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December 27, 2007 10:33 AM

This is totally awesome. Totally wicked awesome, even. It's a massive spreadsheet of critics' top picks for movies this year. I don't yet understand why some names are in purple and some in blue, but I don't really care. It's still fascinating. Out here in the relative boonies, of course, half these movies have yet to arrive, even ones that have already opened elsewhere — and in regular ol' chain theaters, no less! Atonement, wherefore art the skinny shoulders of Keira Knightley and the beautiful eyes of James McAvoy? Juno, whither she-looks-like-a-rollergirl Diablo Cody's sassy screenplay and the debates about whether the film's actually smart and sweet or a certain kind of male fantasy? (Yes, I read that somewhere. No, I can't remember where.) These aren't movies we should be waiting on, like the ones with limited release that take their time, dawdling on their way up or down I-5. These should be here by now, and I shouldn't be facing a weekend of Alvin and the Chipmunks or AVP:R.

Bitch, moan, whine, complain. This is probably the time to take a few steps back and see the things I've not yet seen. I totally want to see Enchanted, and I'm not ashamed to say so. (You watch the "That's How You Know" clip and see if you can get the damn song out of your head.) I'll probably pass on August Rush despite its pretty leads. But I need to get my hands on Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the apparently flawed and never opened here Sunshine; I need to see some of the things Jason Blair reviewed, especially No Country for Old Men and La Vie En Rose. Time to bump up the number of films I get per month from Netflix, I think. It's less than two months ’til we have to create our own top tens.

And back to those for a minute. Of the films on the compiled top ten, I've seen three, and of those three, two will be nowhere near my top ten: Sweeney Todd, a mediocre muddle of darkness and absurdity that was surprisingly dull for a film with so much spurting blood, and Into the Wild, which felt as if it were trying to present its subject relatively objectively yet failing at nearly every turn. I'm also not sure I fell for Emile Hirsch's portrayal of Christopher McCandless, though I've not been able to pin down quite why.

The third film from that top ten that I've seen, though, will doubtless appear in my own: Once. And I'll keep stewing on my thoughts until the time comes to write about the film again, but in short: You need to see this sweet, plaintive, authentic character/mood/musical piece. It's like nothing else that came out this year, and it shapes the relationship between film, story and music in a way that I can't help but utterly love.

The second ten on this list has a lot more films I can get behind: Eastern Promises, yes, absolutely; I will never understand why the (relatively) simplistic, disappointing A History of Violence was better received than this film. I'm Not There. Ratatouille. And The Lives of Others which technically, to my delight, IS a 2007 film, and which should win a handful of other Oscars to go with that Best Foreign Language film win from this year. I'm not kidding.

I'm looking forward to seeing how many of the rest of these I can squeeze in, consider or reconsider before the middle of February. Good times, good times.

December 21, 2007 05:02 PM

Man, this really seemed like a good idea until I actually had to DO it.

But I'll let today's mail inspire me: a package from The Soap Box Company, all full of wonderful soaps and scrubs. (Are you sensing a theme here, what with the Lush stuff two days ago? Well, it's not on purpose, I swear.) Yes, of course it's too late to order from them now — and they're closed for the holidays as of today — but I'm only posting Giftmassy things for fun, and plus, it being Giftmas we're talking about, you can have it whenever you want. Have it for New Year's! Have it for a random Tuesday in January! Break away from tradition!

Er. Um. Anyway, The Soap Box Company is a haven of bath goods, from Aracana soaps, scrubs and oils (just try to resist Frozen Heart. I dare ya) to Callisto Bath and Body shampoos and sugar scrubs to Possets scents and treats. TSBC makes for a one stop shopping virtual destination for those of us addicted to smelling like spices and tea (Villainess' Masala Smooch, which is what Villainess calls their sugar scrubs), frozen ground and trees (Arcana's Arctic Bear oil, frosty and biting) or a sweet handful of ginger (Possets' Haute Love). The woman who runs the shop is super-helpful and happy to let a panicked, oh-em-gee-I-must-have-it shopper add a forgotten something to her cart via PayPal (even when that shopper — oh, fine, me — paid with a credit card before), and things get shipped out right quick. There's always new stuff on the way — many of these small companies do limited-edition runs of some of their products, so you don't get bored. Not that you could! I've thus far stuck with my already-favorite companies with Soap Box, but I'll branch out soon. Just as soon, that is, as I allow myself to buy soap again. The basket under my sink is getting a little crazy...

Let's just make this a two-for-one post and throw in my beloved Propaganda Bath and Beauty while I'm talking about fun ways to both get clean and salve the nasty, dry, cracking skin on the backs of your hands (my knuckles were actually bleeding last night. For no reason!). Propaganda, so far as I can tell, is a two-woman operation out of Mukilteo, Wash. The propagandists address their customers as "Comrade" in emails and use a chipper red star on their labels, but the most propagandizing thing they do (um, I'm getting a little lost in this sentence) is turn their customers into converts. It was Last Candle Flicker lotion that won me over: a spicy warm pumpkin scent in the form of a lotion that, to my great shock, didn't make my hands feel all slimy. It sank in quickly and with only a trace of scent lingering — a scent that's convinced people I'm drinking some delicious eggnog concoction in my office when it's really just the combination of coffee and Last Candle Flicker wafting out the door. Appropriately for today, my other Propaganda favorite is Winter Solstice, a bright, sunny, herbal scent that's pefect for gloomy Oregon days. Oh! And chocolate orange or cheesecake Lip Tease, aka lip balm. Deeelicious.

December 20, 2007 01:38 PM

What with the one-two punch of Winter Reading and the Procrastinators' Gift Guide — which, naturally, I procrastinated working on — my inbox has been slowly and steadily filling itself up with interesting yet uncommented-upon things. Thursday late morning is as good a time as any to post a rundown of a few Items of Note I've been unintentionally ignoring until now:

• Sadly, we missed the Ursula K. Le Guin reading that was held last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Northwest Review. (This is one I would have liked to have cover in the paper, but we didn't get the info in time. Rats!) I've loved Le Guin since I was about nine and my mother read A Wizard of Earthsea to me when I was sick; it was like magic, and I started feeling better immediately — yet I always miss her appearances. What's my problem?

• Also back in November, Wandering Goat barista Jordan Barber was one of six finalists in Seattle's Northwest Regional Barista Competition. "Barber's signature drink, Il Con Panna Proibito, was composed of an espresso shot topped with whipped cream infused with an organic apple cider, vanilla, and cinnamon, reduction and will be available to customers Friday afternoons 1-7 throughout November and December at the Wandering Goat Coffee Shop located at 268 Madison St.," says the press release. Damn, that sounds good. Might have to go try one tomorrow. Congrats to Jordan! And congrats also to Goat barista Bev Edge and the other lass (whose name I missed) for their lovely rendition of "Winter Wonderland" at last weekend's Fast Computers Holiday Spectacular at Sam Bond's. More on that ... later.

• More congratulations are due to the two area winners of Oregon Book Awards: Alison Clement of Corvallis for Twenty Questions (reviewed here) and UO prof Garrett Epps for Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America.

• As everyone knows by now, director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have resolved their various differences and are now teamed up for an adaptation of The Hobbit — and a post-Hobbit tale that, if what I've read is correct, borrows from Tolkien's notes to fill in the time between Bilbo's returning to the Shire at the end of The Hobbit and then his (reluctant) passing of the Ring to Frodo at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring (please let it be about the wizards!). I've read some very entertaining snarky commentary on what exactly happened in those Middle-earth years, but frankly, I don't care — if it looks like Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, I'm there, and several times over. But there's the problem: Jackson isn't directing. He's executive producing, so he's involved, but with The Lovely Bones and Tintin (which I was excited about until I realized they're doing it Beowulf-style, which even the presence of Andy Serkis cannot make up for) on his plate, the man's apparently just too busy. According to The New York Times, Sam Raimi has expressed interest in directing.

Let me back up a second: When I first read that Jackson would be involved in The Hobbit, I actually jumped up and down for joy. Suzi can vouch for this. But Sam Raimi? He of the moderately entertaining Spider-man, the horribly overrated Spider-man 2 and the Spider-man 3 that I couldn't actually bring myself to watch after so many people fell all over themselves proclaiming the greatness of the tedious second film? Please, please, no.

Problem is, I can't think of who I would like to direct, assuming we fanboys and girls can't have Jackson — the obvious first and best choice. Suzi suggested Alfonso Cuarón, but I think The Hobbit is a bit too bright and happy a story for him, really, as much as I love every one of his films that I've seen. Obviously, Chris Weitz is out; for some of the many reasons why, look for a later post in which Suzi and I dissect every tiny thing that was wrong with The Golden Compass.

For inspiration, I looked at my running list of the films I've most enjoyed this year, and it gave me a few ideas, if somewhat unorthodox ones:

1. Brad Bird. Sure, he's made his name in animation, but he's got an unbeatable sense of pacing and character, and if he could make Bilbo half as endearing as Remy the rat, he'd be set.

2. Matthew Vaughn. Sure, Stardust was a touch frenzied, but he got the tone right — he SO got the tone right. And the casting. The Hobbit isn't as serious and dark as the rest of LOTR; with Jackson looking over his shoulder, I'm downright certain Vaughn could do a damn good job with it.

3. Edgar Wright. Sure, he's funny. But I'd like to see him do something a little different. I'd also like to see Simon Pegg playing a dwarf. Don't kill me for that. (Really, this is a sort of off-the-wall notion, but I kind of think these guys could do anything.)

4. Agnieszka Holland. What, you haven't seen Olivier Olivier? Get thee to a rental store, or put it on your Netflix queue. She also directed the beautiful, underseen 1993 version of The Secret Garden.

5. Bryan Singer. The golden boy could thereby redeem himself for handing over X3 to Brett Ratner. Plus, I rather liked Superman Returns.

6. Kathryn Bigelow. Sure, she's sort of gone missing lately, and I've got nothing to say about K-19: The Widowmaker. But Strange Days has its strange, strange charm, and I've always thought she had some untapped potential.

It would have been so much easier to make a list of people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near this production.

Anyway, who do you think should get The Hobbit's reins?

December 20, 2007 05:25 PM

Problem: It's really hard to write Giftmas posts when I, er, haven't been leaving the house (except to go to work, of course). But the whole idea of Giftmas posts in the first place was sort of inspired by the staff wish lists some of us made for Suzi that then didn't make it into last month's gift guide, so, hrm, what did I have on there? Well, a lot of vague things, includng a pretty winter coat, the perfect black cotton cardigan and the even-more-perfect elusive pair of black, knee-high leather boots. And for some network to produce a fourth season of Veronica Mars. I might as well wish to be as cute as Kristen Bell while I'm at it, right?

My Amazon wishlist is not a bucket of help either.

I wanted to post about the Bacon of the Month club, but there isn't enough detail about the "artisan bacon" for me to comfortably praise it; sure, it's a great idea, but it doesn't tell me where the bacon comes from, if it's organically or humanely raised, and I'm ... not comfortable with that.

(Veggie Bacon Salt, anyone?)

But while I'm hungry and thinking about food, some notions:

• Jars of Yumm! Sauce
• Delicious cheese from our numerous wonderful area cheesemakers (available all over the place, including at Market of Choice and Kiva and more stores I don't happen to be in on a regular basis and so can't immediately vouch for)
• A CSA membership (oooh, there's a present I could use...)
• Pounds and pounds of Wandering Goat and/or Full City coffee
• Stocks, duck fat and other basic cooking elements from Provisions
• Restaurant gift certificates
• Gently used cookbooks from our fine used bookstores

OK, now I'm getting vague.

My third day of Giftmas post will be better! I hope.

December 18, 2007 03:53 PM

(A note: I decided we ought to make Giftmas posts to include fun things what we didn't put in gift guides. There are no seven days of Giftmas. There is no Giftmas. But I like the word Giftmas. I far prefer it to the internet-nerdy $WINTERHOLIDAY, which I find inexplicably offputting. So Suzi and I are BOTH going to post DAILY about Things What Are Cool. Seriously!)

So, um. What do I want? Let's start simple: treats from Lush! O many moons ago, Lush didn't exist in the U.S. I had to order my bath treats from the U.K. or Canada. A friend remembered and brought me soap from England once. It was super. When I lived in Australia, I asked the lovely lady at my hostel's front desk where the Lush store was. "Down around Swanston and ... I forget," she said. "Walk down Swanston and follow your nose."

This worked. I shit you not. I could smell that trademark, almost-overwhelming-but-not-allergic-reaction-inducing smell from a block away. See, fake scents make me sneeze. They make my throat itch and my eyes water. But Lush stuff — like stuff made by some of my other favorite companies, Villainess, Portland-based Arcana (whose Frozen Heart scrub is amazing) and my beloved Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (about which more later) — doesn't bother me (well, "ozone" notes still give me a headache, but I think that's as much psychological as anything; they all smell like ex-boyfriend shower gel). I bought myself a Christmas Star as a reward for this, that or the other thing, but there are so many more things to want. Potion and American Cream solid perfume! Silver Cloud and Twinkle and Jingle Spells bath bombs! Sodium lauryl sulfate-free Squeaky Green shampoo bars! Christmas Kisses bubble bars!

Actually, most of their holiday stuff appeals to me. (Bob soap, mmmmmm.) But their normal stuff sure isn't bad either. And Lush is a good company; as the website explains, "We believe fresh cosmetics are more effective and require fewer preservatives. That's why we hand-make our products in small batches in our own factories. And unlike other beauty companies, many of our products are vegan, and none of our ingredients or products has been tested on animals. We choose ethical sources for the ingredients in our cruelty-free products and use minimal or recyclable packaging. We also give generously to charities championing animal rights, humanitarian concerns and environmental conservation."

It's doubtless too late to order from the Lush site, but they do have a store in Northwest Portland, should you be venturing north for last minute shopping. Be prepared for the piles of good-smelling bath and shower treats, and watch your wallet! This deliciously decadent stuff doesn't often come cheap.

December 18, 2007 03:11 PM

Should you feel inclined to peruse a more tangible version of our annual Winter Reading issue, you might stop in at the UO Bookstore (yes, I'm still refusing to call it the Duck Store), where this nice little display awaits your browsing fingers and purchasing dollars.

December 14, 2007 11:12 AM

So just yesterday I posted a little thing that mentioned The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the handmade book by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling that was sold at auction for nearly $4 million. (For those not keeping up, Tales is referenced in — is in fact quite important to — Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows.) All yesterday's news said was that an agent purchased it.

Turns out the real buyer was Amazon.

What does this mean?

It means we get to see it. And look at it. And talk about it.

Three cheers for Amazon, I say.

December 13, 2007 05:14 PM

It amuses me that on the same day we all learned that J. K. Rowling's handmade Tales of Beedle the Bard — one of seven copies — sold for nearly $4 million, I (assuming "we" for the major JKR news and "I" for the little nerdtastic stuff) also learned (via Pitchfolk, of course) about this awesome free compilation of Harry Potter-inspired bands rocking against media consolidation. Rocking Out Against Voldemedia is available as one massive zipped file — which, of course, I'm currently downloading. It's all about the free press, man. Voldemort wouldn't like that. (The website is considerably more eloquent about this than I.)

If you've not yet experienced a wizard rock band or twelve, go find yourself some Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, Parselmouths, Remus Lupins ... well, if it's a catchy name in the Potterverse, it's probably a band. For serious. And also it's probably kind of awesome.


December 12, 2007 12:29 PM

Look, I love bad, LOLcat-inspired grammar and spelling as much as the next dork — but in the right time and place. This? Is not the time nor place:

"w00t," an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary.

C'mon, now. Words have letters in them. I extraordinarily dislike the replacement of numbers with letters, and grumble silently at my friends when they blog with such things so as to reduce their chance of being found by search engines. Because obviously if you write out the real name of the restaurant you went to on Saturday, your former BFF whose taste you criticized in the entry is the most likely person to Google the name of the joint and accidentally find you, right?

December 11, 2007 06:47 PM

kicking ass

The mainstream media is jumping up and down with headlines about the kicker Christmas present from the state.

But Oregonians might be kicking themselves rather than kicking their heels in joy if they knew the true cost of the checks.

A recent report from the Oregon Center for Public Policy found:

o Because of cash flow issues, the state will have to borrow money to pay for the kicker checks at an interest cost of about $45 million.

o Mailing the kicker checks will cost about $1 million.

o About 20 percent of the kicker, $214 million of $1.1 billion, will go to D.C. in the form of higher federal income taxes.

o The kicker will go mostly to the wealthy. The top fifth of taxpayers will get nearly two-thirds of the kicker, averaging $2,002, or six times what the typical taxpayer will receive.

o The state may have to slash school, healthcare and other vital services in the future because it didn’t save its surplus kicker money for a rainy day.

December 10, 2007 05:35 PM

So I'm bearing bad news, but I'm happy about doing it: For the Very First Time, someone called to request a blog post (about a timely topic we want our readers to know about, no less). Hey! We have readers! Readers who tell me I have to update more, and I have to post about things other than Heroes! These are legitimate complaints. (I did write that overly long ramble about Chuck Klosterman last week ... but since then my brain's been controlled by Winter Reading. I'm free — well, free-er — soon, I swear!). Man, I love feedback. Especially when it's at least half positive.

Anyway, my happy-making caller was Keith Martin from John Henry's, who was hoping we'd mention that tonight's Chaka Demus show is unfortunately cancelled. Chaka Demus is apparently in a Seattle hospital undergoing blood tests after feeling very unwell. Martin says there's a faint possibility that the should could get rescheduled for later in the week, maybe early on Thursday before ’80s Night, but he won't know that until they find out how Chaka Demus is doing. We wish Mr. Demus the best, and will continue to bring you news as we hear it.

(That was my newscastery sign-off. I won't make a habit of it.)

EDIT: Check the comments for more on Chaka Demus' health. Keith Martin also reports, "Chaka Demus is doing fine, from what I gathered from the road manager it was mainly a case of fatigue so nothing serious. We had hoped to get a make-up show in as an early show on Thursday but they had limited time to do so before flying to their final 2 tour dates in Hawaii and getting him rested up to finish the dates."

December 6, 2007 01:49 PM

The truth is, I first hated Chuck Klosterman. The reason for this is simple: The first piece of his that I read was the Lloyd Dobbler essay that starts Sex, Drugs, and Coca Puffs. The premise is that every woman of a certain age wants Lloyd Dobbler, the sensitive, kickboxing, eminently quotable character played by John Cusack in Say Anything. Lloyd has awesome female friends (including Lili Taylor, whose "Joe Lies" is another of those eminently quotable pre-Vanilla Sky Cameron Crowe creations); guides his love interest, Diane Court (Ione Skye), around broken glass in a mini-market parking lot (spurring an MxPx lyric that goes, "Do you care when I tell you / step around that broken glass?" sung with all the earnestness a Christian pop-punk band from Bremerton can muster, which is considerable); doesn't want to be part of the machine; and, most famously, stands outside Diane's window holding a boom box above his head as Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" plays (and thereby rendering many of us women of a certain age embarrassingly susceptible to this song).

The problem with this essay? My entire response was a big DUH. Duh, Chuck. Everyone knows this. This is so obvious it doesn't merit saying. It embarrasses me to have to read it put into words — by a dude, no less!

I put down the book and didn't pick it back up again. But I read a few Klosterman columns in Spin, and I observed from the sidelines as what seemed like an entire generation of geeks and would-be geeks went cuckoo for Klosterman puffs. I watched, I read a little, I forgot about it. I noticed he had new books. A very trusted friend had told me, ages before, that my secret-metal-past self really ought to read Fargo Rock City, and I still wanted to. Kind of.

But I didn't.

And then, one evening, I mixed up the start time of my writing group with the start time of my nerdy book group and found myself at a friend's house half an hour early. I sat on her leopard print lounge-sofa thing and picked up Killing Yourself to Live from the side table to entertain myself with, thereby staying out of her way.

And that was that. I saw it, all of a sudden: the combination of self-centered semi-charm, wit, cleverness and a willingness to insert himself into things that everyone already knows, thereby making them a little different, that makes Klosterman work. Maybe that doesn't make any sense. But imagine a story that you know that's kind of interesting. Maybe it's about a dead rock star. Isn't it fun to imagine that the story would be even more interesting if you wrote yourself into it, somehow? If you and your relationship problems, alone in a car on a road trip, could perhaps add to the famous story? No, that's not a good explanation either. But Klosterman is Klosterman (TM) because he writes himself into things everyone already knows, and he somehow, mysteriously, makes them more interesting that way. I think.

This is also, of course, why some people don't like Klosterman: They're not interested in him, and you pretty much have to be interested in him to be interested in the way he writes about things.

Eventually I had to put down Killing Yourself to Live and pay attention to my writing group, who had some very helpful things to say about a "story" (in quotes to indicate the fact that it was a very thinly disguised slice of the summer of 2000) that I've not touched since. But I have, since then, read all the Klosterman I could get my hands on. Even Cocoa Puffs. In some places, it was great that I hadn't read him before; for instance, I wouldn't have been able to properly appreciate the story about Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash if I hadn't, the year before, very quickly learned to appreciate Steve Nash.

But there's one real reason I fell for the image of Chuck Klosterman he presents in his books, and began to get that weird, sort of ooky feeling like, "I totally get this guy! We should be friends!" True story: I fell for the Klosterman thing because of one sentence. One I should have written down, but in essence, it said that the last few minutes of Guns N' Roses "Rocket Queen" are some of the best rock music minutes ever. Not in those words, but that, if I'm not mistaken, was the sentiment.

This is true. This, to a fan of anything that falls under the rock music umbrella, should be undeniable. You have to wade through the (fake, one hopes) orgasm sounds to get to this part of the song, but then, all of a sudden, like a downpour ending when you step outside, the good part arrives. The pretty part. The sensitive part. The part so sweet it puts "Sweet Child O' Mine" to shame.

And why am I writing about this now? Because over at Esquire.com, Klosterman has a very entertaining column up that examines the kind of music he likes, and whether it says anything about him. It's perceptive and funny, and my favorite line is this: "it appears my dream musical creation would be a white, semigay metal band that features soaring background vocals while battling anorexia." You'l have to read the piece for this to make sense. But you'll also have to listen: Klosterman has thoughtfully provided little clips of the bits of music that he likes best.

I listened to a lot of them, but not all. I'm definitely with him on "Nightswimming" and "Since U Been Gone" and obviously "Rocket Queen," but I strongly dislike both "Dance the Night Away" (especially the backing vocals) and "Layla." But what else would I add to this list? Off the top of my head, without clips:

• The end of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," where it builds and builds and builds until destroying itself.

• The beginning of Superchunk's cover of Magnetic Fields' "100,000 Fireflies," as Mac yelps "I have a mandolin / I play it all night long / It makes me want to kill myself!"

• Pretty much everything on the Rushmore soundtrack

• The palm-muted (I think) guitar bits in Jawbreaker's "Chesterfield King," as Blake Schwarzenbach sings "Gave her a dime / and a Chesterfield / She bent down to kiss my cheek / I was scared but it felt sweet." Or really pretty much anytime in a Jawbreaker song where there's a choppy, muted guitar part and Blake's sort of chanting. There should be more Jawbreaker knockoff bands.

• Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow harmonizing. Period.

• Teenage Fanclub's "Is This Music?" In high school, I thought it was bizarro bagpipes. I'm still not exactly sure what it is.

• OK, I'm going to come back to this, because I'm at work without my CD collection and I want to make this list longer and better and more thorough. Also, to be honest, it needs to have some hair metal in it for sure. But no power ballads!

* You must read this post-colon part of the title as if it's being yelped by cowboy-hat-wearing Jon on the second season of The Real World. It goes something like this: "Tar-ooo stah-oray!"

December 6, 2007 01:55 PM

In a move I both disapprove of (the movie deserves more time!) and understand (there were maybe a dozen people there on Sunday evening!), Regal pulled Todd Haynes' impressive I'm Not There after just a week of showings, rendering my review in this week's paper somewhat, er, after the fact. But only temporarily! The Bijou will be picking up the film, starting showings next Friday, Dec. 14. And you should go see it. Really. You should. It's not perfect, but it's fascinating and deeply discussable; go with friends on a night when you can head to Max's afterwards and sit over pints (or pitchers), talking about the movie at length. That's what it's for. And for that, I love it.

December 3, 2007 12:20 PM

Now that the big development scheme for downtown Eugene has failed, park advocates are talking options. New parks in Chico, California and Vancouver, Washington have reinvigorated those cities' downtowns. Both large parks cost less than a third of the price of just one new downtown parking garage in Eugene.

Here's Chico:

Chico plaza

Here's Vancouver, Washington:

Esther Short