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Another Portland Blog

Monday, October 31, 2005


Ghosts, abandoned lumber mills, Jack o' Logs, etc.

Flaming logs. An entire pig broiled on a BBQ made of concrete bricks. A hundred or more locals in costumes. Buckets filled with candy. Illegal fireworks. Bonfires. Potato salad.

All are ingredients in an positvely splendid Halloween party. Indubitably, I dare say.

So I spent a portion of the weekend at an undisclosed location near Canyonville. Why undisclosed? Because the hosts probably wouldn't appreciate too many details appearing in a public forum. Still, try as I might, I'm completely incapable of resisting the temptation to place a photo like this on the internet:

Want a closer look? Click here.

I have no idea what the hosts call these things but I'm dubbing them "Jack o' Logs" (yeah, that sounds like a "Man Show" gag. Sorry.) There were four of them and they ranged in height from two to twelve feet.

They were created using rotting logs, a chainsaw and lots of gasoline. They spat sparks another ten feet in the air and roared for around five hours before, one by one, they collapsed. At one point, the guy maintaining the fires got a little too close to the flames and almost lit himself on fire. He didn't get hurt but did receive a good amount of applause for his efforts.

More photos of the event and further details can be found over on this Flickr page or by clicking on the photo above. There's probably a dozen anecdotes about the party I could toss out but I'm going to stick with this one:

Later in the evening, a group of us went on a field trip to an abandoned incinerator that was once part of a lumber operation. It's become a make-out/party spot for local teens and we had to travel, on foot, up a pitch-black road laden with ditches, deep puddles and tree branches to get to it. Does this sounds like the first ten minutes of a generic horror movie? Keep reading.

The inside was covered in graffiti and it looked like something out of one of those "Myst" PC games. I brought along a camera instead of a Proton Pack and someone else brought up the Blair Witch once we were inside. Also: we only had one flashlight to share among seven people. Despite all this, none of us wound up maimed, stabbed, hacked to death, beaten with a croquet mallet or tripped by a ghost. I did get hit in the face by a tree branch though.

So I went back through the photos this morning and was surprised by what turned up. If you enjoy getting freaked out by ghost photos, click here.

All I did was turn up the contrast on the shot. Could those be the spirits of bored lumberjacks? Is it just me or does that glob on the right look like a girl's face? And the glob on the left? I'd say it looks like a cross made out of bones but feel free to make your own assumptions.

Happy Halloween. Mwahahahahaha!


Halloween grab-bag

Since these pics have a midnight expiration date, I'm rolling them out in one big batch.

This old cop car with a Jack Skeleton emblem on the hood mysteriously appeared on my street a few weeks ago. It hasn't moved since. I wonder if it will come alive and terrorize the neighborhood after dusk ala Christine. Or simply disappear overnight. Or continue to sit over there and rust.

Hey look! I carved a cyclops pumpkin!

And, of course, Shanna outdid my pathetic effort with this elaborate "midnight kitty" pumpkin (which she took from a design book. Bah!).

Speaking of felines, here's an obligatory pet pic.

It's a haunted doughnut. Boo!

If you would like a haunted doughnut of your very own, set sail for Sesame Doughnut over on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Halloween Megamix

If you're in desperate need of a soundtrack for a Halloween get together this weekend, you could do worse than this. It's a link to a stream put together by X-Entertainment. Along with prerequisites like "Monster Mash," there's no less than three tracks featuring Freddy Krueger.

He really got around in the '80s. The janitor turned joke-spewing mass-murderer apparently cut a track with the Fat Boys AND DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

Garfield the cat's immortal Halloween classic "What Should I Be?" is also in there along with the Ramones "Pet Cemetery" and a "Carmina Burana" remix filled with roughly 300 samples from '80s horror movies. If you load it into iTunes, you can even edit out the lame orchestral scores that bog down the mix. The them from "Bram Stoker's Dracula" probably doesn't encourage much in the way of dancing.


Pumpkins! Pumpkins! They're everywhere!

Articles about the increasing popularity of Halloween among adults have been making the rounds. Apparently, Americans will drop somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 billion on the holiday this year alone. To keep up with the demand, there's all sorts of crazy Halloween stuff out there. In addition to a Devo radiation costume now available at Target, the Fred Meyer in Burlingame has a four-foot tall, blow-up Scooby-Doo dressed as a pirate and a bizarre, inflatable Grim Reaper tent up for grabs.

And then there's the pumpkins. They're in friggin' everything. In addition to pie, there's now pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin beer, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin chili, pumpkin milkshakes and...pumpkin lottery tickets:

What did I win? Nuthin'.

Perhaps weirdest of all, check out these things I found last week:

Yeah, freaky pumpkin flowers and they come in two varieties.

There's "pumpkin trees" (pictured above) and these, uh, "Chinese lanterns":

So far the lanterns are holding up pretty well. The pumpkins on the "tree" started out green, turned orange and now they're red. Maybe a bad sign? They could explode at any second for all I know.

That does it. I don't want these in my living room. I'm sticking them in the yard. Or possibly in a neighbor's mailbox.


So with Harriet Meirs pulling out...

...who will Bush pick next? Here's Flog's recommendation, by way of the Oregon Commentator's blog.

Might I also suggest Justice Michael Gillette of the Oregon Supreme Court? This recent ruling would make for an interesting November in DC. As if the past few months haven't been interesting enough.


That's more like it

Last night's "South Park" ditched the conservative chest-pounding and replaced it with nice, wholesome jokes about cannibalism, reanimating the dead and...slumber parties.

"Can I please have some Spaghetti O's?"

Ah, that's good stuff.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


No way...

The White Socks did what tonight?

You're lying.

Yeah, it's been a long time since I paid any attention to MLB but the next thing you'lll say is that the Red Sox won last year.

Who's next? The Cubbies? C'mon.


The Go! Team - (Wonder Ballroom, 10/24/05)

Once upon a time, I had a college radio show and most of what I played was punk, remixed NES theme songs and other kitsch-drenched relics from the '80s. It was called "The Ritalin Show," and for reasons all too apparent, the only people that tuned in were friends and a dropout that worked the night shift at 7-11 near campus. Sometime during winter term of my junior year, I wasted a positively stupid amount of time trying to make my own music for the show. In one case, I tried to meld together audio clips of Mr. T from "Rocky 3" and a Roots sample on an worn-out Compaq desktop. What resulted sounded like something an eight-year old would slap together on a Fischer Price tape deck.

I was aiming for something like The Go! Team's debut album "Thunder, Lightening, Strike" and missed by a hundred million miles. Pitchfork readers are already familiar with the band, which quickly rode a wave of buzz to a SXSW appearance, a Columbia record deal and almost instantaneous backlash once everyone who doesn't read that barometer-of-all-things-worth-listening-to caught on.

While all the cool people abandoned The Go! Team before its debut disc was ever officially released in the states, I'm still listening to them. Simply put, this music sounds like it was tailor-made for those among us (yeah, myself included) that still eat Captain Crunch and wish that reruns of the Smurfs were still on Cartoon Network. While a track like "Everyone's a VIP to Someone" isn't going to change the world, it's the best example of electro/dance music/dj'ing/whatever I've heard since DJ Shadow blessed the world with "Entroducing." It sounds like a beer commercial mixed with a forgotten Tomorrowland ride soundtrack and, yes, I mean that as a compliment.

"Thunder, LIghtening, Strike" receives at least one spin from me a week and I'm the sort that typically tosses aside Pitchfork recommendations after a single listen. The music which Goodwill samples from piano recitals and cheerleader rallies to long-lost '70s funk, isn't quite like anything I've ever heard. Imagine that jazz theme from the Peanuts remixed with bittersweet harmonicas and machine-gun breakbeats. If this sort of thing isn't up your alley then, well, go back to your Postal Services and 50 Cents, hippie.

But how would something this work as a live show? Unlike most who toe this same Pro Tools line, the Go! Team is comprised of live musicians. The only tricky part is the sampling, which is now handled by lead singer "Ninja," who amazingly matches the rapid-fire free-styling featured on tracks like "Bottle Rocket."

The show at the Wonder Ballroom on Monday night was impressive, if only for the band's ability so squeeze all of its members and two drum sets on the room's cramped stage. In front on a screen loaded with Super-8 footage of Tokyo in the early '80s and American road-trips, the Go-Team blazed through just about every song its come up within its short lifespan.

The Go! Team danced like Devo and Jane Fonda and performed the occasional Daniel-san karate kick. In between songs, Ninja threw out orders at the audience and her band members like a Jazzercise drill instructor at a Piccadilly Circus branch of 24 Fitness. "I WANT TO SEE EVER-E-BOD-E WITH THEIR HANDS IN THE AIR. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE!" There was also the perquisite Super Friends reference: "GO! TEAM AC-TEE-VATE!" and "WE NEED MAX-E-MUM POWER FOR THIS NEXT SONG!"

"We Just Won't Be Defeated" and a "V.I.P." encore with a live banjo in front of faded footage of a '60s family reunion was nothing short of magical, man. If I had brought along a lighter, I would have waived it back and forth for sure.

Sure it's all cheesy, overly-sincere and not for the faint of heart but I'll take a single Go! Team over a dozen indie rock navel-gazers. If you haven't already heard it, track down a copy of "Thunder, Lightening, Strike." If your soul isn't bouncing around the living room like a 5-year old hepped up on Coco Puffs by track 3, then, you sir, have no soul. At the very least, keep it on hand if you ever find yourself drowsy on a long drive. This stuff will keep wired better than any amount of No Doze or stale coffee.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Treehouse(s) of Horror

It's a Halloween tradition and it's back again this year. KPDX is running all the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of "The Simpsons." (or at least the first 12 of them). Two will air every night through Friday and again on Monday at 6 and 7:30 PM.

The show is now in its 17th season and, while many abandoned it years ago, I still say its writers are still capable of coming up with the occasional great episode. This season's "Maggie gets chickenpox" installment was great. Unfortunately, "The Simpsons" really starts to show its age when the annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode rolls around. Every potential horror spoof has been taken. The yellow-toned suburbanites have taken on werewolves, vampires, zombies, ghosts, mutants, and just about every "what if" scenario "The Twilight Zone" ever delved into.

With nothing left to conquer, in recent years Homer and company have fought such lame baddies as dolphins, comic book nerds, leprechauns and a house of the future voiced by Pierce Brosnan.

Fortunately, KPDX will be rolling out all the good oneees. So why go out to one of those overpriced "Screamland" haunted houses (waiting in a long line to be assaulted by teenage volunteers in rubber masks? And I have to pay $20? I'll pass, thanks) when you can sit on the couch, eat an entire bag of Fun-Size Butterfingers and watch Homer fire a shotgun at "Zombie Shakespeare"?

Tonight KPDX aired "Treehouse" # 1 and # 2. It was a fun little trip down nostalgia lane. I still remember seeing the later at my grandparents house one long ago Halloween. When Mr. Burns took Homer's brain out, plopped it on his own head and cheerfully announced "Look at me, Smithers. I'm Davy Crockett," my grandmother quickly switched channels to a "MASH" rerun. I didn't catch the ending of that episode until years later when it aired in syndication.

Awwww, memories.

Also: If you enjoy Halloween specials from yester-year that aren't credited to Matt Groening, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" airs tonight (Tuesday) at 8 PM on KATU

Sunday, October 23, 2005


The Portland Mercury TV commercial and more!

One of the few perks of working where I do is free cable. Currently, everything Comcast offers locally is being pumped into my home free of charge. A few weeks ago I finally decided to shell out 5 bucks a month to rent one of their DVRs. Now with the ability to rewind live television and set up recordings with ease, I'm quickly becoming a shut-in as I attempt to watch random broadcasts from around town and beyond. Like what?

Like "Super Atomic TV." It's a locally-produced sci-fi movie showcase that airs late at night on channel 14. While playing back last week's show, I ran into this commercial for the Portland Mercury:

Click on the pic to watch it. Sorry for the low quality. I have no way to connect the DVR to my computer. Plus, my server will only allow paltry 5 MB-max uploads. As a result, you won't be able to full enjoy the huge eagle painting that the Mercury's editor apparently has in his office. Also: the periodical in the "newspaper related accident" is a copy of Willamette Week. Oh, snap! Those local weeklies are worse than a sewing circle hepped up on coke!

Ok, that wasn't very exciting. In addition to Portland broadcasts, I can pick up a few international channels. I decided to record a news broadcast from China and the top story of the night featured this clip:

Yep. A flying robot soaring over a crowded stadium with a torch in his hand. I can only imagine that this is some sort of warm-up for the 2008 Olympics. If I'm right, isn't Beijing getting an early start? One of the stadiums for the 2004 summer games in Athens was still in the process of being built with mere weeks to go before the opening ceremonies.

Ok, the quality on that one was pretty shoddy too. To make up for it, here's a link to the video for "Jumpers," Sleater-Kinney's latest single (scroll down, it's under "About Sleater-Kinney"). Not to blow the ending, but a bored office drone tosses herself off an office building and flies over downtown Portland with a set of wings made out of...well, just watch the damn thing.

Sure, this city is getting national press attention for its music scene but I'll never get used to seeing Waterfront Park and the Wells Fargo Tower on MTV 2.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


A 3 AM ode to the city of stumps

So I'm driving home. Gonna get some doughnuts and some tacos. At the crosswalk by the laundromat a block down from the Plaid Pantry. You know the one. Pink neon sign for the arcade games. What's that doing in a laundromat, anyway? Everyone says Movie Madness is the jewel of Belmont. I disagree. I say it's the out-of-place arcade sign at the laundromat that has no right to exist.

A woman. About 60. Walking across at that intersection. Black turtleneck. Black slacks. Carrying a half-empty black trash bag. Bleach blonde hair. She's staring at the ground and looks like she's up to something.

2 AM on a Friday night. What's she doing out there at that hour, in that clothing, with a trash bag?

This is why I love you, Portland. Despite the condo towers. Despite the tough job market. Despite the fact I have to work in Beaverton and get yelled at all day to live here. You're never boring. You throw out the beatnik trash bag ladies at just the right moment. She was heading across the parking lot towards the mini mart when the light turned green. Guess I'll never the whole story there.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


South Park goes to Beaverton

Or at least a fictional, Colorado-ified version of Beaverton. Does the one outside of Portland have any massive beaver dams? If so, I've never seen it.

Anyway, that was some episode, wasn't it? Downplaying, if not denying the existence of global warming entirely, and letting Bush and FEMA off the hook for New Orleans? Yikes. "South Park" used to satirize both sides but last night it swung way right.


Norwegian Christian rock and talking trash cans

I wrote two CD reviews for the October issue of Oregon Music Guide. They can be found here and here. One critiques a Norwegian, Christian rock, Insane Clown Posse-esque theme album.


Such a thing does exist.

It's worth clicking on that first link just to see the cover. It's "Mad Max meets Cirque de Soleil."

Circus Maximus' "The First Chapter" is out in record stores now. Possibly even one near you.

Also: "The Disney Blog" ran a post about the "The Push Page." Here's the link.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Proud Mary keeps on grindin'

This year everyone's favorite downtown den o' sin turns 50. The Portland Tribune ran a story on Mary's Club last week and it includes a few great tidbits. Like what? Like these:

  • The place was once a piano bar before a guy named Roy Keller bought it in 1955 and stuffed it full of go-go dancers. Throughout the rest of '50s and into the '80s, Mary's Club played host to acts like Tasha the Glowgirl, who apparently covered herself in reflective paint and danced under a blacklight.

  • A half-woman, half-tiger sculpture once resided over the entrance. It's now stored in the basement.

  • Want more? Click here for the rest of the story.


    Machine guns and burgers

    Many months ago, "Cup o' Noodles" and I hit the "Bomber Complex" over on SE McLoughlin. I've driven past the place a million times and, during a mission to track down Milwuakie's Statue of Liberty tribute, we stopped for lunch.

    As the story goes, a local entrepreneur named Art Lacey bought the bomber for cheap in the late '40s and flew it cross country with a mannequin as his co-pilot (in order to sneak around aviation regulations). He used the bomber to drum up business at his eastside gas station. It worked and eventually Lacey opened a restaurant nearby.

    When we visited, the bomber itself, which once used to sit over the pumps, was missing its cockpit. According to a sign it had been removed and was in the middle of a restoration. Pigeons had taken up residence in the belly of the plane. If memory serves, at one point the pumps were replaced with picnic tables. I wouldn't if the new residents had anything to do with what's under the plane now: nothin' but pavement.

    What appeared to be a museum was shuttered next to a vacant park. Undaunted, we gave the actual restaurant a shot and it made the whole stop worthwhile. The place looked like it had been recently renovated and is probably the only place anywhere were you can gorge yourself on diner food while sitting next to this:

    It's a WW2-era machine gun.

    Another booth had a torpedo.

    It's as if the place was drafted by General Patton himself. Similar bits of history line the walls and a USO Betty Boop mural greets diners as they head for the bathroom. The Bomber Restaurant reminded me of The Cockpit, a long-gone apparel store that once sold flight jackets and watches underneath a restored fighter jet in a triangle-shaped building in downtown Seattle. I'm probably the only person on the fact of the planet that remembers that place. It closed in the late-90s to make way for a Mariners team shop.

    I ordered the Bomber Burger. Eight bucks bought me a half-pound patty, several strips of bacon, tons of fixings, possibly a fried egg and the secret ingredient: peanut butter.

    Anyone who can consume the entire thing wins a prize but I only managed to make it half-way. It's probably for the best. "The prize" is probably a trip in an ambulance to the OHSU emergency room.

    Here's hoping the Bomber continues to cause coronaries for years to come. Yeah, that came out wrong but you get the idea.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005


    El Report de Colbert

    I caught the first episode of the new "Daily Show" spin-off, "The Colbert Report" last night. As I watched, I scribbled some thoughts down on an old Popeye's napkin. Here they are for your reading enjoyment:

  • I wish I had a desk shaped like the letter C with an HDTV embedded in the front and my name stamped on the side. That would swell but I'd happily trade the plasma screen for a bar that rises and falls from the desk with the push of a button.

  • If Comedy Central is willing to spend several fistfuls of dollars on electronic message boards at the bottom of the stage, shouldn't the writers think of something better to stick on them than the title of the show? Sure, they can't be seen during the majority of the program but they do pop up as it goes to and returns from commercial. Hard-to-catch gags on the boards could inspire a fansite that might one day pop up on "Boing Boing" and result in an AP article. Not that I'm thinking of starting one or anything.

  • Is there really a need for "The Colbert Report"? Didn't John Stewart say everything that needs to be said about rapid-fire political talk shows during his still legendary appearance on "Crossfire"? It has a a one joke premise and the endless gags about "truth instead of facts" and zealot patriot satire are liable to get as stale as any given episode of "American Dad"...

  • ...unless the show can continue to draw guests like Stone Phillips. He seemed genuinely annoyed with Colbert's jokes about his neck but, for some reason, stayed long enough to engage in a "gravitas battle." Colbert's tongue-in-check, confrontational interview style is a welcome change over Stewart's now routine brown-nosing. The nightly interview segment has become a complete drag on "The Daily Show," even more so when Stewart interviews a celebrity and fake-laughs at their every lame quip. Sure, Stewart still gets in some tiffs, such as the one during his recent interview with Senator Rick Santorum, but they're still too gosh darn civil....and, yeah, this is suppposed to be about "The Colbert Report," not "The Daily Show" so I'll stop now.

  • What would the love child of the Statue of Liberty and Chewbacca look like?

  • Even if it is a one-joke show, it's still better than "Too Late With Adam Corolla."

  • Monday, October 17, 2005


    This Play-Doh ain't for kids

    Two stop-motion films are currently showing in theaters across Portland and, as different as they are, there's some definite similarities. Both "The Corpse Bride" and "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" were shot in the UK, involve the supernatural and costar the kooky chick from "Fight Club."

    But which is the better all-clay, full-length, animated motion picture? Let the critics decide. Insetead, which allegedly family-friendly flick is more likely to send super-conservative parents fleeing into the parking lot in search of their glovebox Bibles? Let's look at a few vital stats, shall we? WARNING: minor spoilers.

    # of Main Characters "Partnered" With an Anthropomorphic Dog

    Bride: 0.

    Were-Rabbit: 1.

    Winner: Were-Rabbit.

    Inappropriate Underlying Theme That'll Make Parents Squirm

    Bride: Necrophillia.
    Were-Rabbit: Genetic manipulation. Oh, and bestiality.

    Winner: The Corpse Bride.

    Inappropriate Joke That'll Make Parents Squirm Again

    Bride: A crowd of zombies storm into a cathedral and tell-off a priest.

    Were-Rabbit: Walllace finds himself wearing a box as undwear. Stamped on the side: "may contain nuts."

    Winner: The Corpse Bride

    Sluttiest Heroine

    Bride: The scantily-clad, home-wreckin' Corpse Bride.

    Were-Rabbit: Lady Campanula Tottington, a spinstress with a passion for carrot costumes and cylindrical vegetables in general.

    Winner: The Corpse Bride.

    Number of Scenes Featuring "Bunny Love"

    Bride: 0.

    Were-Rabbit: Numerous.

    Winner: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

    Number of Times Each Film Subverts Christian Dogma by Placing the Characters in an Underworld Filled with Singing Skeletons and Jazz Bars Instead of Fire and Devils and Stuff Like That

    Bride: Lots.

    Were-Rabbit: Zip.

    Winner: The Corpse Bride.

    # of Characters Voiced by Helena "I Haven't Been...Since Grade School" Bonham-Carter:

    Bride: 1.
    Were-Rabbit: 1.

    Winner: Draw.

    Number of Undead Characters That Get Plastered on Bottles of Poison

    Bride: At least 10.

    Were-Rabbit: None.

    Winner: The Corpse Bride.

    Number of Characters Obsessed With Growing Incredibly Large Vegetables in Order to Win a Gilded, uh, Carrot

    Bride: 0.

    Were-Rabbit: An entire town.

    Winner: Were-Rabbit.

    And the overall winner? It's a draw. This just goes to show that you should never expose your children to pop-culture and that these films should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 37.

    Friday, October 14, 2005


    Spotted at a Taco Bell drive-thru

    While I was waiting for a Grilled Stuft Burrito at a Beaverton Taco Bell earlier tonight, I noticed an employee emptying the trash. The back door was open, exposing a sign with this warning written in large, red letters:



    It was also duplicated in Spanish alongside a series of other warnings advising workers to open the door slowly and not leave it unattended.

    Maybe Beaverton is much more dangerous place than I ever took it for but do suburban Taco Bells really run the risk of being attacked by bloodthirsty biker gangs or crazed muggers? And if they are attacked by bloodthirsty bikers or crazed muggers, what's to stop them from using, oh, say...the front door?

    Thursday, October 13, 2005


    Portland is the new NYC

    Last week's cover story in Willamette Week hit close to home. Since I graduated from college and moved back to Portland in 2001, I've wondered who exactly is buying up the city's bumper crop of townhouse and condos. Especially in a local economy where people with masters degrees wind up pouring coffee for a living and the unemployment rate is among the nation's highest.

    The Oregonian has run numerous articles over the past few months on Portland's housing market but nothing (I've seen) on the whys, hows and, most importantly, the whos of the city's "new economy." The WW story claims that an exodus of empty-nesters and white collar professionals from around the country are fueling Portland's metamorphosis and many of the later don't even work here. They either telecommute or bounce around the west coast on Horizon shuttles.

    To make matters worse, Portland is experiencing a hipster gold rush and AP articles like this can't be helping matters. Thanks, Colin Meloy. You and your indie rock pals are helping to attract more liberal arts majors that won't be able to find work around here.

    If you're a recent college graduate, don't even bother moving to Portland. Sure, the mountain is very pretty, the ocean is an hour away and there's a great music scene but it's not like you'll be able to enjoy any of it on $7.50 an hour, especially when you're paying $600+ for a studio destined to be converted into a condo. Still considering it? Have a look at these horror stories.

    It seems like Portland is becoming a west coast New York or a San Francisco North, where only those making six-figure incomes can afford to live anywhere near the city and the rest of us schmucks commute in from the distant suburbs. Is this what Portland is becoming? Nice, comfortable, laid back, quirky and once affordable Portland? Ye Ole Stuptown- the place where everybody wears jeans everywhere?

    I only have one thing to say to those investing millions in lofts in the Pearl District: if you love vibrant night life and world-class restaurants, why not stick with the best and stay in NYC? If you can afford to live in the Big Apple and enjoy what the Big Apple offers, stay in the Big Apple.

    I'm a wage slave with only a liberal arts degree and one day I'll have to face up to the facts- that I, a fourth-generation Portlander can no longer afford to live in my beloved hometown. That day may a few months down the road or a few years but it's definitely on the way. I love this city or at least I loved what this city used to be but with each passing day it seems like more and more of that Portland disappears. The next iconic bit of Portlandia on the chopping block may be Saturday Market. And why? To make way for more condos, art galleries, etc.

    Portland and all it once stood for isn't dead but it's definitely on life support.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005


    The Oregon equivalent of Marion Berry?

    First she's criticized for not showing up at work. Then, a few years later, she allegedly has an affair with a Capitol janitor and his girlfriend tried to run her down. Now she's been caught with "user amounts of methaphetmaine"?

    If you haven't been following the ongoing trials and tribulations of Rep. Kelley Wirth, well, here's the latest.

    According to the Oregonian, Wirth is hoping to have the whole meth thing "wrapped up in some way by the end of week." The article doesn't draw any conclusions but may-haps it's safe to assume this lawmaker is a methhead.

    Another factoid from the article: she voted against two recent meth-related bills and cast a no vote on a third set to jack up penalties for meth-related crimes.

    Is Mirth destined to become a "state representative for life"?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005


    "We smell so fruity fresh"

    I can't think of anything to write about tonight so please enjoy this link to an ancient and creepy advertisement for Super Mario Brothers Shampoo.



    "Welcome to Blog" turned two years old last Saturday.

    Over the past twenty-four months, this blog has coughed-up some pretty kooky stuff. Like over a thousand scattered snapshots of random weirdness from around the Northwest and beyond. The first photo ever posted was of this guy.

    Yeah, that possum is real.

    The post themselves have covered everything from the Oregon Republican Party's Election Night shindig to condom shops in Tokyo and...kitten lighters. Its occasional feature segments have exposed a readership of literally tens of people to the joys that come with getting your car stolen out of the Pearl District, (probably) haunted local cemeteries and whatever this thing is.

    This blog isn't meant to be profound, relevant (despite the occassional attempt), witty or even slightly intelligent. Just lively, weird, obnoxiously self-deprecating and self-indulgent. And dumb. Just look at all the grammatical mistakes around here. If this blog is anything, it's dumb. Are the titles of blogs even supposed to go in quotation marks?

    Instead of pontificating on Portland politics, I've gone in search of what can only be described as "stupid and crazy crap." But "Welcome to Blog" is way behind in the field of "stupid and crazy crap." In a single day, sites like "Gorilla Mask" and "Kontraband" easily outdo what's been accomplished here in two years.

    Moving along, I didn't think anything would top that Pac-Man gateway but then I went to Disneyland over Labor Day weekend. I think I can give up blogging after this post. Finally toss in the towel. Nothing I encounter in the future is going to be weird or stupid enough to top this.

    Or maybe I'm wrong. After all, I've never been to the "house made of candy" in Sellwood. And is the war zone set from "The Hunted" still sitting out in St. Johns?

    Anyway, without further adieu, here's the answer to last week's poll question but you'll have to work for it. It can be found in...

    ...THE "PUSH" PAGE!

    Have you ever watched two Japanese TV show hostesses dance with a robotic trash can?

    Have you ever seen a photo of a UCLA undergrad dressed up as Snow White hugging that same trash c...ok, you have. Nevermind.

    But have you ever seen a photo of a middle-aged man doing the same in front of his incredibly confused kid?

    If you've answered "no" to any of these questions, it's your lucky day.

    If you've answered "yes" to all three questions then I've stayed up until three in the morning putting this all together for no good reason. Still, you should have a look. There's a Quicktime video in there. Honest.

    And with that I'll now retire to my study to drink Miller Hi Life, watch "Attack of the Show" and continue wondering why I can't land a decent job in this condo-clogged town.

    Monday, October 10, 2005


    But who's the Eggman?

    I headed over to Gustav's Pub last night and spotted this spooky bit of graffiti scribbled in black ink on no less than three objects in the Hollywood District:


    So what's that all about? Is it supposed to be some sort of ironic art ala those Andre the Giant emblems? Is it a tribute to a neighborhood character that recently passed on? Or is some frustrated boomer on the east side upset over the price of tickets for Paul McCartney's upcoming show at the Rose Garden?

    Anyway, I'm just throwing it out there in case anyone knows.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005


    A thoughtful, well-reasoned post on Gonzales vs. Oregon

    As the Supreme Court convenes to discuss Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law and possibly overhaul on what voters in the state have voted to supp...DEAR GOD! WHAT IS SNOW WHITE DOING TO THAT TRASH CAN?

    Sorry to interrupt the political post already in progress but, really, have a look at the photo of the month for October (above). I snapped this shot over Labor Day weekend in Disneyland near the rocket ride in Tomorrowland. While I could cut to the chase and tell you exactly what Snow White is up to, where's the fun in that?

    So it's time for another ridiculous "Welcome to Blog" poll. One of the answers below is correct but how many readers will be able to correctly pick it?

    The real answer will be revealed on Monday, with an entire page of photos and a video devoted to what is probably the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed. Or at least the weirdest thing I witnessed over Labor Day weeken....no, scratch that. I also visited the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library that weekend. Whatever, the whole thing was pretty frickin' weird.

    So choose but choose wisely and feel free to speculate via the comments link below.

    Another Welcome to Blog poll

    What exactly is Snow White doing in that photo?

    She's hungover and about to puke.
    She's actually an actress in a student art film.
    She's filming a segment for a Japanese travel show. The trashcan is actually a talking robot.
    She's trying to mate with it.
    She's a model in a guerilla photo shoot for Maxim.
    She's a cyborg from the future out to stop the trashcan, another cyborg, from killing Governor Schwarzenegger.
    A prankster obviously glued her hands to it.
    The evil queen tricked her again but this time she slipped into a coma in a crowded theme park.

     Current Results


    You can't do that on Portland television

    A full-hour of "South Park" on KPDX? Every night starting at 11? On network TV? They can do that?

    Apparently so but I'm not complaining. I caught only the tail end of the David Blane episode last night and it wasn't edited. While it's not the show's raunchiest installment, the "Sea Man" gag still slipped through.

    Does this mean that episodes like "Beebee's Boobs Destory Society" or "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina" will also fly under the radar of censors and the city's "moral majority"? Maybe. After all, the show airs well after their bedtime.

    Still, something this good can't last for long. Portland's a liberal town but is it liberal enough to allow obscenity-spewing fourth graders and singing poop on its airwaves? I give this whole thing two weeks before "South Park" is yanked off and replaced with an hour block of "Just Shoot Me."


    There will be beer in the Valley

    More info on the resurrection of Beaverton's Valley Theater can be found in last Thursday's Oregonian. Apparently, the new owner is banking on the Valley filling a nitch now that the Westgate is slated for demolition. The city of Beaverton wants to replace the decades-old cinemas with a road.

    It's not entirely surprising. The Westgate's days were numbered once the Century 16 moved in only four blocks away with its ornate lobby and fancy-schmancy stadium seating. It'll be a sad day when a wrecking ball hits the ol' Westgate. It's where I saw not only "Hot Shots" but "Hot Shots Part Deux."

    Awww, memories.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005


    Thanks, Culture Pulp

    A thanks, a tip of the hat and a salute all go out to M.E. Russell for linking to "Welcome to Blog" in the web edition of last week's "Culture Pulp." In the endnotes, there's a link to "Pizza Pete and the Restaurant of Doom," an article I wrote on the late-great Organ Grinder pizza parlor last year.

    If you've never seen "Culture Pulp," now is as good a time as any. Russell works as a film critic at the Oregonian and pens a comic strip that covers events and odd spots around Portland. It's the first thing I look for when I pick up a copy of the A&E.

    But, really, M.E., where's a strip for the Avalon? That place could use some love.


    Serenity now! Or possibly later

    Have you heard about this whole "Firefly/Serenity" thing? If not, whoo-eee! Lemme tell you all about it.

    I've never been a fan of sci-fi TV shows. "The Twilight Zone" notwithstanding, I haven't watched anything in the genre since I was in preschool and "Battlestar Glactica" was still syndicated on KPTV. I've seen one episode of "Star Trek the Next Generation" and, maybe, three of "The X Files." I just don't have the attention span to commit to dozens of episodes of glacial pacing, low production values and episodic plotlines.

    Then along came "Firefly." Like everyone else, I didn't catch the show when it originally aired on Fox. I put the show in my Netflix queue after hearing it described as "Deadwood in space." While the show falls to the usual TV trappings, it was damn entertaining. "Firefly" deserves its cult of "Browncoat", the "Joss Whedon is my master now" t-shirts and years of conventions, even for the "Our Mrs. Reynolds" episode alone.

    Maybe the true secret of its appeal was its brevity. The show never got the chance to grow stale. On the other hand, "Firefly" never came into its own or received the attention and admiration it deserved. Somehow, against all odds, Whedon, scored $40 million for a follow-up released in theaters last Friday.

    And it's the best science fiction film I've seen in five years, probably longer.

    Unlike the "Star Wars" prequels, "Serenity"'s main ingredients are witty dialog, a great plotline and, simply put, balls. If you haven't seen it yet and plan on doing so, now would be a good time to stop reading because SPOILERS lie ahead.

    If only the prequels had a character like Malcom Reynolds- a Han Solo free from the tin ear and second-guess editing of George Lucas. Imagine if Luke Skywalker had botched the Death Star raid and Solo was left to wander from petty con to petty con after the Rebellion shattered. A man with nothing to lose, he's not above strapping the bones of a former crewmate to the side of his ship in order to sneak through a encampment of bloodthirsty cannibals.

    The film does the best it can with a limited budget and it's filled with great moments: River's kung-fu freakout after watching a candy commercial, Malcom's Martin-Riggs-style recovery at the film's climax, the seppuku'd bureaucrat, "I don't wanna explode," the incense bomb, Kaylee's motivation to keep shooting and Serenity's suicide-run with hundreds of Reavers in tow.

    I have no idea how all this would play for someone who has never seen the series but I could prattle on about "Serenity" for another thousand words. The complaint I can muster is that Whedon took the kitchen sink approach. If the film makes enough $ to warrant a sequel, is there a story left to tell after this? And, annoying as he was, did _____ really need to take a fatal harpoon in the gut?

    Anyway, if Lucas' latest efforts left a bad taste, check this thing out before it leaves theaters.

    Monday, October 03, 2005


    Fire z missile!

    "But I'm le tired."

    If you haven't already seen "The End of the World," click here, kick back and enjoy. You'll be glad you did.


    Why I hate my job: reason # 1412

    I currently work on the bottom rung of the "tech industry," if it can even be called that. For 40 hours a week I serve as a human scratching post for my company's customer base. Suffice it to say the job is banal and repugnant enough to make the indignities endured by the main character in "Office Space" look like a romp on a unicorn through a candy factory (at least he didn't directly deal with the public). I don't like to write about my "career" because it's boring and depressing but an anecdote like the one below was practically made for the internet. Here goes.

    Fall bitch-slapped Portland on Friday. The city received over an inch of rain resulting in a slew of traffic accidents, clogged storm drains and minor flooding. It poured nonstop from dawn until dusk. I can only imagine management gazing at the storm clouds over the parking lot, stroking their chins, adjusting their monocles and thinking to themselves, "What a perfectly lovely day for a fire drill."

    Soul-piercing alarms went off around 3 o'clock and I couldn't finish what I was doing before a supervisor was at my desk demanding I head outside immediately. I'd stupidly left my jacket in my car and, dressed in a t-shirt, was not even close to being dressed appropriately for a downpour.

    Once out the doors I headed for my car in search of the jacket. I made it five feet before the same supervisor yelled at the back of my head to return to the group.

    Two minutes later I and about fifty others completely unprepared for all of this were soaked to the bone. Roll had been taken, the drill was a success and none of us would be scorched by nonexistent flames. Still we remained in the rain. Part of the problem was that our group hadn't quite made it to our exact rendezvous point. Instead, we were standing in a parking lot five feet from a muddy bog, formerly a lawn, where we were supposed to be standing.

    "YOU'VE GOT TO CLEAR THE PATH FOR THE FIRE TRUCKS," a manager yelled, crossing over to the group. He directed us off the pavement and towards the mud. Keep in mind that there was no fire, no trucks were coming and that the fire department didn't even know we were out there. This was just a drill. Still, he remained adamant. Like the corporate drones we are, we finally obliged after a meek protest.

    Now we're in the mud, it's still raining and management is huddled under a series of black umbrellas. My car and the jacket are 50 yards away but I may as well be tethered to everyone else. The supervisor is watching me like a hawk and, if I make another escape attempt, she'll only use her vocal tractor beam to drag me back. After a few more endless minutes we're finally allowed back inside.

    The difference(s) between kindergarten and this job? A lackluster benefits package, ten times the patronizing and no snack time. If I'm going to be treated like a child the least they could do is hand over some Juicy Juicy and a cookie shaped like a giraffe.




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