April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log

Questions? Comments? Reservations?

Another Portland Blog

Thursday, November 30, 2006


And away Wii go

So that Wii I bought at a midnight sale? On Monday it was sent off to a loving home in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. A second eBay auction netted me half of what I was expecting and my car found a way to gobble that up in nothing flat. The cash went to cover the cost of an oil change, a brake light and a new car battery to replace a nearly dead one. Karma? Probably.

That's what I get for trying to profit off gamers. And for going to Jiffy Lube, where getting a simple oil change is always a confounding struggle. Seriously, if you drive a brand new car off a lot into one of those places they'll find something that needs replacing. Or sucker you into replacing an imaginary fluid. Is there really such a thing as "rear differential fluid" or did Jiffy Lube make it up to con us out of another $30?

eBay giveth and the Jiffy Lube and Sear's Automotive Center taketh away

Oh, well. Just think what might have happened if I hung onto the Wii.


Wi-Fi musings

I'm new to the whole Wi-Fi thing. I landed my first laptop a few weeks ago. Being able to sit in a McMenamins while simultaneously chugging a Terminator and reading Boing Boing is still a trip for me. The future is now, man! Sure, we still don't have flying cars, Meals-in-a-Pill or utopian yet dystopian societies reminiscent of Huxley's Brave New World but this will do nicely. Who needs soma when we've got an opiate of the masses like this?

Now CIty Hall and a company called MetroFi Inc. are about to launch phase one of a plan to blanket the city in free Wi-Fi on Tuesday. Hot damn! Will it be enough to get us to stop bitching about the OHSU tram, the potholes, the construction projects downtown, PPD or that short-lived plan to sell off Mt. Tabor park? Only time will tell.

Who knows? If the city's diabolical plan to shut us all up works, maybe they'll finally be able to do away with all those pesky ""open communications" slots at council meetings once and for all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Ice storm haikus

local news frenzy
live feeds from overpasses
yikes! single raindrop!

here comes the ice storm
with all the hassles of snow
but none of the fun

sand trucks rolling now
their engines purr like bears
sand on road 'till june

trucks, cars in ditches
traffic sliding across town
tri met, where are you?

no school tomorrow
but i have to go to work?
adulthood blows goats

UPDATE: It looks like the ice storm will miss Portland. Hooray!


The road to justice is blocked by the postal service

"I got a letter from the government
The other day
Opened it and read it
It said [I'm a sucker]..."

...and that the post office has no sympathy for my foolhardy attempt to "avenge" my Toyota van, which was towed by the city from a spot in front of my house earlier this month.

I sent a letter to Portland's Code Hearings Office requesting a sit down to discuss the legality of the tow. One of the stipulations of a hearings request is that I would need to get it to them within 10 days of the van's removal. While I dropped the letter in a mailbox with enough time to get down there, the postal service wasn't able to deliver it for reasons unknown. Not only that, they were unable to get the letter back to me because my mailbox was allegedly "blocked" the day my friendly, neighborhood mailman came to return it. Apparently, the letter sat in his mailbag for nearly a week before he decided to make another attempt.

My letter with, "unable to deliver to mailing address" and "unable to return/blocked box" scribbled on the front finally arrived last week. Forgetting the 10 day deadline, I made another attempt to get it down to the Hearing's Office. On Monday, a letter arrived from the office saying something to the effect of "no can do. Your request arrived 16 days after the tow. You're outta' luck, pal."

Is this even worth pursuing at this point? Another letter with an explanation probably won't get me far. Furthermore, even if I were to guilt them into arranging a hearing, little would come of it. I would probably need to take time off from work to go down to PPD for a day of hassles and for what? Even if they do admit fault, this isn't in a court room setting. I'm not suing anyone. Best case scenario: I'm offered some sort of official apology. I would never be compensated for the tow fees. So I've decided to toss in the towel. I can't win.

Let this be a lesson to you: if the Portland Department of Transportation comes a-knockin' with a tow warning, take it seriously. On the other hand, if it's not your car, plan on it being there for a while.

Sorry, you old bucket of bolts. I tried. Good night, sweet prince of Maine. You king of New England. At least I have this blurry photo of you in the parking lot at Sergeant's Towing to remember you by. You didn't look like much but you had it where it counts. If put to the test I'm sure you could have made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


All things considered...

...I prefer the massive amounts of rain to a minimal amount of snow and ice.

Sliding during a left turn on SW Terwilliger? Not fun. And it looks like I'm in for another slick commute home here in a few minutes.

Screw you, sky! This is all your fault.


Thanksgiving leftovers

More from Fubonn:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The anti-Thanksgiving

I never thought Portland would land an Asian mega-mart even larger and more exotic than the Beaverton Uwajimaya. Then along came Fubonn, an entire shopping mall devoted to all things west of the International Date Line. Fubonn is heads above its suburban neighbor in the weirdness department. Or at least the items that line the mall's shelves are weird for me. Despite my parents' best efforts, I spent the first ten years of my life living on Spaghetti Os and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. A gourmet, I am not.

While I'll be sticking with mashed potatoes and turkey this Thanksgiving (sweet potatoes? Cranberry sauce? Bleeeech.), I wonder if any of this stuff from Fubon will be making its way to area dinner tables tomorrow night.

OK, tying Fubonn to a Thanksgiving-related post is a stretch but these cell phone photos have been sitting on my server for months. I had to use them somewhere on this blog and this contrived post will have to do.

Champagne AND pop. Woooo, classy.

The FDA, the USDA and the Surgeon General may have not approved of these imported chocolates but they've received Dr. Cow's endorsement. If she's cool then we have nothing to worry about out. In hindsight, I should have bought ten boxes.

A free case of SARS in every bottle. Seriously though, I wonder if they sell Sarsi Root Beer in China. According to Wikipedia, despite the name, it's the number one selling root beer in the Philippines. It's also popular in Taiwan, where it's known as the "Coke of Taiwan." And now you know. The bottle I bought is sure to remain untouched in the back of my refrigerator for many years to come.

HA! HA! HA! Ding Dong Mixed Nuts! Can't...stop....giggling...like a third grader...watching Spaceballs....for the first time...

This energy drink is from Thailand. It cost 89 cents. If I drink the entire can in one sitting it may cause my heart to leap out of my chest and run around the room for several minutes before breaking a window and tearing across Portland like something out of a Takashi Miike movie. If you never see another blog post here, you'll know the reason why. Also: if you hear something scratching at your back door this holiday weekend, whatever you do, don't open it. It could very well be my heart, hepped up on the Thai equivalent of Red Bull and itching for trouble.

If the energy drink doesn't do me in, I'll be back around these parts on Monday. Until then, think about the fate of poor ol' Harold when you're sucking down turkey tomorrow, you evil meat eater, you. And all the indigenous people that were wiped out to make way for your suburban split level and that adorable hybrid parked in the driveway that does little to cut emissions or save the planet. And about how obesity is national epidemic and the meal you're eating could probably feed thirty people in the Romanian village Borat exploited. And about how our gluttony and lifestyles will be the death of us all. And about how the helium used in the gigantic balloons featured in Macy's annual parade is probably hurting...something or another, possibly NYC's sewer rat population. Remember, Thanksgiving isn't just about taking a moment to realize how lucky and blessed you are but also gorging yourself on guilt, guilt and more guilt.

With that, a happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Smoke out

Last year around this time I found myself in argument with a group of readers argument at Portland's Future Awesome over rumblings concerning a citywide smoking ban in bars. In light of recent bans in Eugene and Washington State, one going into effect here is almost inevitable. It's not a question of if but when I won't be able to smoke in my favorite Portland watering holes. Now that articles like this one are appearing in the Portland Tribune, I predict a ban will come to pass within the next year or two. Could be citywide, could be statewide. We'll see.

The article focuses on the effect a ban would have on area drinking establishments. While an argument can be made that second hand smoke is tearing apart the lungs of bartenders, there's the typical fallbacks "free market!," "a ban will hurt small business owners!" and "no one's making them work in these places!" to consider. Instead of going back and forth on this until City Hall or the State Legislature brings the hammer completely down, why not put together a compromise that would pacify both the smokers and the hackers?

In Eugene several bars have built smoking porches but, when you get right down to it, no one wants to give up their barstool to stand outside in the cold underneath a propane heater. Those of us that enjoy a few dozen unfiltered Camels while sucking down a beer would prefer to do so inside, thank you kindly. So here are my proposals:

1. Some sort of ordinance that would require bar owners to provide their staff with scuba gear. Or at least surgical masks that might filter out a percentage of all those nasty chemicals the big, bad cigarette companies stick in their products.

Or, perhaps more realistically...

2. A clause in the ban that would allow private clubs to continue coating their walls in sweet, sweet nicotine. This blatant loophole would allow at least a few Portland bars to change their classification and let patrons light up. Much like the archaic laws that make drinking in Utah bars, er, "private clubs" almost akin to sneaking into a speak-easy, local smoke-clogged favorites like the Horse Brass Pub could be left out of the ban. That is, provided the owner(s) are willing to sell memberships to their newly established "club" for a nominal fee, or if the new laws allow, hand them out for free.

Faced with a hassle like this, most local bar owners probably wouldn't bother and opt to go smoke free. Only places like the Horse Brass, where "smoking appears to be on the menu," might go for it in a bid to appeal to their cigarette-addicted clientele. A compromise like this would allow bartenders around Portland to breath a sigh of relief and allow those of us hell bent on dying from lung cancer at least a few remaining safe havens.

Hey, it could work, right?

Monday, November 20, 2006


Wii, Wii, Wii, all the way home

So where did you spend your Saturday night? I'm willing to bet it wasn't in Beaverton with a few hundred others bent on taking home a Wii.

Yup, I braved the weather to stand in line outside of a Fred Meyer. For six hours I sat, stood and cursed time itself while wedged between two packs of geeks as the cold and the boredom slowly began to wear on them. Sure, I had company and, sure, we brought a pair of DSs to make the night go faster. But unlike my line buddy and at least 40% of everyone else, I wasn't there because I'm a hardcore Nintendo fan. I like video games as much as the next dork but I prefer mine mixed with shotguns and car chases instead of, well, Kirby.

After adding my name to the list and hunkering down for the long wait ahead, dollar signs flashed across my baby blues. If all went as planned, this evening would result in a fairly easy $300+ payday. $50 an hour to stand in line and play video games? Eh, why not? That's the free market and I've been on the losing end of it more than a few times. An opportunity to become a one-time eBay scalper had come my way and who was I to turn it down?

Nobody said it would be easy. Some of the people in line looked like they hadn't bathed in weeks and many of them had come ill-prepared. One teen had arrived clad in a pair of shorts and a thin U of O hoodie. There was no way he was going to make it all way to midnight. There were bound to be at least a few other casualties (ie, gamers saying "the hell with this" and heading down the street to see Borat again). And there were the reports from the night before when the Playstation 3 had launched in stores around the country. Cons, shootings, riots and mayhem fueled by greed, pixel addiction and ill tempers. How would this Beaverton crowd react if someone came through with a pistol to rob them of their hard-earned Wii dollars? Would any of them take a bullet to play Twilight Princess or ExciteTruck?

Of course, this is Beaverton we're talking about. None of that went down. The closest thing I saw to a fight was when a cranky elderly couple came out of the store and spotted the line. "What, are you people waitin' for some kinda vid-ier game," the husband asked.

"No," one quick witted blond up front replied. "There's a turkey shortage. Didn't you hear?"

"What? No turkeys," he asked, skeptical but no doubt considering whether or not a Thanksgiving bird would be worth four hours in line. The blond dragged the ruse on for another twenty seconds or so before setting him straight. He seemed to understand. There's no telling how many more turkey lectures she delivered on Saturday night.

Morale sank in our corner of the line right around 9 PM. The rousing game of Magic at the card table next to us had finally died down and the temperature was dropping fast. The teens on our left had their round table binge of Tetris DS interrupted by low batteries. With no juice, there was nothing left to do but bury themselves in blankets and actually talk to one another. The teen in the shorts quickly went into a daze and asked for the time every five minutes. Another abandoned his friends. He said he was going to the bathroom but later confessed to sneaking over to watch Cars on the floor model HDTVs in the Electronics Department. It might not have been the best time to break out our fully-powered DSs for a game of Tetris but they seemed to understand and kindly kept their lectures on everything I was doing wrong to a minimum.

On the verge of giving up, a morale booster pulled into the parking spot in front of them. One of the teen's mothers had arrived with take-out Panda Express. It may as well have been manna from heaven. All things considered, I should have headed inside to buy a few 32s of Miller Hi Life and spent the whole time kickin' it hobo style. But the last thing I wanted to do after the store officially shut down at 11 PM was wander around in search of a bush out of view of the line. Mario Kart made the time fly and, before we knew it, midnight had come.

Most of the games were picked over by the time we got inside. My colleague would have to wait until morning to hit a nearby Target for a copy of the new Zelda game. She was lucky enough to track down a copy of Red Steel down the street at Game Crazy but we later made the mistake of heading over to the Beaverton Best Buy. Outside, around a hundred people were still hunkered down in the cold at 1 AM. Best Buy wasn't doing a midnight sale and they would have to stick it out until morning. It's a good thing our Wiis (yeah, that's sounds dirty) were out of sight. That crowd could have gone all Dawn on the Dead (04) on us.

We took one Wii out for a spin back at the house. Swinging around a controller like a baseball bat or a tennis racket is a blast, as is literally tossing a "coo-coo" in Link's village, but I don't know if it's worth $250 plus the cost of the games themselves. Plus, I've got a stack of titles for my Xbox 1.0 to still get through. I've devoted twenty hours of my life to The Godfather game and I still haven't completely extorted all of NYC's small business owners. Vid-ier games take too much time to get through. Not like back in my day when you could blast through one in eleven minutes flat.

Still undaunted, I stuck my Wii (still sounds dirty) up on eBay last night after following the site's rules on selling these puppies. Sure enough, my auction was taken down within hours. While some of my fellow opportunists are pulling in anywhere between $300 - $3,000 in pure profit for next generation consoles, mine was the one the monitors decided to take down. I don't know what rule I broke but I'm going to give it one last shot. If it's deleted a second time, I guess my Wii will be returned to the Beaverton Freddie's.

And I will have learned a valuable lesson. Console scalping doesn't pay. Sure, it pays if you can hire homeless people to wait in line for you or if you're incredibly familiar with the pitfalls of eBay. But if you're me, a chump that could actually use the cash? Nope, doesn't pay. Not one bit.

But I'm not ruling this out if Taco Bell is taking Wiis. Or this.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



Let's start this tale of vehicular woe from the beginning.

Last Super Bowl weekend someone decided to drive an early-90s Nissan into my bushes. After being hit by vandals, the car hung precariously on the edge of a hill overlooking my house. Numerous calls made by both myself and my landlord to PPD's Abandoned Vehicle's Department went unanswered. After complaining about the problem here on the blog, Oregonian columnist Margie Boule somehow caught wind of the situation and came to the rescue. One article on the cover of the Living section later, a tow truck showed up and the Nissan was taken away.

Fast forward nine months. Up until last week I was the not-so proud owner of a 1984 Toyota van. Despite its limitations, the old bucket of bolts was at least 1/10th as lovable as Herbie. I couldn't muster up the courage to pull an "Old Yeller" on it after I purchased a marginally less ancient Toyota last May. If I was an eccentric millionaire, I would have fixed up the van with hydraulics, covered it in exotic car decals and hauled it out to local auto shows to shock the natives. But since I'm not an eccentric millionaire, the van sat outside of my place in a spot near where the Nissan had been ditched all those months back.

As the cliches say, how the tables had turned.

Right around the same time, the house across the street from mine was torn down to make way for two "McMansions." The builders obviously had no love for the van, which was taking up limited street parking near their construction site. They seemed to make a hobby out of tossing empty fast food containers at its roof. I arrived home one night to discover a gash in the van's side door. Had one of their vehicles bumped into it or had one the contractors decided to see how deep of a scar they could create with a flathead screwdriver? I guess I'll never know. I'm just glad they had a Port-a-Pot brought in shortly after ground broke.

Despite the animosity and partly out of spite, I kept the van in its spot. The week of Halloween a yellow slip appeared under one of the wiper blades. The Abandoned Vehicles Department had deemed the van an "abandoned vehicle" despite the fact I had kept it clean, running and parked directly in front of my place. I had made one major mistake in my battle of wills against the McMansion's minions: I had failed to run the van through DEQ and/or update its license plates. Still, I wasn't worried. It took an article in the state's largest newspaper to get the Nissan removed. Doomsday would come before anyone from the city would ever arrive to take the van away. Still, I put in a call to their office and left a voice mail requesting that they give me a couple of weeks to find it a new home. Surely, the city had better things to do with its limited resources than haul away the flagship in my growing fleet of Toyotas. Like hire more cops that beat people in broad daylight or another under-used streetcar line or ignore potholes and leaf-clogged storm drains while putting together a lame-brained Bus Mall revamp.

On Election Night Eve I found a parking ticket on the windshield. With nowhere else to stick the van but my front lawn, I finally decided it was time to let the old thing go. The next morning I had planned to wake up early and make arrangements to have it donated to the Portland Rescue Mission. I figured that maybe the van's old bones could be sold for scrap and used to feed at least two homeless people a small lunch.

Of course, the van was gone by 9 AM the next morning. The cit-cit-tay took my baby away, away from me. A perfectly justified tow or a cold-hearted van-napping, I guess it's a matter of perspective.

And so began two days of hassles. The Abandoned Vehicle's Office responded to a second voice mail in a few hours after ignoring the first one for over a week. My van had been taken to Sergeant's Towing in North Portland. If I wanted it back, I would have to pay $140 in towing fees after snagging a temporary "ride permit" from a DMV branch. If I ignored the problem entirely, the tow company would charge me an additional $15 a day fee until they finally got around to selling the van at auction.

I called the rescue mission. They were willing to send a tow truck over to Sergeant's to pick the van up...but not before I went out there, in person. to pay the bounty on its head. So off I went into what is probably the last remaining part of east Portland that hasn't been replaced with condos or Whole Foods Markets. Sergeant's Towing, located smack dab in the heart of an industrial wasteland, is a place where bad things happen. Members of the staff live on site in trailers and the property is lined with a barbwire-laden fence covered in warning signs. "NO, EXPLOSIVES AND WEAPONS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!" "OUR STAFF IS ARMED" "VERBAL ABUSE AND INSULTS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! YOU WILL BE GIVEN ONE WARNING AND ONLY ONE! THEN YOU WILL BE ESCORTED OFF THE PROPERTY!" While I didn't see him, I'm pretty sure that Chopper, the dog from Stand By Me was somewhere in the back. Or at least one of his granpuppies. And that mutt probably lives on nothing but red meat spiced with peppery spray and the hindquarters of tow victims that make the mistake of raising their voices.

It's the sort of place you want to get in and out of as quickly as possible while avoiding eye contact and sudden movements. Or anything else that might be taken the wrong way. I could tell you more about Sergeant's Towing but, to honest, these are probably details best kept out of a public forum.

Yes, I fear Sergeant's Towing. I did snap a photo of the fence though.

Later in the day the van was picked up and carted off to the one of the rescue mission's offices. In exchange for it I was given a copy of a receipt and the assurance that a tax rebate form would follow in the mail if they manage to sell the thing. And so ends the life of a van that once got into a fight with a bison and survived the Mojave. The little van that could and could have kept on couldin' if I hadn't gotten tired of its numerous squeaks and minor problems--- its terrible gas mileage, soda-stained interior and the weird smell that no amount of cleansers, household, automotive or otherwise, could ever erase.

Now there's just the matter of that tow bill. The Portland Office of Transpiration made the mistake of mailing me a letter last week with the following included at the bottom, almost as an afterthought:

"You may request a hearing to contest the validity of the tow."

Why yes, Portland Office of Transpiration, I would like to contest the validity of the tow, especially after I made numerous attempts to contact you about a vehicle that, while it may have been considered "abandoned" in the eyes of local ordinances, was anything but. If I have no legal ground to stand on, the very least I can do is waste enough city funds to make up for the $140 I lost because one of your bureaucrats couldn't be bothered to return a phone call. How much does it cost to arrange a hearing like this anyway? Ah, no matter. You would probably just blow that cash on a single racing stripe for the OHSU tram.

My Toyota Van will be avenged, if it's the last thing I do! For you have turned me into a crank, a crank bent on wasting as much city resources in the misguided pursuit of a distorted view of justice as possible!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


How to automatically render your list of the all-time top 100 albums instantaneously irrelevant:

...include Garth Brook's Ropin' the Wind on the list but leave out the Doors and Pink Floyd.

And make half of your list for the '00s consist of compilations by dead artists. And squeeze a James Brown album into the '90s. And include Hole. And leave out the Rolling Stone's Beggar's Banquet. And leave out Beck and Bjork and the White Stripes and Digable Planets and Modest Mouse and the Chemical Brothers and the Decemberists and the Arcade Fire and the Flaming Lips and the Mars Volta and Sleater Kinney and Rage Against the Machine and the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs any number of other great bands and soloists that hit their prime during the past two decades. A forgotten Phil Spector anthology makes it in but Siamese Dream, Odelay and Doolittle don't make the cut? WTF?

Seriously, who put this thing together? A near-dead and completely indifferent octogenarian editor with a pen jammed in his mouth? TIme Magazine, you should be ashamed of yourself. An Elvis greatest hits album slapped together in 2002 beats dozens of eligible artists that are still above ground and recording? What the hell were you thinking by running this slop?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's morning again in America

Rumsfeld is gone. Bush is talking about getting "thumped." The Democrats will soon control both the House and the Senate. Rick Santorum's kids spent last night crying their eyes out on national television. Even Rush Limbaugh is backing away from the dying embers of the current incarnation of the GOP. And here locally teenage girls can still get abortions without having to listen to their parents bitch and moan.

And so an ugly chapter in America's history is slowly drawing to a close...or not. The Democrats won't be able to get us out of Iraq and will never have the guts to impeach Cheney and Bush for their assorted misdeeds. And, sure, in another two years the Republicans will make a comeback after blaming the Dems for not magically solving the Iraq quagmire. But, hey, it's been a long time since many of us have heard what we would call good news come rolling out of the District. This is no time for cynicism.

So I buzzed down Broadway last night expecting to find Democrats pouring out of Kulongoski's victory party at the Benson Hotel. Marching through the streets singing "Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!" Gridlocked traffic. People dancing on hoods. Someone blasting Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." A scene worthy of the ending to an early '80s sports comedy. Something like the last 30 seconds of Caddyshack when Rodney Dangerfiled shouts, "EVERBYODY'S GONNA GET LAID!"


But there was none of that going down around 10:30 PM on the streets of "Little Beirut." It looked like any other Tuesday night downtown. All I spotted outside of the Benson was an elderly couple flagging down a cab. On the other hand, it would be almost another 24 hours before anyone could muster up the courage to report that the Senate had swung left. And it was a weeknight.

Still, that didn't stop a Republican colleague of mine from living it up until the wee hours in DC, despite the fact his party had been officially "thumped." A lesson to be learned from him: when you're hanging out with a liberal crowd, don't start an argument over whether or not waterboarding counts as torture. They may call you on it. In his defense, he did manage to hold his breath for an impressive 90 seconds when put to the test. As I understand it though, they didn't actually pour water on his face during the whole thing.

Anyway, after six years of misguided military invasions, trashed civil liberties, corruption of every imaginable kind and the loss of a major US city, isn't reclaiming the House enough to cause a little dancing in the streets? I knew I should have taken my fireworks down there, especially since no one else was apparently willing to fire off a mortar in front of Saxton's party at the Hilton up the street.

In other news, the Blazers won against the Lakers tonight. There really is no stop to the wave of good news. Tomorrow I expect dogs and cats will sign a peace treaty while everyone in the world joins hands to sing Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World." Or something by Jewel. Or this:

OK, maybe not that last one. Still, that could very well be the greatest music video in the history of universe.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Here comes the rain again...and again....and again...

It seems like it's been raining nonstop in Portland since at least Saturday. We've been by a series of storms that usually don't roll into town more than once a decade. Sewer drains are clogged all over Portland and the coast has been brought to a near standstill. Things are worse in Washington where at least one person, a hunter, died when his truck sank into a river.

Things aren't quite as dire around PDX but I read a report earlier today about how the rising waters of the Sandy River "ate" someone's Lexus Convertible. Oh, and as usual when flooding hits, all of our poo is running into the Willamette. We've also been hit by a few power outages and everyone in the city seems to have forgotten how to drive their vehicles at a speed anywhere close to the limit. It's amazing how many people in the year 2006 are completely baffled by a four-way stop at an intersection with a dead traffic light. A few things I've seen and experienced during the past few days:

  • Four customers standing outside of Tobacco Town, a discount cigarette shop on SW Barbur. Power was out and it looked like the store had shut down temporarily. Undaunted, these four were willing to brave the pouring rain until they re-opened. Mmmm....cigarettes.

  • Spotted on a sign outside of a nearby church: "Pray all day. Rain, rain, please go away!"

  • On the way home last night I caught the tail end of a broadcast on NPR. The newscaster was reporting on a series of floods that had crippled several communities and had resulted in one casualty. Another ten inches was expected to hit in the coming days. At first I thought the report was covering a third world country. Then it dawned on me: she was talking about SW Washington.

  • Storm drains are backed up all over Portland but the city still apparently has the resources to come and tow the "abandoned" vehicle parked in front of my house. The same "abandoned" vehicle I told at least one staff member at PPD was not at all abandoned and was, in fact, about to be donated to the Portland Rescue Mission. Excellent work, guys. You've protected the neighborhood from a 1984 Toyota van. I guess Margie Boule really whipped your abandoned vehicles office into shape.

  • Sandbags? Really? It's gotten that bad? Oh.

  • Click here for photos from around the area. The shots of a bridge over Hood River looks like something out of a disaster movie.

  • Monday, November 06, 2006


    The delicate art of Z-jay'ing

    I was flipping through radio channels as I was leaving work on Friday night and my dial fell on Z100, a station I haven't listened to for longer than 30 seconds since I was in middle school. An on air DJ, er, "Z-jay" named Chase had decided to break format (a serious no-no for someone working for a Clear Channel station) by playing nothing but Michael Jackson songs.

    Within minutes he was getting hammered by calls from angry listeners enraged that they wouldn't be hearing Fergie's "London Bridge" for the 5,000th time. Undaunted, Chase re-dubbed the station MJFM (an even bigger no no and a violation of FCC regulations) as he cut to some of the King of Pop's lesser tracks from the mid-'90s.

    His programming manager called, furious, and informed him on air that he was putting the station at risk for a sizable fine. He told him to be in the office on Monday morning at 8 AM for a meeting. Sure, Chase had broken the law but, hey, his little stunt was funny, dammit. It was also probably the only silghtly spotaneous thing that has happened at Z100 since it debuted "Rip City Rhapsody," a rap song performed by the Blazers around '91 or so.

    An ad for Chase's show is currently on Z100's main page so it looks like he wasn't canned. Take that, FCC.

    Friday, November 03, 2006


    In search of a $4 NBA ticket

    Last season the Trailblazers came in dead last in the league standings. The team will probably lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years if they continue down this path. The debacle of last season even served as the subject of a scathing parody in a recent issue of The Onion. Still, is the Blazers' front office so desperate to fill empty seats that they'll part with home game tickets for a mere $4?

    That's the rumor I heard while wandering around the Portland blogosphere earlier this week. Curious, I checked around. The Blazers have come up with a few gimmicks to lure fans back to the Rose Garden. One promotion offers a meet and greet with the BlazerDancers along with a swimsuit calendar. Still, the cheapest seats I could find on the Blazers' website were going for $10.

    I finally put in a call to the ticket office. They were running a promotion where fans could score $4 tickets but they had to be purchased as part of a 25 game bundle. Only 600 seats were available and, according to the representative I spoke with, those remaining were snatched up after the team won their opener against Seattle on Wednesday night.

    Still, $10 is pretty cheap. I wonder if they'll stay that way if the Blazers keep up this one game winning streak.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006


    Halloween close-out

    Ok, one last Halloween post to cover all of the material I never got around to sticking up here. Once this is out of the way, this here blog will return to its regularly scheduled slew of rambling anecdotes and random You Tube links...that have nothing to do with pagan holidays.

  • I wasted around an hour a week ago trying to uncover all of the fifty hidden horror movie titles in this strange promotion for M&Ms. Many of them are obvious. The Hills Have Eyes, Silence of the Lambs, etc. But what's the deal with the Grim Reaper and the fence? Or the guys with the map?

  • Where were all the trick-or-treaters this year? I was stuck at work instead of sitting at home handing out Baby Ruths so I doubt anyone stopped by my place. My parents, on the other hand, lit up their pumpkins before dark and decked out their house in Halloween stuff. Their doorbell didn't ring, not even once. They live on a busy street but this would mark the first Halloween in twenty years that no one has shown up on their doorstep. On my way in to work yesterday I didn't spot any smashed pumpkin or a single tree covered in toilet paper. What the frig?

    So where were they all? Amy Jennings over at the Portland Mercury asked the same question in a post yesterday. Her place received a grand total of three. Betsy over at Metroblogging Portland has also seen a decline in recent years. So was it the cold weather this year? All those child rapist stories that clog the local news these days? Has trick or treating's time come and gone? Where have Portland's costumed freeloaders wandered off to?

    Oh, they all went over to this gal's house.

  • That night Marilyn Manson showed up on The Tonight Show to perform "This is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack. I've heard a lot of bad music in my time but this one ranks right up there with Robin Williams' cover of "Come Together" and Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time."

  • Late Night was a repeat of the episode where Conan and his crew were all replaced by skeleton puppets. I'd never seen it but I guess it originally aired back in 2004. That bit where the stripper skeleton looses her head as she slides down the pole was...interesting. The puppeteers kept going without skipping a beat.

  • Every year my workplace holds a contest. The team that can up with the best decorative scheme scores a wad of cash to blow on pizza. No one on my team was too enthusiastic and I made the mistake of suggesting a Peanuts theme. I guess that's why I was volunteered to crank out something.

    Feel free to make fun of my LInus. His pupils are waaaaay too big. More than one coworker said that he looked like he was "tripping."

    I thought Kang and Kodos turned out OK though. The joke here is that they've crash landed in the wrong Halloween special. Funny? Apparently not. I was asked what was up with the aliens a few hundred times. Not a lot of Simpsons fans in my line of work.

    Snoopy was probably the best looking of this mangy lot. But as I warned everyone before hand, "I'm only capable of producing Tiajuana-bootleg level Peanuts." And that I did. Sorry, Mr. Schultz.

    We lost, needless to say. The top prize went to a group that turned their workspace into the Addams' Family house. Other notable mentions: the group that turned theirs into a clown graveyard and another that went with a Blair Witch theme.

  • I took the long way home from work through downtown. I spotted three guys dressed up as Santa Clause on 2nd Avenue. Huh, Santa Con must have come early this year.

  • Radio show host and master of the macabre Art Bell did a special "Ghost to Ghost" show on Halloween night. I sent a "fast blast" about that night at the White Eagle to the studio via his website. I was surprised when my phone rang at 1 AM. One of his screeners called and wanted to stick me on the air. Unfortunately, my house sits low on a hill and cell reception down there can be downright craptacular at times. That night the phone decided to produce an annoying hum in the background. I tried walking around the house and even outside but couldn't get it to stop. My cell signal apparently wasn't up to par for national radio so the screener bid me adieu and moved on to the next listener in line.

    Curse you, Cingular! Because of your crappy coverage I wasn't able to tell a few thousand insomniacs and conspiracy theorists about the night a ghost attacked me with its butt.

  • Wednesday, November 01, 2006


    A country-fried Halloween

    Somewhere down a windy stretch of highway outside of Canyonville, Oregon there lies a town called Tiller. A town where a certain group of locals celebrate Halloween with chainsaws. And a live band. And beer. And copious amounts of dry ice. And a roasted pig. And mortar fireworks. And bottle rockets. And tree trunks carved into Jack-o-Lanterns.

    I spent the weekend in Tiller and, let me tell you something, they really know how to celebrate a pagan holiday down there. I'd have to rate Saturday's shindig up there with the Halloween of 1997 when I watched a frathouse party near the U of O campus erupt into a full scale riot. By the end of that one, shots were fired and people were dancing in a cloud of tear gas.

    Awwww, memories. Below you'll find some highlights from TillerFest '06. If you're faint of heart, you're not going to want to read this.

  • Watching a 3 year old dressed as both Tigger and a pirate rock out with a plastic sword to a song called "Toad Licker." Later on, after all the families took their kids home, the band played the unedited version. Replace the "toad" in the title with a female body part and you get the idea. I wish I had caught the name of the band.

  • Talking with a wild-eyed gentleman that looked like the preacher from Poltergeist 2. The conversation started out innocently enough with him mentioning an asteroid collision on Jupiter back in the '90s. Within seconds he was lecturing me on the hidden meaning of the movie 2010 and how it's connected to a conspiracy to cover up the true origins of humanity and the universe. Or something like that. His wife finally wandered over, grabbed him by the arm and announced "we're leaving."

  • Catching a mock fight between someone dressed like Obi Wan Kenobi and another dressed like a pregnant woman. The Jedi finally broke out his lightsaber and performed what he later described as a "Jedi abortion." It should also be noted that he pulled off this stunt in the heart of "Pro Measure 43" country. Later on, he pregnant girl snatched the lightsaber, performed another mock operation. Her plastic baby would later wind up in the mouth of...

  • ...this thing:

  • One party attendant was hit by an SUV a few months ago and arrived on crutches. A male colleague thoughtfully decided to dress up as her and arrive on his own set of crutches. I think she took it well.

  • Someone thoughtfully brought along bottle rockets and other assorted fireworks. Some of them went up into the sky. Some of them nearly hit the house. Some of them flew way too close to people's heads.

  • Meeting and talking to "Bob" (no, not his real name), the guy that carved the log you see above with a chainsaw earlier in the evening. He had put together another one but, as he admitted himself, he was too tanked to roll it out. Bob tried to recruit my friends and I to help him finish carving and setting it up beside the first log. For obvious reason, we declined. Later, he entertained a small crowd by tossing firewood into "the beast's" mouth while yelling "this motherfucker is hungry! She needs food!" And then he broke out his chainsaw and carved what may or may not have been intended to be genitalia into the base of the log. There's at least two videos of this out there but my camera couldn't handle the limited lighting. The audio on it is great though.

    Oh, and at one point, Bob spilt kerosene all over the place, temporarily creating a pyrotechnics show:

    Last year, he nearly blew himself up. While you may be thinking to yourself, "someone let this inebriated man run around in a crowd of people with a chainsaw and a container of kerosene," I myself wasn't worried. Someone told me he was a "trained professional" and I'm pretty sure the hosts had fire extinguishers waiting on the sidelines. Perfectly safe! This was the sixth or seventh year in a row where he had provided and kept the fires burning on a "Jack-O-Log." For Halloween 2005 he managed to set up four of them. Click here for photos from last year's party.

    This level of mayhem could never be pulled off up in Portland. It's nice to know there's a place not too far from home where people can celebrate Halloween properly. Up here, parents are afraid to let their kids go trick or treating. Down south, they let dance around to punk music a stone's throw away from a 12-foot tall flaming log.

    I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy future Halloweens without Jack-O-Logs and a complete lack of regard for personnel safety. The bar has been set. Thanks for the great weekend, Tiller. You have once again renewed my faith in America.




  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?