Portland, meet Olde...part 2 [Guest Blog]

A while back, I wrote a blog giving an in depth look into the
deep dimensions of Olde. Now, thanks to Ian, our readers are getting another look at the mystic himself.


Not much is known about the renowned wizard by the name of Olde. Here is what is known:

Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry was, until recently, an actual school dedicated to teaching magic to adolescents with magical abilities. However, once Olde took a tour of the grounds, he decided the school catered to too many gypsy teachings and Olde destroyed the school, and all of its students, with a simple flick the wrist. To make sure no witch or wizard would question his power, Olde killed Dumbledore with a karate chop from his mind. The Harry Potter series is the government’s elaborate cover-up to conceal the truth about the non-existence of wizards in today’s world.

When Olde was a child he decided to skip puberty and gave himself the ability to grow a beard. As a true testament to his power, Olde decided to wait to grow facial hair until he was 18.

Olde invented a cure for both cancer and AIDS. When he was 12. He only uses the cure for people he views as “interesting” or “helpful to mankind.” This explains Magic Johnson, Tom Green, and “Hacksaw” Jim Dugan

The Twin Towers did not fall because of terrorist actions. The Towers actually fell because Olde felt they were blocking the view of the ocean from his enormous, invisible mega-castle located on top of the control tower of JFK Airport.

On Olde’s voter registration card he marks "Alchemist" as the political party he associates with.


Exploding Lather...On Sale Now

So it begins; Olde and I have jumped head first into the soap business. No turning back now. Last week, just in time for the holidays, Olde and I, despite the ribbing and teasing from friends (prompting us to unofficially title our venture the "Really...We're Not Gay Soap Company"), made our first batch of soap. It won't be long, now, until we take over the industry and secure our positions as soap moguls.

Our first batch was a glycerin soap, fully concocted with lavender bits and vanilla scenting. The process went off without a hitch (unless you consider our lack of inspection of the unsealed molds, or the failed attempt to layer our bars with the lavender on top). We started by separating the lavender leaves from the stems and weighing the glycerin with our coke scale. Next, we melted the glycerin down to liquid form, at which point we added our essential oils, scents, and dye. When it was all mixed and stirred in, we poured it into our molds (which were, as mentioned above, unsealed and leaked, thus leading to a thinner bar than anticipated) and let it cool/harden.

Half an hour later, to speed the hardening process, we placed the tray of soap into the freezer for an additional 30 minutes. It was now time to remove the soap from the mold. Unfortunately, we didn't plan ahead for an easy removing process (we could have placed wax paper underneath, for example), so it became a difficult task to get our soap out. Actually, because it took so long to get it out, and as we were in a rush, I gave up and took a shower while Olde chiseled away at it. By the time I was out of the shower (sans exploding lavender lather), Olde had the soap out of the tray, cut up, and separated for our respective distributions.

Labeled with an official seal, and professionally wrapped, our soap was soon ready to hit the market. With a keen sense of marketing and promotion, we have decided to make our initial product available at no charge. Actually, we are unsure of the quality of our first batch, thus did not want to charge people for getting rashes and having allergic reactions. As a cautionary note, you may want to limit the use of our soap to just hand washing. However, our next batch will be made to perfection and our users will be able to enjoy its exploding lather body-wide.

To place your orders, you can leave us a comment or email us at: stumptownsuds@gmail.com


Photographic Nuggletts

-As many of our friends know, this year's Santacon has already come and gone. We're still reeling in holiday cheer (aka Drunkenness), frantically trying to piece together our respective notes scribbled on the outside of crushed beer cans, elf panties, and various other unmentionables. For a taste of what's to come in the weeks ahead, please visit the link below, for what is surely the gayest (holiday-cheeriest?) display you're ever likely to see from Jeff and I.

-My dad, Kes and I were made famous the other day on East PDX News' website. The pictures were taken from our visit to the Portland Streetcar open house last month. I can't believe how knowledgeable I look...I was actually just wiping a booger on the map of Stumptown for lack of a better disposal method.

-Here's a nice picture of Jeff and I celebrating the anniversary of the end of Prohibition with some flapper floozies. Don't worry Kes, hands were kept firmly in pockets.

-Here are a few pictures from a recent camping trip on the coast of Oregono to celebrate our buddy Bobby's birthday (I think that's why we were there...it was a few months back). Please note Ian's pseudo-tuxedo shirt, the infamous boombox, and the proudly displayed bag of exotic nibblets.


Portland is hecka bloggy

Don't let our seemingly small viewership fool you. Yes, few people vote in our polls (it's on your right...take some time to make your voice heard), and even fewer leave comments (thanks go out to the faithfuls that do). However, without the efforts of Olde and myself, the Portland blog scene would be like Gladys Knight without the Pips (if only that were true).

Actually, as it turns out, Olde and I are quite the small fish in Portland's big pond of bloggers (hard to believe, huh?). I say big pond because, as pointed out in a recent Oregonian article, Portland is the "bloggiest" city in the States after the number-one-ranked Austin, TX. The numbers state that 1 out of 7 Portland residents has "read or added to a blog in the last 30 days." That's a lot.

Knowing that blogs are so popular in Portland only fuels our dogged determination to reach the masses. We are against some stiff competition, though. In fact, "Tales from the Stump" is just one of 370 Portland blogs registered on the Oregon Blogs website. And that number hardly represents the sheer size of Portland's blogger community! Rather than competing, though, Olde and I, in the true spirit of Portland community mindedness, would simply like to add to the blog culture and carve out our own niche.

How many of them talk about drinking 40s on the Steel Bridge, anyway?


Honky Indian Cuisine and King Cool Nutz

As much as I dread the first week of December, when I inch closer and closer to the ripe age of 30, I can't deny that I was treated to a very nice birthday this last Thursday, the 6th. My folks came down from Appalachia (um, Amboy), WA, and spent the early evening with me in the Stump. We took the MAX (dubbed the "chatter train" by Mike, referring to the bilingual voice instructing riders which doors to exit from, etc.) to Oldtown/Chinatown, where we spent some time at the Chinese Tea Garden. Squeezed into just one city block, the garden has a lake surrounded by various trees (amazingly, some were growing pumpkins on them), traditional Chinese architecture, and over 500 species of plants. The garden's peaceful charm is a nice refuge from the downtown bustle that surrounds its walls.

Before heading back to the east side of the river, Pork, Mike and I got some tasty niblets at Voodoo Doughnuts, where the "magic is in the hole." Mike got an old fashioned chocolate, while Pork and I split a maple bar layered with bacon strips. Mmmm...

For dinner, the three of us met Old and Kesia at Vindalho, a restaurant serving modern interpretations of classic Indian fare. While the restaurant was very nice, and the food tasty, one couldn't help from noticing that not one person of Indian descent was working. Not that it changed the quality of the food, but it did prompt Mike to openly refer to everyone in the restaurant as "honkies." This extended to the clientele, as well, all of whom appeared a bit, shall we say, white-bred. As I mentioned, though, the food was great.

After dinner, Pork and Mike made their trek back to Yonder Mountain, while Old and I hopped on a bus and went downtown. We stopped first at the Cheerful Tortoise, where, with the aid of a $10 gift certificate and $1 drinks, we stuffed our bellies again before going to Berbati's for a second night of free music (see post below). Before leaving, though, Old and I watched the Blazers take out the Miami Heat.

On the bill at Berbati's were the Blue Scholars, one of Seattle's more gifted and well-known hip hop groups. The group, consisting of Emcee Geologic and Sabzi (the DJ), has been representing the Northwest hip hop scene for five years now. The duo graced the stage of Berbati's, performing songs that covered themes of Filipino pride, the war in Iraq, and the Northwest hip hop scene. In contrast to other rap shows that Old and I have been to, where usually no more than six people show up, the Blue Scholars drew a large crowd that packed most of the dance floor. The fact that Berbati's charged no cover probably had something to do with the large crowd. However, the group created a vibe and definitely attracted some of their following, as evidenced by break dancers practicing their moves and spectators singing along with Geologic. As the show ended, the two were beckoned back to the stage by fans chanting "encore." To accomodate, the duo peformed a couple extra songs, displaying more of their strong lyrics, good stage presence, and nice command of the turn tables by Sabzi.
As good as the performance was, the night was probably highlighted by a cameo from Cool Nutz. Yes, the godfather of Portland hip hop made an appearance, albeit very low key. He did not perform, rather he chilled in the back collecting dabs from passersby that recognized him, while also handing out flyers for his new CD, King Cool Nutz. His appearance was both impressive and disappointing. I was impressed that he would show up at an underground show sans entourage and, although well known and in the game for more than a decade, promote for himself. I was disappointed that, despite his longevity and relative notoriety, he still has to promote in such a fashion. Cool Nutz still gets love, though, and Old and I made sure to say what's up and let him know we support him.
At the end of the day, my anxiety of growing old subsided with the company of loved ones, a good meal, a Blazers win, and, finally, a good hip hop show in Portland. Much love to Pork, Mike, Old, Kes, and Cool Nutz...you made my day.


Portland Repeals Prohibition

Okay, so maybe not...but they did celebrate the 75th anniversary of Prohibition's death throes, with an all-locals music/entertainment ear/eye-feast at Berbati's (is it just me, or has this club been just killing shit this year?) last night. Thank you, Portland, for yet another free show (make sure to check out tonight's free sets from the Blue Scholars, Sleep, and some cats from Sandpeople, also at Berbati's @9:30pm)...you make it possible to be both poor and entertained. A great crowd, filled with fedora-sporting gents, boa-wearing flapper girls, and believe or not, Beck (who I overheard whispering in Allen Ginsberg's ear, "Yo tengo chicle en mi cabeza."). I also managed to pull in a ton of free swag...hell...yes.

The amazing line-up:

-Things started off with my good friend, alcohol. Whiskey and ginger ale happened to be the night's special (and our frequent choice until we ran low on funds and switched to our old $2 standby, PBR), which was particularly appropriate, as ginger ale was advertised as the alternative to alcohol during Prohibition.

-Portland Mercury Pizzazz Talent Show finalists, Kazum, took center stage with their sex-charged acrobatics...short and cringe-inducing (I remember thinking "Oh, man, he's going to drop her on her neckface like a handless wetnurse!"), their three mini-performances quickly won over the drunken crowd.

-Boy Eats Drum Machine killed the stage with their frenetic instrument-switching, and amazing beats...great energy. I haven't heard much from these guys before, but now I think I'll have to buy an album or two.

-Stepping outside for a tasty bogue, my eardrums promptly exploded by the sheer concussive force emanating from the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers, who then marched inside and blew the shit out of the club. These gals and dudes are a must see, which isn't hard to do if you live here, as they seem to be everywhere (peace marches, roller derby games, soapbox derby car races on extinct volcanoes). I love these folks.

-One of my favorite locals, Ohmega Watts, was up next, bringing with him fellow Lightheaded crew member, Braille, and recently transplanted Theory Hazit. Ohmega is just solid, with both his lyrics and beatwork straight out of Pete Rock's School of Inspiration. He's got a new album out, Watts Happening...I just bought it and haven't yet given it a spin, but I'm sure it's bound to be solid CD gold. Braille is fucking energy encapsulated (did anyone else see this kid at PDXPopNow! besides Jeff and I?), and is always fun to watch. New in town via Cincinnati, Theory Hazit wasted little time in impressing folks with his mathematically relentless rhymes. Luckygreen and I had a chance to chat with him for awhile, and he really impressed us with his sincerity towards the music he creates, as well as his deep love of Portland...he visited once and found he couldn't stop thinking about the City of Roses, so he convinced his girl to make the move, just like that. He hates the rain, though. Oh, don't we all, my friend, don't we all.

-Last and far from least, superfuckingstar husband/wife combo Viva Voce set up shop, and proceeded to incinerate the very air we breathed. Kevin Robinson dropped atom bombs on his drum kit, while Anita Robinson seared souls with her intricately destructive guitar work. This duo rips shit. When solos were being tossed at the crowd like grenades, I'd look around, and people had their eyelids peeled back, stoopid grins on their grills, and I'm pretty sure they weren't breathing. Good work, guys. Kevin wrapped up their set with this cheerful holiday proclamation: "Merry Chewbacca or Happy Buddha Kitchen or whatever you do."

You too, man.


David Bragdon is Most Hilarious

To give folks outside of Portland a taste of how we do politics here, peep this recent official press release (seriously a top contender for the best of its kind, ever) from David Bragdon, the Council President for Metro, our regional government. This guy is awesomely good.



For Release: December 1, 2007

Metro Council President David Bragdon announced that he will not run for Mayor of Wilsonville, Milwaukie, West Linn, Damascus, Portland, Durham or any of the other cities in the metro region in 2008. “For some reason, people keep asking me about Mayors’ races,” Bragdon said. “Speculation is natural, because Mayor Hammerstad is retiring in Lake Oswego and Mayor Thalhofer has not announced his intentions in Troutdale. To end any suspense, I am announcing I will not run for anything in 2008.”

“Besides, there are already three well-qualified candidates for Mayor,” he observed, referring of course to Beaverton, where incumbent Mayor Rob Drake will face challenges from Councilor Bruce Dalrymple and Councilor Dennis Doyle in the May primary. “Voters in every city in the region deserve such a competitive choice,” Bragdon said.

Bragdon indicated he would stay in his current esoteric post until he figures out what his job is or his term expires, whichever occurs first. While recycling the canola oil in the popcorn popper outside the Oregon Zoo penguinarium as he does each Saturday, Bragdon shrugged, “I’ve got a decent gig, which has something to do with garbage and trees and the urban growth boundary, stuff like that, I guess.” He reminded reporters that the Metro Council also owns the Expo Center, and said one of his unrealized goals in office is to “hang out more at Expo with the fine ladies of the Rose City Rollers’ Derby.” He cited the Rollers as “the most awesomely kick-ass” of his agency’s many kick-ass stakeholders, ranging from environmentalists to real estate developers. “I care about the region’s quality of life,” he commented, “but this decision is about my own.”

Bragdon’s lack of qualification for city office was inadvertently revealed earlier this year when he failed to have his surgery televised and then did not champion a non-binding resolution appointing a 79-person task force to re-name S.E. Division Street as Gertrude Stein Boulevard. “Nor am I ready to handle the duct tape issue,” he admitted, “so I settle for little job satisfactions instead: like buying 5,000 acres of natural areas and preserving them forever, helping build one light rail line and getting another started, or leading one of the few governments in Oregon with a Double AAA financial rating.”

Bragdon’s only specific comment about the upcoming Mayoral transition came in a written statement issued from Camp David, the Metro Presidential hilltop weekend retreat near Oxbow Park: “The city is a better place because of Tom’s leadership. As Mayor, he focused relentlessly on the city’s economic health and downtown revitalization. Tom also converted ‘visioning’ into specific, practical actions. Indeed, Hillsboro will have big shoes to fill when Mayor Tom Hughes leaves office next year.”

Bragdon’s term as Metro Council President ends in January 2011, at which time he hopes to get a decent job in a hotel, preferably near the Oregon Convention Center.


After reading that again, it probably doesn't make a lick of sense to those outside of our metropolitan area. It's one big insider's joke. Sorry about hyping it up to all you foreigners out there. We thought it was funny.



A few tidbits covering the last couple days:

- The Clinton Street Theater continues to impress with its wide array of obscure and cooky films. While dining at Subrosa, across the street from the theater, Old, Kes, and I noticed the following two movies were playing: Electric Apricot, the Quest for Festeroo and Blood Feast. The former is a mockumentary of a Jerry Garcia-loving rock band attempting to get themselves in the Festeroo jam-band festival. No doubt, a winner. Blood Feast, on the other hand, is a bit more, well, imaginative. I'll let the theater's description of the movie speak for itself:

Egyptian caterer busies himself collecting body parts from young maidens in order to bring Ishtar, an ancient goddess of good and evil back to life. When he has prepared enough parts for the ceremony, he hypnotizes a woman giving an engagement party for her daughter, at which he plans to perform the ancient rites of summons, using the daughter as his final sacrifice.

- While taking advantage of 2-for-1 coupons at Subrosa, Old and I managed to also get a little tipsy off a bottle of wine. Although not very significant, I can't think of another time I've ordered wine at a restaurant, let alone split an entire bottle. It almost made me feel grown up. To immediately rid myself of that grown up feeling, we finished our meals and walked across the street to the Clinton Street Pub, where we drank beer, listened to punk music, and made fun of the Giant Women from Turkmenistan.

- Old made it clear, later that night, that he is adamantly opposed to the Starbucks empire. Also, he apparently does not like Paul McCartney. Old made these two facts known by doing the following: while driving by Starbucks, he rolled his window down and screamed, "I hate you Starbucks." He promptly spit in the direction of said demon, and continued shouting, "Fuck your motherfuckin' Paul McCartney display." Word!

- Straight from the Valley-Jo, E-40 Fonzerelli was in town last week to help Cool Nutz, the godfather of Portland rap, celebrate the release of his newest album, King Cool Nutz. The Ambassador of the Bay, 40 Water himself, showed his support for the Portland rap game at the Roseland Theater, alongside Cool Nutz and Maniac Loc. I would have gone, but nobody "told me when to go."

- So much for the Monster Storm of 2007. What was billed as the biggest storm to hit Oregon in over a decade, turned out to be just a little rain and some wind. Not exactly atypical for Portland, no? I hear the coast got a few big gusts of wind, but the "hurricane force" storm that was supposed to wipe Portland off the map did not nearly live up to the hype.

- The Blazers won a game on the road. Yes folks, to avoid matching a franchise-worst winless streak away from the Rose Garden, the Trail Blazers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 106-105 Monday night. Brandon Roy found his game and led the team with 26 pts. and 9 rebounds, while Travis Outlaw (that's your boy, Kes) played Mr. Clutch and hit a buzzer beater (Aldridge's favorite phrase) at the end to win the game.


Portlander's Love Gluttony and Drunkenness

The results of our latest poll, asking Portlandites what their favorite rainy day activities are (multiple choices were available for simultaneous selection, thus the total percentage adding up to well over 100%, you sleuth, you):
  • 48% will get re-acquainted with their favorite pub/restaurant/coffee shop
  • 44% will camp out in their local $3 movie theater
  • 28% will remain indoors smoking dope, drinking 40s, getting artsy, etc.
  • 28% will sink further into clinical depression until June 2008
  • 28% will catch a Blazers game (go Sergio!)
  • 16% will explore the local music scene

Certainly a few surprises here, namely that as indie music-friendly as we claim to be as a city, not even a quarter of you plan on catching a local act one of these rain-filled nights...disappointing. I wonder if this is indicative of our music scene being over-saturated with talent, or if it simply means we aren't yet ready to be that arts-driven, burgeoning cultural mecca that we keep hyping ourselves as.

Well, at least we like to eat, drink coffee, and do drugs...


Don't forget to vote in this month's new poll, which attempts to discover what Portland is missing in it's quest for Greatness.


Portland to close this weekend

As we see every year here in Portland, a severe weather pattern swipes into the region and causes the city to shut down. As we've seen the last few years in a row, even the slightest bit of freezing, and an accompanying snow, will send Portland residents into a frenzy, somehow losing all their ability to drive, go to work and school, and function in general. To non-natives, say, from the East Coast or Midwest, it is a laugh...but, hey, at least they know they'll get time off at work at least once during the winter.

Well, this year, actually this weekend, the state of Oregon (yes, Portland, that means us) will be treated to a once-in-a-decade storm that, some forecasters say, may exceed the severity of all storms dating back to the 1960s, thus prompting the National Weather Service to consider issuing a hurricane wind warning.

Although no stranger to rain and shitty weather, Portlanders, for some reason, lose their ability to function when the clouds throw us a curve ball. This can be seen in the numerous schools that close, the employers who shut shop for the day, the mail that doesn't get delivered, and the countless accidents that happen on our roads and highways. Well folks, embrace yourself for a big one. The storm, which now covers the entire Northeast Gulf of Alaska, is expected to bring sustained winds of 90-100 MPH (74 MPH puts it into hurricane wind status), as well as 3-4 inches of rain in its aftermath. The kicker, though, is that prior to the wind and rain, Portland is expected to get snow as soon as Saturday. That means we can expect our mail to be late, newspapers not delivered, and, if you're a communist and send your kid to school on Saturdays, no school.

For more information on the "monster storm," peep the Oregonian online: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1196396711223810.xml&coll=7


RAG Mens Style (Shameless Plug)

Here are a few pictures from the opening of my sister's upscale men's clothing boutique, RAG Mens Style, located in Bellvue, WA. Their website is still under construction (hurry up and remedy that, Seren!), so she'd probably appreciate it if you ignored its existence.

Now, I must admit, I generally despise anything even remotely akin to a shop such as this...however, it's impossible not to feel something deeply satisfying upon entering into this homage to manhood. From the slate-gray cracked concrete floor emblazoned with their kingly lion emblem, to the dark polished-hard wood cabinets and shoeshine chair, the store speaks to the primal desires of a testosterone-filled soul. Complementary alcohol certainly doesn't lessen that feeling. While you wait to be custom-fitted for that elegant designer suit, feel free to play a game of pool or catch the latest Trailblazers game (okay, so maybe they're more inclined to root for the Sonics, much to their loss) shining forth from what must be a 372.6 inch plasma screen TV. I'm sure other amenities are soon to be on their way...

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (ignore the dorks, including myself, in the geeky suits, as the only one sold in the store itself is the silvery-grey one that Seren's boyo is wearing).


Hey Dan, is that you? [Guest Blog by Mike]

To celebrate the 26th anniversary of Dan Cooper's successful hijacking of a plane departing from Portland, our main man Mike (my paw in Amboy) has shared a little piece about the man himself.

Bugaboo Man

For the law enforcement community, especially the Feds, Dan Cooper is like a wart right on the tip of your nose. No matter where you go, all folks see is that damn wart. Even after it’s removed, no one can ever forget it. They still stare at the end of your nose, just waiting for it to reappear. When you look in the mirror, there it is, even when it’s gone. That wart may not change your essential nature but it sure redefines what others see in you. And it does so for a long, long time.

For many people, Cooper is a folk hero, a man who has become myth over the years. He’s one guy in American history who was able to leave behind a truly unique legacy – the only unsolved airline hijacking since the Wright brothers started the big bang. There’s always something special about being first, always something that folks seem to admire, or hate. When you’re first, and break the law, and walk away from it, well, that’s what makes for warts or myths. It all depends on your point of view. Whatever you’ve done becomes a piece of history and people are bound to talk about it, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The truth about Dan Cooper, wrongly called “D. B. Cooper” by an enthusiastic reporter with a half-glass of facts, is very different. He’s neither wart nor myth. Cooper put his pants on one leg at a time, although he may have done so with more bravado than the usual fellow. He was a man on a mission, whether or not it was crazy, inspired, or just plain weird. He was an original.

There’s no getting around his place in history, whatever you may think of him. The trick is to put Cooper in the right place, somewhere between wart and myth.

If you live in Southwestern Washington, Cooper lurks behind every tree. He’s occasionally seen on the rural roads near Mt. St. Helens and talked about over beer in the dozens of one-room, smokey bars that dot the plains and foothills out here. Someone’s cousin knew a woman who once knew Cooper. One of the old-timers had a beer with him back in the late 1980s. He looks a heck of a lot like the rancher’s cousin who lives up in the foothills, somewhere north of Lake Merwin. It goes on and on. In fact, Cooper even has his own special day in the small town of Ariel. Out in these parts, his legend just grows with the years. It ripens and becomes unnecessarily bountiful. It remains a fascination.

But what about Cooper himself? He’s the one person who has never told his own story. He’s the silent Buddha sitting in the middle of a noisy, confused folk legend, grinning. Everyone who even thinks about Dan Cooper for more than a minute, or talks about him over a drink, can guarantee you he would have a hell of a story to tell. So, Dan, what’s taken you so long? We're still celebrating your anniversary out here, near ground zero. So, let’s get this wart thing cleared up and meet down the road for a beer and a good story.


Turkey Day

Either I'm really getting into the holiday spirit, or I'm at a loss for more important stuff to write about. Whatever the case, I thought I'd share my Thanksgiving.

As is becoming tradition now, my mom, Mike and I spent Thanksgiving with some old friends from California. Wheels, a good friend and former coworker of Mike's, retired at the same time as my folks. Wheels and his wife, Vicki, along with their son, Michael, moved to Vancouver, WA shortly after. Continuing the friendship up here in the Northwest, we all get together from time to time, often for a barbecue and to catch up.

Most recently, on Thanksgiving, we went to their place, where the Cooks family put together yet another great meal. Yes, there was the customary turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, but what made this a signature meal were Vicki's famous greens, wonderfully marinated in vinegar with little pork shreds mixed in, and, of course, her sweet potato pie. Wheels also filled in as a more than serviceable bartender, offering to fill any empty glass with an alcoholic concoction.

I didn't bring a camera, but I have pictures of last year's feast, which was nearly identical (I think Wheels even wore the same shirt), with the exception of Old and Kes not being present (so pretend they're not pictured).

While Old and Kes were missed (they were with family in Cali), we all had a good time visiting with each other. Although Michael hid away in his room for most of the night, he did sneak up for some food and to give me a burned copy of The Federation's (had to drop the Bay love) newest album. Wheels spent much of the night bragging about how cushy his job in Portland is. See, he drives a school bus in Portland, but because the job is contracted out by an independent company, he is not technically employed throughout the school year. So, while on school breaks (Thanksgiving week, Christmas, summer, etc.), he gets to collect unemployment. And, when he is working, his 7 hour shift consists of only a few brief pickups in the morning and a few more in the afternoon. It's a great gig for someone who is, for all intents and purposes, retired and just looking for some extra income.

In addition to the Cooks family and the three of us, a couple of their friends joined us, as well as Mike's brother, Bruce. As the evening went on, we did the belly-stuff and liver-poison, capping it all off with Pork's famous pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream (stored in some funky spray contraption that Kesia introduced to her). While I'm having a difficult time convincing myself that this event was blog-worthy, I can say with certainty that the food was great and it was good to catch up with old friends. Go Blazers!