Archive for December, 2005

Have A Butt-Load of Fun in the New Year

Kiss my butt 2005, cuz’ 2006 is here. Well, in some parts of the world it is. So it may as well be here, too. Right?
We’re having fun tonight. My son, Daniel, made his resolution: “Spend more time with friends and meet new friends.” Nice and simple, huh?

Happy New Year!


My family has an odd tradition. We like sit around the kitchen table making predictions about the New Year. We take turns until each of us have predicted five things we think will happen in the coming year. This year my predictions were all entertainment related. I thought I would share them with you.

1. Sam Raimi will win an Oscar.

2. Rob Schenider will not.

3. Due to a freak lightning strike on set three actors will be merged into one being becoming, MaryKateAshleyMerlin Olsen.

4. Tired of the lame macho guy image in Hollywood John Wayne will rise from the dead, kick everyoneÔøΩs ass and show them all what a real tough guy is.

5. Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson will get together and adopt a Chinese baby.

IÔøΩm hoping to get at least two right. Please share your predictions with me.

This is a link to the funniest New Year blog I have seen. Happy New Year

Concordia Ale House


Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

need a beer? how bout a Hercules IPA or a Steelhead Extra Pale, or a Framboise Lambic, or a Reissdorf Kolsch, or a Brasserie Grand Cru, or a Avery CZAR Stout, or a New Castle Brown, or maybe even a Terminal Gravity Fest. These are only a handful of the 170+ beers the Concodia Ale House has in stock. When we visited just before Christmas, there bottle list was 7 pages long and the draft list had 20 beers on it, mostly seasonal. Amazing! a freind @ Higgin’s recommended the place and i’m glad i visited. i imbibed with a Terminal Gravity Fest, a strong ale brewed right here in Oregon. i then followed my mate and went with a New Belgium Single Speed, their seasonal out of Colorado. Wow, what a treat.
I asked the manager/owner/bartender if i could blog about the locale and she was excited, but asked that i not list all the beers as the stock changes regularly. i have only highlighted a few and if the stock does change, that’s more reason to visit, just to see what’s new.

Concordia Ale House and Eatery
3276 NE Killingsworth
503 287 3929

someone said it was raining…..

hawethorne bridge

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

oh my was i wet today. i thought – “hey, let’s wander down to the willamette and take some photos.” bad idea even with a rain jacket. my feet were soaked, my jeans were heavy and my nose was cold. boy has it been raining. luckily, i live up on Albina bluff and overlook, so we’re not flooded, but the intersection is as a result of some leaves.
i remember the 1996 flooding of the willamette and just heard on the news that we are not in the same situation. there is flooding and i understand I5 is closed south of Ashland due to a mudslide. if you need sandbags or sand for sandbags, you can get it usually at any of the big box home stores like Home Depot of Lowes.

oh and tomorrow is the last day to go fishing in 2005 and its a keeper day. will i see you’all out there on the willamette????

Our year in review

I have to admit that I gasped in dismay when it came time to pick out the “best” posts of 2005 for our site. Nope, it’s not ’cause there’s nothing worth picking – in fact, this intrepid group of authors wrote thisclose to 700 posts this year. Instead, I was struggling with the whole notion of ‘best’ – is it about traffic? Breaking news? Offering up a unique POV? Writing with brilliant or pithy prose? Generating tons of comments? I’d say -uh, all of the above. Which makes it really hard to pick out just 10 (my original goal here.) So in true Libra fashion, I’m offering up 28 instead…(feel free to narrow it down yourselves if you want it all nice and neat and tidy, ok?)

See, I think posts that generate a lot of back and forth, or lure in a particular community, count as best. And we certainly saw that happen, whether we’re talking circuit climbing or Mexican food or even something as seemingly non-controversial as where I should take out-of-town guests for dinner.

And then there are those posts that people discover and keep alive months later – dim sum, anyone? (Proud side note: we collectively pronounced Wong’s King the place to go before the real buzz hit.)

The thriving PDX food community helped us sustain conversations about overrated PDX restaurants, or whether choosing local ought to play into where you eat out. And we waxed poetic about our own food choices, whether chowing on leafy greens or baked goods.

Opinions? We have them in abundance – and you’ve got them right back (it’s part of what I think make blogs as a whole ‘best’, after all…) We still see plenty of inbound traffic to posts ranting about PDX’s panhandlers, cell phone users, the ‘war’ on meth and bus riders. And some of us believe that soccer, and not baseball is where it’s really at. But we also share our passions, whether talking about trains, puppies or newfound obsessions with puzzles (this post contains the best sudoku haiku ever.)

We painted you pictures via posts about traveling couches, haunted houses, strong bread or coffee shop poets. And we also shared plenty of photos, whether pumpkin picking, skiing collisions (I still can’t bring myself to look at that one) or just the stuff we see on our daily travels (Dieselboi deserves a special shout-out for his one-man moblogging efforts all year.)

And then, the posts that are my own personal favorites (since I waded through all 690ish posts to get ready for this one, I don’t much mind pulling rank): Praising PDX, the squeezing out of Thanksgiving, a wry observation about an itinerant preacher, a convo with Greg Glover, and, finally, a moonlit evening.

Finally – what else is ‘best’ this year (speaking strictly for myself, of course)? All of you. Whether you’re challenging us, disagreeing with us, or even flat-out dissing what we do and/or say (right down to how quickly we react to spam, no less) – it’s all good, cause you’re reacting to what we’re offering up. And, of course, your contributions add to the collective groove we’ve got going on – thank you for that!

Caught with their hands in the cookie jar…

I loved this story in today’s O: County attorney’s eBay sales checked. Bottom line? If you’re going to sell goods stolen from your employer, best wait for more than five years before trying to offload them, hmmm? And using an eBay account that contains your first name will probably make it harder to prove you had ‘noTHINK’ to do with it, no?

For those who didn’t see the article: Alert Intel security investigator recovers two laptops once owned by the company – both reported ‘lost’ after former employees departed in November 2000 – on eBay after noting that the seller lives in Hillsboro. The husband, Elmer Dickens, is an assistant county counsel for Washington county; his wife Tami works for Intel – as a finance security analyst, no less. And the eBay account?


The wife’s excuse is a classic – if unbelievable one: they “made exchanges with people”; she doesn’t know where the laptops came from.


I think we ought to set that crack Intel investigator on some more lofty tasks than hunting down five-year-old missing laptops, though. Isn’t Osama bin Laden still missing somewhere in Afghanistan…?

Update: Someone just told me via email that Community Newspapers’ Washington
County reporter AmyJo Brown actually should get credit for breaking the story in the Forest Grove News Times yesterday. Apparently the story’s not online (boo hiss), but my informant tells me that “she got better detail from original investigative documents than the O” offered up.

Side note: Can I just say how annoying The O’s habit of not crediting other news sources is? They’re oh-so-quick to praise themselves (‘as reported by The Oregonian in our exclusive ongoing series’ blah blah blah in every single story about meth or Police Bureau pension payments, for example), but leave out details like WWeek’s work in the Goldschdmidt story, PGE coverage, etc. etc etc. How hard would it have been to give the small local weekly a bit of credit here…?

I’m not depressed, I have depleted seratonin

I’m still trying to fully assimilate the bounty of Christmas presents that still lay (or is it lie? I can never seem to get that part of English grammar fixed into my consciousness) in bags and boxes all over the living room. So far I just haven’t been able to bring myself to integrate the stuff completely into my home. Then again, what is one supposed to do with a pooka shell soap holder (at least I think it’s a soap holder), 2 plastic funnels, a bag of rubber bands (I’m not kidding) a plastic thermometer and a a huge plate of what I believe are some sort of jam-filled cresent rolls? Oh, dear readers, that’s just a small sampling of the huge X-mas booty I have in my possession.

And why do I have this sort of strange superstition around New Years? There’s this expectation in my mind, I suppose, that I’ve got to have this really fantastic, mind blowing New Year’s Eve. Then somewhere down the line I got it in my head that what I’m doing and who I’m with on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the rest of the year. Are you smelling the recipe for disaster in this scenario, too?

So here’s to bags of rubber bands and pooka shell soap holders. Cheers!

Thank You Mark Setlock

The world premiere of ÔøΩThis Wonderful LifeÔøΩ, the one-man stage adaptation of ÔøΩItÔøΩs a Wonderful LifeÔøΩ has come and gone through Portland. I hope it was a huge success for everyone involved. I caught one of the matinees and it was a great show even though there were only about 50 people in the audience.

I really enjoyed this production. (It was a lot like watching a live episode of MST3K. I mean that as a huge compliment.) IÔøΩm not a big fan of the original ÔøΩItÔøΩs a Wonderful LifeÔøΩ movie, so I was a little skeptical about seeing the one-man stage version. However, the show isnÔøΩt a direct adaptation of the movie. ItÔøΩs more like a commentary about the heart and soul of the movie acted out with great vigor by one actor! Luckily, I have seen the original movie enough to laugh along with the rest of the crowd at most of the jokes. I laughed a lot. Even the smaller kids I saw at the show stayed rapt.

The only thing about the show I didnÔøΩt like was the space it was performed in. PCS is just too big of an auditorium for such an intimate show. Even the set, which was really amazing, was all bunched up in the center of the stage. I think the show would have been even more enjoyable if it had been in a smaller space. I was sitting third row center and I still felt far away.

I have the feeling Mark could have opened this show in any town he wanted. He chose Portland. Which is pretty cool considering this is probably going to end up being one of those shows that is performed year after year all over the country at Christmas time. Well it all started here.

So, I would like to thank Mark Setlock and everyone involved for bringing the show here and adding to the history of theater in Portland. I hope we can all see you again next Christmas time.

Did anyone else see it?

And this New Year’s Eve?

As someone who is old enough to get mail from the AARP, I’ve been at this New Year’s Eve thing awhile.

Let’s do this in 10-year increments, then progress to a yearly account:

1975-76: Beer at some Atlanta blues club. Striking up a conversation with some woman who – in my booze and whatever endorphin haze, seemed to be interested in me. Calling her the next day, got a “what can I do for you.” Oh, it’s happened again since then.

1985-86. Spent it on a nice meal and a quiet countdown with a woman I really loved. Not even three years later, her ashes were set free on a Kentucky hillside. I did not need to see the movie “Love Story,” for I lived it.

1995-96. Not quite in Portland yet (that was to take place in 9/1997). Red wine on the couch with a fun lady whose very large and neurotically needing-of-affection dog kept jumping in between us. Get emails from her every few months or so – she’s theologically committed in a certain way, and she says I don’t know what I am missing.

1997-98: Hearing the marathoners at midnight loud and clear from my overpriced apartment on the cliffs above NW 23. An apartment I would live in up until the end of February 2005.

1998-1999: Took the now-discontinued Pacific Starlight Dinner train from North Vancouver, B.C. to Porteau Cove. Toasts at midnight as we debarked at a very cold station at Porteau. Some band was at the station, playing traditional music and no, they didn’t play Prince’s “1999.” When we got back to our hotel (Pan Pacfic) made sure I placed the trash bucket right at her side of the bed. Slept ’til 2. Brunch

1999-2000. Dateless at the turn of the millennium. Had been dumped a month prior by the 1998-99 companion whose adventures I just described. I was in my office working, and heard the countdown in the background.

2000-2001. Very similar to above. But I did have my headphones on, sipped burgundy and listened to Robert Cray, Hank Sr., my usual eclectic mix.

2001-2002. Had about two too many with a woman whom I subsequently found out was an alcoholic. Since then, she’s had a rough time of it. A few years back, Me Mum says to me “Russell, you are not a social worker.” My life would have been easier if I remembered that advice.

2002-2003. Portland Spirit dinner cruise followed by a horse-y ride from Salmon Street Fountain up to Tiffany Center to hear Pink Martini. I say “hear,” cuz was so crowded, could barely get a view of them.

2003-2004. Not alone, but slept thru the countdown in Eugene. Bronchitis.

2004-2005. Had a glass of wine as the X-chromosomal unit and I brought back a few DVDs from Blockbuster.

2005-06. Might have a glass of wine as the X-chromosomal unit and I hunt for a good movie available on digital cable.

And you?

Random PDX mid-holiday flotsam

  • Did you know that if you show your monthly TriMet transit pass at the Starbucks on NE MLK near Multnomah, you’ll get 10 cents off your drink order? (I don’t know if all Starbucks do this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?) Guess it wasn’t so dorky after all to wear the thing around my neck this morning…
  • Note to store owners with those perma-on neon ‘Open’ signs: if your lights are off and the chairs on top of the tables on Christmas Day, you are, in fact, not open (and should probably unplug those signs, no?)
  • I am now a Pioneer Organics convert – we got our inaugural box last week full of good stuff. And the whole process gave me those warm and fuzzy vibes (I was a huge fan – still cherish my coffee mug and mouse pad, in fact.) Inspired to try it yourself? Say I recommended you (betsywhim at gmail dot com) and help my kids eat more veggies with the referral credit I’ll receive, heh.
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