26 February 2008


Just back from a long weekend in the high desert, visiting G's folks in the Oregon/Idaho borderlands, and spending a bit of time in "the city." Here's some random stuff.

Downtown Boise, from the Bench

The very last phone company in the country to hold on to the classic Bell trademark logo, Malheur Bell is still part of Qwest, but has operated independently in Ontario, Oregon since 1895. I snapped this shot because I knew it had to be one of the last Bells around, but until I looked it up, I didn't realize that after BellSouth dropped the good ol' classic Bell for the AT&T logo, Malheur Bell is the only one left.

Overlooking Emmett, Idaho

The politically incorrect, yet beautiful Squaw Butte.

18 February 2008

I love rural America!

Totally Gay for America

From The Whitest Kids U Know. I've never seen their show because I don't have special people TV, but I guess they have a show on Fuse and IFC. They also have a whole bunch of clips on youtube for the rest of us.

15 February 2008

Interstate Avenue

The vintage signage along Interstate is awesome, however quickly disappearing. The Atomic Age Alliance is a group dedicated to preserving examples of 50's/60's architecture in Portland. They're currently working on finding a new home for the Crown Motel sign, the site scheduled for demolition in March. I really want that 80's HBO sign that still hangs in the front window of the motel office.
The folks at The Orange Door have an awesome photo post of the motel and other signage of Interstate Avenue. North to South, and then back up the other side. Thanks guys! This is awesome.

13 February 2008

But for now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see

Ten years. February 10, 1998, was the original release date of Neutral Milk Hotel's In An Aeroplane Over the Sea. Here's a couple of good articles lamenting what this record has done for music.
I didn't discover this record until about five years after the release, but it doesn't really matter. I had heard it a few times in college and knew of its existence, but it wasn't until I was traveling to Indiana one Christmas to visit the folks with a spindle of CD's and a Discman in my carry-on. (Wow, remember traveling with a spindle of CD's?)
Driving out to the homestead from Indy, I slipped this in my rental car CD player somewhere on that stretch of 67 between Mooresville and Martinsville and then started it over again as I rolled through Bloomington, surveying the city I'd left only a couple years earlier.
Traveling to Indiana is always an emotional journey for me anyway, and something about this album just clicked as I plowed through the winter darkness in my rented Ford Focus, revisiting places I was glad to leave, but still a little homesick for.
I definitely didn't know that a couple years later the title track of the album would be considered an "our song" which is really kinda weird after you understand that its a meditation on Anne Frank's diary, but it really works for us, so that's all that matters, no matter how weird.
This album even bridged the gap between myself and a cow-orker that I know is about as right-wing Jesus freak as they come. (He drives the VW bus covered in hateful right-winger bumper stickers that I refer to as the "Hate Machine,".) I was blasting this album on Monday afternoon as he was leaving the building and he stopped to talk about how much this album meant to him. Everyone seems to have a story about the first time they really listened to it. That says a lot about it, striking up conversation between the socialist fag and the uber right-wing bible beater who have avoided each other for the past year and a half. Thank you Neutral Milk Hotel.

Sucker for the Sunset

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time tonight while running errands after work. I'm glad I took the extra five minutes to stop at the gas station. (Yes, in Oregon it takes at least five minutes to buy gas because you have to wait for the one dude who's taking care of all eight pumps to come pump it for you. This is another discussion altogether.)
However, thanks to that delay, by the time I got to my next stop and parked the car it was just the right moment to snap a few shots of this awesome sunset.
Expect more sunset pics in the next couple of months, February through April seems to be the best season for interesting sunsets in Portland, and I just can't help myself.

12 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Idahoans are serious about their potatoes, and their love poles...

11 February 2008

A Day at the Mausoleum

Portland Memorial Mausoleum is one of my favorite places in the city to spend an afternoon. Its a great timeline of architecture and interior design through the 20th century. The oldest parts of the building were built in 1901, and almost every decade is represented up through the 80's. Over seven miles of corridors, eight floors in the tallest section, thousands of folks make this their final resting place, among them many Portland pioneer families, names that live on in Portland street names and historic buildings downtown.

A cloudy diffused light through a 1940's pastel color scheme.

The ceiling in the entrance to the old chapel. I've never been able to gain entrance to this chapel, it always seems to be locked, but from what I can tell through the windows it looks like it was stripped of most of the interesting bits and remodeled somewhere in the sixties...

This is a separate room on the far south end of the property. It was the only area where every single niche was decorated.

One of probably a hundred of the little sink rooms meant for clipping and arranging flowers, these rooms make for perfect examples of the eras they're from. I love this tile work, probably from the thirties or forties. Some of the rooms have beautiful copper sinks and drainboards, some of them are sparkled Formica from the 60's like the house I grew up in.

The entrance to the Violet Chamber, one of the "flower rooms" that make up the oldest parts of the building. These rooms are filled with hundreds of little niches containing urns of ashes, mostly from 1901-1930.

Parts of the building are becoming a bit dilapidated, years of Portland winters taking their toll, but the water damage and mold and mildew make me love the place even more.

A stairway in one of the newer parts of the building that just isn't weathering very well.

Just a couple of the many corridors that feel like a set from a David Lynch project.

I highly recommend this place to visitors of my city and fellow Portlanders. Commit yourself to feeling a little lost and alone, bundle up because the place seems to hover around 50 degrees, even in the summer. If you have asthma or allergies, beware that there is a lot of mold and mildew in some rooms.
This trip was one of the busier times I've been there, in two hours we encountered two other people. There are a few exit signs leading you out, and a few maps here and there, but many are illegible. We've visited a few times and it still took us a lot of wandering around to find a couple specific rooms we wanted to visit.
Enjoy yourself, but be respectful. Sound carries very well through the long corridors. The few staff members I've encountered seem to be friendly and aware that many of the visitors are there just to wander around and take it all in, but there will also be folks there paying their respects, please don't disturb them and ruin it for the rest of us.

08 February 2008

The best classic country music online

If you're looking for classic country music streaming online, check out "Country Legends 106.9 KTPK" broadcasting from Topeka. I tried out a few different stations in the last few days, I've been hankering for old school country. There was an AM station in Portland that played classic country, but now it switched to talk radio.
So far, KTPK hasn't let me down. This station doesn't play anything newer than the 80's, all the stuff I grew up listening to in Indiana riding around with my parents, watching TNN with my Grandma, and even going out to Dad's truck in the driveway on Saturday nights to tune in to the Opry on WSM 650 from Nashville. It didn't come in in the house, but the radio in the truck was crystal clear. I'm a country boy, what can I say. I love all kinds of music, I'm pretty well versed in Rock history, I know a bit about Jazz and know almost all the old standards from the 20th century. I'm a music geek, but right now I just identified Roger Miller's "Dang Me" on the first four bars, and how appropriate, now its Barbara Mandrell and George Jones with "Country when Country wasn't Cool." I just love going back to my roots now and then. Now I'm off to listen to one of Conway Twitty's dirty dirty songs...

Hooray for Headwounds!

I get to work this morning and the first email I read is a message that I need to head down to the other building, our "warehouse annex" beneath the Hawthorne Bridge to help out my cow-orker who was having trouble getting the 1920's freight elevator to move. (Somehow, I seem to have the magic touch with this thing, not sure what my secret is, but I can always make it work.)
So after fighting the morning traffic down Sandy, I arrive at the warehouse just as he's managed to get it going. Sigh. Wasted trip. And there was only one pallet jack, so I couldn't even really help him move stuff around, so I just stuck around in case there were more elevator difficulties. As we're locking up the building, getting ready to head back to the shop, I'm wrestling with putting the dock plate away, (the dock plate is a 50 pound plate of steel that acts as a bridge between the truck and the building) I bend over to put it in it's place not noticing the other giant chunk of metal protruding from the wall right around head level.

It didn't really hurt too bad, that should have been my first clue that something was wrong, but after a little cursing and dancing around, I got my shit together and finished locking up. Before I left I grabbed a wad of toilet paper to dab my head just out of curiosity. Head wounds bleed a lot, in case you've never experienced one. I took one look at the tissue and nearly vomited.
After a few minutes, the bleeding was contained, but the nausea wasn't. As I'm driving back up Sandy, I almost pulled over three times to puke. Its the same reaction I have when I get blood work done. Losing just a little bit of blood always makes me feel like shit. I had the fan on full cold blast, windows down in the pouring rain, in hindsight, I really shouldn't have been driving. At least I was only in the Sube and not the big ol' truck...
When I got back to the shop, I spent a while sitting down, trying to compose myself, still holding various blood collecting devices to my head, convincing myself that it wasn't too bad. A couple of cow-orkers donned rubber gloves and pulled my currently unruly hair back enough to get a good look at it and managed to convince me that I should probably go get it looked at.
So I'm off to the urgent care clinic in Gateway, now with my shit together enough to drive safely, where after about 45 minutes of filling out 8 different forms, and reading a Portland Monthly cover to cover, I saw a cool doctor who gave me two choices, three shots and a staple in my head, or four layers of medical grade super glue that burn like a son of a bitch. He was reluctant about the glue due to the size of the gash and how much blood was still oozing out of it two hours after it happened, but gave it a try and so far it seems to be working. No blood tricking down my face. It really hurts to make any kind of facial expression that makes the skin on my head move, and my arm feels like I spent a six hour car trip playing slug bug, (from the Tetanus shot) but its Friday, and I got to spend the rest of my day at work not really doing anything and milking the sympathy of my cow-orkers. On the positive side, I was due for a tetanus booster...
Oh, and I found this bizarre sad little jewel scrawled in the waiting room copy of the Portland Monthly. It would be really depressing if she hadn't used the phrase "ass clown."

07 February 2008

New addition

Don't know why I didn't add them sooner. Just lazy I guess. Heather and Shawn, some friends of friends who are now my friends who live up in Seattle have an awesome blog. They're now part of my "Folks I know."
Curiously enough, Heather lived in the Bloomington rental house where I resided with Lizbone, but she was there a couple of years before we lived there. Our paths didn't cross until Andy and Lizbone met her watching a Colts game somewhere in Seattle. I've only known these guys for a year or so, but we gots the 508 N. Lincoln St. connection, so we're like family!
By the way, Bloomington, of all places, is already available on google maps street view. The pics were taken in the height of the summer, so almost everything is obscured by the canopy of trees that line every street, but its still awesome that B-town is represented so early in this whole street view thing...

06 February 2008

Cleveland Rocks!

I've been hooked on reruns of the Drew Carey Show lately. I never really found Drew Carey amusing until lately. Perhaps its because I've been called "Drew" for the last two years at work since there's three of us named John, and when my hair is short like it is most of the year, I do admittedly bear a resemblance. I've embraced my role as the pudgy looser guy with funny glasses...
I never really caught the show when it was new, it originally aired in my era of "fuck tv, I'm too cool for that shit." Now I find it to be the best thing on tv, new or old. Good writing, awesome chemistry amongst the cast, and the dance numbers rock, much like Cleveland. This is the extended debut of the "Cleveland Rocks" intro from the third season. It makes me smile... I wish there was a cool song about Portland.

While I'm at it, how about the full version of the "Five O'Clock World" opening too.

2,554 miles is a long long long long ways in a car!

I've been following Stuckey/Spalt's roundabout scenic journey from Seattle to their new home in Naptown. (Link goes to a picture that makes Indianapolis look really neat.)
Thanks Lizbone, for your detour to I-40 in Barstow just to see if there's a complementary sign to the one in Wilmington. Whadda ya know, there is!
The sign in North Carolina, just a few miles inland from the coast, amused me the few times I've driven past it. Now I feel a sense of completion knowing there's one in Barstow as well. Although I do notice that the western sign has a much more pleasing layout than its eastern counterpart. By the way, I don't know who that guy leaning against the sign is. I just found the pic on google.
I always wanted to stop and take a picture, but that sign is encountered after spending about 30 minutes on the ridiculous six-lane highways with stoplights getting through Wilmington, and knowing that you're finally on a real freeway and not a make-believe freeway just makes you want to push on to Raleigh.

Sweet Jesus!

"A Modern Spiritual" from the Lawrence Welk Show. Gale and Dale sing one of the "newer songs."

05 February 2008

Mortimer hits the sauce

Soy sauce, that is, low sodium, kitties with heart problems don't need all that salt.

04 February 2008

A beer with Steve

I have no idea where I stand on the race between Novick and Merkley but I know I want one of them to chase Gordon Smith out of office with a stick.
If ads alone can sway my opinion, Novick is ahead by an arm...

01 February 2008

9 feet of snow = tasty water all summer long

According to the Water Blog, there was 109 inches of snow up at Bull Run yesterday, with more falling today. Hopefully this means we'll have awesome reservoir water all summer and not have to mix with the wells.
We're experimenting with our first batch of homebrew, and we made it with plain old Portland tap water. We're going to try bottled water on the next batch of the same recipe, just to see if there's any real difference. My neighbor swears by bottled water in his brews, but I have faith in Bull Run.

Silverman/Damon video

From last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live