This weekend I’ll be at Emerald City ComicCon. I will have the brand new Falling Rock issue 5, the first all-Pam issue! Reid Psaltis will be sharing a table with me, and Tyrell Cannon will be right next door. Get all your indie comics and prints in one 15 square foot area. Here’s a handy map to find me among the lovely people living free.
I will do anything to narrow the chasm that separates the kind of man Paul Newman was and the kind of man I am.I jumped at the chance to drink the same beer Paul Newman was drinking in the movie Sometimes a Great Notion (based on a novel by one of Oregon’s trippiest natives, Ken Kesey).
Olympia Beer was a Pacific Northwest staple for many years. Originally brewed in Tumwater, Washington, a town in the same county as Olympia and located near the mouth of the Deschutes River. Olympia was the beer of choice around these parts before Portland became the microbrewing capitol it is today.
Just look at how much Paul Newman enjoys his bottle of Olympia. The bottles are brought out:
He takes a swig:
And can’t help but grin:
I wanted to have that much fun. The next time I was at my local organic grocer, I spied a six pack of the beer featured in the 30 year-old film and snapped it up. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had to keep myself from cracking one open on my drive home. But I stayed safe, opting to speed home, screech to a halt outside my house, ignore the bags of groceries sweltering in the trunk, grab the six pack and sprint inside, landing with a thud on the couch. When I popped the tab on my very first Olympia beer, my expectations were sky-high.
How did it rate? Well, I found myself let down by the taste of what could charitably be described as Near Beer. After a few sips, though, I began to wonder if what I was being disappointed by was, in fact, my own Portland-dwelling beer snobbery. I finished the thin, metallic brew. Was it me? Am I so used to beer with bizarre spices, aged in bourbon casks, that I cannot enjoy a simple American brew?
After inspecting the label, I was vindicated. Olympia Beer is no longer Olympia Beer. It is PBR. Check the website:
Like so many small old breweries, Olympia was bought then bought again until it was only a label owned by one of the three major beer companies. My disappointment was not so much for a beer I didn’t especially like, but for the fact that I’ll never get to be Paul Newman by drinking the same beer he drank. At least I still have his salad dressing.
Washington state is a great place to go if you get tired of Oregon’s oppressive natural beauty and lack of sales tax. In Washington, you get to pump your own gas. For all those people who freak out when they have to remain in their vehicles during the refueling process, Washington allows you to get outside, inhale the toxic fumes of the gas station, stretch your weary legs, and handle the dirty, oily pump yourself.
Mount St. Helens, unlike our own peaceful Mount Hood, blew its top two decades ago, covering the region in black ash. The last time a volcano blew in Oregon it created pristine Crater Lake. So far, there is no lake in St. Helens, but I hear you can see the devils dancing if you peer deep inside this still-active volcano.
Seattle, the biggest city in Washington, is like Portland, only dirtier. Kurt Cobain killed himself in Seattle and Jimi Hendrix is buried there, so you know this is a good place to be if you are a rock star with a death wish.
While Portland has a minor league baseball team with a good record (the Beavers), Seattle has a full-blown major league club with a so-so record (the Mariners). The Mariners do have Ken Griffey, Jr. playing for them again. I’ll concede that point to Washington: they have Ken Griffey, Jr. and Oregon doesn’t.
While Seattle has the undoubtedly cool monorail, it only travels a fraction of the distance of Portland’s own light rail system, the MAX. Plus Portland now has a gondola, which you can ride from the river to the hospital. If we can only convince Portland to remove one of the MAX’s tracks, we’d have both monorail AND gondola.
Washington is like Oregon’s kid brother. Not quite as able, a little slow on the uptake, always running behind, whining about “not being included.” It doesn’t bother us Oregonians; we see it as a nice amusement. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Thanks, Washington, for tagging along. We pat your little head.