April 2011

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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

 

Queue the theme from Cape Fear

 

A whole new taste sensation?




Of all the beers in all the world, I'm wiling to guess that Corona receives the most flack. It's watery, it's imported from a certain country below the Rio Grande and it's expensive. "Mexican piss water" is an oft-employed metaphor thrown out by drinkers that prefer their beer as thick as soup.

As someone who likes his beverages refreshing and as a beer consumer that would sooner eat a meal than drink Guinness, which is even thicker than one of those Jamba Juice things, I think they've got it all wrong. Granted, a Corona, by itself, is lighter and blander than air but with something like a lemon added it's pure bliss.

Corona is a beer pallet just waiting to be explored. While most will toss a lemon wedge down the neck of a bottle and call it a day, for me, that won't do. I'm as a bird, man, and, when it comes to adult beverages, this bird you cannot change, woohohohoh.

A few years ago, I experimented with and a Corona and bidi cigarette. Remember bidis? In the late '90s probably every news organization in the country ran a story on how they would corrupt the nation's youth and lure 95% of America's youth into the dark realm of daily tobacco use. Now, a few years later, you can only find them in specialty smoke shops. Go figure. I may be the only one in the states still smoking these things. What can I say, while they're difficult to keep lit, bidis taste great and they freak out the neighbors.

So, on a faithful evening during a trip to Oregon coast, I was suddenly inspired while sitting on the edge of Neakhanie Mountain, gazing at a very neat sunset. I took my wild cherry-flavored bidi, took a deep drag, blew the smoke in a half-filled Corona. The smoke hung in the bottle and the fading sunlit gave the bottle a mystical aura. I quickly drank the aura down, filling my soul with frothy, happy sunshine*. Wa-la! A brand new taste sensation: smoking and drinking at the same time. I should have patented the concept on the spot.

I've tried normal cigarettes but the mix tastes like a rusty tailpipe. Corona-smoking, for lack of a better term, is best with a bidi. Grab a pack of bidis, a six pack of Corona and a sunset and try it out sometime. You may be pleasantly surprised. If not, go back to your lame-o Budweiser, lame-o.

Despite this landmark achievement in beer drinking, I'm committed to finding new Corona avenues to explore. Currently, I'm trying to crossbreed the brand with Captain Crunch. If I can get the recipe just right I could start a fad and become the George Washington Carver of the Mexican beer world.

* Is this earnest? With a line like "frothy, happy sunshine"? Come on, give me some credit. I'd say this post is only 20-35% earnest.

 

Learning to spell a nonexistent word

"Portland. Pop culture. Polly-tics."

Maybe this is a lame tagline but I could have gone with something even more obnoxious like "Portland. Punk Rock. Puck you!" Something just occurred to me: how the bloody 'ell do you spell "polly-tics?" Should it be with one "l" or two?

I was hoping the Urban Dictionary would solve this problem but they didn't have a listing. Since it's a vague term rarely used, I could only think to turn to Google. "Polly-tics" turned up 339 hits whereas "poly-tics" turned up 3,880.

Apparently, I've been spelling it incorrectly these past few months. I guess I'll have to change it. Curse you, English language, curse you!

 

Q: What is American Dad?




A: So Fox has done a complete 180 on Seth MacFarlane. After shifting around the time slot for his cartoon sitcom, The Family Guy*, and canceling it in 2002, the network will be bringing it back for 35 new episodes in 2005. The success of the reruns on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, and the enormous amount of DVD sales changed their minds real quick.

All in all, this is old news but what I hadn't heard is that Fox not only bringing back The Family Guy but airing something called American Dad as well. Set to debut in January, McFarlane will be spearheading the show which centers around a trigger-happy CIA agent. The premise, from TV Tome:


"American Dad from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, is the animated story of Stan Smith (MacFarlane), who works for the CIA and is constantly on the alert for terrorist activity. Stan will go to extremes to protect his beloved America from harm – as evidenced by the terror-alert color code on his fridge, and his frequent knee-jerk reaction of shooting holes in the toaster whenever the toast pops up.

In addition to Stan's wife and teenage children, the Smith household has two rather unconventional members. There's Roger, the sarcastic space alien who rescued Stan from Area 51 who deeply resents the fact that he's not allowed to leave the house, and therefore, has been reduced to drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, and Klaus, a lascivious, German-speaking goldfish – the result of a CIA experiment gone seriously wrong where the CIA tried to give a fish a German man's brain. Stan's son is a dorky teenager who tries to be cool. His wife has had a past life of sex and drugs."


OK, so it's a rip off of an any number of sitcoms, animated and otherwise. In the paragraphs above, there's chunks of the Simpsons, ALF, a million generic family programs and any number of Looney Tunes shorts (didn't Daffy Duck have German goldfish sidekick for a while?). Despite the fact The Family Guy was possibly the most unoriginal idea for a network program ever, its obvious debts to Matt Groening's opus, and a few terrible episodes from the first season, it wound up being one of the best things on television.

The premise for American Dad may be unoriginal but, given the creator and the War on Terrorism angle, it's sure to be inspired, if not brilliant...so inspired, if not brilliant it will inevitably be cancelled after three episodes. The expectations for the show are high. With its premiere date still four months away, there's already at least three fan sites listed in Google.

* Heads up: Fox is doing a mini-marthon tommorow, September 1st, 8 - 10,...all old episodes you've probably already seen on Cartoon Network.

Monday, August 30, 2004

 

"You've been Photoshop-inated"

Sorry, it's the best caption that came to mind.

As someone pointed out in the comments section of a post on Saturday, this picture of an Arnie billboard in downtown Portland is in dire need of a good Photoshopin'.

Maybe I'm not the man to do it. Look what I came up with:






OK, so maybe my photo manipulating skillz' aren't up to snuff. Still, one of these pictures is destined to become September's photo of the month. But which one? The Temple of Doom tweak or the Superman 2 riff?

Wait....what? No.....no....no! Amdie amdie amdie shalay! Amdie amdie amdie shalay! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Yes, Dr. Jones, it's time for another poll.

The shot with the most votes by Wednesday at noon wins. Yep, how exciting.











Super fun photo poll  







Which shot should become Sept's photo of the month?






Temple of Doom!
Superman 2!





Current Results


Why all the white space around the poll? I don't know, you'll have to ask Sparklit.

Anyway, bored? Do you have too much free times on your hands? Think you can do better? Here's a link to a high res copy of the picture. Get crackin'.

 

Le Bistro Montage

If you've lived in this city for longer than twenty minutes you've probably eaten in Le Bistro Montage. If not, uh, you're not alone. I didn't make a journey down there until last summer.

So is the place worthy of being placed among Portland's best restaurants every year in Willamette Week? I don't know. I can't afford to eat in Portland's best restaurants. This much I do know: the Montage serves alligator, which tastes like a combination of pork sausage and chicken. If I could justify the $14.50 price tag for their gator jambalaya more often, I would swing down there at least once a week.

The restaurant is noted for its Cajun food and kooky, so hip it bleeds from the ears Chuck E. Cheese meets high dinning atmosphere (whew). The tables are communal, wine is served in water glasses and the staff wears weird, matre de/punk outfits. One cocktail on the extensive drink menu, with Night Train as a primary ingredient, runs $5,000. Renaissance-era retreads cover the walls. In one, a trio of Romans examine a painting of a heart as one cringes. In another, Jesus lords over a black and white Last Super. Near the kitchen there's a painting of a table buckling under the weight of a feast;, among the fixin's a pile of dead chickens and several bottles of Rainer beer. The Montage sits in the shadows underneath a Morrison Bridge off ramp and, from the outside, looks like a long forgotten, rotting motel. It's also conveniently located across the street from City Liquidators. Neat.

The restaurant is no doubt the subject of countless city lore, among it the passing of its founder, Jon Beckel. He died under mysterious circumstances in 2000 after ill-fated trip to a local justice center. I wish I knew more about the place but there isn't much about it online.

Every time I've been there, the Montage has been filled with yuppies and the staff has been snooty. Does this matter? No, because they serve alligator and there's this:




Instead of being placed in boxes, leftovers are made into balloon-style tinfoil art. The customers around me had their dinners made into silver cats and wine bottles. As you can see, I got a snail.

OK, I'm pretty sure this is the only photo in existence mixing a tinfoil snail with a Bill Murray movie and an Osama Bin Laden novelty firework. Can I please have an art grant now? Pretty please?

 

Come on, Yellowcard?

Random observations on last night's MTV Music Video Awards:

- The crowd waved cell phones instead of lighters as Jessica Simpson performed. I feel so old watching this but at least I'm not waving a cell phone instead of a lighter on MTV.

- D12? Alicia Keys? Jojo? Various moppets with the last name of "Simpson"? I thought rock was back in style. The least the organizers could have done was nominate Jet for every nearly everything.

- Enough with Tony Hawk, already. He and his fellow professional skateboarders slide up and down ramps. There's no score to keep and skateboarding it isn't a sport. Unless Hawk learns how to dunk a basketball, keep him off TV unless he's hawking the latest installment of Underground.

- John Stewart: "Wow, what a night it's been. Actually, I'm lying. This was taped. I have no idea what's going on."

- Neat robot out front but what was that giant toilet brush thing behind the stage?

- A poem:

Sarah Jessica Parker in 30 different outfits
Lenny Kravitz adding "corporate shill" to his long list of crimes against music
A florescent Gap ad
Every single commercial break

This is what the third circle of hell looks like
Wait, this isn't Kravitz's first commercial

Bleeeeeeeeeeeeech!

- Why was Bruce Willis in the front row? Did he stop by to grab a bag of coke and couldn't quite find his way out of the auditorium?

- Poor Sasquatch had to give his Moon Man statue to Yellowcard. Their video beat Modest Mouse's "Float On" for the MTV 2 award. The later was a majestic, metaphor-filled romp through an artsy-fartsy, turn of the century slaughterhouse. The former? Yet another tired video for the latest Blink 182 Xerox. This is the only forum in which a band like Yellowcard could beat the likes of Modest Mouse and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at anything...except in regards to radio airplay, Billboard chart positioning, high profile tours...God, the music industry sucks.

- Beastie Boys: you are not Devo and you're not painting any houses. Enough with the jumpsuits.

- Where did Polyphonic Spree come from? And will they all kill themselves when the next high-profile comet passes Earth?

- Another poem:

Uh-oh.
Wayne Coyne is in his bubble again
Big head of hair, beard
He's furry, sort of like hamster
Makes sense
Doesn't he look adorable?


- Outkast wins yet another award, its 976,098th this year alone. Andre 3000: "For the millionth time, goddamit....HEY YA! HEY YA!" Red and blue balloons fall from the ceiling. Kids wave "vote!" signs. How many of them are too young to do so? Background dancers sputter and spin into neon election booths in the background.
If it weren't for GW, I would not vote in the upcoming election, just to spite to MTV and their noxious "Choose or loose" campaign.

- Kurt Loder is still alive? And on MTV? Isn't this the network that ditches musicians and VJs the second they hit puberty? MTV is worse than the civilization in Logan's Run yet Loder is still around doing wrap parties. How many deals with the devil did he have to sign to get this lifetime gig? Or does he have a photo of two aliens making out?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

 

[insert Arnie quote here]




I spent almost 3 minutes going through the log of Arnold Schwarzenegger movie quotes in my brain and still couldn't come up with a caption for this. "Let off some steam, Bennett"...."knock, knock,"..."talk to the hand"...nothing seemed applicable.

So this billboard has been sitting on 4th Avenue for about a month. If you can't make out the small print, it reads: "Actually, he says 'Kah-le-fornia.'" The shirt he's wearing features the state's bear flag.

The riff on Arnold's mispronunciation, used against him during the recall election, and the sign itself just seem so...inappropriate, especially hanging over an intersection in Portland. The billboards, others hang in Las Vegas, Seattle and Chicago, were designed to promote the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth. Given Oregon's, and especially the city's, ongoing unemployment woes, the gov-anator's smiling mug comes across like the sort of distopic, social critique that could be found in his own The Running Man. "Tired of being under-employed in your home state? Wish you could buy a jet ski and an G5? Move to Kah-le-fornia!"

Despite it all, it's still better than another Spirit Mountain billboard.

 

The Passion of the Clerks

It's with some shame that I admit that Clerks easily makes my top five comedies of all time list. It's grimy, the acting is terrible and the writing is sub-sophomoric. Despite it all, I'd rather watch Jason Mewes mutter "Olaf, metal" than the latest flash-in-the-pan, interchangeable Will Ferrell/Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy. How many movies have they starred in alone this year? Twenty with another dozen slated for release by October? Stop confusing the "l" with the "n," boys.

Anyway, the rest of director Kevin Smith's catalog earns a "meh" at best. Mallrats is neat riff on '80s suburban comedies and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. The rest? To put it delicately, it's all crappy-crap crap.

After the disappointing box offices returns of his last film, Jersey Girl, Smith's camp revealed this morning that he's going back to the well. Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks will be produced with a budget between $250,000 and $5 million (?). It's slated for a 2005 release and I couldn't be happier. The premise:

"'It's about what happens when that lazy, 20-something malaise lasts into your 30s. Those dudes are kind of still mired, not in that same exact situation, but in a place where it's time to actually grow up and do something more than just sit around and dissect pop culture and talk about sex,' Smith said during an interview at his Hollywood office. 'It's: What happened to these dudes?'"

Will it be terrible? Probably. Will it be better Old School*? Yes, yes it will.

* OK, so I've slapped another universally beloved movie. Old School has a few funny moments but it's completely toothless. If you're convinced the film is great, watch Animal House again and compare the two.

 

Takin' a vacation to Puerto Blog-arta

Bleeeeech! There's another beautiful August Saturday outside my office window but I'm stuck in a cubicle until 8 PM. However, through the magic of blogs, I can vicariously wash away my summertime blues. Here's what I spent the morning staring at:

- Armed Prophet will blog the Republican National Convention all next week. He arrived in town yesterday, the main event hasn't even begun and already he's had to endure hundreds of Critical Mass-ers, a bomb threat in the subway below his hotel and, perhaps worst of all, an "out of service" mini-bar. His coverage began about an hour ago. Have a look.

- Little Lost Robot recently visited the Borg 4D Adventure in Las Vegas where he and a group of pals harassed a costumed "collective" employee while ringing up a several hundred dollar bar tab. Have a look at the lounge's sci-fi decor and ridiculously oversized alien cocktails.

- Cup of Noodles is in Seattle right now attending the first annual Penny Arcade Expo. The event, the brainchild of the creators of everyone's favorite web comic, is shooting to become an annual "E3 North." Noodles has promised to start posting photos of the event early next week.

- J. J. Joe Jr. found himself in Manhattan's Chinatown a few weeks back carrying a large, white box. What was in it? Click here to discover the answer in his photo essay, "Diary of a Dead Pig."

Friday, August 27, 2004

 

Top five things I learned while watching Ju On: The Grudge

The film, the latest to lay claim to the title "most frightening film ever made," just finished a successful one week run at the Cinema 21. Proclamations aside, Ju-On: The Grudge is filled with all sorts of valuable (after)life lessons.

1. If there's anything worse than a ghost, it's a Japanese schoolgirl ghost. If there's anything worse than a Japanese schoolgirl ghost, it's a trio of Japanese schoolgirl ghosts. If there's anything worse than a trio of Japanese schoolgirl ghosts, it's a little kid ghost. If there's anything worse than a little kid ghost, it's a cat ghost. If there's anything worse than a cat ghost, it's a gang of cat ghosts. And if there's anything worse than a gang of cat ghosts, it's a gang of cat ghosts on your bed when you're trying to sleep.

Quick FYI: If you're reading this review alone, after dark, it's too late now. You may as well keep going. Wait...what's that behind you! Could it be a...CAT GHOST??!!!

Sorry. Had to be done. Moving along...

2. If a ghost takes up residence in your community, move.

3. Vengeful spirits, as rule, are unapologetic perverts. They don't think twice about popping up in the shower, under the tables of bustling cafes to peek up skirts, beneath down comforters or even, magically, in blouses. They even enjoy lewd prank calls.

4. When a feisty ghost backs you into a corner, don't fight back with a proton pack or a séance. A game of peek-a-boo will work just fine.

5. No matter how much you nag, and despite all their free time, the dead will never clean-up after themselves. They make terrible roommates.




The "most frightening" claim can be penned on director Sam Raimi, who leant Ju-On a quote to place on movie posters for its US release. So does this little Japanese horor film make the cut? In my opinion, nah. Poltergeist is the once and still reigning champ (possessed clown dolls and haunted, suburban split-levels? Eeep!). If voyeuristic ghouls and things popping out of nowhere are your definition of terrifying, be forewarned.

Ju-On: The Grudge, the third in a on-going series that may conclude with the upcoming, stateside-produced Sarah Michelle Gellar installment, borrows heavily from the Ringu (The Ring) series. The premise centers around angry spirits eager to vent their stress on the living. Rather than just inhabit video tapes, The Grudge's skilled spirits can travel on foot and via televisions, phones and even Buddhist shrines.

The nearly incomprehensible plot (the film is more concerned with scaring the hell out of you than coherence) takes place in haunted house inhabited by an ever-increasing number of angry ghosts. Years prior, a mother, son and their pet feline were murdered in an upstairs bedroom. Now they spend their days attacking anyone who comes near the place.

Comprised of a series of scenes that jump back and forth through time with alternating protagonists, The Grudge is relentless, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Remember the key scene from The Ring? The Grudge has about 30 of them and a final shot that's liable to make some viewer's hearts explode. The film's ending is easily among the horror genre's finest.

The fights and shock cuts come so fast and furious in the film that, despite their genuinely disturbing milieu, it's easy to become immune to the onslaught. By the time the Japanese schoolgirls show up in act three, the audience I saw it with was half laughing at the absurdity with the other half about to wet themselves. Me? I was laughing. Honest.

Despite the numerous flaws, Ju-On: The Grudge deserves the word of mouth that will no doubt pack in audiences in Portland for months. Earlier today, the film bounced from Cinema 21 to the Fox Tower, where it could possibly run through Halloween. If jumping out of a theater seat every thirty seconds for 92 minutes is your idea of a good time, you can't miss this.

 

They even squeezed in the .33 cent store




The Guide to Springfield USA is an incredibly detailed map of the Simpsons' hometown. Begun in spring of 2001, it's the ongoing project of two former college students. Given the vague geography of Springfield (the producers have yet to reveal which state the town calls home), there's no way to really verify the map's accuracy. Littered with hundreds of obscure references to the show, it's as close to comprehensive as any map of a fictional cartoon town can get, covering everything from Burns' mansion to Santa's Xmas Village to the Up, Up and Buffet. It's even been added to the Harvard Map Collection of the Harvard College Library.

Even better, the copy available on the site is in full color and perfect for any dorm room wall...provided you can track down a printer that can handle its 1594 x 2443 resolution.

FYI: This is the 500th post to appear on Welcome to Blog. Hooray! To celebrate, here is a picture of an adorable kitten getting mugged.



Tuesday, August 24, 2004

 

Freakiest. Bathroom graffiti. Ever?

I visited the Pagoda for the first time a few nights ago. It's a neat, old-fashioned Chinese restaurant on Sandy Boulevard. The main entrance leads to a bridge over an indoor stream lined with plants and tiny lantern huts. The setting area is decked out in gold and red booths with Cantonese characters imbedded in the seats. While the place is fraying at the seems, the cool decor definitely warrants a visit.

But perhaps more interesting is what I found in the bathroom. In one the stalls, written with a gold marker, was a lengthy death threat against a detective on PPD's payroll. The author doesn't go into the reason for this revenge scheme, sticking instead with misspelled obscenities and the details of the plan. Interested parties are instructed to leave a short written message with a phone number

A joke? Maybe. So far, no one has responded.

I've seen plenty of weird bathroom graffiti in my time but this easily is the new champion.

Here's to you, Pagoda.

 

Two words: dino soldiers

This could possibly be the craziest idea for a major motion picture in the history of major motion pictures. If you would like to read the alleged plotline of Jurrasic Park 4, set for release next year, click here. The premise, supposedly conjured up by Spielberg himself, involves dinosaur attacks on the US mainland and a group of genetically-altered reptiles designed to combat them.

T Rexes vs. bazooka packin' triceratops-for-hire? The 5 year old in me wants to see this movie noooooooow. Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now! Now!

Here's to you, dino soldiers.

 

Portland vs. George Walker Bush pt. 4




Number of Kerry supporters on bikes with bulky signs at the Nike Run Hit Wonder? 1. Number of Bush supporters doing the same? 0.

As mentioned elsewhere, this campaigner was on hand for the event and followed the stragglers as they steadily made their way to the finish line. What was her rationale? To appeal to slow-moving voters? All in all, this probably wasn't the best idea. Even sluggish runners in the middle of a race don't have time for campaign slogans. I wonder if she showed up to wave her sign at the Blue Angels at this year's airshow.

Here's to you, bike girl.

 

"He's chuckin' me out because of the color of me skin!"

I've never been the biggest fan of Ali G. His white homeboy shtick and relentless East European stereotyping would have been considered tired back in the days when Yakov Smirnoff was a household name. His HBO show, Da Ali G Show, debuted on HBO last year. I didn't catch it until after hearing about sketch that was filmed in rural Arizona and a series of separate segments included in the series finale.

If you haven't heard, G interviewed Andy Rooney for the episode. The 60 Minutes commentator became so flustered by the UK comedian's thick British Ebonics that he stormed off set. "Is this because of I'm black," G asked, adding: "You're a racial-ist." Rooney, now in a near tizzy, attempted to correct him leading G to proclaim, "He's chuckin' me out because of the color of me skin!"

Why is this funny? Because Ali G is paler than newfallen snow.

This isn't the first time G has landed an interview with someone who should know better. Previous installments this season have featured sit-downs with Sam Donaldson and Pat Buchanan. Unlike Rooney, each was congenial, played along and even rattled off a few lines of made-up street lingo.

In another segment of Sunday's finale, G pretended to be a fashion correspondent for "Gay Austrian TV" filming spring break segments in Daytona Beach. After arranging a group of drunk frat boys for a "Total Request Live" style street scene, the cameras started rolling as he proudly proclaimed "Wilkommen to Daytona beach, where all we in the USA come to be GAY!!" Upon the utterance of the word "gay," the crowd immediately shot off in different directions.

Still in character, G tracked down a group of Pennsylvania Greeks camping on the beach for an impromptu promo shot. After having them spell out "party" repeatedly, each time demanding enthusiasm, he convinced them to bare their backsides. When the nature of the shoot was finally revealed, the head of one of them looked like it was going to explode.

Perhaps the best moment of the show came when Ali G wandered into a DC pro-choice demonstration. While interviewing two pro-life protestors, he asked them how they could oppose abortion, having never tried it themselves.

"Has you ever had an abortion? Surely you should try something before you say it is bad. Because I was very anti-Burger King, but then I went there and I had the flame grilled, ain’t it, and you know it was, like, amazing."

The line alone more than makes up for millions of hours of tepid US reality television and that lame "Music" video.

Here's to you, Ali G.

Monday, August 23, 2004

 

Movie Banter from Beyond the Realm of Reality - (The Goonies in Pioneer Square 8/20/04)

What sort of crowd turns out for an outdoor screening of a two decade old kid's movie? Unsurprisingly, hipsters, yokels and religious zealots.

I work on Saturdays so I arrived late and had to sit in the back of Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Goonies devotees in the front row, camped with lawn chairs and coolers, must have been there since the early afternoon. Prior to the main attraction, an Astoria tour guide introduced one of the actors from film. Who could it be? Sean Astin? Naw. Martha Plimpton? Naw. A resurrected John "Sloth" Matuszak? Nope. Instead, the organizers tracked down...the guy that stands next to Mr. Perkins when he arrives at the Goonie house with foreclosure papers.

He gave a quick, enthusiastic intro before the screen fired up and Pink Floyd's "Is There Anybody Out There?" played through a series of speakers littered throughout the square. While the humongous inflatable screen was impressive, the movie itself was transferred off a store-bought DVD. The crowd had to wait a few moments before someone backstage clicked on the correct icon to start the film.

The sound was loud enough but the ambient light from passing cars and office buildings made the scenes in the caverns hard to see. Even more distracting was the crowd itself, not that I'm complaining. During the opening scene, the God Squad , regular fixtures in the squares lately, stood next to the screen and stared at the crowd for the duration. Each wore sandwich boards, one of which read "FEAR GOD."

Perhaps more interesting was the group I was sitting next to: four women and one guy in a "Nothing Says I Love You Like...SEX!" t-shirt. Covered in tattoos, he looked like a Flea impersonator and impersonated nearly every character in the film. His Mama Fratelli was pretty spot on. As the women took turns sitting in his lap and making out with him, he offered up a loud, rolling commentary that I wish I could have somehow recorded for a home-made, special edition DVD. Among the highlights from this guy, not verbatim:




"Yeah, I stink. Clothes make me sweat. I was born to be naked."

During the opening scene, 45 minutes before Sloth shows up: "SLOTH! SLOTH! SLOTH! HEY YOU GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUYS!"

When a faint pot cloud rolled in from somewhere behind us, he jumped up and angrily surveyed the crowd. "Somebody had better share. SOMEBODY had better share." I don't think he was joking around. He gave up the search after a minute or so.

During the Sloth/Chunk kiss: "HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! GET SOME, SLOTH!"

During a scene when the Mikey encounter a pirate skeleton with two daggers in its eye sockets: "If I was him, I'd take those knives out and put 'em in my pocket."

When one of his girlfriends asked him to scoot over: "I can't do that. There's a little HANDICAPPED girl behind me. I'll block her view."

And while Sloth is watching the Errol Flynn movie (no, I am not making this up): "You see that movie that ugly motherfucker is watching? That's Errol Flynn on there. He was a huge back in the '50s and '60s." FYI: Flynn passed away in 1959, 20 years after his silver screen heydays.

UPDATE: Nate, of Flirting With Coherence, has posted photos of the event over at his site.

 

Twenty-two word review of Alien Vs. Predator




The movie would have been 3,000 times better if they settled down at the end and made a litter of cute little Predator babies.

Spoilers? Oh, wait, too late. Still, this doesn't give anything away. If it does, consider yourself lucky and Don't Go See It. No matter how much curiosity burns, Don't Go See It. Even with "Spud" in a co-starring role this thing is unwatchable.

 

This is no doubt kooky and/or crazy

Ok, I haven't listened to them since my office computer doesn't have speakers but the mere concept warrants a link. This site contains twelve downloadable campaign jingles remixed by "The Integral," a DJ allegedly working a day job as a "influential Congressional staffer." The titles, range from Carter '76 to I'm George W. Bush to...Bear in the Woods (???).

I can only assume it's a track devoted to Clinton [RIMSHOT].

 

And now a random post about Choco Baby




Choco Baby, Choco Baby
Little chocolate pills, makin' me craz-e,
Eat one, eat two, eat three...dozen
So full of Choco Baby, feel like I've got a bun in the oven....


...OK, so my lifelong ambition of becoming a jingle writer for Japanese candy companies isn't likely to become a reality. This little ditty might make double as great porno theme song though.

Of all the brands of Nihongo junk food that make it over to the states, Choco Baby are probably my favorite. They're glossy chocolate tabs that come in a Tic Tac containers and look sort of like the thing people living in the year 3000 will one day much on. The spokesman on the label, an adorable cartoon cat, betrays the "World of Tomorrow" appeal of the chocolates themselves. Plus, the candy shares the same name as untold numbers of '70s-era prostitutes and/or pimps.

Choco Baby tastes like all candy imported from Japan- half as sugary as the US equivalent and, well, just plain weird. I guess the true appeal is that they also look like rabbit droppings...delicious, chocolaty rabbit droppings.

I was once addicted to Choco Baby (feel free to use this quote out of context) but I had to kick the habit when Uajimaya, the
Asian food superstore in Beaverton, mysteriously stopped carrying them. I've since hopped on the Pocky bandwagon but it's just not the same. As you can guess, Coco Baby, given the fecal factor, were not only great to eat but fun to leave on coworkers' desks. *sigh*

Well, you've just spent the last 30 to 90 seconds reading a blurb about a Japanese candy brand with an NC-17 name that resembles futuristic bunny poop. How does this make you feel?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

 

And the winners be....




Without further ado, here are the winners of Welcome to Blog's Big Fat Republican National Convention Caption Contest!

FIRST PLACE: Banjo, clear off a space on the nearest shelf/desk/coffee table 'cause the talking GW Bush doll is yours.

SECOND PLACE: This part is tricky. As of the deadline, Ashley and J.J. were locked in a tie. So how should this be decided? Another poll? Thunderome? Naw, too much effort. I'm flipping a coin...hold on.

OK, heads, Ashley wins. Tails, JJ takes the magnet. Ready? Here we go...

[flip]

It's heads. ASHLEY WINS!

THIRD PLACE: Since JJ was tied for second, does that mean he should automatically take the third place prize? What about Bryan and Peas, who were tied for third? Letting JJ take the tacks wouldn’t be fair to them. Ugh, this contest judging $@!#$!@! sure is irritating. OK, I've written all three names on a piece of paper. I'm going to flip the coin again. The name it lands closest to wins. Confused? Yeah, well, so am I. OK, here we go....

BRYAN WINS!

Congratulations to the winners. You are truly caption masters. To claim your prizes, send an email to website1981@hotmail.com. I'll need to know where to send or leave them.

As for the losers, buck up. Dry those teary eyes and turn those frowns upside down because each day is filled with new opportunities. If you're still feeling lousy after you've drying your eyes and turning your frowns upside down, uh, get drunk or something.

 

And the "Vietnamese" restaurant was funny




It's hard to argue with a movie that manages to plop Natalie Portman in a hamster cemetery. Despite first time director Zach Braff's efforts to pull off a 21st-century Graduate and his studio's efforts to sell the film as the next Lost in Translation, Garden State feels emptier than the Sopranos' pool in January.

Garden State opens with Braff on a crashing airplane, apathetically staring straight ahead as the passenger's around him panic. Is the plane really going down or is this just an obvious metaphor for his mental state? The film offers no answers as he heads back to his home state for his mother's funeral, his first trip back in almost nine years. Stuck in a semi-permanent Zoloft haze, Braff wanders around his old digs catching up with friends. One has become a cop and another resides in an empty mansion after selling a patent for silent Velcro. Along the way he unearths an old WW2-era motorcycle in his father's garage and hooks up with a pathological liar played by Portman.

The film is littered with great scenes. In one, Braff finds himself stuck in a slow-motion paralysis as partygoers around him buzz around like hummingbirds. In another, he encounters a family living in an upturned boat on the edge of a bottomless pit.

If Garden State were a band it would be the Strokes: a tailor-made pacifier for twenty-something that pine for the "good ol' days" when rock stars sneered and films were more about mood and style than plot. It borrows parts from other cult indie hits to assemble an eager-to-please Frankenstein monster: the rogues gallery of off-beat characters from Welcome to the Dollhouse and The Royal Tenenbaums, the tourist-in-suburbia pangs of Ghost World, the stranger-in-a-strange land alienation of LIT, the prescription-fueled fog of Donnie Darko along with the critically-approved soundtrack of all five.

But as a twenty-something that endlessly complains about the blandness of modern pop culture I can't help but love the damn thing...just like Is This It?. Garden State is pandering and its themes are as heavy-handed as the winning story in a high school fiction contest. Despite it all, this is probably the best film I'll see all year. Plus, it's 15,000 times better than the smug and oh-so-trite Napolean Dynamite.

Really, the only decent scene in that movie is when he starts dancing.

 

The night the house (almost) blew up




It's 1:30 AM. You open the front door and it hits in the face: a heavy cloud of natural gas. What do you do?

If you're anything like me, you wander inside, calmly use the restroom, calmly turn on the lights, and then flip-out when you abruptly recall the refrigerator scene from Fight Club.

Fine, so this is my first home with a gas stove and it's been a while since I last caught one of NW Natural's cautionary TV ads. I assume the only threat would be gas inhalation, which wasn't a threat since the windows were open and I was about to head outside with the phone book. The fact that the house might burst into flames at any second couldn't quite negate my burning physical need to...take a wiz.

So I immediately ran outside, abandoning the house to the neighborhood mosquitoes. "Get out of the house," the operator warned. Done. "And whatever you do, don't turn on the lights."

Ooops. Apparently, the electric spark in a light bulb is enough to turn a cute little cottage like mine into a four-alarm hell ball in a second flat. She said someone would be out in 10 minutes. 45 minutes later I'm still sitting in a lawn chair, terrorizing the neighbor's dog with the cheery "WOO HOO!"s and "YIPPIES!" wafting out of my copy of Mario + Luigi. At any given second, the house will no doubt burst into flames behind me.

The NW Gas guy finally arrives and wakes up the neighbors before sending their dog into a fit of hysterics with the rear-gear beeps on his truck. He immediately diagnosed the problem. The pilot light in the stove must have gone out during the day, allowing the house to slowly fill gas. He kills the line, tells me to leave the windows open and makes arrangements for another rep to come out the following day.

Twelve hours later, a man that looks appropriately like Mario, wanders to the door, turns the gas back on and lights the pilot. If this ever happens again, I'm to repeat the process. "Kill the gas. Let it all out. Turn the gas back on. Light the pilot."

I want to put this on a t-shirt. Or maybe a pair of boxer shorts would be more appropriate?

Friday, August 20, 2004

 

Slick shoes?




Usually I blog up a storm on Fridays but I've taken the day off to prep for tonight's showing of The Goonies in Pioneer Square. I've got my Goonies sneakers, Goonies Hawaiian shirt, Goonies acid-washed jeans, Goonies bean bag chair, Goonies mosquito repellent and 15th anniversary Goonies commemorative beer stein all ready to go. I've been eating nothing but rocky-road ice cream and Baby Ruths over the past few weeks to bulk up to Chunk-size weight for the event. I've also spray-painted the Goonies oath on my car. I'll be back tomorrow to declare the winners of the caption contest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

 

Whip it into shape

And I ran
I ran so far away
I just ran
I ran all night and day

And I ran
I ran so far away
I just ran
I couldn't get away




10,000 runners. 3,800 words. 23 pictures. 3 transvestites. 2 pot-banging sociopaths. 1 new wave/punk band obsessed with apocalyptic imagery and flowerpots.

1 race.

Click here for Welcome to Blog's 44th feature, a heartbreaking, spellbinding recount of Nike's One Hit Wonder. Part 1, which covers the grueling training process? Here. Part 2, which covers the race itself? It be here.

 

Round 2 update




With a mere three days left in round two of the caption contest, J. J. Joe Jr. and Banjo are neck and neck in a two-way tie. This battle could go any way. Will one of the other contestants make a stunning comeback? YOU can decide the winner.

What, you haven't voted yet? You, sir, are what's wrong with the democratic process. Cast away your apathy and participate in what could be the most important contest poll this blog may ever see. The deadline is 2:21 PM PST on Friday, August 20th. Come on, it's fun, free and easy. Just click here. No, wait, click here. No, hold on, here. Yeah, definitely here.

 

Will you please drop out now?

Is it just a matter of time? There's no way he can possibly get around this, no matter how much $ Republican "supporters" throw at the situation.

 

Here comes the stormtrooper, all dressed in white




Surely your interest is piqued. For more of the same, click here.

FYI: those stormtrooper costumes can run up to $1400 on Ebay.

Thanks, Boing! Boing!

 

The mall of lost souls

Here's a description of a mall outside of Bend I wandered into recently. It's a tale that's sure to warm your heart.

It was about the size of a small bus station depot. Half the overhead fluorescents were turned off/burned out and it consisted almost entirely of boarded up storefronts. There was a sad little pet shop with no one in it across from a Verizon store. When I passed, the employees were shouting about various promotional deals. They quickly reeled in a guy, somehow not a hipster, dressed in a mesh hat and flannel shirt.

I was there in search of an ATM and found one in a liquor store. The last time I encountered one of these in a mall was in Canada. Aren't there laws against this sort of thing? It was crowded, standing room only, and clogged with a grey cloud. Elderly women chain-smoked as they stared at a line of poker machines. The one behind the counter, dressed in a pink tank top with a Pal Mal in her mouth, had the stare of a warden on a cellblock.

These ladies were deriving no joy from gambling. They looked and acted like they were working on an assembly line; their job plugging quarters into these ancient games. The ATM dated back to the '70s and shat out the cash in a murky little tube. I was not welcome there and left quickly.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

 

Smithers, I do believe that zombie and that monkey were in Skull and Bones

Simpsons. Kerry looks like a zombie. Bush looks like a monkey. Get it? Aw, forget it.

From IMDB's bio on John Kerry:

9th cousin twice removed of George W. Bush, his rival in the 2004 election. Both are descended from Edmund Reade (1563-1623).

Well, it's news to me. It's probably for the best that they're not "kissin' cousins." Anyway, where are the conspiracy theories regarding this link? I'm sure there's a million of them out there. The two of them were also in Skull and Bones, the secret Yale organization that seems to have replaced Area 51 as the cornerstone of all US political conspiracies.




This link leads to a 60 Minutes interview with Ron Rosenbaum, a columnist from The New York Observer obsessed with the organization. The entire thing is well worth reading but here are the highlights:

"Prescott Bush, George W's grandfather, and a band of Bonesmen, robbed the grave of Geronimo, took the skull and some personal relics of the Apache chief and brought them back to the tomb," says Robbins. "There is still a glass case, Bonesmen tell me, within the tomb that displays a skull that they all refer to as Geronimo."

Robbins says the cast of the initiation ritual is right out of Harry Potter meets Dracula: "There is a devil, a Don Quixote and a Pope who has one foot sheathed in a white monogrammed slipper resting on a stone skull. The initiates are led into the room one at a time. And once an initiate is inside, the Bonesmen shriek at him. Finally, the Bonesman is shoved to his knees in front of Don Quixote as the shrieking crowd falls silent. And Don Quixote lifts his sword and taps the Bonesman on his left shoulder and says, 'By order of our order, I dub thee knight of Euloga.'"

"They're supposed to recount their entire sexual histories in sort of a dim, a dimly-lit cozy room. The other 14 members are sitting on plush couches, and the lights are dimmed," says Robbins. "And there's a fire roaring. And the, this activity is supposed to last anywhere from between one to three hours."


Y-i-k-e-s. And Bush was a cheerleader (see above). But you already knew that, right?

 

Portland vs. John Forbes Kerry part 1

It's always odd to come across Bush supporters in west Portland but maybe I've been looking in the wrong places. They seem to keep to themselves and aren't too keen on pamphlets and grassroots politics, unlike those on the flipside.

Yeah, I just wrote "flipside" without irony. Shame on me.

Last week, I went on a ride-along with a field technician. One of the homes we hit was covered in patriotic paraphernalia. The yard contained no less than nine American flags, ranging from tiny metal stand-ups to full-fledged, have-to-take-it down-at-dusk displays. A sign near the edge of the driveway featured two smiling kids dressed like Uncle Sam and a pioneer. Stuck to a window was a large sticker with "WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" written in red, white and blue letters.

The place was immaculate. The woman that greeted us was a stay-at-home mom with a bleach-blonde perm. She offered us soda and, yes, the resemblance to the one at the end of Fahrenheit 9/11 was uncanny.

While the tech ran upstairs, I was stuck downstairs with her two yapping Schnauzers. Adjacent to the front door sat a line of her five kid's graduation pics. The three boys were all wearing letterman jackets. The tassels off their graduation caps rested on the edge of each frame.

The problem was a quick fix and we out of there in five minutes flat. Unfortunately, I didn't get a look at their video collection, proudly displayed on a series of shelves near the TV.

Finally, attached to the Pontiac in the driveway: a Bush/Cheney '04 bumpersticker.

------

Other highlights from the ride-along:

- A newlywed couple in a tiny apartment with a 60-inch HDTV in the bedroom. The thing took up most of the room. In the living room, on a pedestal, sat a hardbound copy of Steinbeck's East of Eden.

- A computer room filled to the brim with alligators- alligator stuffed animals, alligator portraits, alligator buttons, alligator greeting cards, wind-up alligators, alligator videos and an animatronic alligator that sang..."Crocodile Rock."

- At another point, we ventured into a Street of Dreams neighborhood filled with million + dollar homes. One was owned by a local musician (?) with a full bar and an enormous, two-story tall painting of the African Serengeti in her living room. We were there to fix a computer in a recording room and another in a kid's room. Based on the pink bed sheets and dolls everywhere, the girl must have been 10, tops. The photos on the wall, recently taken, backed up this assumption.

Here's the weird part: the wide open closet filled with a huge DVD collection. A few titles: Memento, Seven, La Dolce Vita and, wait for it...yup, The Big Lewbowski. Even stranger: a nearby book shelf housed a large collection of LSAT prep guides. I guess you can never start preparing too early for law school and film snobbery.

More likely: the pics were of a younger sister. The elder is probably off at Yale.

Still, people are strange.

 

Now THAT'S a dress

So I've been watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on the HDTV here in the office. NBC has been re-airing it on a continuous loop on their special HD channel. I've been half-watching an endless line of nations stroll into Olympic Stadium since this morning. About an hour ago, Bjork popped up out of nowhere.

The TVs on mute so I have no idea what she was singing but the real story is her super-weird dress. It consisted of a million yards of oceanic fabric that stretched out of the athlete's heads, forming a gigantic planet Earth.

This is probably the most garish, over-the-top thing I've seen in...at least a week. Way to go, Bjork.

PS: The torch/rocket is also neat.

 

Follow-up: Disneyworld vs. Hurricane Charley




This is a picture of Goofy mere hours before Charley hit Florida.




This is a picture of Goofy during Charley.

OK, not really. So how did Disney's parks fare against the storm of the century? They didn't quite take the beating that Universal's did. While Hurricane Charley managed to knock down a few tiles and uproot a number of trees, the rides in both company's parks were up and running by noon today (EST). BOR-ING!

As mentioned yesterday, I was hoping for a little theme park Schadenfreude to help make my weekend workday a little less dull. You know, footage of the Magic Kingdom in chaos. Spires flying off of Cinderella's castle and shots of flying Dumbo ride carts bouncing off the side of Space Mountain. The teacups floating in the Jungle Cruise, or, shucks even crosspollination- parts of Universal's Islands of Adventure blown into the middle of Fantasyland would have made great cable news fodder.

Oh well, these will have to do. One visitor took pictures from around Disneyworld before, during and after the storm (see above). A full-time resident also posted these shots from around the parks. Nothing too exciting, signs tied down, people playing in pools as storm clouds gather, others in ponchos, but they're definitely worth a peek.

Gracias, Disney Blog, gracias.

Friday, August 13, 2004

 

The second round of the Big, Fat RNC Caption Contest begins...NOW!




Eight have entered.

Only three will win.

Which three? That's for YOU to decide.

That's right, whether you like it or not, you play a part in this. Yes, it is your sworn patriotic duty to vote for the winner. Unlike real politics, anyone can participate, regardless of age.

Come on, it's fun, free and easy. Simply click on this link or the ones above to choose the caption you deem the most worthy of taking home a talking George Bush doll or one of the other *fabulous* prizes.

Votes are due by 2:21 PM PST on August 20th, 2004. Ready, set, vote!

 

Bush? Beaver? Tons?

[INSERT BEAVIS + BUTTHEAD STYLE LAUGHTER HERE]

GW Bush, John Kerry, Leonardo DiCaprio AND Jon Bon Jovi were all in town today. What is it, Friday the 13th?

Oh.

Whenever anything interesting happens in the Portland metro area, I'm stuck at work. While I missed this afternoon's Bon Jovi mixer at Waterfront Park, I did manage to swing by Southridge High School on my lunch break. Bush's motorcade was well on its way to the airport by the time I got there though. Instead of secret service men and pandemonium all I found was a few lingering protestors and...pandemonium.

This is probably the most exciting thing that's ever happened in Beaverton. Wait, strike that, Keanu Reeves was out here last autumn to film a movie. For the second most exciting thing the locals still turned out in droves. A chain link fence with barbed wire ran down the length of the sidewalk across the street from the high school. A few hours prior, it was probably chock full of local demonstrators.

So I was stuck in traffic for twenty minutes behind school buses and soccer moms, barely allowing enough time to get back here. All and all, it was a pretty bad idea but it gave me an excuse to grab a Slurpee. Thanks, Mr. Bush!

 

The streets were alive with the sound of weirdness

Downtown was crazy last Saturday night. In addition to being nearly assaulted by a lovelorn yuppie, I watched a skater kid take on a punk old enough to join the AARP. There must have been at least a 50-year age difference between the two. The kid was somewhere in his mid-teens and the punk must have been at least 60.

With a huge head of mangy grey hair, the punk was skinnier than a skeleton and had his left arm in a blue cast. They screamed at each other for a good five minutes before the police arrived. I was stuck behind a small crowd that gathered to watch inside Voodoo Donut. Behind me, an older guy in a black jumpsuit, allegedly one of the former owners of the 24 Hour Church of Elvis, was singing country standards on a karaoke machine.

Every time I start thinking Portland is a tepid little burg, something like this happens.

On the way up Broadway, a street preacher in a black suit was howling in Pioneer Square. I'm not sure if it's the same guy but he's/they've become a regular fixture. As usual, a crowd had gathered to watch and mock. Two teens in Foot Locker duds were arguing with him on the topic of gay marriage, inspiring two guys in tank tops to start French-kissing nearby. A hippie guy in a army jacket soon joined in and began spinning/dancing/staggering around them.

As if this scene wasn't weird enough, a scrawny kid in a black trench arrived on the scene with his head hidden deep in a black trench coat. In the opening at the top sat a Scream mask on a stick. The kid quickly got his face and began twisting around like a kabuki dancer.

All the while, the preacher remained perfectly calm. Here's a photo:



Take note of the person in the foreground. I'm pretty sure this is one of the hippies that "saved" me later that night.

 

Disneyworld vs. Hurricane Charley

While watching updates on CNN on the office tele the first question that springs to mind: how are they going to batten down the hatches in Disneyworld?

The storm just hit the coast between Tampa and Fort Meyers and will head north towards the Georgia coast overnight. "Orlando, the metro area, Disney, all those amusement parks will get hammered pretty good," said Stacy Stewart, a forecaster with the National Hurricane Center in an interview with the Orlando Central. This is the biggest threat Disneyworld has faced in decades. Gasp!

So how is the theme park going to strike back? Each of its various offshoots, the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, etc. all closed early this afternoon at 1 PM EST. According to the Disney Blog, the furry residents of Animal Kingdom were later rushed into hurricane-proof buildings. All loose items, like trash bins and construction materials, have been secured following the park's phase 3 hurricane procedures.

But Charley was just updated to a category 4. Does a "phase 3" cover that? Dum! Dum! Dum!

Hopefully, some brave AP cameraman will be on site to capture footage of the spires on Cinderella's castle being blown heavenwards and holes being poked in that weird silver circle thing at EPCOT. Have a look. There's no way these structures can hold up against 145 MPH winds.

Roland Emmerich, eat your heart out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

 

Time is running out to participate in the Big, Fat RNC Caption Contest!

Like sands in an hour, so are the days of our lives. Have you been recently hit with that not-so-fresh feeling? Have you been depressed for two or more days? Are you not enjoying things like you used to? Have you begun acting like the downtrodden circle people in all those Wellbutrin ads? Have you overheard friends and family muttering, "Sheesh, [insert your name here] sure has been acting like a moody little turd lately"?

If so, I've got the solution to all of your problems: WELCOME TO BLOG'S BIG FAT REPULICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION CAPTION CONTEST!!!

Shake those summertime blues by entering right now. All you have to do is come up with a caption for the cra-zay picture below and you could quite possibly maybe just win one of three fabulous prizes.




If you've been putting this off for a week and have decided to wait until the last minute, well, the last minute is here. Captions Are Due By Noon Tomorrow Wednesday, August 11th 2004. Those arriving at 12:01 PM or later will not be accepted.

OK, they might but only if you ask nicely.

Enter however you like. Email, the comments area below, the message board, Fed Ex, sky writing, whatever. Time is short, people. Chop-chop.

 

Portland vs. George Walker Bush pt. 3

Spotted near the Lewis and Clark campus:




How quickly would this be crushed, defaced or stolen south of the Bible Belt? 20 seconds? 30?

BTW: an installment of Portland vs. John Kerry is on the way. Fodder from the anti-JFK crowd is obviously much more difficult to track down in "Little Beirut."

Part 2? Here. Part 1? Here.

 

Two drunk, angry yuppies + 44 oz. of soda = bad news

Saturday night. In line in front of me at the Broadway is a woman around 30, dressed for an evening on the town. Why is she going to a movie, by herself, in a slinky dress with her hair done up?

I get the answer after the movie. I round a corner on 6th and a woman is arguing with a guy dressed for the Portland Grill- bleach blonde spiked hair, bad tan and white dress shirt. She's screaming and I assume they're drunk and flirting. In her right hand is a 44 oz. Regal soda. It's the same woman from the line.

He says something nasty and ducks as she throws the drink at him. With ice and Coke rolling down the back of his shirt, he's fuming. I should have crossed the street but, stupidly, I decided to pass and now she's looking at me to do something. He's a walking pec and I haven't been in a fight since grade school.

A tiny, off-duty security guard rounds the corner. I decide to delegate and keep moving. The woman's jaw has now dropped to the pavement. Her eyes are on Pec Man's crotch and his hands are on his hips. He's struck a sloppy Superman pose. She starts shrieking and darts back towards Broadway.

He quickly notices the guard and zips his pants back up. Anecdotes over, right?

Wrong.

A block later I realize the Pec Man is following me and carrying the empty 44 oz soda cup. I pick up the pace and he does the same. This must be karmic slap in the face for not intervening or calling the police. There's no telling what his plans are but it probably involves the cup and my ass.

Three blocks down a deserted, 5th Avenue bus mall, I decide to head for cover- other human beings. The bus stop next to City Hall is crowded. People are reading books and smoking cigarettes. I weave between two middle-aged hippies and their low-rider bikes. "We love you man," they mutter. "Hey, didn't you hear? We love you!"
The other hippie is also smitten and he does the same.

"WE LOVE YOU! GOD, MAN, WE LOVE YOU! DIDN'T YOU HEAR US? WE LOVE YOU!"

I search for something to say back, "thanks," "I love you too" "cool" "rock on" but nothing comes out. The situation is too weird and my brain can't process it all. I look back and Pec Man is continuing down 5th. Have these hippies saved me a trip to OHSU?

The car's parked in front of 24 Hour Fitness (closed at this hour). I flash the hippies a peace sign as I pass but they don't see it. On the way home, a drunk driver, a raccoon and a tree branch fall in front of the car. Ever get the feeling the whole world is gunning for you?

Monday, August 09, 2004

 

Strange shots from the I-5 Corridor

As promised last week, here are a few pictures from the jaunt down the interstate. What's going on? Click here for an explanation.




The horse tied to a bike rack in Chinatown. For obvious reasons, I'm pretty infatuated with this shot.




The restroom at The Tube. Take note of all the cartoon marshmallow people on the walls.




The mutant cat with the 6.5 toes is the orange one. With a thumb that size he'll be learning to type and/or hitchhike in no time. This is shot from the owner's blog. For a closer, click here.




The icky Lithia water fountains in downtown Ashland. With all those years of green mineral build-up on the sides, they practically dare tourists to go near them. The spot is in dire need of a webcam. I'm guessing that the fountains cause more than a dozen unsuspecting people to gag an hour. The pavement surrounding the podium is covered in spat-up water. This stuff is supposed to be healthy?




Graffiti found at the top of a slide in Lithia Park. Hard-Core-Vallis? Hil-ar-i-ous!




And finally, the over-60 crowd at the park concert. Behind that three? Hundreds and hundreds of elderly people. You'll have to take my word for it. Strangely enough, they weren't staring at a gigantic TV showing an episode of The Price is Right.

Pictures of the Oregon Vortex and the Port-o-Pots of Mystery? On the way, someday. In the meantime, you should read this.

 

A four word review of Collateral

The coyotes were neat.

 

Max's Tavern RIP?

As Queen Autumn revealed in a eulogy on her blog today, Max's Tavern, infamous among Eugene barhoppers, recently closed down. Currently, the windows are covered in newspaper and the building is serious need of repair. It may be gone forever.

Max's was more than a dive bar. Like many characters and businesses around Eugene, it was rumored to inspire Matt Groening. Max's shared many common traits with its alleged cartoon off-shot, Moe's Tavern. A long mirror ran down the length of the bar, the pool table was in the same spot and it certainly had plenty of "dank." The names of hundreds of patrons were carved into the booths and scribbled on the walls in a pair of bathrooms which make the one in Trainspotting look spotless.

I wasn't the devotee that many were. While I tried, I never managed to attended one of the bar's St. Patrick's Day shindigs and never witnessed any nude motorcyclists cruising through. Nevertheless, Max's provided me with a few found, dumb memories. The bar was the first I ever drank in and the staff served me one day while I was covered in fake stage blood without raising an eyebrow. My sister, on her 21st birthday, was so horrified by the Animal House ambiance and the rowdy crowd that she refused to touch her Guinness.

Max's provided at least 4 decades worth of UO undergrads with anecdotes and, for at least a portion of that time, it was the only bar near campus. Unlike the frat-dominated bars up 13th, it truly was a place were everyone, young, old and stinky was welcome. Hopefully, Max's isn't destined for the same fate as the late-great Clancy Thurber's.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

 

Big, Fat RNC Caption Contest update

We're halfway through the first round of the caption contest and all those fabulous prizes, including a talking George W. Bush doll, are still up for grabs. Thus far, it's been a fabulous success. Three people (!) have entered with over four days left until the deadline for entries. At this rate, the number of contestants will no doubt top the six (!!!) that participated in Welcome to Blog's last contest.

Despite the unexpectedly high number of early entries, to make things even more exciting I've decided to drag the contest out here onto the main page of the site. Now there are two ways to play. You can post a caption on the contest message board AND/OR the comments area below this post. For complete rules and info on the prizes, click here or on the link provided above.

And here's the picture:




Simply come up with a caption for this Photoshop-ed encounter between Bush and Miss Oregon in a Wendy's and you too will have a chance at winning your very own talking GW doll. Nine out of ten gun-totting Ashland Republicans agree: he looks absolutely adorable in his little Eddie Bauer outfit.

 

Bjork's next




I am an unapologetic Bjork fan. While most of the free world considers her more annoying than herpes, crabs and the common cold, I can’t get enough of her trademark brand of Icelandic techno pop. Not that I can't blame them. She looks, acts and sings like the spazzy love child of Tinkerbell and Yoko Ono. She's a critical darling but her records have never sold staggeringly well. Her only radio hit to date is "Army of Me" and the people I've spoken with that don’t like Bjork, really, really, really don’t like Bjork.

I’ll admit her last album, Vespertine, which strayed heavily in Enya territory, was a disappointment…with the exception of the little seen music videos that went along with it. In one, a nude Bjork is put into a cocoon by her own nipples.

If you haven't heard, she's weird like that.

Her next album, due August 31st, sounds promising though. Titled Medulla, Bjork and cameos by the likes of Mr. Bungle and Rahzel from The Roots, forgo instrumentation in favor of beat boxing and vocal tracks. Not a single guitar string was plucked or the button of a drum machine pushed during the making of the album. Neat.

On the other hand, there's the long, uber-annoying career of Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerin to consider.

But there's also the nifty shot of Bjork in Catwoman gear on the cover. That does it. I'm sold.

 

Maybe he was heading for 24 Hour Fitness

Spotted in a Beaverton parking lot this afternoon: a squirrel dragging a sweat sock. Since this isn't something I see everyday, I stood and watched. The rodent paused every few feet and hauled it onto a patch of lawn next to my office building. Was he planning early for the cool months ahead? Was this to be his winter home?

The squirrel stared at it for a minute before scurrying up a tree. Maybe he was heading upstairs for his tiny, no doubt adorable gym bag.

 

An open letter to the Marion County Traffic Court

This is obviously a first draft.

To Whom it May Concern,

Yes, I was speeding. My vehicle was going 76 in a 55 MPH zone. Furthermore, I was too busy fumbling with the stereo to notice your officer in the unmarked Camero with lights blazing, riding my bumper for a full minute.

Yes, I broke the law with impunity but not without good reason. Despite my reckless nonchalance, your officer wasn't stationed at the US-22 turn-off from I-5, where I was nearly bounced off the highway by several quarter-ton trucks. The drivers, no doubt abusing the most sophisticated radar detection devices on the market, had little patience for my observance of your fine county's traffic laws. Rather than have my ancient vehicle crushed, which would have put a serious damper on my weekend plans, I had to keep pace with them.

Your officer caught me a long, straight downhill stretch of highway- a cunning, merciless spot for a speed trap if there ever was one. To maintain the posted speed limit of 55 MPH, I would have had to ride my pathetic vehicle's brakes to the point of smoking. Imagine the smell of burning early '80s-era Toyota pads, which is olfactory equivalent of ten crushed skunks. To offset the potential stench and an accident with the criminally insane Dodge Ram enthusiasts that litter Highway 22, I had no other choice but to speed.

Furthermore, the fact that your officer decided to ticket the driver of a 1984 Toyota van, littered with bumperstickers and with no discernable Blue Book value is the very definition of smug cruelty, a stern abuse of power, especially given the $35,000 steel hulks I had to contend with. I suspect that he may have been employing the central-Oregon equivalent of racial profiling: Old van + driver under 30 + obnoxious stickers = EZ ecstasy bust. My sober demeanor and quickness with license and registration clearly disappointed him. I offered him no reason to suspect the presence of nonexistent illegal substances in the vehicle or in my stomach cavity. He barely asked my question about area wildfires before buzzing off in search of something that will no doubt land his face on the cover of the Statesman Journal.

Now I'm stuck with a $237 fine that I can't, and frankly, given the circumstances, unwilling to pay. My vehicle isn't even worth $237. Nevertheless, I am a reasonable human being, as I'm sure you area as well. There's no reason why we shouldn't agree on quick resolution to these matters. Here's what I propose:

My former landlord still has not returned my $500 security deposit. According to the lease agreement, he has 45 days to do so. As of today, August 8th, I've allowed him 53. I clearly can't afford legal representation and don’t know how to circumnavigate the waters of small claims court. Plus, he isn't returning my phone calls. Since your county's police department evidentially has too much time on its hands, a trip to his home in SW Portland would neither unrational or unrealistic. We're talking about a 30 minute drive up I-5 corridor and a quick shakedown. Given the highway patrol's passion for extortion, the process should be swift and easy. The landlord is a retired dentist and he can't run that fast.

I'm perfectly wiling to give Marion County $300, $237 to cover the ticket and $63 to cover the cost of expenses for the shakedown (food, gas, nighstick polish and batteries for the stun guns). Do we have a deal?

Sincerely yours,

Blog

Friday, August 06, 2004

 

Portland/Ashland vs. George Walker Bush pt. 2

A high school student posted in an interesting blurb on Blue Oregon earlier today. While mowing his grandparents lawn, he witnessed a group of passing 8 year-olds shout "Vote for Kerry!" at random motorists.

While Portlanders have been turning out in droves to express their support for the Kerry, the situation down in Ashland is a wee bit different. I was down there yesterday and ran into a SOU student collecting donations for the campaign. Curious to see how southern Oregonians are reacting to their grass root efforts, I figured he would offer a quick, boring anecdote about how well things have been going. Instead, he painted a unexpectedly bleak picture.

In his first day of promoting the campaign, the worst he had endured was a few tense arguments and the ocassional obscenity from a passing car. However, he was working the downtown beat near a crowded theater showing Farenheit 9/11. His door-to-door colleagues, on the other hand, have been assualted with not only naughty words but gun-totting Bush-supporters. He didn't go into details.

And I always figured that Ashland, with its laid-back campus, world craft shops and Shakespeare festival, would be a total Kerry burg.

 

Where did Pesci go?

Something that just occurred to me: where did Joe Pesci go? He hasn't been in a movie in close to six years. His last, Lethal Weapon 4, was released way back in 1998. A Google search on Pesci yields no personal info. Is he in the witness protection program? Retired and playing golf all day? In a dark lounge somewhere, angrily inquiring into the rumored funniness of his overall demeanor and allegations that he may or may not be a clown?

 

People are strange, the 1-5 corridor is stranger

I encountered more assorted weirdness in a 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday then I have in months. Was there a full moon? An eclipse of the moon? A blue moon? Some sort of moon-related phenomenon? Here's a small compendium.

- A bar in downtown Portland that looked like a sci-fi subway station filled with chain smoking hipsters, all laughing at that white supremacist sketch from Chappelle's Show.

- A horse tied to a bike rack on 3rd Avenue.

- An undergrad still pissed at me because I gave his former roommate a poster of a half-naked Eric Estrada as a housewarming gift. The poster hung over their fireplace for several months.

- A mutant (?) housecat named Simba with 6.5 toes on each of his four paws. One of them is a pseudo-thumb and he can apparently grip things like toys and cat food. If he learns to write, humanity is doomed.

- A bearded man named Frog selling joke books out of a newspaper stand and offering passers-by a small rubber cow to squeeze. While living in Eugene, I used to encounter him on a daily basis.

- An elderly man hanging around the UO campus at 1 AM, eager to discuss the trolley tracks recently unearthed during a construction project on 13th. "It's a modern-day archaeology site and YOUR GOVERNMENT doesn't care," he cried, before disappearing into the night.

- A White Russian that tasted like a White Russian but somehow smelled like tuna.

- A pint of Fat Tire that somehow tasted like White Out.

- A metal band, driving a Jagermeister mobile, at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Five members all looked the same- covered in tattoos, wearing black t-shirts with their hair spiked and with soul patches attached to their chins. Then there was the sixth member- a guy wearing a Miles Davis shirt, with dreads down to his butt. I asked him if he was waiting for the bathroom and he said, "Naw, I'm just waiting." Then, when someone came out, he quickly put out his cigarette and dashed in ahead of me while the rest chatted with an area teacher about school buses (?!!).

- A mysterious vortex/tourist trap that distorted the height of bored grade schoolers and blocked cell phone reception. The Junior Mints for sale in the gift shop, however, tasted just fine.

- A bathroom in an Italian restaurant filled with Mapplethorpe-esque framed photos of female body builders.

- A very tall guy dressed in an orange cape and assorted Ren. Fair attire, being arrested by petite cop in downtown Ashland. He was at least 6'5, she barely topped 5 feet. As he was being handcuffed he screamed, "YEAH, SINGLE ME OUT 'CAUSE I'M BLACK!" There were at least 30 other Ren. Fair-ers, lingering on a lawn nearby, all but one of them white, all seemingly oblivious to the situation at hand. This had to be perfromance art, there's no other possible explanation.

- The Lithia water fountains, also in Ashland. For over a hundred years it's provided pedestrians water that smells like eggs, looks like salvia and tastes like rancid salt water. In the space of five minutes, several tourists, some of them French, made the mistake of drinking, and subsequently gagging. Then, sometime later, a hippie guy wandered up and chugged at least a full quart of the stuff. Bleeeech!

- Over a thousand elderly concert-goers some on scooters, some on blankets, in the middle of Lithia park. For some strange reason, everyone middle-aged and below was sitting on the outskirts. I didn't see a "No one under 60 allowed" sign but that seemed to be the case.

Should I post pictures? I probably will anyway.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

 

Welcome Blog's Big Fat RNC Caption Contest!!!!




CALL THE KIDS! TEXT MESAGE YOUR FRIENDS! WAKE UP THE NEIGHBORS! NOTIFY THE PRESS! DROP VERA A LINE! POST SOMETHING ON YOUR BLOG! IT'S TIME FOR WELCOME TO BLOG'S BIG FAT REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION CONTEST!!!

Whew....

As mentioned a few weeks back, Welcome to Blog is having another contest. This one is sure to be even bigger and better than the last one. The prizes cost tens of dollars and there's no telling how many people might enter. Why, up to a dozen human beings could, maybe, quite possibly participate!

Just follow this link or the one above for the rules and details on how to enter. Up for grabs is a talking, poseable George Bush doll along with all sorts of fabulous prizes*. The contest is open to all legal residents of the United States, any human being on Earth and, sure, why not, pets and farm animals. The deadline for the first round is high noon on Wednesday, August 11th.

Any questions, just fire them off to website1981@hotmail.com.

Have fun. If you can't have fun, at least pretend you're having fun.

* Warning: prizes may or may not actually be fabulous.

 

Subservient President?




By now you're all familiar with Subservient Chicken, the strange website promotion for Burger King that popped up out of nowhere last winter. A political parody was inevitable, thus the existence of Subservient President. Put together for peanuts, the site allows visitors to type in commands below herky-jerky footage of a man in a George Bush Deux mask.

While not nearly as creepy as the chicken, Subservient President doesn't do much. I'm not sure if this is part of the gag. I've tried commands like "scratch your butt" along with blander ones like "give a speech" and "type on the computer." So far, nothing. Maybe he only works for oil industry big-wigs (*groan*)?

Feel free to try it for yourself. I'm curious to see if anyone else can get El Presidente to do anything.

UPDATE: "Start a war" makes SP walk towards the screen and point at a picture of Saddam. Come on, isn't this more fun than the Jib Jab short? That thing is soooooo, like, yesterday.

 

Living on E-Z street in the Living section

Come on, really, isn't this long overdue? Sorry Phil but you really do have the sweetest gig in Portland. Most of are doing this sort of thing for jack squat. I'm just sayin', man, I'm just sayin'...

 

Hair High premiere (Crystal Ballroom 8/1/04)

Bill Plympton's new film, Hair High, features a segment involving a teen dressed in a chicken outfit and his efforts to mate with a hen-shaped scoreboard.

Try to visualize this. If you seen any of the directors other work, it shouldn't be too hard. While Plympton's days as a big-name ad man for the likes of Taco Bell and Trivial Pursuit may be past him, his latest features his first all-star cast. Hair High features the vocal talents of Sarah Silverman, Beverly D'Angelo, Matt Groening, David Carradine and Martha "I Feel Like I'm Babysitting, Except I'm Not Getting Paid" Plimpton.

The feature follows the surreal misadventures of a new kid at a '50s-era high school, reportedly based on Plympton's Oregon City alma mater. When the teen accidentally bumps into the convertible of a starting quarterback, he's forced to become his girlfriend's slave. While the premise follows heavily from countless teen movies, it somehow manages to squeeze in a science teacher (Carradine) that hacks up his own intestines, fingernail torture, zombie teens with bugs for brains and the aforementioned hormone-fueled mascot.

Despite the gross-out moments, Hair High is oddly touching and a cute homage to an era when teens spent all their time chugging diner malts and getting to second base at the drive-in. A Q & A followed the premiere at the Crystal, featuring both Plympton and Plimpton. The discussion focused entirely on animation and, unfortunately, no one asked about the progress on the perpetually in-development Goonies 2. Plympton offered a few anecdotes about hometown hero Groening. Apparently, the toon titan still hasn't cashed the $300 check he received for his performance.

Going along with the theme, a line of vintage cars were sitting outside the Crystal. One of them had six-shooters for handles and steer horns attached to the hood. Take note of the photo below. How do they get in this thing? Do they have to pull the triggers? That would be neat.



Monday, August 02, 2004

 

Run-Hit Flounder pt 3

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Ever wonder what it looks like to mingle with people who will, seconds later, try to trample you to death? Well, here's a picture.




And here's a picture of Tone Loc.




And here's a picture of Devo.




Is there more to come? Of course there is. Photos of transvestite cheerleaders, Elvis impersonators on stilts, and video of Devo performing "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" are all on the way. When will they be posted? Could be Wednesday, could be a Wednesday in 2007. Stay tuned, senor, stay tuned.

 

The Goonies in Pioneer Square?




The Portland Communique reported last week that at least one of Phil Busse's proposed campaign promises will come to fruition. The Board of Trustees for Pioneer Courthouse Square, along with Regal Cinemas, are putting together "Flicks on the Bricks," a film series that will, with any luck, become an ongoing summer tradition.

The films will be shown on an inflatable screen but I'm curious how the organizers will drown out the headlights around the courthouse. The only thing I can think of is two story black curtains. There's also all the light pouring in from the surrounding office buildings. Hmmmm...

But enough about the logistics, what's the first film they're screening on Friday, August 20th? Why, it's the best one ever made, THE GOONIES!

T-H-E G-O-O-N-I-E-S.

On the same topic, I stood within 75 yards of Martha "It's like I'm babysitting but not getting paid" Plimpton last night. More on this later. Thanks go out to Karl for sending in the link.

 

Drudge vs. Team America

This isn't the first time Matt Drudge has attempted to muckrake Hollywood. Usually he fails miserably. The last time that comes to mind would be last November when the famed yellow journalist set his sights on Bad Santa. In several reports he claimed that Disney execs were outraged over the content of the film. But, as several movie sights pondered, why would those that greenlit Bad Santa and the various execs involved in the creative process be upset with all the potty humor? If Billy Bob Thornton had somehow put together the film in an underground bunker and presented it to Disney's higher-ups, they wouldn't have released it in several thousand theaters. It would still be sitting in a vault somewhere, not selling millions of unrated DVDs.

So it's curious that Drudge is now going after Team America, especially given the fact that the directors' politics lean in the same direction as his own. According to Armed Prophet, who caught his radio show last night, Parker/Stone called in and argued with him for an hour. Could this be the start of several months of controversy ala F 9/11? And where is Michael Moore Hates America? Quick, someone shout "liberal conspiracy!"


SEARCH THIS BLOG? SURE, NO PROBLEMO, AS BART SIMPSON USED TO SAY....





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