Archive for April, 2007

May Day Rally in downtown

I don’t think I need to remind you that tomorrow – May 1, is May Day. While I know most of you will be spending the sunny afternoon walking around your neighborhood placing flowers on neighbor’s porches, knocking and then running, others will be downtown marching for worker’s and immigrant’s right. Yes, the annual May Day Rally will begin in the South Park blocks around 4pm. It will then wind through the streets of downtown beginning at 5pm. I know my company warned us about possible traffic and transit delays. Further, they went so far as to suggest employees work out other work arrangements for the day (i.e. work from home.)
You know how it is in Portland. Get a large enough group of people rallying for a good purpose and a small subset will turn it into their own little battle. Well, that’s America whether you like it or not. Hopefully we won’t be on CNN.

May Day Rally downtown, May 1 4pm till ….

Portland on Twitter

I‘ve been playing with Twitter for a while now. It’s an online community of sorts based on short responses to the question “What are you doing?” and it can be kind of addictive.

One cool thing people are doing with Twitter is creating accounts that push out news updates and the like. It’s often the same information you would get from a website or an RSS feed, but it can be delivered to you as it happens via SMS or IM.

Thinking about information that would be useful on the go, I set up an account this morning that pushes out TriMet Service Alerts. Combine this with breaking news and traffic alerts from the Oregonian along with daily weather updates and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice mobile news center.

A Word on Blog Responsibility

Not too long ago, I had a chance to talk to someone about the general topic of the power of the blog to change lives, and it really has me thinking.

I’ve been a Metblogger now for a quite a while. I also have my own blog and a blog about restaurants I contribute to. My general feeling on blogging is that it’s kind of a way to share my thoughts with the world. The thoughts are sometimes poorly formed and poorly conceived, imperfect in a way that reflects me, an imperfect person. And, until that recent conversation, I really didn’t see the difficulty with that.

But there’s a power to the blog, and the blogger, that needs to be understood and, ultimately, respected by the person wielding it. I write about a lot of stuff. Sports, government, restaurants and what-not. Lots of what-not, in fact. And, for some reason, people give me some credence.

These people don’t know me. They don’t have any real reason to trust me. They’ve never sized me up in a personal conversation, or really pressed me hard on where my thoughts come from. That’s bad for them, because if you don’t examine the source that you’re taking these things away from, you may accept ideas that are, on the whole, unacceptable. That’s bad for me, because I end up not fully thinking through what I’m putting out there for public consumption, and I end up sharing thoughts that really don’t merit being shared.

A lot of people call B.S. on me. But not enough of them. And that hurts everyone.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say to you, other than in reading our Metblog posts, consider the source. Don’t take anything we say as authoritative in any way, unless we offer a clear and compelling reason to do so. And even then, question what you read.

For my part, I’m reconsidering what it means to be a blogger, and what thoughts I should (and shouldn’t) share in the process. We bloggers, all of us, need to understand that we aren’t in a vaccuum, and as we throw our words out into the ether, they always land somewhere, sometimes lightly, and sometimes with a thud. For those who’ve been hurt by rocks hurled from my keyboard, I am sorry.

In the end, remember that I, as a blogger, don’t really have any greater authority than you. Take what I say with a grain of salt. And, in exchange, I’ll not to throw anything heavier than one.

How to Garden On the Cheap in Portland

Having moved here from Seattle quite a while ago, I was really impressed with how many people in Portland are avid gardeners. It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, what color you are, what your income level is, or what your lifestyle choices are, it seems like gardening is a level playing field. I am a broke gardener, so I usually try and exchange seeds or starts with friends, and hit the farmer’s markets for herb and veggie starts.

I was at Portland Nursury last weekend with my parents, and am always blown away by their selection, but the prices are more than I can afford on my budget. They were cool though and bought me a hops start, and some other fun plants I’d been drooling over. It does crack me up to see the incredibly wealthy with their “landscape artists” dropping thousands on huge plants rather than growing them.

I know a lot of organizations put on plant sales, as well as some of the gardens. If you know of any good resources for healty plants I would love to hear about them. I’m grabbing a bin of worms for my vermaculture compost from a friend who has towers of happy worms. I’m also making some garden art to train my vines. I figure it’s a heatlhy hobby, even though people think I’m a total dork because my seeds have started coming up and I was dancing around like a happy idiot.

Happy gardening to all of you!

What Price O Tasty Beef?

Got together with some friends this weekend at Amnesia on Mississippi prior to hitting the Clinton St. Theater for some 3-D action (about which all I have to say is, “Ow, my eyes!”), and while I partook of a tasty burger there, a bit of a bad taste was left in my mouth at the price of said beefiness, as eight bucks for some meat and chips (not even fries, people, but chips!) seems to be a bit steep.

I don’t mind paying a bit more for service or even for atmosphere on occasion, but I gotta say that a five-buck burger plate seems a bit more reasonable to me considering the venue and such, even if it is in the middle of North Portland’s newest hipsterville.

Just as comparisons to other pub-type grub (in price if not flavor, as I’ve not been to all these places and leaving out the cheaper fast food varieties), Stanich’s apparently will get you the World’s Greatest Hamburger and some greasy fries for six bucks or so. A burger at any of the McMenamins can be had (and with tots!) for anywhere between five and seven dollars. The Red Coach downtown gets you burger/fries/soda for what Amnesia charges for their burger-n-chips plate.

Even on Mississippi itself, the Lovely Hula Hands burger with fries or salad is the same price, but there you don’t have to order the thing yourself. And just a hop over on N. Williams, the supercool Fifth Quadrant has an eight-buck burger and fries as well — they even offer smoked gouda as a cheese choice — which reminds me that I need to go back there soon.

I’m not trying to come down on Amnesia at all, as nobody forced me to buy the thing and I know people who swear it’s the best burger in town. I’m just saying it’s a wee bit overpriced for what you get. And that I’d be much more inclined to eat it more often if it was five or six bucks instead of eight, which in the long run would be better for the business, no? Especially since I’m sure most of the dinero made there has to do with the beer and not the grub, so how about giving us teetotalers a break, eh? I promise I’ll make my friends drink more to make up for it and get them home safely so they’ll live to drink another day.

Drive Thru

Last week Russ posted a piece asking about the lack of drive thru fast food in some of trendy neighborhoods in Portland. I have to say I’m not a big fan of fast food, I like to eat healthy, I like my family to eat healthy, but I must admit the lure of fast food is sometimes overwhelming. Is it that it comes to you so quickly or that it gives you that little fast food rush of fats and sugars? I don’t know, but I do know I like a drive thru window and there are very few of those in Sellwood/ Westmoreland.

So the other night in the midst of an evening home improvement driven shopping bonanza we realized that is was getting late and we had no time to cook dinner and get our kid to bed. Still being 15 minutes from our house we decided on Chinese takeout from Wong’s King. It’s isn’t fast food, but it does have a DRIVE THRU WINDOW. Yes, a drive thru window at a Chinese Restaurant, in my thinking it can’t get much better than that. They have several locations but I’m pretty sure the one in Sellwood is the only one with a drive thru.

They have a great menu with almost anything you could expect including a decent selection of vegetarian options (I ‘m partial to their Mushu chicken though). They even have chicken strips, burgers, grilled cheese and crinkle cut fries if someone in the car is hankering for some more “American” style munchies.

If you’re in the neighborhood and looking for something to drive thru and pick up give them a call (503-239-8899) and put in your order, they’re located on the corner of SE Tacoma and 17th (just before it becomes SE Milwaukie). It’s usually only 15 minutes till it’s bagged and ready to go, and it’s oh so tasty with no added msg!

Sing for a gun


singforagun

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

Yes, you two Portlanders can SING for your chance to own a gun according to KATU.com. I fancy myself as a rather good singer, even got a small scholarship for college with my voice. I’m your competition. I’m thinking a nice little Ruger would be nice.

Hopscotch!

I spotted this incredibly long hopscotch course in Jamison Square park the other day and though it deserved some documentation.

Chart House: Great view, not much more

I was recently gifted with a gift card to Chart House -a place I’d never been to before. Since yesterday was a glorious evening and my dining companion and I had no other preferences, well – we decided to brave the prom crowds & take the only available reservations left at 5:15.

Nabbed a table by the window – so far, so good. Splurged for a grey goose martini – evening’s looking even rosier by now. And then the sales spiels began.

We got suckered into the shrimp & avocado martini as an appetizer – shrimp was okay, but the ‘avocado cream’ could have used a shot or two of lime juice, a bit of salt – and far less garlic. My lobster bisque was fine, as was my companion’s clam chowder. But the real disappointment set in when I got my grilled halibut with an oscar topping.

For 36 bucks, I got maybe 2-3 ounces of halibut – perfectly grilled, but still. The steamed broccoli accompaniment was overcooked and totally pedestrian, while the rice pilaf could have (and probably did) come from a box. I’d actually had a much better halibut preparation (and a far bigger portion, accompanied by great sides) for far less money in the hotel dining room at a Courtyard by Marriott last December, to be honest . My companion was happy with his prime rib – even though I thought the horseradish sauce was long on sauce, short on actual horseradish.

We had great fun listening in and/or table watching, though. The crowd of prom-goers next to us rejected the special prom menu in favor of the regular dinner menu – one petite young thing promptly decided that she’d have the caesar salad for an appetizer, followed by the chocolate lava cake for her entree (we left before we got to watch her try to eat it without dripping on her dress…) And I scared my dining companion by winding my napkin into a perfect fly swatter & threatening to use it on the humungous fly that kept planting himself on the plate glass window mere feet away.

The fun ended when the bill arrived – I choked down the last dregs of my glass of King Estate pinot gris in shock (available at your local Safeway for 11 bucks, but served up for 11.50 a glass at Chart House) when I started tallying up the numbers. And I ended up using all of my hundred dollar gift card – plus a generous tip for our server, who was more than competent – for a totally overpriced and entirely mediocre meal – one drink, one glass of wine, and no dessert or coffee, even.

Would I go again on my own dime? No way in hell. The view may be great – but I’d rather have decent food instead.

Skateboarding Is For Families

I spent the afternoon with my son, Daniel, over at Pier Park, checking out the new skateboarding park. It was packed with teenagers, adults and several families. i guess we missed the clean up. I did find it impressive how clean the skate park looked. Great work.

I talked to one Dad from Seattle, who said they are thinking of moving here just because of all the great skate parks here in Portland. He told me that the community spirit around skateboarding is what he really finds striking. They were on their way over to Glenhaven to check out the new park that opened Saturday.

Seems like these skate parks are already showing their return on investment.

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