Friday, July 25, 2008

Portland, Sweet Portland

This is how every day began and ended. Bill and Bubbles peeing outside.

We touched down on Day One in the area I believe is called the Park Blocks. This is the Portland Art Museum. We would later return to this area for BrewFest

This is the park directly across from the museum. Trees everywhere in this city! It was like one big outdoor oxygen bar!

It's a fact, Honest Abe loves Portland.

The MAX Light Rail! Public fucking transportation that works! A clean, inexpensive alternative to driving in that horrible Portland traffic! Wait, there was none of that anyway? Coincidence?

It was a city of many neighborhoods, each with a slightly different feel. Sometimes I felt Boston, sometimes Seattle, sometimes Napa. Oddly enough, never once felt LA.

The Portland Saturday Market. This was pretty cool, but also a disappointment. I was picturing a much more relaxed atmosphere but it was congested and kind of loud. I think it could be cool if I had nothing else to do that day, but as it were, we only had time to stroll it for 45 minutes or so.

Because donuts were a callin'! Voo Doo Donuts! I am seen here eating "The Butterfingered," with its Butterfinger shavings on top. We would return to Voo Doo on my last night in P-Town to take the Tex-ass challenge. The Tex-Ass is a donut the size of, you guessed it, Texas and/or a very large heiney(sp?). If you can finish it in 80 seconds or less, the donut comprised of six donuts' worth of dough is free! Upon serving us the Tex-Ass, the cashier also set down two cups of water in front of us and told us if we puked, we had to do it outside. Hey, this is not 'Nam, there are rules. Bill and I took one bite and knew we didn't have a chance. It was the most dense pastry I have ever encountered. Then the lady started talkin' shit. I quit on the Tex-Ass and ordered the donut I really wanted. She made me show her the money first. Do I look like a donut deadbeat to you?

BrewFest!!! What could be better than three buddies beer sampling?

Powell's City of Books. A city of books indeed. The place was yuge and really cool. I purchased this little beauty there, used, for $9.95 out the door. No sales tax!! Bill bought me "The Alchemist" and insisted I read it. I could have spent at least six hours in there. Legend has it that a Powell's devotee has his cremated remains entombed in that column there.

This is in The Pearl District, the new, upscale-ish area of P-Town. I loved all the areas for who they were, but I think The Pearl was my favorite. We went to a place called Henry's Tavern here a few times for beers and appetizers. Nice place, comparable to the Yard House, I would say. Great appetizers for 2 bucks during Happy Hour!!

What's any vacation without a little karaoke? This is my last song of the night, "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon. I was pretty hammered at this point. Apparently, I was a good second or two behind throughout the whole song, except the chorus. But I left it all out there on the floor, damn it. I am told I spent the entire ride home arguing that I wasn't the least bit drunk. Fate would use the next day as its own personal bitchslap against me.

What's a guy to do with a vicious hangover in Portland? Wine tasting!

The view from atop the Portland City Grill.

On my last day, Bill had class in the morning so I touched down and hit the streets for some nice alone time with the city. This is yet another one of P-town's many parks.

Stumptown Coffee. Nickel Creek named a song after this coffee so, of course, my interest was piqued. It did not disappoint. The Stumptown House Blend is only the second coffee in my life that I have thoroughly enjoyed Black. I brought some back with me.

The Central Public Library, another east coast-y moment for me, except for the incredible weather.

Lots of beautiful old churches there.

The Edgefield. Not sure how to describe it because it's got so much there. Restaurants, bars, reception halls, etc. This is on the picturesque pitch-and-putt golf course they have, The Pub Course. Good times, and I don't even know how to golf. We were missin' ol' Conrad right about here.
So that's the picture tour of my pilgrimage. I took so many pictures that my memory card was overloaded and I had to edit some out. I wish I would have taken more pictures of the area around 23rd Ave., the home of the minor league Beavers--PGE Park, the Eastside and The Doug Fir, a really cool restaurant/lounge/venue where we saw a show (that sucked) on Monday night. It was a truly great trip. Bill and Sarah were hospitable, thoughtful, fantastic hosts (best eggs benedict I've ever had) and Bubbles and I shared a few laughs too. I think I was able to check off almost everything I wanted to see and do. Almost. I missed out on the brewpub movies, the First Thursday Art Walk. I'd love to go back in the winter to get a sense of The Perpetual Grey that from what I can tell is the only knock on this fine city, if you can even consider it a negative (I love grey).
So the big question is, of course, now having been there am I still as gung-ho about living there. Well, I'm in a lease until at least May of 2009. And Nicole is still far from excited about the prospect of moving out of LA yet still no closer to her family. Technically, it is 100 miles closer, but I digress. Portland turned out to be pretty much exactly what I had expected and hoped for. I couldn't quite get a strong sense of the people--there was a weirdness I had not anticipated--but it's hard to do that in three days anyway. I think for now the short answer is that definitely could live in Portland. If I actually will remains to be seen.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Who, me?

(this image brought to you by Conradical--he has the technology)

In case you missed it or did NOT set your Tivo, I am apparently now a major television star. Huge. That's me in HD, folks. Yeah, my phone should be ringing any minute now with an invite to some swanky party in the hills or on "The Hills."

Hmmm....Oddly, still quiet. I'll give it another five minutes...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Set Your Tivos!

Whoooooooo are you?

Look for my special ladyfriend and I in the front row on the left side of the stage (Stage Right).

Thank you, Thank you...

Really, I'm just honored to be nominated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Countdown to P-Town

Three Days. Tres dias.

In the words of John McCain (including creepy old man voice), "My friends..." my time has come. This Friday night, I make my pilgrimmage to Portland. I must contain my excitement as if it were locked inside of a steel chest because if I allow even a sliver of light to shine upon it, I fear I will not sleep until I am amongst the Oregonians. I only hope three full days is enough time to do everything I have tabbed in my guidebooks, travel books, and magazines. I know one thing for sure, I will be eating and drinking like a king. I'm not going to say anything else for now...I just can't. Instead, I will take a deep breath, clear my camera's memory card, and channel all this angst into a massive, detailed, heartfelt post-trip entry WITH photos.

Lot of action these days, even besides my pilgrimmage. I mean there's the obvious, the event this weekend that could only be overshadowed by an out-of-town trip and still might not be fully eclipsed. Yeah, I'm talking about Batman. The fucking DARK KNIGHT. I am perhaps more pumped for this movie than I am any other I can recall. I will be at the 10:10 show Friday morning, virtual seatbelt securely fastened, mind as aptly prepared to be blown. I considered waiting to see it in Ptown, but then I thought, Do I really want to get on a plane and risk my dying before seeing "The Dark Knight?" I think not. Although, as Bill was correct to point out, what kind of heaven would it be if they weren't showing "The Dark Knight?" No heaven at all, I wouldn't think, but you never might be too dark. I don't think I can risk it. Okay, that's enough talk about the possibility of a plane crash. I still get nervous every time I fly and like Billy Crystal says in "Forget Paris," "Never say famous last words because they could be."

Last night, Nicole suprised me with tickets to a Q&A with Will Ferrell. It was really entertaining and inspiring, I thought. In person, he seemed exactly like how I had imagined him, grounded and exceptionally nice. He told a story of how he used to have a day job pushing papers and was admittedly bad at it. He said he was pretty sure they only kept him around because he made everybody laugh. I have thought the same thing myself a couple of times. Not that I'm terribly bad at my job; I'm above adequate. But I'm pretty sure if I didn't get along so well with my coworkers and make them laugh as often, I might have been given my walking papers by now. It was the feeling that you are doing the wrong thing for a living that I related to. That's one of the unique things I can say I appreciate about this city, the proximity to celebrities. Now hold on, let me explain. Seeing actors, directors, whatever on TV, movies, CDs, having that one-way interaction with them and their work can make their profession seem like it's really on a pedestal, that it's something to be awed but as far as it being something attainable, it's in an alternate universe. However, if you see your professional heroes not on a billboard or an IMAX screen, but in your local grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, shopping like any average schmuck, it can make the dream of "making it" seem much more believable. Obviously, the big variable is talent, but why sweat that since it's not something you can really change. I'm not saying that because two people shop at the same Ralph's that their respective careers are interchangeable. Of course, that's ridiculous. But it does give the sense that people you idolize are still only people and that they are probably not all that dissimilar from you. If they can do it, maybe you can to. I'm just saying it makes me want to try harder.

Just had my first black & white cookie. A coworker just got back from NY and brought some for us. I'm not sure how I managed to miss them in my time there, but I gotta say, I don't feel like I missed out on much. The black side tastes like a diluted brownie and the whole thing sticks to the roof of your mouth like the ham sandwiches my grandma used to make me. I'll stick to canolis.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Ironic that on this particular selection should I for the first time encounter a disabled embed on You Tube. And since all the other homemade videos on youtube were laced with 9/11 visuals, I will have to go old school and just provide the link.

This song, for me, will always be synonymous with the LBFD Fireworks Show at Vets' Stadium. After hearing it every year with the fam, it's not the 4th of July to me anymore without Lee Greenwood.

God Bless The USA!