Wednesday, August 10, 2011

... omg - omsi...

today was a pretty ordinary day. except where i was abused by some semi-homeless looking guy in a take-out joint who then went on to have a long and involved political discussion with a trimet-uniformed bus driver, abused because i was sitting at what he, apparently felt was his own personal booth. clearly, i should have arrived later. alas.

the basic goal today was to visit omsi - the oregon museum of science and industry. after having been thoroughly through museums in australia like the powerhouse museum in sydney or questacon in canberra, i had rather high hopes for omsi. alas.

i think part of the issue was that right from the outset i felt like i was being stung. general admission to the museum was only $12, which wasn't too bad, but there were a few exhibits that cost an extra $8-plus, and if you wanted to see one of the fancy movies (omnimax) or go to the planetarium (and if you've seen the episode of south park just try thinking about visiting a planetarium of any sort with a straight face!), all of that cost extra as well. you could bundle it all up in one price if you wanted to, for certain combinations, but i really felt let down.

i had been led to believe - i felt led to believe that omsi was awesome. i think that if i were eight years old or the parent of an eight-year-old, then i would think omsi was pretty awesome. for anyone else, though, i think it just kind of misses the mark.

i will admit that the rather extensive exhibit on babies from conception to birth was fascinating. i've not seen so many real life embryos at different stages since i visited the museum of natural history in beijing back in 1993. the accompanying text was clear and informative, good for all levels of audience - age, reading, etc - but i did feel as if it were its best foot. having put that forward, i found everything else to be something of a letdown.

the palaeontology section was closed in favour of a narnia exhibit (costs extra); a bunch of exhibits on nanotechnology were clearly aimed at elementary-school level audiences; another section was very deliberately geared for the same audience; the game on 2.0 exhibit was a major drawcard but heaps of the games weren't working properly, wii handsets weren't tethered to their matching consoles, and the volume on a major presentation on arcade games was way too low to be heard. alas.

i was thoroughly prepared to spend upwards of four hours, seriously wandering around omsi - after all, i think i probably managed to spend about four hours at the maritime museum in astoria - actually it was only two and a bit hours but it felt a darn sight longer than that. (click here to read about that!)

so after this singularly disappointing experience, i wandered back into town and had a very delicious coffee milkshake at city coffee, the first coffee place i visited back when i was here in 2009. the staff are a bit more surly than i remember but they were very apologetic about not giving me a hazelnut latte when i'd ordered on (they gave me a plain one) and refused to take my filthy lucre when i offered to buy a plain latte that they could add hazelnut to in exchange.

i really am getting used to the portland street layout. i've worked out how to understand the avenues and the streets seem to be really a matter of familiarity, learning which ones are more northerly (even when you're in sw portland) and which ones are more southerly (even when you're in ne portland). visiting church on sunday proved to be an enlightening experience from an exploring-new-streets perspective and, now that i think about it, it was pretty much on the way to klickitat street, which has a park with statues featuring the characters from beverly cleary's books. i'd meant to go there last visit to portland - perhaps this time i'll make it.

i got my washing done yesterday. i've been reading zines today. some very funny stuff. lots of bavarder in the common area at the hostel tonight. reminiscing about films like gremlins, poltergeist, the blair witch project.

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