Archive for the 'Travel' Category

#82 Snowpocalypse

Its that time of year when everyone in Portland gets on their cold weather periods. The peacoats, hipster scarves, and rain boots come out in full force. Coffee shops experience a jolt in morning sales. Our town becomes a super sad depressing wet blanket. The amount of darkness and rain only prelude to the inevitable climax of what everyone outside of the Willamette Valley already knows exist: Snow.

Snow: Frozen crystalized rain. You can manipulate these tiny crystals into a bunch of balls representing fat people.
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Apocalypse: The End of the World. Complete desperation and loss of hope. The Walking Dead + Left 4 Dead + CW’s 90210.

This sudden bombardment of freaky cold temperatures causes such a stupid panic that Coloradans only laugh at the mild winter Portland residents call “Snowpocalypse”. For those of you lucky enough to not know the definition, Snowpocalypse is the cataclysmic event of snow touching the valley floor. The degree of snow doesn’t really matter. In fact, it could snow one inch and that will cause more accidents than 1/10th an inch of rain. If you were to ask an Eastern Oregonian (.ie Real Oregon) why Portlanders easily scare of snow, its because they don’t know how to drive. TAPtS has already covered this issue and it is FACT.

Unfortunately, the introduction of winter weather is a scary event for the City of Portland. Businesses are forced to close because Beaverton residents can’t make it into downtown for work. People abandoned their cars rather than wait through hours of traffic and chaos. If you dare leave the house, you will be faced with soft powdery locusts waiting to bite at your rosey cheeks. Snowpocalypse is really the end of days… until it bumps back up to 47 degrees and rains all week.

For those of you stranded at home during the work week, I recommend these things:

1. Call your mother and tell her you love her.
2. Cuddle with your significant other
2a. If you don’t have a loved one, then play video games ’til your thumbs are red
3. Catch up on all the shit that is NSFW. Cracked.com, Funnyordie.com, Thesuperficial.com, Thedirty.com, etc.

Leave some recommendations on how you plan to beat the sleet.

#81 Leaf Blowers

Every year, just after labor day, autumn descends on God’s Country. It is a time when one can finally switch out summer sweaters for winter sweaters! The air becomes crisp and misty! And at least a dozen local hipsters must be rescued from the Sauvie Island Corn Maize. Oh yeah, and motherf**kers start busting out their leaf blowers.

Up and down the streets of Portland walk lazy bastards with the equivalent of a backwards vacuum strapped to their backs, blowing their leaf refuse into the streets. Nothing ruins a perfectly nice fall morning/afternoon/night/midnight than a leaf blower, revved up and spitting gasoline into your face as you walk by. But, you may argue, people all across this great nation use leaf blowers. Why is this something that sucks about Portland? Because Portlanders should know better.

Late 2009, citizens within the city limits of Portland tried to gets these noise/air pollutants banned. Instead, our City Government came up with mandatory decibel levels for leaf blowers. You could now receive a $300-$3000 fine for blowing too loud in Portland. The max level is set to about the sound of a noisy restaurant or vacuum cleaner outside your window. But Holy Hell!!! It sounds much louder and more annoying than Henrys at happy hour… Okay, so maybe not as annoying as this conversation overheard at Henry’s Tavern:

Guy- I work in the M Financial building as a banker.
Girl- Oh that’s neat! I’ve been a stylist for about three years.
Guy- So, what made you want to jump on Match.com?”

Besides the obvious arguments against leaf blowers (loud, noxious, ineffective) there is also the fact that when you choose to live in a “liveable” city, you sign up for certain amount of self awareness for the good of the neighborhood. One such “inconvenience” is to get off your lazy ass and rake your yard! Unfortunately for the people living downtown, you don’t have a say in the ungodly hours that leaf blowers are contracted to operate. So instead of working on a way to ban them, let’s keep doing what every average Portlander does best: bitch about it on the internet!

#80 The Cheerful Tortoise

Located in the heart of Suck University, Cheerful Tortoise has been the watering hole for thousands of college students waiting to wet their whistles. As the only bar remaining from rezoning the area, it has become the SW Marathon Taverna attracting crazies by day and fake ID’s by night. To blame the clientele for Tortoise’s suckery isn’t fair to the food, atmosphere and bathrooms. Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we?

Before this blog was created, a group of friends visited the Cheerful for cheap “recovery food”. A friend ordered the pancakes… and he is a no-pro when it comes to culinary experiences. After waiting 45 minutes, he was eventually served well-done, black pancakes. This North American flapjack was so burnt we tossed them across the table to test it’s sturdiness.

Recently, I came here around 8 pm on a Sunday night for a simple Club sandwich and fries. At 7 am on Monday morning, I called in sick for work. Gross.

To be honest, it isn’t fair to expect an excellent meal when you step inside either of the two entrances to this dive bar. The floor is generations old. The grand ole fire pit appears to be days away from consuming the entire neighborhood in hellfire. The walls, bar, table, stools, chairs, etc. are covered in stains and that sticky black residue scientifically known as “gunk”. But it must be noted that you cannot expect Cheerful Tortoise to care when they have +20 high definition tvs to pull your attention away. On a Sunday morning during Football season, the only person who cares about the shit-holesque atmosphere are the Pearl girlfriends drug dragged here because On Deck didn’t have the game in high def.

There are four tier’s of female when it comes to these alcohol establishments. Mothers hate sport/dive bars (Vinny’s mom). Women tolerate them because they enjoy the company of friendship that usually surrounds dive bars (Sammi “Sweatheart”). Girls like going here because guys will buy them drinks just for showing up (J-Woww). Chicks absolutely f***ing LOVE these places because they can get hammered at any point of the day (Snooki). I’m pretty sure mothers and women would leave after they see the bathrooms at Cheerful Tortoise. Girls would complain, but after a couple of drinks, a girl has got to pee. Chicks, well chicks don’t care where they piss. It could be the girls bathroom, guys, bush, just as long as they can drop a thong it won’t matter.

Now like every dive bar in the world, there are some big draws to the general community. The daily drink specials, Thursday’s $1 beer night, Karaoke from Wednesday to Saturday, NFL Sunday ticket and super cheap breakfast specials keep people from coming back. Two out of those four reason are why I go back to the Cheerful Tortoise. Why in the hell would you?

#72 Beer Snobs

West Coast Brew Fest 2008 set2 (1)As I sit here looking at these two beautiful Laurelhurst and Lompoc pints of beer, I harken back to the days of my first microbrew. It was a delicious Black Butte Porter on the day after my first Fall term final. My friend advised me about the taste and how it would change my life forever. Sipping each chocolaty/soy-saucy drop led me down the road of dark, thick beer. This single moment made me realize that I could never go back to drinking crappy PBR. Of course, beer pong would change all that, but my mind was now open to the idea of paying $8/six pack of beer.

Now that I saw the big picture through the bottom of a microbrew glass, I wanted to taste more… I needed to taste more. Brew fests, Blues Fests, Easter Beer hunts, brewery tours, even at one point I tried to brew my own stout (It tasted like mud water). Throughout these micro-adventures I would be introduced to a group of people that deserve their own classification.

Beer snobs are much like your Portland hippie. They live to be free from the social norms established by society. Five shirts, three cargo shorts/pants and Keen footwear is all they need for their wardrobe. No matter the environment, their thick husky beards will protect them from any weather. Although most of them are large bears, some have taken a liking to outdoor sports. Their motto: “Dead Guy is always served best after a hike on Dog Mountain”.

However, NEVER confuse the beer snob with a wine snob. Unlike wine snobs, who are usually rich and affluent, beer snobs thrive on having a unique taste unlike any other human on this planet. One could be an executive of an interactive agency in town. Another could be a Hood River ski bum. No matter what their background, they will forever argue about which organic beer is better. So what’s the only thing they can agree on? Light beer was created by women, for men.

Since BBP first hit my lips, I’m proud to say I love microbrews. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to more microbreweries west of the Mississippi than 75% of the American population. But most days, I couldn’t even imagine drinking a Blackfoot Bitter. All I want is a cool, cold refreshing Coors Light on my front porch. So to you Mr. Beer Snob, I could care less that I’m drinking a wussies beer. I may not share your unique taste, but at least I don’t share your smell.

#69 Pioneer Square

pioneersquareBums. Street Urchins. Crappy Guitar Players. Disheveled unemployed. Now, I don’t believe that everyone should have a High School diploma, job or contribute to society because that would be an unfair expectation for the thousands of Californians who come here every year.  Pioneer Courthouse Square was created to be the living room of Portland.  25 years later, it has become a big stinky brick hole.

Pioneer Square was a gift to Portland on her birthday in April 6, 1984.  Citizens of Portland were encouraged to donate personal bricks to the project.  Upon creating this living room, the City of Portland was aiming to build a social center.  As the project grew, the area was flooded with investors looking to develop around the Square, making it the heart of downtown. No one would disagree that this is the heart of Portland with the Pearl District being boobs* and the West hills representing the “delicate flower”.

As a first time visitor to Portland, Pioneer Square is a must-see on your itinerary.  With the plethora of shopping, hotels, dining and general weird that exists here, tourists would be missing out on a golden opportunity to experience all that is Portland. Pioneer Place offers the finest shopping experience outside of the rundown Lloyd Center Mall.  Street performers include “Silver Dude Playing With Balls” and “Man Drums on Buckets”.  A fan favorite event (I’ve never been) is the Flicks on Bricks, were movies can be viewed on bricks.  If you want a unique “Today Show”-esque experience, you can view KGW HD Studio on the Square.  Stephanie Strickland is our very own Meredith Vieira.

For those of us from the most miserable place to live, I generally find Pioneer Square to be a chore.  The sheer amount of tourists, bums, petitioners, street kids with pets and Clear reps is a little too much for me.  Like a day at Oaks Park, I feel overwhelmed by the miniverse that transpires here.  Pioneer Courthouse Square has become your college’s Fraternity basement.  A lot of people you don’t know/like reeking of alcohol.

*The Pearl is Portland’s boob job.

#68 Gresham

gresham-barbie1In Oregon, there lies a place just outside the city of Portland where people go to escape being awesome. Every major city throughout our country has this. Los Angeles has Bakersfield. New York City has the entire state of New Jersey. Detroit has 8 Mile Road.

Located east of Portland in Multnomah County, Gresham is the fourth largest city in Oregon. The per capita income for this city was $19,588 for the last census taken in 2,000*. As the armpit of Multnomah County, Gresham spans a large section of agriculture area. Due to the low income housing environment, Gresham is plagued by gang violence and drugs. Activity related to shootings and meth house explosions can be viewed by Portlanders on KGW. Since we would never dare step foot in Gresham city limits, this is the only way we can experience the insanity… or unless your stereo was stolen from your car in Northwest.

Even though Tri-Met and City Police have been working together the past three years to increase passenger safety at the Max Blue Line stops, these still are hot spots for gang related activity. Basically, all those people unfortunate to be stuck in Gresham have to put up with this mess. The thing about Gresham that sucks the most: Gresham people hate Gresham as much as Portlanders.

On the positive note, there are some pretty decent people in Gresham.  They happily drive their minivans on Powell and Division to downtown Portland once a month.  With their Graco baby seats they purchased at Wal-Mart, Greshamites are those happy pedestrians you see at Waterfront Park.  I love watching at how happy they are to escape the depression of suburbia.

You won’t meet someone who throws around Gresham pride. Kids aren’t sporting their Centennial Eagles or Sam Barlow Bruins sweatshirts in Portland.  Why? Because they live in the most unhappy city in the metro area.  As the Portland Development Commission has successfully been cleaning up Portland, low-income families are being pushed into Gresham. Gresham Development Commission… I have one word for you: Sandy.

*This is important to know, because of all the fancy resturants that exist in Gresham, Sizzlers is #1 in my book.  Wait… you have a Red Lobster too?!?!

#66 Being Unhappy :(

sadcat-story-2KATU news broke this incredible story yesterday about Business Week’s list of miserable places to live.

“PORTLAND, Ore. – Believe it or not, Portland has been named the “unhappiest place in the country.”

According to Business Week magazine, Portland ranks No. 1 on the list of miserable places to live.

To determine the ratings, Business Week looked at calls to a crisis intervention hotline, depression and divorce rates, crime, and even cloudy days – of which there are an average of 222 every year.

Maybe they forgot to get some local coffee and an umbrella.”

Now, I strongly disagree with Business Week, as Portland is awesome. I think most of this has to do with people from Gresham, Beaverton, Vancouver and Hillsboro calling Multnomah’s Suicide hot-line.  The divorce rates can be attributed to the seedy underbelly of Portland’s night scene (strip clubs, escort services, Dixie, etc.).  Liberal cities tend to have a higher divorce and crime rate anyways.

I’m disappointed that New Orleans didn’t win the coveted spot.  How did we beat them out?  I guess the truth hurts. I’m going to get my divorce on now.