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Monday, February 25, 2008
Sasquatch '08 lineup
Oh, lookie here. The lineup for this year's Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater was announced earlier today. Let's see who's scheduled to appear....
...REM? Bleeech. Death Cab for Cutie? Zzzzz. The Cure? Meh.
But...wait, what's this? Flight of the Conchords? Tegan and Sara? The New Pornographers? Modest Mouse? M.I.A?!! THE FLAMING LIPS AND THEIR "UFO SHOW"?!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Ok, I'm going.
It's bound to be a good year, if only because 2008's "Happy Road Trip Sasquatch" logo is so much better than 2007's "Forlorn, Flower-Wielding Sasquatch" logo. Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 8th.
A smoking-ban loophole
I wonder if this loophole can be exploited when Oregon's smoking ban goes into effect next year.
Hooray! Smoke on! Yummy cigarettes for all!
Random Cell Phone Photo(s) # 29
These posters are all over NW Portland right now. Based on Potato's MySpace page, they've been up for a while now. Apparently, she was stolen when her owner let her outside to, er, um...how should I put this? "Use the facilities"?
Dog-napping a pit bull as she's trying to tinkle? That takes cojones of solid rock. Here's hoping Potato will make it home soon.
There was an evidence tag attached to the door. There's a story here but I don't know what it is but I'm sure it can be found over here.
It's nice to see Harrison Ford has a sense of humor
Sweet, but not too sweet, Virginia
Tonight the original location of the Virginia Cafe on SW Park is slated to go dark forever. Possibly as I type these words, the owners are/will be stagging a ceremonial "bar stool crawl" from the old spot to the new one on SW 10th.
I made it down there on Saturday night for one last gin and tonic. Half of the booths were torn out and the second level loft was all but bare. Most, if not all, of the memorabilia and decor was removed from the walls and the area over the bar. The Virginia will, of course, live on but it was sad to see a locale with that much history breathing its last breaths. I was never a regular but I harbor enough warm memories of this nearly century-old boozehole to shed a tear for its passing.
What made the original Virginia Cafe so great was that it was a perfect combination of classy and sleazy; dank but not too dank. It's the closet I've come to a bar in Portland along the lines of Cheers. A sentence like that might make the owners and those more familiar with the Virginia cringe but I mean it as a compliment (or maybe the Veritable Quandary would be a more apt nomination?). The layout and ambiance were dead on for a downtown bar and the location was perfect. It wasn't the sort of place you'd bring a first date but it was always there when you needed to kill time before a movie or a place to take a friend from out of town you're not sure could handle a place like the Shanghai Tunnel. The owners seem bent on recreating the experience on SW 10th so here's hoping only the Virginia's address will change.
I felt the need to forever preserve this bit of graffiti in mens room. You're welcome, internet.
I also wonder if anyone's going to salvage the old Zell Bros clock next door before the block is torn down. At the very least, it would look great over someone's mantle.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I went 9 for 11 last year. This time around I'm trying to pull off a decent score in 15 categories. Here are the movies, performances etc. that I think are going to win tonight but first you should watch the following. It is hilarious. Especially the part when Planview asks Juno if she's speaking English.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Three minute movie review: Be Kind, Rewind
It's time again to introduce another new series here on Another Portland Blog that's sure to sputter out after two or three posts. I'm calling this one "Three Minute Movie Reviews" and this one is a personal challenge. I'm giving myself three minutes flat to write, edit and publish each review. Can I churn out anything remotely coherent, without too many typos and errors, in 180 seconds or less? Let's find out as I attempt to cover the new Michel Gondry movie Be Kind, Rewind.
Be Kind, Rewind is a sweet little comedy that borders on incoherence that takes place in an alternative reality even less plausible than the one in Juno. First off, it requires the audience to suspend their disbelief long enough to assume that a videotape rental shop can exist, in any form, in the 21st century. And that anyone, no matter how senile, can rent a 20-minute long homemade version of Ghostbusters and mistake it for the real thing.
Still, the "Sweeded" movies that Mos Def and Jack Black come up with are pretty hilarious. In their version of Ghostbusters, a housecat plays a "demon dog" and Slimer is acted out by Mos Def aided with a garbage bag and a flashlight. Their version of When We Were Kinds, with Black playing the part of Muhammed Ali: also hilarious.
The ending is implausible, the entire plot is ridiculous and Mia Farrow looks a plastic surgery disaster. Still, this could be the best come...
Ok, time's up. I guess that's not half bad, for a first try, but you be the judge. There's at least two pathetic typos in there but, according to the guidelines I've come up with, they've got to stay put. Until next time, this has been a Three Minute Movie Review. Huzzah!
Stuff White People Like
This blog has been making the rounds. Is it offensive? Sure, but I guess it mostly depends on your perspective. Speaking as a human being that's about as Caucasian as Caucasian gets, I think it's hilarious. Isn't that how the unwritten rules concerning these things work in this country? If a joke is being made about your own race you're allowed to laugh at it while everyone has to awkwardly attempt to keep a straight face?
Ok, I'm only digging myself a bigger hole. Moving along, here are some excerpts I found delightfully humorous while I was killing time down at the wine bar I rode to on my bicycle the other day.
Man, some of these really do hit the mark...
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Weird Stuff From Around This Weird World - Part 1
Various friends of mine have developed a habit of giving me odd gifts from their travels. Unfortunately, my attempts to reciprocate are typically thwarted by poor planning and international laws. I still feel bad for letting a cashier at a duty-free shop at Heathrow talk me out of smuggling a bottle of absinthe back to the states last fall. I had to settle for gin instead. Lame? Yeah, I know, I know.
Partially out of guilt but mostly due to a lack of things to blog about during these dull winter days, I've decided to showcase some of these gifts in a series of posts that are sure to thrill you all. First up....
...this bottle of mezcal, which was picked up during a friend's recent trip to Puerto Vallarta. He handed it over with a perquisite, half-serious warning that it might cause me to hallucinate. I'd heard the legends surrounding this precursor to tequila before but always thought the alleged hallucinatory effects would kick in only if I ate the worm at the bottom of the bottle.
A little internet research suggests otherwise. Not only do most brands of mezcal pack roughly the same alcoholic punch as the average bottle of tequila, the stuff won't cause you to trip out. According to this, the confusion stems from the simple fact that "mezcal" sounds a lot like "mescaline." Mezcal is distilled using agave plants as a chief ingredient, not the mescal cactus, the source of a few no-doubt lovely hallucinogenics like peyote.
Still unconvinced and, purely in the interest of research, I decided to conduct my own experiment on a recent Saturday night. Three shots of mezcal consumed in short succession resulted in no hallucinatory effects, I'm sad to say. It did, however, make Farce of the Penguins seem like the funniest movie ever filmed for around twenty minutes.
Also, the "worms" packaged with mezcal aren't worms at all. Wikipedia says the two insects most commonly found at the bottom of bottles tend to be the agave snout weevil or a certain species of caterpillar. Er...yum. All things considered, I like the idea of a worm better.
Will I be eating my agave snout weevil and/or caterpillar once I finish off the bottle? Probably not. Not because I'm afraid I'll embark on a spiritual journey involving a "Space Coyote" voiced by Johnny Cash. It has more to do with a certain scene in Poltergeist II involving Craig T. Nelson and a character that has become known in horror movie lore as the "vomit creature" (here's a link, click on it, if you dare).
If you aren't completely disgusted yet, here's a link to a short Washington Post article about snake wine, a much stranger medicinal beverage found throughout SE Asia that comes packaged with fermented reptiles. Also available: scorpion and seahorse wine. Sounds tasty!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Around once a year, maybe more often, a local publication will attempt to dispel Portland's amazingly good image, drawing attention to things like its lousy job market, annual rainfall, increasing influx of condos, lackluster public school system and ever-rising population of hipsters and empty-nesters. This almost inevitably leads to dozens of readers writing in to express their views on the subject, turning any discussion of the article into full-fledged class warfare before everyone settles down long enough to collectively agree that the mountain, the beaches and easy access to high-grade pot make it all worthwhile.
Matt Davis' op-ed from Monday is the latest in the series and it received 140+ comments that should be considered required reading for anyone thinking of moving here in the near future. Long story short: if you don't have a lucrative career waiting for you, don't even think about moving to Portland. The days of easy-living in Stumptown ended at least four years ago. That said, the mountain really is lovely.
Another local haunt
My first trip to Timberline Lodge would have been sometime in elementary school during a summertime day trip. This was also my last trip and a few months before an ill-advised , albeit heavily edited, viewing of The Shining on KPTV. I wasn't expecting any sort of reference or tribute to the movie/novel when I visited the lodge last week but I found this in the basement near a small museum:
No explanation needed, I guess. It speaks for itself. Uh, but where's the hedge maze?
Timberline Lodge is much, much smaller than I remember it. I was expecting to find an enormous, sprawling hotel along the lines of Yellowstone's epic Old Faithful Inn, complete with a ghostly legend worthy of that hotel's headless bride. Despite providing the exteriors for a certain Stanley Kubrick horror movie, I was unable to find any Timberline-related ghost stories while leeching off the lodge's Wi-Fi.
Still, I'm sure the main lobby is damn eerie at 3 AM in the middle of January, what with its wooden statues, large stone fireplace and windows obscured by an almost perpetual snowbank. In the mid-afternoon on a Saturday it was anything but. Teenagers were sprawled out across every nearly every surface of the main floor. The bar upstairs was packed. The doors of several hotel rooms were thrown open to subvert the lodge's overzealous heating system. There were even people in the pool outside, despite what had to be a sub-freezing wind chill factor.
For me, Timberline Lodge will forever be associated with memories of at least one sleepless night during childhood fueled by Jack Nicholson's Johnny Carson impression. It will forever be creepy but it's a great place to kill time drinking beer when you don't know how to ski and don't really have the inclination to learn.
Friday, February 15, 2008
This probably isn't going to make you feel like a guitar hero
I've defended Guitar Hero and Rock Band before but, with this coming out, I wonder if it will make those games obsolete. The big question has also been "why waste time learning how to play a fake guitar when you could learn how to play a real one instead?" Still, somehow I don't expect Guitar Rising to outsell the next incarnations of either. Even this. Video games are, after all, all about escapism and the tediousness that comes with learning how to play an instrument is anything but.
I invested dozens and dozens of hours into learning how to play a guitar in high school. Ten years later, I can barely get through the first few chords of "Wish You Were Here." Developing calluses on your fingers and struggling to memorize the difference between an A chord and an A7 isn't going to instantaneously make you feel like Slash circa 1987.
Labels: video games
Radiohead in Seattle
KNRK's efforts to bring Radiohead to Portland may be doomed to failure but, according to the band's website, they will be playing a date in Seattle sometime after their European tour this summer. A friend in DC attempted to buy tickets for their upcoming show in Virginia. From what he tells me, the presale tickets were gone in a few minutes flat. There's no telling how fast the rest of them went but the show is currently sold out.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Not their best side
This weekend, through a series of events, I found myself paying good money to see Untraceable, the Diane Lane serial killer movie that was filmed in Portland last year. Unless you're looking for a movie unusually obsessed with using the Broadway Bridge as location, I can't say I'd recommend it. I'm happy to report that The Hunted can retain it's title as "The Best Bad Movie Filmed Within the Urban Growth Boundary."
Everyone's favorite local exploitive news team also has a large cameo. I don't think it gives much of the plot away to reveal that Fox 12 has a hand in the "diabolical" motivations of the film's antagonist. Untraceable portrays the KPTV's news team, in particular an unnamed, fictional reporter, in a very negative light.
I can't see why the station's producers or someone at the Fox corporate office (or whoever makes these decisions) would have agreed to lend their logo and staff to this sort of thing, especially given how the bad the final product was destined to turn out. We're talking about made-for-the-Lifetime-Network quality filmmaking here.
Not his best side
Can you guess who this is? Honestly, if I hadn't seen the headline I probably wouldn't have correctly identified the subject. Of all the photos they had to pick from this is the one the editors ran with? On the other hand, I guess they're catering to a different culture, readership, etc...
Together at last
I heard about this on NPR this morning. Maybe it's not that unusual, considering that Pavarotti did once sing on a U2 collaboration. Still, "It's a Man's Man's World" with James Brown and a full orchestra? If only they had recorded an album of funk covers together. Although, the tenor's take on "(Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt.1" could have somehow altered the space time continuum.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A cell phone photo from today's Scientology protest
Not pictured: four protesters in V for Vendetta masks and numerous signs extolling the dark side of Tom Cruise's favorite psuedo-religion. Apparently, the protest was part of a worldwide effort stagged by a group calling itself "Anonymous." When I passed by around fifty demonstrators were parked outside of the Church of Scientology on SW Salmon, all of them wearing Halloween masks or bandannas over their faces.
Why the need for anonymity? Oh, right.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Metro-Fi, now 27 - 35% more crap-tacular
Does anyone here remember Metro-Fi? Remember how the owners said that the entire city would be able to enjoy internet access all over the city...some sunny day? Metro-Fi! Metro-Fi! What has become of you?
Yeah, that's a Pink Floyd reference. Sorry about that.
So I found myself at the Multnomah Village Starbucks this afternoon with a choice between paying $6.00 an hour (10 cents for each additional minute) to use the coffee chain's wiFi connection or Metro-Fi. With time to kill and nothing better to do, I decided to log on to the later for the first time in months.
Surprisingly enough, the company's underwhelming municipal internet service has gotten worse. Apparently, anyone who now uses their free network first has to download something called "MSN SideGuide," an exceedingly obnoxious advertising tool that clogs up 1/5 of a user's computer screen, fills it with incredibly annoying Flash-based advertisements and cannot be closed or minimized. See above for an admitedly blurry screenshot. This is in addition to Metro-Fi's regular advertisements. I know the service has been having some serious funding issues but I haven't heard an update about them since October.
This evening I fired up my laptop here at home and the SideGuide kick-started after Windows loaded. Needless to say, it was terminated off my hard drive with "extreme prejudice."
I know other cities have taken a stab at free municipal wiFi. I wonder if it's going as "well" as it is up here in Portland.
A rough night at the Rose Garden
I think it was right around the time the rain was pounding our faces, somewhere between the Convention Center and the Rose Garden, that my sister and I decided that attending last night's Blazers' match-up against the Bulls may have been a bad idea. Our first mistake was stopping for dinner instead of heading straight to the game after work. At 7:30, a full 30 minutes after the start-time, we were still searching for a place to park. There was some sort of OSU-related sports meet-up being held at the Convention Center which, on top of the game, meant there wasn't a place to leave the car within a mile of the Rose Garden.
With the windows fogging up every five seconds and Blazer fans darting out of the shadows in front of the car as they rushed to make the second quarter, we were on the verge of bagging it. Then, out of the clear blue, a spot magically appeared next to a Starbucks within ten blocks of the arena.
Neither of us were dressed for the monsoon-like conditions engulfing the eastside last night. Our pants and feet were soaked by the time we made it inside. Then we headed up to the very back of the 300-level to find that, with two minutes left to go in the second quarter, a hippie guy was using our seats and his own as a couch. I hate arriving late to things like this, mostly because people always seem to steal my seat if I'm not right there at the start time. No matter the scenario, I always end up feeling like a jerk for making them move because, after all, I wasn't a big enough fan of a band or local sports franchise to get there on time.
We did, however, make it in time for the best halftime show I've ever seen at a live sporting event. A lady in an ice skater's outfit came out on the court, jumped on an incredibly tall unicycle and spent the next five minutes kicking ceramic bowls onto her head. I don't see how any human being could possibly pull this off. I suspect she might have been a Cylon.
And then I somehow spent half of the third quarter waiting in line at a concession stand.
Still, it was all worth it to see the Blazers squeak by a win. In the final seconds of the game Brandon Roy sunk two free-throws, ensuring that the crowd would have free coupons for chalupas waiting for them at the exits. Also: we got to sit next to these fine, upstanding Blazers fans:
Love means never having to say you're sorry for asking your wife to paint a sports team's logo on the back of your head.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Fat Tuesday in downtown Portland
For reasons unknown Pioneer Courthouse Square is currently lined with barricades and police tape. There's cops posted at various points around the perimeter. My best guess is that they're over-preparing for the slim possibility that hundreds of Fat Tuesday celebrants may decide to descend on the square to....maybe throw beads at one another? On the other hand, maybe they're worried that local McCain supporters might go a little wild tonight after their candidate's big wins around the country.
Monday, February 04, 2008
How other people I know spent the weekend...
Debatably stupider than driving through a snowstorm on US 26 or going mussel hunting in February? Attempting to drive a Subaru down a snow-clogged walking trail near Sunriver.
Labels: epic fail
Lessons learned and photos taken during a lazy Super Bowl weekend in Manzanita
A few friends and I braved the snow-soaked passes along US 26 to spend the weekend on the outskirts of Manzanita. The following lessons were learned:
The owners of this sign attached a small wooden church to it because...actually, I have no idea. Maybe it's some sort of social commentary? It can be found along the main drag in town.
During the winter months the north Oregon coast recalls certain passages out of The Road. The only thing this photo is missing is gray ash falling from the sky. Oh, and a nuclear apocalypse.
I rest my case. Here's hoping this couple didn't have to push a shopping cart full of dry goods through a nightmarish hellscape filled with cannibals to make it out to the coast for the weekend. Anyway, we found this weird little fort on the south-side of the beach on Sunday.
Everyone is more intimidating when they're wearing a "wife beater." Even Zuma the border collie.
Commando: it's still the finest action film the 1980s bequeathed us.
Thanks for the lovely weekend, Mr. and Mrs. A. The candle light was just right, the Hi-Fi was in the background and the wine was delicious.
Random Cell Phone Photo # 28 + a quick Rambo review
This could very well be the blurriest, most worthless entry in the neverending, perpetually blurry and, more often than not, worthless series.
What you're looking at here is a poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull spotted in the lobby of the Pioneer Place Stadium 6. I was there to see a third-sequel to another '80s action classic. Rambo doesn't hold a candle to its First Blood predesessors but it does finally give the series' killing machine namesake a chance to set off a very large, possibly atomic, bomb.
Rambo contains a shocking amount of completely unnecessary depictions of rape, torture and brutality that have no real place in what is, for the most part, a big, dumb action movie. There's scenes in it far uglier than a hundred much more serious war films. To be honest, I was expecting 90 minutes of ridiculousness along the lines of Rambo killing a helicopter with a bow and arrow ala part 3. Despite it all, I'll be quoting the incredibly cheesy "quick, give me your Claymore!" line for weeks to come.