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Old April 21 2009, 04:53 AM   #1
Albertese's Avatar
Location: Portland, OR
Starfleet Uniform Recognition Manual.

Anyone here form Portland, Oregon? I only ask because my tale today involves some knowledge of the city's geography to fully appreciate the details.

I work on Swan Island (an isolated industrial area in north Portland that hasn't actually been an island since the late 19th century as I understand). My wife and I only have one car and she uses it to get to work, so I commute on the bus. In fact I take one bus from Swan Island to the Rose Quarter then take MAX (the Portland Area commuter train - short for Metropolitan Area eXpress) to an adjacent city to catch another bus on the (overall) 2 hour trek back to my home. Anyway, today my journey was interrupted. Once my train got to the Skidmore Fountain (just West of the Willamette River, which defines the border between East and West Portland) it stopped and the operator said over the P.A. that there was a train broken down at the Galleria (other side of Downtown, not really all that far if you're from an actual big city like New York or L.A.) Today was also the first really nice day here this year so I figured I'd walk through town to the Galleria and see what was up. So I walked.

Once I got there, the train was still broken down and in fact it wasn't stopped at a regular stop, but, rather, in the middle of the road blocking 11th Ave (also blocking the Streetcar service) I stood around for a little while watching the downed train accrue more and more Tri-Met mechanics (Tri-met being short for TRI-county METropolitan Public Transit). But it was still a beautiful day, and I don't get to spend a lot of time wandering about the city so I decided to go just a few blocks up the road to E Burnside Street where lives POWELL'S CITY OF NEW AND USED BOOKS. Perhaps the largest purveyor of books in the Western United States. It's a super cool bookstore where you might be able to find anything. It's an entire city block three and four stories tall in some places, filled with one mega-rad, unmatched, super awesome bookstore. There are other branches of Powell's around the Area, one that's just Technical books, another that's just Cooking and Sewing books. And another one in Beaverton that is general subject matter, but only about a third the size of the Downtown store. Powell's bookstore is one of Portland's features. People come to this town just to go and spend a day hanging out in Powell's. If you ever come to Portland, you ought to check it out. Anyway, in the Gold Room is their Sci-Fi section, with one whole aisle devoted solely to Star Trek and Star Wars. Naturally, this is always my first stop. There, I found, tucked away in between the First Edition of Okuda's Star Trek Chronology and the Star Trek Script Book containing the Q Episode Scripts, Shane Johnson's Star Fleet Uniform Recognition Manual. I had forgotten about this particular tome. I had read about it, but never actually seen it, and here it was. In my hand.

For $25. 'Too much,' I thought. It can't be worth more than $15, $20 at most. But then, as I was thumbing through it and about to put it back on the shelf, I thought, wait a minute, this is the first time I've ever seen this book. May it be the last? Might I never have occasion again to add this one to my collection? Having just received my tax return, I was feeling saucy so I bought it.

It's pretty neat. If you've never seen it either, it features Starfleet uniforms from TOS and movies I - III. The art is exactly the same style Mr. Scott's Guide the Enterprise which makes sense as it's done by the same guy. It also posits a dress uniform for the Movie era as well as a space-suit from the Botany Bay. The cool part is that it suggests that Kahn's groovy vest from TWOK was in fact the remains of this EVA garment. The wide open chest wasn't to show off Ricardo Montalban's pecs, but, rather, was there to accommodate a helmet arrangement not unlike the way the FC space suits were made. Pretty neat idea.

Anyway, after about a half hour, I decided to walk back to the train in order to see if the business had been resolved. It wasn't. They were starting to set out cones and the news cameras were setting up. So I called up a buddy and scammed ride off him in exchange for a tank of gas.

Anyway, does anyone else have this book? What do you think of it? I expect it'll occupy the same niche in my collection as Mandell's Enterprise Officer's Manual. Which is cool.

So, thank you, Tri-Met, for breaking down one of your trains Downtown on the day that Powell's had the Star Fleet Uniform Recognition Manual on the shelf!

Albertese is offline   Reply With Quote


an epic tale of tragedy, and public transit, triumph

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