Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Portland Photo Meet

The Pacific Northwest Chapter of Photography-on-the-Net (POTN) met today at the Saturday Market in downtown Portland. We had a terrific weather for the event and 8 our our members showed up to shoot. We all met at the Skidmore Fountain next to the Max Lightrail Line, and dispersed for an afternoon of shooting. Our newest member, Marlene, joined us along with several other members from Washington State. We had a number of locals as well, including myself, Tony Long and Daniel Browning (and his wife and daughter).

To the left here, we see Matt and Marlene meeting each other for the first time next to the Skidmore Fountain. Marlene is one of our newest members and she came down earlier than the rest of us to get a jump on the day and the crowds. She told me she spent a good part of the morning shooting ar
ound the waterfront park. She's a new photographer (or rather, at least new to Canon DSLRs), and seems very methodical in her approach to photography. Not a bad way to learn and grow if you ask me.

Tony Long was the organizer for today's event. He can be seen leading the pack of photographers in the image to the right.

Tony is an enthusiastic photographer and attends almost all of our events. He also tends to get separated from the group more often than not as his photographic style is very deliberative. He's also quite the talker and engaged with a number of pedestrians and street people during out stroll around Portland. He's an engaging fellow and just plain fun to be around.  Tony has a custom title on our photography forum that says, "winded" - combine that with his user name, and you get Tony Long"winded."  A title he earned while defending a post from one of our other attendees, Daniel Browning (seen with the little girl on his shoulders in the image above.

We spent a bit of time at the Saturday Market, then wandered over to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park to do some people watching and shooting. We did take a few minutes to visit the Beer Garden before we headed over to Pioneer Square. Along the way, we got stopped several times and asked "what's happening?" I guess a group of photographers wandering around town with big lenses and professional looking cameras had everyone wondering if there was some special event in progress. I wish I had been quick-witted  enough to answer that we were paparazzi stalking Jennifer Lopez or some other celebrity, but alas I was too slow on the uptake.

Of course, the streets of Portland offered their own unique sites, such as the vehicle in the image to the left. I saw it several times during our stroll to and from Pioneer Square, but I never quite got a long enough look to determine what message the driver was trying to convey.

We took a different route back to the Saturday Market from Pioneer Square and that led us down to Burnside Street, one of the major avenues dividing the city. Burnside and the Willamette River divide Portland into quadrants. Burnside defines the boundary between the north and south sections of town, will the Willamette determines east and west. So, streets north of Burnside and West of the Willamette are designated NW, while those south of Burnside and east of the Willamette ore designated SE.

Portland is known for its numerous strip clubs and, in fact, it's been said that Portland has more strip clubs per capita than any other city in North America. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea, but there are certainly a lot of them. One of the most famous is Mary's, one of the first strip clubs established in the city. Most of us had to get shots of this notorious club, and Mat went a step further - literally a step further, into the street to get a shot of the sign, and I assume the folks sitting on the sidewalk in front of the club.

All in all, is was a fun day for photography with wonderful spring weather for the meet. We're already talking about having our next meet in Seattle and perhaps shooting in the arboretum there. With any luck, we'll have several meets over the course of the good weather months.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Want an MP3-500

I understand the art of compromise, or at least I thought I did. A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle, and I thought about getting a Harley. Hey, it's everyman's dream, right? I'm a responsible person. I've taken care of my wife and family for over 30 years. I earn a good living, so I can afford a few luxuries and I've bought just about everything my wife has wanted for our home. I spoil her, our children and our grandchildren.

But, when I mentioned a Harley, all hell broke loose and I was threatened with both divorce and eviction. Okay, I can understand her point to some degree - she loves me and doesn't want to lose me - but she's willing to divorce me and kick me out to keep from losing me? Say that again? Female logic just isn't logical.

So, I thought I'd compromise, so I started doing some research, and I found out that the Piaggio MP3-500 scooter was an excellent choice for someone who wanted the experience of riding a bike while having a more stable and safe platform. The additional front wheel provides extra stability, more capability to handle gravel and sand, and yet maintain cornering capability. The 500cc engine powers the machine nicely and allows highway speeds, but isn't so much that dangerous acceleration and speeds are possible.

So, I took her up to the local scooter shop to take a look - well, I learned there's not much compromise available in her opinion. Hmmm, very interesting.