On Places Yet Visited.

This one is a no brainer for me. I have spoken about it before, but never in this much detail. The one place I have yet to visit, but am going to go to as soon as I can is Akihabara, The Electric Town. It is the figurative mecca of otaku and electronic culture. It is located in Tokyo, Japan. Rightttttt here:


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This place has a plethora of computer, electronic, and video game parts. Not to mention probably the world’s largest selection of used video games. I know for a fact I would spend years scouring every last inch of that place and spending any small fortune I have accumulated. Instead of gushing about how much of a dork I am, let me show you some pictures so you can judge for yourself.

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Akihabara

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Off to the Pacific Northwest!

This is an experimental post. Not so much ground breaking and life changing as much as trying to answer the question of how to put a lot of photos into manageable subsets and not make the post light years long. My affection for flickr has grown over the past year. In my opinion it is the absolute best way to share photos on the Internet.

The way this post will be arranged is the best solution I could come up with. I could have just posted links to my flickr account, but that really is defeating the purpose of the blog. So i have done a kind of amalgamate of the two. I personally think it works and looks pretty well.

Here is a short primer for how I think it is viewed the best. First off I have divided my trip into 4 categories and those are represented by 4 paragraph explanations and 4 slide shows. My suggestion would be to read the paragraph first then make the slide shows full screens by clicking the play button then making the whole slide show full-screen by clicking the box with the 4 arrows going outward. At that point I would pause it by clicking the play button in the bottom left. I have written a description for every photo posted and to see that just click show info in the top right. You can then navigate through them using the arrow keys on your keyboard or clicking the nav arrows on each side of the photo. I know that’s a bit lengthy and probably unneeded, but like I said, this is an experiment. Now to the actual trip.

Portland, OR

The reason for my visit wasn’t purely driven by my desire to see the 4 corners of this nation, but more because some friends from college got jobs out there; my old roommate being one of them. That was compounded by the fact that two friends from Purdue were staying out there for the summer. The fact that it wasn’t the Midwest didn’t hurt it either. I had been meaning to make a trip out there for over a year and all those reasons compounded in taking a roughly 2 week stint in the grand Pacific Northwest.

The atmosphere is probably what struck me most about Portland. My main experience with large cities had come from Chicago. It’s only about an hour train ride away from my hometown so that is/was usually the destination for city going. The year prior my large city exposure came from NY, NY. Even bigger, meaner, smoggier, and bustleier (hey, English is a tool and I will use it how I see fit!) than Chicago. Portland, by contrast, is very laid back, health conscious, and your views contain more than tall buildings. It was not as dirty as Chicago or New York either. It was a big city without the big city feeling. For the reason in particular I liked Chicago, New York, and Seattle (I’ll get to that in a minute) a little more. If I am going to live in a city, I really want to be in a city. Some might not care for it, but I like the busyness, the high rises, and the dirtiness of a city. It’s just a different environment.

That being said Portland had one big problem. Unemployment and subsequent homeless. I read a headline while I was there that said Portland had 23% unemployment. That is like saying 1 in 4 has no job. It’s quite startling. Just about everywhere you turned there was homeless around. They generally didn’t bother you by asking for handouts like they do in Chicago, but on occasion you did encounter people who would ask for any extra change you had on you. A pretty funny story pertaining to that was that one night coming back from Athul’s place, which is in downtown Portland, waiting for the Max (train). Without going too much into it the Portland transit system brakes down when the sun sets. Their schedules are never met, and sometimes you just get stranded. NOT COOL PORTLAND. During the day you can pretty much count on the train to be there within 5 minutes of when it says. All bets are off when it’s night, so make plans for that. So, as Aaron and I sat waiting for the train back to Beaverton, where he lives which is just a suburb of downtown, an inebriated, homeless gentleman approached us and opened with, “Hey guys, I don’t want any money or anything I just wanted to talk.” No problem buddy! Call me chatty Cathy. Boy did I eat those words. He leapt right into how he is not getting laid and how he used to “get so much pussy back in the day.” I was not about to share my entire sexual dossier with the guy (and I had a hunch neither was Aaron) so we both nodded and occasionally threw in an awkward laugh. He is the coup de grace of the whole story. We probably talked to him for 5 or 10 minutes and then came “so you guys got any change?” There it is. The real reason emerges. He got bupkis though because we didn’t have any on us. Mislead me will ya!

I did like how “green” and health conscious everyone seemed to be. It was a nice change from the Midwest. The Max, which is the main way to get around the city and it’s environs is pretty much just a train that runs through the center of the city. I really like taking trains, it’s normally cheaper and I can do stuff while I’m traveling. It’s a shame there is not more of them, but America is so big that unless it’s a major city the infrastructure is just financially and logistically infeasible. Bikes were also a very popular mode of transportation, which is great because I love bikes. They even had a place to put your bike on the Max so you could really be green, another very cool feature. Being a vegetarian usually leads me to a very small portion of the menu or a long line a questioning and special requests. In Portland, there seems to a lot of followers to the vegetarian ways because there was usually lots of delicious veggie options at the restaurants we went to.

That leads us to the first picture category. Foods! I wish I would have taken more of the things I have eaten because most were really good. It might seem a little weird to take pictures of your meals, but it is such a part of our social being as well as a necessity that it only seems natural that it’s a large part of the trip.

Food

These pictures are mostly from around the Portland Area. I had some other pictures from the train ride home that I didn’t really have any other place to put them so they make an appearance here too.

Around town + Misc.

One of the coolest things about Portland is that visible from the city is gorgeous scenery like mountains and trees. I think if you ask just about anyone in Portland, one of their hobbies will be hiking and with good reason. Just outside the city is so many trails and breathtaking sights to be had. Very very cool.

Outdoors!

 

I told you I’d talk about it. Seattle. Portland is really close to the Washington/Oregon state line. So close in fact that some people live in Washington and commute to Portland everyday. Being so close to another major city I had to take a trip there. Seattle is only about 3 hours by car from Portland. Very manageable. It feels quite a bit more established than Portland too. It had tons of high rises, hills, and even a little dirt. I really liked Seattle and wouldn’t mind living there one bit. It was very hilly walking around which might make bike travel a little more difficult or better yet another excuse to get in better shape. I ended up taking more pictures of Seattle than anything else; completely by accident, but it is a really neat city.

Seattle

 

I want to thank Athul and Aaron for showing me a good time and letting me stay at their respective domiciles. I will most likely be making another trip out there whenever I face plant into a pile of money. Thanks also to Katie and Chelsea for including me in their daily activities, I relatively certain my days would be less fun without them. In short, Portland trip ’09 a success!

A New York Blog Part Two.

Day 3
Today we had our high powered business lunch on Wall Street planned so we suited up (literally) and headed for Manhattan. We had a ton of time to kill before lunch so we decided to see that statue that is like a national symbol or something. We were taking the subway everywhere, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of this New York thing. I don’t know if I have mentioned this in any other blog, but I love public transit. It is so convenient and cheap. I don’t mind the packed rides when it gets busy because you are usually only on there for about max 15 minutes. It beats the hell out of the frustration of driving in Indiana. Mostly because if you are a blind, deaf, mute with one leg and three fingers you can still get a license in Indiana. So my goal is when I plan on getting into a semi-permanent job to be in a place with an awesome public transit system. Anyway back to NYC. So the Statue of Liberty is quite far away from the mainland. You kind of get a glimpse of it, but nothing to write home about. If you want to see it up close you HAVE to take a ferry ride. I wasn’t in the mood to stand in like a infy long line and pay an exorbitant amount of money to see a statue I must have seen a million times from every angle. That’s one super touristy thing I managed to avoid. By the time we scoped the statue and all I was quite hungry. The problem was we lost contact with our business associates and didn’t even know if it was still on. The last time we has any contact with them was four hour prior. We kept trying to get a hold of them and coming up with nothing so we decided to just grab something somewhere else. Right as we were about to order we get a call and it’s them so luckily the suits were not in vein. We got the tour of Wall St. and some other stuff. It was pretty neat. OH YEAH! When I was by the Statue of Liberty some woman asked me for directions and that made my day. I am glad I blended in that well that I looked like I knew what I was doing. Sadly I had to tell the woman some horribly wrong directions so I wouldn’t seem weak. JOKING I just said I didn’t know. In true business fashion we went to a sushi bar and talked about the falling economy and blue chip stocks and how well our nestegg is doing. We got to see their apartment and it was actually super ridiculous close to Wall Street. I was surprised at the size of it and how nice it was. The thing that surprised me even more was the rent. $5300 a month! And for emphasis five-thousand three-hundred dollars a month. If you do a few calculations that’s $63,600 a year. That’s more than most people make for an entire year. It is split between 3 people, but that is still $21,200 a year. That no small number. A years worth of rent for me is not even equal to one months rent there. I guess that’s location for you though. After we were done exploring the financial district we had to get over to the wedding, the reason we came to New York in the first place.

We arrived right on time to the Goeth Institut (No, there is no e at the end). I actually don’t know how to pronounce it, it is German I believe. The place was fairly small and intimate, it was nice. The wedding itself was really cool. It wasn’t like a normal ceremony. It was very personalized and interesting. It gave me some ideas for if and when I tie the knot. The funny thing I thought was the procession music wasn’t your wedding march or anything. The chose songs, and one of them was Options by Pedro the Lion. I don’t know if you know know the lyrics to that song, but in a nutshell it basically discusses divorce. I am not very superstitious, but how is a song about divorce not a bad omen for a WEDDING. I don’t know if Emi or the Toph will read this, but if you do, don’t get offended I love the song and Pedro the Lion, I just found it a tad off. Erik was there from Purdue too. He is a giant Pedro fan and he mentioned it too me and couldn’t believe they were using it either. Anyway it was a fun time. I think they are going to be good together. The mentioned in their vows or whatever they wrote how you will fall in and out of love during marriage. That made me happy. I am so tired of people just thinking once you get married everything is perfect or it’s not meant to be. It takes work. Anything in life that is worth having you have to work for. I believe that. The part that keeps couples together is their ability to persevere through trying times because they want it to work that much. I don’t want that misinterpreted as people who fight all the time should stay together. It’s a line you have to draw for yourself, I just don’t like it when people just give up if one little thing goes ary. This is getting away from the wedding. We managed our way back around 11 and that pretty much concluded our trip to NYC. We are in La Guardia airport right now waiting for our flight which leaves at 1:30 and it’s basically a trek back to Purdue right now. It was a lot of fun and if you have never been to NYC I would recommend it. It is definitely an experience and don’t just do the touristy stuff. Get into the subway and travel around. It is definitely a place I plan on coming back to. Its 11 right now so I still have two and a half hours to go. Lets see if I can find something to do with my time, preferably productive.