Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finding the good in things I dislike.

Happy New Year, blog! How I have neglected you!

I didn't know what to do with you for the longest time. Travel got too expensive. My musings are not unique. But, here for the next year, I will be posting the good in things I dislike strongly (read: hate).

Tonight, the object of forced affection: Dates.

More to come.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Semi Annual Update: San Francisco

With mixed emotions, I left Orange County at the end of April. I accepted a new job and with it, a new city and new lifestyle. From the edge of Newport Beach, I landed smack dab in the middle of the Embarcadero.

It was difficult to say goodbye to my co-workers, my apartment and the things that I had grown to love about the villages of Orange County. However, I've been acclimating pretty quickly.

There are a few key differences between the bay area and Orange County.
1) Clothing. Orange County is fairly preppy and San Francisco is much more "hip".
2) Safety. In Orange County unsavory types are few and far between. If they do exist, you typically just drive by without noticing. In San Francisco, they're everywhere. It's not uncommon to see "yellers" or "confrontators" (various types of aggressive and possibly mentally ill homeless) in multiple locations on the same street.
3) Cost of Living. Orange County was significantly more expensive than Oregon... San Francisco is significantly more expensive than Orange County.

It's not all bad though: I live near some great restaurants (they're everywhere!), my view is pretty much worth every under-valued penny I'm paying in rent and there is a Saxophonist at the end of my street who punctuates evenings with cinematic flare.

All in all, it's shaping up to be the experience of a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The 5 Things I Enjoy Most

Since moving to California things have gotten very good. I'm enjoying my job, loving my apartment and having the time of my life on the weekends—the one thing I miss is my friends back home. If only they would come visit... Then we could do things like:

1) Visit Orange Circle: Forget about Laguna Beach and the Newport Coast... this old-time downtown district is where it's at. Old Town Orange is a calm island in a sea of suburbia. I mean, where else can you get a cupcake that appeared on Food Network, have a burger wrapped in a waffle and chill out at earthy good restaurants. I hate to compare it to Portland because it is unique, but it's like the best of 23rd, Hawthorne and Sellwood combined. Totally awesome!

2) Have the Black Forest Cake at 85°: It may look a little processed, but it's chocolate cherry heaven. Delightful.

3) Ride the Balboa Ferry: It's only $1 each way and even though it really can't compare to the Washington State or BC Ferries... at least there is sun!

4) Go Shopping: It's Orange County, duh!

5) Disneyland: OK. Yes, I know. It's "youthful"... but I love it. Especially Space Mountain. If that doesn't work out, the Mummy at Universal Studios is another good alternative.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Lot Happens in a Year

It's been over a year since I last posted in my blog--and my life has gone through an amazing transformation. I've shed my earthly possessions, moved to SoCal, bought new earthly possessions and started a new episode in my life.

I don't really know what prompted the change, but it's been an incredible journey. Maybe I'll post something about it... maybe I won't. Guess you'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Things have been quiet around the old homestead lately. My roommate is in Chicago and there are no big adventures on the Horizon. So, I'm looking forward to a quiet, long memorial day weekend with a stack of crisp new books.

Ahhh... relaxation!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

All In Good Taste? NIKE misses the mark on AIG branded items.

Under the Seriously! What were they thinking? category:
Walk into NIKE Town and even the most hardened frugalista will be tempted to part with her savings. NIKE rules the sport market and their clothing promises to turn any big loser into Lance Armstrong. Nevertheless, they seriously missed the mark with this line of AIG branded apparel.

Three words: Pull this line!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Visiting the Ghost Towns of Eastern Oregon

It's not hard to find the ghost towns of Eastern Oregon. Gas station attendants and websites give great directions and with any luck, you will stumble upon some you didn't plan to encounter. But visiting them is a must for any adventurous, curious or nostalgic Oregonian.

My roommate and I ventured out to Eastern Oregon this weekend to do just that (find us some ghost towns). What we found was amazing! There are many in concentrated areas, so it's possible to visit a few in one day. We planned on visiting three towns and ended up seeing six.

On our trip, we visited:
  • Antelope
  • Bakeoven
  • Boyd
  • Clarno
  • Kent
  • Shaniko

Just to give you an idea of how easy it is to find the towns, we stumbled on our first find by mistake (note: hwy. 197 is not hwy. 97).

Boyd, Oregon is an easy find. It's just off the main highway on Boyd Loop Rd. I recognized the name from my favorite ghost town site, so my roommate and I took turn-off and in three minutes we were photographing the town which supported 200 at its apex.

After returning to the highway, we continued to Maupin  without a clue that we were lost. Coincidentally it was the first town with cellphone service... so we gassed up and saved as many maps as possible.

The road from Maupin to Shaniko takes you by Bakeoven a small agricultural community with many abandoned buildings lining the road.

After the long and curvy trek over the Bakeoven Road, we arrived in Shaniko. This old wool town was refurbished to be a kind of tourist attraction. Many of the buildings were upgraded and look as if they came straight out of Frontierland. Nevertheless, one of the major owners of the town has closed most of it... so it looks as if this town is going to fade into history again.

About eight miles south of Shaniko is Antelope, Oregon. There are many residents, but the has many abandoned buildings including a jail and an old service station. Apparently the school has been closed since the Rajneesh settled on a nearby ranch. Now the few kids in town have to ride the bus 30+ miles to Madras every day. It's not really a true ghost town, but more like a zombie town with a pleasant, but dwindling, population of 37.

After Antelope, we drove out to Clarno. The drive was beautiful, but the town was disappointing. We expected something like this. But we found out that the entire town is being refurbished. The schoolhouse has new windows and the Grange Hall has been restored. Many sites have removed Clarno from their list of ghost towns due to the construction.

On our trip back north, we happened to pass through one more ghost town, Kent. It wasn't a very exciting town, just a gas station and a few abandoned buildings, but it's right off of hwy. 97 (the highway we finally found).

Going on a ghost town adventure is surprisingly easy and exciting. The discoveries punctuate a peaceful trip through some of Oregon's most rugged scenery. It's also and uplifting trip, because there is economic development happening in Eastern Oregon. It's hard not to pass a wind farm while driving the back roads--a clear sign that there is new life coming to those old communities. Who knew the green revolution would save the old west?

For more information on Oregon's Ghost Towns, visit: