Posts Tagged 'portland'

Movin’ On…

As you can probably tell, I’m no longer updating this WordPress blog o’ mine.  Instead, please follow me on Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/amadolumbajr.  See you there!

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LaMarcus Aldridge: NBA Western Conference Player of the Week

I don’t have many favorite sports teams, but I have to root for the Portland Trailblazers being as they are my hometown team. So, I take great pride in the fact that my team’s own LaMarcus Aldridge has been named this week’s Player of the Week by the NBA. Go, LA!

Animate It!

I volunteer for Film Action Oregon because of my ongoing endeavors in film-making and because they stand for such a great cause.  What they also do quite well is empower the youth through the film arts.  Animate It! is just one of their programs that help that cause.  Here’s the info:

Beginner Class
Beginner level Animate It! workshop for kids ages 7-11. Students will learn about the art of animation by creating their very own stop-motion animation video! Students who do not feel ready for an advanced Animate It! workshop are highly encouraged to participate. The class will incorporate various fun, DIY animation techniques building towards the creation of an animated sequence!

Dates: January 22nd and January 23rd
Times: 10am-1pm both days
Location: The Hollywood Theatre
Cost: $70, limited scholarships available

Advanced Class
Have you taken an animation class before? Are you familiar with how to use stop motion software? Join our new advanced level Animate It! workshop. Students will work with a professional animator to expand their technical knowledge, and learn how to incorporate audio into their films. Class size is extremely limited, so enroll soon! Animate It! workshop will be instructed by animator Dan Ackerman, Director of ‘Ackerman Films’ and owner of ‘Stage 13’ Production Studio

Dates:
Saturday, January 29th
Sunday, January 30th
Saturday, February 5th
Sunday, February 6th
Times: 10am-1pm each day
Location: The Hollywood TheatreCost: $200

Call 503-493-1128 to enroll

Here’s the link to their website:  http://www.filmactionoregon.org/educating/animate_it.html

What better way to enrich a youth’s life than through the arts!

The Thrill of the Hunt

On January 22nd at exactly 9:27 p.m., I began my very first haunted site investigation. And I had an absolute blast!

After much thought, I recently joined a local paranormal investigation group. I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal, as evidence in the DVR being chock-full of previous episodes of Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, and other TV programs that delved in the paranormal and unexplained– as well as previous blog entries– and I thought what better way to fully get my paranormal fix than to actually go ghost hunting.

White Eagle HotelLast night, we were at Portland’s Legendary White Eagle Rock ‘N Roll Hotel, a local favorite among paranormal enthusiasts for its alleged ghostly encounters, with rooms #2, #3, and #5 being the most “active” rooms. Naturally, our team rented rooms #3 and #5 for the evening. Both would be eventual sleeping quarters for a couple of the team members. But first, we had to do some ghost hunting.

Now, although I believe in the supernatural because of my very own personal experience in the past, there is a very small skeptical part of me that has been dying to get some sort of proof. Paranormal investigation groups rely on tools of the trade– such as the K-II meter, EMF detectors, infrared cameras, digital audio recorders, etc.–inasmuch as personal experiences when they conduct investigations. I’d never used any of the equipment, having only seen them in action on certain paranormal TV shows, so I found the opportunity to actually use them first-hand very exciting.

A senior member of the team partnered with me during my first two EVP sessions, making sure to point how to use the equipment, what to look for, and what questions to ask. We were getting some activity in the form of flashing lights on the K-II meter, but I still wasn’t convinced we were actually communicating with spirits. They asked me to do an EVP session inside Room #3’s closet, which has been dubbed the “Gateway to Hell” because of multiple phenomena experienced by many other investigators in the past. The team leader recounted his own personal experience, which should’ve been enough to dissuade me, but I braved on and decided to do the EVP session by myself.

I sat in the corner of the dark closet, turned on the K-II meter and the digital recorder, and started my EVP session. Spirits are said to interact with the K-II meter by making its lights flash. From the get go, the first three lights on the meter were steady on. I implored whatever spirits were in the closet with me to make the lights flash. Ten minutes went on without any activity, and I started getting restless.

Against my better judgment– and after being warned by the senior members to use it only as a last resort– I began to taunt whatever spirits were in there with me. I started to call one of them by name– Sam, one of the two allegedly most active spirits in the place– and dared him to do something to prove to me that he existed. I continued taunting Sam for several minutes, telling him he wasn’t a tough guy after all, and that I wasn’t impressed with his ability to manifest. When I said something like, “Ah, you probably don’t exist,” it was when the K-II meter briefly spiked up, illuminating the two remaining red lights. That actually freaked me out a little bit, but I had to be convinced that it wasn’t a fluke, so I dared Sam (or whichever spirit was actually in the closet with me) to do it again. Repeatedly, I urged it, but the last two red lights on the K-II meter never flickered again.

Finally, I told the spirit something like, “So, I guess you’re just a fluke. You can’t even make this machine light up again. Maybe you can give me some other sign to prove that you’re here.” That was when the old knob on the closet door clicked, as if someone was trying to open it. That startled me. I got up, opened the door, and checked if there was anyone on the other side, and sure enough I was alone. By then, I was really starting to get creeped-out, but I plugged along. I ended the EVP session after 27 minutes.

Later in the evening, we decided to review my audio recording, and we were thrilled when the digital recording device clearly picked up the sound of the doorknob clicking. Was it truly paranormal? We don’t know. It was an old building after all, with old, warped wood that tend to settle. But that the phenomenon occurred after a direct provocation fascinated us.

I did several other EVP sessions by myself, two of which were in Room #5 where we had an IR camera recording all evening. I believe I had a couple of encounters and I can’t find out if anything showed up on the IR camera’s footage. I also can’t wait to hear if anything came up on any of my EVP sessions.

Overall, it was an amazing first investigation for me. I had the chance to use some nifty equipment, and believed to have had some personal experiences. I’m looking forward to the next investigations, and hope to hone my skills. Who knows? I may one day be a member of the T.A.P.S. family.

I Just Want to Pay My Tab!

So, I recently awoke from an unplanned two-hour nap (which I’ve been taking and enjoying during these past couple of weeks while on vacation) and am still reeling from one weird-ass dream. I’m going to recount as much as I can remember but will present it in an almost free association writing style. You know, like how psychics write when channeling a spirit. (Or is that vice versa?)

I don’t remember all the details but most of the events took place at a multilevel lounge/bar. (I know, too predictable, right?) The decor was all dark woods, low lights, and nooks and crannies for seating. It was like the Doug Fir on steroids. (Portlanders should get that reference. And by Portlanders, I mean hipsters.)

On one scene, a friend with whom I was standing at the bar must’ve said something incredibly funny that I laughed so hard, and I ended up on the floor. A couple of other patrons had to help me back up while I was still laughing my ass off. I headed to another part of the lounge, and several people had asked me if I was alright. I said yes, and inquired with them as to why they’d asked. Apparently, I was walking a big red welt on my forehead. It appears that in the process of laughing at whatever funnier-than-hell joke my friend had said, I jerked forward and hit my head on the bar, which made me fall back and onto the floor. Somehow, I missed that detail the first time around.

One significant incident involved me trying to pay my tab from a previous visit. Somehow, I walked out one night without settling my tab. I only had two pitchers of the Double Bock plus a couple of pints of another type of beer, so I don’t exactly understand how I could possibly forget to settle up. *wink* Anyway, the third person I spoke to seemed like a manager and she told me that they can’t find my tab so she’ll just do the ‘bar minimum fee’ which is equivalent to two pitchers of beer. I told her that was fine. She handed me the bill and I saw that the total was $70.00! I perused the itemized check and saw that I was charged for 5 of one thing and another 2 of another, which certainly was not ‘equivalent to two pitchers of beer.’ I questioned her about this and she said that I can certainly take things up with a manager higher than her at another time and that maybe I will have my bill adjusted. I told her that I would prefer to handle things now so that I can put this to rest. She said that wasn’t possible, and I was miffed, shouting, “I’m not going to pay for seven pitchers worth of beer for consuming only two!” and several patrons around me grunted or bobbed their heads in agreement.

And I think that’s when I woke up, all sore and groggy. There were many other things that happened during the dream that nag at the outer rims of my reverie, but I can’t put the details together. I’m just gonna have to chalk those up to memories that will play on in my subconscious.

It Just Doesn’t Get This Hot Around These Parts…

It's huckin' fot!

It's huckin' fot!

A Foray Into Competitive Eating

Whiffies Pie Cart on SE 12th & Hawthorne, Portland OR

Whiffies Pie Cart on SE 12th & Hawtorne

So, last night, I participated in my very first* competitive eating event: the Whiffies PieChamp Pie Eating Challenge.  I’d have to say I was feeling pretty good about it.  Up until the start of the contest, that was.  And, in the end, I failed miserably.

Here’s what happened.

All day, I knew what my strategy was going to be in terms of my pre-challenge dining plan, thanks in part to the contest organizer’s suggestions.  He’d said that I should have a “good breakfast” and then a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese for lunch.  He further advised that I not allow myself to eat anything between lunch and the challenge start time except for maybe coffee and yogurt.  I followed (nearly) everything to the letter.  I did have about five Doritos chips while hanging out with friends in the afternoon, but still felt good about my overall pre-challenge preparations.

When I arrived at the venue about a half-hour before the original start time of 9:00 p.m., I was sufficiently hungry.  In fact, I was famished.  I thought for certain that chowing down on seven fried pies– the “score” to beat had been six– was going to be a cinch, seeing as how starved I was at that time.

But, here’s where things started to go wrong for me.

You know how when you’re extremely hungry but then something happens and you end up letting the hunger pass?  Well, because, although the contest started at 9:00 p.m., the pre-ceremony ding-dongery that normally accompanies such quirky events– and the fact that the pies had to be cooked fresh– the first pies didn’t arrive until around 10:00 p.m.

By then, the hunger pangs that were to be my ace in the hole an hour earlier had all but vanished.  It hung around long enough for me to seem to inhale my first two fried pies in under six minutes.  But by the time I was halfway through my third pie, the needle in that proverbial fullness meter landed on “Stuffed” and wouldn’t budge.  It’s a miracle I’d finished it and even consumed a fourth pie, but it wasn’t without consequences.  For the final thirty-five minutes of the hour-long challenge, I simply stared at the fifth pie in the cardboard boat, sitting atop the crumpled up foil coverings of the previous four.  I did take one bite as the crowd counted down in unison to zero, but even that proved almost fatal.

I spent the next several hours with uncomfortable fullness that no amount of plop-plop-fizz-fizz could cure rapidly enough.  This morning, I still felt so satiated from the previous evening’s debacle that hunger didn’t hit again until lunch time.

Would this embarrassing first turn* at competitive eating deter me from competing again.  Hell to the no.  But it certainly has encouraged me to train better for the next time.  After all, practice makes perfect.

* Officially, this was my first competitive eating challenge because it was sanctioned and I didn’t know the other challengers.