Archive for October, 2005

Do you believe in ghosts? I do….

in 1999, we were given the opportunity to purchase an 1890’s victorian in n. portland. we were in the market for a new house and were looking in the hood for something we could get at a good price and turn it around. the house we purchased was from relatives. longs story short, the previous owner lived his last years in 1 room of the house and it was in need of some love. it also explains some of the experiences we have had since. the day we signed a contract with the current owners, they were nice enough to give us the keys so we could do some cleaning and begin moving in. it was also that day that i experienced my first, but not last ghostly experience.
when we arrived at the home, there was still some items left over from the estate sale and previous owner. very few of the lights worked as the bulbs were either burned out or just not there. in the late afternoon and evening, this led to a darker home than i prefer. on that first day, we decided to make the basement our base of operations, the place to store stuff while we worked upstairs. the first time i went down there, i just remember thinking, wow, there’s something strange here. 1000+ sq. ft. of emptyness other than the rafters and posts holding up the house. i figured out the lights, but i still felt like i was being watched or followed. that evening when at home, i mentioned it to my partner in crime and she too had felt a strange feeling in the house. her recommendation? next time you head down there, say loudly and confidently, “i’m coming down and this is my house now. i don’t mean to bother you if you don’t bother me.” it worked people. it worked. while i was down there in the dim light, i felt like whatever had been there was either gone, or satisfied with my assertion. but that wasn’t the end of our experience with the new home.

Portland and bikes

Portland and bikes

Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

To start off, this isn’t a rant against bikes. Haters can leave now. It’s pretty stormy here in puddletown today, but over the weekend, we did get some good weather. On Sunday, it was nice and dry enough to walk down to N Mississippi to get some coffee, a present and lunch. When we left our home, i observed a gaggle of bicyclists getting ready for a ride. When i say ride, i don’t mean a leisurly stroll, but a true ride. They took off east accross the skidmore bridge just as a fellow biker was coming west. The difference? The westbound biker was headed off to the store to return cans. Two different dichotomies of portland’s bike scene.

And then the rain came.

Sent from my phone, probably while hiding from the man.

Trick or treating protocol in PDX?

Happy Halloween! Are you ready for the hordes of monsters set to invade your house this evening?

But…will you even see ghouls and goblins in your neck of the woods? I know friends routinely trick-or-treat with us on the east side of town – sending their kid out on narrow SW streets without sidewalks in the dark isn’t an option, of course.

And do kids still go door-to-door – or has that been replaced with parties, excursions to a parent’s office, or something else?

How much does the weather play a part? I know that in years past, assuming that rain would deter the kids proved false. And then when the weather was great, I ended up with tons of leftover candy.

Where are the ‘hot’ trick-or-treating neighborhoods? (I know ours used to be one – you’d watch the cars roll in around 7 or so, disgorging what looked to be a full clown-car load…)

What do you do for your kids? What do you do for visiting trick-or-treaters?

Biting the hand you feed

How likely am I to dine at Ken’s Place? Not nearly as much as I might have been before I saw Chef Ken’s screed in the comments to his restaurant’s review on Portland Food & Drink.

I can understand feeling offended when your pride & joy is criticized. But to go on the attack with a guy who’s been a paying customer in your restaurant? Well, that’s just a bad PR move, for starters. And it left a nasty taste in my mouth.

From Ken’s comment:

Who is this ìFood Dude?î Who is he accountable to and what is his background and training, and who enforces his objectivity?

If he’d spent a little time poking around FoodDude’s site before launching his rant, he’d have discovered that the guy spends a ton of time and money dining out around town (his triple digit dining bill for last week alone almost knocked me off my chair.) His reviews are based on several visits, and start with the premise that the experience will be a pleasant one. His critiques are velvet gloved, and I know he’s pulled punches that might sorta maybe approach the suckerpunch realm. (I wouldn’t have been as kind…)

But, most importantly, he’s the guy who paid his tab at the end of the night. He’s the guy who’s already promised to pay more tabs in the future, in hopes that things will be better. He’s your customer.

Do you really want to be calling him out in front of several hundred people – many who could care less about what ‘professional’ restaurant reviewers have to say? Wouldn’t it have been much more gracious to say this?

I’m sorry your recent experiences here weren’t good ones. While we strive to make each meal enjoyable, occasionally we may miss the mark. Please let us know next time if something isn’t to your liking, and we’ll do our best to remedy the situation. We hope to see you again at Ken’s Place.

Here’s a simple truth: You don’t bite the hand that you feed. Especially when there’s an audience paying attention.

To be fair, it does appear that FoodDude and Ken have had several subsequent email conversations and come to a meeting of the minds (although Ken might want to think about deleting the screed, as it reflects poorly on him.) And it’s also fair to note that FoodDude is a friend of mine – even though he might characterize it as a stalker/stalkee relationship and has NOT asked me to write about this (and no, I’m not going to tell anyone who he is or what he looks like…)

And just in case I need to post my CV? Years working in restaurants, years as a reviewer (although not food) for mainstream pubs, not to mention several additional years spent marinating in media outlets. And – oh yeah – that time spent working for a PR firm.

(Ken – feel free to adapt that and use it from now on. No charge…)

Hollywood Farmer’s Market – last day

I ventured out in the rain for the last Farmer’s Market a few hours ago, sure that the crowd would be a light one.

Uh, no. Oregonians are a die-hard sort when it comes to farmer’s marketing in the rain, it seems.

While there were more craft vendors than I’ve seen before (filling in the gaps for the farmers who’ve already ended their stints there), there were also plenty of deals to be had. The apple and pear woman was doing a brisk business, with no fewer than six people in line at any given time. I scored pippins, comice pears, a jonagold or two, and a kind or two I can’t remember (there’s a crisp or two now on my weekend baking agenda) – all for 89 cents a pound!

The squash vendors also had some great sales going – I lugged home over six pounds of assorted winter squashes (including one small pumpkin) which will become roast squash-apple-pear soup in the next day or two.

But the best deal of all? Huge peppers, in assorted colors – 3 for a dollar.

Goodbye, Farmer’s Market. The produce I’ll see on my grocery store shelves will seem anemic and/or overpriced in comparison these next few months. (I can’t imagine willingly waiting in line in the rain for pears at Freddy’s, for example.) Plus, the shopping atmosphere just isn’t the same at, say, Safeway or even New Seasons.

I’ll miss you – but I’ll be back (with my sturdy cloth shopping bags, of course) next year…!

City of Portland Archives

City of Portland Archives

Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

I love portland. Today, the Stanley Parr archive were opened for public viewing. I went and visited this afternoon and really enjoyed what they had to offer.

The building up off N Columbia use to be the city incinorator and now serves as the repository of all things public record. There were ledgers of liens and arrest records and such.. There were original maps of portland from the 1800’s. There were personal records fro commisioner Sten and then Mayor Goldschmidt. I was in heaven.

anyone can use the services of the archives and the city archivists. If you are interested in something about your neighborhood, they can help you through the tons of information to find what you seek. i am thinking of getting an appt. to find out more about Albina.

Sent from my phone, probably while hiding from the man.

Portland Tribune and Religion?

Picked up the Portland Tribune this morning to find an advertising insert for Christian Supply. Normally, I would just recycle this and be on my way, but then I thought – “hey, wasn’t there an insert a couple weeks ago for the Scientologist’s Celebrity Center?” And indeed there was. Does the Portland Tribune have a tie-in with the local religious community? In my opinion, that could skew one’s perception of how the news is reported.

just a friday morning, un-coffeed observation.

You can’t get there from here…

…without a trip downtown first. So sayeth the sooths at TriMet’s web-based Trip Planner, anyway.

I love the TriMet website – for most things. That new Transit Tracker system, that tells me a real, live, specific bus will be at my stop in exactly 12 minutes, thanks to satellite tracking? Adore it. But I’ve learned to cast a skeptical eye at that Trip Planner.

Yesterday, for example, I was mapping out a simple route from inner SE to close-in NE. I already had a pretty good idea of which two buses I needed to take, and what stops I’d be using – just wanted a quick timeline without needing to visit the timetables for each bus.

If I’d gone by the itineraries Trip Planner gave me, I’d have been traveling downtown first for each and every one of the six routes it plotted out (including one that had me taking the first bus on my list southbound to downtown, to make the connection to my second bus.)

I know all about the hub and spoke system that is TriMet, believe me. I know how to work the search setup with precision (former researcher that I am.) And I managed to successfully get to my destination using my own investigative powers.

It’s just too bad that I couldn’t rely on Trip Tracker – unless I wanted a downtown scenic shopping tour, that is.

Wonder if TriMet’s in cahoots with the Portland Business Alliance here…?

Geeks unite. Portland’s first graphic novel club

Just returned from the Crow Bar on N. Mississippi (spell it out people.) We had our first meeting of the Portland Graphic Novel Club there and i have to say, I’m excited for what’s to come.

There were 7 of us, including our founder, Michael, from Bridge City Comics down the street. I learned i am not the only one who is a newbie to comics and graphic novels. We started with intros and our specific interests in artists and writers and then moved on to a wonderful discussion about likes and dislikes with regards to the genre. The group was amazing because there were true comic gurus, ones who rip through a graphic novel in a night, and then there were some like me who were there to listen and learn. A great group to say the least.

The Crow Bar even mixed us some great drinks. Thanks Patrick. And yes, you do have great hair.

We decided to read Global Frequency by Warren Ellis for next month. We’re shooting for Nov. 17 from 7-9p. for our next meeting. Put it on your calendar and come join us. It was a blast.

Sent from my phone, probably while hiding from the man.

Geek out with me

You know you want to…

Tonight: The Absolute FIRST ever Portland Graphic Novel Reading Club!! Just bring your favorite graphic novel/comic/trade paperback to Crow Bar and talk comics with other Portlandians (who ever would have thought I’d use the term Portlandians twice in one day… see previous entry…). What ever shall I bring? Peculia (just in time for Halloween!)? Walking Dead (everyday is a good day for zombies in my opinion!)? Meatcake? Y: The Last Man? So many choices and so little time! Let’s hope this becomes a Crow Bar mainstay.

Here’s the details:

Crow Bar (not geeky, I swear)
3954 N. Mississippi
6pm – 8pm Lower Level (non-smoking, yeah!)
And because the guys at Crowbar are so cool, Happy Hour prices on drinks and food!

This is a bar people, so you’ve got to be at least 21.

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