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Monday, October 31, 2005  

The party crew
Originally uploaded by julieverive.

Another successful double-hitter Halloween celebration! I had some serious shoes to fill as last-years Phil Colins mask was such a huge successes. As luck would have it way-back in January I found the perfect follow-up: Christopher Walken! He had a creepy portrait in Variety’s annual celeb photo-issue and I was able to construct a paper-mask that we even creepier than last years! It was a HUGE success! Julie’s costume as a vampiric saloon girl was equally awesome and we had a great time out-and-about. Mary was a 70’s basketball all-star, Matthew was Phil, and Beau’s last-minute Andy Warhol came-off great! We saw many other great costumes at the Del and Phil’s house-party (Pictures taken by Matt here,) drank some kick-ass punch, then proceeded to Justin’s birthday celebration at Bar Sinister. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, and I haven’t yet looked over the 150+ pictures we took, but when I do I’ll of course Flickr them for your perusal. Tonight I think we’ll just watch something scary and eat all the candy we bought for the trick-or-treaters that don’t actually come to our building…

posted by JMV | 10/31/2005 12:16:00 PM

Wednesday, October 26, 2005  

Originally uploaded by OctopusHat.

Not Dead Yet
I actually got off my ass and scanned in the 35mm shots I took on vacation (again, since the first time I had the scanner set-up improperly.) I’ve posted my favorites to flickr this morning, so go check them out. I’m pissed that the Gort picture has so much CRAP on it, I’ll have to clean off the neg and glass and scan it a THIRD time as it is one of my favorite shots.

In other news, I will again have a short-film in “The Attack of the Fifty Foot Reels” screening to be held on November 3rd at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I decided to try something a little more experimental this year and ended up with a short (~2-minute) time-lapse piece. We’ll see if what I tried worked…

posted by JMV | 10/26/2005 10:59:00 AM

Tuesday, October 18, 2005  

A Heaping Plate of My Thoughts
I’m so far behind in my banal descriptions of media that I’ve recently consumed. So to catch up over the next couple of days I will just fling a whole fist-full of opinions, spaghetti-like, at you and see what sticks.

First up, “Serenity” the long awaited theatrical adaptation of the beloved Joss Whedon Sci-Fi show killed in its infancy by FOX. I’m sure you are aware I was a fan of the show and have turned quite a few people onto it since it debuted on DVD. SO the Movie finally came out and it was pretty great. For a fan of the show it was like an early Christmas present what with all the great character development and resolving of long-standing plot-lines (and some pretty shocking surprises too.) It also represents a very cool achievement in filmmaking as it is a glossy sci-fi space-opera that looks like a hundred million bucks but really only cost 40 million. It was even produced in Hollywood as opposed to Canada or over-seas! Unfortunately the box-office numbers haven’t been very good…

posted by JMV | 10/18/2005 05:53:00 PM

Thursday, October 13, 2005  

Wrapping Things Up
About a year ago I stumbled upon a photo-set at flickr of “Latte art” pouring in a coffee shop in Seattle called Victrola and since then I’ve wanted to pay them a visit. The café turned out to be cooler than I could have imagined. We walked in and one of my favorite CDs was playing (Portishead’s P:NYC) and I was in love. As Julie and I stood in line we saw the barista pour a Café Americano for someone and we both our jaws dropped and we just looked at each others, silently communicating that it was indeed the best-looking americano either of us had ever seen. I suddenly felt like a very small child in a very larg candy-store. I ordered a latte, which I don’t usually even like, and Julie ordered a double-shot. We stood back and watched the barista at work (I really wish that I had gotten her name) and I was amazed by her focus and attention to the shots she was pulling. We were a long ways away from the actress-slash working the bar at Starbucks between auditions. The barista was literally crafting our drinks. Not just serving coffee or making lattes, but creating an experience. It was a joy to see the pride that she had in the drinks she was making. Long-story-short we get our drinks, and drink them. Oh yeah, the latte was the best cup-of-coffee I have ever had. Ever. Victorla does more than brew and serve the coffee, they also ROAST and blend their beans, which makes all the difference. I went back in and bought a pound of Bolivian coffee and a shirt, and I really wish that I could go back for my afternoon cup.

After coffee we headed back to John and Greg’s place for more games and booze! The next morning we rose early and headed to the airport to return the rental car. A mere 6 hours in the airport before we boarded out flight back to the southland! It was really a wonderful trip and it was great to see so many great friends! We really fell in-love w/ Seattle and I can’t wait to go back!

posted by JMV | 10/13/2005 03:32:00 PM

Tuesday, October 11, 2005  

Seattle, the Pesto of Cities
I’m getting tired of penning this travelogue and I can only imagine how tired of reading it you must be, and I really had planned on wrapping things up with this post. But I don’t think it is going to happen, so stick with me for a couple more days…

We spent the evening at our host’s apartment drinkin’ beers, playing games, and getting caught-up. The next morning it was our “tourist day” and we got an early start and were soon at the waterfront and Pike’s Market. We got a cup of seriously potent coffee at a “Tullys” which had a very cool, if somewhat Starbuckian, vibe; as well as coffee that could strip the paint off a battleship. (which is a good thing.) I’m used to Hollywood coffee, which is brewed strong as this whole town runs on it in a way that is lampooned often but in reality is a very serious. I once saw a craft-service PA get fed to a lion because of sub-par coffee. Ok that isn’t true but you get the idea. Anyway, the Tullys coffee was stiff even by my standards. We proceeded into the market which was similar to LA’s “Farmers Market” except more cramped, more tourists, and multi-leveled. We saw the infamous fish-throwers (who were waiting for the crowds to thicken before they actually began chucking things) then tried to find a donut shop that several people had told us about. It wasn’t long before we came across a purveyor of fried dough and figured the “Texas Twist” was what we were told to get. After all it was $4 worth of donut. It was 12” long and must have weighted 10 pounds. It was so large in fact that I named it Bill. Bill the giant Donut. Julie and I did our best to polish Bill off but only got about ½ through it before stuffing him back in the bag and pressing on. We rounded the next corner of the market and saw a small stand with archaic looking machines spitting tiny dough-balls into hot oil. These were the donuts we were told to find! But we were full-up on Bill and they only sold the tiny, fresh, “anti-bills” by the dozen and so we grumpily left declaring Pikes Market a Tourist Trap and heading to our next stop, a hidden Jem of Jet Cit, The Space Needle complex.

The weather was perfect site-seeing in Seattle weather: overcast and gloomy, threatening to rain but never actually getting wetter than a mist. We parked, loaded up on photographic gear and hit the “Seattle Center.” Julie was a bit sketched out about the Space Needle so we opted for the Museum of Science Fiction first. It turned out to be a pretty cool museum that collected a TON of memorabilia, a lot of literary works, and packaged it all together with the sort of in-depth and interactive supplementary material. Some highlights were the complete, hand-written manuscript for Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, the Actual “load-lifter” and Alien Queen from the film Aliens, and a video-exhibit focusing on city-scrapes in science fiction works. After wondering around the museum we took on the towering monument to 50s idealism (never mind that it was build in 62, the 50s didn’t end until JFK got offed.) What to say about the space-needle? It was tall. The view was cool. Julie was terrified.

From there we decided that since the Sci-Fi museum was so cool we should go back and hit the EMP or “Experience the Music Project,” which shared the Frank Gehry designed building w/ the Sci-Fi Museum. EMP was equally cool, and absolutely filled to the brim with kick-ass relics of rock and roll. There was a whole wing for Jimmy Hendrix that contained dozens of outfits, smashed-guitars, original lyrics scrawled on hotel stationary etc etc. There was a long-hall dedicated to the music of the Pacific Northwest that really showed that the “Seattle Scene” went a lot deeper than Grunge. There were a lot (and I mean guitar-center quantities) of instruments, and while it was a lot of things you could see at the Hard Rock Café in Des Moines the problem with the Hard Rock is all the relics of musical history are just slapped onto the wall. There is no gravity. Only a minimum of respect is paid to the spirit of the piece. At EMP everything is being glass, lit with spotlights and labeled as if it were a Renoir. And this attention to the WEIGHT of what your looking at makes all the difference. But of course the Museum is much more than rock-and-roll memorabilia. There is a whole interactive audio-tour (which we didn’t have time to do,) a DIY song-creation setup where you can play a variety of instruments and actually produce a CD of your one-man-band performance, an exhibit dedicated to the ethereal art of songwriting, listening stations, workshops. A performance space, café and bar, giant robotic sculpture, and even a temporary exhibit dedicated to the saccharine pop of TRL. We were really impressed with Both EMP and the Sci-fi museum, but it was getting late and I had one last stop planned for the day.

posted by JMV | 10/11/2005 10:29:00 AM

Monday, October 10, 2005  

Plumb the Depths
Where are we? What day is it? Why am I sticky? These were the thoughts occupying our minds as we rolled into Longview WA (except for the sticky part. I made that up.) As we had made the drive from Portland into Washington after nightfall we missed the road-side scenery and as a result felt oddly disconnected from the landscape as we motored into the Ramada Inn’s lot. It was just another place that wasn’t the car. However, compared to the Motel 6 in Weed, CA the Ramada might as well have been the Ritz. “Look! A fridge!” I exclaimed. “Oh my god, there is a coffee machine and a Microwave.” Feeling pampered by the indulgences of a bed we slept like Bedouins. The next morning we hit-up the free breakfast but were repulsed by the “coffee” (or at least the tan liquid that spurted out of the thermal-pump-thingy) and decided to flee figuring we were in Washington and finding a Starbucks should be much easier that NOT finding one. It actually took us nearly 10 minuets before we found a drive-though espresso shack where 4 shots of espresso were expertly pulled by the teen-aged barista. It was that moment that I began falling in love with Washington. A tiny shack alongside the main-drag of the small-town of Longview (which I actually quite-liked) provided us with one of the best coffees we’d had on the trip (the Iced Americano I had on Alameda still reigned.) Our drug-cache newly restocked we hit the interstate and plotted a course to the very heart of an active volcano.

The weather threatened to turn ugly as we parked at the “Ape Cave” trail-head (so-called because the caves were discovered by a local Boy Scout troupe named the Apes.) We donned our “caving” gear and added some scarves and the descended into the 2000 year-old Lava tubes. The cave/tube was awesome. Usually 30+ feet from wall-to-wall with towering ceilings it wasn’t the claustrophobic cavern I had imagined. At one point when we were walking back towards the entrance to the cave a church-group of 20-30 elementary school aged kids was walking the other direction and of course we could hear them long before we could see them. I couldn’t help but feel that they were a slavering hoard of goblins (a la Moria) as the light of their lanterns rounded a bend. We finished the mile-and-a-half hike and decided to take the long-way around the mountain so that we could see the devastation wrought by mother nature some 25 years ago. Unfortunately as we neared the choice viewing areas the weather took the previously threatened turn towards ugly and visibility was reduced to about 20 feet. Julie was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see the mountain’s scar, but the fog and rain would make any further progress towards Spirit Lake pointless. Instead re-joined I-5, determined to make Seattle before nightfall.

We hit the city right as the rush-hour traffic began to congeal on the interstate and as the rain began. We were happy to be at our final destination city and soon enough we would be at John and Gress’ place and hopefully soon after that a Pizza joint.

Tomorrow: Jet City tourists strike at the heart.

posted by JMV | 10/10/2005 11:46:00 AM

Friday, October 07, 2005  

This Just In
I just discovered that the newest “State Quarter” is for Oregon and the design features Crater Lake. This excites me because I’ve been there! That and it is late-afternoon on Friday and I get excited about little things (like quarters) when I’m this close to the weekend.

posted by JMV | 10/07/2005 03:53:00 PM

Thursday, October 06, 2005  

Weed, Cheese, and Beer
After a night in the Weed Motel 6 we had a very important decision to make. DO we cruise the street of the California Mountain town looking for palatable coffee (only through travel did we discover the true levels of our caffeine addictions,) or push forward uncaffinated. We chose the later and marked Ashland, Oregon as our first stop of the day. The terrain was growing in beauty as we made our way across state-lines and we were soon in the small college town of Ashland and the parking lot of one of the nicer Starbucks that I’ve been in. After much needed fuel we set our sites on the first our our sites to see: Crater Lake. A few hours later, over hill and through glade, we arrived at the visitors center and drank in the splendor of the water-filled calderas, I was skeptical at first but it turns out that Crater lake is pretty damn cool. We took a bunch of pictures, bought some postcards, lost a pair of (6$ sunglasses) and were on our way. Next stop Portland!
It was dark by the time we rolled into Stump-town so we didn’t get much of a visual impression of the area, but it certainly seemed like ever road we drove on since crossing into Oregon was under construction. We found the Case Flores and got to visit with Christine and Colin (who is very big and surprisingly mobile!) before Greg got home from work. We stayed up entirely too late (sorry Greg) catching up and Julie and I planned to hit the Tillimook Cheese factory the next morning. Tillamook, OR is about 90 minutes west of the Portland area and the drive was lots of farmland and lots of forest (and of course lots of construction.) But we found the factory and got to see them making Cheese and had some free samples and then went back for more free samples. Then we hit the gift-cum-cheese shop where we bought like 2 pounds of cheese which we proceeded to lunch-on in picnic area outside; then we went back in for some soon-to-be-famous Tillamook ice cream. (What is vacation w/o some excess?) Then it was back into Portland where we got to explore the city a bit before picking Greg up from work and getting a late dinner then some more beer at one of Portland’s Many pubs (though I can’t remember which one.) The next day Greg was off so Julie and I had a guide, and our first order of business was the Rogue Brewery where we got to take a tour of their distillery operation. We talked with the master distiller who gave us the run-down on how they make their rum. Fascinating stuff (and the Irish Ale I had was quite tasty, why really wish I had bought a bottle…) More touring the city, some shopping, and more eating followed and then Julie and I headed north so we could get an early start on Mount St. Helens, stopping for the night in Longview, WA.

posted by JMV | 10/06/2005 03:57:00 PM

Three Years In The Life
Today marks Julie and my THREE YEAR anniversary!
I’m really having trouble finding words to express how this makes me feel. I’m happier now that I have ever been before, and I owe it all to Julie! SO thanks for everything Jules! You are the best there it!

posted by JMV | 10/06/2005 12:07:00 PM

Wednesday, October 05, 2005  

San Jose and Beyond
We arrive at The Carle’s house in Los-Gatos-with-a-San-Jose-address and proceeded to catch-up and geek-out a bit. Then we decided to enjoy their spacious back-yard by trying out a game invented by Jodi’s Moms, for the time being called Huevos Horseshoes (or testicle tennis.) It involves two goal-structures made from PVC pipe, each with 3 horizontal rungs. The teams then take turns throwing/flinging/pitching (or “thwing”) a “Huevos Horseshoe” (two golf balls connected by 18” of cord) at the goal, scoring points if it wraps around the rung. It sounds goofy, and by all means it is. Our utter ineptitude at the game led to our stomachs winning as we decided to eat instead of play to the requisite 21 points (I think the final score was something in the neighborhood of Carles: 9 Verives: 7) After dinner at the unfortunately named Double D’s (they did make a damn-fine cheese burger though) we returned to Casa Carle where Julie and I were finally able to grasp the play of the most Midwestern of card-games: Euchre.
More games and more wine followed, back up by more wine and some seizure-inducing videogames before my brain started to melt and we turned it. The next morning we hit breakfast and then the road. It was so great to get to spend some quality time w/ Andrew and Jodi, but we began to realize that on this trip there would be many friends and reunions, but not near enough time to spend with each of them. It would be like a tasting menu of friends. Torn between happy to have seen them, but sad to leave, we struck out on the wonderfully straight-forward silicon valley/bay area freeway system, and were soon on the tiny island of Alameda.
We spent the afternoon catching up, eating some of the hottest Mexican food I’d ever seen (like hot with FIRE. The enchiladas were literally BOILING when brought to the table,) walking around the island, and taking ZERO pictures. It was great to finally see the Holohans after a couple of false-starts, but the road called and cut our visit short. A quick fill-up and 11 freeway interchanges later and we were flying down the I-5 once again. We needed to make to Oregon Boarder by Monday in the early AM and we regrettably had to blow straight through Northern California; missing Jason and Monica, as well as some Aunts and Uncles, in Sac-town, and Anne in Reading. Curses! By 9pm we had the white-line-fever and needed a fill-up as we wound up the mountains past Mt Shasta. We decided to spend the night in oh-so-(not really)-lovely Weed, CA and push into Oregon in the morning.

posted by JMV | 10/05/2005 12:42:00 PM

Tuesday, October 04, 2005  

Leg One
On Friday morning we rose exceptionally early and set out to pick-up our rental car. We were unfortunately unable to get a PT Cruiser and had to settle on a Pontiac Grand Prix (it was that or a Trail-Blazer.) And by 11:45 we were loaded-up and ready to hit the road. 5 hours and 345 miles later we arrived at Julie’s Childhood home and hung-out with the family before heading off to dinner at a pub in Palo Alto (or was it Mountain View?) The next morning we were treated to a stately breakfast that included a pile of waffles the likes of which I had never seen before. It was truly a wonder-inducing stack of breakfast-breads. We were on the road again by 11:30 and after coffee in “downtown” Los Altos we headed over-the-hill to see how Santa Cruz has faired in the two years since our departure.

We parked downtown and remarked that though some store-fronts had changed, and corporate America was gaining ground bit-by-bit into the fiercely independent heart of Santa Cruz. Look! An Urban Outfitters! Look! Quiznos and Baja Fresh! Etc etc. We then stopped in at my favorite taco-joint on the planet where I had my favorite tacos in the world. Then it was off to San Jose to Visit with Andrew and Jodi (who we hadn’t seen since their wedding!)

posted by JMV | 10/04/2005 12:42:00 PM

Weary Travelers
So as I’m sure you have surmised, we survived our odyssey on the road and have been dragged, with much kicking and screaming, back into the harsh light of 40+ hour work-weeks, bedtimes, and all associated horrors. The trip was fantastic, a real departure from any kind of vacation I’ve had before. I’ve posed the first round of pics on the ol’ flickr account, so check them out. I’ll be taking the next couple of days to write about our different stops and some highlights of the trip as I get some free moments. Maybe I’ll be able to take enough time to actually form attractive sentences and string those into pleasing paragraphs.

posted by JMV | 10/04/2005 11:25:00 AM
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