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Do Do Wap is Strong in Here

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

From 8-3 

lessee... what did i do yestidee... i set out for a place called the "red and black cafe" about ten blocks south (i think) of here. i saw a picture on the photo sight of a neon sign above the door that said "i love my brain" and i had to check it out. it's a tiny corner cafe that serves food, libations, sundry coffee things and has occasional live performances. i had some broccoli noodle bake thing, glanced around for a while and took off for nearby clinton street, which has a wide open intersection with a very old theater on one corner and shops radiating out for about a block in each direction. at this intersection, there is also "green noise records" - a little place that sells mostly punk and old garage stuff.

i poked around in there for a while and then decided to head back north, past the house to the kearns neighborhood. the broccoli bake stuff wasn't very filling, so on the way i stopped at the lucky labrador for a sammy and some soup. quite stirring. i took a bus up belmont for about 15 blocks to shorten the walk a little, and crossed over from there to burnside, where the laurelhurst theater anchors the neighborhood. there was another cool strip of shops and bars along 28th starting at burnside, including a junk shop called "smut" which was blasting "now i wanna be your dog" when i passed. i hung around the area for a little while snapping pictures and having a sody, and then headed back toward belmont. on the way, i sat for a spell in laurelhurst park, which is apparently a whole hell of a lot bigger than the little corner sliver i came through. i got up and walked to belmont, hitting it right where the avalon theater sits, and whent in for a while to play old school games i had completely forgotten about for about 15cents a pop.

after i got good and bug eyed, i hopped on a bus back to 15th, the street daniel and ilona live on, got home and waited for daniel to get off work. when he got back, we ate some tasty ass lasagne and took off for the kennedy school, an old elementary school that has been turned into a hotel, restaurant and second run theater. the theater is in the old auditorium, and the seats are all plush chairs and sofas. the detention room was turned into a bar, and the teacher's lounge is now some kind of relaxation pool or something. the halls are lined with old pictures that are probably from yearbooks, and there's a courtyard in the middle which is the main restaurant space. ridiculuosly awesome, i say. after the movie, we came home, daniel and ilona went sleepy-bye, and i stayed up for a bit to eat cold lasagne with apple juice and jelly beans and watch the movie D.A.R.Y.L.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

From 8-1 

i'm sitting on the campus of portland state university. i wanted to check out this southwest park promenade thing one of the guidebooks mentioned. i saw a big old theater that apparently has six or so smaller theaters inside, and walked by the portland art museum, but they were closed. it costs ten damn dollars to get in, anyway. other than that, i saw a huge deer statue in the middle of the street and a bunch of clusters of street kids hanging around the park strip. the strip runs about ten blocks and ends here at the university.

yesterday was a lazy day hanging around the house, but i feel like that's part of experiencing portland the right way anyhow, so i didn't feel like i was missing anything. we had a barbeque on daniel and ilona's back balcony that no one showed up for, save for one co-worker of daniel's. we had grilled chicken with a tasty ass lime marinade that ilona put together, and corn on the cob grilled inside the husk with some olive and herb butter concoction that was so damn tasty i ate it like dip a couple times. we watched the sun set from the back porch and then came in and fell asleep during a viewing of temple of doom. daniel and ilona woke up and moved to thier bedroom, and i took off down hawthorne and walked twenty blocks up to the bagdad.

on the way up, two guys stopped me, and the one with the flavor saver said "einstein or dr. seuss?" of course i said dr. seuss, and flavor saver's friend protested and said the other guy was fixing the results and distorting the question. the real question was "who said 'there is no bigger than big or smaller than small'?" one guy thinks einstein, and the other thinks dr. seuss. i was instructed to look it up, but i haven't yet.

at the bagdad, i had a local brew called 'black rabbit porter'. it was very dark, very smooth, and damn tasty when combined with my order of art dip and chips. i didn't stay too long, just had the pint and chips and watched people walk and bike by, then fiddled around in a hollywood video while i waited for a bus to arrive. i'm going to check out more of the campus now, and then go to a movie and dinner later tonight.

later: wandered through downtown, stopped to rest at the southern end of tom mccall park - a long strip that was going to be a freeway, but plans were dropped and it became a park along the willamette. walked back over the hawthorne bridge and wandered through the neighborhood on the way back to the house. came across a place called the 'lucky labrador', a cool converted warehouse with a big vaulted roof and old cinderblock walls and a big patio. of course they have their own brews, so i tried a porter, which was pretty good but not quite as good as the black rabbit, and finished the walk back to the house. daniel got back from work and we went out to another cheap theater/restaurant owned by the same brothers who seem to own half the town, the mcmenamins. this one is called the mission and is an old converted swedish evangelical church. we had some dinner and watched the mediocre 'bewitched'. afterward, we drove around for a while through the north neighborhoods, stopped at a grocery store with jelly bean dispensers and soft chairs by the magazine rack, came home and daniel and ilona made an assload of lasagne and went to bed. i stayed up looking at a wbsite that has a bunch of photos of portland organized by neighborhood, so i have a whole list of places to check out now.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

From 7-30 

took a day trip to astoria, oregon, a town about 90 miles northwest of portland where goonies was filmed. we stopped off for a little while in a town south of there called seaside. pretty much a tourist trap kind of place that has a noisy crowded junk shop area like a minniature version of pier 39 in san fran. we waded in the ocean for a while, though, so it was worth it.

after seaside, we drove into astoria and stopped at the visitors center for some maps. just about everyone who stops in there wants to know where the goonies stuff is, so they sell a little movie site booklet and map for us gomers. the first place we tried to go was mikey's house. it's up on a hill at the end of a private driveway with a sign at the mouth of the driveway that says NO CARS in fat tip marker. those people probably get 70 visitors a day coming up to the house to do the truffle shuffle. we felt a little squeamish about going up there, so we drove over to the jailhouse and the "flavel house" next. the flavel house, which was a museum in goonies, is a big old victorian mansion that holds tours detailing the life of one of the founders of the town, and the jailhouse, the one the fratelli's busted outta, is across the street.

i think that sort of exhausted the movie sights we could find, so we went to the "astoria column", a tower on top of a big bluff on the edge of town. from the bluff, we could see the mouth of the columbia river, which lets out into a huge bay, a gigantic bridge connecting astoria to washington, distant bluffs and farmland stretching out at the base of the bluffs toward a swampy river valley, a bunch of barges moored out in the river, and the whole town of astoria. daniel and i also climbed the spiral staircase in the column 160-some steps to an observation deck at the top. we were sweaty sunsabitches after that. the view was ridiculous from up there. the planet looks pretty overwhelmingly beautiful in the little patches where people haven't fucked it up yet.

after we wound our way down the bluff, we took a different route home along the columbia river, making a round trip loop. i was shown another interesting neighborhood in the northwest corner of portland, kind of like uptown, only with a quieter residential atmosphere and not totally ruined with designer whitebread donkey shit. we were going to go see a movie at an old elementary school that's been converted to a theater and hotel, but it wa packed, so we got some ice cream and came home to sleep instead.


Friday, August 19, 2005

From 7-29 

went into downtown with relay to eat at the "roach coaches" - a block long line-up of carts and trailers that sell various types of food. i had a fat lump of some chicken vindaloo. after all that curry, i did'n't feel much like strolling, so we went back to the house.

on the way, we walked along the bank of the willamette, which is where one of several warehouse districts is located. among the crumbly buildings, railroad tracks and pissy smell is a 4 storey building filled with factory overstock and fire damage type stuff including those square jesus pictures with a spinning neon spiral behind them.

once home, we both kind of lolled around all afternoon - sat out on the porch for a while and nodded off while watching the last star fighter. ilona came home and took a nap while relay and i went up to the lab to cut some new mouthbreather tracks. not too sure about the new material as of yet. we closed up shop, roused ilona, and headed off to the bagdad theater about 20 blocks up hawthorne to see hitch hikers guide to the galaxy.

the bagdad's pretty damn awesome. they sell pizza by the slice and a bunch of locally brewed beers that you can eat and drink in the theater on skinny little tables that run the length of the isles, and the movie ticket goes for three bucks. a fine time. beer, dogs, parks, bridges, bikes, and interesting neighborhoods. i like portland because the way it's set up encourages walking through, relaxing in, and exploring each unique little area that crops up between quiet residential spaces. profoundly stellar. time for bed.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

From 7-28 

left around 10am and headed into downtown along hawthorne. the willamette river bisects portland, and most of the bridges over the river are wobbly old lift bridges. big iron towers stick up in the middle of some of them, and i could see the cables and gears that lift a section of the bridge up. had some halfway decent indian food upon crossing the bridge into downtown. food is alot cheaper here than it was in san francisco. after the food, i sort of picked whichever direction looked most interesting, and when i saw on my little map that i was getting closer to powell's books, i headed that way.

powell's is - i think - the biggest book store in the country. it's four storeys tall and takes up the entire block. they give you a map at the front counter. the rooms are color coded, and the sections of the rooms are broken down into categories as specific as 'aviation-civil' and 'feng shui'. feng fucking shui gets a section all to itself. i could've engraved your name in glass with my nipples. it was too much to handle, i had to leave.

i headed back toward the river by the same method i had used to come out, and i ended up at the amtrak depot. i saw its clock tower poking out from a few blocks away, and i had to go take a look. it's a pretty old brick building - looks like 80-100 years - and at first i mistook it for a hotel. i was sweaty and thirsty so i went into the restaurant/bar off to one side of the building and had a frosty beverage. the barkeep chatted me up, found out i was an auslander, and gave me a pretty interesting visitor's guide that has a section on every neighborhood. i packed up and headed back over the river via another wobbling lift bridge. the return trip ended up being a little further than i was expecting. it was effin hot today, i stunk myself up and contracted babboon ass rel good-like.

when i got back, i recouperated a while with relay, and then we headed down belmont street. belmont has its own little district, similar to the hawthorne district. we went into the avalon theater, which is a combination cheap second run theater and nickel arcade. you pay 2.50 to get in, trade cash in for a sammich bag full of nickels, and go play video games for ten or fifteen cents apiece. they had old school games, ski ball, and a whole bunch of games from japan, i mean machines that still had the price to play listed in yen. there was some game called "guitar freaks" or something like that, where the controls are on a little half size guitar, and some flying bicycle game that was controlled by pedaling an actual little bike. nutty.

after the video games, ilona chrislon picked us up and we went to alberta avenue for "last thursday". every last thursday of the month, alberta avenue has about twenty blocks of art galleries and music and food and mini parades out on the sidewalk. we saw a bunch of dudes roll by on a motorized picnic table. it's like the uptown art fair, except every month and not asinine. we didn't stay too long, though, on account of the babboon ass shredding my bathing suit area into ground chuck. we took the scenic route home and watched the movie dodgeball, which brought me back to the glory of yesteryear.


From 7-27 

the sun bounced off the wing of the plane and hit me in the forehead for the whole trip. we were only in the air for 30-45 minutes. some queasy turbulence close to landing was irksome. met up with daniel and ilona at the airport, drove to the hollywood neighborhood and bought some bird food and a burrito. came back to their place for the grand tour, a brief appreciation of the back balcony, and then a long walk up and down hawthorne street, the main drag of the hawthorne neighborhood. lotsa small restaurants, couple few theaters, antique shops, a hostal, what not and what have you. it's late, it's hot, time to pass out.


I'm. Is. A. Wo. Bot. 

draws is playin shoot em ups on the television, and i'm just sitting here sweating, so i figured i might as well transcribe some of the portland journal. i think parts of it might be a little dry, but i tried to spice it up a little every now and then. i've been taking the last bus of the night home alot lately. my super keen friend alana made me a cake for my birthday shaped like the letter "p" for pete with malted milkballs on top. i ripped the stick part offa the p and ate it whole while trying to balance the cake pan with one hand on my walk to the bus stop. the thing was unwieldy, and i hope this is ok with alana charles, but i grabbed a plastic knife from a greek restaurant and chopped off pieces of the cake for anyone on the street who wanted one. there was a big crowd getting out of an event at the intermedia arts building and that's where i got rid of most of it. it was damn delicious and really cool, but this way, i was able to share some and stow the pan in my bag. another late night bus trip happened after seeing a friggin wonderful band called gogol bordello. i think they're mostly ukrainian, but they live in new york. they play alot of eastern european style music with some noise and dub tossed in there, and at the show, every few songs two women would bound on stage in odd dancer/football pants costumes and bang on cymbals, a giant marching band bass drum, or scrape on some beat up washboards and jump around. i thought they were pretty dang beautiful, and i've been listening to their album all week. yeh, so bloggedy bloggedy bleff and so forth. now, in a new post, i will lay down some of the travel journal.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Panda Sex Makes Panda Babies 

first, i will take a stab at reconstructing some of the salient happenings in oakland/san francisco/berkely using the photo album i toiled over as a guide, and then i'll transcribe my groggy notebook entries one or two a day from potland. i'm putting all my energy into finding a place to live and a job now that i'm back, so my brain is floating somewhere out in the intersection of 14th and hennepin right now.

anyhow... let's see... what did i do in the bay area? well, i roomed with the lovely dom and m'me bammer blue in a comfortable, mostly quiet area of north oakland just off an interesting main drag called piedmont ave. piedmont had a bunch of cool restaurants and a hoity toity grocery store. i visited about 15 places along that street, and got fish taco platters at one place 3 times.

they lived not too far away from a salt water lake called lake merritt that i walked around one day while dom was making some hipsters their omlettes at mama's royal cafe a few blocks away from the apartment. lake merritt has a run down mini amusement park next to it called childrens fairyland, which i found plenty creepy. i sat and read a local city pages type paper on the steps of the oakland crematorium, the three of us went to a massive old vaudvilian theater called the grand lake theater and saw charlie and the chocolate factory, and i climbed to the top of a terraced cemetary on the side of a steep hill in oakland that had an amazing view of san fran, oakland and the bay.

the best part of being on the east bay wa heading out to berkely. if i lived there, i think i would spend all my free time sitting in a cafe across from the campus or find a shady spot somewhere on the campus proper and just watch people and read all day. the main street that runs into the campus is telegraph avenue. telegraph had alot of hairy street vendors on it and a bunch of cool record and book stores. dom and i got some giant crepes at a place called crepes a go go, and found a cool block of shops on the north end of the campus. tzuen, a friend and old roommate of dom's lives in berkely, and we wandered around with her for a while.

in san francisco, i walked to the top of nob hill downtown, which was a bastard son of a bitch to climb, but i was trying to kill time while i waited for a really tasty thai place to open and gimme a big ass bowl of their curry noodle soup. that was the day i also spent about four hours in golden gate park, out on the end of haight street, wandering through the japanese tea garden, a few small lakes, and getting lost as hell a few times. i popped out at the ocean and sat there listening to it for a while before taking a bus back to the haight and eating some delicious pizza. the haight is where amoeba records, supposedly the best record store in the country, is located. it's huge. the place used to be a bowling alley. effing huge.

i walked through china town and realized too late that i was a big mark because of the camera hanging around my neck, and got harangued into eating at a place called, imaginitively enough, the chinatown restaurant. the place wasn't bad, but i kept my camera in my pocket after that. chinatown runs into the north beach neighborhood, an italian area where city lights books is located. city lights was started by the poet lawrence ferlinghetti, who was my introduction to beat culture, so for me it was like a shovel to the face to be standing there. there's a poetry room upstairs, and a cool basement area with a door that has the words "i am the door" painted on it. north beach runs into the embarcadero area and the wharf. there was a big annoying tourist part called pier 39 which we avoided, and a fairly empty pier from which we watched a sea lion bark and a dense lump of fog move over alcatraz. i spent a day sitting in an epty club where dom used to work the door watching another old roommate put together a booth, and visited dom's old crib in a run down area in either the mission or soma district or maybe it was neither, i'm not sure.

what else... didn't see the golden gate bridge up close, maybe next time. i also wanted to check out the asian art museum, but it was ten bucks to get in, and i went a little spastic with cash on the chinatown/north beach/embarcadero day, so another time for that one too, i guess. i think that about covers what i can piece together. i walked all day every day for the whole trip, and only got babboon ass once. my face peeled off in oakland, though. on my last day, i had a farewell meal at mama's, got on the bart to the airport, and went to portland, the details of which i can transcribe as soon as the muscles in my hands work again.


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