Archive for November, 2006

Missing Friend: James Kim

i just received word from Chris Pirillo that James Kim and his family is missing after stopping in Portland last Saturday for brunch with friends. Missing are Kim, his wife and two children, Penelope, 4 and 6-month-old daughter, Sabine. If you know anything about James’ whereabouts, you can contact the SFPD by calling 415-558-5508 during normal business hours and 415-553-1071 after hours.

From Chris Pirillo’s blog:

CNET editor and former Fresh Gear contributor and Lab analyst James Kim has been missing since Saturday. ANY word, especially from people in the Oregon area is appreciated. The information is all below from the official investigation by the SFPD.

Missing Family Includes: James, Kati, Penelope (age 4.5) and Sabine (6 months). Last name is Kim.

Overview: The Kim Family left San Francisco on November 17th on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. They had thanksgiving in Seattle with family and then drove to Portland. They were last seen by their friends in Portland who they had brunch with on Saturday, November 25. According to their friends, their plans were to drive out to the town of Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast and then make their way back to San Francisco. James was expected back at work on Tuesday, November 28th. When no one had heard from him by Wednesday morning employees at the Kims’ two stores and his colleagues at CNET began to make phone calls to his family and friends to inquire of his whereabouts. Presently, the SFPD is investigating the case.

Bike Light Parade

It should go without saying, especially at this time of year, but if you are going to be riding your bike in the dark, you need to have a bike light. Forget about whether or not you are required to have one (you are), it’s just a damned good idea.

As part of Portland DOT’s new “See and Be Seen” bike visibility campaign, folks will be gathering at the Community Cycling Center at NE 17th and Alberta for a Bike Light Parade. The parade is a kickoff event for the new program which is intended to encourage drivers to see bicyclists, and cyclists to get lit up. The compaign will include ads placed in and on TriMet buses, and on bus stops and benches.

Folks will start gathering at 5:00 pm, and the parade starts at 5:30. Prizes will be awarded afterwards for “Mr/Ms Safety”, “Best Artistic Expression in an Illumanitive Context” (the mind boggles), and “Hey! Point that thing somewhere else, you’re blinding me!”.

Come meet Commissioner Sam Adams! Enjoy the attention of members of the press! And the Community Cycling Center will also be installing sets of lights FREE for low-income community members (note, you MUST have a bike, and genuinely NEED the lights to qualify). So come on down! Everyone loves a parade! Just like everyone loves exclamation points!

Fighting the Noise With Gentleness

Here I am on the cliffside above NW 23rd., doing my daily blogging here, there and seemingly anywhere.

In my right ear, and down the cliff, I hear the heavy jackhammers and the shouted communications of workers feverishly racing to build the high-rise condos known as The Westerly. They will be gorgeous when done but the getting there seems to be going down at around 120db.

And in my left ear, the leafblowers. Yes, I know they are necessary, especially in a season named for leaves that have dropped to the ground.

But oh are they noisy.

I can work in noise, but I’d rather not.
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Oregon Sports Weekend Run-down (a couple days early)

A new feature! Every weekend, I’ll run down the big news in Oregon sports. Since I’m out of town this weekend, I thought I’d get an early jump on it. This week:

– Will the U of O curse infect the basketball squad?
– OSU, prepping for a drubbing…
– Blazers settling in to mediocrity in convincing fashion.

Stories after the jump.
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Portland’s Fifth Gift to the World: Bob Packwood

This week, Metroblogging sites around the globe are offering up gifts their city has given the world. Portland has thus far gifted The Simpsons, the Suicide Girls, Livejournal, and Death with Dignity.

Often when it’s time to receive gifts, one wonders what they’re going to get from that weird creepy uncle. Portland would like to proudly offer up…well, that weird creepy uncle. Packwood wasn’t the first congressman to be involved in a sex scandal, but he was one of the first ones with such a high level of influence to be implicated in a scandal directly affecting issues near and dear to his heart, and one of the first ones to resign from power.

Packwood was a Portland lawyer who was elected to the US Senate in 1968. He was there for nearly 30 years, rising to prominence and power (including a chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee.) Packwood was Portland’s version of a Republican — pro-choice and in favor of gun control. But despite his stances on women’s rights, it was the way he, um, chose to keep in touch with this particular constituency that led to his downfall.

Packwood had a pair of large issues pressing against him: his repeated harassment of dozens of women over his career, and the fact that he kept a diary of his adventures. Like Mark Foley’s instant messages, a written record requires explanation, and Packwood was unable to come up with a plausible, socially acceptable explanation for quotes from his diary such as “God, was she a good player. I was so fascinated in watching her bid and play that I could hardly concentrate on her breasts.”

He stood firm in his beliefs but eventually resigned after a vote to expel him from the senate for ethics violations. Mr. Packwood was a trend setter for sexually questionable legislators everywhere and we offer him as our fifth gift to the world.

From November 26th to December 2nd, Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

To keep track, browse the numerous Metblogs, or check in periodically for updates at this post.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts 7Gifts Metroblogging7Gifts

5 Questions for Daryl Olsen

2-headed-freak.jpg
(Gary Hirsch [left] and Daryl Olsen as the amazing two-headed psychic.)

Daryl Olsen is the founding member of brainwaves improvisational comedy and long time Portlander. Daryl would also get my vote if they ever have a “Fastest Wit and Flat Out Funniest Person in Portland” contest.

In an earlier post I talked about brainwaves starting a run of shows to celebrate 20 years of improv comedy and after their opening weekend I had a chance to ask Daryl five questions. I thought I would share them with you.

ME: “When you first started the group [brainwaves] in 1986 did you ever think, ‘Yeah, I’ll still be doing this twenty years from now?'”

DARYL: “I’m not sure that I specifically thought ‘I want to do this for 20 years,’ but I knew that I wanted it to be a long-term part of my life. I remember the night that I stood up in a comedy class in 1986 and asked people if they wanted to form a group, I came home and wrote myself a letter that said I knew in my heart that if we committed to this it would be a special and successful journey. The first year saw many trials, as people from the class dropped out and we had to add new members, but I was glad I stuck through that tough first year.”

ME: “I know for years the group focused on touring, has that changed?”

DARYL: “From 1991-2001, we were focused on doing college tours. We showcased at College conferences and had agents booking shows for us. In early 2002, the economy went belly-up and we stopped doing so many tours. Also, the members of the group grew a bit tired of driving around in a van for a month in the Midwest. Since then we have become more focused on having a regular home and playing to crowds here in Portland. Also, doing more Corporate work in the NW. But, still, the occasional road trip comes up, and many of us travel with On Your Feet.”

ME: “Are Portland audiences different from other cities?”

DARYL: “We have an advantage with Portland audiences, since we all live here and can incorporate daily life into the show. At first when we started touring and playing at events like The Chicago Improv Festival, I worried that our show would not transfer to another city. But, we found that humor is universal. Our showcase in Chicago killed and we got a standing ovation.”

ME: “How does brainwaves differ from the other improv groups in town?”

DARYL: “I think what makes us unique is that we are a small ensemble. I like to think of us as a comedy troupe that just happens to do improvisation. I believe that our focus on having an equal gender count in the group is important. Any improv group that wants to survive has to have talented and confident women, who get as much stage time as the guys.”

ME: “Do you think brainwaves will last another twenty years?”

DARYL: “I hope so. I am as engaged and excited about this work now, 20 years later, as I have ever been. It would be hard to picture my life without brainwaves. Thanks for asking!”

The brainwaves 20-year anniversary run continues Fridays and Saturdays until December 23. Details here!

Portland’s Fourth Gift to the World: Death with Dignity

This week, Metroblogging sites around the globe are offering up gifts their city has given the world. Portland has thus far offered up The Simpsons, the SuicideGirls, and LiveJournal.

This might be the gift you dread– the socks, the underwear– it’s certainly not sexy like the Suicide Girls or funny like The Simpsons, but it’s also the gift that might last the longest and might bring you the most comfort in the long run. Or you could think it’s the worst gift ever and hustle back to the place of origin (in this case, our state government) and demand a refund. And that gift is Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which I know isn’t specifically Portland-based, but was undoubtably passed through the votes of all the (us) lefty, hippie, liberal, hands-off-my-body Portlanders and Portland types in the state, so I’m claiming it as a gift here– TAKE IT! You may not know you want it, you may never need it, but stick it in a drawer and know it’s there.

As somebody who very nearly lost a close relative to a possibly terminal disease a while ago and is also currently watching a formerly bright, strong, with-it grandparent descend into unrecognizableness, I’d like to think that it would be/could be/should be up to each and every one of us to decide, if our body or mind is beyond our control and deteriorating, that we are able to choose our time of leaving our body behind. And currently no other state, though some are close to changing that, has on the books a law that gives at least some allowance for choosing your own way out of this physical realm, though many other countries around the world do.

I missed this recent letter to the editor in the Oregonian that was published recently, but think it’s apt:

On the front of the Living section was an article about the challenges, risks and rewards of climbing Mount Everest. I would not for a minute question the right of anyone to engage in a dangerous, life-threatening, possibly suicidal undertaking, even if just for thrills, fame or money.
But if people who are healthy, usually young and often responsible for families are given this autonomy over their own lives, why shouldn’t the same right be given to those who are suffering and without hope?
Queen Victoria was one of the first women to receive anesthesia during childbirth. She thought it was marvelous, but her subjects were appalled. After all, women were supposed to suffer in childbirth. Attitudes do evolve.
Hopefully the right to “die with dignity” will sooner, not later, be accepted as a humane choice.

And as part of this gift, and in the spirit of the season, I would hope that you would remember those that are less fortunate than yourself, those that might be suffering, and might take a minute, no matter what your personal beliefs in this arena, to wish them peace and freedom from whatever shape their pain might take.
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From November 26th to December 2nd, Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.
To keep track, browse the numerous Metblogs, or check in periodically for updates at this post.
Tags: Metblogs7Gifts 7Gifts Metroblogging7Gifts

Driving with Perky Nipples

Yes, it’s cold out. Which makes certain parts of the body perk up, and other parts of the body go hide. But that’s not my point.

The light dusting of snow a couple days ago and the predicted freezing rain for this evening lead to many things such as reporters standing on the Sylvan overpass, folks chaining up on wet pavement, and a bunch of SUV-driving soccer moms thinking that because they have 4WD they can go 50mph when it’s icy. Technically, they can. They just can’t stop.

And yes, we’re well aware that back in Chicago/New Yawk/wherever you moved here from, a little snow and ice wasn’t a big deal. Here, it is.

I saw this on another Portland-area “blog”:

We live up on the hill in West Linn (right off the 10th street exit), and driving home last night I was slipping and sliding all over the road. Driving at 20 MPH, I slid straight through a turn and almost crashed head-on with oncoming traffic.

To get to school, I have to drive down this giant hill and up through Lake Oswego over towards the Terwilliger curves.

Is it safe?

My response: if you have to ask, and apparently have demonstrated you can’t drive safely, please stay home. We all thank you.

I’m not sure I have one solid theme here… maybe it’s just “try not to do something stupid?” Think? Plan ahead? </optimism>

No fur for you!

After months and months and months of battling fur protesters outside their store, Schumacher Furs is pulling up stakes and heading to an undisclosed suburban location. Owner Greg Schumacher cites a litany of reasons to leave (protesters are one factor, to be sure) – panhandlers, public urination and street musicians (???).

I’ve been following this issue with a jaded eye for the last few months – I’d like to see downtown businesses survive, but also couldn’t help but agree with Randy Leonard’s conclusion (after he stepped back from trying to resolve the conflict with protesters): “I honestly had never been involved in anything in which I felt like the folks I was trying to help did not want to be helped.”

But while I don’t necessarily begrudge the protesters their right to free speech and assembly, I have to ask this: couldn’t all that effort and energy have been better spent? They didn’t manage to save one animal from being killed, after all. And I really don’t think that the protesters will pick up their stakes and follow Schumacher to the suburbs. So ultimately – what was the point, anyway?

But hey – with all that free time, maybe protesters can help solve a tangible problem close to home. There’s that whole ‘appalling quality of street musicians’ issue that apparently needs serious attention, for starters…

Update: According to The Merc, it’s not a planned retreat – Schumacher EVICTED–not “leaving”. Matt Davis has the scoop, as per usual…

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful – But the Beer is So Delightful

It’s that time of year again when Portlanders really prove their merit by enjoying frosty cold beers outdoors in December during a time when the average high is 46 degrees and the average monthly rainfall is the cities highest at about 6.75 inches.

Of course the ‘outdoors’ is really a well-heated tent in Pioneer Courthouse Square and the frosty beverages are the warm-you-to-your-core-rich-malty-goodness-of-a-big-winter-ale type, so fear not newcomers, this is the place to be Thurs-Sat from 11am to 10pm (and noon-6 on Sunday)

The Holiday Ale Festival is the chance for the local and regional brewers to really show off their creativity and go just nuts making these super strong super tasty beers. The beers have great names like “Ho Ho Homo Erectus”, “Blizzard of Ozz”, “Sled Crasher” and “Papa Noel’s Olde Ale” and they’re strong – ranging from 6-12% alcohol (The MAX practically pulls up to the tent and then you don’t have to walk or drive!)

Sadly this year it doesn’t coincide with SantaCon 2006 – but there’s bound to be a few jolly fellows here nonetheless!

I have only one request for anyone going to the fest: Yes, I know it says that minors can attend when accompanied by their parents – but it’s REALLY not a good idea. Unlike the summer and spring brewfests – this one is in a rather confined space and there is nowhere for them to go and run and be kids. There is also no room for a stroller – or even a kiddie backpack – one women last year kept knocking innocent beer drinkers over every time she turned around – let alone the whiplash she gave the poor kid.

So I’ll see you there – I’ll be the one with the beer in hand and the rosy cheeked grin.

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