Wednesday, February 17, 2010


(Directors Note- if you would like to quietly hum the olympic theme to yourself, that would be strongly encouraged- or if you like you could open this link in another window and have it as back ground music while you read)


We headed up to the Olympics on Tuesday (incase you were wondering it was in Vancouver in 2010!!)

Vancouver is in CANADA!!

Whoa Nelly was there no question about that! Canadians were so into being from Canada and having the Olympics in Canada it was a little overwhelming at times. It was like Spirit Week in your highschool times 5 million (that much more money as well as people). Every store front, bus billboard, childs face and street sign was painted Go Canada, go Olympics. Not to get too far ahead of myself but one of the neatest parts of the day was being in the city of Vancouver while Canada defeated Norway (I think) in Hockey. It was like (I imagine) being in a Superbowl City. Here is one of the giant screens set up around Vancouver for people to watch the game:

So the point is- Canadians love being Canadian and love Hockey and Canada.

Admitedly I had previousl only spent a few days in Canada (in Victoria which I absolutely adored, but I was out of my mind sick as a little dog then zonked on crazy Canadian cold medicine and accordingly was unable to draw any realistic conclusions) but the whole time I was walking around Victoria I was thinking about how much Canada is Bizzaro America. I expected to pass an exact version of our olympic group except they would have goatees and say "badbye, eh?" -- Seriously everything is the same but just a little different (like people put maple syrup in their hot chocolate? is that a joke Canada?) street signs, fast food shops, the love of hockey instead of football. This whole same-differentness put a surreal spin on day.

The Olympics themselves- I have mixed feeling about. I really love the Olympics- the whole idea of bring the world together for two peaceful weeks etc etc. And I really loved going to them and being part of that! But that being said - The Vancouver part of the Olympics were not very well organized and just a little disapointing. As my friend Brian Alamars said "I think I've gotten a gold medal in the Olympic Experience of waiting in lines." Everywhere we went- there were mind blowing disneyworld lines. It was an hour wait to get IN to the Olympic Store to see if there was anything you wanted to buy and an other hour and a half to check out (we didn't go). It was two hours just to pick up our Olympics tickets, and another hour to get through Security at the venue. I realize that there were literally thousands of people from all over the world desending upon Vancouver- but there was also only two or three places you could pick up your Olympic tickets- and they were manned by only two or three people. That is just a small example of how the Olympics were just not very well planned. There was a total lack of signs and maps - and although our team leader had done extensive research before we left (in fact this was our saving grace) it was extremely difficult to figure out what was up. This might be the case for all Olympics- that the Games are just to massive an event to properly manage- but I've only been to this one and again I was a little disapointed.

Ok enough bitching- you dont care about that shizzle! Olympics Olympics Olympics!! We DID get to see the Olympic Torch, which was pretty incredible!

Although don't be fooled- the picture below was about as close as we could get without a sweet zoom function on your camera

Here I am with the Olympic Torch:

Another thing that was cool was seeing athletes just walking around- we saw groups from Italy Germany and Russia in the various Olympic areas (outside of the event we went too), and our friends Brian and Tiffany were at the same resturant as Sven Kramer the Netherlands Superstar of Speed Skating. And it was really neat seeing people from ALL over having pride for their country. Like this person:

Ha ha! This was on the way to the Women's Hockey Russia vs USA game that Andy and I went too. Going to the event was incredibly fun- and in the way the Olympics came up a little short in other regards, being at this event and seeing Team USA play was completely awesome.

The security line was a little long- but they had audio recordings of Canadian celebrities like Martin Short, Mary Hart and David Copperfield welcoming you to the games while you waited, and all the Olympic Staff and Volenteers were very very nice.

This is the Olympic Logos on the Ice, which I thought was pretty cool:

The Olympic International Press- their section was HUGE!


Here is the Olympic Village from afar!!

If you click on the picture it will make it bigger- then you can see all the flags hanging off the balconies

This is some kind of Olympic thing:

Here is the Olympic Ice Skating Rink

Here is my Olympic Lunch!

After the Hockey Game Andy and I ended up in some kind of crazy Olympic street fair outside a CASINO! We had this delicious noodle pile

To me- one of the coolest parts of the whole Olympic set up was the SOCHI Dome! It is a little embarassing to admit- but I didn't even know what Sochi was until going to the Olympics- it is the host city of the NEXT Olympic games, in Russia. Here is the Sochi Dome by Day:

And by Night:

Overall- the Olympics get a 6.5 out of ten from me. I am so glad that I went- and if there is any chance of getting up their in the next week I really recommend you go too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"You only have three cats? That's too few, I have six"

Sometimes you hear a quote that so perfectly encaspulates an experience, and this ("You only have three cats? That's just too few, I have six") was it for the Portland Cat show. We had this conversation less than five minutes in the door with the wonderful woman who (in a cat sweatshirt) who sold us our tickets for the show.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. My friend Kendra had heard of this international cat show that was happening in Portland last weekend, and knowing that I was a cat fanatic also she invited me to go! (Look for Kendra's FABULOUS Pet Blog coming soon!)
So we headed down to P-Town, bright and early Sunday morning fortified with pop chips and doughnuts and a chihuahua named Wolfgang. We made great time drivng- Apparently there was an important sporting event last Sunday which may have been why we made such good time? We arrived just as the cat show was starting, and despite the temptation of those door buster cat show savings we decided to fortify ourselves with a quick trip to Pets on Broadway (it was sort of like a Cat Show Pre-Funk) and a hearty breakfast at the Village Inn. Which was a lot more delcious than it looked and we didn't have to wait at all which is crucial for the elusive Portland Breakfast:

Ok but you don't care about that lets get to the CAT SHOW!!

We were amazed at the number of . . . uh. . . grungy looking men in pick up trucks who were headed into the Portland Expo Center for the Cat Show, and even commented on how open minded and awesome Portlanders must be. Until I saw an older gentalman walking through the parking lot carring a shot gun in one hand and a Pepsi in the other. I wish had the presence of mind to take a picture, but by the time I got my camera out it was too late. It turns out the Portland Gun Show was happening in the other Exhibition Hall and as we all know and love you don't have to wait three days to buy a gun.
Luckily Kendra and Jen already had their tickets to the Gun Show.
So we walked around the building and finally we found The Cat Show:

The sign was a little disappointing after seeing the Gun Show Sign
The Cat Show was only $8 ($5 with coupon) which was about the right value. You walk in and it is rows and rows of tables set up with crates of cats. All different kinds, long hair, short hair, bald, and maybe even more interesting their owners:
The cat crates were set up so they owners had a crate and right next to it they had a space for prejudging grooming or a second crate. All the crates were a little different- but my favorite ones were decorated. (side note:) I know the shots below may not be the best- but I wasn't sure of the cat show etiquette and all snark aside I really didn't want to offend anyone. These were people (albiet odd) doing what they really love and I respect that.) People went all out! The crates varried from simple wire cages to custom made cat cabinets made of wood and glass. Oh and different themes (some of which were named) like America, Purple Fantasy and a Night to Remember, these are pictures of just some of my favorites:
Then around the entire perimeter there was judging going on. Cats were put in different holding cages and the judge would pull them out display them for the crowd, feel their bone structure in a similar way to the Westminster Dog Show, look in the cat's face and eyes and then check their reaction to a cat toy. It was funny because like on the show Toddlers and Tiaras, it was clear that some of the cat contestants clearly loved being judged. They showed off for the crowed were alert and attentive to the toy and kissed up to the judge in their own feline way. Others were terrified and spent their time in the spot light just tring to get away. (Infact one owner was telling us she had a beautiful show worthy cat that as a kitten was a cat show superstar and won big all the times he was displayed but as an adult decided that he just didn't want to do it anymore and she was now trying to sell him off as a private pet) Here are some pictures of cat judging:
The last picture is of Brian Moser, he was our favorite judge because he was quiet and kind to the cats and genuinely seemed to enjoy what he was doing. We watched long enough that he would sometimes narrate to us what was he was doing, which was really the only insight I got all day.
Also there was a cat agility course:
Which, as you might imagine was rather diffcult. We only saw one cat complete the whole course the entire time we were there- but it was still fun to watch.
Oh! But my favorite part of the whole cat show was the fact that there was meowing happening all the time!! It was a noise hard to explain, but after weeks of listening to pretty constant hissing and growling it was kind of fun to listen to a cat ch
Ok so now the real question: what were the people like? The people were definately different. There were older women who I suppose could qualify as "cat ladies" but of course like anything there were all different ages types of people, and yes men too! But all the people took the show very very seriously and were just a little off. We even got drawn into some major cat show controversy, that I am not at liberty to talk about on the off off chance that anyone from the CFA would ever read this blog, I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the next time you see me ask me about it and I will tell you But yes many differen types of odd cat-loving people. I tried to see if there was any corolation between breed and type of owner, but there wasn't any pattern that I could tell.
Truthfully I couldn't really figure out the pattern of the cat show at all. Cats seemed to be not grouped in any particular order, and not really judged in any order either, and judging was happening constantly. In the three or four hours we were there, ribbons were being awarded at all times. All the cats at the show had mutiple awards already on their cages and were getting pulled to judging all the time (seriously, we had to wait almost 40 minutes to talk to one breeder because she has taking her same cats to multiple juding rounds in a row). And this is a two day event. I watched for a long time trying to figure out exactly what was happening and truthfully I could not come to any real conclusions. This is what it feels like to be an anthropologist studying extinct cultures maybe.