April 2011

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Another Portland Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2009


A short list of things not invited back to 2010

  • Abrupt snowstorms that bring the entire city to its knees in twenty minutes flat

  • Double-digit unemployment numbers

  • City Hall sex scandals

  • Jiffy Lube

  • Squeakquels

  • Whatever gypsy curse that's taking down the Blazers one by one

  • Alpha Broadcasting

  • Outsourcing

  • Merritt Paulson

  • Shia LaBeouf

  • $4+ pints

  • Beaverton

  • I thought 2008 was rough but, good glaven, it had nothing up on 2009. It dished out plenty of setbacks and headaches for myself and many of my colleagues. Here's hoping that 2009's successor will be much better behaved. We could all use some time to recover from these past 12 months.


    Tuesday's snow storm, as told through iPhone photos

    I think these cover the bases.


    Tuesday, December 22, 2009


    Drama at the Festival of Lights

    I went to the Festival of Lights at the Grotto the other night with my family. This semi-annual tradition goes back to at least the early '90s. The festival seems perpetually stuck in time. Nothing ever changes and everything's always in the same spot. There's the light displays recounting Mary and Joseph's trip to Bethlehem, the nativity scene, the choirs in the church and the bored llama in the petting zoo. These visits to the Grotto may as well be interchangeable. We walk up to the Grotto, listen to the choirs in the church, feed the baby goats and make a quick stop at the gift shop.

    This year though, as we were heading back to the car, we saw a gentleman being led off the property in handcuffs by PPD. He was fairly-well dressed and clean cut. He looked like a young father. As we headed down to Gustav's for dinner, we theorized about his crime. My guess: he was involved in a drunken punch-up in the petting zoo. Those goats are the very definition of "tripping hazard" and perhaps a bumped elbow led to fisticuffs. Or maybe he got caught pilfering holy water.


    Monday, December 21, 2009


    Well, at least she's got potential

    This clip of my sister's cat singing "Jingle Bells" may not have the production values of similar internet videos but I think the little fur ball has some impressive singing chops. This was shot with a Blackberry camera, which isn't the best at capturing cats. Her glowing eyes add a weird element to the video. I wonder how many views this one will get on YouTube...


    Tuesday, December 15, 2009


    Would you buy a used car from this snowman?

    I'm sure this is the same snowman that local dairy Alpenrose has used on their eggnog cartons since at least the mid-'50s. Somehow I never noticed it before. There's something about the design that seems sort of "off."

    The snowman's expression seems to say "Yeah, pal, I know you can't drink this stuff without tossing in at least one shot of Seagram's 7. Better hit the liquor store on the way home." His knowing wink comes across as snarky and more than a little patronizing. I get the feeling that this Frosty is a total teetotaler.

    Here's hoping they never change the design.


    Monday, December 14, 2009


    A Christmas Carol at PCS

    Is there a tale that has been staged, filmed, parodied and otherwise adapted as many times as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Even the Muppets have their own full-length version starring Michael Caine. Personally speaking, my favorite is Bill Murray's Scrooged, which easily holds the title for Best Ghost of Christmas Future.

    Portland Center Stage's production of A Christmas Carol has become an annual tradition at the Gerding Theater. It's a far more traditional take on the tale than Murray's riff but there are a few deviations that keep things interesting.

    Scrooge's back story gets a bit more attention than in other adaptations and the Ghost of Christmas Past is diced into three younger incarnations of his former self. The tormented Jacob Marley is guided by a series of chains that reach up into the rafters over the stage and drag him back to the underworld after he delivers his cautionary prophesy in Scrooge's bed chamber. Also: the Ghost Christmas Present has a really neat magic wand.

    The production makes excellent use of the theater's stage with a series of rotating sets, special effects and several cast members that appear in multiple roles, which must make costume changes backstage a challenge. Ebbe Roe Smith's Scrooge is a bit over the top at moments but at no point does he disappear into easy caricature.

    Overall, it's a tradition that deserves to become as long-running as the Oregon Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker.


    Thursday, December 10, 2009


    A Christmas tree for every man, woman and child

    Maybe this is something I've missed but it seems like Christmas tree lots are everywhere this year in Portland. Big ones and small ones, some tucked into apartment parking lots and every nook and cranny. Typically, they're operated by Boy Scout troops or long-timers but while driving down Hawthrone the other night I spotted a guy selling trees on his front lawn. That's a first.

    Maybe it's the pitiful local economy that's forcing locals to turn their yards into tree lots or could this year's surplus be to blame?

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009


    How cold has it been around here this week?

    Well, last night the temperature dropped to an unusually frigid 14 degrees in Portland and Multnomah Falls is frozen over. In other local waterfall-related news, people are scaling Mist Falls with ice axes.

    Much less exciting: a few puddles in my neighborhood have frozen over and my front steps make a crunching noise when I climb them. Zzzzz. To the Gorge!



    The twilight days of blogging?

    Matt Davis raised some interesting points about blogs in a post last week. In light of the ever increasing popularity of Facebook and Twitter, is blogging on the verge of dying out and going the way of zines?

    This is something that's been happening for at least the last six months. News and entertainment blogs aren't going anywhere anytime soon but for personal bloggers, sure, I can see that. It's much easier (and quicker) to pound out a 140-character tweet about how you spent your weekend instead of taking the time to write out a lengthy blog post and upload photos to a server or Flickr. Garnering comments from friends and readers is also a simpler task on Facebook and Twitter. Both of those sites are much more facilitative of a community experience.

    So if you're not a professional blogger devoted to examining the nuances of the public option or the minute-by-minute details of Tiger Woods' disastrous holiday season, why bother? It's a question I keep asking myself as I watch friends and colleagues replace their blogs with Twitter accounts. For one thing, blogging remains semi-anonymous and it's more open to the public at large. It doesn't require readers to sign up and participate themselves. Twitter is a conversation, whereas blogging is more like a newspaper column. A post like this one wouldn't fit into the confines of Twitter and it would be completely out of place on Facebook.

    Another Portland Blog has always been more of a personal blog than anything else. Someday I may pull the plug but, looking back, I was among the first Portlanders to create a blogger.com account and start posting about random stuff around town. I've been at this for over six years now (!!!). I'd be happy to be among those who hang around long enough to turn out the lights.

    Tuesday, December 08, 2009



    I spent Thanksgiving with a pack of soggy reindeer. This was my second holiday at the Timberview Farm east of Springfield, which is owned by my sister's boyfriend's parents. It was raining when we left Portland around 11 and it was still raining when we got back to town.

    I was hoping to take several cheery photos of the farm's herd like I did last year. Here's the thing though: reindeer aren't big on rain. Rather than trotting around merrily, they were all huddled in their pen, gloomily gazing out at the storm. Can reindeer sigh? Maybe, but all I heard was the occasional grunt.

    I was thinking to myself a few minutes ago, "What could make these photos even less Christmas-y?" The answer was obvious: use Photoshop to convert them to black and white. Ta-da!

    Timberview's reindeer are show animals and they spend the month of December making appearances at shopping centers and other locations throughout the state. They'll be at Beaverton Town Square this Sunday, December 13th, from 10 - 5. Two of the more common questions their owners are asked at these events:

    Q: Do reindeer really exist?

    Many people remain convinced that these guys are actually caribou and that reindeer are fictional. I'm still confused, myself. As Wikipedia would have it, "caribou" is a term that only applies to wild reindeer found in North America.

    Q: What do they eat?

    The answer...


    Tuesday, December 01, 2009


    Back next week

    My goal is to keep Another Portland Blog updated with at least one post a week as I work through my current, uhhh, transition, for lack of a better word. Unfortunately, this week has been hectic as all get out. So far "fun-employment" has been anything but. I'll be back with a proper post on Monday. Thanks for checking in.

    What has been taking up all of my time? Not YouTube videos of surprised kittens. No, I swear.




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