Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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More About My Vacation. Plus 101 Footnotes!

So, we are back from our whirlwind trip to Portland1 and are now hanging out on Vancouver Island2,3 . Didn’t really take many photos4 since I went to pretty much all the same places as I did last year5, so I figure you could just look at the photos from last year6.

Some random thoughts about Oregon:

  • Powell’s City of Books is made of awesome7. It’s a bookstore that’s 4 storeys high and takes up an entire city block8 and killer prices. We may have spent a few hours in there and picked up a giant piles of books9, Incognito10, and The Third Chimpanzee11. And some zombie key covers!)). Because you know I don’t have enough things to read.
  • Did you know that there is a Comfort Inn & Suites Portland Airport and a Comfort Suites Portland International Airport and that these are two totally different hotels? I stayed in one of these last year and booked what I thought was the same hotel, but then it wasn’t. The hotel was still totally fine, and it was the cheapest price that we could find, so it was all good. But seriously, Comfort Suites, why would you name two hotels that are ~5 minutes away from each other virtually the same thing12??
  • And speaking of unoriginal names, why do so many cities in Oregon use names of other cities for their cities? There’s Salem13, Albany14, Milwaukie15, Dallas16, Florence17, Phoenix18, Toledo19, Harrisburg20, Dundee21, Jacksonville22, Dayton23, Oakland24, Glendale25, Arlington26, St. Paul27, Lexington28, Waterloo29, and Detroit30,31 ,32 ,33. And don’t even get me started on Vancouver, *Washington*34

More About The Zombie Race

Despite the extreme length of my zombie race posting, I managed to forgot to mention a few things I meant to mention in that posting:

  • I never even mentioned the race results35! I finished the race in 46:2036. Out of 2,788 competitors, I came in 1,037th place37. In my wave38, I came in 68th out of 237 runners39. That’s really not too shabby40.
  • Out of the 2,788 competitors, only 438 managed to get through the whole race without losing all of their flags41. That at least makes me feel a bit better about being zombified42.
  • I spoke to one guy after the race who told me that, despite finishing in about 30 minutes43, not only did zombies get all 3 of his flags, but they also got the 3 flags he got from a “health pack”44, and one flag that he saw on the ground and picked up. Picking up stray flags along the route is strictly prohibited, so I told him in as serious a tone as I could muster, “You can’t cheat death, dude. You can’t cheat death.”
  • Another guy after the race was regaling his girlfriend with tales of his adventures, the best of which was “And at the end there was a part where we had to crawl through mud and there was an electrified wire cage above you and I thought I’d be smart and go through on my back instead of on my stomach so that I could see the wire cage and not hit it. But instead I ended up electrocuting my privates!”
  • Another thing of awesomeness was one section of zombies that were doing the Thriller dance. Since I was without flags by that point in the race, I Thriller danced my way through that particular zombie horde45.
  • Completing the zombie obstacle course race means I’ve checked off item #91 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days46 ,47 ,48 ,49 ,50!

Since arriving at the Island, we’ve been on the more relaxation portion of our holidays51. Slept in52, had a lovely breakfast53, went for a glorious 12 km run54 ,55 , spent some time with Devon’s sister, brother-in-law and their kids56 ,57 ,58,59 ,60 ,61 ,62 ,63 ,64 ,65 ,66 ,67 ,68 ,69 ,70 ,71 ,72 ,73 ,74 ,75 ,76 ,77 ,78 ,79 ,80 ,81 ,82 ,83 ,84 ,85 ,86 ,((100%)) ,87 ,88 ,89 ,90 ,91 ,92 ,93, 94,95 ,96 ,97, including seeing a kickass thunder and lightening storm98. Other plans for the Vancouver Island portion of the trip include hiking some mountains, watching some movies, more time with the kids, some homework99, and hopefully some leisure reading100. And after that, we still have the Okanagan leg of our holidays to go101)

Did I ever mention how much I love being on vacation?

  1. Well, technically to Onalaska, WA, Portland, and various other places in Oregon state. []
  2. After a very poorly planned attempt to take the ferry from Ancortes to Vancouver Island. []
  3. Instead, we had to drive through the Peace Arch border and then head to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry from there []
  4. Did I mention I bought a new camera? []
  5. Voodoo Doughnut, the Oregon coast, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the most amazing Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to. []
  6. We did take a couple of pics, but I’m settled in on the coach with a nice cup of tea and waaaay to lazy comfy to go get the camera and upload the photos. []
  7. I went there on my trip last year too, but I don’t think I actually mentioned it much here on ye old blog. []
  8. And then, because an entire city block isn’t enough to house all the books, there’s Powell’s 2 across the street. []
  9. I bought a boxed set of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5-book “trilogy” ((By Douglas Adams []
  10. By some author whose name I can’t recall []
  11. By Jared Diamond []
  12. And why does one specify Portland *International* Airport and the other just Portland Airport. They are talking about the same airport! []
  13. a la Massachusetts []
  14. a la New York []
  15. a la Milwaukee, Wisconsin []
  16. a la Texas []
  17. a la Italy []
  18. a la Arizona []
  19. a la Ohio []
  20. a la Pennsylvania []
  21. a la Scotland []
  22. a la Florida []
  23. a la Ohio []
  24. a la California []
  25. a la California []
  26. a la both Virginia and Texas []
  27. a la Minnesota []
  28. a la Kentucky []
  29. a la Ontario []
  30. a la Michigan []
  31. In case you haven’t noticed this yet, I’m trying to write a blog posting containing 101 footnotes, which is item #10 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days []
  32. Are the footnotes getting annoying yet? []
  33. Note that I didn’t say they had to be “good” or “useful” or “relevant” footnotes. []
  34. When you are in Washington or Oregon and say you are from “Vancouver” people usually say “Vancouver, Washington?”. No! Not Vancouver, Washington! The *real* Vancouver! []
  35. All the race results can be found here. []
  36. Which would be pretty slow for a regular 5 km, but not terrible for a race with obstacles to get over/under/through, zombies in your way, 38 degree heat, and the decision to walk a bunch of the race once I got zombified! []
  37. That’s in the top half, at least. []
  38. The 2 pm wave. []
  39. That’s in the top 30% []
  40. Well, other than the part where I didn’t make it out of the race alive []
  41. That’s only a 16% survival rate. []
  42. I mean, insofar as one can feel better after being zombified []
  43. He used to be in the military, so was used to obstacle course type races []
  44. A few “health packs” containing extra flags were available around the race route for lucker runners who found them. []
  45. Damnit, I just typed “zombie horder” again? What is my damage? []
  46. Did I ever mention that I love knocking things off my to do lists? []
  47. I’m starting to think that writing 101 footnotes might just be harder than running that race! []
  48. I also have “run 3 races” as one of my goals for 2012, so I’m not 1/3rd done that particular goal too. Woohoo! []
  49. The Victoria half marathon will be race #2 and I’m thinking that the Energizer Night Race will be #3 []
  50. The Energizer Night Race is one that’s held in Stanley Park after the sun sets and everyone wears headlamps. Sounds like a blast. Also, you get a free headlamp []
  51. vs. the driving mega distances and running from zombie hordes portion of our holidays []
  52. Though we didn’t get in to Devon’s parents place ’til about 2 a.m., thanks to the ferry fiasco! []
  53. Devon’s mom always feeds us so well when we are here! []
  54. Which felt so good after all the time spent sitting in the car yesterday! []
  55. 12 km is usually my least favourite running distance, but today’s was totally fine! I’d been trying to prepare myself psychologically for this run, using the same trick as I did with running hills – i.e., tell myself that I love the 12 km distance, just like I told myself I loved hills – repeatedly, until I stopped hating hills. []
  56. Including feeding them Voodoo Doughnuts that we brought back from Portland []
  57. Though Devon’s sister was mostly excited by the Tillamook cheese we brought back for her! []
  58. We also brought ourselves back some cheese! So excited by the cheese! []
  59. Oh []
  60. my []
  61. god []
  62. writing []
  63. 101 []
  64. footnotes []
  65. is []
  66. very []
  67. very []
  68. very []
  69. very []
  70. very []
  71. very []
  72. very []
  73. very []
  74. very []
  75. very []
  76. very []
  77. hard. []
  78. Yes []
  79. I []
  80. know []
  81. this []
  82. is []
  83. totally []
  84. totally []
  85. completely []
  86. entirely []
  87. cheating []
  88. but []
  89. I []
  90. don’t []
  91. care []
  92. All’s []
  93. fair []
  94. in []
  95. love []
  96. and []
  97. footnotes. []
  98. With probably the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life! []
  99. Including a teleconference with my business plan group tomorrow. []
  100. Because did I mention all the stuff I bought at Powell’s books? []
  101. I haven’t been to the Okanagan since I was there with a band of traveling scientists in 2006. []

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Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese FactoryOne of the places we went on our trip to Oregon was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You may not know this about me, but I freaking love cheese1!

When we first got to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we could not believe how busy it was. The parking lot, which is huge, it was jam packed. When we got inside, we were overwhelmed by the number of people in this factory. The lineup for cheese tastings was probably a good 45 minutes to an hour wait, so we decided to skip the tasting the cheese and go right to buying the cheese, because pretty much every restaurant in Oregon uses Tillamook cheese, which they proudly note on their menus, so we had already tried lots of Tillamook cheese and we knew it was freaking delicious.

Well, before we actually bought the cheese, we checked out the inner workings of the factory, which is always cool for a food nerd like me:

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Then we went on to the purchasing! Jeff and Madeline decided to get some Tillamook ice cream, while Nancy, Thomas and I went for the cheese. Sadly, they were all out of cheese curds, which Nancy had been looking forward to all trip2! She couldn’t really buy cheese to bring back on the plane, so she stuck to buying less perishable items that she could bring back to Toronto as gifts. I, however, bought this:

Tillamook cheese

And this:

Tillamook cheese

I had some of the garlic chili cheddar last night after Bootcamp. It was to die for! I think I may need to make more trips to Tillamook!

As we were leaving, we noticed there was a wine tasting tent outside. Far be it from us to turn down a wine tasting, so we decided to check it out. And, would you believe, not only did they have wine for tasting, but they also had little cubes of Tillamook cheese! So all those suckers inside the factory lined up for hours for a cube of cheese be we got one after a 1 minute wait in the wine line up. Win!

  1. My friend Patrice affectionately refers to the two of us as “cheese monsters.” []
  2. Just an excuse to have to go back though, right? []

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Apparently blog postings about Oregon are not popular with my blog readers

the blog readers have spoken

The blog readers have spoken.

Despite blogging every day while I was away – a vacation first for me, I might add – my blog views took a hit during my trip to Oregon. I still have a few things that I want to blog about from my trip but (a) we all know I have the attention span of a carrot and the memory of a goldfish, so I’ll probably lose interest/forget what those things were pretty soon anyway or (b) I’ll intermix those blog postings with the hard hitting news that you’ve come to expect from this esteemed blog. I will, I’m sure, be writing more posts about my upcoming Longest Game of Hockey That Anyone Ever Dared to Play In the Whole History of Life, the Universe and Everything because that game is only 16 days away OMGWTFBBQ!

Also, have you donated yet?

please-donate tumblbeasts

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Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo DoughnutOne of the things we knew we just *had* to do on our trip to Oregon was go to Voodoo Doughnut. I can even remember where my sister first heard about it, but heard about it she had – and pretty much everyone I told that I was going to Portland said, “You HAVE to go to Voodoo Doughnut!” and so on our trip we went not once, but *twice* to this land of crazy deep-fried goodness. My friend Kim’s sister has been known to drive from her home on Vancouver Island all the way to Portland *just* to have one of these donuts!

Please wait here for the next available doughnutBoth times we went, there were pretty big line ups. But the service is pretty speedy, so we didn’t really have to wait all that long before we got to the front of the line to pick our donuts!

Now, truth be told, the donuts themselves aren’t all that spectacular. They are pretty much like anything other bakery donut – better than, say, a factory-produced Tim Horton’s, but not better than if you went to a bakery where they bake their own. But what makes these guys worth writing a blog posting about is that the fillings and icings are outstandingly delicious AND the concepts of how they decorate them are crazy awesome1. Some examples:

A McMinnville Cream. Bavarian cream-filled, this donut has maple topping and a moustache. And who doesn’t want a donut with a moustache?
Me and my maple deliciousness at Voodoo Doughnut

Madeline ordered the prettiest donut they had – The Grape Ape, which is decorated with purple sparkles and grape Kool-Aid – but alas, this was the only one that we didn’t like the taste of! Yuck!
Grape Kool-Aid donut at Voodoo Doughnut (it tasted pretty gross!)

Their signature donut is the Voodoo Man – pretzel stake through the heart and raspberry jelly filling, these guys come decorated all sorts of ways, but I think this skeleton one was the best.
Voodoo Doughnut - Voodoo Man

Portland Cream – it’s like a Vancouver Cream, but with eyes!
Voodoo Doughnut - Portland Cream

And then there is the donut that everyone talks about: the maple bacon donut:

Voodoo Doughnut - Maple Bacon

The verdict on this one, however, is that the maple topping is so strong, you don’t really taste the bacon at all!

Overall, I’d say it was definitely worth the trip to Voodoo Doughnuts and if I ever find myself in Portland again, I’ll probably go back. Next time I think I’ll try the Cock’n’balls donut though!

Keep Portland Weird Building across the road from Voodoo Doughnut.

  1. or crawesome, as it is also known []

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Home Sweet Home

It was a lovely trip to Oregon, but now that I’m home, it’s nice to be here too! The drive home was uneventful and since I’ve been home I’ve unpacked, then taken a quick trip to the produce to buy some fruits and veggies. And as soon as I stepped into the produce store, I realized how sick I am of eating in restaurants – so nice to make my own food again!

Anyhoo, I’m going to get back to getting ready for the week, so I’ll just leave you with this planking photo from Multnomah Falls:

Planking at Multnomah Falls

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The Last Two Days In Oregon

Yesterday we decided to spent on the coast, because the coast is so freaking beautiful. First, we drove out to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we got to see how cheese is made, then Jeff & Madeline enjoyed some delicious Tillamook ice cream and I bought my bodyweight in cheese. We were amazed by how many people there were there – we didn’t even bother to stand in the line up for the cheese tasting, because it was ridiculously long and since every restaurant in Oregon seems to use Tillamook cheese, we’d tried enough of it to know that it’s freaking delicious! Next we went for lunch at a lovely restaurant on the water – I can’t remember the name of it, but the food was good and the view was awesome. Then it was off to the beach so Madeline could dip her toe in the ocean. By which I mean she could run and jump in the freezing cold waves for about an hour. It was so freaking cold that I had to wrap myself in towels to keep warm, but she was happy as a clam running through the water! On our way back from the coast, we decided to stop in downtown Portland so that we could (a) get espresso at Powell’s Bookstore,since it was the best espresso we’d had on our entire trip, and (b) have more Voodoo Doughnuts. As we started to head out of town, the vents of our rental car started to spew smoke and the car started chugging, so we had to pull off the road and call the rental car company. So boo to the car itself – a Nissan Versa – but kudos to the rental car company – Hertz – who sent a cab to pick us up and take us to our hotel, and sent a tow truck to pick up the car, and then brought us a new car to our hotel right away. Not exactly how we wanted to spend our evening, but at least they managed to get us home safely in pretty short order.

Today’s adventures started with a trip to see Multnomah Falls where we not only got to see the cool waterfall1, but they also happened to be having a kids’ festival. They had stations set up where kids could learn about things like the salmon lifecycle, how long different things take to biodegrade, and what different animal tracks look like. Kids got a stamp for every station they went to and, once they collected all their stamps, they got a free ice cream cone! Madeline, of course, loved all the learning about nature and the ice cream, but my favourite part was watching the parents. There was one woman who walked up to the salmon lifecycle exhibit and proceeded to tell her kids, “This is the salmon eggs, this is when it is a tadpole, this is when its a minnow and this is when it’s a full grown salmon.” WTF? At another station, the kids had to reach into a box, feel what was inside and try to guess what the item inside was. When the box was opened, they could see what it was and there was also a sign inside that described a bit about it. One of the items was really hard to guess and when the person running the exhibit opened the box, which contained a very large vertebra but had a sign that said, “Box turtle shell,” this same mother from the previous booth exclaimed, “A box turtle shell!” Now, a vertebra looks *nothing* like a turtle shell. The person running the exhibit proceeded to show the kids the vertebra, explaining what a vertebra is, how the spinal cord runs through the centre of it, etc. About a minute after the exhibitor finished her spiel about the vertebra, the mother exclaimed, “That’s not a box turtle shell?” At least she was trying harder than the next mother who came along and proceeded to open all the boxes, revealing what was inside them, completing ignoring the protest of the women running the exhibit who kept saying, “Don’t open them! The kids are supposed to feel inside the boxes and guess what’s in them! No!” Le sigh.

After the falls, we headed in to the town of Hood River, where we had lunch at a brew pub and where I also took this epic planking photo:

planking

What’s so awesome, of course, is that even though I’m planking on the rock, there’s a funny perspective that makes it look like I’m falling into the water right in front of a sign that says not to go in the water! We then celebrated this with a delicious espresso from Doppio, which turned out to have espresso that rivalled the deliciousness of the espresso at Powell’s Bookstore.

Next, since we were already in the Columbia Gorge, we figured why not check out a couple of wineries? We tried to go to the Mount Hood Winery, but it was closed for a wedding, so instead did wine tastings at Viento and Wy’east. The wines at Viento were OK, but I didn’t love them and they were somewhat overpriced, given that I know wine prices in the  US are generally much cheaper than in BC. I liked the wines at Wy’east – which is the Native American name for Mount Hood, in case you were wondering2 – much better and even bought a bottle of their Syrah, which has a berry-ish taste to start and then a peppery taste to finish! Nancy & Jeff bought a bottle of their Cloud Cap Select, a port-like dessert wine which smelled terrible, tasted great and then tasted even more amazing when you drank it along with some chocolate! Because just think of the antioxidants you’ll get from drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate!

By this point, I was pretty drunk, because we’d done two wine tasting with six wines each – that’s *twelve* wines! Plus, all the wineries were now closed. So we headed back to the hotel, where Jeff & Madeline went swimming while Nancy & I did a quick workout. Then it was off to our favourite Mexican restaurant – a little place near our hotel called El Sombrero. So. Freaking. Delicious. After that, a little dip in the hot tub to end our day!

  1. I don’t have any photos to share at the moment, because my camera batteries died, my iPhone camera sucks and so all the photos are on Jeff’s good camera but he’s asleep and I forgot to get the photos off his camera before he went to sleep []
  2. We were wondering, so we asked! []

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My Niece The Daredevil

Today we spent the day at Mount Hood. First, there was a gorgeous drive up the mountain, past the hilariously named Boring, Oregon:

Boring, Oregon

And then we spent some time in the ominous sounding village of “Government Camp” – a ski resort in the winter, but an “adventure park” in the summer. And this is where we saw my niece’s daredevil side. She is, may I remind you, only 6.5 years old. Yet she was all over the ziplining:

Madeline in her zipline harnass

Madeline ziplining

Rock climbing:

Madeline rock climbing

Bungee trampoline jumping:

Madeline on the bungee trampoline

And driving cars:

Madeline driving

After all these adventures, we drove a bit further up the mountain to Timberline Lodge.  While it is famous for being a giant hotel that was built as part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, we went there because the woman at the front desk of our hotel told us that The Shining was filmed there. So we were very disappointed to drive up and see this:

Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge

This is clearly not the hotel from The Shining! Turns out, while there were some aerial shots of the Timberline Lodge used in The Shining1, it was mostly shot at a studio in England. Boo-urns! However, the beautiful scenery and the delicious beer at the Ice Axe Pub managed to cheer me up!

 

  1. Apparently, if we’d gone to the other side of the hotel, it would have looked more like what you see in the movie []

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Things We’ve Done So Far On Our Trip To Oregon

In no particular order:
  • eaten some delicious Voodoo Doughnuts
  • gone to Powell’s  Books, the bookstore that takes up an entire city block
  • drank outstanding espresso at the coffeeshop in Powell’s and had an extremely long conversation with a random couple looking to move to Portland from Florida1
  • gotten lost
  • cursed not being able to access the intertubes on our phones2
  • eaten ridiculously delicious Mexican food at this little out-of-way Mexican restaurant near our out-of-the-way hotel. Twice.3.
  • eaten at an excellent pub in downtown Portland
  • sample some fine Oregon beers
  • visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where we saw sharks, sea otters, sea lions, seals, auks and a host of other creatures
  • eaten at an excellent restaurant on the water in Newport
  • driven along the coast highway
  • watched the sun set over the Pacific
  • done some outlet shopping4
  1. They had a new baby named Juniper and since Nancy & Jeff have a new baby, it easily led to a lengthy conversation []
  2. well, technically we *could* access them, but we are all way too cheap to pay the exorbitant US data roaming charges []
  3. I may have also consumed the world’s largest margarita at this restaurant []
  4. Though I was the most interested in going outlet shopping, I bought the least. There were only a few things I liked and those things were either (a) not available in my size, or (b) too expensive. I ended up buying one tank top at Ann Taylor for $20.99! []

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Oregon Coast

I’d love to write a long detailed posting about all the adventures we are having in Oregon, but we *may* have just gotten home from today’s adventures which may or may not be due, at least in part, to the fact that we got lost on our way the Oregon Aquarium such that it took us 6 hours to drive there when it should have only taken 3!

So I’ll leave the long blogging to another day and instead leave you with a few pictures from the coast:

Driving the Oregon Coast

Driving the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast at sunset

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Portlandia

Having spent a day in downtown Portland, I can now confirm that the show Portlandia is, in fact, a documentary. This is pretty much what it’s like here: