Hard times for readers of the Oregonian.

Our full-time movie critic (Shawn Levy) has been gone for more than a year, but this week we said goodbye to our theater critic, Marty Hughley.  Last week it was the music guy, Ryan White, a reporter I always read, even though I never listened to the music he was writing about, because he was such a good writer.

The point of having a full-time critic is that I get to know their preferences and that helps inform a decision if what they are talking about is something I might be interested in.  Having a bunch of part-timers is not helpful in getting anything done but giving a summary.

The thing I hate most about this transition is that the Oregonian refuses to acknowledge that they are settling for a lesser product.

Three sentence movie reviews: Barney’s Version

On the one hand, this was a rather boring movie with an annoying main character, and I just didn’t care very much about anything that happened.  On the other hand, it was interesting to see actresses I don’t usually see very much of.  Also, there was a bit of a mystery that was solved at the end in a very satisfying way.

Cost:  free, on loan from co-worker from his library system
Where watched: at home.

Prompt Writing: Burnside homage.

This spring, I took a writing class offered through Write Around Portland.  It was called “Prompt” because each week we would meet and write for a limited amount of time–usually somewhere between 2-8 minutes–to a number of different prompts.  As the school year grinds to a start and I have less time to write, I will be featuring excerpts from my writing class in lieu of the weekly essay.

Some of you “out-clickers” have already read this, as it was the piece I picked for the broadsheet.  The prompt was “along Burnside.”

The sidewalks are skinny. Too small to hold the accumulated panhandlers, tourists and residents who travel along Burnside.  There are even posted signs, directing us to keep walking, not to stop and sit, or contemplate the heavy traffic.  Sometimes, I think back a few decades, imagining the hybrids sprouting tailfins and doubling in length, then morphing again into Model Ts and early horseless carriages, and soon I hear the quiet clop of a horse pulling a carriage. As my mind travels back, buildings transform, replaced by their shorter predecessors.  I go further back and traffic thins until the road itself disappears, replaced by a footpath leading through the trees to the banks of the Willamette River.

Tour of ArtHouse!

We’ve watched it go up, piece by piece.  Now we get to see inside!  A woman stopped by school to invite everyone to the open house.  When I made the sad face because I couldn’t go, she scheduled a tour right then for us.  This was very exciting.

ArtHouse (this is from the press release) is a collaboration between project[triangle thingie that is not available to me on my keyboard], the Powell Family, and Pacific Northwest College of Art which will bring 130 students to the North Park Blocks.

Here is the view from the front door, looking at the courtyard.  The elevators are on the right.

A lounging space, overlooking the park.
Another space.  These spaces are designed to have rotating gallery exhibits.
The library. Powell’s donated the art books in the bookcase.
Lovely contrasts in the courtyard.
Behind that metal fence is bike parking.
There are two staircases, blue and green.  This (for those of you with colorblindness) is the blue one.
One highlight of the building is the huge amount of natural light flooding the hallways.
Sixth floor view, looking towards Burnside.
Each unit has a stackable washer and dryer.
Here are rooms from the three-bedroom demonstration unit.
The living room of the three-bedroom unit.
And from a different angle.
Big kitchen and that recessed, closet-like space has a bike hook.
Here’s a two-bedroom unit, which is not staged.
This two-bedroom is a corner unit and overlooks the park blocks.
Nice bathrooms.
Good amount of living space.
And a very nice kitchen.
Here’s a view from one of the studios.
And a staged studio space.
The roof of our school isn’t the most attractive thing.
Good closet.
The green staircase.
More of that natural light.

This was our only chance to see ArtHouse as the students start moving in on Wednesday.  There will also be retail at the ground floor level.  I’ll have pictures of that when it happens. 

Three sentence movie reviews: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I read half the book, became confused and hoped this movie would clear things up.  It did a little, but I found the film just as boring as the book and nearly as confusing.  There are flashback scenes that I only could tell were flashbacks because I’d read the book, so overall, this was a dud.

Cost:  free from library
Where watched:  at home.

The Baker’s Chocolate rip off

I’ve been cooking with Baker’s Chocolate all my life.  I’m sure the box has changed a bit since my birth, but probably not by much.  And it’s certainly always included eight individually wrapped 1 oz. squares, just like it says on the box.
I like Baker’s Chocolate because it’s familiar and a good product and also because it’s a good buy.  When they say 2x more product than competitor package, they are talking about Ghirardelli, which is good chocolate, but comes in four-ounce bars for nearly the same price, so I don’t buy it very often.
But look!  Baker’s (since 1780) chocolate, has reformulated.   Now, instead of eight individually wrapped 1 oz. squares it comes in a 4oz Easy Break Bar.
First of all, I didn’t need an easy break bar. Those individually wrapped packages were fine for me.  Secondly, they have given us half the product and are charging the same price.

Are you kidding me?  The price break was their selling point.  I may just abandon them for the Ghirardelli.  Talk about not knowing your audience.


I’ve finished the Provence Smock featured in the book A is for Aprons.  I love it, though I will make the next one a little big bigger. It appears much looser on the model in the book than it does on me.  But I have to say, after all that fitting with the Laurel, this felt like it came together in no time.  It was pretty fun, despite the horrid instructions.  Also, thanks to Julie, who brought her sewing machine into work, so I could make the button holes.

Three sentence movie reviews: Friday Night Lights Season 4

Oh Season Four, you did something few television shows do: throw off the majority of your lead characters, tumble the fortunes of the others, while deftly introducing four brand new characters.  And you managed to make me still tune into the fortunes of a small-town football team, even though I’m still so football illiterate I can never read the entire scoreboard before you cut back to the football action.  How do you manage to do this?

Cost:  free from library
Where watched:  at home, with Matt.

poster from: www.amazon.com