Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We have discovered the beautiful, nearly spiritual process of homebrewing. G and I are giving out bottles of our first batch as xmas gifts (since we're broke, as usual). Plus the idea that everyone can use another beer is quite valid. I made labels for this batch which, of course, are clever and amusing. Being a milk stout which is usally a holiday or winter ale we went with SLAY BELLS in keeping with the planned tradition of naming all our beers after some aspect of horror movies. Here's a little peek at how it went.
Garrett Pitching the Yeast after brewing
pitching yeast

Garrett Checking the Blowoff (heh, heh, 'blow') Tube.

Bottling Time!

Me Getting Sidetracked and Over Filling a Bottle

The Labels

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm working on finally getting my own online mini-store going. I've got a couple dozen ideas for product designs but the never ending plague of acute procrastination that I suffer from makes it difficult to get done. I thought this was a very clever way to go.

Friday, October 03, 2008

It might seem strange that in the hometown of the microbrew that anyone would bother driving across town to go to a beer tasting that involves MICHELOB. But it was just too strange not to check out.
There were several that were actually not too bad. Depending on the price I might actually consider buying them on those days that I don't want to go the PBR route but don't have the dough for... well, pretty much everything else.

BTW, The Belmont Station have a phenomenal selection of beer. My only problem with it might be that making a selection is a truly formidable task. (I'll have a more in depth review in the review section, soon)
I have to say I was a little disappointed in the VP debate. I was hoping for a trainwreck, just like everyone else. And to be honest I might have secretly been bracing for a super duper mega trainwreck. I'm talking 'super speed train full of fluffy bunnies and baby kittens plows through a double decker bus of small children on their way to a Gerber baby look-alike contest' kind of horror show. But that wasn't even anything more than 'a cow on the train tracks that the conductor saw in just enough time to pull the e-brake and stop safely except for a couple of tea cups falling off the shelf and cracking in the dinner cart' let down.

So maybe that's why we found our 'bring your cleverly named dish to the debate' dinner so funny.
* Joe Biden Buffalo Wings
* Bridge to No Where Nachos
* Homeland Security Hummus with Putin Pita Chips
* Bailout Brownies
and of course, Alaska Amber Ale!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I feel quite proud of myself for hunting down a much more efficient public transpo option for school. Originally looking at a ride on the max and 15 or so blocks of walking each way had me look for an alternative and the number 8 bus is my savior knocking that 15 blocks down to 2 and since it's all in Portland's life saving FARELESS SQUARE I don't have to pay for crap. You don't get as much sun or excercise with that option but with the rain soon to be upon us, I'm not complaining. The only other bummer is that with such a short walk to class the only coffee shop with in 6 blocks is a f*cking Starbucks. I just cant. (a weird note about PSU campus, it has like 4 Starbucks! This is Portland, does anyone actually drink Starbucks, much less enough people to warrant 4 of them??)

Since oreintation, I've been a little concered about whether or not I'm actually making it into the correct classes. My schooling in the past was a 1 year basics/1 year intensive program which is hailed as one of the best in the country but doesn't give you alot of time to develop your own design style NOR do the credits translate to a 4 year school very well. At orientation the councelors mostly shrugged their shoulders and asked me if the class description sounded like something I'd already learned. It should be noted that class descriptions are equally as generic as the names of the classes themselves (type, page design, digital communication... What do those even mean??)

The teacher is a cute, recently graduated grad student/designer/artist/press owner who reminds me of Bam Margera from Jackass. Other than that I was also surprised at the relative normalcy of the other students. I guess I was expecting a bunch of people dressed in black with scarves and shagged hair brooding over glossy design annuals or something but they were all pretty normal looking if not seemingly incapable of speaking. Questions asked by the teacher barely elicited a nod from the bunch. All of them that is except for THAT GUY....THAT GUY had on jeans and a shirt, a wooly unshaven face and as I looked at him I surmised that he might be that funny guy that everybody gets along with, or maybe a quite shy kid who has a knack for sketch art but no... it looks as though THAT GUY is going to be filling the position of the socially inept tool who can't keep his mouth shut regardless of how inappropriate the timing but never fails to crack himself up, loudly.

"Ha ha ha, where'd all the pens go? Like they got lost in the bermuda triangle of pens? Ha ha ha, Where'd they go, that's an important question, ha ha ha" (What the F*uck is THAT GUY talking about?!?! He's talking about pens, what??!)
Teacher: "so do any of you ever spend time looking through the design magazines at Powell's (an enormous, much loved and locally owned bookstore)

THAT GUY: "Does Borders count?" HA ha ha ha ha h... (borders being the oversized international chain loathed by most locals for putting small guys out of business the world over)

Teacher: "no"

Teacher: "so here are several examples of magazine design, easy to find on the internet" (as he flips through several web pages)


I've decided I'm giving THAT GUY exactly one more class to get his act together before I exert my authority as the oldest person in the room (yes,even older than the professor) so therefore I don't give a shit about anything except THAT GUY shutting up.
That's my new mission. "Curse you THAT GUY! I WILL bring you down!! (or at least get you to keep your f*cking yap closed for most of class)
And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I like to be hipster about things. I like to turn up my nose at the grotesque humanitary practices of places like Walmart that reach from the local single mom pulling the night shift even though they're screwing her out of healthcare benefits to the children in the sweatshops that most of the products there come from. I want to proclaim "I'd rather DIE than drink at Starbucks" or take the time to learn the history about all the places I shop at so that not a single penny of mine inadvertently goes to supporting the KKK.

The truth of the matter though is that I shop at Target who, while doing great things in the local communities, are probably owned by the same people who own every other big box store and probably buy their products from sweatshops, but only the ones that don't use children.

The truth of the matter is, I sometimes drink starbucks because they ARE on every corner and I'm a lazy fuck sometimes and don't want to go wandering all over the city looking for a not-starbucks who may or may not have decent coffee.

The truth of the matter is I'd only shop organic, local, fresh, raw, free-range, no-additives, majik fairy food and produce if I made about $1000 more a month and had 6 hours a day I could dedicate to cooking from scratch. But I don't.

And I feel bad about it. I WANT to be able to support my local community, my friends and neighbors, the small farmers. I WANT to support places that support their suppliers, that take care of their workers, that offer above minimum wages to the people who grow, create and produce the things I buy and use. But sometimes it's just hard not to lose sight of how closely we are all connected. So then I drunkenly make the taxi driver swing by taco bell on my way home. *sigh*

Emily suggested we check out a cupping that was happening at Stumptown. Stumptown, for those of you living in a small cave with bats (or from out of town) could best be described as a minimalist version of Starbucks with an eye solidly on the bigger picture. Cuppings are essentially wine tasting but for coffee. I'm already a coffee snob of the 8th degree (this is about the level where even with a hangover you will actually turn down a bad cup of coffee or get up and leave to a different restaurant if someone says 'it's not so bad if you put in a lot of sugar') so this was especially up my alley.

The biggest draw of the evening though was that they were going to be doing a cupping with single origin coffees from Costa Rica. (Em and I spent a lot of time in CR so anything 'tico' has a special place in our hearts). The large majority of coffees available are blends, meaning that the beans in that particular coffee come from more than one farm, region or even country. These beans were all from their own micro-farms and the people who own and work these farms were present to talk about their places and processes. It was pretty amazing and for the first time in a long time I felt like I truly didn't mind paying $3.50 for a cup of coffee. It was exciting to see how people who are (insanely) committed to and excited about coffee can make a difference by treating everyone who has a hand in the process with respect and value for their part.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I felt nervous, my hands visibly shaking. I giggled uncomfortably and took a deep breath as he appeared from the other room. I couldn't help but stare, it was so beautiful. It was as if I could look forever and never be able to get my fill. He came closer and just laid it out there in the open for me, prompting me wordlessly to grasp it with my fingers. I looked over my shoulder at my boyfriend for reassurance that he was still ok with this. He smiled a quiet half smile, and I couldn't tell if it was lust or jealousy that flashed in his eye.

We finished up, I gathered my things and paid the man his money. As I walked out, I felt comforted that my feelings of doubt and shame at having spent so much money had been almost entirely swallowed by excitement and the plans of all the things I was going to be able to use this for in the future.

I suppose it's a testament to how truely nerdy I am. Financial Aid for school is allowing for enough extra money that I can spring for a new computer. My first new one in nearly 5 years. It's better than finding money on the sidewalk. Better than christmas. Better than sex! Well, at least that sloppy drunken kind that you fall asleep halfway through.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Went to see Irvine Welsh speak at Powell's today. Yesterday we saw Chuck Klosterman. It's little events like these that make me adore Portland. Maybe the novelty will wear off eventually but I have my doubts.

I think I'm going to start making sure I post short memos about all the weird events we go to. There are a surprising lot of them.


Friday, September 19, 2008

It's not the 5-15 people chillin on an enormous craftsman style covered deck like in the 'old days' in the Whiteaker, but the people are good and there are 40s.


Friday, August 15, 2008

With only 16 days left here in the southern Willamette valley (Eugene/Springfield) before I can finally breath the fresh breath of Portland's low pollen count breezes I find it getting harder and harder to bide my time, mostly because of crap like this.

Walking to the bus station this morning on my way to work I noticed some very serious construction going on, blocking through traffic for a couple blocks. I had to detour to find a sidewalk that was still in useable condition. This little adventure took me right past some of the buildings actually being put up.

Quite a nice looking building I might add. I asked one of the construction workers what was being built and he gave me a strange look (apparently this building is the most exciting thing to happen to people in this area in a while and how could I possibly not know).

It turns out this not completely mediocre archetecture is, of course, the new jail.

I couldn't fathom why in the world they'd be putting a jail right in the middle of downtown.
Then I found an article that explained everything:

"The proposed Springfield Downtown Urban Renewal Plan would assist in the revitalization of business and elimination of blight in the downtown area.

OF COURSE! Springfield knows there is no way to "eliminate the blight in the downtown area" like putting up a jail instead of, say, businesses, or cafes, or GOD FORBID, apartments that don't look like crack dens, flop houses and meth labs.
(though it does mean a much shorter trip for the cops when they bust the drugged out wack jobs that make up most of the pedestrian traffic in downtown springfield)

Any good urban renewal planer knows you don't start by revitalizing the library (what does a library need windows for anyway?) or giving city hall a facelift so it doesn't have to share bathrooms with the library anymore. You certainly don't stop giving the ok for yet ANOTHER dark, seedy stripclub to open it's doors to the waiting public or another questionable looking taqueria-mobile to set up shop along main street wherever the wheels of the cart happen to go flat.

Nope. You spend $28.65 million opening a jail. Downtown.

The only good to come out of this is that the police department and municipal court will finally get to move out of their present home (for the last 35 years):
- their present building is so insanely ugly that a photo of the actual building cannot be found on the www but to give you an idea here is the post office right down the street which looks very similar:

and the view across the street from the current Police station/court;

To this:

This is something that was voted on and passed by the voters of Springfield. And I can't figure out if it was an oversight, the voters way of sticking it to the man while giving him what he asked for or just plain stupidity but come October 2008 when the construction is slated to be finished, there will be a brand spankin new 100 bed jail that will sit empty. Because while the voters passed to have it built, they did not provide a way for operating expenses to be covered.

3 weeks till I move to PDX!!!!!!!

UPDATE: They just started tearing up the street outside my parents house. The new street outside my parents house. The new street that was just put in 7 months ago outside my parents house. And they like to start the jackhammers at 7:58 every morning.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I never cease to amaze myself.

I like to think of myself as basically a minimalist. I'm perfectly happy with the basics. I don't need a lot to make me happy and I tend to get frustrated and stressed when there's a significant mess.

So how is it that I have SO MUCH CRAP!?!?!
How did I amass this mess of doo-dads, nick-nacks, and momentos that are crammed into every goddamn corner of my tiny room? And how did I never notice it till 4 hours before the moving truck will be here? (don't ask why I didn't start till 4 hours before the moving truck.
My issues with procrastination are a whole other story)

The other part of this that makes it worse is that I can't seem to bring myself to trash this junk. I'll admit
that it's fun to have that wave of memories come rushing back to me when I inadvertently pull a wrist band out of a drawer full of other pointless souvenirs, but I haven't see this thing probably since I drunkenly wrenched it off my wrist and crammed it in my junk drawer before passing out half dressed onto the bed.

And why can't I seem to free myself of clothes that I've "outgrown". I don't consciously believe that I'll get so motivated or even care enough to lose the weight needed to squeeze back into an entire wardrobe of clothes I haven't been small enough to wear since I came back from a 2 year long strict diet of beans and rice. (central american open air meat markets aren't especially well known for their high standards in refrigeration making the idea of going veggie highly appealing despite the lack of many veggie option other than, well, veggies.

I feel like I purge incessantly, holding annual garage sales that usually end up yielding about $6.50 in pity offerings and then just give the rest away to anyone who happens to stroll by. Yet here I am sitting amid a sea of too-small clothing that has apparently been procreating too-small offspring in the dark underbelly of my bed.

If I had to do it once this month it might not be so bad but somehow I've got to figure out what to pack. How to pack it. What I'll use or might use while living out of my parent's guest room for the next 3 weeks. What I can keep in said guest room and what I'm willing to adventure to the garage for if needed. All so that I don't unpack too much stuff that I'll have to simply repack, needlessly for our move to Portland.

I suppose I could continue the rant however I'm down to 3 hours till the trucks here so I suppose I should figure out something with all these shoes i have....


PS- stay tuned to my blog for future installments of MOVING DAY to include my "Ode to The Whiteaker", "Smell ya Later Eugene" and "Moving Day part 2, the Big Move North".

Friday, August 01, 2008

Perhaps the most ingenious musical ever created! We were on the edge of our seats waiting for it to actually appear online after seeing the trailer. We then proceeded to gorge ourselves on the musical hilarity which has since caused involuntary outbursts of "...a man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do..."

I'd recommend you don't watch it more than twice unless your bed buddy doesn't mind being awoken in the middle of the night to your unconscious nightime serenades. And now I present to you....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today i saw that Kids in the Hall are going to be performing live in Portland! What an awesome show that's going to be. I think to myself "why, I'D like to go to that show" so I go to check out ticket prices and they're $39.75 each! That's more than I've paid to see any show of any kind except maybe on Broadway in NYC. Tickets to the Sasquatch Music Festival are $60 a day but you get like 15 bands. Now, anyone who knows me knows just how royally I suck at math, but even I can figure out in my head that's a way better deal!

So I'm already grumpy about the idea of having to spend that kind of moolah when I notice that in addition to the nearly 40 bucks for the ticket they're also charging a "convenience fee" of $8.50 per ticket. CONVENIENCE???? Convenient for who? So I'm curious, just what exactly do you get for this fee? What is it that's so damn convenient I'm paying an extra $8.50 for? But, neigh my dear friends, you needn't bother looking. You won't find an answer anywhere on their website that I could see.

So my first thought is, well i suppose it must be for paying a guy to sit in the box office and for printing out those fancy tickets. But, like so many times when I follow an assumption that seems like it should be the right answer because it makes the most common sense, I was wrong.

They have a completely separate fee for that! And let's say you want to save THEM
the time and effort of having to get tickets to you by printing out your own tickets at home (and using about $3 worth of your own precious printer ink to do so) they are going to charge you another $2!!!!!!!!!!! To print out your own tickets! At your home! So that their job is easier and saves the company money!!!!! And that's the least expensive option from there you can go all the way up to paying an extra $23 delivery fee if you need them to overnight you tickets via UPS on a Saturday (just in case you wanted to keep that in mind for you future ticket buying endeavors)

I truly believe I would be less pissed about buying tickets costing $50.25 if they just say that up front. But noooooooooooo. Once again some douchbag in the marketing department has made it abundantly clear he needs to go back to school and take some sort of psycology class so he can understand that nobody thinks they're getting a much better deal if they see $3.99 instead of $4.00 just like nobody is going to think they're getting a better deal on $50 tickets if you tell them the price is half that and then tack on a bloody load of bullshit fees at the checkout.

For that and so much more I give Ticketmaster a big fat two middle finger salute!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

RIVERDANCE - or "kill me, kill me now"

I admit, my first thought after being told by Garrett that he'd scored free tickets to Riverdance was to politely say 'no thank you' then kick him square in the crotch thus taking him by surprise so that I could escape this fate worse than death.

But then I began thinking. 'You know they've been around for a long time, there's obviously a reason they still perform to large sold out audiences. I enjoy celtic music and culture in general, this could be fairly entertaining. Perhaps a chance to learn a little about something I don't know much about."

Just in case anyone is wondering... I was wrong.

Riverdance took celtic music drug it out into a dark alley shot it in the back of the head and then let Kenny G hump it's dead corpse.
Some of the music was canned but the musicians pretended to play anyway. There was an entire song that was an alto sax and jazz flute duel. 'nuff said.

Ok so they can move their feet real fast. Eh.
Again some of the tapping sounds were canned, which seemed really really weird to me.
There was a urban tap dance vs. celtic dance number that was impressive and at the same time hysterical as you could see they were trying to show the difference between classic and modern dance. Only the tap dance were moves right out of the late 80's movie TAPS.
It also consisted of the most yawn-inducing 'flamenco' on the face of the planet and "love" dance numbers more dispassionate than watching a 10$ hooker and a fat 60 year old John going at it in a seedy motel room. There was one dancer who was supposed to be wooing the main female and ate shit on stage. That was rather entertaining.

What the fuck? Seriously? Nappy time! Several people standing around on a dark stage with their heads cocked to one side to look into the audience. Generic voices, homoginized music, sappy lyrics and no movement. The first black man to appear on set happens about 3/4 of the way through the show. He gets off an old slave ship, dressed in old slave clothes to sing an old slave song. I don't think I was the only person wondering WTF that was all about. At least he had a great voice.

So in summary, fuck Riverdance for taking 2 hours of my life I will never get back but a big thank you to G for the amusing experience,for squelching torrents of laughter during the slow songs, for the beer during intermission to make the second half a little easier to sit through and for keeping me in my seat instead of making a big ugly scene every time that torturous jazz flute rose above the tappity tapping.