Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Cheese, snake cam and staying in character

We just spent the day in Seattle, so naturally I am hopped up on coffee, and what better thing to do with my caffeinated fingers than continue playing catch-up with the blog?

I'll take you back in time now to our visit of the Tillamook Creamery/ Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Ore.--that's right, the very cheese you use to make your quesadillas or place grandly on your BBQ burgers. (None of that cellophane wrapped fake cheese, thankyouverymuch.)

It's a self guided tour with an intro video that shows how the multiple dairy farmers (over 50!) in Tillamook County must wear several hats as a dairy farmer (mechanic, veterinarian and businessman!). Apparently when people first started moving to Tillamook, they realized their cows' milk started getting sweeter. Why this is, I don't know. The video never explained that. My guess is it had something to do with the weather. Anyways, sweeter milk equaled better cheese and Tillamook County began to dominate all the cheese-tasting contests in the area.

A replica of the Morning Star with Jeremy

And with a good product comes commerce, and the ship Morning Star was born to transport the cheese throughout the northwest, because trucking was too expensive and hazardous for the cheese.

Sadly, the tour wasn't nearly as fun as I had hoped. There were no viewings of milk being poured into vats mixed with the bacteria or whatever it is to make milk curd, and I couldn't see the curds get taken out of the whey and get pressed into loaves before being set on a refrigerated shelf to age like in the video. Instead, we got to see cheese getting sliced and packaged--the scraps of which, I suspect, were used for the free taste-testing line.

We were fortunate enough to be walking next to a group who appeared to be friends of one of the workers there, who evidently gave them a tour and explanations on why the pepper jack cheese wasn't processed by hand (the workers got itchy eyes) and why we couldn't see the cheese get sliced into sandwich-size slabs separated by wax paper or shredded (that's all done in California and Ohio).

To top it all off, we ate some Tillamook ice cream (that's right, they make great ice cream too) and drove back to Di's place in Vancouver, literally chasing rainbows due to the rain and sunshine.

Snakes on a Plane, Snakes on a Train, Snakes going Insane!
We finally did it. We watched the godawful movie Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson and the actress who played Carol Hathaway on E.R.
But we did it in style.
We went to the Baghadad theater in Portland which is a prime example of the restoration efforts of McMenamins, a brewery that decided to actually help out its community by turning old buildings into viable contributors of local commerce while also preserving the aesthetic and history of the buildings.

The secret of restoring a movie theater:
Step 1: Show second-round movies for cheap. The ones that other theaters dropped a few weeks ago in favor of a new money maker.
Step 2: Make the inside of the theater comfy by adding tables so people can eat their movie theater food without having to worry about balancing everything on their knees.
Step3: Sell pizza.
Step 4: Sell beer.

I only wish the El Rey in Chico, Calif. had done something like this to keep it from closing. Office space does not do the theater justice.

Anyways the cheers, groans and moans from theatergoers were magnified by the alcohol, and Snakes on a Plane was fantastic for the sheer spectacle of over-the-top cheesiness. Among my favorite scenes were the snake cam shots, which looked like night-vision goggles seen through the eyes of a cat on LSD. Craptacular. And in case you were wondering, we have no pictures of the theater because we were trying to blend in with the hipsters of Portland.

Next up: I'll get to Washington, I swear!

The El Rey... *cries*

I had to cover the last showing. Tragedy.
Oh, any you guys want to find how I'm dealing with your major beats? Click here to read.
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