Portland in Color

As it frequently is with me, a big part of my Portland trip was the food. I ate some heavenly crab risotto, chicken wings, flaky pastry, and the pictured pastrami sandwich that I regretfully couldn't finish because there simply wasn't any room left in my stomach after two days of gluttony. My final tally for the trip was three pounds gained.

One of my last stops before heading to the airport was Portland's Japanese Garden, a five acre park filled of beautiful landscaping, mossy trees, meandering streams, stone walkways, and a great view of the city (that would be even greater if it wasn't always overcast).

After being spooked away by the President's Day crowds, the gardens were virtually empty on Wednesday morning when we returned, greatly boosting its "haven of tranquil beauty" status.

Stampin' Up has press checks in Portland on a fairly regularly basis, so it sounds like I will get more opportunities to visit the city in the future.

It would be nice to go when the weather is a little warmer, and maybe even take Kristen along so she too can experience what the show Portlandia calls the place "where young people go to retire."


Portland in Black & White

I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Portland this week for a Stampin' Up press check. Shortly after we arrived, our sales rep took us on a quick driving tour of various areas around the city, then we hunkered down to take care of business. When the press check wrapped early the next afternoon, we were free to do our own thing.

In my experience, some destinations don't always match the preconceived image in your head (i.e. San Francisco wasn't as "Full House" as I had originally imagined). But Portland lined up with my mental projection quite closely, from the perpetually overcast skies and damp streets to the rolling hills lined with evergreens.

Among my stops were the Portland Art Museum and Powell's City of Books, an independent bookstore that covers an entire city block and houses over 1.5 million books within its four stories. But mostly I just enjoyed exploring the bustling streets with my camera in hand.

The best way I can describe the area is monochromatic yet vibrant. Most of these photos only needed a slight nudge from color to black & white.

One of Portland's nicknames is "Bridgetown," due to the multiple bridges that span the adjacent Willamette River.

Of course I had to get a photo of this beauty when I wandered upon it.

Next: Portland in Color


Family Resemblance

You know how sometimes husbands and wives look like they could be brother and sister? I decided this occurs because their children have characteristics from both parents, thus becoming a "missing link" of sorts. Take our family for instance. Eddie looks more like me, Violet looks more like Kristen, yet Eddie and Violet still look alike. See for yourself and let us know what you think.

Dave vs. Violet

Kristen vs. Violet

Eddie vs. Violet


One-Dimensional Movie Villains: Third Class

Previous Inductees:
First Class
Second Class

Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Various)
The James Bond Series

Profile: Also known as "Number One" in the villainous SPECTRE organization, Blofeld's disdain for British secret agent James Bond can only be rivaled by his aversion to jacket lapels. He also has no love for continuity, appearing in six Bond films with a variety of looks, including black hair without a face, gray hair with a face, bald with a facial scar, and bald with no scar or earlobes. In his attempts to achieve the age-old dream of world domination, Blofeld has swiped nuclear warheads, wielded diamond-powered space lasers, and subliminally brainwashed beautiful women to love chickens. Yet these elaborate plots are undone time and time again by his penchant for monologuing.

Comeuppance: After a court-mandated four film absence, a wheelchair-bound Blofeld briefly reappears to trap Bond in a remote-controlled helicopter, only to cackle so interminably that Bond has time to take control of said helicopter, pick up Blofeld's wheelchair with one of its landing skids, and drop him down a chimney stack.
"If I were to break the news to anyone it would be to you first, Mr. Bond, you know that."

Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald)
Happy Gilmore

Profile: Start with a shot of arrogance, add a squeeze of bitterness over having never won the PGA tour championship, and shake it over the resentment directed towards the popularity of hockey player turned golfer Happy Gilmore. What you end up with is a spiteful cocktail of a man known as Shooter McGavin, a would-be golfing legend who will stop at nothing to get Gilmore kicked off the PGA tour. The most successful of these attempts involves hiring a mentally unstable fan to heckle Gilmore, and later, run him over with a VW Bug. Yet the self-absorbed Shooter won't even return the favor by sharing a nice seafood dinner with the fan.

Comeuppance: When Gilmore beats the odds to win the tour championship, Shooter momentarily makes off with the honorary gold jacket, but is quickly chased down by an angry mob and pummeled by Gilmore's gargantuan former boss, Mr. Larson.
"Yeah, right. And Grizzly Adams had a beard."


Out With the Old, In With the New

Bear with me while I conduct a few matters of blog business. Since we haven't exactly been posting like crazy on Eddie's blog of late, it certainly didn't make sense to create a third blog just for Violet. Instead, we have rebranded the spin-off to include her. So from here on out, posts relating to both kids' development can be found on the new & improved Eddie & Violet Variety Hour. Posts about the whole family (and other incoherent ramblings) will remain right here.

The Dave & Kristen Show has been rocking the same header since its early days, so it seemed like a good time to update its look to match. The redesign retains the familiar game show vibe, but now includes an extra spoonful of the seventies.


Violet's Two Week Stats

Violet is now over two weeks old! I feel like we're finally starting to get into a routine and find our new "normal." Eddie has stopped being insanely sensitive (most of the time) and still loves his baby sister. He likes to get right in front of her face and say, "Hi Biolet!" Despite his roughness with her, she seems to really like him until he attempts to crush her or dump her on the floor. I tell him he needs to be nice to her and he always replies with, "I don't want to." So we're working on that. I don't trust him with her, and have had a few scary moments when I leave him unattended thinking he is quietly watching TV when really he has gone upstairs to pull Violet's arms so that she'll wake up.

Today, Eddie and I took Violet in for her two week checkup. This was a momentous occasion because it is the first time I have ventured out with both children when we weren't just going through a drive-thru. It would have gone without a hitch if the wind hadn't been so cold. Eddie was hysterical by the time we jogged into the warmth of the hospital and refused to go any further, so I ended up carrying both kids into the elevator, drawing many sympathetic looks from people. (By the way, I imagine that jogging and/or carrying 40+ pounds are things that should not be done by a woman at 2 weeks postpartum and I will be regretting it later today.) Once we were inside and up the elevator, Eddie calmed down and the rest of the appointment went well (until we had to walk back to the car).

Violet weighed in at 9 pounds 3 ounces, which is 8 ounces above her birth weight. She is in the 77th percentile for weight. She measured 21.5 inches, which puts her in the 86th percentile. Her head measured exactly the same as at birth, which apparently is a little big (72nd percentile).

On Sunday (her official two-week mark), Dave took some photos of Violet. Everyone says she looks like Eddie, but I think she looks more like me than he does. I'll have to find some of my baby photos to post as a comparison. In the meantime, here's our beautiful girl:


Ten Things...

...I Learned from The Making of The Empire Strikes Back

When it comes to The Empire Strikes Back, one of my all-time favorite movies, I figured there wasn't much left I didn't know about its genesis and production. But the definitive new making-of book I received for Christmas has proven that even Empire junkies like myself still have much to learn (or unlearn, as it were).

10. On the success of Star Wars, "It was a darn good story dashingly told, and beyond that I can't explain it," said Alec Guinness (Obi Wan Kenobi). "Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one."

9. Luke getting attacked by the snow monster at the beginning of Empire was specifically written as a way to explain the facial injuries Mark Hamill received from a bad car accident not long after Star Wars came out.

8. In an early Lucas-penned draft, the romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia had serious Attack of the Clones potential. Consider this goodbye line from Han,"They say I kiss very well. But don't worry, I'm not going to kiss you here—you see, I'm quite selfish about my pleasures and it wouldn't be much fun for me now. I'm going to wait for you to grow up a little more. I'm sure we'll meet again." Luckily, screenwriting duties were soon turned over to Lawrence Kasdan.

7. One early failed attempt at realizing Yoda involved putting a costume on a monkey (and in case you were wondering, no, Yoda was not modeled after Spencer W. Kimball).

6. During the filming of the "I love you... I know" scene, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher weren't speaking to each other off camera due to some momentary behind-the-scenes tension.

5. David Prowse (Darth Vader) was notorious for leaking plot details during interviews and other appearances. Thus he was often given dummy lines unknowingly, then the real lines were overdubbed later by James Earl Jones. Prowse didn't find out Darth Vader was Luke's father until the premiere screening.

4. An early Empire poster concept featured "Busty Leia" from the original Star Wars poster sharing a tauntaun ride with Luke.

3. The under 10 crowd at a preview screening provided some constructive feedback: "It was like a dream... Luke sometimes gross (hand)... Tan Tan animation could be better, otherwise movie good... It was kind of sad when Han Solo turned into ice... You should have less violence, or if you have violence, make it funny violence."

2. During the movie's initial limited release, George Lucas decided the end sequence in space was a little unclear, so he asked ILM to create three new establishing shots (who all thought Lucas was joking at first). The new scenes were completed in record time and added in for the wide release a few weeks later. (This tendency to tinker later evolved into a very bad habit.)

1. In this particularly prophetic quote, Lucas revealed, "If I wasn't a filmmaker, I think I might be a toymaker."