After a week of very minimal blogging, I must say that I’m feeling pretty good! That’s not to say that I don’t like blogging, it’s just that a vacation is a vacation. In other words, it was very nice to take a break from the day to day.
What that said, I really enjoyed my vacation to Portland, Oregon. It is a very nice city that has a great urban/suburban mix that combines the best of what big cities have to offer (i.e., cultural attractions, restaurants, shops, great books and music stores) with more earthy things like Forest Park. Also, for a city, people were generally quite friendly. Part of J’s family lives in Portland and her sister had her second child (Sophie), so that’s why we went up there to “vacay.”
We also lucked out and got a house sitting gig, so that saved us a lot of cash in terms of hotel and dinining costs. The best part was that the house we stayed at was just 3 doors down from J’s dad and step mom, so we saw them quite a lot and had some really wonderful dinners at their house. (Side note: I am really allergic to cats, and J’s dad and step mom have two cats, so that’s why we stayed somewhere else.)
In terms of music, Portland has a lot going on! The music scene there is very vibrant. I went to a pretty great music store called Music Millennium which carries a lot of local music. And if it wasn’t for Patrick (a super helpful clerk at the store), I would have been too overwhelmed to buy anything. So big thanks to Patrick. (Oh, and if you haven’t guessed, there will be a Portland Mix Six coming very soon.)
We even traveled up to Seattle for the day to see the “Experience Music Project.” If you don’t know what EMP is, it’s sort of like a rock and roll hall of fame museum that spotlights artists from the Northwest who have made a huge impact in the music biz. So, for example, they have a whole exhibit dedicated to Jimi Hendrix which was really great because they had a number performances from his hey day on flat screens. One of Hendrix’s performances was filmed in London and what I liked about the film was that if you looked in the audience you could see a young Pete Townshend in the background looking at Hendrix and with a look on his face that said: “Oh crap… compared to Jimi, I really suck!” Classic! They also have displays devoted to Grunge, Hip-Hop, soul, and even the history of the electric guitar.
The best thing at the EMP (in my opinion, anyway) was the interactive music features. They had these kiosks where you could play guitar, drums, keyboard, or bass. And the best thing is that they had basic lessons on how to play. So, I got to play “Louie Louie” on guitar while following along with The Kingsmen. It was pretty cool until I got kicked out by some insistent 9 year olds who thought I was hogging the guitar. The little devil spawns…
Sadly, the EMP doesn’t allow cameras, so I had to leave my camera in a cubby while I went inside. However, I was able to snap a few pictures of the outside of the building. These photos don’t even come close to the great stuff Ms. Mamma snaps, but for a cheapish consumer digital camera, I thought there were some nice contrasts in these shots.
P.S. This building was designed by Frank Gehry, and it’s dedicated to Jimi Hendrix (That’s why the outside is kind of purple hazish, and some of the sides are supposed to resemble an electric guitar). For an ariel view, click HERE.