Archive for November, 2006

Portland’s third gift to the world: LiveJournal

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 and SuicideGirls.

Back in the day, Brad Fitzpatrick wanted a good way to keep up with his high school friends, so he whipped up some database code to make it easy to update his own web page. In 1999, he set it up so his friends could use it too. 11694808 accounts later, here we are. LJ was based out on the west side of town until January 05, and now the LJ company Danga Interactive is part of SixApart (who does TypePad, Movable Type which is what the Metroblog is run on, and the shiny new Vox. It’s a tangled web we weave in Blogistan, I know.)

One of those 11694808 accounts happens to be mine, which doesn’t get updated as often as it should. However, the updating it does get was what helped get me signed up as a Metroblogger, so it isn’t like I totally neglect it!

To be fair, I’m a bit older and bit less navelgazer than the stereotypical LJ user, and someday I might go get a “big-girl” blog someplace else. But I haven’t yet for two reasons:

1. Someone completely anonymous bought my a year for my birthday last year and the year before, and someone else bought me a 3-month account – so I’m paid until January 07. Paid accounts get bonus features which I like and use.

2. It’s so fracking easy to update! I used to run a cute little app that I used to update and manage entries, and now I just use a Widget in my Dashboard to do the updates. Plus today I tested out the “post via IM” feature which is fab. I’ve also emailed in entries and done voice posts too.

Part of why LJ is so hugely popular is the ease, but the HUGE “value add” to LJ is the friends page. You can aggregate feeds from other sites along with the journals of your friends, and for me that’s the biggest plus of ALL. I can read what my friends are up to, get my Penny Arcade updates, the latest on Harry Potter, and of course, The Cute.

My LJ is almost like a friend itself – I can call and voice post about some problem I’m having, I can email it, I can even IM it now, and all those things are recorded in my little online diary. I’ve been there for six years now, and while there may be bigger faster cooler ways to blog, I’m still partial to this site, started in Portland, a gift we’ve given the world.

Music: Matthew Good Band – Generation X-Wing
Mood: Geeky

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

Hail Satan!

The scene: Two 15-year-old boys on the MAX train discussing the relative merits of various death-metal bands, most of which I am too old to have heard of– though Nihil was brought up a few times, so they’re apparently the shit, and I definitely heard a reference to Cannibal Corpse. One of the boys reminded me of, well, me in high school– a little overweight, long hair, dorky glasses — though with a bit more of a metal edge to him. And his friend was going on about how some singer was “So Satanic — He’s awesome!” and while he liked death metal, he wasn’t into the whole “pseudo death metal” scene at all.

And as I’m inwardly laughing at the conversation (and the memories it brings back, though think NIN, Guns N Roses, and Metallica), I’m also giving the second dude the once over to determine his true rank in the world of metalhood, and I’d have to give him a 7 out of 10; while the homemade vest with band patches (and a bonus kick-ass Battle Royale patch) won him many points, his tie-died t-shirt, matching tie-died pink Vans and short hair were definite deductions. But the ultimate not-cool was the apparent trombone he was taking to school with him. It’s hard to rock out with the big horn.

PDX: No airport like it


I came home from a long trip the other day with nothing to look forward to but baggage claim. Then something wonderful happened. As I was trudging out the gate, this gorgeous blond was playing guitar by the security checkpoint.

All of a sudden, I was in no hurry to get anywhere.

There are concerts and there is the sound of home. When they come together, PDX may be the only venue on Earth that requires a boarding pass.

You can check out their music schedule online. Leave a little earlier and check out Rebecca Helmer in December; she’s worth it ;-)

TriMet Turning Away Money

Today BlogTown pointed to an article that TriMet is going to cancel an advertising contract to run ads for the Grand Theft Auto video game since it’s violent and supposedly promotes bad behavior. As expected, the first reaction that most folks are having is one questioning whether video games promote violence.

I don’t think that’s the real issue here. TriMet’s job isn’t to decide whether or not video games promote or encourage violence. TriMet’s job is to move people from Point A to Point B. That’s it. For TriMet to become some sort of moral authority is a waste of time and money.

All public transit systems lose money. If they charged the actual costs of operations as fares, they’d be so expensive that folks wouldn’t ride. As a result, everyone’s tax dollars are given to transit organizations who use the public’s money to help move people around. Since we all have an investment in public transit, we should all scrutinize stupid money behavior by those agencies. TriMet is giving up $71,000 by canceling their ad contract. With a shiny new bus mall in the works, non-trivial fuel costs, and daily operations that cost far more money than the amount of revenue produced, it seems like a waste of everyone’s money for TriMet to get picky about their advertising. They should accept advertising contracts from any legal business who wants to give them money. Period.

If you care how your tax dollars are spent, contact TriMet and share your thoughts.


So, since there’s a chance you haven’t yet heard, it is possible that maybe where you are there might be snow. Or might have been already. If the urge to discuss snow or the poss-snow-bility of such, then you can do so either on OMI (hi Lynn and Cablenut!) or at Channel 12’s Weather Blog.

What this means for you is: until the weather gets more serious, you can prepare to see either the news newbs-or perhaps those who lost in the last newsroom Texas Hold ‘Em tournament-jockeying for position either on the Sylvan overpass or in the Troutdale truck stop parking lot. Here’s a tip: Until the storm or weather situation gets a special graphic and/or a theme of its own, don’t sweat it.

ASIDE: not entirely on topic, here’s the alert KATU sent out today:

Snow showers are moving through our area. Watch LIVE video online at
Details will be posted on as they develop. Click here to go there.

I’d like to think our complaints helped a little in this-now if you actually GO to (the site they mention and advertise everywhere) you are redirected to just like you should be. Thanks KATU! It took you awhile, but you finally got it right.

Portland’s second gift to the world: Suicide Girls

This week, Metroblogging sites around the globe are offering up gifts that their city has given the world. Here in Portland, for our second gift to the world we offer something with uniquely Portland origins.

Founded in Portland in 2001, the SuicideGirls website featured softcore photos of women. However, unlike the vast number of airbrushed and homogeneous nudie pics available on the ‘net already, these girls had fluorescent hair, tattoos, body piercings, and a lot of attitude. Founders Spooky (Sean Suhl) and Missy Suicide (Selena Mooney) wanted to portray the kinds of girls they saw in Portland, girls who reflected the image and attitude of Portland’s vibrant alternative scene.

“Suicide girls is a term my friends and I had been using to describe the girls we saw in Portland’s Pioneer Square with skateboards in one hand, wearing a Minor Threat hoodie, listening to Ice Cube on their iPods while reading a book of Nick Cave’s poetry. They are girls who didn’t fit into any conventional sub-culture and didn’t define themselves based on musical taste like punk, metal, goth, etc. I think the only classifications right now people identify with are mainstream and outside of mainstream. That is why the site is called SuicideGirls.” –Missy Suicide

SG had photo sets and online journals for each ‘Suicide Girl’. The pictures on the site were shot in the style of classic pinups, with the models looking directly into the camera. This kind of aggressive sexuality worked well with the punk, goth, and indie images the girls portrayed, and in combination with the site’s reputation of being model-friendly, led to SG sometimes being referred to as “porn even feminists can love”. As membership grew and the site took off, SG ventured into print, and even produced a touring show of SG models, attracting attention and fans far outside of Portland.

Suicide Girls can take a great deal of credit for establishing that ‘alternative’ could be hot. Although site operations moved to LA in 2003, and there have been disputes with SG models, the alternative aesthetic has now become part of the mainstream, and at least some of that style came right off the streets of Portland.

To keep track of this week’s 7 Gifts, browse the numerous Metblogs, or check in periodically for updates at this post.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts 7Gifts Metroblogging7Gifts

Shutdownions – better than “Storm Blog”

The O makes me laugh sometimes:


How’d They Do That?

Have you ever spent a rainy afternoon inside playing Scrabble or Monopoly or Phase 10 with your family or friends and wondered where these games came from? Who thinks them up, decides on all the rules – and makes them so they actually work? Have you ever tried to create your own game – and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out – somebody comes up with an option that you didn’t think of and you have to add a new rule – then it happens again and again – and pretty soon the thing is out of control. No one could ever actually understand your ‘game.’

Well, that’s happened to me, and we were talking about just such a thing over drinks the other day and my friend mentioned that his co-worker actually just had a game published. I thought that was just totally cool!

Portland ‘tech guy by day’ Carey Grayson knew that he had a good idea in his strategy game 24/7 The Game– so he put together the complete concept and presentation and took it to local start-up game publisher Sunriver Games (did you even know Portland had it’s own game publisher?!)

Sunriver, who launched it’s first game “Havoc” in 2005 – created by co-owners KC and Rita Humphrey, took on Grayson’s game and launched it at Essen Spiel 06 – a huge game convention in Germany – in October. Well 24/7 was a huge hit and it is flying off virtual shelves. So if you’re looking for a really unique (and local!) gift – check out either game at Funagain Games and be amazed that yes – it is real people who actually come up with these things that we love to play!

And so it begins…

– St. John’s Bridge closed due to icy conditions. Traffic’s heavy, but moving along fine otherwise.
– No local school closures (my kids will be bummed.)
– Precipitation (but there’s none on the radar right now) will be in the form of rain in the metro area today.

Nevertheless, the cold temperatures (coming in from the Gulf of Alaska, brrr!) pretty much guarantee it’ll be an All Weather, All the Time focus on the local news channels for the rest of this week.

I pity the poor people assigned to remotes, searching for that one lone snowflake. With any luck, they stocked up on warm socks at Fred Meyer on Friday…!

Portland’s first gift to the world: The Simpsons

Our MetBlogs brethren from around the world are offering up seven gifts their cities share with the world over the next seven days. At first I was a little concerned that we couldn’t compete against cities like NYC and LA and Paris – but then it dawned on me with a big D’oh! I get to kick Portland’s entries this week off in style. Who else can say that they helped give the world The Simpsons (via PDX’s favorite son Matt Groening, of course)?

Little did we know on that fateful day in December, 1989 that people all over the world would become familiar with our streets, as embodied in characters like Sideshow Bob Terwilliger, Mayor Quimby, the Lovejoy family (named after one of Portland’s founders, no less) and everyone’s favorite neighbor, Ned Flanders. (For more proof of how PDX has flavored the show, try this or this or this.)

And yep, we’ll gladly take some credit for giving the world Lisa, Maggie, Marge, Bart and Homer. With any luck, you’ll forget about some of our more notorious gifts to the world and rejoice in this gift that keeps on giving..and giving…and giving (17 seasons and counting…).

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

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