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Thursday, May 29, 2008
...that any question can be answered by the internet. It may take three months to get an answer but, given enough time, it will be happen. Back in February I posted this cell phone photo of a bicycle chained-up outside of Rocco's Pizzeria with a PPD squad car door attached to the side. I wondered what the story behind the bike was but didn't find out the answer until Blogtown reported on the owner's recent troubles with local police earlier today.
Next stop: that palace featured in Temple of Doom
When it comes to things that are edible and won't kill me, I'll try just about anything. On Saturday night I found myself in the middle of a discussion about what myself and a few friends would and would not eat. I drew the line at cats but admitted that, under the right circumstances, I might try a dog burger. Of course, only if I could be sure the dog was raised free-range and certified organic and all that. No Golden Retrievers though. This beg the question: what would be the most suitable pooch for this sort of thing?
Did you think you'd be reading a blog post about dog meat right now? Well, for what it's worth I didn't think I'd be writing about it either. Weird how these things work.
Anyway, a few Portland blogs linked to this article about "miracle fruit" that appeared in the NYT yesterday. Supposedly, a small berry native to West Africa is capable of temporarily suspending a person's ability to taste sour and icky foods. Lemons suddenly taste like candy and a shot of rotgut tequila goes down like Sprite.
A new restaurant somewhere in town plans to stick the berries in its cocktails but I'd be more interested in giving them a try on their own. Such a berry could allow me the ability to eat just about anything without gagging. Or enable me to finally make a successful run at vegetarianism. Regular-flavored broccoli and tofu? Bleeeeeeech!
I'm not big on Bloody Marys but I had the chance to try a sip of one made with bacon-infused vodka at the Florida Room on Memorial Day. The beach-themed bar on N. Killingsworth has an extensive menu devoted to the hangover helpers. Somewhere beneath the tomato juice I tasted something vaguely piggy. It wasn't enough to make me a fan of Bloody Marys but it's nice to know that something like bacon-infused vodka exists in this world. In hindsight, I guess I should have ordered a shot of it to get the full effect.
Bonus semi-factoid: bacon-infused vodka may or not render the bacon used in the process fat-free. [link]
These reasons may not be enough to convince me to put down my Xbox 360 controller but a good argument in favor of finding better things to do with your free time than play GTA IV can be found here.
Labels: video games
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
After searching for around two years, the owners of the destined-to-become-a-beloved-nationwide-franchise Voodoo Doughnut are about to open a second location that's bigger and better than the original on SW 3rd. An excerpt from WW Wire's sneak peek:
"The new Voodoo building, formerly home to an Arctic Circle burger joint, is surrounded by a massive swath of pavement. Shannon and Pogson will be reserving most of the surface for outdoor seating, recreational activities (like Wiffle ball and uphill badminton) and a buttload of bike parking—though 10 to 15 spaces will be open for cars. "Bike-in" movies will be shown on the blank wall on the north side of the building, and the former drive-through window is being converted to a DJ booth. Shannon is also installing a Quadphonic jukebox that spins vinyl."
It's set to open this Friday, the 31st with a parade from the original location to the new one at 6:45 PM. Further details can be found via the links posted above.
Snark, thy name is Zero Punctuation
Some time back someone sent me a link to a "Zero Punctuation" review. I've been trying to track down the site ever since. Not knowing what search queries to try besides, "Australian," "video games" and "snark" led to a 20-minute long hunt. After all that effort, I figure I may as well squeeze a blog post out of it. Here's a link to the author tearing into Grand Theft Auto IV.
Labels: video games
Not Twin Peaks but close enough
I spent part of the weekend camping alongside a creek somewhere outside of the unincoperated town of Carson, Washington. As we crossed the Bridge of the Gods, either myself or my traveling companion remarked, "We've reached Twin Peaks country." Sure, the real Twin Peaks is upstate somewhere but something about the area screamed, "watch your step or you're going to find yourself bickering over rent control with the owner of the Black Lodge."
The weather was hit or miss and the billion or so people we were camping with rendered our site a mud pit by Saturday afternoon. Besides all that, we were able to engage in activities not limited to eating undercooked bratwursts, building a makeshift beer cooler in a creek, learning how to cook corn-on-the-cob over a campfire, walking on logs over a river, ducking BB pellets and watching this dog eat a live mouse.
Meet Moose. He and a mouse jumped into a bush. Only one of them returned. I'll spare you the details. Here he is actin' all like Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans. According to his owner, this is the least of Moose's gastrointestinal accomplishments. Apparently, there's nothing he can't ingest up to and including an entire squirrel.
On Saturday we all went on a hike along Falls Creek. I strongly recommend giving it a shot, if you're into this sort of thing. Trail # 152A is possibly one of the most majestic I've hiked around here, although it could use more out-of-sight spots for pee breaks. Some of us packed beer instead of water and this led to a substantial amount of "awkwardness" involving two middle-aged women and a full bladder.
Nothing my camera can capture does the trail justice.
This snail showed up around the time we decided to abandon camp on Sunday.
An early morning rain shower turned our campsite into what I'm pretty sure would qualify as a bog. Heading back to town seemed like the right thing to do when even Moose seemed more content to hide in a tent than give this French culinary delight a shot.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Shia LaBeouf: may he forever be dubbed "monkey boy" by angry geeks and overgrown children.
I can try to defend it all I want but let's face the facts: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sucks. Pure and simple. Nonetheless, people may be raving about it for a while. They did the same thing for the Star Wars prequels and they too received decent reviews from the critics (perhaps fearing hate mail from overly defensive fanboys). Given enough time, Indy IV's going to ragged on even more than The Phantom Menace.
Labels: Indiana Jones
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
You toss me the DVD set, I'll toss you an embarrassing childhood anecdote
Hey, look at what I won last week. A ceramic kangaroo!
Ok, no, it wasn't the kangaroo. Last Tuesday I went over to the Portland Mercury's office in NW to pick up this shiny, new Indiana Jones DVD set. Their film editor landed two promotional copies and decided to set up a contest for the extra one. The challenge: to defend Temple of Doom in 100 words or less. Seven people participated, I snagged the prize and all I had to do was exploit an unpleasant childhood anecdote. Will I link to anything related to the contest here? Nope. Why? Said unpleasant childhood anecdote is both hard to believe, although I only slightly embellished it, and fairly embarrassing.
But enough about that. I'm 26 hours away from seeing this Crystal Skull thing. I've been fooled three times by George Lucas productions in the last decade and I'm not about to get my hopes up for this one, even if Steven Spielberg is involved. The trailers look waaaaaaaaaaaaay too CGI-heavy and the casting of Shia "Transformers" LaBeouf isn't encouraging.
Plus, the record for Indiana Jones movies without a Christianity-related "MacGuffin" isn't so hot. Oh, well. At least Kate Capshaw isn't in this one.
Also: I feel the need to report that the Mercury's office has a startling number of cat portraits hanging on the wall behind the receptionist's desk and what I'm pretty sure is a pirate shrine in the waiting area. I didn't get a good look at it but, in hindsight, I wish I had snapped a cell phone photo.
Labels: Indiana Jones
Monday, May 19, 2008
A trip to Wanker's Corner
Imagine a bar with driftwood tables and peanut shells on the floor- a bar where nicknacks cover every available surface, making it look like a Red Robin after a truck full of antiques crash-landed through a wall. A Double Big Gulp-sized, mutated neighborhood hangout with bras stapled to ceiling where chain-smoking ex-fratboys and truckers laugh their asses off when the DJ plays Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." The sort of place where you half-expect vampire strippers to jump out of the walls at any second ala From Dusk 'Till Dawn.
Would you ever want to set foot in such a joint like this? Ok, probably not but curiosity might get the better of you when you hear its name:
Wanker's Corner Saloon and Cafe- located in lovely Wilsonville, just a 15-minute jaunt down I-5 from downtown Portland.
I don't know if the term "wanker" meant something different way back in 1933 when it opened in its original location. According to Wikipedia, the story goes that the bar originally sat at an intersection dubbed Wanker's Corner in Clackamas County, named for a local resident's surname. Regardless of whether or not the whole thing is a decades' long gag, which I'm sure it is, the current owners encourage the theme. Have a look at Wanker's Corner's kangaroo mascot on the bar's website. I guess that's funny, in a Mad TV, t-shirt-at-a-truck stop-kinda way.
I'm a lilly-livered Portland liberal but I've set foot in plenty of places in this state where I shouldn't have: Ted Nugent concerts, monster truck rallies and, well, eastern Oregon. Despite being only a stone's throw from the metro area, I don't think I've been anywhere in Oregon where I've felt more out of place than at Wanker's Corner.
A colleague and I fled for the door after a round, only to find ourselves trapped by a small army of Axe Body Spray-types pouring out of a stretch Humvee. To put it one way, that damn thing was like a clown car for douchebags. They just kept coming. Once we were out of there, we spent another five minutes penned down in the parking lot because the Humvee had our car blocked.
Still, I'm glad to know Wanker's Corner is out there. The staff didn't cop an attitude, despite the fact that we clearly didn't belong there, and I'm not about to turn my nose up at free peanuts. It's exactly what a place like this should be and at least one step up from a Hooters. I'm sure the food is better and the beer menu is head and shoulders above what you'll find at one of those chain restaurants that serve "legendary" wings that, quite frankly, taste like sawdust.
Live long and prosper, Wanker's Corner. Y vaya con Dios.
And I thought I had too much free time on my hands....
This video of a would-be Indiana Jones being chased around the streets of San Francisco by a giant Lego boulder is pretty impressive. Five million Legos supposedly went into the construction of it. Five million! How much does something like that cost to build? Assuming that the average Lego sells for a nickel, $250,000. On the other hand, the guy in the video playing Sallah says it was more like a million. That would reduce the tab to a mere $50,000, not including the cost to fix that Previa's bumper.
Skepticism aside, if the filmmakers knocked off a Lego factory to film this I guess it makes the end result all the more awesome.
Labels: Indiana Jones
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Obama in Waterfront Park
In 2004 I was so disgusted by the Democratic party and America in general that I wrote in "Pepe the Dancing Mule" for president on my 2004 ballot. Four years later, I was standing in a 20-block long line with, according to one estimate, over 72,000 people to listen to the inevitable 2008 Dem candidate for president on a 90-degree day.
This should serve as yet another testament to the charisma and pull of Barack Obama; that a cynic like me was willing to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning to see him live. Would I have shown up if the Decemberists hadn't opened for him? Sure.
I rolled downtown around 10:30. With two hours to go until the gates opened, the line was already so long I was convinced I didn't stand a chance at getting in. For the next two hours, I tried to bury my face in a book to ward off volunteers, campaigners and t-shirt vendors snaking their way through the crowd, all of them eager to slap a sticker or their wares on anything that moved. I had the good fortune to find myself standing behind a model UN club from a local high school, who happily warded them away by repeating "sorry, we're too young to vote and we have no money." Despite this line, a PETA volunteer managed to get a few pamphlets with photos of tortured piglets into their hands, which they immediately passed off to people desperately trying to find the end of the line.
The Decemberists were rolling through "July, July" as I passed through security and somehow landed myself a spot 75 yards back from the stage. Given the size of this crowd, that wasn't half bad. If I had headed right instead of left at the gate, I would have been led to a spot towards the back. The crowd was mostly indifferent to the band's set and Colin Meloy did his best to get everyone to sing along to "Sixteen Military Wives." Crowd participation was limited to some hand waving during "The Perfect Crime."
They closed with "Sons and Daughters." I'm sad to say the crowd's reception was far more tepid than the one that actually brought a tear to my eye during a Decemberists' set last January at the Crystal Ballroom. During that show, a group of kids jumped on stage to sing "here all the bombs fade away" with the band in a moment reminiscent of those old "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" ads.
Did I mention how hot it was out there? It was damn hot. Real hot. It was so hot that a mother sitting in front of me built a psuedo-tent out of Obama signs to shield her kids from the sun. It was so hot that two large golden retrievers on a small boat in the Willamette jumped into the polluted river and later shook themselves off on their owner, who was wearing a bikini at the time, and the owner didn't seem to care (see above). It was so hot that an elderly man who came to the rally wearing an American flag as a cape had to turned it into a hood. It was so hot I now have a sunburn on my chest because I made the mistake of unbuttoning the top of my polo shirt and it hurts, dammit.
Obama went on stage as a song from Springsteen's The Rising album blasted. He spoke for around 45-minutes and covered his stances on the Iraq war, energy, college tuition and the economy. I'd like to say that seeing him live while surrounded by tens of thousands of people in what will go down as one of Oregon's most significant political moments melted my heart and I spent the rest of the afternoon volunteering at a campaign office but it didn't.
The man is a master orator and this was history being made right before my eyes but the cynic inside me tells me not to get my hopes up. Could anyone really be this good and pure at this level in the American political sphere? Let's hope so. For what it's worth, I won't be writing in the names of any fictional donkeys on my ballot come November.
After the rally, I walked with part of the crowd through Waterfront Park on my way to Stumptown Coffee. Two metalhead-types on mini-bikes buzzed past us on the lawn. "Look at these Obama people," one spat. "They're actin' like they've just seen Jesus." Maybe not Jesus but, with any luck, someone equally capable of pulling off a few miracles. This country could use a few of them.
For infinitely better photos of the today's rally, here's a link to a Flickr gallery The Oregonian put together.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Somehow I don't think they'll play "Shankill Butchers"
As a now officially registered Democrat and a Decemberists fans, I guess have to attend this tomorrow.
Spotted at the 99W Newberg Drive-In where Iron Man was showing last night: two guys heating up a couple of steaks on the engine block of an '70s-era Ford pick-up. I'm pretty sure they're the same ones that shouted "HELL YEAH!" when Tony Stark blew up half an Afghanistan mountain range with a Jericho missile.
Labels: the sticks
The problem with baseball
Several years ago, I remember listing to a talk radio show when the hosts were debating ways to improve baseball, a sport that only rivals golf in terms of tedium. I called in and rolled out a few recommendations, among them cutting the game from nine innings to seven and new rules allowing foul ball strikeouts and runners to tackle basemen, in addition to the implementation of something similar to a goal post in the outfield. If a batter can hit a ball through the posts? Automatic grand slam.
The hosts didn't think much of my suggestions but, after spending over three hours in PGE Park on Thursday night, I stand by them. The Beavers were up against the oddly-named Las Vegas 51s. After watching over a dozen foul balls fly up onto the park's rafters and half innings that dragged on forever, I was ready to leave by the seventh inning stretch but I was there with other people. Plus, the team's Beaver mascot was working his heart to keep everyone awake. I couldn't let Lucky down by leaving early.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that half of the attendees were out of there by the bottom of the eighth. After years of giving this national pastime numerous chances, I confess that I just don't get it. I guess it's a game best enjoyed as if it were a BBQ - get drunk, eat your weight in greasy food and get distracted to the point where you forget where you are until the crowd starts cheering when something interesting actually happens.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Welcome to Hybrid Town
The amount a gallon of gas is currently going for at the Chevron in my neighborhood: $3.89.
The number of Prisuses I counted tonight while driving from PSU to Multnomah Village: 15.
The number of Priuses I wish I could have been driving at the time: at least 1.
Labels: fossil fuels
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
A big bowl of beer
Last month, a few friends and I decided not to attend a microbrew festival at the Oregon Garden after running into a twenty minute wait at the entrance. Inspired by this, we instead decided to stage an impromptu
Much like a proper wine tasting, we took notes and tried to gross each other out with vivid descriptions of the lesser brews. Amazingly enough, the Budweiser wasn't the worst thing we picked up. That honor would go to a strange peach beer from Holland, which I'm pretty sure I described as tasting like "the diarrhea-covered ass crack of a goat the night after it raided a farmers market." If the brewers of that particular beer come across this, I'm perfectly willing to allow them to use this short review in their marketing.
By the end of the night, we had a large bowl full of leftovers in the center of the table. Why leftovers? Well, you're not technically supposed to swallow the stuff during a tasting, not that didn't stop us in most cases, but some of the selections were nah-ass-tay. Also: I had to drive back to Portland that night and was trying to be at least somewhat responsible.
After all the bottles were empty, two of us decided to give the mix in the bowl a shot. Surprisingly, it was better than the peach brew. I gave that a one. The bowl mix? A three. Unsurprisingly, a good amount of what was in that bowl wound up on the table.
No rock n' roll fun
Mark Lindsay's Rock & Roll Cafe closed down on Monday. I drove past the place earlier tonight. A middle-aged couple was peeking in through the windows. Meanwhile, someone over at the Hollywood Burger Bar across the street was standing in its doorway, enjoying possibly a celebratory smoke after having watched its chief competitor crumble. While the museum/restaurant/radio station was a cool idea on the conceptual level, numerous problems ranging from bickering among the owners to poor food and service to a downturn in the economy quickly sunk the cafe. In hindsight, I feel pretty bad about being an early naysayer when it first opened last August. A lot of love was poured into the place and it's a shame all involved couldn't get the project to work.
Here's hoping the best thing to come out of the cafe, Lindsay's Saturday night radio show on K-HiTS, will carry on.
In other sad local restaurant news, Peanut Butter and Ellies, a neat family cafe near my parent's house, has closed down as well.
A walk down archive lane
Another Portland Blog began as a weird psuedo-blog in January of 2003. When I first started this thing, I only updated the site once a week and didn't even know what Blogger was. Many of those old "articles" are weird and embarrassing, or at least more weird and embarrassing than what I'm cranking out over five years later. That rejected McSweeney's submission from March of '03 is probably the worst of the lot.
You'll have to track that one down on your own, if you're curious. It's somewhere in the archives. I don't think some of the other ones are all that bad. In the early days of the Iraq War, Portland activists hosted a protest practically every other Saturday and stormed the streets with costumes and paper machete puppets. In response, I went into full bore citizen journalist mode and dived in with a notebook, a digital camera and a pocket full of snark.
The night a group of demonstrators took over the Burnside Bridge, I stood on the sidelines with a group of onlookers as PPD dragged them away one by one. There wasn't much we could do but watch. Later that night, I returned to my car to find a homemade "bombs!" sign tucked under a windshield wiper. Two friends, then supporters of the war effort, had spent the evening taunting the crowd with the sign before running into Rasheed Wallace at Hung Far Low's old location in Chinatown.
Another, more bizarre article covered a night when a group of us decided to create a new version of golf with fireworks replacing the balls. In hindsight, this probably wasn't the smartest of ideas. To the best of my knowledge, none of us have attempted a second game. There's also this epithet for the late, great Henry Ford's Restaurant and Lounge, possibly the last Portland establishment we'll all ever see with a bubble fountain out front.
And I somehow managed to write two articles about my old Toyota van getting stolen by someone who used it in a low-level crime spree. Ahh, memories.
When I switched domain names over to anotherportlandblog.com a few months ago, all of these articles turned into broken links. I'm slowly going back through the archives to fix them. It's a tedious process and I've got about thirty or more of them to get through. Given the hassle, I figured I could at least squeeze a blog post or two out of the whole thing.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This billboard at the corner of SW Terwilliger and Boones Ferry Rd was taken down over the weekend. While it's hard to make out from this tiny and equally craptacular cell phone photo, it's an advertisement for a bike box that will eventually go in at the intersection. A few weeks ago, someone wrote "prom?" across the bottom with spray paint.
I guess that's one way to invite someone to a dance. Or maybe this was meant as some sort of a political statement. Either way, I wonder if the artist responsible landed themselves a date. Barring that, some respect from some his/her Portland Indy Media cronies.
Jammin' 95.5, RIP
Here's a pretty solid obit for Jammin' 95.5, Portland's only hip-hop station. After years of, well, sucking horribly, the owners pulled the plug and ditched the rap theme for an all-sports format this morning. The station's slow decline and overdue demise are either a testament to how bad the genre has become or how damn lily white this city is.
Rap, hip-hop, whatever you want to call it, it all died with Tupac. So says me. Not that I'm an authority but, still, how many songs does the world need about being insanely rich while driving to clubs, being insanely rich while lounging around VIP rooms in clubs and being insanely rich while leaving clubs to go to other clubs?
Neck ties, another one of my arch nemeses
Neck ties, how I hate them. Why is it, in the year 2008, that grown men are still expected to wrap ornate nooses around their necks for things like weddings, job interviews, graduation photos and Wall Street-themed strip teases?
I have to spend part of tomorrow with one of these god awful things around my neck. Worse yet, it's for the least enjoyable of the occasions mentioned above. Once again, this page has turned what could have been a three-hour nightmare into a feeble ten minute hassle. It has saved me numerous headaches over the years. Not only do I hate wearing ties, I'm absolutely terrible at tying them. Despite the thousands of websites out there devoted to the subject, it's the only one that works for me. For reasons I can't explain, it just does.
I don't know who that bespectacled guy is but he's done more for me than my degree has, to date.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Poor Professor Jones
This could be the best thing McSweeney's has ever published, in my honest opinion.
Labels: Indiana Jones
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Well, here it is. My doughnut of shame.
Most people wouldn't attempt to eat a very large doughnut in under 80 seconds after consuming several enchiladas, a considerable amount of refried beans, a basket of nachos, a few margaritas and another doughnut covered in M & Ms. But, as we all know, I'm not most people. Most people possess things like common sense and a rationale desire to avoid making themselves puke on random surfaces like, say, hipsters.
I took the "Tex-ass Challenge" at Voodoo Doughnut on Cinco de Mayo and failed more spectacularly than anyone else who has ever undertaken it, I'm sure. The challenge requires a participant to consume a glazed doughnut the size of five glazed doughnuts in under 80 seconds. Those who succeed probably come down with "the dia-beet-us," as Wilford Brimley would put it but, on the other hand, they don't have to shell out four bucks for the doughnut. 47 hours later, I still have yet to finish the damn thing. The half I couldn't manage to stuff down my throat is still siting in a paper bag in my refrigerator.
To get a better idea of how big these things are, click here.
I still say I deserve some sort of prize for even attempting such a Herculean task, given the contents of my stomach at the time. While I managed to avoid regurgitating a full Mexican meal and lots of deep fried dough all over the person working behind the counter that night, I woke up the next morning feeling like I was 20-months pregnant with hippo quintuplets.
So now the bar is set. I'm scratching "graduate from medical school" off my bucket list. One evening, it could be tomorrow, it could be three decades from now, I will return to Voodoo Doughnut and successfully consume one of those very large glazed baked goods in under 80-seconds. It may take years of training and years off my life. I may have to gain 200 pounds or lose 70 (the winners of eating contestants always seem to weigh, like, 90 pounds) but this is something I've got to do for reasons I can't quite explain.
Oh. Right. Stupidity. That's it, good old fashioned American stupidity. I think I should make this my new "five year plan."
Is it wrong of me to think "Wow, Brimley's only 73?" after reading his Wikipedia page? It seems like he's been over 70 since whenever Cocoon came out.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The world's worst movie audience
Last night I tried to watch Iron Man while surrounded by three of suburban Portland's most annoying residents. To my right, a 350-pound man who reeked of popcorn and body order. To my rear, a bored housewife who would not stop kicking my seat. And in front of me, a teenager who kept rocking back and forth like a meth head on a swing set.
The housewife annoyed me most of all so after every kick I threw my seat back in a doomed-to-fail attempt to, well, bruise her shins. My attempts at staging a strong defense only encouraged her. 30-minutes in, I gave up. I told my colleagues I'd see them after the movie and moved down a few rows....
...to a seat near a baby that wouldn't shut up and a 4-year old that made a game of dropping his jacket on the floor. He refused to be amused by even the movie's action sequences. When he wasn't screaming at his father to read the subtitled dialog of the film's terrorists or shaking a box of candy like a maraca, he was throwing around his clothing. After dropping the jacket, he would stand there and stare at it for a few minutes before picking it up and returning to his seat. Five minutes later, the jacket was back on the floor. Meanwhile, the father remained completely indifferent to his kid's downright creepy behavior.
I paid 11 dollars for this experience.
If I was ever given the option of scoring my own Iron Man suit or acquiring this man's amazing skills of obliviousness, I think I'd have to go with the later.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Random Cell Phone Photo # 34
The autographed photo of Al Roker hanging on one of the walls at Hannah Bea's, the first place I ever ate grits, which are hard to come by in this part of the world.
Labels: cell phone photos