Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas spirit

So I live in an apartment building, and I have a parking space. This is not a dream parking space. It's a tight fit in an alley between my apartment building and the one next door. It is next to the (currently overflowing) garbage and recycling bins and right in front of our laundry room. There is no entrance to the apartment building next to us, so I'm not blocking any of them, but sometimes people in my apartment get irritated because they have to squeeze to get to the laundry. I have a compact car. There's only so much I can do.

But it's a parking space.

And now I don't have it. Apparently, the apartment building next door decided I was parking on a foot of their property, and, in the grand tradition of Christmas goodwill and sharing, put up cement posts in my parking spot while I was at work. Without any kind of prior notification or convo about it. My landlord just found out about this today. Classy.

Now this apartment next door has a real parking garage under their building and cannot possibly get any use from this space. It might be a little easier for the DirecTV guy to put a satellite on their roof or for their energy consumption to be checked, but that's really it. Also, my landlords have been using this space for parking for something like 30-40 years without an issue.

The amount of space between the posts and the cabinet on the right is what they get. Seriously. Basically it accomplishes nothing but putting me out.


Merry Christmas! I'd keep writing but I parked so far away I have to leave now to get to my car in time to go to work tomorrow.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Portland (OR)

So I have now officially been bodily in AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IA, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, NE, NJ, NH, NY, NC, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VA, VT, and WI. I think that's the lot. I may have traveled through (but not to) a few others and just don't remember that I, say, stopped in the St. Paul airport or something.

Anyway, LOVED Portland. Minus an inexplicable seizure-like event in our lovely, inexpensive Courtyard hotel room around midnight the first night, I had a great time.

PDX is a very easy, friendly, pleasant, not-crowded airport. You can take the red line to downtown. It's awesome.

The first day, we flew in early and had a late breakfast at Fresh Pot because I'd heard they had Montreal-style bagels. I either remember Montreal bagels wrong, or these weren't them. In any event, it was okay, but not great. However, the elephant stamp is super cool.

Then we went to Finnegan's Toys and Gifts, then to Powell's, where we spent A LONG TIME because it's AWESOME, and I got a beautifully illustrated Travels of Marco Polo remainder.

By then, starved, we went to Clyde Common, where I had the egg sandwich, whites only, which was very lovely. I highly recommend it.

We did a little window shopping, then went back to the room to rest, keen on going to the Art Institute of Portland later that night for a craft fair (which ended up being two tiny tables of stuff) and a letter press exhibit-thing (one room, lame). Pretty unexciting. We walked around the Pearl because all the shops were open late. Lucy bought some yarn for her mom, and I bought a shiny little green wreath craft thing that I subsequently managed to punch my thumb through and slightly ruin. As long as you don't look at it too closely, it's okay, though.

We had supper at Gruner, which had AMAZING pretzel croutons. Like, so good, I asked for some more, and they brought me a free cup that I ate later. Everything else about the place was kind of meh.

Back to the Marriott, which again was awesome. Seizurey thing.

Next morning, we went to NE Portland via bus in order to brunch at Pine State Biscuits. BELIEVE THE HYPE. I had a biscuit with fried chicken and cheddar on it. It was INSANE. I want one in LA, along with these guys.

We shopped around that section of Alberta Street, bought coffee, and peppermint chocolate ice cream at Salt and Straw.

Then we walked down 15th Avenue all the way past Klickitat Street!

For those of you with sad childhoods, you may not know that Klickitat Street was the home of one Ramona Quimby, age 8. So, awesome.

After an afternoon rest, we walked across the 405 to have dinner (accidentally) at Sweet Basil, which is a Thai restaurant entirely run by transvestites (except for the chefs). Between lip-sync'd disco hits, Lucy ate, and I tried not to feel creeped out about someone gyrating on a stage behind me to bad '70s music.
Then we went to McMenamin's Mission Theater, which is a moviepub, and saw The Rum Diary for 3 bucks! I had popcorn and was happy.

The next morning, Luce went and had breakfast with a friend, so I checked out Voodoo Doughnuts and bought a dirt doughnut and a no name doughnut.

The no name (pb, rice krispies) was insanely filling, and I ended up giving the dirt doughnut to Luce. I also bought a vegan pumpkin muffin and a croissant from Pearl Bakery, which were uninspiring.

Watched the last half of Dinner for Schmucks after just realizing we had HBO.
When Lucy returned, we went to the Portland Saturday Market, stopping by Stumptown on the way...

which is near Voodoo and opposite this wall.

The market was SO COOL. If I had money and suitcase space, there's a paper tulip lamp and a wire sculpture I absolutely would have bought. Instead, I got my stepdad a t-shirt that said "Eat Locals" with a zombie chasing a farmer on a tractor. He best like it. We also learned a lot about the Portland bubblers from a guy who we sadly did not buy any wares from. Oh, well.

We had lunch at Little Big Burger, where the burgers were, indeed, little. But I was full from breakfast, so I was fine.

We didn't really know what to do after visiting the science side of Powell's, so we just headed toward PSU, taking a rather long break from the cold in the lobby of the lovely, historic Beacon Hotel, where Lucy had tea. And I may have possibly stolen someone's Do Not Disturb sign. Maybe.

BTW, Portland isn't just coffee. There are A LOT of chocolate shops. I did buy one green Michel Cluizel chocolate that ended up being oddly good.

We wandered around PSU for 30 seconds while I talked to my dad, who told me he was about to be a great-granddad, but, oh, wait, actually already was. The things I don't know about my step-family are many.

Finally, it was time to head airport-ward. We passed the itsy-bitsy Occupy Portland protest (which apparently grew after we left) and had a quick dinner at some food trucks near the hotel. I had some really good Korean spicy chicken.

Then home!
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen