3,000 miles - it's positively miraculous. Nonetheless, fifteen hours is a long time, and maybe we shouldn't think we can travel 3,000 miles and back in a weekend.

JFK Airport - or at least Terminal 6 - is a pretty darn drab facility.

NYC is a top-tier world city, but in the end it's just another place filled with people doing the same stuff we do all over.

Trains run on time. Planes, not so much.

We didn't have a chance to have any pizza in the City, but the calzone we had for lunch on Saturday in Connecticut - even the plain cheese one - was so much better than anything I have had locally. I don't know exactly what it is, but I imagine it might be a simple as the ingredients - maybe they can get brands on the east coast that we may not have access to out here. In any case, it was great.

On the east coast, the highway exits are numbered sequentially and do not match the milepost markers. So, exit 52 might be a mile from exit 51, but it might be nine miles. I find that pretty inefficient.

Any exit numbering difficulties were completely smoothed out by sister Lin's GPS directional system, nicknamed "Jack." It had a little, easy to read road display and guided us from place to place almost unerringly, giving countdowns to the next turn and a running ETA as well verbal instructions. It was really amazing.

The wedding was fantastic - it had everything a wedding should have - sentiment, theater, community, music, good food, dancing, and fun - and almost none of the troublesome stuff. definitely top-drawer, and I am so glad I made the trip. Congratulation, NJ and Joe!

Otis had a great time, too, and my brother-in-law Geney was happy to find someone new to tell all his stories to.

Even though both Dingo and we had travel lateness hassles on the way back, we all got in on time late Sunday night, hooked up at the airport, and were home before midnight.

Class today went fine, but I didn't get a whole lot of grading done today - walks in the sun, yes; grading, no. It will be a busy week, with a heaping hunk of JustJon and LadyK dropped into the middle! Yay!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Best. Wedding. Evar.

NJ and Joe

The wedding of the year is over, although we are still on the trip. I'm posting from Gate 21 in the temporary JetBlue terminal at JFK. (It's just a bunch of portables stacked together, but they have wi-fi and cell phone charging stations and snack shops and even a bar.) We had a wet but overall uneventful trip from Westerchester down to Grand Central and out to the airport, which is a wild pile of people and sounds and light. Dingo is flying from a different airport and has a layover, so we'll hook up with her in SeaTac and drive home together.

I will have a full post when I can catch my breath, but suffice to say for now that everything was grand - the visiting, the ceremony, the food, the reception, the dancing, the whole magilla. It has been a great trip from beginning to end.

Otis practicing her 'tude

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Live blogging

Lin is looking at me. I am down in the Holiday Inn Express breakfast room, eating a bagel and drinking orange juice. Lyd just joined us. We all thought we were going to be the last ones down but it looks like everyone else is still sleeping. (Lyd just went back up to wake Cliffie up.)

The trip in was as miserable as you would expect the redeye flight to be. We got the airport an hour late, but without a lot of sleep; the flight was fairly uncomfortable. The ride to the city on the shuttle was fine and surprisingly short (so we didn't get much more sleep then, either.) (Lin just left to get something.)

In short order, Otis got to see The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the main library, and Grand Central Terminal as we walked through the crowded and humid streets of mid-town. She also experienced brunch at a little coffee shop that was perfectly characteristic of the kind of place you would have breakfast or lunch if you worked in Manhattan; that turned out to be her only New York experience, since we were so fagged out by the trip we decided to head straight out to Connecticut rather than do much at all in town first.

We grabbed the first New Haven train we could and settled in for the two-hour ride out, catching a little more sleep along the way. We had to switch to a CT train to get the last little bit, and then called a cab to get to the Holiday Inn. We arrived at 3:00 pm local time, fifteen hours after Otis had picked me up at the college - that's not bad, actually. (Lyd just came back with Cliffie and Monj.) (NJ just came down.)

We napped and showered and were ready for the party down at the marina. Lots of new people to meet, and lots of old pals to see, including Star and her daughter Susie Q, as well as relatives of all sorts. Dingo had beat us here, but she had left fifteen hours earlier, so that's to be expected. (Lots of people are down now, including Paulie and his fiancee, and Joe, the groom.)

We didn't stay at the party really late - it ran from about 5:30 to 9:00 - but then we hung out in the hotel lobby for another hour or so after we got back.

(Lin came back.)
(Wow, it's busy visiting.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sparrow fart

That's what Dingo calls early early morning, and that's when I was up taking her to the airport a while ago. (Man, the streets sure are empty at 4:40 am.) When I got home, I decided to stay up, and I've already done the dishes and made myself another cup of coffee. (Nothing says waking up like Folger's in my cup...)

Dingo is off to attend the wedding of my big sister (as opposed to my little big sister); Otis and I will be flying out on the redeye to JFK tonight to join in the nuptial revels (actually in Connecticut, not New York) tomorrow. I wish we could extend the visit a bit; Otis has never been to The City, and it would be nice to spend some time there. Unfortunately, I have to teach tonight and first thing on Monday, so we can only squeeze what we can out of the weekend. As it is, we'll probably only be able to do lunch in town, between the shuttle from the airport to Grand Central and the train out to New Haven.

While we are gone, Sairey will be staying at the house, minding the cats, watching the spectrator, and eating up all the leftovers. Yay, Sairey!

So, today will be full of teaching and packing and last-minute remembered chores. And probably a nap this afternoon when having stayed up this morning starts looking like less of a good idea.

Bonus Linkage:

Jimmy the K has an activities blog! Document your fun with the K-man!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Internet woes

My intarweb was broken yesterday afternoon. When Otis and I went out to a cyber-cafe after my evening class, their intarweb was broken, too. Or at least, I couldn't get on it, although Otis could. When we got home, I fixed our intarweb but then was too tired to post anything.

The New York trip is looming. I'd best not carry any cheese along.

I did find new dress sandals for the wedding, cheap on sale. Yay!

Saw b for a few minutes yesterday. Always delightful.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What does a teacher really make?

Taylor Mali's website.

Livin' large, the Seattle way

I am just so cool and hip. Here I am, in the Tully's in the U District, drinking tea, grading papers and playing on the internets via wi-fi, which is just everywhere in this town now, innit? I not too long ago met up with O, who stopped by on her way to an appointment to pick up the Little Black Car, because we are so cool and green in Seattle that we don't all own cars but sort of swap them out amongst ourselves. I have exchanged email with friends who are likely sitting in other cool coffee shops using other wi-fi, or are at home using their high-speed broadband cable internets. I am finding info about our upcoming trip to Connecticut on the internets and then making calls to confirm stuff on my mobile phone, which is another cool and hip thing, huh? And now I'm blogging, which, as we all know, is the pastime of cool kids.

Man, I just kill me.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Return from the inland empire

What is up with this rain? It was a pretty dramatic reversal yesterday: it was hot in Spokane Saturday morning, and got progressively cooler as we came back through the pass; when we came up from the Mercer Island tunnel on I-90, we were greeted by a spectacular view of Seattle in the rain. And it doesn't appear to have stopped raining since!

The trip itself was a success by any count. Otis and I got up and headed out of town early, and enjoyed an easy ride over to the east side, passing an extraordinarily high number of motorcyclists, or so it seemed. The most wonderful Gweekers and Mikey have got their plates full with all kinds of life right now, but they were glad to see us and extended their usual high hospitality. We brought take-out lunch with us, so we spent the shank of the day on their porch, just catching up.

In the evening, we all headed into town to the Elk, an old grad school haunt, and met up with the delightful Nellie (another grad school pal) and her hubby ProgrammerScott, who joined us for dinner and coffee-afters and up-too-late talking.

On Saturday morning, the four of us took a walk over to a local street fair (which featured such extravaganza as a troupe of eight-year-olds in pink poodle skirts just murdering “Book of Love” and a wiener dog race) and then had a yummy brunch at a nearby cafĂ©. We spent a little more time visiting with G&M before they had to head out to family reunion (Mikey has about four generations on each side in the Spokane area), and decided to come back a little early rather than kick around Spokane because, well, we just missed the rain so much, I guess.

We got home early enough to make nice with the cats and to fit in a viewing of The Birds (I guess you can tell whose blogs we read) before we hit the sack. (Oh, yeah, Yojimbo – we tried The Librarian with Dr. Carter, and it sucked so hard that it moved the furniture in the living room. Yeesh. We needed some Hitchcock just to scrub our brains.)

Today will be filled with the w-word: I have papers to respond and Otis has no appointments but lots of chores, so I guess rain today isn't such a bad deal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remote post

The class is peer reviewing and I take this moment in a busy week to jump in with a post.

The week has been mostly the blah-blah-blah teach/grade/TCB routine. When she wasn't massaging, Otis was plowing through a stack of papers for the HS, and she just finished them a few hours ago, so she was busy, too. What did we do the past three days that was cool? Hmmmm...

I had lunch Wednesday with Trots at Jack's Tapas Cafe Mainly Chinese. Man, that's some good food. We talked about shoes and ships and sealing wax and her taking over a job I used to have. We even nabbed Otis for a cuppa at home, and I brought her some of that wonderful sesame-scallion bread Jack makes.

We watched Riverworld the other night. This was a Sci-Fi Channel production, a pilot for a series (that was never made) based on the novels by Philip Jose Farmer. I am familiar with the source material and liked it, so I thought the film was pretty sucktacular, but there must have been something of the magic that survived the translation, because Otis really dug it was hoping that series had indeed been made.

We had a visit from J-Force today, ostensibly to pick up her salvage cat-carrier but really just to hang out and drink limeade and chillax. Sweet.

And tomorrow we leave an oh-dark-thirty for a two-day barnstorm through Spokane, back Saturday night.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


... brings decisions.

Monday, July 16, 2007

To heck and back

Otis went out to a book club meeting tonight, so I hied myself off to 3PBR to do a little work and blog a little blog. Well, I got there, got coffee, got settled in, and even did a little work, but the blogging was not to be - their Internet connection was was dicey and then dead. Too bad for me - I actually had a little agenda of things I wanted to accomplish. Instead, after fussin' with futile attempts for a little while, I packed up and hied myself back home. I did get to share the walk with pal Nats, so that was something.

Anyhoo, here's a little movie I told Yojimbo I would link to last time we talked.

And would it be silly to get one of these if I am to be a serious bike commuter?

After seeing the John Sayles movie t'other night, I did a little research on Matewan. Take a look at these two versions of the battle: one from the town website that includes eyewitness testimony and one from the records of the mine operators (in the state archives.)

This is mostly for Stella: Psychology Today isn't the strongest source, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A gatherer of wool

Otis came home last night! Yay!

Y'know, I have been thinking a lot lately about pursuing a doctorate. This comics scholarship stuff I have been doing seems to be calling to me pretty strongly, and maybe I should really do it to it, as the hep cats used to say. There is an underlying problem, however: my antipathy toward most things academic (as opposed to things scholarly). Pursuing the latter while avoiding the former requires walking on a knife's edge, and I'm not sure I have the energy for it. More musings on this to come.

I'm posting from the Wallingford Tully's, one of my usual retreats when I need to get work done (and when Otis has appointments at home). I have already completed my responding and prep for Monday's class as well as my comics blog, so it really is a productive venue for me. More importantly, I actually rode my bike down here! I have been spectacularly remiss in doing any riding this season. I could list some excuses extenuating circumstances, such as my not having a commute to Bothell to jump-start the miles (as I have had the past two years), but I have concluded the simple fact is that I have been having too much fun riding the scooter, and that that has been keeping me off the bike. So, like someone swearing off M&Ms so he can eat cheesecake, I think I need a moratorium on scootering so I can get back in the bike habit. Here goes nothin'!

My ride down here was made more comfortable by the sort-of meshy (but not really) and totally cool Irish athletic jersey that Stella so kindly gave me t'other day. Thanks, dudette!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indolence and out the other

I just came back from a walk to Greek Lake. Notice the preposition: to, not around. My desire for physical activity was overcome by my innate laziness compounded by the weather, so a walk down to the play fields was all that was in the cards this sunny and hot afternoon. I also swung by the library to pick up another Terry Pratchett book, so that’s something. I figure that the next few weeks are going to be quite busy, so that having a fairly empty weekend now will just balance out the karma.

Keeping in that theme, yesterday was pretty lazy, too, although more social. After a morning of organizing my pre-digital photographs, I was paid separate-but-equal visits from Stella and Yojimbo, both intent on catching up and giving me stuff. Then I walked down to the U-district and met Dingo at her bus transfer. We rode up to Cap Hill for a lovely dinner at Pho Cyclo before meeting Sylvio at Cal & Merry’s for their screening of John Sayles’s Matewan. (Being a Sayles film, it was, of course, masterful, showcasing young Chris Cooper and David Straitharn in a powerful tale of union organizing.) At the end of an evening of great conversation, I retrieved the little black car and drove home.

This weekend has featured cat-craziness as well as Walaka-laziness. It seems the kitties miss Otis; they’re just a little out of sorts, and Selkie is a bit more demanding of attention than usual. Well, Otis just called from the airport in Oakland, so she’ll be home soon, and then I won't have to get up at four in the morning anymore.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Yojimbo!

He's on the Rock instead of the Hill, has an animal pal of a different species, and has shrunk his beard to a soul patch, but he's still the same ol' sonuvagun to me!

Congratulations on your card-deck birthday!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Batchin' it, as they say

Otis in is the city of the Golden Gate, having a great time by all accounts - she sent an email and some pics (including the one to the left). In her absence, I have been running around like a wild man! Yowza!

Well, not really. Yesterday, it was too damn hot to run much at all, and any running around I did was all TCB. In the evening, I taught my first class of the quarter at Antioch; I tired something new for the opener and I think it worked well and set the tone for the class effectively. I sure do enjoy the energy that Antioch students bring to their studies - the motivation factor is very high, and that helps a lot.

It was 92 in the townhouse when I got back from class last night. I had the run of the place, which mostly meant that I was the one to get up and let the cat out at four aye em. At least I was up for the first taste of the cooler air that came in overnight; it's twenty degrees cooler right now than it was this time yesterday. Besides teaching this morning, I haven't been terribly productive today; I still have time to correct that before leaving for my evening class, but I don't think it's going to happen.

Cross posting morning goodness

This is just a quick note to direct you to the schedule of outdoor Shakespeare plays this weekend in Volunteer Park. Dingo takes the lead on this one; who wants to go?

The picture to the left is from the production of The Merry Wives of Windsor that I was in with Scotty Tuxedo. We played the husbands.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doggie days

Yesterday was hot and today is hotter; I could feel that it was going to be even when I was walking to my morning class. After class, I took Otis to the airport for her San Francisco trip and then bounced all the way back to LFP for house-sitting duties (water and garbage cans). I finally came back to the RD and spent two hours grading papers in the air-conditioned cool of World Cup, until I came home to feed the melted cats.

All of this reminds me of the summer of my grad school days in Spokane. The big windows of my 313 square foot on-campus apartment faced west; it was so hot that I covered all of them with aluminum foil. It was trashy-looking and the living room was pretty dark, but it was about twenty degrees cooler than it would have been otherwise. I spent a lot of time in the library, but since I was writing my thesis, I needed to work on the computer a lot, and because I was laptopless, that meant I was at home a lot. For a week or two I was dog- and house-sitting on the South Hill, and they didn't have air-conditioning either, so it wasn't much better than my apartment, but they did have cable and an air-conditioned car, both of which helped me get through the days until the relative cool of the evenings. Those were good times; I discovered Kim Possible that summer and generally enjoyed myself despite the heat, even though (perhaps because) I was alone much of the time.

Well, I'm sure this weather won't last, but for now I'm happy to be riding the heat wave.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Home improvement

Our wonderful neighbors across the courtyard are moving out, so they are lightening their load considerably. We got this new outdoor table/umbrella deal from them for next to nothing. The shade is very pleasant; we'll see what it feels like this afternoon during the HEAT ALERT!

The neighbors had their little yard sale in conjunction with the clean-up operations from the vacant house next door. Things are starting to happen over their, and the crew had a yard sale on Saturday and Sunday. I snagged a pet carrier for J-Force, but we left the rest of the stuff alone; our load is none to light, neither.

Other than that, blah blah blah hot, blah blah blah work, and Otis is leaving for San Francisco tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Just Us League!

Well, the first LotU Company Picnic was a rousing success.

Roll call included Stella, Sairey, Cal, Merry, Dingo, Johnbai, O, Sylvio, Trots (and Bonnie), J-Force, and last minute arrivals JagGirl and Dvd. (Soapy got stuck in faux-Alaska.) I could wax poetic about how great a day it was, but instead let me let the pictures do most of the talking. The shot of Sylvio above just about sums up the day, but here are some details:

Merry led the way in the raspberry-picking efforts.
Many berries were harvested.

Talk, and lots of it. And new connections made - always a plus!

Johnbai, Walaka, Trots (hidden), Stella, Merry, Calvin, Sairey

Badminton, of course.

Merry, Stella, Walaka

Stellar Stella

Can you find the birdie in this picture?
Neither could Johnbai or Calvin!

There was a constant stitch 'n' bitch going on.

Sairey and O brought their goods,
and J-Force and Trots joined in the chat.

Water-balloon toss:
recreating this famous cover of the Justice League

Trots, Sylvio, Merry, Johnbai, Stella, Calvin, J-Force (hidden), Walaka

Stella, Calvin, J-Force, Walaka

Trots, Sylvio, Merry, Johnbai

Calving and J-Force got soaked.
I think Johnbai and Stella were the official winners.

Good grub, but this king of the burgers didn't play
any of that "have it your way" stuff

Otis was happy that Bonnie was a dog

And more convo:

Sylvio, Stella, Walaka, Trots, Sairey, Johnbai, O, J-Force, Merry

Sairey, Johnbai, O, Dingo, Calvin, J-Force, Merry

During these last pictures, we were "playing" Outliers, a game in which each person tries to forward an experience or characteristic that they believe is either unique to them or universal for the group. It turns out that we all have been pierced, eaten tofu and tempeh, spent at least a week outside the country, and tried meditation. Only one of us is a parent, has never had a cup of coffee, or has been to Iceland. Most vices, family situations, and sexual experiences all seemed to fall in the standard deviation. I don't know what that says about us.

Some folks left early but we capped the night with an hour or so of hot-tubbing; JagGirl and Dvd arrived just as we got started (although Dvd didn't get wet). No camera allowed, unfortunately.

Soapy called just as the last car was heading out of driveway, just a little too late for the fun.

Thanks everyone!

PS: There are so many pictures of me this time because Otis had the camera!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


A post which I wonder who will read before I see many of you this afternoon anyway.

The week ended itself nice and summery. I had most of my students in class on Thursday, which was a bit of a surprise. We watched a history channel documentary on comics that’s actually pretty good. In between my split shift, Otis and I had a nice walk through Ravenna Park.

Friday was packed for Otis and just busy for me. We met Cal and Merry at TJ’s to give them the Metro, we had the best Indian buffet EVAR (at Bombay Grill), Otis had a massage appointment and a writing group, and Yojimbo and Dingo stopped by in the evening for an impromptu dinner out.

So, we’re off to make a picnic now – that's all for now, except


Thursday, July 05, 2007

The wide world of Walaka

My Blogger connection is still slow and I still can't figure out why..

What a Fourth! Breakfast in Fremont, a picnic in the park, a heartland vegetarian dinner, a movie, and the company of cats: who could ask for more on a sunshiney Independence Day? It was good to see the Putnams before they headed off to Hawaii, and the gang at Volunteer park was huuuuge - and seemed to keep growing as the afternoon passed. We split fairly early to come home for a quiet evening. The cats weathered the fireworks without any major trauma.

We watched Deja Vu with Denzel Washington after dinner. Otis thought it was a straight crime drama until the time-travel elements started creeping in. Overall, I thought it was pretty well done. We may have to do a series on these time-a-kilter films - The Lake House was interesting, too, and there's that other Sandra Bullock thing, Premonition, coming out soon - and some Nick Cage movie, too, no?

In the meantime: links!

Clark Kent


Since people liked the butterfly palettes so much:

... here are some masterpieces.

This is a great little movie that a pal sent me. The sound is important, so have the volume set right.

Free Online Dating

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

It seems to be that in the 231 years since the founding of this country, much has been made in scholarly study of the relative influence of Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian philosophies in the development of our democracy.

Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to the Paineian influence....

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself."

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right."

"When my country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir."

"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man."

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Give us 22 minutes and we'll give you the world

Wind destroys treasured weather instrument

The wind blew the venetian blinds and knocked over my Galileo thermometer, causing it to smash and spill a foul-smelling liquid in my carpet. The liquid did not appear to stain, but smells so bad that I have a fan in the window for ventilation. A quick search of the intarweb indicates that the liquid is likely water with "paraffin and petroleum distillates" in it. Oh, okay, no prob.

Weather: Man, it's been great the last couple of days, hasn't it? It's Scooter Time! (mow-now-now now)

Entertainment: Rear Window is one of the movies that you have to watch every now and again to prove to yourself just how good it is. Because it is even better than you remember.

Business: Otis has a new display ad on the intarweb.

PSA: This in, from Nedra: Does anybody have a semi-portable bed available for loan? My mother's been ill and my aunt might come up to stay with her for a while and will need somewhere to sleep. A futon won't do, I don't think, as my aunt's 72, so she'd need something higher off the floor. Ideally something foldy up, if ya know what I mean. If not, anyone know where such things can be rented? Nedra's mom is local, so if you can help out, let us know.

Gossip: What Emmy-award-winning sound designer is going to be late for dinner if he doesn't get here soon?

Sunday, July 01, 2007


The sun was shining through the window up until about a few minutes ago; then it was cloudy and even felt a bit cooler. Now that I've about finished the blog, the sun is coming back out (is that a sign?) and I think I'll be just on time to head home for lunch.

I got a nice table in the window and a cup of tea; they gave me a ceramic mug when I said I was staying here, even without my asking. That was pretty cool. I got through the stacks from both classes in a little more than an hour; that bodes pretty well for the workload over the summer. (It helped that a lost a lot of people from the evening class). What also bodes well is the the overall quality of the writing is pretty high; I don't think I'll have a lot of working herding stragglers into the main group. All in all, a pretty successful first assessment.

I woke up without an alarm about 6:30 am. I cleaned up all my stuff from the trip, updated budget for the end-of-the-month, answered emails, and like that. This week, we need to get the Company Picnic organized, and I spent a little time on that, too. Otis got up a little later and started prepping for her morning massage appointments. We had breakfast, and then I packed up the laptop and papers I had to respond and headed down to the Tully's in Wallingford.

We made it home before 9:30, but we were a bit fagged out. Some Red Envelopes had shown up, so we stuck Rabbit-Proof Fence into the spectrator and watched it pretty much in silence. It's a fairly serious film, anyway; I felt it was not so much Good as Important. The narrative arc is fairly flat, even though I found the young girl who played the lead very engaging. Kenneth Branagh, on the other hand, was in his standard Evil Englishman mode, giving more of a schematic than a performance. The scenery was spectacular. Perhaps the biggest event of the evening, however, was the first occasion of Otis reclining on the couch with both of the cats (on her chest and lap) at the same time. Needless to say, she loved it, and went to bed happy.

On the way back, we found a new place to eat: Thai Dish, a little restaurant off the outlet exit from I-5 at Centralia, just down from the Arco station. The food was passable if not extraordinary, but the proprietor is friendly and the service fast, and it was such a nice change from fast food or a Shari's/Denny's kind of place. I would suggest you try it on your next run down or up the corridor; our Cap Hill types will want to ask for extra spicy (they lean to mild).

Otis had managed to take a side trip to Lake Oswego on her way to pick me up at class; it's actually easy to do if you miss an exit in Portland, and coming back from Janzten Beach she did just that. Nonetheless, she was there right on time, and we even gave a classmate a ride to the train station before we hit the road to Seattle at about 5:30 pm or so.

The second day of class was much like the first, but with some technical glitches that required Scott to skip one lecture segment that I would have enjoyed; nonetheless, it was another productive day and I enjoyed it. I had pizza for lunch, but I had to go to the okay pizza place (Pizza Shmizza) because I couldn't find the good pizza place (Hot Lips) I had been told was in the area. During the afternoon session, I was one of the whiners who got Scott to critique our work first so we could leave on time. (I loved the class but we wanted to hit the road early.)

On Saturday morning, we availed ourselves of the complimentary breakfast at the motel. It was actually pretty good; I liked that they had hard-boiled eggs, even if Otis declined them. The coffee was awfully weak, though. After breakfast, Otis got ready for another day of adventuring that was to include the sales-tax-free shopping and I walked through the Pearl down to the school. (I noticed along the way that there are more runners in Portland than I see in Seattle.)

After dinner and our stroll, we just relaxed in our room and wound up watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the cable until we went to sleep. We both thought it was a bad movie and that even the action sequences (much less the "plot" or "story") were pretty boring, yet somehow we could not turn away...

After freshening up, we walked through the neighborhood. Otis was in the mood for Italian, so we ate at Pastina Pastaria. The food was good and pretty inexpensive; the ambiance could have been a little cozier. We skipped dessert in lieu of walking the neighborhood some some with gelato cones from a place down the street. The Pearl really is a cool neighborhood, perhaps a little self-consciously so, but the street life and shops and restaurants and wonderful combination of big, old houses, new condos, and converted industrial lofts are really tempting.

We broke for lunch and I ate at a nearby diner with a fellow from class; I had a good veggie burger and Jeff, my classmate, told me about his plans for a webcomic. The afternoon sped by with more studio work and we didn't even get through all the critique before we had to call it a day. I called Otis as I left and we met in the neighborhood and headed back to the motel to start the evening.

After tea, Otis headed off to see how early she could check in to the Holiday Inn Express (she'll tell you about her adventures on her own blog) and I walked the few blocks to the art school. I'll be posting details on the course and samples of my classwork on my comix blog, so I won't repeat that stuff here. Suffice it to say that even though the class felt more like confirmation than enlightenment, it was well worth it, and that Scott McCloud has an excellent classroom presence. The class started off with a lecture and then moved into a studio room, where we created pieces and worked in small groups to put Scott's theories into practice on paper all morning.

The alarm got me up at 4:00 am and we easily made it out of the house before 5:00 am, even with making coffee and toasting some mini-bagels for the road. The drive down was a piece of cake; the weather was mostly clear and we didn't hit any traffic to speak of until the Interstate Bridge. We got there early enough to take a little tour of the Pearl District, the gentrified industrial neighborhood that both our motel and the college are in (about twenty blocks apart). Ever since Weiden + Kennedy Advertising moved into the Pearl, more and more restaurants and hip hangouts have sprung up, more and more buildings have been converted to residences, Trendy-Third Avenue has extended north, and the city has put in a streetcar to connect the district to downtown. The result is something like what you'd get if you crossed Broadway with Belltown and added mass transit - totally cool. We stopped at the Tea Zone (a lot like Remedy Teas) and had some quiche and crumpets for a more proper brekkies.

Thursday passed according to plan: teaching, TCB, and more teaching. We actually went to bed pretty early, knowing that we were hitting the road in the morning for my class in Graphic Novel Storytelling with Scott McCloud down at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.