Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blazer fans arrive early evening Sunday, before game four, first round NBA playoffs. The Moda Center, home of my Portland Trail Blazers!


Yes, I consider this team mine. And I'll wager each fan does much the same in whatever sport or sports that they love to watch. We went on to win game four, in overtime by three points. That was the third overtime game in the four played up until that point. It's a best of seven series--the Trail Blazers have it 3-1 right now. Game five is in Houston tonight. Go, Blazers!

Lillard, Damian Lillard that is, is our point guard. Rookie of the year last season, All Star this season. He's a treat to watch play and a treat to listen to his interviews--he's a well-spoken young man who knows that in the end, it's the entire team, not just him, that makes things. By the way, when he's introduced, Mark Mason says, ". . . wearing the letter O, Damian Lillard!" I love it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 9


Phineas and Ferb's crew leads children of all ages in a rousing dance routine during the Rockin' Rollin' Dance Party. This little boy excelled at following most every step, arm swing, fist pump that this young lady threw his way. I couldn't take my eyes off him and the fun he was having!

Found on the Internet:

Party on Wheels
Phineas and Ferb, from the Disney Channel Original Series, have taken an ordinary, everyday car, added a panoply of dance party paraphernalia—and transformed it into Phineas and Ferb's Mobile Party Mobile, also known as the "A-Little-Too-Young-To-Drive-O-Matic.”
They pilot their invention around with their friends, and when they reach the middle of the Paradise Pier Parade Route… well, that’s when the party really gets started!

Like I said, he kept up with her for the long, long song.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Portland Trail Blazers' unique way to involve the fans in our first home play-off game since 2011. Total fun!


Friday night, as tip-off time approached, the Moda Center filled with red-light-LED-sticks. Each who entered accepted one from the greeters and heard this instruction, "When they tell you to, pull this tab out and turn it on!" All 20,302 of us did! While the Blazers lost the game to the Rockets, the standings were 2-1 for us, in the best of seven series. I've typed this post on Sunday night after the 4th game in the series. We won, in overtime! We won! We're now ahead in the series 3-1. The next game is Wednesday night in Houston. Go, Blazers!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Foggy morning commute, April 7, 2014


Once I crossed the street after stepping off the first of two vehicles which make up my morning commute, either two buses or a bus and a streetcar, I immediately realized I had to get my camera out of my backpack and take a few photos. Fog, the streetlights on the Burnside Bridge, the Big Pink disappearing into the fog, the neon Portland, Oregon, sign. All called out to me. Happy to have had the chance to take several photos before the streetcar arrived.


I took this photo as the streetcar slowly headed south on MLK--a split second opportunity.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 8


Huge. Not my thing--afraid of heights and I get motion sickness, although I do wear acupressure motion sickness bracelets with great success for every day needs--but I did like seeing Mickey's Fun Wheel at the Paradise Pier section of California Adventure. Info that I found on the Internet:

Revolutionary Fun

Hop inside a roomy gondola for a breezy, 9-minute jaunt above Paradise Bay.
Stroll along the sprawling Boardwalk at Paradise Pier and make your way beneath a towering wheel adorned with Mickey’s smiling face. On Mickey's Fun Wheel, the rotating rays of the wheel spokes twinkle like a kaleidoscope. Before you take off, choose the type of gondola you want to ride in: stationary or swinging. Then, hop on board and ascend 150-feet high in the sky, marveling at the scenic views of Disney California Adventure Park all around you.
The Gondolas
24 colorful gondolas revolve around the giant wheel at Paradise Pier. There are 8 stationary gondolas identified by the face of Mickey Mouse, and 16 swinging gondolas featuring Goofy, Minnie, Pluto and Donald faces. The swinging gondolas glide on interior rails and sway during the trip, creating a sometimes dizzying—but always exhilarating—effect. All gondolas carry up to 6 people.
Full Circle
Mickey’s Fun Wheel is one of only 2 “wonder wheel” Ferris wheels still operating in the United States. The other is the original 1920 Wonder Wheel at Coney Island in New York, which acted as the design inspiration for Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

Friday, April 25, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 7


We three rode Heimlich's Chew Chew Train--someone at our hotel recommended it, so we decided to try it. Turned out to be a cute and creative ride meant for adults with little children.

From the Disney Web site: Ride atop the Bavarian caterpillar from Disney•Pixar’s A Bug’s Life on a fragrant journey through his favorite food. Chew, Heimlich, Chew! Crawl through a garden in search of tasty treats on a toothy tour with the ever-talkative Heimlich.

Hop on top a giant caterpillar and take off on a journey through a food-filled garden. As the hilarious Heimlich winds his way through the grass, he devours one snack after another. Smell each scrumptious morsel as he chomps through every delectable tidbit: watermelon, carrots, candy corn and more! You'll soon discover he's not particularly "chew-sy" about what he likes to eat because his belly seems to be bottomless.

All Aboard Each of the two 5-car-long “trains,” designed to look like Heimlich himself, can accommodate 2 Guests per seat.


Sharon and Amy sat in the car in front of me. I was last in line and sat in a car alone which was great because with another person in there with me, it would have been tight, no matter what it said on their Web site. How about that huge slice of watermelon!


If I remember fight, Heimlich's favorite is candy corn. He's eating a piece of it in the top photo. He talked about it a lot during the ride.

The Portland Trail Blazers are ahead in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Western Conference--we won both games in Houston. Now the Rockets will be in our house where we fans will be loud and proud as we watch our team make every effort to win the third game in the best-of-seven series. Go, Blazers!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Come to Rip City, Houston. Besides our smart, dedicated, skilled and determined team and coaching staff, we've got one more ace up our sleeve.


Our Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Houston Rockets twice in Houston, once on Sunday, once on Wednesday. Next two games take place in Portland. Besides all of the great basketball that I expect to see from the Trail Blazers, I also expect to see a good deal from the fellow in motion, wearing the white shirt. That's Free Throw Guy! Whenever a player from the opposing team attempts a free throw at the basket in front of the Trail Blazers' bench, he times his jumps and swoops to coincide with the second prior to the release of the ball, in an attempt to bring about a missed free throw. It works! Frequently!


The girls in the two-piece outfits are members of the Portland Trail Blazers Stunt Team. Tiny, strong, talented ladies who fly up into the air or balance in designed shapes with their team members (sorry, I don't know the official term), with the help and support of the guys on the stunt team.


The guy in the black and white outfit, just in front of Free Throw Guy in this photo is one of the stunt team guys. Go, Free Throw Guy! I took these photos on December 28, 2013.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Clues that he's in a hurry.


Clue #1--he's jay-walking, on busy downtown SW 6th Avenue, the northbound leg of the Transit Mall. These blocks are only 200 feet long, y'all. I cannot imagine why would he take such a chance. But, there he goes, angling across all designated lanes--those for private-owner vehicles, TriMet MAX Light Rail trains, and buses from TriMet and C-TRAN (the Clark County Washington public transportation agency).


Clue #2--he's barely letting his feet stay on the pavement, striding out with purpose, using his arms efficiently despite the heavy-looking duffle bag in his right hand.


Clue #3--he's changing direction just enough now to make me certain that he's going to go west on SW Taylor. That bus, the #199, 99th St. Express, is a C-TRAN bus.


Clue #4--he's appears to confirm what I had guessed, going west on SW Taylor, towards wherever his bicycle waits patiently. Why do I think he continued left instead of crossing the Taylor and going south? Especially with the crossing signal on red? I don't know. He certainly had not paid any attention to other traffic signals in the time it took for him to jay-walk.

I wonder. Is this is a daily routine for this man, to throw caution to the wind after taking the time to don his bike helmet and shoes, secure his pants legs, throw his backpack onto his back, grab his duffle bag with his right hand, and his bicycle gloves with his left? I'm glad that his yellow sweater grabbed my attention so that I could get these four quick photos after work on April 2, 2014, as I waited for my second of the two buses I take on my homebound commute. The time on each photo is 5:17 p.m. I thoroughly enjoy my Nikon D5100, DSLR. Yes, I do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rain protection, again. It's Portland, y'all. You should have heard the rain a few minutes ago, Monday night as I prepared this post. Wow!


I took this photo while parked in a Zipcar. I rolled down the window--well, I pushed the button and the window went down--and took the photo quickly so that not too much rain came inside the car. Not the best conditions for taking a photo of this innovative bike rack at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, but since I'm rarely in The Pearl, I threw caution to the wind. This photo is straight out of the camera. Serendipity that I got another umbrella in use.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rain protection.


Recent rain brought out these colorful umbrellas and their ladies, a couple blocks from my building. Umbrellas, not the norm in sometimes blustery Portland--I hardly ever use one although I have a travel one in a pouch on my backpack. Instead, I followed the good advice my sons gave me back when I moved to Portland. "Mom, get a raincoat with a hood. You don't want rain dripping off a rain hat down your neck. You don't want an umbrella blowing inside out." Thanks, Lamont and Leland.

First-round, NBA Western Conference Playoffs, Portland Trail Blazers, 122. Houston Rockets, 120. Overtime win for my guys! Hooray!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

For your Easter Sunday.

May your Easter Sunday be filled with warmth and light as you reflect on your faith in and  understanding of your God's love.


Today, several photos I recently took while out walking during my lunch hour.


The light and color changes with the location of these blossoms, all on the same tree.


The first photo, a closer view of its center.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 6

Characters here, characters there. And I'm not talking about Sharon and me, although we are known far and wide to be a couple of characters!


Sharon, Pluto, and me, smiling our heads off! How kind of him to wear a name tag! Most everyone we saw out and about smiled a lot, well, except for tired and/or frustrated children, toddlers and babies, followed by their parents/grandparents/extended family members. Whew. A real-life reinforcement of the brilliance that children are born to the younger generation, let me tell you! Thankfully for everyone, most of the babies, etc. within earshot made it A-OK. By the way, his whiskers did not touch our faces, so everyone else who poses with him shall be safe and sound! Hey, Blue Diamond PDX, my favorite neighborhood bar in Portland, I'm wearing one of your comfortable T-shirts!


Mrs. and Mr. Incredible, aka Helen and Bob Parr! Wearing their suits designed by Edna "E" Mode. Do I ever wish I'd seen her. You see, my little Mama's first name was Edna, her middle name Earle, therefore she was an Edna E, too! And she stood right around five foot tall, probably a little taller than Edna "E." So, besides the fact that Helen, Bob and I are all incredible, we're closely connected with a tiny woman named Edna!


On to the next attraction with characters!


The speedy, suave and debonair Lightning McQueen entertained Sharon and me as we posed for a photo while visiting Radiator Springs in Cars Land. Ladies, y'all ought to hear him roar!


Amy joined her mom Sharon and I as we met Sir Tow Mater! Love that guy! It was a lot of fun to pose with him and Lightning in front of the Cozy Cone Motel.

Friday, April 18, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 5

The Bubble Gun Story, as photographed by me while in line at Soarin' Over California, a really neat ride that even has scents to enjoy, a favorite for many who visit Disney California Adventure. I made up all of these captions beneath the photos.


The man in the hat reaches for bubbles spewing from the boy's bubble gun, to the delight of the little boy. Meanwhile, over at the right edge of the photo, it almost appears that the other little boy is drinking from his bubble gun. Surely not!


The man keeps his hand out even after all of the bubbles have floated beneath it. Looks sort of like he's saying, "Gimme five!" to the boy in the Athletics' T-shirt.


The boy squeezes the trigger and bubbles spew into the air, catching the sunlight. Meanwhile, over at the right edge of the photo, the other boy's shooting bubbles, too. In between the two boys, there is a young woman who I figure must be their big sister. She looks too young to me to be their mother. What do you think?


Ah, boys will be boys! It's a bubble shoot out! Wait! Has the man said something alarming that the young woman has overheard? I prefer to think that he said, "It's great that they brought the bubble guns with them because watching the bubbles helps me pass the time in this long, long, line."


Yes! Smiles all around as everyone continues to enjoy the bubbles. I say, "Thanks, boys!"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 4


On our way to Soarin' Over California which I had heard was an absolute must at Disney California Adventure, I spied sweetness herself, Minnie Mouse, outfitted delightfully as an airline stewardess. Oops, to be politically correct, I should say flight attendant. Whatever you call her, Minnie made this little girl very happy by signing her autograph book. I'll bet the book is the Official Disneyland Resort Autograph Book--I saw lots and lots of kids filling their books. By the way, that helper in the shirt with the red collar evidently cannot talk without moving her hands, and I caught her left hand mid-motion. Looks sorta weird, doesn't it?

Soarin' Over California at Disney California Adventure is one of the most popular attractions in the Disneyland Resort and usually has wait times ranging from 30 to 150 minutes. However, the attraction is tied into the park's FASTPASS system, allowing guests the option of bypassing a long wait. In front of the building, there is a mock-up RS-25 rocket engine. (We didn't do the FASTPASS, but if I ever go back, I surely shall take advantage of that option, if it's still offered and I still relatively mobile.)


While waiting in line, guests pass the Wings of Fame, an homage to significant aircraft in the history of aviation in California. Some of these include the P-51 Mustang, SR-71 Blackbird, and the Bell X-1.


There is also a section dedicated to individuals such as Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, Jack Northrop, the Wright brothers, Howard Hughes, Jacqueline Cochran, Kelly Johnson, and Chuck Yeager.


His info plaque.


(I just had to take a close-up of Mr. Yeager because he reminds me a whole lot in this photo of a man with whom I work. I shall send him a message to check out this photo--I hope he agrees with me!)

Before entering the theater area, guests are placed in one of three preshow areas, called "Alpha Gate", "Bravo Gate", or "Charlie Gate," (named for the first three letters of the NATO phonetic alphabet). Just before boarding, guests watch a pre-boarding video hosted by their chief flight attendant, Patrick, portrayed by actor Patrick Warburton wearing the uniform of a first officer. (That was a lot of fun!)

More info about this splendid ride which I am proud to have ridden. The fact that I didn't get sick from the motion (read the rest of this post for more info on that motion) thrills me no end. What a great experience!

The Soarin' Over California is a simulator attraction at Disney California Adventure. The ride employs a mechanical lift system, a film presentation on a large concave projection screen, and at certain points artificial scents to simulate flight via a hang glider ride over several California landmarks. The ride's soundtrack was written by Jerry Goldsmith.

The original Soarin' Over California was an opening day attraction at Disney California Adventure on February 8, 2001. In addition to the main ride and film presentation, the attraction features a pre-show tribute to the history of California's aviation industry. Soarin' Over California has consistently been a popular attraction at the park despite its low attendance in its early years, and the ride was duplicated at Epcot under the name Soarin' in 2005.


The attraction, which lasts about four minutes and 51 seconds, takes 87 guests at a time on a simulated hang glider tour of California, flying over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Redwood Creek in Humboldt County, Napa Valley, Monterey, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park (including Yosemite Falls and Half Dome), the PGA West Palmer Course in La Quinta (credited in the queue video presentation as Palm Springs), Camarillo, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego, Malibu, Los Angeles, and Disneyland itself during the Christmas season. The last few scenes transition from daytime to dusk and then to night, culminating in Disneyland's Holiday fireworks surrounding the riders in the nighttime sky. In addition to the state's various landscapes, the ride also highlights its diverse recreation, including snow skiing, river rafting, kayaking, golf, horseback riding, hot air ballooning and of course, hang gliding. The USAF Thunderbirds and aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) at Naval Base San Diego are also featured. An original score by film composer Jerry Goldsmith accompanies the imagery, and appropriate scents (citrus, pine, sagebrush, ocean mist) fill the air as the ride vehicles themselves move gently to simulate the sensations of flight.

Ride design Soarin' Over California was first conceptualized in 1996 as "Ultra Flight," a name which can still be seen on the tower consoles of the California Adventure attraction. It was to feature an OMNIMAX screen with an inverted track allowing guests to fly over California's landmarks. The attraction would have three load levels and the system would operate on a horizontal cable, much like a dry cleaner's rack. This plan was abandoned, however, when it was determined that the construction and labor costs for that design would be prohibitive. It seemed that Soarin' wouldn't become a reality until engineer Mark Sumner developed a different idea for the ride vehicles, using an Erector Set and string to create a working model. This design would allow Disney to efficiently load guests on one level instead of three, thus cutting construction and labor costs greatly.

Each ride vehicle within consists of three rows of seats under a wing-like canopy. After guests have been safely restrained in the vehicle using standard lap belts, the canopy descends slightly and a cantilever system lifts the chairs forward and into the air with the guests' feet dangling freely. The vehicle is lifted forward so that guests look into a large, concave movie screen onto which aerial views of California are projected. The scenes were shot with an IMAX HD frame rate - 48 frames per second, twice the conventional output for regular films. Since the vehicle is moved forward toward the center of the dome, guests can only see the images projected on the screen and experience the sensation of flight. The ride structure contains about one million pounds of steel, and 37 tons are lifted during each ride cycle.

To enhance the illusion of flight, subtle vertical movements of the seats are synchronized to the film. According to cast members who operate this attraction, the carriages do not move horizontally. Sensations of horizontal motion are created using a combination of vertical carriage movement and then turning image on the screen. In addition, scents complementing the various scenes are injected into the air streams blowing on riders. In the Ventura orange field scene, for example, guests are treated to the scent of orange blossoms. The mountain scenes are accompanied by the aroma of evergreens. The Monterey and Malibu scenes have the scent of a sea breeze.

Soaring Music One of the most unforgettable aspects of Soarin' Over California is the serene and dramatic musical score. The music was written and recorded for the attraction by Academy Award®-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith. Inspired by the optimistic spirit of California, the magnificent score is one of the master musician's final works and the culmination of a 5-decade career.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 3


A few minutes later we caught another great performance--lucky for Sharon and me because we truly love live performances. The Red Car News Boys certainly performed very well. These first two photos actually show the action at the end of the performance. I very much like the expression on this young man's face in each of the photos.


I found a person's impression of the Red Car Newsboys' performance on the Internet.

Red Car News Boys

I always walk away from a performance by the Red Car News Boys humming one of the show's songs. It's hard not to be charmed by this engaging troupe of news boys (and one news girl), who roll up in a shiny new Red Car Trolley singing, "California, Here We Come!" Arriving in front of the Carthay Circle Theatre, they proceed to sing out the day's headlines in an effort to attract buyers for their papers.


Each headline is accompanied by a different song: "Take Me Out to the Ball game" for news about Babe Ruth; "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie" for a story about Charles Lindbergh; "We're in the Money" for a financial headline. These songs provide every performer an opportunity to spend a moment as the lead. The performers also showcase their physical talents while they sing, such as dancing the Charleston or executing cartwheels.


(My observation, not the other Internet author: Mickey came out of the trolley car, too, then put his suitcase down and joined in the performance.)


(My observation: That's the News Girl Mickey appears to be pointing at, in the gold pants with the strange spots at her thighs.)

(More of what I found on the Internet.) Mickey's just arrived in town, and the news boys want to see if he really has what it takes to become "the next big thing." This is a Mickey we rarely see—shy, bashful, somewhat uncertain. (My observation: I didn't notice Mickey being shy, but it all happened pretty fast.)

(My observation: Mickey is such a cute little guy, even in this costume.)

(My observation: Mickey danced along, too, amazing to me in those huge shoes.)

(I didn't see this next part which makes me wonder if it has been removed from the performance.)

The show ends with the Newsies anthem "Seize the Day," and includes a novel encounter with one of the Citizens of Buena Vista Street. Molly the Messenger arrives with a telegram for Mickey Mouse, with news of a big audition. I love the way the show's creators pulled Molly—a character you see riding around Buena Vista Street throughout the day—into the show for a cameo. It gives the show a sense of place and immediacy, and it's really a lot of fun.


(My observation: The News Boys help Mickey down so that they can all leave on the trolley car once their performance is completed.)

(And here's the last of what I found on the Internet.)

While some (including this writer) feel that the thumping bass beat behind some of the arrangements is a bit too modern for 1920s Los Angeles, the era re-created on Buena Vista Street, the show has an endearing quality that makes me enjoy the performance, and willing to overlook an anachronistic musical choice or two. With concealed speakers built right in, the Red Car Trolley makes a great backdrop and rolling stage, though I've noticed that the acoustics seem optimized for the crowd gathered around the performance space; from elsewhere on Buena Vista Street, the vocalists do not seem to blend or harmonize quite as well. That means you should try to grab a front-row seat if you want to catch the Red Car News Boys in any of their six daily performances on Buena Vista Street.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 2


Street performances happen every time you turn around, seems like. Here's a shot from the first one we witnessed at Disney California Adventure on January 18, 2014--it's on Buena Vista Street. Neat to see children from the audience taking part, some with no shyness at all, some a bit unsure. Still, making memories is what it's all about. Here's what I found online about this particular group: Five 'N' Dime
         A group of maverick musicians arrive in their makeshift jalopy on their way from Chicago to Hollywood looking for their big break. They enlist the help of the crowd (and Goofy) while performing standards from the 20s and 30s.

I don't remember seeing Goofy out there with them, but you can tell that his outfit goes with theirs and he was on Buena Vista Street posing with park visitors--we saw him there before we enjoyed the performance.


Once the performance ended, Five'N'Dime climbed in their jalopy to continue the journey towards their big break.

I found a bit more about Five'N'Dime online and saw photos of Goofy included in their performance, when it debuted. Changes must have been made in the meantime--this is pretty interesting reading: Five and Dime is a talented quintet of jazz performers (“Five”) plus one vocalist (“Dime”) who roll out several times daily onto Buena Vista Street from Hollywood Land and park in Carthay Circle to perform a variety of familiar standards and dance-worthy numbers. Alan Bruun, creative director of entertainment for Disneyland Resort, describes the group as moving to Hollywood after “having sold everything, bought this jalopy, [and] driven down from Chicago to make it big in the movie business.” Featuring the sounds of a saxophone, trumpet, guitar, drums, upright bass, and one powerful voice, this group commands attention across Buena Vista Street, drawing visitors to circle around and enjoy their 15-minute show, with some guests even pulled into the show to join the group for a tune or two. And Goofy, sporting a bright green zoot suit, also joins in the toe-tapping fun. Of all the new live entertainment added to Disney California Adventure, Five and Dime fits the 1920s theme the best, offering the feeling and vibe of the early 1900s. The official debut performance of Five and Dime took place on the morning of June 14, 2012 during a special press preview of Buena Vista Street and the rest of the “new” Disney California Adventure theme park. That performance, including some entirely amusing facial expressions from one of the guests who somewhat unwillingly became involved, can be seen below.

Monday, April 14, 2014

First visit to Disneyland, Day Two, Post No. 1


Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney perpetually enjoy the sunshine at Disney California Adventure, the second park at the complex in Anaheim.


The plaque.


Sharon with Mickey and Walt.