March 1st, 2010

uncertain, question
  • algeh

Amtrak advice?

So, I'm taking Amtrak from Portland to the Bay Area for a convention and to see some friends. I've taken the train to/from Seattle several times, but never a trip this long.

Any tips or suggestions to keep in mind for 20-ish hour train trip? I'm particularly trying to figure out food, as I am a vegetarian with several food allergies (including both bell peppers and soy, common ingredients in default "vegetarian" options) so I assume I'll have to pack my own food rather than rely on train food. I'm kind of thinking little-kid lunch food, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a carrot or two, but I'm open to suggestions (particularly for breakfast foods).

Also, any suggestions for where to store luggage during the day in San Fransisco? There's a day where I'll be checking out of the convention hotel that morning, spending about an hour on mass transit to get to San Fransisco from the deep suburbs, entertaining myself being a tourist for the day, and then meeting up with a friend for dinner and crashing at their place in a totally different suburb that night, so leaving them at the hotel isn't a great option. I plan to get all of my stuff down to the point where I can carry it hands-free (backpack, hiking waistpack, shoulder-strap purse), but that still seems like it would be kind of obnoxious to touist around a strange city with.

Finally, anything I should particularly see or do while in San Fransisco? I spent a month in the Bay Area ten years ago, but didn't do any of the "tourist" things because I had a full-time job and was living in cruddy hotels while I tried to find a place to rent for just the summer (never did find one), so I didn't really have time to sightsee. Generally, I like museums and aquariums as tourist attractions, but I'm open to suggestions.
  • khyron

best movie theater to see Alice In Wonderland at?

Dear damned movie nerds...

Next week my wife and I will be visiting Portland for five wonderful days and taking in all kinds of sights, and one of those evenings I imagine we'll be wanting to see Alice In Wonderland. We've been to Portland before, but only briefly and the only movie theater we're immediately familiar with is Cinema 21 (which was great, by the way, we saw There Will Be Blood there).

So we're curious, what is your favorite premiere-run theater in the Portland area (that is scheduled to be showing Alice In Wonderland next week, some chains are boycotting) and what do you like about it? We already know about some of the other artsy, second run, pub-style places but obviously this will be a slightly different matter. We'll be staying just over the river in NE and will be using transit and a rental car, so we can get pretty much anywhere you suggest.
The Bus

Birthday Freebies

My Birthday Week has rolled around again and I'm doing my yearly poll about best birthday freebies and where to go with my wife on my birthday. Here are some of the places I've gone in the past:

- Grolla (now closed)
- Andina
- Tabla
- Castagna
- Higgins
- The Melting Pot (Probably not again)
- Wildwood

I'm looking for something a bit different where I'll really enjoy the stuff the chef puts together. If it were up to me, we'd get a Chef's Table somewhere, but there's going to be 6 of us this year.

As for freebies, I'm looking mostly for stuff from local places -- most of the national chains have info available online, but the local places don't. Here's what I've got so far:

- Red Robin: Free Burger
- Fudruckers: Free Burger
- Orange Julius: Free 16oz Julius
- Black Angus: Free Steak Dinner
- ToDai: Free meal on your birthday - you have to have someone else purchase a meal to get this one, but it works for both lunch and dinner now.
- Cold Stone: Free Ice Cream

I'll be turning 30, if that helps.
profile, tired, quiet

Scratch and dent new appliance shops

Any recommendations for a scratch and dent new appliance shop in town? I need a freezer. The only one I've been able to find is a Sears Appliance Outlet store out by PDX (which I'll be stopping by today since I'm headed up to the Couv). And specifically NEW appliances...haven't had much luck with used ones.

shameless promotion

I know I have seen posts over the years about broken cell phones or needing to find cheap phones... Well, it just so happens that this very day a good friend of mine has opened his own shop where he will be buying, selling and repairing cell phones (and ipods)! He's really good at what he does and has a great team of people behind him... so if you find yourself with a broken phone or just want to get a newer one on the cheap, you should check out his shop in NE. It's called Revived Cellular & Technology and it is very accessible via Max. Here's the website with the address and other details.
c10 dinner

PSA for ODS members

Just passing on some wisdom i learned today while trying to figure out a pile of medical bills. If you are lucky enough to have medical insurance via ODS and find yourself in a medical crisis situation, call your insurer to find out what your coverage is for an ER visit and get told that an ER visit is a $50 copay, you need to keep asking for the fine print that the joe answering the phone doesn't feel the need to tell you. That $50 copay is solely for passing through the door of the ER. It doesn't have any bearing on payment for Doctors or Nurses who talk to you while you are in the ER. It doesn't cover xrays, medications, referrals, or basically anything except walking in the door.

Thanks ODS, i actually bothered and took the time enroute to the ER to find out what to expect financially and was deliberately misinformed. Awesome. I'm so glad that insurance companies are held to such high standards for honesty about their coverage. Had the ODS representative been honest with me, i would have seriously considered just sucking up the pain, buying a pair of crutches from goodwill, and getting the xrays far cheaper from an orthopedist.

*and before i get snarked for being so lucky as to have insurance: yes, i'm extremely thankful to have such excellent coverage. Yes, i'm very very thankful to be employed full time by an employer who offers that insurance. It makes me wince to say that, since i'm paying out the ass for a broken foot that still hurts months later, but if i didn't have such fantastic coverage through my employer i would be edging towards bankruptcy right now from the charges for a paltry 45 minutes visit. Seriously makes one want to curl up in a ball and never risk getting out of bed.
il bike
  • litch

Guy wth 3 dogs looking for a place to live in Eugene

I am getting ready to move to Eugene and start UO's post-baccalaurate pre-med program in the spring trimester in mid-march. I'm 41, have three 10 year old dogs (you can see a picture of my and the dogs below) and spent the last decade+ as a high end tech-support geek in Austin, TX. I was pretty much wiped out by the economic collapse and I'm trying to start a new life. I'm fairly quiet and easy to get along with, I don't smoke cigarettes and I'm a casual drinker (I prefer craft beers and german style white wines). I spend most of my time reading, doing stuff online, and taking my dogs to the park.

Does anyone know someone who might be able to help me?
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Writing Workshop Event!

I know I already posted this a few weeks ago but we still have room and I wanted to let people know that one last time. I apologize if this is spam-y, it's not my intention!

Feeling your creativity being washed away? Join my eight week writing workshop to get your imagination jump started.

Any genre or experience level is welcome as we can draw from each other’s experiences, skills and talents. Bring a journal for time spent free writing to a variety of prompts. We’ll also workshop your individual stories, poems, essays, screenplays, songs or experimental writing piece.

Time: 4:00pm-6:00pm, Sundays March 7-April 25

Where: Writers' Dojo 7518 N. Chicago Ave Portland, OR 97203
(Let me know if you have transportation difficulties and we might be able to work something out.)

Bring: a journal, pen, an open mind

Cost: $10 suggested donation (covers all eight weeks)

Note: Space limited to 15 participants

You can RSVP by visiting the Facebook event (!/event.php?eid=304746197337) or by emailing Thank you!