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Tuesday, July 5th, 2005 - 5:55 PM

"4th of July Barbecue and Fireworks"

Fireworks

The Fort Vancouver fireworks show holds the acclaim, "The best show west of the Mississippi". While I tend to doubt that is true, it is indeed a great display. My friend Big Dave invited us to meet him yesterday at the park to see the fireworks. Keeping this invite in mind, I went to my parents house in Portland for a barbecue and relaxation.

Fireworks

The barbecued chicken was quite delicious, and there were plenty of sides to pack in as well. I was stuffed at the end. It was borderline too hot yesterday, but one can't complain. There is a fine line between perfect weather and excessive heat. My idea of a perfect day is clear skies, very slight breeze and 70 to 75 degrees. Others would prefer a more extreme temperature.

After a debate whether or not it was worth battling traffic and parking, we all decided to head up to Fort Vancouver to see the fireworks. My friend, his sister, niece and friends were already at the park. We used the advanced cell phone technology to meet up amid the streams and globs of people. Big Dave and I peppered a volleyball for a while, as it was still light when we arrived at 8:00 pm. It's interesting to note that I am not really interested in most sports but very much enjoy a specific genre of activities that resembles sports. I really enjoy juggling a soccer ball and peppering with a volleyball. For those who don't know what either is: juggling a soccer ball involves using your body (mostly legs) to hit the ball, keeping it in the air as long as possible. Peppering is similar except it involves 2 or more people who pass a volleyball back and forth using legal volleyball hits such as bumps, sets and spikes. After quickly realizing how horribly out of shape I am, Dave and I joined the others in our wait for the big show.

American flag

Unfortunately the park wherein the majority of spectators position themselves is riddled with trees. It is difficult to find a spot where the fireworks are not partially hidden behind an obstacle. Our place was not the best, and half of the show was obscured. Nonetheless, it was worth the trip in my estimation, and our Brazilian guests enjoyed it. I can't imagine having guests from another country on the 4th of July without showing them this interesting American tradition. We got all the important elements in: barbecue, relaxation and fireworks.

By the way, I'm not really into a bunch of moving, flashing stuff on web pages. But since this is a BLOG, I have to make it fun and friendly. I'm not too worried about perfect design and images in such an instance as this, so don't complain!

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Thursday, June 30th, 2005 - 10:52 PM

"Movie Review: Batman Begins"

Visit the official Batman Begins Site

I'm a little late with this report, but I felt it was one not to be missed. Am I still a dedicated Batman fan? Not really. I still claim Batman as my favorite superhero, and many of his qualities intrigue me. Yet I am not fanatical as I was in my youth. I don't get fanatical about much of anything anymore. Nevertheless, there is still much child to be found in me, and I very much enjoyed this newest installment to the Batman movie lineup.

It is no longer common for me to make an effort to see a movie on opening night. My best friends frequent the theaters, often going to midnight showings of their favorite and most anticipated movies. I still enjoy the whole unique atmosphere and excitement of opening night, but the skyrocketing ticket prices keep me away from the theater more often than not. In this case, however, I made an exception and joined my friends for the first available showing of Batman Begins.

Batman Begins IconBatman Begins IconBatman Begins Icon

Over criticizing and pulling apart movies is not my fort?. I tend to be attracted to movies with a decent story and plenty of visually stimulating camera angles and effects. Though I am a former avid Batman fan, I don't see any reason to pick apart Batman Begins, looking for slight discrepancies. The way I see it, Batman as a primitive idea is more a large cloud of possibilities. If one were to read every comic book and every other official publication where Batman appears (and DC Comics accepts the label "Batman" to display), you will surely find contradiction and imperfection in story and concept. The idea that fiction can be made perfect is ridiculous. Batman is a great story and a great character. It would be difficult to disassemble such a great ideal, that is unless your name is Joel Schumacher.

Most fans would agree that Batman Forever and Batman & Robin were two jokes not worth laughing at and horrible portrayals of the legendary Batman character. I can't say enough to back that line of thought. Batman Begins, on the other hand, was a giant leap in the right direction for me. I was overly satisfied with the lengthy origin and history segment. It is absolutely necessary to show Bruce Wayne's passion and the steps he went through to obtain nearly superhuman skills. I am a great fan of martial arts and was particularly pleased that some attention was given to his early training and study abroad.

It has been a long time since I was passionate enough to memorize Batman trivia, so I was not able to determine how all the details of the movie compared to other, perhaps more official sources. I found the movie much more enjoyable this way, as I didn't have to worry about minute factoids. Batman Begins was a brilliant visual display, pleasing to the introspective mind as well. I do still remember some names and facts from the comics and was pleased to be able to pick them out as they were laid out on screen. All in all I would give the movie a very good review and would recommend it to all who have at any time been intrigued with Batman. If you are a long-time fan, let Batman Begins fulfill some of your dreams. If you don't even know who Batman is (Batcave forbid), enjoy an all around great movie!

Visit the official Batman Begins web site

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 - 10:30 AM

"Cabin Trip and First Time to Crater Lake"

the ultra-blue waters of Crater Lake

Wow, what a weekend! I just got back from a wonderful, long trip to Central Oregon. Our extended family has a quaint cabin there. We visited several of my attractions in the Bend area, including Smith Rock, the Factory Outlets, East Lake (motor boat ride), Lava Lands Visitor Center, and Drake Park. Beyond the norm, we decided to make a side trip to Crater Lake, and boy was that worth the hour and half drive! I had never realized how close it was. This was my first time going to see the amazing natural beauty this national park has to offer. It was obviously a first for Denilze and her parents as well. Everyone enjoyed the trip beyond words.

the cabin woodpile

Our visit to Smith Rock was quite literally one of the high and low points of the trip. I had been there just one time before. On this occasion we decided to make our way around the quite long trail that starts out from the parking lot. We really had no idea what we were in for, and there were no helpful signs along the way. Little did we know the route we chose would take us over the top of a mountain, along a precarious, unpaved path. The way was grueling and a little worrisome, but we made it to the top, and back down the other side. A huge Monkey Face was taunting us, and we had a few spills as we made our way up the seemingly vertical slope. We did make it out alive, furthermore, and I shot a few worthwhile photos as reward.

It has long been a dream of mine to live in Bend. I really like Central Oregon for many reasons. It has so much to offer. Perhaps if I develop my web design skills to a level that would allow me to work on projects remotely, we could live anywhere. Bend would certainly be one of my first choices. It would be far from family and friends, but I'm sure we'd find a community to be involved in.

Hopefully I will find a few shots worth putting in my photography gallery. At this point I have not developed or populated the gallery, but I hope to do so soon. I have selected over a hundred photos to include from the five or six thousand digital photos I have taken in the last 3 years or so. I'm certainly no professional photographer, but I enjoy composing and taking pictures just the same. Along with the advent of digital cameras came the ability for any Joe Schmo to take decent pictures. It is so nice to be able to see what you are shooting, preview the results, and take as many as you like with no concern for wasting film.

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Friday, June 17th, 2005 - 10:02 AM

"BLOG Begins"

Well, let's start this BLOG thing. Some might argue, "You don't need a blog, you have a web site." Such is true, but since blogs are so trendy and popular, I decided to call this feature a blog, so people would know what they would find here. There's not really another good word for it. I won't try to make this first entry interesting; I just want to get my feet wet. As time goes on, I'll have interesting things to write about. Consider this and the next several entries tests to fill the database with something to pull from (Oh boy! How interesting!). These are going to be so bad and boring that I might delete them when I finally get some real BLOG entries up.

I'll write more later. Good enough for a test entry.

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