Posts Tagged ‘portland’


Matt Groening in the Sidewalk With Diamonds

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That’s right! Matt Groening, the cartoonist extraordinaire, attended the high school that is near my home. We only missed each other by about 34 years. I literally discovered he went to school there because I was looking down at the sidewalk and saw Bart Simpson looking back up at me.

I use the high school’s track during the summer, and feel that somehow I was drawn (heh) to that place for a reason. Seriously, of all the high schools that I could have lived near, I somehow ended up by the one that happened to have the most famous cartoonist in the world as its alum.

My guess is they invited him back to do this sidewalk drawing after he got famous. I surmise this because my old high school hasn’t asked me to draw anything in the sidewalk yet. If they ever do ask, I will be glad to draw Bart Simpson for them.

At the very least, I’ll have something to say if I ever meet Matt Groening. You know, besides “I love you, man.”


Greetings from Portland

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cat power, roseland, 4.13.08

chan_roseland “Hello Portland People.”

The Roseland Theater could barely contain the awesome might of Cat Power and the Dirty Delta Blues band. It was a spectacle, a force, an unrivaled artistic masterpiece that will undoubtedly become legend in the annals of rock lore.

Roseland Theater has standing room on the main floor and a wraparound balcony. Adrianne and I sat in the first row of the balcony, which gave us a good view not only of the stage but of the crowd below. During the opening act we had a fun time watching various reactions of people in the crowd, but when Chan Marshall and her band entered the stage, there was no denying their godlike rock ‘n’ roll power.

The opening act was a woman named (I believe) Appaloosa, a singer Adrianne described as “very French.” She came on with no instruments, just a little electronic device which she plugged into the speakers. She was blonde and wore a bomber jacket and glittery green dress. She did jumping jacks onstage between outbursts of singing. It was funny, because she took breaks during her songs, not between them. The little device she had played a series of beats; to start a new song she simply pressed a button and the next beat played. She was at times off-key, and had a cavalier attitude. There were a few in the crowd who really dug her. She played to them, smiling and dancing. She sang a couple songs about horses.

There was a long break between Appaloosa and Cat Power. When the lights finally went down, it would not be an exaggeration to say that everybody there was ready to go. Fortunately, Cat delivered the goods. Her greeting, “hello Portland people,” received a big cheer which was cut off as the band began to play.
chan_roseland3An early highlight was the song “Silver Stallion” off her new album, Jukebox. Many of the songs were from that album, although she did throw in a few from The Greatest and even a terrific cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Tracks of My Tears.”

Cat had a great, funny way of dancing around the stage. She didn’t play any instruments; she left that to her able band. There were times that she came right out to the edge of the stage and reached out to the audience and times when she slid to the side and let the band bask in the spotlight.

“Would you like something high-end or with sibilance? We’ve got everything tonight.” I heard a few shouts, nothing definitive, and she launched into “Aretha, Sing One For Me.”

As for the sound itself, it was a loud muddle, but not in a bad way. As in the album, I think there was a deliberate attempt to ratchet up the reverb and bury her vocals a bit. Cat kept asking “are my vocals too loud?” It was apparent that she enjoyed her band immensely. Her band, four men, made her look even tinier up on stage.

At the end she thanked us. “You guys are so fucking nice,” she said. She repeated it, and then played “Lived in Bars.”chan_roseland2Photos courtesy chuffpdx’s flickr page. We were sitting on the opposite side of the room, but we came down for the encore.


Free Ice Cream Day

The weather for Portland is: High of 52, currently raining.

This did not stop me and my friend Jody from going to the nearest Ben & Jerry’s to get our FREE ICE CREAM. That’s right, friends. Today is free scoop day at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shops.

Why are you sitting at your computer? Go, go now.


History of Bikes: Boulder Bike

After college I wanted to take my Gary Fisher with me to Colorado, but I couldn’t fit it in my car. I went through a experimental phase with a road bike that constantly got flat tires when I rode it around town. Worse still, it had these bizarre racing tires that had the tubes stitched to the wheel, so if you got a flat you had to unsew the tire, put on the patch, and sew it back up again. Not exactly my kind of a bike.
I was reunited with my Gary Fisher when my parents drove up to visit me; they graciously brought the bike with them. I was ecstatic; I began to go on longer rides around town. Like the Silver Stallion, I now had the freedom of exploring the town in a way I couldn’t have with a car or on foot.
I went through a number of jobs and the thing that united my experience was the ability to ride to work. Only one job I took required a car commute, but that was a temporary gig.
I’ve talked before about the bike path in Boulder. Let me say here that the Boulder bike path should be used as a template for all cities in this and every country on the planet. You didn’t have to ride on the shoulder of the road, hoping that SUV wouldn’t roll right over you. Yet the bike path went almost everywhere you needed to go. It was fantastic.
My happiest rides were from my job to the apartment where my girlfriend lived. I worked near the university, so I’d pedal through campus. In the winter it would be nearing dark when I rode, so I used bike lights to see once I got off the well-lit campus path. I’d pass by the two new dorms the university built, then the path went straight through a grassy field. After that I’d be in her neighborhood. When I got to her place, I’d call up and we would have dinner together, usually something warm and delicious (sometimes just warm was good enough). Then we’d watch DVDs on her computer. It all felt very cozy.
There were some weeks in the winter when I didn’t ride. I don’t think riding in the snow and ice is ever a good idea. But even on a cold day, riding your bike was easier than taking a car. No hassles with parking, no traffic jams. It’s less stressful and makes running errands almost athletic.
When my girlfriend and I moved, I decided my Gary Fisher was meant to stay in Colorado. I sold it at a sporting goods consignment store. I’m sure it is still loved.
Here’s the latest version of the Wahoo. Mine had a metallic tan color; it also had none of these fancy shocks. Heck, in my day bikes had one big wheel and one little one, and women rode them while wearing a bussel.wahoo_p
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History of Bikes: Portland Bike

We have reached the last post for Bike Week at Falling Rock National Blog. Today I talk about my current bike.

My bike is a Trek 7200, good for riding around downtown as well as some trails. While I’m sure fancypants bike riders, like the ones I saw in Boulder with $4000 bikes and $1000 worth of clothes and gear, would guffaw at this bike, it suits me just fine. It fits into the category (I hope) of “nice enough to ride, not so nice it will get stolen.”

When I got a job in Portland, the first order of business (almost before food) was buying myself a bike. This is the first time I’ve needed fenders to shield myself from wet streets. It has a back rack, too. A real commuter bike.

I am truly humbled by the bike riders here. Yes, Boulder has an active bike riding community. But most of those people are into long distance road rides. You’d see them on the mountain roads, riding for most of the day whenever it was sunny. Here people ride bikes as a job. There is a tough, small clique of bike messengers who make bike riding part of their identity. Long pants are almost unheard of, even in winter. They have walkie talkies and are in constant communication, even if they work for different companies. There is even a bike messenger race. They set a series of “pick ups” that each rider must make, then they all converge at one house and get incredibly drunk. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. There’s drinking beforehand as well. Nothing like riding full speed through the streets of Portland in the rain while hammered. So I hear.

While not as hardcore as the bike messengers, I do ride to work and to run errands. I also have a couple of favorite rides. One is FlavourSpot. This is a cart located in the parking lot of a video rental store in North Portland. They make waffles, then wrap them into a cone and put delicious fillings inside. Nutella, ham and cheese, sausage and maple butter. It’s the best. Even better is riding your bike there so you can eat even more and not feel bad about it later.

To get to FlavourSpot, I ride north to the St. John’s Bridge, cross the river, then ride east along Lombard. On the way back I go on the bluffs overlooking the industrial sites on the river, then cross the Steel Bridge and ride through the new, fancy Pearl district to get back home. You get to see so much of the town this way.
The Springwater Corridor is a long trail that begins downtown and heads east all the way to Boring. Boring, Oregon is a real place. I really need to get pictures of their City Hall sometime. My wife and I will take the Springwater if we want a ride that doesn’t involve traffic. One of the odder things you pass along this trail is a fair, which seems to be permanent. You can see the Ferris wheel as you go by. Then the trail turns and you’re left to wonder how that came to be there.

Thanks for sticking with me for Bike Week. One never knows what tomorrow will bring for Falling Rock National Blog, you can rest assured you will be the first to know.

I’ll leave you with this picture from Tucson. A bike with wings:bike_with_wings

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Meet Your Next President

OBAMA / CARTER ’08 brings you photos of the next President and his VP, both taken in Portland.
Top: Obama in 2008, bottom: Carter in 1976.obama-in-pdx jimmy-carter-portland


Portland Fashion Week 2008

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Green Roof

Portland continues to be undeniably awesome: the public library now has a Green Roof! Literally. There’s grass up there. Hopefully this will cut down on the building’s heating/cooling costs, as well as reduce the amount of water runoff.

Not yet known are the effects on imaginary meadow creatures (like the Beebafuss and the Foomagoo). Will they use this manufactured field to frolic? Or will they shun the green roof of the library in favor of their usual habitat of hidden meadows and freeway underpasses? Only time will tell.

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this won’t impress some of you

…but it snowed in Portland yesterday. This was the second time in the 2 1/2 years I’ve lived here that it snowed and stuck. I took a walk in the park to capture proof of the phenomenon:portland-snow3 portland-snow2 portland-snow1
Snow is very becoming on Portland. It also has the effect of shutting down the entire city, which I find endlessly amusing.

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