Archive for January, 2008

Satan’s briefcase?


I spy with my little eye a dude with dyed black hair in a Misfits jacket, carrying a small coffin with a handle. Coffin emblazoned with a large white cross on the front. Contents unknown. Possibly lunch.

Is Portland Not the Best City on Earth?

Over at the Huffington Post, Alison Stein Wellner asks the confusing question: Is New York City Not the Best Place on Earth? I had to read the title several times trying to determine if this was ironic in the Chandler from Friends sort of way — Is New York City NOT the best place on earth? And then Ross would say, “Shyah!” Or was she asking a sincere question — Might New York Not be the Best City on Earth? In any case, it turns out that we have a bookstore called Powell’s that kicks ass all over The Strand.

Ms. Wellner’s qualifications for best city are as follows, “1) bagels; 2) pizza; 3) ethnic cuisine; 4) museums; 5) bookstores.” Under those criteria, Portland, along with Phoenix, Montreal, and Memphis score, “a single A-plus and a string of Bs and Cs.” Well, excuse me, to be read, of course, as Steve Martin would have said it.

Have at it in comments over bagels and pizza and whatever. To Ms. Wellner, I say, yes, good. Moving on. So sorry you didn’t have a beer.

And yes Powell’s is a great place, and you’ll find me there often, but is it not my favorite bookstore in town? No. I mean, yes. I prefer the smaller indies, Annie Bloom’s and St. John’s Booksellers and (okay) the Powell’s on Hawthorne. I like to browse brand new books and I find the browsing hard at Powell’s.

And just because Powell’s is enormous, and the others are small doesn’t really mean Powell’s has any more access to in print titles than St. John’s Booksellers. In fact, they order from the exact same place, so if your local, small indie bookstore doesn’t have a title in stock, they can order it and have it to you within a day.

Yes, I was an indie bookseller for five years. Yes, I have Powell’s envy, okay? But, for the record, I have no NYC envy. Don’t have a cow, man.

Jerk of the day


Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

So, they’re tagging bushes now? What a jackass! Seen on N. Mississippi. I guess Randy’s spray paint ban has some holes.

Open Up and Say "Om"

I, along with about 40 others from an area social group, gathered at the Nityananda Institute this evening to attend their introduction to meditation.

Although the Institute is just off NE Sandy Boulevard, it’s tucked away and feels as if you’re entering someplace farther away. Upon entering the program center, everyone hung up their coats and placed their shoes on a shelf just underneath. There is a wall of shelves with different kinds of pillows to use for sitting. I picked a firm, blue one and entered the meditation room. The smell of incense filled the air and people were having whispered conversations. It is a large, carpeted space with a few rows of chairs in the back, but most of it was empty to allow people to grab a mat and sit on the floor. Thankfully, I practice Yoga and felt comfortable starting out in the half lotus pose.

The talk was led by Swami Chetanananda who is the spiritual director of the Institute. He spoke on how he became involved on this spiritual path and discussed what goes on at the ashram. There was a question and answer period and then we went into a guided meditation. The room was completely silent save for one voice leading the meditation. I arrived home relaxed, both physically and mentally.

The introduction to meditation is free, open to the public, and occurs every Monday, beginning at 7PM. I see myself returning soon.

Big Trash Day PDX?

When I lived in Oakland, CA, we had this thing called Big Trash Day. I’m sure the city had some sort of official name for it like Le Jour du Enormous Refuse or whatever. But it was one day of the year when you could leave out whatever you wanted and the garbageman would come and grab it. Of course, what would happen is, we’d all scavenge each others’ big trash and come out with a whole new living room. A friend of a friend once scored a Wedgewood stove — of course that might be an urban legend. But wait, did you hear that is was a friend of a friend? It was probably legit.

I was driving around St. John’s and thinking hey, people around here totally have Wedgewood stoves and vaults full of pirate booty and all sorts of things they’d like to leave on the side of the street, but don’t because they don’t want to be dinged by the trash people. We need a Big Trash Day here!

So I ask you, PDX-ers, is there a Big Trash Day in Portland? And if so, when is it? I need to make my reservations for the moving truck.

All Over But the Reading

portland.jpgJim Walsh, author of the new oral history, The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting will be reading at the downtown Borders at 7pm tonight. As a longtime ‘Mats fan I eagerly bought and read the book last month. Even though it was great to finally read a book about the band, it was a major letdown. Especially in comparison to, in my opinion, the finest rock music oral history ever, Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McKain (an incredibly engrossing read, which you should get right now).

I suppose the biggest flaw with Walsh’s book is that he didn’t actually get any interviews with the original surviving band members. Which in an oral history setting seems to be a dealbreaker, no? Instead we are regaled with anecdotes and stories from friends and Minneapolis scenesters and band management. The band does have a voice, but all of their contributions are pulled from various interviews from over the years.

The most interesting stuff comes from recent interviews with late period guitarist Slim Dunlap. He provides the insider’s look into band dynamics and recording that the rest of the book lacks.

I never saw the ‘Mats in Portland, but I did see them in New Orleans in 1987, where they gave one of their infamously bad shows. But it could have been worse, as the internets tell me:

Portland has a special place in Mats history, as the site of perhaps their worst, most drunken show ever… a 1987 show so bad they Paul scratched “We’re Sorry, Portland” into the vinyl inner groove of the Don’t Tell a Soul LP the following year.

Though the book left me unsatisfied, I imagine that with this particular subject matter, the reading and Q & A session with Walsh could be entertaining.

Blazers Win!

Our First Blazers Game
My wife and I went to our first Blazers game today. What an amazing game. NBA games are always fun to me, especially after a few beers. Again, beer makes everything better. It is becoming my religion. Even without beer, you would have to have been dead to not enjoy this game. We thought the Blazers had lost the game by mid 2nd quarter, but they somehow came back in the final minutes winning the game by 1 point in the final seconds! I normally don’t watch a lot of sports, but a live NBA experience is a very exciting experience. Since I am lazy and a glutton for comments, please answer me these two questions:
1. What the hell does Rip City mean?
2. What is the story on the Portland Trail Blazers mascot? Is that a cougar? Is that what a Trail Blazer is?

It Might Be Cold

Fountain NW 10thI’m just saying it might be a little cold.

I spotted this fountain (glacier?) on NW 10th.

Even Neptune seems a little *ahem* retracted.

Fire On The Mountain Burnside Location Now Open

Fire on the Mountain has long been, in my opinion anyway, the best place for Portlanders to enjoy hot wings. The Interstate Avenue location has a great neighborhood vibe, fantastic local beers, and those awesome wings – big and meaty with a slew of different sauces to choose from. One of the main (and only) downsides was the small space. During the lunch rush, it was not uncommon to find the place filled beyond capacity.

Now FOTM has a new location on 17th and East Burnside. The room is noticeably bigger, but everything else is exactly as it should be. The wings are every bit as good, and the beer selection rocks. Most importantly, it is walking distance from my apartment :)

Here’s hoping that the new location is as successful as the original.

Red & Black Cafe’s Grand Reopening Party

After the close of the SE 21st and Division location of the Red and Black Café, a group of employees decided to look for a new space. They found it at 400 SE 12th at Oak, which is just up the street from the recently-opened vegan mini-mall. Although the employee-owned café has been open since mid-January, they’re holding a reopening party this Sunday starting at noon.

The party will include live music, free coffee, vegan treats and vegan Soft Serve from Blossoming Lotus.

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