This past week I visited Portland.
Portland is a neat place.  Everyone there lives entirely on coffee and bagels.  This makes them young and thin and beautiful.
I didn’t get much sketching done though, since I spent most of the time in the hotel bathroom sicker than a dog. 
I don’t really want to draw this frame.
That’s ok though, because everything I need to know about the Willamette Valley I learned in 3rd grade.
Oregon Trail was a computer game they let us play once we finished up Typing Tutor.  They say it was educational, but I highly doubt that, since the game was fun.  One thing’s for sure: Mrs. Pesout’s 3rd grade class had the highest wpm average thanks to that game.  You should’ve seen our fingers fly.
The object of Oregon Trail was to get your wagon and family to Oregon without dying.  There were lots of different ways to play it.
Kimberly, for example, would play it safe. 
 She always chose to be a banker, loaded her wagon with food and tools, went at a steady pace, full rations, and always took the ferry.
She never finished the game before class ended.
I think she got to Kansas once.
Ryan, on the other hand, played it like a harp.
 He chose to be a farmer, hunted when he needed to, had moderate rations, went at a strenuous pace, and also knew what “caulking” meant so his wagon never exploded in the water.  He toasted everyone with his high scores.
I think he might have married Kimberly, actually.  Weird how life goes.
Jordan played the game the same way 85% of the boy population played the game.
Like this:
Jordan was the one who found out that if you hold down the arrow key and the space bar, you become a swirling vortex of bullets.
He may have perfected the technique, though I don’t know if anyone will find out.  Apparently computer games aren’t allowed in prison.
 Last of all, there was me.
 I got my wpm average up to a whopping 42, because I needed the time to play Oregon Trail in my own special way.
And when I say “special” I mean: I tried to kill all of my wagon members.
 You may think that this would be losing the game.  But it’s not, and you know why?  Because if all 5 members of your party died, YOU GOT TO WRITE YOUR OWN TOMBSTONE.
And the best part was, the next person who played Oregon Trail on that computer would find your tombstone with the funny epitaph and he would die laughing!  Hahaha!  Isn’t that great?? 
So every computer class, there I was, trying to get my family members to die as soon as possible.
 This was a WHOLE lot harder than it sounds.  For a game that’s so darn hard to win, it’s harder than heck to lose!
But I had Techniques.
 I never took the ferry or caulked the wagon.  A good ol’ fording always did the trick.
 Secondly: grueling pace.  Also, bare-bones rations.  This knocks them off pretty quickly.  Until the do-gooders get in the way.
 It’s like the game doesn’t want you to lose!
So after a while of no food and grueling pace, weird unpronounceable diseases start to pick off your characters.  (I was in college before I realized dysentery was not pronounced “dentistry.”)
Side note:  if you are playing the game this way, don’t name your characters after anyone or anything you care about.
 It will mess you up inside.
All this and you STILL had to do it within the class period!
Talk about nerve-wracking!
Anyway, if you managed to do all this, kill off all 5 members of your party including you, you got the tombstone honor!!  It was a beautiful day when I had died of cholera and the screen asked if I wanted to write my epitaph.  I did.  Oh yes I did.
I only ever wrote one thing. which I thought was the funniest thing ever.  
The lucky kid who played next found this:
 My sides are splitting.