Liza Rietz/John Blasioli Grand Opening

If you're into Stumptown's homegrown fashion scene, you've probably already either heard of or been invited to the grand opening of the joint venture between Liza Rietz (Kes and I are really happy for you!) and a broken spoke's John Blasioli. Otherwise, the party is tonight from 5-8pm at the retail store/studio located on 2305 NW Savier. It's a cozy spot, so be prepared for some close-quarters shoulder-rubbing to go along with the food, drinks, and music.

Make sure to check out their work:

Liza Rietz

a broken spoke


KATU Says, Hey Blogger.

Last week, out of the mists I received a strange Evite asking me and around 300 locals to a "Portland Blogger Meetup" hosted by KATU (one of our local idiot box news channels) and the mysterious Brian Westbrook. Admittedly, my first reaction was to click the delete button...however, curiosity got the best of me (delayed inquisitiveness = 8,943, initial instinct = zilch) and I decided to RSVP my attendance.

Surprising to all in attendance, last night's event was actually a great deal of fun. We got a tour of all two rooms of KATU's building, I rested my bummy arse on the anchors' desk, and we took a group photo (followed up, of course, by a group hug...not really, but one would have been nice). Free finger food, wine and a keg of local brew (Widmer Bros. ) definitely performed the task of social lubricant, as I'm sure was intended. Everyone who showed up (maybe 50 folks all told) quickly found someone interesting to talk with and do a bit of the ol' networking.

Here are a few of the individuals I had a chance to chat with:
-Rick from beerdrinker.org
-Chelsea from {frolic!}
-Elizabeth from Lizzy Dishes Portland
-Emma (and her friend Emily) from Cheeky Boots

Disappointingly, no one took me up on my offer of a 40 oz. of Steel Reserve out in the parking lot afterwards; not that I really needed the malted-Nectar of the Gods as I was already slightly drunk.

Oh well, next time...(KATU?)


Dick Cheney, Pre-Satanic Possession

You've probably all seen this video by now, but just in case you haven't, here's Dick "Shoot you in the face!" Cheney's take on Iraq circa 4/15/1994. His stance here viewed in light of the current situation in the Middle East will make your frontal lobes implode.


Conspiratorial YACHT Films

There is an explanation for the "plethora" of posting occuring lately...Jeff is off gallavanting around the country with his co-worker buds (probably learning how best to hate one another by this point), while I've been hiding in my closet, blinds closed, door triple-locked, phone and internet disconnected, unshaven and babbling to myself in the dark. You see, the government is monitoring our site, and have obviously put a hit out on Jeff and I. It all started with my Breaking News From Months Ago! post, where I laid out info on the Noble Resolve exercise about to occur (and now thankfully over...we survived! Whew, that was a close one...until next month's TOPOFF exercise at least). Then someone from the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Joint Forces Command leaves a comment, directing readers to more accurate information (as if my conspiratorial rantings weren't sufficient). Why are they reading our blog? I'm so glad I pay taxes for this...oh my, someone just peeked through my window, I can feel it. Ahhgghh...I'm hit...with a...mind-control...thought-beam...the agony.

Moving on.

Am I the only one who's been paying attention to the Sunsilk hair commercial? Has anyone else heard Portland's own YACHT (formerly 1/2 of The Blow, Jona Bechtolt) soundtracking this product propaganda on the boob toob? I don't know whether to cheer or shed a tear. The track, by the way, is "I Love A Computer" and it's pure awesome.

Watched a dizzying array of films lately...

On the Big Screen:
-Rescue Dawn...it's fucking Werner Herzog, so go see it. It's basically a remake of his earlier film/documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly.

-Knocked Up...Seth Rogen is he-lare-E-us. One of the few "comedies" I've seen in the last decade that actually made me laugh more than twice in the entirety of it's running time (if at all). Thank you, Judd Apatow, you can now bring back Freaks and Geeks...the world might be ready for it by now.

-The Adventures of Baron Munchausen...a typical Terry Gilliam crazy-fest. Moments of sheer brilliance, but tedious and overlong. Better know as the film that destroyed his career, which alone is worth witnessing.

On the Little-Bitty Screen:
-THX 1138...always wanted to see the film debut of George Lucas, and the wait paid off. In many ways, I think I enjoyed it more than Star Wars...it's certainly not family friendly, and there is no Jar Jar Binks/Ewoks/Samuel L. Jackson to grate my nerve endings.

-Touchez Pas Au Grisbi...as good as The Departed was, it only takes watching a film like this to remember they had gangster down pat way back in 1954. Jean Gabin is a gangster's gangster as Max le Menteur.

-au hasard Balthazar...a Robert Bresson masterpiece that's been on my list for centuries. The complexity and depth of meaning present in this film is something I'll need to contemplate on for a long time to come. Is the Donkey Christ? Hmmmm...


Please Vote

The (very very slim...thanks, Mayor Potter) prospect of getting a baseball team in Portland is very serious to Old and I. Please take three seconds to vote in our poll (see side bar on right) and let us know what you think about baseball (the Beavers don't count) in Stumptown.


Larry Hanks the Mouth Harp Maestro

I've known Larry Hanks through my wife (her mother's long-time "life" partner) for quite a few years now. Aside from being a good friend and an all-around great guy, he's a very gifted musician. He's been heavily involved in the old time/folk music scene for decades, and has worked with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Malvina Reynolds, Utah Phillips, etc. I think the only reason he doesn't share the widespread public name recognition of his contemporaries (outside of his fellow musicians), is that he's such a modest guy and would rather play independent music festivals and small stage venues than bask in any major spotlight. The guy plays a mean Jew's harp, real folksy acoustic guitar, and can belt out lead or background bass vocals, no problem.

Here's a video of him playing Reuben's Train with The Squirrelly Stringband at the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention.

His collaboration with a musician by the name of Mike Marker, "The Truth for Certain," is easily his best album and a must purchase for fans of American old time/folk music. If you're interested in picking up a copy, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Larry...

Fred and the Frisco Rat

Here it is, August 14th, and the summer has nearly passed without the typical hangs at the river, nights drinking 40s on the Steel Bridge, or late-night gallivants around the Stump. Not willing to let the summer pass by without some of the aforementioned fun, Old and I decided to step up our efforts a little and do what we do best, in no particular order: drink, philosophize, bullshit, wander around town, listen to gangster rap, and, in general, nerd it up a little.

After getting off work last Thursday, I headed up to Old's place in Northeast Portland. When walking to his apartment from my car, I was caught off guard when I heard a familiar ticking noise coming from Old's window. Although the sound was familiar, it took me a minute to identify it. After realizing it had been about 15 years since hearing this sound, I finally identified it as a type writer. Yes, you heard right. Old, while waiting for me to show up and begin our gallivanting, was writing a letter on his type writer (you can now check off "nerd it up a little" from the above list). Had he not been writing our good friend, Pierre, who happens to be incarcerated for a while, the urge to box him in the face probably would have overcome me.

After finishing his letter, we ran through our typical pre-gallivant routine. This usually consists of Old making (freaking) some alcoholic concoction out of the year-old blueberry juice fermenting in his freezer, a couple types of liquor, and lemon concentrate. This time, Old made a gin fizz with Portland's own, Aviation Gin. This warmed us up to some micheladas (Tecate with salt, hot sauce, and lime). As usual, we rounded out the early part of the evening with some Bay Area rap for old times (this time it was Andre Nickatina), a couple Djarums to accompany our political and philosophical conversations on the porch, as well as some discussion about what we should do with the rest of the evening.

As we were both hungry, the next part of the evening revolved around getting food. Our first stop, Blind Onion (a pizza joint/pub), was closed. Our next choice, Rose and Thistle Pub (for some chili cheese fries), just stopped serving food for the night. Out of options? Not so fast. How could we have forgotten? Where else can you get burritos, hot dogs, crunchies, and pick up more beer at 1:00 in the morning? 7-11. How foolish of us. And how insensitive not to consider our Iranian friend and 7-11 employee, Fred, but when left with no other options. So we headed to the 7-11 on NE Broadway to chat it up with Fred and get some niblets. I got a bag of buffalo wing/bleu cheese Doritos and a bean burrito. Old got a sandwich and a bag of zesty taco/chipotle ranch Doritos. The 7-11 bonus, though, was being able to catch up with our old pal, Fred. We talked about his days living in Reno and Las Vegas, as well as his time in Seattle. When the topic moved to Portland, we talked about the upcoming Iranian festival downtown. Asked if he planned on going, Fred stated he wasn't, partly due to his odd work schedule and, also in part, due to his dislike of younger Iranians (he admits to feeling a disconnect to newer generation Iranians).

After chatting it up with Fred, we made our purchase (including a couple tall cans of PBR), and headed outside. After curiously exchanging bites of our new collision-taste Doritos, we cracked our PBRs and commenced the parking lot pimpin'. Now, some may find this to be a abit offensive, but it isn't pimping in the traditional sense (just in case I fooled you guys into thinking Old and I are real pimps). Rather, parking lot pimpin' is a mindset, a mentality. It's about setting up shop in a parking lot (it could be a park, could be a bridge, or even a *sewer) and making it your domain. On this occasion, it was our spot to eat, drink and talk about life. Sitting there, drinks in hand, I questioned Old's consumption of Doritos while being adamantly against fast food (i.e. McDonald's). His response was, "because I'm not a hippy." It took me a while to figure out what he meant, but it soon made sense, as he was implying that hippies are sheep-like in their blind subscription to a specific lifestyle (stereotypically anti-corporate, vegetarians, etc.) In other words, he can be against unhealthy fast food, but is independent enough to indulge in the occasional junk food without feeling guilty. Good enough for me.

We were soon distracted from our conversation by a rat who was hunting for some bleu cheese and buffalo wing Doritos. I don't know if it was the rat's stealth, killer instincts that was reminiscent of Old's cat Friso, or the griminess of the environment that conjured up images of San Francisco, but we both referred to the little rodent as "Frisco Rat." Every time Old and I would start talking, Frisco Rat creeped out from behind a dumpster and sneaked in our direction. As soon as we looked at it, it would scurry back to the dumpster. This game went on until we finished our snacks and decided to head home (apparently not the party animals we thought we were).

As is customary of our "nights on the town," we returned to the house with the intentions of watching a movie (Old has an endless supply of obscure foreign films checked out from the library...more on that in another post). Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of falling asleep during movies, and this sort of takes the fun out of movie-watching. Old had the perfect remedy for this, though: a 12 minute movie titled Un Chien Andalou, by Salvador Dali. I don't remember much of the flick, other than a scene where some dude slices open a detached eyeball with a knife. And, amazingly, I was unable to catch the end, as Old reports I fell asleep at the eight minute marker.

So it was...another typical Old and Jeff night. A few odd routines, some scummy gallivanting, and a nice hangover the next morning.

* Uh, the sewer reference above was a sad confession probably only understood by a handful of people. If you are confused and curious about the thought of parking lot pimpin' in a sewer, contact me and I can clear things up a bit.


Currently My Favorite Craigslist Ad

Kes and I have decided to vacate our current shit hole of an apartment and move into a new one. Typing in "shit hole" into the Craigslist keyword box to narrow down our options, I came up with this beauty (original spelling left intact).
For your viewing pleasure:

RE:$700 / 2br - House and Garage,
Beaumont across from Fife restaurant

Reply to: hous-381193703@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-07-24, 11:49AM PDT

Don't bother looking at this place.

Roof needs work
Gutters are falling off
Extreme water damage through out home
Not 2bd, more like On bedroom and powder room
Holes in the sheetrock wallpaper falling off
Smells like piss (human)
Back yard has a pile of rubish
Broken window Needs new siding
This place was purchased for less than $165k and he hasn't put a dime of work into it.

-Shit Hole Slum Loard Beware-

I'm going to report it to DHS this afternoon!

$700 a month for nothing.
PostingID: 381193703

Obviously, we move in on Tuesday at 3pm.


Portland, meet Old

The blog entry below was originally meant to be a preface to another blog. I wanted to make fun of Old for a set of notes he gave me to help remember the events of a recent night of drinking. The fact that he was keeping track of our misadventures on paper is indeed noteworthy. And if it was a simple jibing, yes, I could have left it as a tiny blurb at the beginning of another story. However, it was what he took his notes on, and the fact that Old has an oh-so-predictable tendency to note-take, that was so blog worthy. So, instead of a brief preface, I've decided to devote a whole blog entry to introducing Old to Portland...a snapshot of his mind at work.

First off, if you know Old, you know that he always carries a pen with him. While I used to think this was learned behavior, carrying over from his graffiti days, I've since learned otherwise. Simply put, Old is a natural note taker. I'd like to blame it on his old age and subsequent onset of Alzheimer's (in other words, his attempt not to forget everything), but I can't even do that. The truth of the matter is that Old's note taking is more of a compulsion than an organizational skill (although he is pretty organized). Case in point: an organized person would carry a note pad with him in anticipation of their note taking exploits. This is not true of Old. Instead, he compulsively scribbles whatever he deems significant at the moment on random objects. These objects can be found in his surroundings, such as a napkin or coaster from a bar, or they can be found crumpled up in his pocket, such as a match box or gum wrapper. Perhaps he is just doing his best as a conservationist, opting not to waste paper and instead make use of recycled products. On some level, I think this to be true. However, the root lies not in his desire to be eco-friendly, rather his compulsion to take notes and not having his said note pad.

I can go on about Old's long history of taking notes on random surfaces, but I'd like to move on to the second part our peek at the man that is Old.

Like I mentioned above, this entry was originally going to be a brief preface to another story (hopefully that story will be posted in the next couple days). See, on a recent night of drinking, pondering life, and wandering aimlessly around Portland, Old was at it again taking his notes. Although I make fun of him, I do appreciate it, as I wouldn't have remembered half the night were it not for his notes, thus not allowing me to write about it later. So, a couple days after the fact, upon getting an itch to write, I asked Old for his notes so I could blog about the night. Having a plate full of blog ideas for himself, he was amenable to giving up his notes and letting me write about the night. However, instead of giving me the piece of paper that held his scribbles, he decided to type up a copy for me. He explained that I wouldn't be able to read his handwriting, but I think he didn't want to part with the original copy of his notes (I think that when the compulsion is strong enough, you start hoarding). Without giving it much thought, he typed away, a process that I thought was pretty insignificant at the time. Upon further review, though, his typing became significant, indeed. It took a long way to get here, but this is the second part of our peek into Old's mind.

After printing the notes, Old handed me the paper to take home. When looking at the notes, neatly bulleted and organized by chronology, I noticed there was printing on the back of the paper. I know Old and Kes will reuse paper for printing purposes, so I figured the back of the paper was an old email or news article. Out of curiosity, though, I checked out the back side of the paper. I discovered something fascinating and simultaneously fist-clench-provokingly stressful. Old had printed his notes on a recycled "Lone Wolf Action Chart." What the fuck is an action chart, you ask? Well folks, here's where we get to know Old a little better...From the looks of it, an action chart is some sort of score keeper for an apparent fantasy dragon slaying game. One half of the action chart keeps track of Kai Disciplines (huh?), which consist of the powers of "healing, mindblasting, sixth sense, mind over matter, and weapons skill sword;" weapons, which consist of a princes sword and warhammer; and special items, such as a "map of summerland, a golden key, a magic spear, and firesphere." The other half of the chart keeps track of endurance points and the combat record.

Okay Old, what the hell are you doing with this? And furthermore, why is it filled out as if you've just recently slayed some dragons with your hammerhead and won some gold coins to put in your belt pouch? This is, of course, a rhetorical question, as I know exactly why he has an action chart. I just want all you readers to know why as well. See, in Old's previous life, he lived in a wooded village inhabited by elves and hobbits. His house was built into a small hillside, and in his spare time he mapped out mountain caves and looked for the dragons that lived in them. He cast spells and worked at perfecting his wizardly craft. Somehow, that instinct has travelled with him through the ages and we still see glimpses of it when he plays such games as Zelda or reads Orson Scott Card books. It is his nature to have one foot in reality, the other in the fantasy world, for he is a wizard. To fight this instinct would be suppressing his nature, so instead he embraces it. And for those close to him, we humor him by playing the Lord of the Rings board game or watching Willow with him.

So for anybody who needs some dragons slayed or magical gems located, Old's your guy. Keep doing your thing, buddy.


Breaking News from Months Ago!

It's once again that time for a round of Oldie's random outdated "news" tidbits. And there was much rejoicing (or was that groaning?):

-Just a heads up to our readers who are located within the fallout zone of a potential nuclear bomb attack here in Portland. Apparently the Feds and our local leaders have joined hands in the spirit of collaboration and terrorism playacting to host two months of "emergency preparedness" drills. Sometime this month "Operation Noble Resolve" (who comes up with this shit?) will strike the streets of Stumptown, with "Operation TOPOFF 4" to follow at some point in October. The plans call for the pseudo-detonation of either a dirty bomb or a nuclear weapon (nucular if you speak Bushese) here in town to simulate another terrorist incident on the scale of the attacks of September 11th...locals are understandably upset and have begun to lobby our leaders to put an end to this silliness before it even begins. In my research I also came across this gem of a video created by a man named Scott Owen ("It's not my real name, but it's not really a fake name." Your mind just exploded.) who claims to be a contract agent for the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) brought in to assist local responders prepare for TOPOFF 4. If you didn't get your daily fix of crazy with that clip, another odd film crafted by this secret agent man can be viewed here.

-Brought to you by the makers of the Another Whiteboy's Attempt at Hijacking Black Culture, Rapper in a Box(TM), Junior Bush's brain, Karl Rove was caught on camera spittin' a few rhymes (well, the same line over and over) and attempting a dance that could only be described as a karate chopping Penguin (from the Batman film) doing the Robot.

-Scientists are in the midst of scientifically celebrating the unscientific regrowth of hobby store salesman Lee Spievack's severed finger...yeah, you read that right...not re-attachment, but re-growth. Homeboy sliced off his finger tip and his brother, a researcher at Harvard, mailed him a powder made from pig bladders, which he was to apply every two days for four months, after which said finger grew back. Apparently the implications are staggering, and researchers are jumping at the possibility of using this knowledge to help soldiers regrow limbs lost in battle, amongst a myriad of other uses. The collective sighs of ecstatic anticipation from circumcised men everywhere wishing for a last fling with their foreskin could be heard round the globe.

-A few months ago, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, Ceasefire Oregon hosted their annual Portland gun turn-in. Basically, young hoodlums and crazed survivalists can anonymously bring their weapons to a pre-determined drop-off location, and to ease the loss of their precious peashooters they get their pick of either a gas card or gift certificate to the local grocery store, New Seasons, each worth $50. Sounds like a good deal...that is, until you discover what other states and countries are giving folks for their deuce deuces. Chicago gives former gun owners a $100 pre-paid Mastercard for the eventual/inevitable purchase of porn mags and Schlitz Malted Liquor. In Mexico City, people can trade in their hand guns for an Xbox, including a few games, courtesy of those sweethearts at Microsoft who saw a great way to increase their customer base and get rid of all those returned Xbox 360s suffering from the "Ring of Death." If those same Chilangos also decided to offload a few of their higher-caliber assault rifles, then they'd be awarded with a computer worth 8,500 pesos (equivalent to $769 US). Even better (worse?), in New York City, if you know of a neighbor who is in possession of an illegal handgun, you can inform on him/her and receive $500 in cold, hard cash. I'd rat out my gun nut neighbor Paul for that amount anyday.

-Here's a tourist event to add to your "Never Attend" list. At least 11 people (including two children) were killed at an annual kite-flying celebration in eastern Pakistan. Cause of death? Celebratory gunfire and kite strings reinforced with metal or glass-coating used to sever the kite strings of competitors, along with their throats apparently. Ouch, talk about a takliif deh way to die.

-I'll end this unusually morbid news collection on a feel-good, warm fuzzy note. The late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's corpse was unearthed earlier this year, after which a two-foot long stake was driven through his heart. According to Serb folklore, Milosevic was a vampire, and there was fear of him returning from the dead. Anyone up for a trip to Ronald Reagan's grave site before he resurrects?


Alberta Arts

Picture this: brand new, tall and sleek luxury condos, anchored by high-end restaurants and boutiques on the ground floor. Parked along the street are new BMWs, shiny SUVs, and, of course, a handful of hybrids (it is Portland, mind you). The people walking by, almost all white and between the ages of 25-45, go in an out of the art galleries that also line the street. It is the first Thursday of the month, and the newly developed neighborhood, dubbed The Pearl, is hosting its monthly art walk. Participants sip their wine (provided by the gallery owners), while going from one gallery to the other. They mingle amongst each other while exuding a pretentious, bourgeois air. On occasion, they'll look at a painting on the wall and comment on its abstract qualities.

Now picture this: the anit-Pearl, with bikes outnumbering cars and locally brewed beers the beverage of choice. Most of the art to be viewed sits outside on the sidewalk, where vendors have set up displays showcasing their creativity. Instead of thousand dollar paintings, you'll find hand made dolls and graffiti inspired art work. There are sculptures made out of wire hangers and spare pieces of junk. There is music for sale, homemade snacks, and even clothes. It is a stark contrast to the homogeneous Pearl District art walk, where all the art is neatly packaged indoors. To further distance itself from the First Thursday of the Pearl, Alberta Street hosts its art walk on the last Thursday of every month. Instead of sleek, high rise condos and freshly steam-cleaned sidewalks, Alberta street, in the heart of Northeast Portland, is filled with mid-century, low rise bungalows. Stooped on the porches, people barbecue, bands play music for the passersby, and diverse crowds gather to drink and laugh. Peppered in between the bungalows are a collection of bars and art studios. On the street, costumed revelers block traffic as they parade down the 15-block stretch that is the Alberta Art Walk. Bikers flaunt their custom designed fixer bikes (some as tall as seven feet, some made of recycled parts). The local community is a diverse crowd of African American families, young artists, and well-to-do families that moved there for its eclectic feel. There is even a clown house on Alberta Street (no joke...it's a commune of dozens of clowns who host parties and play music from their front yard).

Having never been to the Alberta Art walk, I decided to check it out the last Thursday of July. With other newcomers, Maggie and Stacey, as well as Gretchen, who was no stranger to the art walk, we made our way through the throngs of clowns (oh, by the way, these aren't your typical circus clowns...they are more a mix of Cirque du Soleil, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hells Angels mimes), art connoisseurs, bar hoppers, musicians, street kids, and, naturally, artists. It had a distinct Haight-Ashbury vibe to it, with alternative lifestyles being the overriding theme and clouds of incense and ganja smoke filling the air. Alternating between art displays and watering holes, we found stimulus in other peoples' creativity, as well as occasional shots of Tequila.

While it seems like one big party, and in some ways it is, art still remains the draw and main focus of the Alberta Art Walk. Whether on canvass, in style of dress, or the mode of transportation you choose to get up and down the street, Last Thursday is all about promoting creative expression.

We did our best to support the arts. Gretchen bought a stuffed terradactyl, quickly named Petrie, and Maggie bought a couple paintings (one for her, one for her soon to be married brother) of decrepit, futuristic looking tree houses. The art work was varied enough that we didn't get the typical art burn out you normally do when viewing at galleries or museums. In addition, the diverse crowd of performance artists, art viewers, and general neighborhood folk, provided enough intrigue that you couldn't help but to keep walking up and down the street.

For the "keep Portland weird" enthusiasts, the Alberta Art Walk is front and center in the battle to ensure the city stays unique and funky. Do your best to promote the city's creative spirit, as well as local arts, by visiting Alberta on the last Thursday of the month.



Just another reminder that the address for this blog will be changing sometime early this week to http://talesfromthestump.blogspot.com/.
Hopefully we won't lose any of our loyal readers in the transition (all two of you). I'll be notifying folks by email, myspace, etc. over the next day or two.

Urban Exploration 101

While the Wifey's been away up in Seattletown and Whistler, I've had the chance to get out a bit and explore a few locations/pick up a few things that have been sitting on my "Portland To Do List."

-Picked up my new, and now fully refurbished, typewriter from Blue Moon Camera and Machine (8417 N Lombard) up in St. Johns. Very cool place to hunt for old cameras, and all the accompanying equipment. They don't actually repair typewriters at the store itself, but outsource the work to Ace Typewriter & Equipment Co. just down the street at 7433 N Lombard...next time I'll just take it there direct and save myself a 10 block drive. Apparently, Ace is the only typewriter repair shop on the entire Left Coast and dude who runs the shop gets orders all the way from Alaska shipped in. Anyway, the typewriter is looking beautiful and I already started banging out a letter to a friend of mine serving time in a Cali prison...Jeff heard me typing from half a block away when he came over last night.

-Stopped at my favorite local booze shop, appropiately named the Oregon Liquor Store (1621 NE 9th), and swooped on some Stumptown-distilled New Deal Vodka (of New Deal Distillery...really check out their website for some local flavor) and Aviation Gin (of House Spirits Distillery). Many a night (and day) of adventure will be had at the hands of these two beauties. I am, of course, referring to the bronzed nipples. ---->

-Picked up some Drunken Noodles at a new Thai food cart, Thai Touch, located in the parking lot of the Lao-Vieng Market at 1032 N Killingsworth. The elderly woman dishing out the goods hooked me up with a free Thai iced tea to cool off with while waiting in the 96 degree heat. It was a bit different than the usual tea and cream combo, and was more of a sweetened shaved ice tea with hints of mint leaves...absolutely refreshing and a guarentee that I'll revisit her cart sometime soon. I took my noodles and tea a short ride away to the deserted Mocks Crest Property, know to locals as the Skidmore Bluffs, an unfinished park overlooking the industrial east-side train yards, the Port of Portland, the Willamette River, and the entirety of the West Side (downtown, and the endless expanse of Forest Park). Note to self...this is the ultimate 40 oz. spot for a clear, warm night of drunken philosophy.

-Watched The Lives of Others at the Laurelhurst Theater...an absorbing story of rebellion, betrayal, voyerism, and empathy, with a fine bit of acting courtesy of Ulrich Muhe (who recently passed away) doing his best Kevin Spacey impersonation. Evidence to the right. ---->

-Jeff and I took a trip downtown this morning, and happened to pass by Pioneer Courthouse Square when the annual Mayor's Tailgate Party was in full effect. Only in fucking Portland does a gigantic pickup truck get parked in the middle of the town square, accompanied by the Mayor handing out huge locally-grown watermelons, cantaloupes, and sacks of potatoes. For FREE. Well, we must have missed Mayor Tom Potter (he was probably off taking a nap, or scheming on how to further crush the hopes of baseball fans everywhere...last year he basically told MLB reps that Portland didn't need a baseball team, the stupid fucktard), but we did manage to skip the Communism-styled hour-long wait in line by rudely walking right up to the truck and grabbing our individual ration of fruit and starches. In the Motherland, we would have been shot immediately, isn't that right Komrade? We then carried our bounty west a few blocks to the Virginia Cafe at 725 SW Park Ave. The whole block is slated for destruction, I mean redevelopment, sometime early next year, and we didn't want to sleep on the death of yet another Portland institution caused by the city's rapid growth (resulting in rapid rent/lease increases). A great place to go for a greasy burger (though I had the excellent Chicken Cordon Bleu), a tasty bogue, and a stiff drink...dark, smoky, wood-filled, and unpretentious, this is certainly an icon that will be missed. Fortunately, and this is breaking news obtained not more than a few hours ago by this very reporter, the Virginia Cafe will live on, as soon after it's February 28th closure date they are planning on re-opening at an undisclosed location nearby. That's your cue to rejoice, o ye hipsters. This place originally opened in 1914 in the heart of the tenderloin district (SW 1oth & Stark), serving coffee and food to the brothel-faced hookers working nearby, before moving to the current location in 1922. That's history, money grip. Go show some love, or at least check out their Myspace page.