April 2011

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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


But did they taze the owl?

"Scanner Land" is a brief feature that appeared in last week's edition of InPortland. Since it isn't available online, it has been reproduced here for your enjoyment.

Police scanner highlights:

  • Two downtown Hilton employees called 911 at 9:45 PM on May 19 after seeing a thin man in his early 20s walk by the hotel with a dog slung over his shoulder. The hotel workers reported that the guy was threatening to kill the dog, which had a rope around its neck, and eat it. When police arrived the man denied the allegations, saying that his pit bull was sometimes hard to handle when it caught sight of appetizing people food.

  • A few minutes before 5 PM on a recent Monday, a MAX rider exited at the Goose Hollow stop, then called 911. He told dispatchers that he heard a man on the train reveal that he had stolen a monkey from the zoo and was carrying a gun. The caller had seen neither the monkey nor a gun on the man. Nevertheless, the search was on. Fifteen minutes later, police called off the search, satisfied that there was no missing monkey.

  • An owl was reported in the middle of the road at NE 122nd Avenue and Airport Way a few minutes after midnight on a recent Saturday, causing cars to swerve around it. No mention of a Harry Potter sighting.

    Monday, May 30, 2005


    The Pixies @ the Roseland Theater - 5/28/05

    I missed them when they came to Eugene.

    I missed them when they came to Bend.

    But I finally saw the Pixies when they came to the Roseland Theater last Friday. While the reunion tour may be soooo mid-2004, I don't care. After years of listening to bootlegs and "Death to the Pixies," I finally managed to see the band live and it was...

    ...ok, I guess.

    Let's be honest, the Pixies may as well be working the same nostalgia circuit as the various incarnations of Credence Clearwater Renewal and Lynyrd Skynyrd, all be it at clubs and festivals instead of state fairgrounds (and with the all the original members still above ground and along for the ride).

    Years ago I saw the Rolling Stones in Seattle and Friday night felt much the same. While the Pixies are still a few decades short of the geriatric, "'Satisfcation' was really 40 years ago? No way!" Stones, it felt like the Pixies were going through the same "we're only doing this because the side projects aren't paying the bills" motions. The songs all sounded great, sure, but exactly like they do on the albums.

    Aside from Kim Deal's cover of "In Heaven," the theme song from Eraserhead, and a feedback solo compliments of Joey Santiago, there wasn't a moment of spontaneity. While Frank Black/Black Francis' voice still hits the same heights it did on the Pixies' big, influential albums, he may as well have been shrieking "thanks for the $40 bucks" instead of "I wanna grow up to be a debaser." "Gouge away" indeed [rimshot].

    And a rushed, single song encore? C'mon.

    But this is all lame and tired criticism for a tour like this. The ticket price was worth it, if only for a brief five minutes as Deal stood in a single spotlight for "In Heaven" as the band cut to "Where is My Mind?" The crowd provided back-up and the fog machines made the Roseland look like the interior of a hot-boxed UFO. And when Black sang "smoke some marijuana, if you got some" the crowd totally did.

    It was magical, man, magical. As the drunk chick behind me put it, "Kim is probably my mom's age but she still RAWKS!"

    The '90s weren't that long ago, were they?

    Sunday, May 29, 2005


    The second time I was offered meth...

    ...would have been, actually, last night. "Cup O' Noodles" and I were heading back from PGE Park when we encountered two homeless guys.

    HOMELESS GUY # 1: "Say, you boys got any spare change?"

    ME: "Naw, sorry."

    HOMELESS GUY # 2: "Any spare change for... [his eyes suddenly go wide] speed*?"

    ME: "Naw, sorry."

    Now, I'm not sure if they wanted to sell us meth or if they were looking for a way to fund a few days of teeth-grinding fun for themselves. Further confusing things was the fact that neither of them were carrying a white rose. Nevertheless, Homeless Guy # 2 phrased the question as if it were an enticing sales pitch. We didn't take them up on the offer and they yelled at the back of our heads as we kept walking.

    But it could have been worse. At least "AIDS Guy" didn't spit on us.

    Gotta love downtown these days...

    UPDATE: So a minor-league debate has begun in the comments area about the various street definitions of "speed." Don't both amphetamines and methamphetamines fall under the same designation? At least I thought they did...

    Since I don't know any meth fans, and for lack of a better resource, I consulted the Urban Dictionary. There it is, in the first entry:

    SPEED: What is speed? Speed is amphetamine, a stimulating drug that triggers the brain's reward system giving the user feelings of pleasure. Speed also goes by the street names "Ice, Crystal Meth and Shabu."

    According to a wannabe-linguist on the internet, I was right. Booyah!


    The first time I was offered meth...

    ...would have been, actually, last Friday night. I was walking down Burnside with a few friends when a hippie guy wandered past carrying a white rose.

    HIPPIE GUY: "Hey, you need any crystal?"

    We muttered "no." Thirty seconds later, Pete explained what had just happened to the rest of us. I was convinced he was trying to bootleg tickets to the Bloc Party show at the Crystal Ballroom. Nope...

    But now I know and, as a certain, wise old '80s cartoon show claims, "knowing's half the battle."

    Nevertheless, another question remains: are white roses now the universal sign for "meth dealer"?

    Thursday, May 26, 2005


    Portland, or more specifically Milwaukie, is now a little bit weirder

    Really, it's amazing that this story didn't make the pages of the Oregonian back in March. In any other town, a blazing replica of the Statue of Liberty would be front page news. I didn't even hear about this until a few days ago.

    Shucks, this story rivals, if not beats, even the Voodoo Doughnut robbery when it comes to sheer weirdness. Or maybe I'm wrong. I'll leave it up to you to decide.

    Eventually, the statue was completed. Photos can be found over at Oh Dog, You Slueth.


    Portland is now a little bit less weird

    What? The Carousel Restaurant closed? When? Wha...? Huh?


    The Carousel Restaurant was once apart of Portland's dwindling supply of kitschy businesses. This nearly forgotten burger joint, originally called the Carnival, opened near OHSU sometime in the '50s and drew summertime crowds for over 40 years. I remember heading up there as tyke on many a July night in the '80s. My family inevitably wound up at a picnic table near the restaurant's fish pond. Despite my parent's best efforts to stop me, I always wound up feeding a good portion of my fries to the pond's paunchy koi fish.

    The Carousel's interior had a circus theme. Historic Barnum and Bailey posters hung over red and white booths. The condiment stand resembled a circus tent and the booster seats were modeled to look like cartoon giraffes. All the burgers were cooked over a fire in a brick oven near a smiling cartoon sign that urged customers to "order fries here!" Back in the day, it was not uncommon to see doctors and nurses from OHSU amongst the lunch crowd.

    In recent years the place fell on hard times and into disrepair. Paint began cracking and the koi pond eventually became little more than an oversized mud puddle. As time went by, there were always fewer and fewer customers when I dropped in for a burger and an Oreo shake.

    The Carousel is still standing, for the time being at least. A few years back there were rumors that OHSU had purchased the property and was planning to turn it into a parking lot. That remains to be seen but, all things considered, the place stands the same dim chance of coming back as Henry Ford's and Waddle's.

    On Sunday, Stumptown Confidential posted now & then photos of the Carousel/Carnival. It's a sad sight.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005


    Maurice Cheeks' soon to be old digs

    On Monday Maurice Cheeks landed his dream job with the 76ers, which means it's time for him to sell his old place in the West Hills. If you've ever wondered how your average beleaguered NBA coach lives, now's your chance.

    If you're interested, the listed price is a mere $1,250,000.00. Given Portland's booming real estate market, that ain't bad for a four bedroom, three bath spread.

    Thanks for the link, OSF.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005


    One last Star Wars-related post

    While Portland Star Wars aficionados were arriving at cinemas around town last week, one local fan was attempting to breaking a world record. By the time the first lightsaber-touting geek had begun waiting in line, Brandon Erickson, the classic gaming marathoner profiled by Willamette Week last March, had already been standing in front of an arcade console for dozens of hours.

    In an effort to beat the all time record for Atari's Star Wars, Erickson committed himself to a nearly three day marathon at Ground Kontrol, the classic video arcade in Portland's Chinatown. The record, which has stood at a staggering 300 million points since 1983, was going to require nearly three straight days of continuous play. Imagine a more grueling "Hands on Hard Body" competition and you begin to get an idea on the level of commitment required to make a serious go at this record. The impressive feat was also part of an effort to raise money for Portland Public Schools.

    Erickson dropped a quarter in the machine at noon on the 16th and lasted 54-hours before giving in to exhaustion and extremely difficult gameplay. He was forced to give up his game on the 18th, just a few million points shy of his goal. The run landed him in second place in the record books at Twin Galaxies and managed to raise over $800 for PPS.

    Monday, May 23, 2005


    Way creepier than that commercial with Darth and the Burger King

    Tonight I've been busy messing around with what may be Burger King's most disquieting internet promo yet. Sith Sense will consume at least twice as much of your time as the burger chain's confounding Subservient Chicken site. I'm willing to bet you'll waste somewhere between 10 minutes and 30 years of your life with it.

    Sith Sense allows you to play 20 Questions with a Flash animation of Darth Vader. So far, Darth is shooting 3 for 5 from the ones I've pitted him against. The Lord o' the Sith managed to correctly guess "cow," "video game" and "ass" but struck out when it came to "beer" and "President of the United States of America." For the later two, the closest he came to the correct answers were "hot sauce" and "time machine."

    Anyway, click here to give this thing a spin. Prepare to be confounded or at least slightly bewildered.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005


    Star Wars goes to hell

    If I didn't know any better, I would assume that Revenge of the Sith was ghost directed by a time-traveling Francis Ford Coppola. The movie has one foot in the Star Wars universe and the other firmly planted in The Godfather series. There's the parallel downfalls of its protagonists, a similiar, quick-cut assassination sequence and a tragic scene in an opera house.

    That's not to say that Sith belongs on the same pedestal or anywhere near it. The film has the same problems as the last two entries in the space saga. Much of the dialog is terrible and several of the action sequences fall flat but, the story-line, acting and even the direction have drastically improved since the last installment. This is the movie many fans have been waiting to see for two decades and it delivers the goods, for the most part.

    Not that there isn't a lot of crap that has to sifted through to get to the gold. The first twenty minutes of the film, which follows Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they attempt to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from kidnappers, is little more than banal eye-candy. Another sequence where Obi Wan Kenobi takes the reigns of an overgrown iguana doesn't fair much better. But amidst all the cheese, Sith goes where other films in the saga fear to tread. Much of the film is bathed in shadows and many scenes would feel more at home in a film centered around Michael Corleone.

    The last two prequels have been roundly trashed and maybe deservedly so but even Lucas' most ardent critics have to admire what he attempted to pull off here. Sith is a pop culture Macbeth, a Greek tragedy populated with CGI aliens and the cackling embodiment of patriotism run amuck. Regardless of its flaws and as goofy as it all is, at least Lucas swung for the fences this time around.

    WARNING: heavy spoilers ahead. If you haven't seen the movie, don't highlight the text below.

    If you're able to suspend your disbelief and forget about Lucas' sins of the past, there's a lot to love here. Palpatine's discussion of Sith legends in the hallucinogenic opera house. Padme and Anakin's "calm before the storm" glances across a blood-red cityscape. Mace Windu's confrontation with Palapatine. The lightsaber duel between Palpatine and Yoda in the senate chamber. Padme's line about the death of democracy. "Order 66." Anakin breaking out a Jedi chokehold on his pregnant wife. Obi Wan slicing and dicing his apprentice before leaving him for dead on the edges of a literal and metaphorical hell. The film's final shot, which perfectly ties the two trilogies together.

    But, on the other hand, there's hum-hum opening sequence. Vader's two seconds of screen time. Another disappointing antagonist (General Grevious) that's easily toppled. The pointless Wookie cameos. "You're breaking my heart." Yoda's throw-away line about Quii-Gon and that god-awful nonsense with the iguana.

    Many will hate Revenge of the Sith but it's their loss. Is it as good as any of the first three films? Close but not quite. Is it a better than the last two? Yes. It's a lot better? Yes. Is that alone a minor miracle? I think so. Slice 30 minutes out of Revenge of the Sith and you've got yourself a film worthy of the original trilogy.


    Three word review of Revenge of the Sith

    Pretty goddamn good.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005


    The scene over at Lloyd Cinemas

    I drove over to Lloyd Cinemas this afternoon to pick up my ticket for tonight's midnight show. At noon a few hundred people were already in line. Some had camped overnight and had tents set up on the sidewalk.

    According to a sign on one front door, this is supposedly the theater to catch Revenge of the Sith tonight (at least as far as Portland goes). Four auditoriums will be screening the film and they're all sold out, which means roughly 2,000 fans are probably in line as I type this. Regal also shelled out cash for actors to keep the crowd entertained during the wait.

    While I was there, two Stormtroopers were milling around. Up front, a fan was dressed in a X-Wing combat suit and looked like he had been there for a few days. Game Crazy, the video game offshoot of Hollywood Video, had three Xboxes set up, allowing those in a line a chance to test-run the Sith video game. Presumably the theater was going to bring out more and more stuff to keep everyone busy as the number of fans grew throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

    By now it's probably pandemonium over there. I imagine it's a Dionysian/Burning Man spectacle complete with female fans dressed in metal bikinis and robot Ton-Ton races in the parking lot.

    On second thought, it was probably like this.


    Random Star Wars links

    In honor of the release of Revenge of the Sith, here's a batch of random Star Wars links.

  • Remember all those fans that lined up at the wrong theater in LA? Well, a few of them started blogs detailing the six weeks they spent camped out on the Sunset Strip. The best one that I've found is sponsored by MTV and contains anecdotes about fist-fights with the homeless, egg tossing, battles over Netflix's sponsorship and a prank involving a quarter and crazy glue. Here's the link.

  • For photos of the Sunset Strip line depicted with Legos click here.

  • Free toys from cereal boxes don't get any better than this.

  • X Entertainment posted a review of the Darth Dew Slurpee a few days back.

  • Darth Vader: Lord of the Sith. Scourge of the universe. Blogger. Here's the link (thanks, Washington Canard).

  • Wired's interview with George Lucas can be found here. Their six page write up on the director is over here.

  • Click here for instructions on how to make your very own PC out of a Millennium Falcon playset.

  • Click here for a rundown on the rumblings over Disneyland's Star Tours. Apparently, Lucas has been interested in updating the attraction since at least 2000 with a new storyline and better special effects. With Eisner out the door, park officials are supposedly dusting off now five-year-old storyboards.

  • A copy of The Last Supper with Star Wars characters in place of Jesus and his crew? Click here for a look.

  • And finally, could this be the strangest Star Wars tie-in ever?

  • Maybe. Maybe not.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005


    The involuntary imitation of movements made by another

    "Sifl" is a colleague of mine currently attending a university somewhere in the Willamette Valley. In addition to working on his doctorate, he's been posting his thoughts on an anonymous blog these past few months. He gave his permission to run a link to it, so, without further ado...


    Ok, so it's called Echopraxia. Recent posts have covered topics ranging from drunken poetry to online "Rock, Paper, Scissors" experiments at Stanford. It's a great read. Have yourself a look.

    Monday, May 16, 2005


    Star Wars rumblings + fun with rum and a Darth Dew Slurpee

    Revenge of the Sith is slated to debut in Portland in t-minus 49 hours, 47 minutes and 33 seconds. Like a damn fool, I'm convinced that there's no possible way that George Lucas can botch this one, at least not entirely. He's working with a great premise and a screenplay doctored by Tom Stoppard. Even the advanced reviews are positi....

    ...Ok, fine, Sith will probably be another swing and a miss- making the new trilogy a complete strikeout. Mark my words: just like last time and the time before, everyone's going to love this thing for roughly three days. Then the backlash will begin and Sith will be torn apart by fans and the general public, forever dooming the prequels to the $5 bins at Blockbuster. The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones also received mostly positive reviews, only to succumb to ridicule once everyone got over the hype and came to their senses.

    Despite all this, I'll be there alongside roughly a thousand others when Sith opens Wednesday night at Lloyd Cinemas. I wasn't able to take the evening off which means I'll have to rush across town to the Eastside in time for the midnight screening. Instead of spending the afternoon and evening alongside fans and their assorted regalia, I'll inevitably wind up with a seat in the front row on the very edge of the theater. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Midnight screenings are few and far between in this town and they always attract a weird, over-hyped crowd. The experience is more like a sporting event than your average night at the movies.

    While I'll be missing out on the opportunity to wait in line for hours for a decent seat, at least I can console myself with 7-11's latest taste sensation/promotional marketing scheme.

    For $1.99 I can wash away my nerdy sorrows with a few dozen Darth Dew Slurpees. I made a run to my local 7-11 a few nights ago and gave one a try. It came with 44 ounces of grape flavored Mountain Dew, a holographic cup and a cheesy cover topped with a plastic bust of the Dark Lord himself.

    Despite the cool packaging, the Darth Dew inside tasted like a frozen Pixie Stick- the sort of thing that probably gives lab rats diabetes after just a few sips. I managed to drink only half of the 44 oz. I was going to dump the rest down the kitchen sink but decided to conduct an experiment first.

    I mixed in two shots of Bacardi and gave it another try. Darth Dew's grape flavor didn't mix well with the rum, resulting in a concoction that tasted like a mashed-up popsicle made out of Robitussin. All in all, it was an evil-tasting drink worthy of one of cinema's greatest badasses. If you give it a try yourself, heed this warning: you'll need a gut made of steel to get through the whole thing.

    There are other Sith food tie-ins out there but so far this is the only one I've managed to track down. Darth Vader Pop Tarts, Darth Vader Cereal and Dark Side M&M's are also out there somewhere. Here's hoping they're closer to the late-great C3P0 cereal from the '80s than to the sickeningly sweet dredges of the Darth Dew Slurpee.

    Sunday, May 15, 2005


    Political round-up

    Since the November elections came and went, Welcome to Blog has hardly been living up to its tagline. While posts on "Portland" and "pop culture" make up 95% of the content on this blog, "politics" have been all but completely absent. In a weak attempt to make up for lost time, here are my worthless thoughts on the regional affairs that have clogged the Oregonian's Metro section lately.

    The Meth Epidemic: The last time I had a cold I spent five minutes waiting for an annoyed Safeway clerk to fight with the door on a display case filled with Sudafed. Apparently, this relatively new Oregon law is keeping pseudoephedrine out of the hands of meth cookers and has supposedly helped curb the state's epidemic. That's all fine and dandy but isn't a matter of time until they discover this?

    The Burnside Bridgehead development: While everyone's busy quibbling over Beam vs. Opus, they've forgotten the core issue here: both parties want to break ground on what will inevitably wind up as an obnoxious extension of the Pearl District. Beam's original proposal includes 430 live-work spaces for artists. Since when have artists been able to afford new housing in the middle of a thriving city center? Does Portland even have 430 artists that can swing a 6-figure loft or the rent on one? Didn't think so. Even if housing costs are kept down, won't skyrocketing real estate values immediately drive them back into Portland's not-yet-gentrified nooks and cranies? If everyone involved is truly interested in sticking something into those five blocks that will serve as a gateway to the Eastside, how about a park instead? Better yet, an indoor water park. With slides, a fake beach and a wave machine. Doesn't that sound much more interesting than yet another collection of martini bars, bland galleries and crash-pads for overpaid divorcees?

    Clean Money/campaign finance reform/Voter-Owned Elections Proposal: Remember early 2004 when GW was laying out a proposal to return to the moon and head for Mars? And how everyone complained that it was a terrible idea in light of the on-going conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the economy, etc? And how Bush almost immediately backed away from the idea and hasn't mentioned it since? Given all the probs with the school budget and local pools being shut down, shouldn't City Council take a tip from the Commander in Chief on this one? Yes, yes they should.

    PGE: The city of Portland runs the local water company. I just got hit with $111 water bill. This breaks down to $37 a month. I live by myself, take a shower a day, don't water the lawn and wash my dishes by hand. There are no leaks in my plumbing and, as far as I know, CHUDs aren't taping into my pipes. Why am I left with the sneaking suspicion that a publicly-owned electric company will inevitably lead to higher rates for customers? Texas Pacific may not have been the ones to land the deal but that doesn't mean PGE shouldn't wind up in the hands of private-ownership.

    The South Waterfront development: I don't really care if these new condo towers will block the views of West Hills homeowners. All I want to know is how the development's new residents will be able to afford them. Isn't this city still trying to claw its way out of an on-going recession? Where are all of these future condo-dwellers working? There can't be that many 6-figure incomes in this town.

    The Joint Terrorism Task Force: Good riddance.

    Fire Station 1: Maybe I missed a key detail but where's the money coming from to pay for this thing? If the city actually builds a combination firehouse/museum/learning center, I don't want to read about another school or pool closing. If Portland has cash for fire museums, it's got cash for the kids.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005


    It's random link time again.

    Let's get right down to it.

    Someone built a recreation of Stonehenge entirely out of old refrigerators on the outskirts of Sante Fe. Click here for further information.

    Click here for an oddly fascinating article on a weird summer home in upstate New York filled with old board games, dead bugs and really, really old bottles of Pepsi.

    A full length streaming video of Laura Bush's "Desperate Housewives" speech can be found here.

    The minds behind "Lost Destinations" have made a hobby out of exploring creepy abandoned buildings. If you click here, you can kiss about an hour of your time goodbye. Particularly creepy is this page devoted to an abandoned swimpark. If you click on this one or this one you may have to sleep with the lights on tonight.

    You've probably already seen and laughed at this. I'm looking forward to the upcoming kids page.

    The good folks at the Clinton Street Theater recently started a blog that can be found here.

    An iPod vending machine? In an airport? What? Have a look for yourself over at this Flickr page.

    I don't know the story behind this batch of political remixes but it may have something to do with this.

    If this place ever starts franchising I hope Portland scores one. A toilet-themed restaurant would fit in great down in the Pearl District.

    This film? One word: godspeed.

    And finally here's an article devoted entirely to long forgotten cereals.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005


    Yet another reason to hate Hooters

    It was a sad, sad day when Waddle's closed its doors in May of 2004. The iconic coffee shop in Jantzen Beach was loved by many, myself included. There were bittersweet rumors afterwards that, at the very least, the building and historic clock sign would survive in the form of a Krispie Kreme franchise.

    But as Phil Stanford reported on Friday, Waddles posthumous fate has taken a not-so-bittersweet turn for worse. Apparently, Krispie Kreme has pulled out and the most vile, wicked and all around lame restaurant franchise in the world has pulled in.

    That's right, Hooters is currently vying for the property.

    If Hooters manages to pull this deal off there's no telling what they'll do to the sign, which is one of the first things motorists see when they drive into Oregon from Washington. It's been "grandfathered in" which means it can't be torn down completely but I'm sure Hooters would be allowed to alter it significantly. Could the Hooters owl replace the historic Waddle's duck? Could the little guy be replaced with a limp double-entendre like "Welcome to the Beaver State"? Or, worse yet, will Hooters' goons just leave up the, in this context R-rated, "Eat Now."

    Now I'm not a prude and I'm not entirely opposed to different adult business moving into the Waddle's building and toying with the sign (provided they leave the duck alone). If I'm not mistaken, Portland has the highest number of strip clubs per-capita than any other city in the country. A dirty duck sign might serve as an appropriate gateway into this town o' depravity. But Hooters shouldn't be the ones to do it. Why? Because of, well, pick a reason.

    Ideally, another coffee shop should move in. Shucks, even a Sherry's or a Denny's would be better than Hooters.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005


    One time for your mind

    Digable Planets are getting back together. I didn't expect to see that on Pitchfork this afternoon. Excerpt:

    Leaving their fans worried and confused, Ladybug, Doodlebug, and Butterfly-- collectively known as the Digable Planets-- parted ways for no tangible reason. Fans were left to dry on rumors of creative differences, gender issues, and ego tragedies...but the Planets just needed some room to breathe, some time apart from each other, and a moment to consider what was important in their lives.

    After all this time, the Digable Planets crew have bounced back, ready to drop their sultry and atypical hip-hop beats into the game. Despite various solo efforts such as Butterfly's Cherrywine, Doodlebug's work as Cee Knowledge, and Ladybug's forthcoming solo debut-- these newly inspired Planets are ready to hit the scene as mature as ever.

    According to an interview with MTV, Ladybug illustrated their relationship as compared to a high school girlfriend that you never thought would change, "Five years later you run into each other and it's all good? That's why we broke up, it's all growing."

    Reuniting for a couple weeks in Europe, the collective appeared Stateside for three shows underneath a much enthusiastic welcoming over the first couple months of 2005. Now, working on their third release, the Digable Planets prepare for some North American dates this summer.

    In Portland? Indeed. They'll be doing a show at Berbati's on June 17th.

    I remember the first time I listened to Digable Planets. It was 1994 and the same night my friends and I had snuck in to see Clerks at the KOIN Cinema. Afterwards, we headed back to Flog's place and he decided that "Blowout Comb" would provide an ideal soundtrack to a game of Risk. At the time, my knowledge of hip-hop was limited to the Beastie Boys and whatever trickled down from MTV to Z100- Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch, LL Cool J, etc.

    It was akin to the evening a few years prior when I found my parent's old copy of "Dark Side of the Moon" after years of living on a steady diet of 100.3 FM and KISN. It was, like, mind blowing, like looking into an entirely different world, various other 8th grade cliches, etc. But all these years later I haven't heard anything quite like "Blowout Comb."

    Talk about your random memories.

    Sunday, May 08, 2005


    Beaverton, Beaverton, Beaverton

    Since January I've been working a swing shift, which means I have to squeeze dinner into a 30-minute break. My only options are to bring along a TV dinner or hit one of the fast food restaurants near Cedar Hills Crossing. There's not enough time to get in and out of I Love Sushi and I can't stand burger joints so I wind up eating at Taco Bell two nights a week.

    Tonight as I pulled up to the drive through in my rust-bucket Toyota van, the eyes of the teen at the window lit up. "WOAH! You're driving a Double Slug Bug! I haven't seen one of these in a long time." As I passed him my cash, he explained. Growing up in the early '90s, vans like this were all over the place. When he and his friends played "Slug Bug," the old children's game where players point out Volkswagen Beetles, Toyota vans apparently counted for double points.

    I asked if Volkswagen vans or vans in general counted. "Nope, just this type." Strange. I always thought my vehicle looked more like a metallic potato bug than a slug.

    The Toyota has been in my family for over 20 years. I inherited it from my parents in the '90s. There's no telling how many times the van's mere existence has inadvertently aided bored children on road trips. Or maybe this variation of the game didn't make it past the Taco Bell teen and his friends. When I played "Slug Bug" back in the day, only Beetles counted for points.


    OK, another quick, pointless Beaverton anecdote.

    On Thursday night I went to Winco, the ultra-cheap food warehouse, to pick up a few odds and ends. I approached the register with four boxes of cereal and a bottle of Carlo Rossi. The clerk looked over my purchase and with upturned eyebrow said, "You know it's not good to mix these." "Well, have you ever tried it?" was my response, in my best deadpan voice. He rung up my stuff and told me try it with a Caesar salad sometime.

    I doubt he believed me but I'm still hoping this encounter is on a "Tales From Winco" blog somewhere. I'd like to think I'm associated with a post titled "The Customer Who Pours Cheap Wine Over Frosted Flakes."

    Thursday, May 05, 2005


    Super-exciting Japanese ad gallery

    Wonda Coffee: the carbonated caffeine drink that will send you soaring into the air with a magical coffee guitar in your hands. Only 200 Yen!

    Ok, so it's been over a month since the last installment of "It Came From Over There," Welcome to Blog's seemingly endless Tokyo photo series. This latest chapter in the saga covers advertising and you're in for a treat. The gallery includes 50 shots of ads that aren't interesting just because they hail from a country on the other side of the planet. Wait until you get a load of the creepy, 3-dimensional "Charlie Brown" billboard and the subway ad for what could be a laxative diet drug.


    This is Welcome to Blog's first jaunt with Flickr, the photo site that everyone's going ga-ga over. Unlike previous galleries, this one will allow you to enlarge the images to desktop size for a closer look. Plus, there's a slideshow option, if you're into that sort of thing.

    Please, enjoy.


    Fire at the Magic Gardens (updated)

    A fire broke out at the Magic Gardens last night. So far all I've been able to track down is this fairly vague story over at KATU's website. It doesn't go into the extent of the damages but it's safe to say the place will be out of commission for a while.

    If you've never been, the Magic Gardens is a fairly infamous strip club in Chinatown that draws a mix of blue collar types and hipsters. It's a dive but the draw(s) are the music, the staff, the location, and, yeah, the boobs.

    My first visit was in January. When we walked in a dancer was rolling around on the stage while Ween's "Mutilated Lips" blarred overhead. Unlike most places like this, the jukebox is filled with incredibly random indie songs. The Magic Gardens could very well be the only strip joint in the world where you'll find a dancer strutting her stuff to an Arcade Fire song.

    The last time I went the bouncer working the door was huge guy with a ponytail. Throughout the night he burped up random sex jokes. At closing time he yelled at the remaining crowd, "HURRY UP AND GET OUT! I'VE GOT TO GET HOME TO SPANK MY MONKEY!"

    They also sell t-shirts.

    UPDATE: Good news, everyone. I was in Chinatown on Friday and poked my head into the Magic Gardens. I expected to find a contractor running around with a tape measure. Instead, the bouncer was in his usual spot and "Jumping Jack Flash" was pouring out of the bar's sound system. It looks the fire gutted the second floor but left the Magic Gardens untouched. The club was closed on Wednesday but was back up and running by Thursday afternoon.

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005


    InPortland's target audience?


    Out of all the photos that have appeared on this site, I'm hoping you'll agree this one is the most incoherent.

    Does that corndog crown look familiar? If so, you read too much.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005


    No good will come of this

    The Washington Canard has a weird proposition for Wonkette.

    Flog has a problem with flatulence.

    The Cubs curse has apparently driven Phooeyhoo bonkers.

    The Commentator kids have a startling confession to make.

    Meanwhile, everything over at Tim's blog is pretty much the same.

    Yeah, they're witless but it's late and I'm half awake. To try your own hand at this, click here. It should be self explanatory. If not, you'll need to scroll down past the "Malkovich Mediator" and type in whatever you like.

    Monday, May 02, 2005



    Being a Chuck Palahniuk fan is getting tougher with each new release. While "Guts" earned him cudos and a trip to Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Diary was roundly trounced by critics and Stranger than Fiction was all but ignored. His next work, a novel/collection of short stories called Haunted, hits bookstores tomorrow and sounds like a innovative trip through overly-familiar territory. Two of the stories have popped up in back-to-back issues of Playboy. Here's a rundown:

    Punch Drunk: A group of guys that enjoy having the holy hell beat of them? Why does that plotline sound so familiar? There's simply no getting around the fact that "Punch Drunk" is a poker-faced retread of Fight Club. The story follows a group of dispirited War on Terror vets that tour the country as part of a brutal, Jackass-style sideshow. They're saving their earnings but for what? Could it be a massive conspiracy that will bring society to its knees? Probably. The shocking twist ending isn't all that shocking and, as a whole, the story reads like a fan fiction retread of the author's best known work. While its little black heart is in the right place, it's a shame Palahniuk had to resort to old tricks to get "Punch Drunk"'s point across.

    Footwork: This one fares better. A down-on-her-luck masseuse runs into an old friend and lands a gig with a high-profile client. What should be a boring foot rub takes a dark turn when the friend reveals what she's really been up to since their days as trade school classmates. "Footwork" reads like a Cliff Notes version of what could have been a great novella. It's a shame it would up as an all-too-brief short story.

    Sunday, May 01, 2005


    Three days late and a dollar short

    Post are getting harder to come by around these parts. Sorry about that. My work schedule has made it difficult to keep up with the rigors of publishing random links and mini-tirades about local oldies stations. Anyway, without further ado...

  • ...this link leads to a series of Oregon postcards that Stumptown Confidential dug up at a recent postcard convention. My favorite from the batch? The Pony Village. It seems like the photographer made absolutely no effort to make the place seem the slightest bit appealing. Check out that mud puddle.

  • Remember Poopy Bear? After being posted on eBay, he was sold to a DVD reviewer living in Hollywood. Now the only stuffed animal in the world with IBS is hanging around with celebrities at movie premieres. No, really. Check out the pic of him with Paris Hilton, who has apparently nicknamed him "Poops." To read Poopy Bear's inspiring story, that's sure to bring a tear to your eye, follow this link.

  • Click on this link and scroll down to the post dated April 25th and have a look at a creepy abandoned bank over on MLK. You'll be glad you did.

  • This link leads to a new Portland blog. I think it is quite good. Please, enjoy.

  • This link leads to a set report on Tim Burton's next stop-motion creature feature, The Corpse Bride. Photos and spoilers await. The bit with the skeleton dog sounds cool.

  • This link leads to a site that may or may not be a joke. Inhaling alcohol? What's the poi...oh.

  • This link leads to pictures of cats. In hats. So does this link. While I'm on the topic, I may as well post this link.

  • Francesco Marciuliano and I have patched things up. To celebrate, I've decided to post this:

  • This photo has been sitting on my server for a while now. I can't remember why I originally uploaded it, let alone where it came from. Any ideas?

    Actually, nevermind. This photo doesn't need context. It's doing just fine on its own.




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