Archive for ‘Friends’

May 18, 2008

Unproductive “Wii”kends

So two weeks ago these two Japanese men randomly knocked on our door and in their thick accents they demanded that we play Wii with them. Despite their unashamed creepiness, Cody and I would both desperate and bored enough to accept their offer. I yanked the remote out of Yoshi’s hands while Cody hooked the system up to my 20″ Apex television.

We proceeded to dominate them in doubles tennis and Mario Kart. So far, I have nothing but good things to report. No abnormally large blisters on my thumbs, and only a small amount of soreness in the elbow. But what I’m most proud of so far is the 270 I bowled this morning. Put that on the board. I don’t see that score being beat for at least three days, and depending on how much time I invest, I could achieve a 300 game by the end of the month. Then, you’ll be seeing me on MTV’s second edition of TrueLife: I’m a gamer.

(This is a re-creation of what Cody and I look like playing Wii. I’m in the back.)

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February 12, 2008

Get me on the courts!

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If felt like forever since I prowled a tennis court, but I finally did last night. It was dry and not as cold as it has been lately, so Cody and I decided to hit some balls around after the Blazer game.

We were both pretty rusty, but we drew a crowd of three: a mom, a dad and their toddler. After five rounds of collecting eight balls, and only two decent rallies, we called it quits. I would have really liked to get a set in, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to get my serve warmed up.

I guess I’d have to say I was most impressed with how I was able to place the ball when I tried. I also had a few good backhands, including a really sweet backhand volley. These are all things I’m starting to take note of as I try to determine my official NTRP skill level. Right now I think I am a 3.0, but last summer and into the fall I think I was playing consistently at a 3.5 level. I would like to reach 4.5 by the end of this summer. I think that would be a big step, but also a very attainable goal. However, I feel that this can only be achieved if I obtain a Babolat Pure Drive Roddick Plus racquet.

Here is how the levels are paraphrased on Tennisopolis:

3.0
You are fairly consistent when hitting medium-paced shots, but are not comfortable with all strokes and lack execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power. Your most common doubles formation is one-up, one-back.

3.5
You have achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but need to develop depth and variety. You exhibit more aggressive net play, have improved court coverage and are developing teamwork in doubles.

4.0
You have dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate-paced shots. You can use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success and occasionally force errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.

4.5
You have developed your use of power and spin and can handle pace. You have sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and attempt to vary game plan according to your opponents. You can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. You tend to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.

February 10, 2008

My prescription is more Helio Sequence

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Despite Cody’s lingering hangover, he and I made it to Music Millennium to see the Helio Sequence perform on Saturday. I’d never seen an in-store there, so I had no idea they were gonna clear out the loft upstairs and have everyone gather in the aisles of the store. Some people probably still have sore necks from having to look straight up. I eventually made it to the elevated aisle at the side of the store. The view was perfect so I snapped a picture with my one-megapixel camera phone. They were loud and energetic, but not nearly as intense as they were at the Crystal Ballroom. They’re gonna play there again next month. Here’s what I remember them playing last night:

-Can’t Say No
-The Captive Mind
-You Can Come To Me
-Shed Your Love
-Keep You Eyes Ahead
-Lately
-Broken Afternoon

February 7, 2008

Intro to Snowshoeing

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Tonight I attended a one-hour class at my local REI store to learn about the sport of snowshoeing. The class was free, and it filled up, mostly with older adults, but in no way did that turn me off. The presenter was a gentle man named Jerry, who did not look prepared to snowshoe in his tropical shirt and Chacos.

According to Jerry, snowshoeing can be done into the Spring; however, most people assume the season ends in February. Since I have a few friends that are enthusiastic about snowshoeing, I plan on outfitting myself with the proper gear and hitting the snow very soon.

Here’s what I’ll need:

Snowshoes (rent or buy).

– Waterproof, and preferably insulated, hiking boots.

– Three thin layers of synthetic clothing (long underwear, Polartec fleece and a waterproof shell).

– A hydration system for my day pack.

– Gloves and hat (styles depend on conditions).

– Trekking poles.

Gaiters.

And here’s the advice that stuck with me from the presentation:

– Walk with a wide stance, toes angled out.

– Stay hydrated.

– Let someone know where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone.

– Always be prepared to deal with a worst case scenario.

– Avoid wearing cotton.

-Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail once you’re familiar with the conditions and the terrain.

February 6, 2008

Why Deutschland Loves David Hasselhoff

Mario put together an awesome presentation for Ignite Portland 2, which I was able to see at the Baghdad Theater last night along with 749 other local peeps. The event was also streamed on the Web.

This was all his idea, and I applaud him for pulling it off. I’d be nervous as hell, as I’m sure he was, but after seeing him kill it, I’m considering being a presenter in the future.

If I can say one thing about his presentation, he kind of fumbled toward the end. We had brainstormed a great conclusion involving Chuck Norris, but he ran out of time. Still, it was probably the funniest, and most memorable 5-minutes for everyone that night.

January 14, 2008

010_From_Da_Trax

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I feel like recently I’ve used every mode of transportation available, except for horse, boat and spaceship. It’s very relaxing to have others do the navigating for you. With someone else in front of the wheel, I was able to focus my attention on things other than speed limits, gas gauges, check engine lights and potholes. There was definitely a lot to observe on my trip from Portland to Tacoma and back.

The first thing I noticed was how laid-back and hassle-free traveling by train is. There are no security checkpoints, and seating assignments are made at the gate. I didn’t have to take my shoes or my belt off.

Laura and I sat across from two brothers from Jefferson, Oregon. One was a 10th grader, the quieter one was in 8th grade. They were both shy at first, but I made the mistake of asking how much his bistro car pizza was and how it tasted. Once I broke the ice, he was more than willing to speak his mind during the entire train ride, specifically on movies and his favorites subject in school, history. Luckily, Laura and I had refreshments in the form of Black Butte Porter and Bud Light. We also got to sample some of the fine bistro car cuisine for ourselves. She got the microwaved quiche, and I settled for the microwaved hot dog. Yum, yum!

On the way back we didn’t have to face any talkers (the kids said they were taking an earlier train back down). Instead, Laura and I were able to relax and watch Across the Universe, a decent flick that featured Beatles’ songs. It made Laura choke up at the end, but it just made me chuckle.

Overall, the train ride was an enjoyable experience, and I will definitely utilize it’s convenience again. I will just plan on taking and earlier train so that I can enjoy the scenery.

Some other things I saw:

– At least 5-10 cuties on each train. One that caught my eye was drinking wine at the bar in the bistro car.

– A geo-engineer writing up a memorandum about some slope he checked out.

– Amtrak employees with really cool hats.

January 10, 2008

All Aboard!

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As the John Denver song goes: “I’m leavin’ on a jet train/but I’ll be back in two day-eee-yays.”

Yes, tomorrow I will travel by train for the first time, and as you can tell from the picture above, I’m all set! I’ve learned a lot about trains over the years, from Thomas the Train, to Mr. Rogers and the Neighborhood Trolley, to The Little Engine That Could (still my favorite book to this day), to the movie Throw Mama From The Train with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal, to the band Train who performs a song about my mom, Virginia.

But I don’t think any of those ever went to the magical land of Tacoma, Washington. If they did, I certainly wasn’t on one. That’s the destination. There I will be visiting my friends Nichole and Matt, who moved there last summer. It won’t just be me. My good friend from high school, Laura, is the one who got the ball rolling. She is continuing on to Seattle to visit some friends. We’ll be meeting up in Seattle on Saturday to hang out with our other friend Patrick.

It has the potential to be a blast. I’ve only been to Sea-Tac Airport and Safeco Field, but I have yet to explore Seattle. Hopefully Matt will not be a blouse and get over his cold. And hopefully all the other Amtrak passengers will keep their hands to themselves, except for Laura.

I’ll to post a special From Da Train entry when I get back to Portland.  There’s sure to be some interesting things to report from the tracks.

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Choo-choo!

(Have you been noticing that I’ve been ending a lot of my entry titles with exclamation points? I think it’s because I do a lot of e-mail yelling.)

January 6, 2008

New Years Resolutions Revealed

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I figured I’d better get my resolutions published now. The new American Gladiators premiers tonight, and I know I’m going to want to blog about it, so I don’t want to mess with the chronological flow of my entries (it’s OK to be delayed with these things, but never out of order). Here they are. I believe I’ve lived up to all of them so far:

1. BE MORE INTERESTING. It’s that simple. I need to read more, think more, do more, and be more. If Extreme Ironing doesn’t pan out, I’m going to need to have something to fall back on. The Vibra-Slap II that Cody gave me for Christmas could be just what I’m looking for.

2. DO NOT CONSUME FRIED POTATOES. The only exception is the occasional shredded hashbrowns, such as what you’ll find in a Cricket omelet or as part of a Grand Slam. But everything else is out: French fries, curly fries, tater tots, potato chips and potato cakes. Mashed potatoes and baked potatoes will be in high demand, and I am already very disappointed that Fords on 5th offers neither of these—only potato chips or potato salad (yuck!).

3. WATCH LESS TELEVISION. The NFL is into the playoffs, so there will only be a couple games each week, and the college football season has wrapped up (I really don’t care about Ohio St. vs. LSU). Sure there will be Duck basketball and the Portland Trailblazers, but I can just go to those games. The only things I see keeping me glued to the tube will be the new season of Lost and the aforementioned American Gladiators…maybe American Idol, but only if there are a lot of hotties…I mean talented singers.

4. COMPLETE THREE SPEC ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. This is getting ridiculous. It’s been almost two years since I graduated, and I still don’t have a completed portfolio. I have the tools, and most of the resources, so I need to make it happen. It may be time for me to start carrying that idea journal everywhere I go. I need to start exposing my ad crushes. Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails. I cannot let this blog be the only thing displaying my ideas.

December 27, 2007

Yummy in my Tummy-san

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Cody and I were starving so we decided to hit up one of his favorite lunch spots, Masu East (not listed on the website, but located on SE 28th between Burnside and Stark).

We both ate like bums and got the Kobe Beef Burger. Not because it’s a familiar entree, but because it’s damn good! We also split an order of California rolls. Those were also unbelievably fresh and delicious, and I’m not even a sushi eater. Hell, I can’t even name half the stuff they put in them. There’s banana in it somewhere, right? I think I’m already wrong…

The staff one this side of the river also seems to be a lot nicer, maybe because I visited the Masu in downtown with Mike and Jake, and they look like trouble.

Eat here.

December 18, 2007

But really now, we’re having fun here.

My company just threw a holiday party. It was a good time, and as I reflected on how fun it was, I realized that I’ve been working there for six months now. So much has changed, but at the same time, so much has stayed the same.

For one, the weather has changed. It was sunny and dry outside, but I was hesitant to wear shorts and flip-flops because I was new. We’ve also grown in size. There have probably been about 40-50 new hires throughout our offices. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of them. Of course, the UO Ad Class of ’06 is taking over with Heather being the latest addition, and then there’s my boy Nick, the UO athletics recruiting expert, who I never knew at school. Two of them now form the other half of The Four Corners, the little desk island in the middle of our floor the Jackson and I founded. Speaking of Jack, I’ve learned how to tolerate Beavers, but only because they’ve been pretty humble about the Civil War loss and their national championship baseball team, and they’ve been through adversity too (see: Alexis Cerna).

But at the same time, I’m glad I’m not a Beaver. I wouldn’t be able to wear Halloween colors all the time. And even though the company has grown, it still feels very familiar. On top of that, I’ve been able to get to know a lot of people from other departments through softball, fantasy football, happy hours and parties. Most importantly, and maybe most surprisingly, I don’t hate Mike. Sure we work on different floors, but we go to lunch together and IM almost everyday. You’d think it would get old, but it hasn’t so far. He’s like that barbeque that you’ve had forever. The grill might be give off a funky taste sometimes from cooking all those burgers (or writing all those blogs), but it still fires up everytime.

Out of college, I wanted to find a place where I could grow in a professional setting, but I also wanted to have fun. So far I’ve been able to do that here.