Getting home from the Eclipse

And here’s where I should have kept to what I had planned. 

Instead of following the Oregon Bikeways path between Salem and Champoeg, we made the mistake of using Waze.  Waze kept wanting to put us on the freeway.  Unfortunately, every entrance to the freeway had very long backups.  We would wait for a while and then Waze would re-route us further south, to wait in another long line for the freeway.  We did this four times, never actually reaching the freeway, before I called, “Uncle,” we stopped at a truck stop to have a mediocre meal, and I took over the navigating.

This man was walking faster than cars were moving.

There was a lot of this:

I didn’t keep track of what time we left Salem, probably 1:15-1:30 pm. After the truck stop, I used Google Maps and chased the roads that were green.  It meant we went out of our way, but at least we were moving.  Once we got far enough north on back roads, we easily popped onto the interstate and had a quick trip home. But overall?  Probably five hours in the car.  It took us an hour to get there.

Still totally worth it.

Matt as the Oregon governors

After the eclipse, I stood in line to have the letters and postcards cancelled, and then we took a self-guided tour of the capitol.

Here’s Matt, sitting at the governor’s desk.

And now let’s see Matt as the governors.  As Theodore T. Greer:

As Julius Meier: (note that after that first picture, I neglected to take photos of the name plates, and there is not a convenient State Capitol Virtual Tour of all the portraits.  So I’m matching faces to Wikipedia entries, especially for the pre-1960’s governors.  Feel free to suggest corrections.)

As Oswald West:

As Vic Atiyeh:

As Ted Kulongoski:

As John Kithaber:

As Tom McCall:

As Barbara Roberts:

As Bob Straub:

And also as the dog:

I was quite taken by this very large mural of a good lookin’ shirtless guy.  Who was that guy?  Why did a shirtless worker make the cut for official statehouse murals? 

Our Total Eclipse, Salem, Oregon

Here’s what time we arrived in Salem.  We left at 3:30. There was traffic all the way, but not significant slowing.  Mostly my driving was in the 50 mph range.

In all my planning, I forgot to think about parking. Happily, we grabbed the last space in front of the State Library, paid for a full day of parking, and headed out to the capitol grounds.  There we set up our space. There was one other group on the lawn when we arrived–it turns out we were there before the park opened.  That was probably why all the other people were still hanging out at their cars.  Then we both fell asleep.

Time stamp: 5:52 am

Matt’s sleeping setup.

Here we are more awake.  6:27am.

I made breakfast pizza for our trip.  Breakfast pizza was AMAZING!  Thanks, Cooks Illustrated for creating such a delightful concoction of ingredients. My work-mate mentioned that there would be a special postage cancellation at the capitol, so soon after the 8 am capitol opening time, I went in search of it.  This is Helen, who not only works at the post office, but also designed the special cancellation.  I bought commemorative envelopes from the gift shop and a sheet of eclipse stamps, plus some postcards and headed back outside to do some on-site corresponding.  (Sadly, I took pictures of none of this, not the many postcards, or the special envelopes, or the special cancellation.)  You can do a Google Image search though, which is more fun, because you get to see cancellations from across the country.

Look at these amazing stamps!  They change color when you apply heat!

I also couldn’t resist the pressed penny machine.

Here we are in our glasses.  9:09 am.  The eclipse has begun! When you put on those glasses, everything went black, except the sun.  Hence the not-great framing.  Notice how many more people are around us.  They kept coming.

These two were among my favorite of our neighbors.  While most people, myself included, would put on the glasses and then take them off, look around, do other stuff (write letters, postcards) and then check back in with how the eclipse was going, these two put on their glasses and kept them on.

The stamps in the sun!

Our nearest eclipse neighbor to the left.  He had a lot of cameras going. There were a lot of cameras in general.  The fountain in the background came on early in the morning.  Overheard: “I work at the capitol, and that fountain is never on!” 

My favorite young viewer.

Improvising filters for the phone cameras.  10:03am.

And then it got colder and colder. I put my sweater back on.  And then it was dark. Total eclipse.  These are photos I took on my normal camera on the auto setting with no filter. I zoomed and pushed the shutter button. I’m thrilled they came out so well. 10:18 am.

The cold was surprising to me.  Also surprising was how it didn’t really get dark.  This is mid-eclipse.  It was more of a dusk, than of a midnight thing.

Back to the sun/moon thing.

What it looked like without zooming.

So many cameras!

I think this one is  my favorite.

Totality is over. Seeing the huge difference between 99% and 100%, I was very glad we made the journey.

Time stamp: 10:29 am.  I was very surprised how soon after totality people packed up and left.  There was still another hour of eclipse.  Ten minutes prior, this was full of people. My work colleague was among the early leavers.  It took her only two hours to get home.  This was a far shorter trip than we had.  

Some eclipse supplies.

Matt’s birthday is celebrated

Matt wanted to do an escape room for his birthday, so we visited Portland Escape Rooms for their Steampunk-themed escape. We made it out of the dirigible (although we did neglect to find that last life jacket for the captain.  He said he was fine to go down with his ship)

Matt, myself, Greg, and Burt joined five other people we hadn’t met to conquer the various puzzles presented to us.  This room had a reset factor, which kept everyone occupied the entire time.  Whenever people were standing about, the costumed actors would tell us the flux-capacitor (or whatever it was) needed to be adjusted. I quite liked this as it eliminated the need to beat previous teams’ times.

It was also my first time with employees as characters in the room.  They were very fun.  This was an improvement over the guy who sat in the room with us, but was not a character.

After, we went to eat and I caught a picture of this group of men through the window.  Their age span makes me think this is a family group, but they could also be enthusiasts of some kind.

Troilus & Cressida at Lone Fir Cemetery

It’s summer Shakespeare season. We’ve seen Portland Actors Ensemble shows at Lone Fir before and so go there early to claim our space.  We caught the end of rehearsal, when guns were scattered about.

This was a robustly military production of the often-not-seen Troilus & Cressida.

I enjoyed what this percussionist–seemingly not mentioned in the program?–added to the story.

There were good performances by all, with some actors having incredibly fun expressive faces.

I wasn’t the only person taking photos.

In the audience tonight was the woman who has been designing the PAE t-shirts.  She was working a quilt to commemorate her work.  I love this quilt!  She’s a great designer.  I used to have the top row, second-from-the-left shirt.

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine @ the Crystal Ballroom

First of all, the most exciting aspect of this show at the Crystal Ballroom was that there were seats!  It was Friday, I was tired, and I wasn’t looking forward to standing for several hours.  But hark!  There were seats.  We sat. It was heavenly. 

The opening act played some nice cowboy-style music, as you might guess from their outfits.

This is Bobby Ricotta, Richard Cheese’s keyboardist/pianist and music arranger.

Frank Feta, drummer

Billy Bleu

And Richard Cheese himself.  

“What’s a Richard Cheese show like?” I asked Matt on the way there.  He didn’t know.  This was round two of our Cosmic Tripster tickets, and Matt picked the concert.

It turned out to be pretty entertaining.  Aside from singing lounge covers of pop hits, Richard Cheese also harassed the audience, had a Q&A session with audience members, and recreated the song that was featured in the Lego Batman movie (all five seconds of it.)

Several women expressed a desire to know Richard Cheese carnally, and a stripper from the audience danced on stage.  I suspect these things happen at every concert, as they seemed to be taken in stride.

All in all, it was a very good night at the Crystal Ballroom.

The Art of the Lego @OMSI

Free passes for this exhibit were available and so Matt and I spent a sunny Friday afternoon taking in the Art of the Brick.

Before we got started, we found out how tall we were in LEGO bricks.

Matt nearly reaches Albert Einstein’s 184 bricks.

I am a less-impressive 153 bricks.

Note that I am MUCH taller than a Minifig.

All of the LEGO art we are going to see was created by Nathan Sawaya, a former corporate lawyer who now is a full-time artist.  The first  part of the exhibit was Sawaya’s recreations of famous art works, in LEGO.  I liked this, because most of them were in a 1:1 scale, which let me get a sense of size that the internet does not allow.

This was my favorite creation, which is not a 1:1, but rather 1:6 scale.  I liked how they had it hanging so that you could see the light shining through the window.

Favorite part of this?  The use of minifigs.

The next portion of the exhibit was Sawaya’s original art.  You can see how he fashioned even the frames out of LEGOs.

I found much of Sawaya’s original creations, especially when paired with the artist statement of each piece, to be art that it would seem like a motivational speaker would create.  Matt pointed out that Sawaya is a motivational speaker.

I liked better this reproduction of a T-Rex.

Matt has a chat.

The third part of the exhibit had a mashup of photography that included LEGO figures, such as the tree in this photo.

You could see the tree in person.

I also enjoyed our PDX carpet corner of the exhibit.  Sawaya was raised in the area.

One of the last items were these hugging figures, which Sawaya leaves in parks in different cities.

Things that were missing from this exhibit?  Process.  How does Sawaya create his art?  Sketches? Computer modeling? Trial and error? Does he purchase his LEGOs, or are they supplied by the company?  Since the exhibits dates overlap, does he have multiples of each thing, or does each city get their own special items?  Does he have assistants?  How long does it take him to make things?  So many questions!