Monthly Archives: January 2003

Portland Radio Sucks

It truly does. Once again. In bold. Portland Radio Sucks. Bigtime. I could stop this story right here, and probably have said all that I need to, but then what would be the fun in that? I am just freakin’ so sick and tired of all the damn commercials and the stupid DJ’s mackin on strippers for 47 minutes out of each hour. And the three songs that I do hear…if my timing was good and I get to hear any on my commute…are the same ones by the same ‘artists’, rotating between Rage Against the Machine, tool, System of A Down, Korn (sorry deep guys can’t do that kewl ‘K’ thing they do), with maybe a bit of Metallica blended in.

I can’t imagine that it has anything to do with the way our stations take their annual turns at being a different national Radio conglomerate’s bitch all the friggin time. The air waves belong to the people NOT those ass-holes at Clear Channel and Viacom. We as citizens need to take interest in who has control of our media. But this isn’t the place or time for an intellectual and political discourse on the demerits of the FCC and deregulation. This is a time to whine and moan.
I have gotten into my car, driven for nearly 15 minutes and heard only freakin commercials on our local rock station. I’ve gone at least twenty minutes without a song. And these are music stations. Criminy! The alternative station, KNRK sometimes hints that it means well, It actually devotes time to local artists. For like an hour when even Taco Bell is closed! And Art’s show seems interesting sometimes. But that does not make it okay to suck the rest of the time. Their playlist is aye-dent-ti-kal to that of KUFO’s, the hard rock station (to be confused with the rock station at the same location on your flaccid tuner).

Portland is a city with a great music scene. There are a lot of good shows going on every night, album release parties weekly. And some of those are probably crap. But that’s okay. Seattle’s not too far away, nor is San Francisco, even Boisemight have an emerging band or two. I don’t know, because they’s rather not come here. If we demanded our music be taken seriously, we might be taken that way.

So I’m absolutely fed up with the situation as it is. I haven’t figured out my more drastic measures yet, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out and you’ll be the first to know about it. But in the meantime, I’ve ditched local radio all-to-friggin-gether and subscribed to Sirius Satellite Radio…expect a full review of that in a different voice than this, but suffice it to say for now that it’s so liberating it rocks.

Anyhow, I may as well make a few demands.

  1. Vary your music a little!
  2. Play less commercials
  3. I don’t care how hot she is I can’t see her!
  4. DJ’s: shut the hell up and play some music if you’re too stupid to have an original idea friggin Marconi!
  5. Represent our local artists! I know your corporate John’s can’t handle anything a bit original, but it’s your freakin duty!
  6. Request hour is just that. It’s not sit take calls until you can get a suondbite for the next song on your playlist

ps – kiss my ass Clear Channel!

Catamount Pale Ale

My eyes grew wide at the first drink of this Pale Ale. A nice full flavor, complemented by its mild fruitiness makes for a fine, smooth drink. A gentle bitterness from fine Cascade hops blends well with with the pale malt, making an all-around pleasant beer. The color of this beer is, as implied by the name, quite light hardly even darkening the glass.
The light, fresh qualities of this beer make it a fine choice for any occasion. I suggest that it would make a great companion to outdoor events, be it relaxing on the patio, barbequeing, for after sports, or at the lake, you won’t go wrong with this one.

Catamount Brewery is proudly located in Vermont, as evidenced by the bold Enjoy Vermont on the labels of their beers. Catamount was purchased by Harpoon Brewery in 2000, and I’d say that the folks at Harpoon made a wise decision…though I haven’t yet tried any of their beers.

Overall, I strongly recommend Catamount’s Pale Ale. I’ll be reviewing the Porter in a few days, so we’ll see if that holds up as strongly. I’m looking forward to it though. In the meantime, I think I’ll have another Pale.

Bday Day

Yesterday was Nedra’s birthday, and the festivities were rolling. We spent most of the day doing bday related odds-n-ends. Like how I took Augie out to play soccer with me for a few hours, or how I slept in late because I’d been out bar hopping late the night before. I would’ve been in big troube if I’d woken with a disabling hangover.
Anyway, it was great fun. Nedra and some of her girlfriends made a crapload of Asian food like phad thai, sushi, garden rolls, and all sort of other good stuff. I made chili oil and a dipping sauce for the vaporware tempura. Amy and Dustin were the heroes though, having brought the grubbin Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake.

The party itself was quite nice. There was was plenty of food, and maybe not enough beer (hence the beer run I went on). Black Black was on the scene (technologically advanced chewing gum) so at the beer store I came across some triple-black clear ice beverage and had to have it. That’s even blacker than black black…almost Raider Black.

Everyone was having a grand ole’ time when they busted out the Cranium…yeah if I’d known it was gonna be that kinda party…. So Cranium takes a friendly, conversational party and turns everyone into ultra-competitive screaming actors. It was a beautiful thing.

Fun was had by all, far as I could tell. The blue team claimed victory and people started to take off. cheers.

Lessons Learned

I came across this link, which happily reveals all the garbage in my collection for me that I should sell. These guys are doing a real service for humanity here. I’m just fed up with having to hear some of these albums again and again, and have gotten to the point where I can barely stomach seeing some of these albums lying idly on the shelf. I am going to miss my Beastie Boys and Chili Peppers albums though. And I have a feeling that some may object to the elimination of Kool Keith’s Black Elvis, Sublime and Public Enemy.

Shortly before reading that article, I read this one, which is so dead-on. Check it out. Check out the comments. Beautiful. It appears that everyone who posted about the music list also read How to Write Like a Wanker. But then, it seems that I must have too sometimes.

I also need to toss in the Bay Area Math Test because it’s so sweet even though it doesn’t have anything to do with this post. Be careful of the trick questions.

Cool Runnings Cafe

Nestled in at the edge of the shopping distrinct of upper NE Fremont is the quaint Cool Runnings Cafe, owned and operated by Cal Ferris and his wife. The character and food of the place, while inspired by the Islands, is varied and lends itself nicely to flavors from many regions, particularly those of the American South.

Cool Runnings Cafe has been open since August of 2002, but has been serving dinner only since early 2003, which I feel is their true calling. They have a limited but suitable wine and beer list, as well as some non-alcoholic beverages.
I was impressed with the food from the very start. Cal brought out some of their homemade bread with some spiced butter, which was fantastic. Somewhat nutty and peppery, the bread was very good. For the main course, I had the Gumbo, which was packed with chicken, andouille sausage and a bit of okra, as well as a full rich flavor. A little spicy, I kicked it up a fair amount with their homemade pineapple-habanero sauce. Very nice, I found myself wanting to take some of the sauce home…but instead I’ll try to make something that tastes half as good. Nedra had the jerked chicken, which was also quite flavorful. I pilfered a fair share of her garlic mashed potatoes as well, which had a nice rustic texture…the potato hadn’t been butter and milked out of them, offering up a rich, well-textured side.

The service was excellent, and while I can’t say that they were particularly challenged during our visit, both were very friendly. After thoroughly stuffing myself on Gumbo and corn bread, Nedra needed a taste of dessert. Hearing the list, I nearly had to order my own…raspberry cheesecake topped my list, but we order the mixed berry cobbler instead, which was just fine and dandy. It was a deep dish of warm sweet and sour berry goodness, with a bit of biscuit and orange mixed in for some pizazz.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the Cool Runnings Cafe, and will be returning. They had nice options for spicy and mild tastes. The atmosphere was pleasant. Portions were ample, and prices were reasonabIe ($8-12 entrees). My main critique is probably their Starters menu, which struck me more as a list of sides, primarily salads and greens. I don’t think it will take them too long to outgrow the small space they are in now.

Rogue Mocha Porter

A smooth pour to a dark, frothy head. This beer promises a richness that it doesn’t quite achieve. The bite focuses towards the tip of the tongue, and the aroma is not full enough to be complimentary. The flavor is pretty good, though I believe it more likely to appeal to a Starbuck’s denizen than a beer lover. There is a slight hint of mocha, but limited character is apparent here. I feel that this one is a disappointment from the Rogue brewery. I have enjoyed many fine pints of theirs, whether at the brewery in Newport,OR or at one of the finer watering holes, and hate to turn anyone away from them because of this negative review.
I need to make the disclaimer that I have always preferred the Rogue beers on draught over their bottled brothers and sisters. Some beers are like that. Definitely not an offensive beer, this porter goes down pretty smooth, with a very fine carbonation.

Rogue is a fabulous craft brewery, but this porter leaves me flat. Off the cuff, I’d reccomend their Younger’s Special Bitter, the Arrogant Bastard, ortheir classic Shakespeare Stout, or if you’re looking for a porter, dig into
Black Butte Porter
from Deschutte’s Brewery out of Bend, OR.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a true story of human spirit and the overcoming of adversity. The film tells the story of three young Aboriginal girls who are torn from their homes because they are of mixed decent, and taken to a camp where they are to be trained to integrate into proper society, in particular as servants, with the intention that white blood will scour the aboriginal blood from their line in a few generations as they reproduce with whites.

The girls, plenty unhappy with the camp and wanting to go home, use the cover of rain to escape the camp and evade a tracker used by the camp to fetch strays. Their journey north, as they follow the rabbit-proof fence that runs the length of Australia is the focus of the movie.

This movie is very matter-of-fact in its portrayal of racism. It does not paint a picture of the whites as bullying monsters, gaining satisfaction from the subjugation of the Aborigines, but instead shows them as arrogant yet well-meaning and naive in their assumptions, intending to save these people from themselves, and show them a better way. The subjects of this improvement are not known as the lost generation.

Overall, this film was quite good. It evoked a variety of emotions, opened my eyes to some history I likely slept through in class, and told its story in an effective and interesting manner.

The New In Thing

Marriage. Topping the list of What’s Hot right now. Fox is premiering several new blockbuster mega-hypo shows where the winners and losers get married to each other, themselves, and total strangers. Not to mention the past classics like marrying millionaire monkeys and throwing turtles at wed-shops in vegas. And ThankYou Joe (Evan).

It’s freakin bizzarro to me, the trend. Now that the concept of marriage has been totally despoiled by the likes of wadded up right-wing Family Values groupies pulling anti-gay anti-choice propaganda, and our (me being pretty solid Gen-X) parents’s generation treating them like Kleenex, snotted or no.
It’s tough to believe that the end-all for so many people is to tie the knot. Despite all that, I do believe that there is value in marriage. Be it intangible or no, there is still a silent strength to it. When you see two of your friends, and suddenly remember, with a double-take, that they’re married, there’s something there. Maybe the introduction of children draws value from the marriage. Perhaps it makes taxes easise, but I doubt it. Benefits are easier for married couples than partner-types, but some progressive locales are stepping up there.

Weddings can also be quite fun. Not pizza though, a bad one is no good, and that’s one spendy pie. So make it a good one. Get your friends there, dress ‘em up and get them drunk on something, make sure the music doesn’t suck because that’s going to be the deal-breaker. A DJ or a band that you know will be fun…probably a bit of cheese is good, because these are drunk people and they don’t need to be chinning up in some cotillion.

In the past times of war and uncertainty, Americans have shown a tendency to marry recklessly and breed. We get the baby boomer generation. Also, a ton of army men coming back from the Gulf and marrying promptly. Not just the millitants, but others, particularly in a down economy, snuggling to stay warm against the heating bills make their babies as a symbol of power and security.

The Pig-n-Ford

In which grown men race old cars with pigs in their arms. A thing of beauty, the Pig-n-Ford of Tillamook County, I’ve only seen videos of it on televsion, and pictures on the internet.

A lucky man I am, having a friend Jamie Dixson, who is a great Pig-n-Ford competitor, and a good man. Perhaps I can convince him to offer up a few comments on the Pig-n-Ford. Perhaps, I can obtain an interview.

The Pig-n-Ford takes place a the the Tillamook County Fair somewhere around Tillamook, OR, where the cheese comes from .

I’ve yet to make the pilgrimage to Tillamook to see the event live, but I was fortunate enought to see a thorough filming of I believe the 1998 tournament. It was very cool, and truly a serious sport, as evidenced by the more than 50 years of history.

The vehicles that they race are modified Model T Fords, and they run them around a dirt track. I suppose they were built before roads were that prevalent anyhow, so the must be made for offroading. And thanks to the power steering technology developed in the early 20th century by Henry Ford I’m sure it was simple to steer those babies with a squirmin sqealin pig in your arm.

The amazing thing is the technique involved in this sport. It is obviously developed and passed on. I hope the best for the Pig-n-Forders, and hope to get down to see them sometime.

Art is frustrating

Art is cool. Sometimes awkward. Rarely liberating. Is it coffee house art that is full of penis and twat? Or is it normal that challenge and beauty are found primarily in bizarro interpretations of sex organs and other private areas? Much less often the butt.

Eyes are a popular target too, much more understandably. Never the focus, just part of the scene. Eyes are pretty cool, I can get into them. There’s so much depth to an eye. They’re really hard to draw too, even in pencil. Genitals, on the other hand are just the natural extensions of the stick figure.

Maybe they’re symbols to represent the symbolism of our culture’s ideology and striving upwards, building monoliths to the moon. blech. More fruit, less nuts.

Homebrew #1 – English Special Bitter

This isn’t really my first time homebrewing. But it sure felt like the first time. It had been probably 8 years or more since my last foray, and I’ll say now that it didn’t go particularly well. Overzealous and underequipped (I recall transferring the brew from the carboy into a waste basket I pulled from a dumpster and sanitized), I gave a go at malting my own barley, and made a huge mess everywhere. No details on that, sorry. The beer itself came out pretty nasty, not one to share with friends, and I don’t believe that I even finished them all myself. ugh.

Anyhow, flashing to the present, I received every major component of a homebrew kit from my buddy Sean and his wife Andreea (sp?). This setup was so basic, it really took effort to screw up. There isn’t even any wort to boil…just water!

So, all was going well, equipment sanitized (in the shower, of course!), I added the boiling water to the malt extract/hops goo inside the carboy, then the cold water, then the yeast, and then the cork. The cork I had on the lock was just a wee bit too small, and trying to form a seal, it ‘whoomped’ on past the threshold and didn’t look back. So, that’s my sercret ingredient for this batch.

Tonite I left work early to hit up the local homebrew shoppe (Let’s Brew!) who must think that all homebrewers are unemployed with those crazy hours…my brew was ready for bottling. I picked up some bottles, caps, and a capper (purchased!), and cruised home to watch 24. Great show. Bad mean women.

Time to get crackin’, everything went way too smooth in the bottling process. My new 10 dollar capper was a dream, the siphon siphoned, and the waters boiled. Now I have 47 bottles of Olde English Bitter (Muntons Gold, specific gravity ~1.012-1.013), a coupla empties (beer-making fuel), and a nasty carboy that I’m going to get in trouble for leaving soaking in the bathtub.

The next few weeks can’t go fast enough.

cheers

Untaxing Representedness

I’ve come across an interesting article today, in which Bill Gates speaks out against the estate tax.

It is quite well-written, succinct, offering up a spattering of fact, some opinion, and a fair amount of implication. There’s something fairly convincing about the wealthiest man I can think of arguing that we should take his dough.

Of course, he also writes this with full knowledge of who our manufactured leader is and the inevitability of a vast array of tax breaks for the wealthy. So is he hedging his bets. I suppose that once you hit the billions and billions mark, a little altruism doesn’t hurt too much anyway. However, I actually do believe that he wrote the article in earnest. Breaking the bourgeois will make it difficult to sell the latest Windows Masterpiece.

Not Directions

A typical Pearl District interaction.

(Choose scenario:)

  1. me sitting on sidewalk eating burrito
  2. me walking with friends/coworkers to bar or from burrito run
  3. me wandering aimlessly avoiding work, often with coworker

r, driven by one person, or a delivery truck driven by two. They slow down, seeing harmless streetpeople (walkers), smile broad, and chime, “Excuse me, could you tell me how to find…

  1. …this place twelve feet from here.”
  2. …the pub.”
  3. …the other side of town”

ly give directions. This really happens a lot. However, yesterday, I’m caught in scenario 2 (just me), reading a
Our Media Not Theirs
with a burrito-filled tummy, and stopping to let a volvo-lady pass (I had the stop sign), she slowed, and smiled. I started constructing my mental map of Portland when she said, “Now what is it you’re reading that is so interesting?”

Well, shiver me timbers, what a nice surprise. The map of Portland had purged my brain of any other knowledge so I gazed at the front cover and stammered the name, pointing to it. Anyway, great book, hopefully she picked it up.

Bigass Star Wars

Oh yeah! Went and saw Star Wars 2 last evening at OMSI on the bigass IMAX theater. It was beautiful. A tear welled in my eye when the Star Wars crashed onto the screen, and then the prologue scrolled past, up and into the screen.

The resolution was fantastic on that huge screen. You could see the pores on Natalie Portman’s shoulder. Had there been a chunk of food in her teeth it would’ve been the size of my head.

It wasn’t all a bed of roses though. While the panoramic scenes and space battles were fantastic, the dialog was often difficult to follow…the characters were often off in the periphery of the huige IMAX screen, making conversations have a tennis feel.

Some scences were cut from the IMAX reel as well. That was fine for me, as I’d already seen the movie and was just there for a cool ride. Go for that.

Cha! Cha! Cha! Review

The Pearl District is finally coming into its own. It has gotten a fantastic Mexican Restaurant. The environment is casual, nicer than a taqueria, but hardly larger. The colors are a subdued fall. You order at the counter when you come in, which is fine.

The menu, which is no longer a large board hanging aboce the front counter is succinct. Most of the standards are there, pastor, pollo, asada, lengua, burritos, tortas, tacos and so on. These are delicious. I particularly love the pastor tacos. There are specialty ingredients as well, from the spicy, tangy Cha, to the spicy cochinita, these are fabulous.

For those who are more cautious about spicy food, stay away from the red sauce. It is cookin, smoky and a rich fresh taste. The green is a nice mild, flavorful and refreshing.

I fear only that they will grow overcrowded. The only problems with the place are limited seating for medium-sized parties, and they dont’ sport limed fried jalapenos. The vegetarian menu leaves a bit to be desired. I found my burrito to be closer to a meatless fajita than the fresh pico de gallo style that I was looking for. The vegi taco was pretty much just a mini-burrito.

Overall, I’ll give Cha!Cha!Cha! an 8.5. The prices are reasonable, the service is good, the food is super.