Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ventura Park (roses, mostly)

Roses, Ventura Park

Ventura Park


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Today's expedition takes us back to outer SE Portland's Ventura Park on SE Stark between 113th & 117th. I've mentioned the park here before as the home of Milestone P7. The milestone is one really distinctive thing about the place, but it does have a small rose garden too. So I took a few rose photos, and I thought I'd post some of them, along with a couple of the rest of the park, I guess for context if nothing else.

Ventura Park

I don't have a lot of trivia to share about the park, I'm afraid. And there's nothing really earth-shattering, so I'll forgive you if you just scroll down to the roses.

Anyway, there's an elementary school just north of the park, and this part of town is far enough east that the school's in the David Douglas school district rather than part of Portland public schools, even though it's within Portland city limits. Longtime Portlanders might recall that a large chunk of east Multnomah County was only annexed to Portland in the late 1980s, and City Hall still tends to regard the area as a mysterious and distant colony -- or at least that's how it seems to local residents. The park is an even more recent acquisition. A 1993 city doc mentions that it was recently transferred to the city from Multnomah County. The county decided to get out of the parks business after the Measure 5 property tax limit passed in 1990. Some of the old county parks went to Metro (including Mason Hill Park, Broughton Beach, etc.), and it seems others went to the city. The doc also refers to Ventura Park as "Park 2", and gives the dates "1957-1992". My guess is that 1957 is when the park was created. Which would kind of make sense -- "Ventura Park" is a very 1957-sounding name, and the adjacent Ventura Park Elementary turned 50 in 2008.

Ventura Park

The park's hosted a summer concert series for the last couple of years, so there's that. Seems like it would be a great place for a concert really. If it was closer to downtown and located along Hawthorne or Mississippi instead, it would probably be inundated with concerts, and there might be a permanent stage or something. That may yet happen, if gentrification ever reaches this far east.

Ventura Park is also supposed to get a skatepark someday, according to the city's skatepark master plan. We do actually have a skatepark master plan, believe it or not. That actually does make sense to me, as odd as it might sound initially. The city's existing skateparks do appear to get a lot more use than ballfields typically do, from what I've seen. So if you're trying to benefit the largest number of park users on a limited budget, skateparks may be the way to go. Even if the beneficiaries are disproportionately teenage male non-taxpayers.

There's also a basketball court somewhere on the west side of the park, according to a site that attempts to catalog all the world's basketball courts. Which could actually be a handy reference if you play, which I don't. No user reviews of the court here, in any case.

Oh, and here's a blog post I ran across, someone else writing about the park. And, well, that's about all I've got. So let's get to the roses, shall we?

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Roses, Ventura Park

Monday, January 25, 2010

"the name says it all"

"the name says it all"

Seen, and giggled at like a 13 year old, while walking thru the Excalibur in Las Vegas. I'm sure it's a serious and useful product and all. But still.

"the name says it all"

Updated: These photos were taken in September 2009. We were in Vegas again in September 2010, and we happened to pass through the Excalibur again, and were astonished to see almost exactly the same scene. There was only one person toting the pictured serious and useful product this time, and I think she was heading the opposite direction, but I could be wrong. Way too surprised to take photos this time, unfortunately.

By far the most convincing theory is that there's a cleaning product or similar convention in town, held at the same time every year and at the same hotel, attended by largely the same people. In fact, it's probably the SuperZoo pet retail convention, held at the Mandalay Bay, two casinos south of here.

The second most plausible theory is that people are always toting this sort of thing around the Excalibur and you'll see this no matter what time of year you visit. If you've ever wandered through the Excalibur, you'll quickly realize this can't be ruled out.

Third most likely? A courier or smuggler of some sort: You see these boxes and think they're full of an icky heavy-duty solvent and steer clear, but they're actually full of $100 bills, or casino chips, or something white and Colombian, perhaps. It's probably best not to anger whoever's behind this, so we won't pursue this line of inquiry any further.

Option #4: Ghosts. I don't actually believe in ghosts or anything, but I can see a good ghost story here. Someone was very naughty at the annual convention some decades back and met an untimely demise here, and now they're condemned to ride back and forth, back and forth, forever dragging a big heavy embarrassing box of pee cleaner for the world to see and giggle at -- the Flying Dutchman of moving sidewalks, the Jacob Marley of regional sales managers. Because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... for all eternity!!! Mwhahahaha!!!

On the other hand, it's possible I have a somewhat overactive imagination.

"home of the $10 watch"

home of the $10 watch

Seen on Fremont St., downtown Las Vegas

home of the $10 watch