Monday, February 07, 2005

Fun Weekend In Eugene

When this intrepid test-taker last posted, I had just finished tramping about the University area of Eugene in search of good eats. Now For the rest of the story...

On Saturday morning I walked the three blocks to the offices of Agate Resources, the proctor site for the early 2005 ACMPE certification exam. The exam consisted of two parts, a 3 question essay exam and a 175 question multiple-choice exam. The essay exam went first and it was fairly easy, three situational questions requiring an outline, assumptions, an opening, body and conclusion. I took all three hours allowed and was very satisfied with my responses. Although the test was conducted online, as soon as I pressed the 'submit' button, my responses were put into a database, my contact infomration was transformed into a numbered ID and then the results were sent to 9 different human graders (3 for each question); it will take 8 weeks for me to find out if I passed. the second part of the exam was a different story, the questions were very difficult on the whole and frankly I was not prepared. There were 5 people taking the exam and I was the last person to finish (I have never been the last to finish any test I've taken). I was scared to press the submit button because, unlike the essay test, results were promised instantly. I was nervous but fortunately I got 83% and passed.
So my work was done and I had the afternoon to play. I took a self guided tour of the University of Oregon, where I saw the statue that inspired the Simpsons Springfield statue, toured the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and stood at Hayward Field, site of the birth of Nike and home to the legend of Prefontaine. Later, my friends Ryan & Amy Sportel picked me up and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and conversation at a great Italian restaurant. Ryan and Amy both work as RN's at Sacred Heart Hospital and they work nights, so our time was cut short...not to worry, we met at 7:30 in the morning for breakfast at a funky Vegan place called Morning Glory. As I munched on my exceptionally yummy brekkie, I couldn't help but think how much my friends Garrett & Teresa Hart would love Morning Glory. It was great to see Ryan and Amy, they are awesome people and I miss them.

I heard about the Smith Family Bookstore just off campus, where over 300,000 used books pile from floor to ceiling so I walked over to see for myself...sure enough, the bookstore didn't disapoint. There were so many books in the religion section alone that I could have spent all day. It was the one real bit of funk I found in the campus village..the rest were your typical college food/bar/copy/coffee shop establishments.

Eugene was cloudy, cold and damp but GREEN, something I sorely miss. I'd like to go back and explore some more.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Roaming the Streets of Eugene

It's no wonder my life is still unsettled, I can't even decide where to eat dinner! I arrived in Eugene, Oregon this afternoon at 4:00 PM, a day ahead of my certification exam for the American College of Medical Practice Executives. After a $22.00 taxi ride I arrived at the Best Western New Oregon Hotel, located directly across the street from the University of Oregon campus.

I can't wait to explore the campus, which I hope to do late tomorrow afternoon. But tonight the mission was to find a cool and unique place to eat...something I always like to do whenever I hit a college town. There is something about the atmosphere and the energy of a college town that is attractive to me and so I left my hotel room set on finding an out of the way culinary surprise. I walked about a mile into the old downtown area, skirting the campus and walking past several beautiful sorority and fraternity houses. There was a tasty looking Thai place called Sweet Basil, a wood-fired pizza and pasta place called Ambrosia and a funky looking bistro called Zenon....I snubbed them all, looking for something more. I roamed on, finding a hole in the wall pseudo-Asian joint called The Jail which boasted the best teriyaki in town...and moved on down the road. I past Chinese, Mexican and Italian restaurants before realizing I had been walking for almost two hours as my mind wandered from food to college memories to family and friends and to my little puppy....so i settled on a non-descript Chinese resatuarant called House of Chen.

The House of Chen was not what I was looking for; the food was decent, the service was quick and it was only three blocks from my hotel. But it was ironic that I sepnt all that time roaming and searching and passing up great place after great place before settling on something easy, nearby and known...I wonder if that is a metaphor for anything else?