Murder Bliss


-noun, plural -sies.
1. rapturous delight.
2. an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling.
3. the frenzy of poetic inspiration.
4. mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things.

Sure, after reading this article describing the growing prevalence of ecstasy in the Yay Area, it's obvious that the word is being used to describe the drug MDMA, or Thizz.

But what if it wasn't? What if the news item was really using the word ecstasy as it's meant for hundreds of years...

15-year-old Tyiesha Farr of Richmond said ecstasy gave her a rush: "Whoo - it was fun!" she said. "I'm not going to lie, it was fun."

...Oakland Police said they have been seeing more homicides related to ecstasy.

"A lot of our homicides, if you talk to the suspects, a lot of them are under the influence of ecstasy when they're committing these crimes..."

...[T]he May 19, 2007 shooting of Oakland officer Kevin McDonald is one of many examples where the suspect admitted to...ecstasy.

Future Ecstatic Murderer


J.B. Obrien's

No, not one of my relatives...J.B. Obrien's is an Irish pub in King City, cleverly serving as a front for the faithful Philly fanatics who have migrated west. Every Sunday during football season, Eagles fans flock to J.B. Obrien's to root for their beloved team. The group, officially called the Eagles Nest, pay a membership fee of $35 for the season and, in return, get a weekly orgy of drunken, football-viewing revelry. With the $35 fee, members also get a yearly gift (for example, this year's members all receive an Eagles rain jacket). In addition to buying yourself entry into the club, as well as a cool gift, the $35 goes back to the group to pay for random free prizes and general upkeep of the club (such as maintaining the website).

I went to the Eagles Nest this last Sunday with Bobby, a PA transplant. He's been a member the last two years, but with an odd work schedule, he has missed the early part of this season, as he had to work on Sundays. With good sense, he has since quit his job and can now look forward to Sunday football. So, knowing that I'm a big football fan and don't have easy viewing access to my home team (Go Niners!!!!), he brought me along (for they have an abundance of TVs playing other NFL games).

Initially, I was excited to watch the Niners as they attempted to push their record to 3-0. However, I was so overwhelmed by the chants, banter, cheering, and harassment, that I had a hard time focusing on the small TV that showed my team getting beat by the Steelers. Rather, I found myself more entrenched in people watching, as well as witnessing an epic, 56 point, offensive romp by the Eagles.

The game was only a small part of the experience, though. The main draw, at least from an outsider's point of view, was the sheer passion these folks had for their team, as well as the manner in which they expressed it. For example, after every touchdown, the bartender blasts a stereo playing the Eagles fight song. I couldn't tell you the lyrics, other than that people sing and clap to a "fly high, eagles" themed song, with it culminating in a loud chant-like spelling of E-A-G-L-E-S. Throughout the game, fans cheer and randomly state that the Giants and Cowboys suck (no, they weren't playing either of those teams...that's why it was awesome). And as people get more and more drunk, it gets louder and louder, with fellow fans beginning to mock each other. The most telling example is of a woman who belts out her shrieks of excitement or disappointment after every play. As her voice is a tad on the annoying side, the table of faithfuls behind her all mockingly repeat the shrieks in a point to shut her up...all in good fun, though. Another example of inter-group harassment is when the group, unrelentingly, give shit to the old man of the group. This elderly gentleman is responsible for selling raffle tickets for the 50-50 drawing (half the money goes to the winner, the other half gets reinvested into the club). So with every opportunity he gets, he stands up, bangs his empty pitcher on the table and says, "Listen up, you cheap sons of bitches, it's time to buy some raffle tickets...we've only raised $150 so far." While this man is well respected in the group, and an integral member, it does not stop people from responding with, "shut up, old man," and "sit down" and "get out of the way." In the end, everybody buys raffle tickets and high fives the guy (at right).
At half time, a handful of people head outside to toss a football around. This is done in the parking lot, which is filled with cars and trucks sporting Eagles flags, decals, and custom license plates. After a session of catch (reminiscent of childhood two-hand touch), everybody returns to the bar to catch the second half. By this time, the guy selling raffle tickets is in full force, attempting to sell as many tickets as he can before the 4th quarter drawing. His pitcher-banging routine continues, receiving even more taunts and harassment. One standing tradition among members is to make the guy work as much as possible. So, as he states that "this is the last chance to buy a ticket," and proceeds to do a countdown (going once, going twice...), there is always one person who, at the very last moment, says he needs a ticket. This goes on to the point where the old man gets frustrated and ends the routine. On this occasion, he returns the harassment with, "Eat shit and die," to the guy who tries to buy one last ticket. Hilarious!!!
Eventually there is a drawing, with the winner taking half the pot. The game soon winds to an end, and everybody returns high fives, hopeful of another romp next week. All in all, it's a good experience...even if you're not an Eagles fan. Despite being a 15 minute drive from Portland (in Terwilliger, Tualitin, Tigard, or one of those SW suburbs), it's a great place to catch a game. Just don't wear a Cowboys jersey.


Portland Music Scene Pt. III (MusicfestNW)

Yaaaawn...two weeks later, and I'm still recovering my life force chi energy from this year's MusicfestNW, an annual music festival hosted by the guys and gals over at Willamette Week. Unlike the free, all ages, all local PDX Pop Now! festival, this one is comprised of local and national acts, is spread across seemingly every good venue in town (most of which are 21 and up...sorry kiddos), and costs an elitist $40.00 for an all access festival pass, which while much more than most cats in Portland spend on shows (most are in the free-$8 range) really isn't a bad deal when you do the math. Four days of solid music from 8pm onward, one could theoretically hit ~20 separate concerts. I felt like a gangster for dragging my exhausted ass to 15, which works out to $2.67/show. Not too shabby if I must pat myself on the back. Anywaay...

Thursday, Sept. 6th:

Venue: Roseland Theater
9:00pm: Sandpeople
-A few months go by, and boy do I forget how poor the sound system is at the Roseland. Extremely unsophisticated tweaking of the board, heavily favoring copious amounts of bass, which apparently is what a hip hop show is all about right? Wrong. I like to be able to hear the beats and, heaven forbid, the lyrics, not just a throbbing chest thump that makes my eardrums bleed. The next few hours would leave me with a ringing pain in my right ear that I'm only now beginning to recover from. Alas, Sandpeople, I'm sure you were dope, but I couldn't understand a single line spit and it didn't help that seemingly all eight of the emcees on the stage rapped over each other's versus, creating an extremely muddled echo effect. I know these locals are better than this...go see their CD release show at Berbati's on Oct. 6th with The Grouch, which will be a much better show, I'm sure.

10:00pm: Blue Scholars
-This duo is one of my favorite groups doing hip hop music at the moment. Unrelenting energy and intelligence with the most solid style I've heard in years. These cats are so personable, they even got a Portland crowd to cheer for Seattle (where they hail from)...that's got to be a first.

11:00pm: Aesop Rock
-If you don't know about this dude, please wake up from your 10 year coma, go purchase Labor Days or Float, find a quiet dark dank place to relax in, and prepare to be intrigued. This show was my motivating factor for going to the festival in the first place, and homeboy didn't disappoint. By the way, Portland, what the fuck is up with throwing shit at the DJs and emcees at rap shows...I swear, I'll sodomize your ear hole if I catch you perpetrating like that again.

Venue: Berbati's
Midnight: Roky Erickson & the Explosives
-Roky has a fascinating story (click on the link above for the wikipedia entry), and tonight's show was hyped the fuck up. In the 60s this guy enjoyed a great deal of counterculture fame, then underwent a dark couple of decades of paranoid schizophrenic and electro convulsive therapy, and is now back on the comeback wagon...unfortunately, he seems to have lost some of his edgy creativity in the process. Sure this is some good ol' rock 'n roll, but

Friday, Sept. 7th:

Venue: Doug Fir
9:00pm: Au
-Only caught the last minute or two of their last song, but was impressed with what I heard...nice experimental folk mood noise.

10:00pm: Tiny Vipers
-Jesy Fortino sang some hauntingly beautiful and melancholy songs. The crowd at Doug Fir sat silent and intently focused on the broken bird plucking at strings upon the stage, inwardly betting on how soon she'd fly away in frightened delight.

11:00pm: Eric Bachman
-Eric and Co. couldn't quite capture my imagination with the whole Bruce Springsteen/Bob Dylan shtick. Took the opportunity to capture my daily intake of gin and tonics. Spent the next 45 min. kicking myself for not going to see Laura Gibson instead.

Midnight: Grizzly Bear
-Wow. Heard mixed things about this Brooklyn-based folksy-experimental group, but I think I'm sold. Maybe it was the temporary alcoholism, but I was really feeling these guys. Not sure I'd hang out and spin their CD, but this is some very engaging shit live, the harmonizing voices giving me goosebumps at times...and I really hesitate to admit that.

Saturday, Sept. 8th:

Venue: Mission Theater
Noon: About a Son
-Still not sure how I managed to drag myself to this event so goddamn early in the day, but sure am glad I did. It's basically a series of interviews with Kurt Cobain, given a year before he committed harikari, played over some truly beautiful video of the Washington locales that Cobain spent time in throughout his life (Seattle, Olympia, etc.). More interesting than Last Days, for sure.

Venue: Audiocinema
6:30pm: Ghostface Killa
-Arrived at 5:30p to see Ghostface, and found myself in a line of hundreds, circling all the way around the block. Expressing my incredulity, I shouted out that Ghostface was played out a decade ago. Then I jumped in line, though I really should have just gone home. Appropriately, there was an ice cream truck handing out free popsicles and drumsticks to ward off the heat...if you don't get the reference, you never were a Wu fan. Got inside, and realized that I was an hour early, and was forced to listen to LA's The Bronx, some crazy death metal punk that did nothing for my Shaolin audio-cravings. Ghostface took the stage finally, and subjected me to the worst hip hop show I've ever been to, and likely will ever till the end of my days. Tony Stark rapped intermittently, leaving most of the MCing to his Killa Bees crowding the stage. One of his new "jams" had this lyrical gem of a hook: "Pop your colla/get your dolla"...so original, so inspired. For the last few songs, Ghostface invited ten 14 year olds up on stage, and proceeded to launch into songs with hooks like "get yo pussy wet" and "stuff shit in your vagina"...that's game? The best tracks of the night came when the DJ threw on ODB's Return to the 36 Chambers and let the crowd rap along to Shimmy Shimmy Ya, and Brooklyn Zoo. Ah, the memories.

[Took a break over at Shanghai Tunnels to slurp down a delicious noodle bowl, and chatted it up with a recently-returned Iraq-war vet who said he had "lots of fun blowing shit up."]

Venue: Roseland Theater
9:00pm: The Cool Kids
-So "Cool" that they didn't even show up for their set.

10:00pm: The Lifesavas
-Really, I've talked enough about these guys in previous posts for you to realize that you can't sleep on these dudes. Go buy their albums, show some love for the locals, do right by God or some such shit.

11:00pm: Girl Talk
-I'd never heard of Greg Gillis, but apparently he's the maestro of mashup music...think mixing Lil' Wayne, Cypress Hill, The Pixies, and New Kids On the Block together into a danceable orgy of ear fun. Folks rocked out so heavily that half-way through his set you could see a delicate multi-colored mist hovering above the crowd from evaporating sweat. A thing of beauty to behold.

Midnight: Clipse
-Cocaine raps, plain and simple. This Virginia duo does it better than most, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd heard it all before. Not that I didn't enjoy their shit, but I felt slightly guilty for not sticking to my original plan by going to see Pierced Arrows and The Obituaries. Ah well.

Sunday, Sept. 9th:
-Yeah. Right. There was no chance in hell that I was going to pull myself together to make it to the final smattering of shows (Swim Swam Swum, Holy Fuck, and Wolf Parade). Just didn't happen. Slept like 13 hours instead and have no regrets. A great festival...man, I love this city.


Poll items

For our next poll (the current one is not done, so keep voting), we want you, the readers, to provide us with some ideas. The poll will survey where Portlanders take out-of-town guests to get a sense of the city and it's environs. We're not looking for, "When my parents come to visit, we usually go out for pastries and coffee." Rather, we want a more Portland-specific theme, such as, "When my parents come to visit, I take them to Voodoo doughnuts to get a 'cock and balls' pastry." Get it.

We're looking for unique Portland experiences that you share with out-of-towners. This will also be a chance for our readers to engage in dialogue via our comments section. So, if you will, please leave comments on what is a unique Portland destination point. We will then take your ideas and form them into a poll for next month.


P.S. If you are not local to Portland, you can still comment on places you like to go when visiting...or even would like to go if you ever make it to the Stump.


Great, I want my money back...

As I've gradually (reluctantly) become a Blazers fan, I can admit to getting caught up in the hype of a new era of basketball in Portland. Last year's draft produced a trio of players (Roy, Aldridge, and Rodriguez) that brought a hope and excitement to Portland that hasn't been seen since the days that Clyde glided and before the team earned the moniker, Jail Blazers. Of that trio, one earned Rookie of the Year honors (Roy), and another (Aldridge) made enough of an impression that management felt comfortable he could fill the shoes vacated by the since-traded Zach Randolph. Rodriguez showed enough potential and glimpses of pure brilliance, that he earned the nickname, Spanish Gypsy Magician. Oh wait, that's just what Old and I call him...but he is good and, indeed, a magician with the rock.

To bring the hype to an all new level, the Blazers won this year's draft lottery, netting them Greg Oden, a once-every-decade type center. In other words, they added yet another promising player to build the team around. Little did they, and the rest of Portland, know, but Greg Oden is 42 years old and has arthritic knees. So, to the disappointed amazement of Blazer fans, it has just been revealed that Greg will need season ending surgery to fix his geriatric patella. The procedure, micro-fracture surgery, involves drilling tiny holes in the knee to spur the growth of scar tissue. The build up of scar tissue would then take the place of Greg's missing cartilage in the knee. It is a surgery in which rehabilitation can take up to a year, with a return to full health not being guaranteed.
In the meantime, Blazer mania took a nice, square punch to the face and season ticket holders (many of which bought them due to Greg being drafted to the home team) are left with tickets they want refunded. While I fully intend to follow the team and their development, I'm sadly one of the fans who will be out some money, as I bought a 20-game Flex Pass with the anticipation of seeing 42 year old Greg dominate the wee lads that dared step in his way.

Hindsight is always 20-20, so I can't fault management for taking Oden over Durant in this year's draft. However, it was a bold move, as they set quite a precedent by drafting a player in his 40s. In their defense, it is not uncommon in today's sports world for athletes to excel in their 40s (Barry Bonds, George Foreman, Roger Clemens). The difference, though, is that those players are seasoned vets and have managed to keep themselves healthy throughout their careers. Some may even say those rare players have some sort of youth gene, delaying the aging process. Oden, on the other hand, has rapid aging syndrome and there is a legitimate fear that he will endure more injuries as his career develops. I hope I am wrong. I do want to see what this guy is capable of before it's too late. In fact, I can't wait till he returns to full health and moves Blazer basketball forward with Roy, Aldridge, and the rest of the young nucleus. Until next year, I suppose....


Portland Music Scene Pt. II (PDX Pop Now!)

The scene laid out before us is something born of an anarchic nightmare. Hundreds, if not thousands, of certainly-drunken teenagers are mulling about in an orgy of frustration and destruction. Bottles are being smashed against the apocalyptic-stark warehouse walls, voices are crying out in protest, men with badges swaying from their irate necks are screaming orders into the seething masses.

Welcome to denied access into a free local performance of The Blow that has recently reached capacity.

This is Jeff's introduction to the three-day (Aug. 3-5) music festival known as PDX Pop Now!. It's the fourth such annual event of it's kind (all local, all ages, no cover) to take place here in the Stump. The venue changes (in 2006 it was at the Loveland) seemingly every year, landing now at Audiocinema. Last year, I hit up dozens of the mini-sets (they last roughly 30 minutes each, perfect for us ADHD folks)...unfortunately, not so this time around. Short notice guests from out of town and the untimely disabling of my spinal cord disk nervous system prevented me from seeing more than a mere smattering of what was offered.

Friday, August 3rd:

10:10 The Blow
- As described above, Jeff and I obviously didn't catch this one, showing up a mere 3.7 seconds late. Bummer.
10:50 Braille
- 1/3 of the local hip hop group Lightheaded, this cat can rhyme. Sure, his subject matter (definitely leaning towards the more spiritual matters in life) may not appeal to most folks, but there's no denying his skill at the mic, and he comes equipped with a killer stage present to boot, seemingly hooked up to an IV of liquidized cocaine, jumping around so much you'd swear the stage was doubling as electro-convulsive therapy.

11:30 Hey Lover
- Had a difficult time getting into this husband (guitar)-wife (drums) combo. Lots of screaming, but light on sound.

- If Satan had appeared in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, his theme music would have been played by these guys and gals. Clowns meet band class meet anarchy meet pure sex meet stilt walkers trying to kick you in the face...a good time for all involved.

Saturday, August 4th:

- Didn't catch much of this act, but I'd like to hear more of their seemingly unique brand of orchestral storytelling.

11:05 Black Elk
- Admittedly not much of a metal fan, even when tinged with punk, this shit was amazing. Interesting stage antics and the sheer abuse the lead singer puts his vocal cords through got me mashing around in the crowd within moments.

11:45 Copy
- Having heard a few of his song's on previous PDX Pop Now! music comps (which are basically Cliff Notes for newcomers to the Portland music scene) I knew I'd like whatever Copy performed on his laptop and keytar (yes!...a fucking KEYTAR!), but nothing could prepare me for the dance scene I walked into. No one held back, all had disgustingly-satisfied smiles on their face, and the sweat sprayed buckets.

- Eemmm, no. Not my style, thank you very much.

Sunday, August 5th:

- Arrived late, having woken up just in time to ride our bikes down, either we didn't get a chance to appreciate these cats, or they just weren't all that interesting. I took a nap on the sidewalk while we waited for the next act to take the stage.

12:40 Libretto
- Or not. Apparently Libretto thought his set was at 12:40 tonight and wouldn't be appearing. Defeated and more than a little sleepy, Jeff and I decided against a riot and peddled off to get some breakfast at Junior's.

Next year, I swear I'll hit up more shows...


Road Trip, Shmoad Trip

Peep the tales from my recent cross-country drive at the following address:


You'll find the account to be a work in progress. There is too much to write in one sitting, so it will be a day by day progression. Check on it from time to time to capture the 16 day adventure in its entirety.

Punch Your Goiter

As the summer winds to an end, bringing with it the accompanying dread of 8 months of rain, Oldie and I took full advantage of a recent, warm summer's night. For those that know us, this could only mean one thing: a rendezvous on the Steel Bridge with the third member of our crew, Old English (could be St. Ides, Mickey's, or even 211, so long as there are no less than 40 ounces).

With the river beneath us, passing trains to our side, and the glowing downtown skyline as the backdrop, it was a perfect way to catch up. I had recently returned to Portland from a three week span of driving across the country and back, as well as a trip to the Bay Area for a bachelor party. Old had been pretty busy, too, for most of the summer, as he had done some travelling, hosted a lot of out of town guests, and began to prepare for his return to school. To say the least, we needed a night to catch up. So, we strapped on our 40 vests and made the Steel Bridge our living room.

After chopping game for a while, as well as listening to his boom box and the sound of passing trains, Oldie and I finished our 40s and headed downtown to meet some friends. Gretchen and her friend were with Nate at Dante's, where, on Monday nights, they host Karaoke From Hell. As popular as karaoke is in Portland, and as easy as it is to find a karaoke bar, Dante's takes the amateur singing experience to a different level with Karaoke From Hell. First, only serious contenders need apply...because if your game is weak, you get booed off stage. So to avoid the embarrassment of being judged and humiliated in front of a bunch of hipsters, resign yourself to just sitting in the audience. Secondly, what really sets this karaoke experience apart from places like Chopsticks and Galaxy is the live band that accompanies all the singers. So, instead of a cheesy, synthesized instrumental played through a stereo system, Dante's hosts a live band. What's more, there is no TV screen that lays out the lyrics and prompts you when to sing them. In other words, you have to know your shit.

While sitting in the audience, Jack and Coke in hand, Gretchen introduced us to another audience member sitting next to us. As the man writes for the Willamette Week, she figured Old and I, as aspiring writers, would be interested to meet him. As it turns out, the middle-aged, overweight dude was full of himself and needed an ego reduction. So, while figuring out a way in which we could lay down some harassment, as well as network for our "promising" writing careers, Old and I decided to kill two birds with one stone in the form of a note. With much deliberation, this is what our note said:

"Punch your goiter...."
Maybe it was the Old English that prompted such tact, but the note seemed to make perfect sense. On the one hand, the guy was a deusche (sp?) bag and had some level of harassment coming. On the other, he could have been a good networking tool. So we gambled with the note and figured we could at least accomplish one of our goals. In an ideal world, and the dude had a sense of humor, all the better...perhaps he'd visit our blog, discover its grandeur, and offer us a gig writing for one of Portland's newspapers. As it turns out, we got no reaction from the goitered man, and our actions became fruitless.
On with the night. When leaving Dante's, Old somehow convinced me to buy some cloves. It seems like a pretty insignificant detail, but the process that he went through to convince me, as well as himself, that me buying the cloves would free him from any guilt of smoking (he quit a couple months ago) is noteworthy. In fact, when he gave me some money, he made up a lie and said he was paying me back for something I bought for him previously...that way he wasn't helping purchase the cloves.
Anyway, we took the cloves, met up with Nate and Gretchen, who just got a box of Voodoo doughnuts, and headed back to Nate's apartment building in Oldtown. We finished the night on his 17th floor rooftop with another beer and some clandestine conversation.


Portland Music Scene Pt. I (Hip Hop)

This is the first entry in a three-part series on Portland's music scene. Tonight I head out to the MusicFestNW festival, and I realized I still have notes from two previous concerts/festivals that I had yet to share with you, our loyal readers. We'll start with a look into the Stump's hip hop scene via a show earlier this year, then check out last month's PDXPopNow, and finally end with my thoughts on this year's MusicFestNW sometime after I collapse from exhaustion Sunday night (well, early Monday morning actually) when it finally wraps up.
The Portland hip hop scene has yet to really blossom and capture the nation's attention. Granted, Cool Nutz's Harsh Game for the People, and Lifesavas' Spirit in Stone, both instant classics in their own right, received accolades from hip hop heads around the country, but the city has yet to really come into it's own. It's my belief that this is mostly due to a serious lack of support by the local music-loving population.

Nothing was more evident than this on a chilly and dark night way back in late winter as I strolled into Berbati's for a Black History celebratory show, featuring some of the hardest-working emcees in the city. To my surprise, there were no more than 15 folks "crowding" the floor below the stage. If you think that's bad, well, peep this...1/2 of these were the night's performers. Not sure if this was an indictment of Portland's respect-level for local rap artistry or local black culture in general. I grabbed a Pabst (noticeably out of style with this crowd...Heineken seems to be the drink of choice for rap connoisseurs), took a seat against the back wall next to Cool Nutz and his girlfriend, gave a sad laugh to the announcer's quip that "black history month is the shortest month of the year," and popped my ear's open for what was essentially a show geared towards an audience of other rap artists...the folks on the mic were more relaxed on the stage than usual, cracking jokes and holding conversations with their friends down below for 10-20 minutes at a time, but the music itself was mo' dope than G. W. Bush.

The night's lineup:
-DJ Chill on the Ones and Twos...a nice guy who once mistook me for a close homeboy at the Lloyd Center DMV. Apparently I look like someone named Gizzerelli. It was awkward, but a fun time for all involved, I'm sure.
-E-Wise & Wisdom...I don't really remember these two. Sorry gang.
-Ray Ray (from G-ism w/Young Randall...these two are Cool Nutz album regulars)
-Syndel (from Siren's Echo w/ Toni Hill...hardest-hitting female emcees in Portland)
-Soul P (formerly Soul Plasma) This guy has an amazing stage presence. I chatted with him for awhile about his experience with putting out his first nation-wide album, The Premiere, which I ended up buying.
-Mic Crenshaw (of Suckapunch, Cleveland Steamers and Hungry Mob)...one of the most under-appreciated and hardest working artists in the area. Wake up soon, or he's likely to move on to greener pastures (in fact, at a show that Lucky Green and I attended more recently, Mic proclaimed that Suckapunch will likely perform less in the future, saying that Portland is too small of a scene, and that they want to avoid over saturating it with too many shows = i.e. Portland isn't ready for this shit).
-Libretto...another guy I talked with for a good long while. He's folks with Lifesavas, and Vursatyl even showed up to help out with the hit track "Volume". Walked like 20 blocks to his truck after the show to pick up his latest, Ill-Oet: The Last Element, which is very Portland, very Watts, CA.
-Cool Nutz...you know, the locally-proclaimed "Godfather of Portland Rap." He's an often cheesy, gangsta-poet, but he's Cool-fucking-Nutz, and it's impossible not to like him.

It was a great night, too bad less than .00000001% of the City of Roses came out to enjoy it.
Faces to names:
DJ Chill
Lifesavas (L-R...Jumbo, Rev. Shines, Vursatyl)


Powell Lives

When driving down SE Powell Blvd, it is easy to cast it off as an ugly, depressing and overly busy thoroughfare. That's because it is. Especially in comparison to other arteries cutting through Southeast Portland, such as Hawthorne and Belmont Streets. Not only do you fear for your life when crossing traffic on Powell, but there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about the boulevard. It is flat out ugly and unwelcoming. This is true, as it begins at the Ross Island Bridge and extends east in to Gresham. Whether it's run down motels and apartment complexes, cheap fast food joints and strip malls, or a psychiatric residential facility, the street just does not reach out and grab you in a warm, fuzzy way.

Some tend to use Powell Blvd as a marker, a boundary of sorts, to cut off where hip Portland begins and ends (depending on what direction you're going). For this reason, on a recent night, Old refused an invitation to meet some friends and I at a restaurant/bar on Powell. I don't blame him, as he probably thought "bar" was code for meth-house, which wouldn't be out of character for the street. However, the fairly new establishment, The Blue Dragonfly, turned out to be a decent spot, even if it didn't fit in with its surroundings. While a bit overpriced, the restaurant offered a varied menu of food and drinks. And, more importantly, there was an outside patio that allowed for a more relaxed atmosphere.

In looking around, yeah, I saw a dirty gas station, a Jack in the Box, and an uber busy intersection (Powell and Milwaukie). But in looking deeper, I realized we were also surrounded by a popular all-night coffee shop, a cool music venue (The Aladdin) attached to a bar/restaurant and, further down the street, a large park. What's more, earlier in the evening, the same group (celebrating Gretchen's retirement) were enjoying themselves at another establishment, Vino Vixens, also on Powell. Vino's is a wine bar with expansive lounge seating sectioned off to accommodate groups of about 10-15 people. It is mellow, ambient, and very comfortable with it's seating array of couches, stools, and cushioned wicker chairs. What's more, there is a room that offers free pool and foos ball.

I do not want to sit here and pimp The Blue Dragonfly and Vino Vixens, although very cool in their own right, rather I want to suggest that maybe Powell Blvd isn't so much of a dead end that it is portrayed to be. In fact, the street is only going to improve as families continue to move into the Foster-Powell neighborhood and more restaurants and bars open shop on Powell. In addition, the city of Portland is proceeding with a beautification plan for the boulevard that will see more trees planted, increased maintenance of the street and sidewalks, as well as better management of traffic (including safer crosswalks).

While it may be a while (if ever) before Powell is mentioned in the same breath as Broadway, Burnside, Belmont, or Hawhthorne, I do believe that, in time, it will be a place where people can go as an alternative to trendier spots north of the boulevard. Take a venture to Powell...get some meth, get some fast food, but don't forget to check out some of the hidden gems in the area.


Poll Results Unsurprising

The final tally of votes for August's poll "Does Portland need Major League Baseball?" is as follows:

-Certainly. The city should purchase the SF Giants and move them north.
= 22%

-Mos Def. Any old team would do, as long as they're not called the Beavers.
= 54%

-No...as in you don't kNOw. I despise sports, and I must go now to see my favorite emo band, Feelings Hurt.
= 0%

-Never ever ever. I'm a member of Mayor Tom Potter's "I Hate Fun" club.
= 0%

-Completely ambivalent. Is baseball that game with the hoops?
= 22%

In short, a resounding majority of participants (76%, as computed using an equation only a genius such as myself can even begin to comprehend) want a MLB team located right here in Portland.

Do you hear that Tom Potter & Co.?

The people have spoken.


This Morning's Meteor "Shower"...

...was more like a clogged meteor sprinkler.

For the first time in personal memory, I actually set my alarm for 4:15 am in order to witness what was supposed to be one of the best meteor showers in the last 2 1/2 decades. In 30 minutes, I saw exactly 3 star shootlets. Not exactly breathtaking. Perhaps there were more than my eye could visualize, but due to the dismal urban light pollution in the NEP (that's Northeast Portland for all you suckas out there) I was apparently out of luck.

Two fortuitous things did happen in reward for my lost sleep:

-I discovered why my herbs aren't growing past the level of what can only be described as "scorched-earth"...apparently my killacat Frisco takes moonlight snacking seriously, God bless her ravenous heart.

-It still terrifies me to recount the horror of this event, but I was subjected to utter fearfulness by the repeated blood lust-filled wailing of the elusive Urban Yeti.

I'm sure that I only narrowly escaped complete destruction at the hands of this ferocious manbeast. Contact me if you'd like to put a posse together to go hunt for this monster sometime in the near future, though I may decline my own attendance, as cowardice is central to my life philosophy.

I did manage to snap off a few images of the hairy creature as he was shambling down the street...