Category Archives: Adventures in Reality

Harrowing times in Peru

My Minnesota buddy Don had a crazy time in Peru…read the tale of his questionable guide Roberto Penny Cabrera (Desert Man of Ica) as they defied death in the desert. He has a few gorgeous photos to help capture their experience as the drunken guide barreled through the dunes to show them a lone skeleton, send them on their way to explore alone, and rescue a hapless cyclist traveling the desert.

UPDATE: ummm…I’m a dork and didn’t put the link in. It’s here now.

long ride!

woohoo! It’s no longer an unslayable dragon! I just finished my first ever bicycle ride from Beaverton to home on the Portland eastside. It was about 17.5 miles. Here’s a link to basically the same route, thank you

Instead of staying on Tillamook, I cruised up at 60th to Sacramento and rode along the nice Alameda Ridge.

A Moist Weekend

Well, it was definitely Moist over the Memorial Day. We had a great showing of ballers and their friends and family. As seems to frequently be the case, the various Moist squads had some difficulty putting the ball into the back of the net. I don’t think it’s due to any shortage of talent on the teams, probably more because all of the teams are just mixes of dudes and ladies who haven’t necessarily played together. And it actually takes some team dynamics (beyond awesomeness) to compose a nice goal-scoring opportunity.

Moco means snot in Spanish, we discovered.

One of the hallmarks of the Moist Coalition is the hair thing. Originally it was “mustaches and mullets” but we’ve grown. We’re far more mature, and while some of us haven’t left our roots (to which I still aspire), others have skyrocketed past them.

Here are my picks for the winners of Best Face:

The ladies of moist, Real Moist, showed well this year. Overall they took 4th, and stayed in strong spirits after opening the tourney against two very strong teams. The women’s side of the tournament suffers because there is only one division, so there’s a broad range of talent you need to face. The ladies suffered because I lacked the foresight/abllity to specifically recruit a keeper for them. They did great and MB and Sara did a great job filling in.

Moist United, our hero team playing D-2, scored the most goals of the tourney (for a Moist Squad). The braggart Jay pointed out that he scored more goals than my entire team ;) I don’t hate him for that. Sadly, a bottomless supply of goals isn’t enough when your keeper and sweeper are injured, allowing a few too many goals into the wrong net. Overall, United placed 7th.

Moist ST was a solid squad. Unfortunately 500 breakaways and connected crosses don’t mean much if they all sail wide or high. They only allowed three goals throughout the tourney (regular time), but they lost on PKs at pivotal moments and ended up placing 8th.

FC Moist was the winner of the surprisingly annual Moist on Moist match, placing them into the top half of the table. As usual, this game is an exciting one, despite the lack of regulation goals. Both sides had a lot of scoring opportunities, but none were capitalized on. FC eventually won in penalty kicks, with their keeper saving two of the first five. And despite allowing 5 goals and only scoring one, FC took third in the tournament.

Virtual and real gameballs go to: Jason (FC Keeper), Greg (United keeper), Maribeth (Real keeper), and ?? from ST. We love our goalies, especially when we have trouble scoring ourselves!

Moist Coalition

If any of y’all are interested in checking out an interesting social phenomena or just partying along with soccer, head out to Delta Park this weekend during the daylight hours. Our little subculture called the Moist Coalition is gathering to play in the Classic tourney over Memorial Day. It’s ridiculous, great fun, and full-on immersion in something beautiful.

It’s really pretty amazing…so many people, often many have never met, and just good times. For the uninitiated, it all started 5 or 6 years ago as Gremio North under Sturtz. It was a blast, but Sturtz went civilian the next year, so Paul, Dave, and I took it over, renamed it to the Moist Coalition, and got a coupla teams together (FC Moist and Moist United). From there we grew, folks come and go, but almost everyone comes back for more. Last year we added a lady team, the Moistresses, now Real Moist, and they’re bursting at the seams.

Swing by, or have a fantastic weekend.

urban iditarod stalks beerdrinker

Stepping out of Powell’s technical yesterday, I was a bit confused by the gleeful roar I hear in the distance. As I turned onto Couch from the park blocks, the noise grew louder and more distinct. Looking towards the Willamette I was a bit astonished by the source: a colorful crowd of people running shopping carts down the middle of the street. At first I thought this was some sort of guerilla theater event, but as I watched, the roar grew louder, and the crowd kept coming. This was quite an event. Everyone was costumed…ranging from offbeat to ridiculous.

And me without my camera.

Urban Iditarod

Apparently, the race is 4 miles long, with beer break checkpoints scattered throughout. It seemed that everyone was celebrating the entire time. It was beautiful. And they kept following me. After Powell’s tech, I went into the big Powell’s. After I emerged, they were still partying by my car on Davis and I walked to grab a gyro at Aybla (so good!). As I started unwrapping my tasty pita goodness a familiar sound greeted my ears, and I was swarmed by iditarod mayhem.

Favorite costume goes to the big shirtless guy with the angel wings. So wrong. That team was all kinds of wrong with the sexy angel on the wagon working the stripper pole.

Neatest cart: cavemen with real fire.

Funniest shirt: it takes quick hands to beat off evil.

I love Portland.

PS. It looks like the best page to get more info is unfortunately their myspace.

Oregon Mountain Ninja turns 30

Gorgeous snowshoe weekend celebrating oregon mountain ninja’s birthday out on the south side of Mt. Hood. The OMN acquired access to some remote huts through Cascade Huts. It was about 5 miles each way, to arrive at the huts, which were fitted with bunkbeds, propane (heat and stove), and other basic gear.

Our group met at the snow park where we began the route at around 11, and were on the snow shortly after. Some cops out for a training weeked were nice enouh to snap a few mugshots.

The road in was uneventful, a gradual decline, until we forked off the snowmobile trail and came across a small river canyon. We trolled the banks for a way to cross for awhile, then built a bridge from dead wood. Not too far beyond that we came across the hut.

Because we didn’t have to carry tents and some other heavy gear we were able to pack in extra beer and booze. And we did. Saturday was fairly raucous (yet respectful) in the one-room hut. One chair suffered from our stay, but that was due to its inability to support the fairly massive mountain ninja than anyone behaving like a jackass.

New friends were made. At one point, Joe asked me why Chris and Jay had been calling him Joe Rogen all night. My response was…it’s the same reason we call Chris “Chris Smith”….that just his name. Joe Rogen looked at me blankly, smiled and nodded. The next day it came up again, but this time he explained that his last name was Jones. Well, now it’s Rogen.

Chad was the chef, making pasta with marinara or cream sauce (I mixed) with shrimp, and a salad for dinner, and banana pancakes and tons of bacon for breakfast. The rest of the night we finished off two bottles of Jager, a liter of SoCo, some Evan Williams premixed with coke, some Bushmill, and beers and Sparks. It was pretty ridiculous. Tired, we got to bed fairly early, but not as early as the Mountain Ninja birthday boy.

Oh yeah, and my sunglasses got busted so I had to wear goggles to do the dishes.

Ignite Portland

Went to Ignite last week, it was pretty sweet. The premise is a bunch of presenters get up and talk about something presumably interesting for a little while. The catch is that they have exactly five minutes, 20 slides (power-pointish), 15 seconds each, and they roll automatically. That keeps things moving and keeps you on your toes. And from experience (not at Ignite), talking about something for five minutes can be tough. It’s about two minutes longer than is comfortable, and you could see that. After about three minutes, almost every presenter went through a change, momentum slowed, the words didn’t come as easily. But they all remained stoic, and the presentations were really good.

My favorites were how to be an undercover prostitute and the one about eating sushi. But that’s because they’re the ones that apply most directly to my life. Depending on what you’re into, you may relate best to a discourse on pepper, the history of stick figures, wtf is biodiesel, or venture capitalism in portland. Or one of the others.

I was a bit surprised, as I’d expected there to be a bit more of a technical focus. But this was fine, I love random stuff too. But what I don’t love is lines. And there was a huge line to get into the place. Getting off the bus I ran into a fellow nerd-buddy heading to the event as well, so we walked the line down thirty-seventh, and took a left on Clay where the line bent, and continued nearly to the end of the block. As we walked, blowing off the show and grabbing a pint sounded like an increasingly good idea. Some lady friends remained in line while we went to Oasis Cafe for some tasty malty beverage. They called us when they got in to say that it looked like there were still seats. The line still extended into the distance, so we continued sipping our pints. We finished and decided that we’d give it a shot. They had stopped letting people in, but we were queued up near the front and with a little luck and conniving, we were able to join our friends on the “inside”.

The event was around two hours, for the most part is was good. Informative and/or entertaining. It’s still young, so I imagine that things will get smoother. I think they should do away with the free food part. It’ll help eliminate freeloaders and fence-sitters. That or move it away from the center of the city. The size is good, the energy is great, I’m excited to see where Ignite goes.

UPDATE: added actual link to the event.

Massive hardware failure

Other than being a generally good weekend, certain events made it absolutely terrible. The hard drive on my personal computer failed, yielding no effort at booting. Shortly after, the hard drive on my work computer failed, giving an effort at booting, but being pretty darn corrupted. Then I got a flat tire. ugh. Other than that is was pretty nice, we threw a good party, I scored a goal, went for a nice hike, and got stuff done around the house.

blah blah blah busy blah blah

Been a crazy busy time recently, been moving, hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, drinking beer, and squeezing in a bit of work. I actually have a few posts written, but my hard drive is full and I haven’t had a chance (motivation?) to clear out some space to get the photos onto it. blah. cheers.

28 hours in Juneau. (part three: the Alaskan Brewing Co.)

After leaving the Mendenhall Glacier, we drove immediately to a beerdrinker’s mecca, the Alaskan Brewing Company, home of the delicious Alaskan Amber and a number of other tasty beers. I was surprised that the Alaskan brewery had no brewpub. From the sound of conversations (though nothing explicit or even really implied), they’ve chosen to respect local pubs who supported them as they grew. It’s a sensible division of labor.

A simple storefront, if it weren’t for the huge vats in back, you’d never guess that this was the home of a producer of excellent beers. Inside, they have a number of taps for sampling the wares, a gift shop, and a windowed room to observe some parts of the brewing process.

Tony (Willie) Hand was good enough to give us a tour of the facility. Well, a limited tour. Upon entering, we were warmly welcomed and prompted to choose one of the ales on tap. I chose the smoked porter, which was a bonus for me, because they had the 2006 and 2007 on tap, so I of course needed both to compare and witness the aging.

Tony “Willie” Hand

The tour was more of a presentation on beermaking and a brief history of the brewery at hand, mostly in the form of entertaining anecdotes related by Tony (Willie). Occasionally, he would stop midsentence announcing in an alarmed voice, “Your beers are empty! Follow me!” and we’d do just that, winding back to the taps to pick another beer to drink.

Possibly the only look at Alaskan’s Baltic Porter you’ll ever get.

I tried three porters (2006 and 2007 smoked porters, and the baltic), the barley wine, the winter, and the ESB. They were all excellent. I was particularly fond of the 9.9% Baltic Porter, as easy-drinking as a mirror pond, so very dangerous on those cold Alaskan nights. Sadly, it is a “secret” locals-only brew for now. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to go back up to Alaska.

So here are some takeaways. The people who founded the Alaskan Brewing Company couldn’t get financed (because brewing beer in Alaska is kind of crazy…pretty much the only ingredient you don’t have to import is water) so went door-to-door selling interests in the idea, got enough to start, and have kicked some ass. Yay! Their winter ale is brewed with spruce tips collected by area children, a cycle which helps to inject a small amount of capital into some depressed communities. And the Alaskan winter ale is really really tasty, totally lacking that sticky sweetness of so many overstrong winters.

My only regret is that I didn’t pickup the belt buckle while we were there. Thanks Tony and Nancy!

28 hours in Juneau. (part two: Juneau airport and glacier)

We arrived in Juneau after a long flight on the milk run, stopping in Wrangell and Petersburg on the way to deliver supplies and mail to these smaller outposts. The flights lasted 15-20 minutes each, but the wait at each airport was much longer. I asked if I could get off and take some photos on the tarmac (it was beautiful) and they told me “sure. If you want to be arrested.” So I have some nice pictures of the airplane wing.

Our plan for Juneau was Mendenhall Glacier, Alaskan Brewing Co., hotel, no plan. Since we were making it up as we went, we went and got a cab. While others waited for the cab, Jay and I went to look at maps and see what was up with the Alaskan Brewery, and if we could tour it. Overhearing our mention of tours, the dude maintaining the airport phones hastily bit down on his allen wrench and commented ominously, “There are no tours here.” He sounded oddly like a Scooby Doo villain. Clarifying that we just wanted to checkout the brewery, not to catch a helicopter, he helped us out with directions. Actually, he helped us out a lot, helping us to avoid construction and to find landmarks and better routes as he gnawed on his allen wrench, occasionally waving it it around..

Daylight burning, we eventually got our rental car and headed out in search of food. Lowballing, we’d gotten directions from the lady at the rental agency, which paled in comparison to those received from allen wrench-guy. We ended up eating a sandwich as the enormous Fred Meyer outside of Juneau, which actually was pretty satisfying. Then we went to the Mendenhall Glacier.

The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most awe-inspiring sites I’ve ever seen. An immense ice flow running down the mountain, feeding Lake Mendenhall, skirted by a waterfall and frozen features, it glowed the most amazing blue.

We hiked out by the lake and got fairly close to the glacier, clowning around and having fun. In the lake there were a number of icebergs, which were pieces of the glacier that had calved fairly recently. There were not many others out there, and nearly everyone was local. At the visitor center, we watched a movie about the glacier and how it is satisfying to the eyes (interesting but odd movie), and talked to the rangers, who seemed very happy to have human contact during the off-season.

We started hiking out around 3pm, as it was beginning to be dusk.

28 hours in Juneau. (part one: Ketchikan)

“Hey dude, what’re you doing next weekend?” Jay asked me.
“Uh, just getting ready to move. Why?”
“We were wondering if y’all wanted to go to Alaska or Denver.”
“Totally. Which one?”
“We’re taking a vote.”

No doubt. So we got hooked-up with buddy passes to Alaska. Standby flights, no carry-ons. A lot of airport time. Portland to Seattle to Ketchikan, overnight in Ketchikan, to Wrangell to Petersburg to Juneau. Twenty-eight hours in Juneau, twenty-eight to get there. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything, we had a blast.


Our small band of travelers waited happily in the small airport bar waiting for the next flight north to come in. A few pitchers of beer and a lot of laughs later, it arrived. Despite having ample open seats, we were not permitted to board the flight to Juneau. Inclement weather had forced the plane to take on extra fuel and they were concerned about weight and balance. So we were left to our devices in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan is Alaska’s fourth-largest city (behind Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau). When you arrive in Ketchikan, you’re on the wrong side of a body of water, crossable by ferry (3 bucks each way, 5 same-day round trip). If you arrive at night as we did, I’d recommend not missing it. Just a tip. We weren’t expecting to stay in Ketchikan, but we were ready for anything, so we got on the horn with an inexpensive hotel (the Narrows Inn a bit outside of downtown. And they were great. They shuttled us to the hotel from the ferry, and they shuttled us to downtown. They kept the restaurant and bar open late for us (we wanted to go downtown, so asked that they close it).

Downtown Ketchikan is pretty nice. We settled on Annabelle’s for dinner and decompression. The food was pretty good, but what was most striking was how they server the (halibut) fish and chips. Instead of vinegar, Scott (out gold bow-tie clad waiter) brought a bowl of Frank’s. And it was amazing…tangy and spicy.

Researching local bars, as I’ve been known to do, I’d received raving recommendations for The Sourdough. Conveniently, it’s located right across the street from Annabelle’s (Causation of correlation?). The Sourdough appeared dead. Friday night. Not a car in front or in the lot. With the liquor store ‘facade’ being closed, the place hardly looked open. Road-weary, we persevered, and walked the short hall to the bar. Turning into the place, its popularity had already been broadcast audibly. The Sourdough was packed. A friendly drunk fella leaning against the wall high-fived each of us as we squeezed our way in. I found my way to the bar and picked up a round for my exhausted friends…commendably, the bartender found me almost immediately, and provided very quickly. Libations in hand, we worked our way to the main room and found a place to huddle near the ancient Golden Tee machine. Lively does not begin to describe The Sourdough. This place buzzed and boomed. It was loud, with reunions and laughter, arguments (nearly going to fights), games, it was a different scene then our more sedate Portland bars provide.

We were ready after one drink, and caught a taxi-van back to our hotel. It appears that the entire city travels by cab, as there were very few cars on the road other than service vehicles. And there were several taxis parked on the curb waiting for us. The next morning we woke up early to catch the ferry back to the airport, and got our names back on the standby list. The weather had subsided, so we were allowed onto the plane.

The Big Freeze

Me and some fellas hit up some cold-weather camping the other weekend up near Bagby. It wasn’t quite as cold as we’d hoped, but we had a massive fire anyway!

On the way up, we saw a bald eagle.

We drank some beer, with predictable outcomes.

Augie got really sick and wanted to stay in my tent. I ended up taking the poor guy to Dove Lewis. He seems to be okay now.

We did some nature stuff too. Jeff found some weird mushroom thing.

Further adventures of the Kentucky Colonel

Halloween was a blast this year, here are some pictures of my adventures. For Halloween lunch, some I went to Popeye’s to check on the competition.

Inside, I investigated their operation. I did not expect them to use 11 secret herbs and spices. The key was to find out how many they were putting to use.

They weren’t cracking. It became apparent that I needed to dig deeper. So I got me a box o’ chicken and some mashed taters.

Having a highly developed sense of taste, it was no problem picking out the scant herbs and spices employed by the competition. But, the proof is in the pudding so I followed my research with some interviews with Popeyes patrons.

“Nobody expects the Spanish Revolution,” I hear. Well nobody expects The Kentucky Colonel to be sitting at a bar in SE Portland and have a giant chicken approach. But that’s just what happened. After a bit of a tussle I was able to get that beauty into one of my buckets.

After a long day’s work I retired to my estate to enjoy the fruits (and meats) of my labor.

Imagine this

You’re in the Pearl District meeting some folks, it’s going to be hours. But you need to park, and it’s the Pearl so you have to pay to park. Two hours max. So you figure out the green monster and get your two-hour slip, and stick it to your window where it will eventually be sucked inside the passenger door. You pull out your cell phone and make a call: “Remind me to pay parking in two hours,” and go off to your meeting.

Two hours later, you receive a page: “Pay parking.”

The amazing thing is this is no longer hypothetical. Not only that, but it’s free. By linking Jott with Sandy, you can do just that.

Jott is a free service that transcribes your calls and sends them as messages to email or various services. You just call the number, tell it who to send the message to, and it send the message.

I Want Sandy is a free service (Portland-based!) that accepts messages in English and converts them into notes and reminders. It’s the same people as stikkit.

By linking the two, you end up with a very powerful reminder system.

Update: Here’s a page that has better instructions, and it looks like the Jott site’s been updated to include the Sandy hookup link automagically.

Weekend guest

We had an unexpected guest this weekend. Driving down Sand Blvd. after picking up some food for dinner Saturday, a small dog darted across the street in front of me. I turned off to follow and see if there was a sign of his owner around, but he was on his own. He did have a small leash dangling behind him and a collar, but no tags. A passerby and I got him into my car and I took the small dog home. He was nervous, and Augie was pretty worked up about the guest, but they sniffed and got on just fine. Little puppy dog was a total sweetheart. I put notices on craigslist, the animal shelter, and Dove Lewis, and put some signs up around Sandy the next day, but didn’t hear anything.

We got pretty attached to the little guy, and finally saw an ad that his owner placed on craigslist. So I called him, and he came and picked Pumpkin up. Decent fellow, they were happy to be reunited. So Pumpkin, cheers, and Augie is missing you.

Smashing Pumpkins benefit Humane Society, Dove Lewis, me

N and I braved the I-5 bridge into Vancouver Friday night to see the Smashing Pumpkins play the Clark County Amphitheater. Perry Farrell opened with his new band Satellite Party, and they were good and fun. I kept thinking…wow, I’m watching Perry Farrell sing Jane Says or Pets or whatever.

But the Pumpkins hit the stage and they absolutely killed it. Heavy, heavy shredding guitar. Huge rhythms with their classic psychedelic licks. New stuff, old stuff, they did not miss a beat. Totally rocked. If they’ll be passing through your town, do not miss this show, it was awesome.

And Mercury album review guy. You panned the album harshly. At first I was feeling the same way after I picked it up. But try again. But this time crank it up. Listen loud and proud and rock the hell out. It isn’t an album to listen to quietly in your cube sitting in front of the computer.

new addiction

light lately, but that’s because I’ve been writing little mini-fictions over at ficlets. Here’s me. The account system is pretty neat, let me know if you have trouble getting signed up if you’re into it and I can help you out.

Deluxe week

Oh wow, it was a crazy week. I’m only just recovering. And I’m talking about last week, not the one we’re in now.

It started off Friday with a bachelor party. Me and some dudes went up to Vancouver BC to send Dustin off with style. It was a good time, we ate, wandered, laughed, drank, and did some obligatory bachelor party things. Good times.

Sunday night after the baseball game, I got dropped off at YVR (Vancouver’s airport) where I caught a flight to San Diego (SAN, in case you’re checking). My bro (brother) picked my ass up sometime after 1am, we went back to his place, “caught up” (read: drank beer and vodka drinks), and got the rest of his crap packed up the next morning. Then we drove to Portland, stopping to lunch with the grandparents and to crash at our mom’s pad in Modesto.

After spending a day in Portland getting Ryan moved in, we drove up to the northern Olympic Peninsula to go backpacking with pops. Dad chose the spot, we got our permits, bear box, tackle, and grub, and made our way to the trailhead in the Elwha Valley Friday morning.

We stayed at Boulder Creek campground Friday night. We’d been looking forward to the natural hot springs that evening after the short hike in, but they turned out to be pretty shallow and fairly gross. So we skipped the hot springs and made a few fruitless casts into Boulder creek. It’s fun to have steak the first night, so we did, and I made up some couscous to go with it.

After breaking camp Saturday morning, we began what was expected to be a relatively light climb to Boulder Lake. Reality frequently chooses not to reflect expectations. It was several miles straight uphill. Not a terribly difficult hike, but at least two of the three of us were in pretty mediocre shape, and it was fairly tough. But we made it, and once there we found a gorgeous pair of campsites on a small peninsula on the lake. It did snow a bit that night about 100ft above us, but my little Hubba was impervious.

We also caught a bunch of trout, so there was no need to eat the freeze-dried chicken we brought.

Dad cooked’em. Notice the Pasta-Roni. We had the noodles, then cooked a couple trout in the leftover sauce…it gave a nice italian sorta seasoning to the already yummy fish.

We hiked back down Sunday, had lunch at Boulder Creek, and headed back to dad’s to take advantage of the hot tub, since the hot springs were less than satisfying. I think Friday I wasn’t sore anymore.