30 January 2007

Unconditional Love

The best unicorn chaser ever!
This clip of a float from the 1983 Rose Festival Parade is making me laugh until my face hurts.
From For Portlanders Only. Part of Platypus Comix. Check out the Video Clips. Its a whole mess of 80's and 90's local television from Portland. Tons of commercials, station ID's, and other gems. Just a little something to geek out on for the rest of the night.

29 January 2007

Kelly Butte

A few weeks ago I rambled about "The Day Called X" and the underground bunker built in the 1950's in SE Portland's Kelly Butte. It was last used as the 911 dispatch center until the early 90's when multiple cases of "sick building syndrome" finally convinced the city to move its emergency dispatchers to a building where they are less likely to dispatch an ambulance for themselves. Sadly, the city couldn't convince anyone to purchase this 18,000 square foot underground sickness pit, so now it sits sealed off, with more and more dirt being piled in front of the former entrance. Check out Cyclotram's photo from just last year for comparison. It looked like the depository for all the gravel and sand swept up from the snow event a couple weeks ago. Multiple haphazardly dumped loads of sandy gravel almost completely cover the former entrance. Even in the upper parking lot, on top of the thing, there are more mounds of gravel. You can also notice the yellow "Caution" tape now placed around the ventilation duct, or whatever that thing is. As I got closer to it, I swear I could smell the musty old building smell wafting out of it.
From here, we set out across the park to find the big ass water tank we saw on Google Earth. Things get a little weirder as you head into the woods and realize after stumbling onto a couple tents and lots and lots of random trash that this place is really popular with folks living outdoors. Its understandable, this is kind of a "forgotten park." Even the Portland Parks & Rec page for Kelly Butte is lacking in any real detail, and they're usually quite thorough. The only people we actually had contact with were a couple dudes with paintball guns who were pretty surprised by us.

The western end of Kelly Butte is dominated by an enormous water tank or something. Its big, like four stories big. Its a tank, I presume it holds water. Its covered with really lame tags, like any respectable water tower/tank should be.

I really like this little building beside the tank. It almost looks like an old freeway rest stop, the kind you're a little leery about going into, but you really have to pee so you hold your breath and ignore the truckers grunting in the stall.
The shrubbery are nice and trimmed, it has a nice Prairie style sensibility. Perhaps it was the utter lack of architecture on this hike that made this little building so exciting...

The city view was nice from up there. Especially in the winter, hundreds of little evergreens poking up. For perspective, that's the southern slopes of Mt. Tabor on the right, like we're almost looking over her shoulder.

Oh, and the "Fallout Shelter" pic isn't from Kelly Butte. There's nothing nearly that cool up there. I just snapped that one downtown the other day for my collection. You never know when "Fallout shelter" sign will come in handy...

talking shit...

19 January 2007

New Google Earth

Download the new Google Earth.
Its awesome! First, you gotta zoom in on your house, then on your workplace, then turn on "3D Buildings" in the lower left layer menu and zoom through downtown Portland. Big Pink gets color. Wells Fargo doesn't. I've been playing with it all week. Fun stuff.

favorite typefaces

Beneath the Broadway Bridge approach, entering the USPS facility. I love the "ft." Especially the period.
This reminds me of all the awesome 1940's signage I remember from growing up around the ammunitions depot back home. They still had yellow stop signs in some places.
A very similar typeface to this warned us of explosive zones, told us building numbers and names in the old part of the base, and just did their best to look kinda modern, kinda old, and kinda creepy at the same time. I remember going fishing for catfish late at night at the lake on the base with my dad when I was a kid. It was usually around 2 or 3 am as we were leaving the base and these signs always kind of disturbed me, reflecting in the headlights, especially through my drowsy haze.
Something about these letters just says "Hey, the man is watching you. Behave."

16 January 2007


We hung the suet feeder Saturday, and were impatient waiting for the birds to show.

This afternoon I heard all kinds of tweeting. I peeked out the bedroom window and caught this mess o' yardbirds.

Snow day

I made it to work for a few hours today before we all realized we could use the snow as an excuse to go home early, which we did. I escaped just before noon, my cow-orkers weren't too far behind. I made it out into the neighborhood just as the heavy snow was ending and people were beginning to emerge.

I couldn't resist tromping around in it. It was a snow day, dammit! The last measurable snow storm in Portland happened back when I was lucky enough to live three blocks from my workplace. I trudged on down every morning while Tri-Met wasn't even running in our hood and others were lucky enough to live farther from work. This year I jumped at the chance to leave work early and play in the snow.

Union Station was especially purty.

Check out some more snow pics at the flickr set.

09 January 2007

No Reservations

For those of you who have the cable, next Monday's episode of Tony Bourdain's "No Reservations" was shot in Portland and Seattle. Those of ya'll without the cable should start looking for it on YouTube Monday night.

I've been a big fan of this guy since Kitchen Confidential taught me that working in a restaurant was a noble profession. After reading it somewhere around week 6 of unemployment straight off the soybean truck, (actually it was a civic/corolla caravan, but that's another story) I decided to just go for it and showed up at a cattle call for a new restaurant opening in Old Town. I walked into the half-gutted kwiki mart where "Mala Noche" was filmed fifteen years earlier.
Walking up to the chef, shaking his hand, and telling him I really wanted to work for him landed me a job as head porter (dishwasher) and substitute line cook ("oh shit, Jeremy called in hungover, can you cook?")
The first two weeks were spent putting the restaurant together from the floor up, assembling the tables, painting everything dark purple, hanging the curtains. The rest of the time was learning just how the industry works, which I can only describe as a "total mindfuck," even after sifting through it for a few years now. So much debauchery, even for my tastes! After almost a year, I was certain that culinary school was not my next move and got a cushy full time job in a warehouse. Who knew?

What got me thinking about my past employment was today's "Safety Meeting" at work. I'm now a member of the "Safety Committee" by nomination of my boss who didn't want to do it anymore. Who knew "Safety Meetings" were real? Everywhere else I've worked that was code for "hey, let's go out back and smoke a bowl." You can imagine my surprise as I was ushered into the conference room and handed the minutes of the meeting. I didn't even know we had a conference room!

03 January 2007

Gotta ask Grandpa Jack about this one

G's grandma and granddad worked at the Kaiser Shipyards during WWII. They left the Idaho farm for a few years and moved to Portland in the 40's. Grandpa Jack is 93 now, and an awesome source of Portland history, even though they only lived here for a few years, that time period is particularly interesting. He lives over the mountains, but we still get to see him a few times a year, and we're always trying to think of things to ask him about.

The Finger is what reminded me about Grandpa Jack tonight. Rediscovered by the one true B!X, The Finger is a newsletter aimed at Kaiser shipyard employees, but it isn't clear where it came from. Was it a fellow employee, or was it a Kaiser publication snarkily disguised as being published by a fellow employee? Nobody seems to really remember. Maybe Jack can shed a little light. The paper is a fun read, especially if you spend your days/nights/graveyard shift building ships...

And for Nosmot & Hal, check out this shot of the OC elevator. The in-between construction photo. Somehow that's not quite what I pictured.

Photo from Historic Photo Archive

02 January 2007

Foggy Morning, and an awesome history blog.

Just ran onto this post on Cafe Unknown with lots of great old pics of the hood, and this great plot from 1900. If you expand it as big as you can, and look at the very north border, you'll find Sellwood Street, although it seems to be spelled with one "l". Curious...
Cafe Unknown is one of the best Portland History sites I've found. Thanks Dan!

The pics are from last Saturday morning's walk downtown, which was a beautiful sunny morning, except for right along the Willamette, where a wicked fog was blowing down the river. There were four or five photogs out there, some with legit looking equipment. I sauntered past, casually snapping shots with G's camera as we walked across the Broadway. These were the only two pictures that were worth my time, fog is really hard to capture, walking through it, crossing the bridge, was like climbing a little mountain reaching the misty section near the top. It was strange crossing the river early in the morning, not being able to see downtown, walking down Lovejoy out of the fog and back into the low winter sun.

01 January 2007

Two Thousand Seven

We spent New Year's Eve in Seattle partying with a room full of Hoosiers. Only a few of them were people I knew back in Indiana, most were folks my Indiana friends have met going about their lives in Seattle. Turns out one of their friends actually lived in our old Lincoln St. house a few years before we did. This turned a good portion of the night into those "small world" conversations and stories about weird connections we've all made. Good fun.
And at midnight, even standing four miles across Elliot Bay, the Space Needle looked awesome as the fireworks launched. It was like it was going to take off!