John Anderson

Ode to Oregon, Including a Trio of Sunsets

I should begin by confessing that I’ll be stretching the definition of “sunset” pretty close to the breaking point with the pictures herein, but if you’ll forgive me that, let’s continue, shall we?

I’m home after a glorious week spent in the Pacific Northwest with my wife and, though it’s good to be home, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I left a not-insignificant piece of my heart in Oregon.  Amanda and I fell in love with the city and surrounding regions (we spent three nights in Portland proper, three nights in the wine country of the Willamette Valley, and two on the coast in Pacific City) and, without any doubt, I can say with certainty that we’ll be returning for (at least) seconds.

We’ll have to return not only to see friends we were able to see on this trip, but to meet new friends (alas, due to vagaries of missed calls on both ends, fellow Whatever guest blogger Mary Robinette Kowal and I were unable to get together), and while we were able to take in quite a few of the restaurants, brewpubs, and wineries that were recommended both here and elsewhere, there are many more that we simply didn’t have time for … and based on how much we loved the ones we did visit, we’re already champing at the bit to find out what we missed (and, yes, to return for seconds to some of the ones we were able to hit).

Much as I’d like to dedicate individual posts to each region we visited, and to the delights discovered therein, I’m afraid that time just isn’t going to permit my doing so, what with the return to work tomorrow, going out to shows two nights this week, and the ‘rents staying over for a night while en route to New York for my Grandma’s 99th birthday party (as well as my own departure for that weekend soiree) … but I’m determined to find time to get in at least one or two more posts before the clock runs out on what has been an enormously fulfilling guest blogging opportunity.

In the meantime, just a few highlights of our trip in the form of brief shout-outs:  superb meals at Por Que No?, Screen Door (with my pal Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Comix, Portland’s finest purveyor of comics), Voodoo Donuts, and Pok Pok, as well as superb beers at Henry’s, the Green Dragon (including a couple hours at the equally superb Rogue Nano Fest which included two beers each from over twenty small-batch craft brewers), A Roadside Attraction, and Deschutte’s (all Portland); memorable meals at La Rambla, Nick’s, Bistro Maison, and A Tuscan Estate, the B&B at which we stayed while in wine country (all McMinnville), and equally memorable wines at … well, too many to mention them all, but I’ll single out Soter, the Carlton Winemakers Studio, Eyrie, and Archery Summit (all Willamette Valley); and finally, more great food on the coast at Pacific Seafood in Bay City, Fat Freddy’s, the Pelican Pub & Brewery (great beer there too!), and our B&B in Pacific City, the Craftsman Bed and Breakfast.  A visit to Pacific City features many charms, and with Mike of the Craftsman B&B as your gracious host, you’ll be made to feel completely at home while you enjoy as many of them as your schedule permits.

In closing, if I may say of Portlanders/Oregonians … you folks are among the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, anywhere in the world.  Seriously, it was as if everyone we met in the state was a self-appointed ambassador for the region, and I think that Greece may be the only place I’ve ever been where I felt that so strongly.  And to the friend with whom my wife and I stayed while in Portland, from whose porch off Skyline Drive the following view of the Willamette Valley comes, please don’t wait too long to let Amanda and I return the favor!:

Now playing:  After a week of living, eating, and drinking locally in Portland, I’m home and listening to the insidiously infectious pop punk of new-to-me local heroes Driving East of Fairfax, VA.  Cheers to my pal Greg, bassist for local indie rock heroes the Jet Age for putting Driving East on my radar.

Now drinking:  On the beverage score, my heart and palate remains in OR as I enjoy a sublime 2007 Eyrie pinot gris.

Kate Baker

The Awesome Side of SF Fandom

My time at Dragon*Con really opened my eyes to how dedicated and loyal some fans can be.

Here we have Amy Pond and the 11th incarnation of the Doctor. I saw fans who loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Final Fantasy, Borderlands, Halo and many others. Some were simple costumes and some went all out on the pageantry.

An incredible example of dedication is this one man’s quest to reforge a lightsaber.

So have you ever done anything as elaborate in a quest to be the ultimate fan?

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