December 17th, 2006

Whale fluke

Friend Trek!

I should ask Alicia if that's the most she's walked in years. Actually, probably not; her boyfriend Larry has helped her get more active, and I'm glad to see her getting around and about a lot more.

The three of us rendezvoused in downtown yesterday afternoon (they were up for a family event in Hillsboro), and we proceeded to cover lots of ground (much of it in Powell's!) for the next four-plus hours. It was maybe Alicia's third time in Powell's ever -- I'd gone with her the (would've been) previous time -- and the both of them made some very judicious purchases, both at the original store and at Powell's Technical Books two blocks over. In other words, they didn't buy the whole store, as they might've wanted.

Pizzicato Pizza followed for early dinner (slices of Mediterranean, with a hummus base plus feta and other nice things), then we got on the Max to Washington Park. We saw part of the meditation garden at Portland's Vietnam Memorial, then returned to the Max station, where they headed to a previous engagement in Hillsboro and I ran errands in Northwest before heading home.

I also found out that Larry's gotten Alicia into both Office Space and Futurama. This is good. Alicia laughing is of The Good.
Whale fluke

Train in Vain

And after all that walkin' yesterday, I did more this morning...

I first grabbed the bus down to Sellwood, taking it to SE 13th and Tacoma and then going to Oaks Park Amusement Park, and watched a special train. The damn handsome and BIG locomotive Southern Pacific No. 4449 (which has a restoration society whose web page is here) toured the 48 contiguous states during the Bicentennial celebration, and is now maintained only a few blocks from my place. This month, it and another locomotive (the Spokane, Portland and Seattle No. 700) have been pulling Christmas trains from Oaks Park Amusement Park up to OMSI, passing some very pretty and soothing scenery in SE Portland. I hoped to ride, but tickets were sold out for every trip today. The Christmas trains happen again next year. I'll get a ticket in advance that time!

But this time, I could watch the train, as well as the very enthusiastic 225 riders who boarded for the 10 a.m. trip. Bicyclists and joggers wended their way around the visitors, the volunteers, and the looky-loos like me. Some of the fire was visible through a gap in some of the locomotive machinery; the line "Fire, fire, fire" from Beavis & Butthead came to mind quite easily at that point. I overheard one of the people running the event describing a locomotive as the mechanical thing closest to being a living organism, because it's so complicated and hard to maintain. Another way it's like something living: it makes odd noises.

I watched the engine warm up right before it left for OMSI, with the steam enshrouding the machine and the whistle sounding. It went south a few blocks, then headed north for the other end of the trip, and I saw a kid riding in the engine. Cool! I then headed home, to get warm; it was just above freezing, down by the river, so it felt colder than that.

Again, Reminder to Me: Ride it next year!