Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Is Why Portland Is Better Than Where You Live

I just sat in a theatre and watched "The Big Lebowski" with a group of people, drinking beer and eating pizza. Goddamn this city is great. And it's only Thursday. W00t! 

Now I'm watching a documentary called "The Bridge". It's about the phenomenon of people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. These film-makers asked the city for permission to mount cameras to film the bridge over a year's time, but they didn't realize what their real intention was, to capture individuals jumping off the bridge. Evidently the rate of suicides is about 24 per year, so there is plenty of footage. The film also interviews the family members of suicides as well as people on the bridge the day that they jumped. 

This is really interesting so I'm getting back to it. 

Monday, December 24, 2007

You're the 100th Unique Viewer!

Thats right! Someone out there is the 100th unique viewer of this blog. How sad for you. 

So I've been feeling a little down the last few days. The holidays are of course a time of both happiness and sadness and are complicated for everyone, and I guess I'm just having the routine holiday blues. Never mind that I'm trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with me life :)

BUT, I got a chance to see Juno last night with an old friend, and wow, what a film. 

While the critics have a legit point in noting that the use of wise-cracks is a little heavy on the front end of the film, it quickly comes into its own and is just perfect in composition and balance. It makes you want to be these people, any of these people, even a 16 year old pregnant girl (mind you, being Ellen Page would probably be cooler than being most 16 year old pregnant girls). 

Seriously, it's that good, with a soundtrack that is quirky and catchy and seems like every song was written for the film (though none were). 


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Say That It's Christmas...

So, it's the weekend before Christmas. The last month has flown by what with my new job and all. Lucky for me I took care of my Christmas purchases weeks ago via the interweb. 

I hope everyone has a happy holiday! I'll be making cookies this weekend to bring in for the guys working over Christmas day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hard Candy, Anyone?

So I just finished watching Hard Candy. The basic plot of the film is that a 14-year-old girl traps a pedophile and turns him around until he takes his own life. It stars Ellen Page (of Nova Scotia, Canada w00t!) who is now staring in Juno, which may prove to be the best movie of all time. Those of you less interested in indie films will also recognize her from the X-men franchise. 

I'm not the first to say this, but that girl is scary good as an actress and, at age 20, has none of the BS issues that surround her peer group of "actresses". I will be patronizing her films for a long time coming I think. 

Hard Candy itself will be burned into my brain for a long time. How warped it makes you feel, pitying the pedophile, cheering on the girl, cheering on the pedophile, disapproving of what she does, approving of what she does... and on and on. Around and around until you are emotionally spent. 


Monday, December 17, 2007

Yikes, 4 Days Flies By

So I went to the Portland Winter Hawks game last night. Man they are terrible. Something like a win-loss ratio of 32-5. 

Some observations. 

1) Hockey fights are awesome. There's something intellectually distasteful about wanting the blood-sport, but at the end of the night it seems like more of a ritual than anything else, and they're fabulously entertaining. 

2) Hockey is fabulously more entertaining when you're watching it live. Ever watch hockey on TV? Just not a lot there unless you're very attached to one team. But live hockey is fast and visceral and just great. 

3) (Minor League) Hockey's target demo is basically cub scouts. Yup, 7 to 12 year old boys eat it up from start to finish. They love everything about a hockey game. They were fun to watch. 

Now I'm watching the Blazers battle for an eight-in-a-row victory against New Orleans. And I care. I think I may have become a dude. Sports? OK, here goes. 

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Call Scotland Barr!

So I'm off to see Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags tomorrow night at the Mt. Tabor Legacy Theatre (which I can practically see from my house, goddamn I love living here). Why is that exciting? Firstly, because their name is great. Secondly, because I listened to their tunesation on iTunes and their myspace page and they sound like my kind of band. Finally, because I'm meeting up with a couple of brand new people whom I have never hung with before along with old friends. They are folks I met during SantaCon 2007 (see the recap post from a few days ago). 

I'm excited. New people! Sweet. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Love in the Third Period?

So, I have a first date that'll be (partly) at a Portland Winter Hawks game. Any of the 30 people who have read this so far have an opinion on event dates? Sports and other spectator events in particular? I'll find out the advantages and disadvantages soon enough I suppose. 

Some of you may be aware that American Football is now broadcast in the US under the name "Football Night in America". Fewer of you will realize that this name derives from a long-running program in Canada called "Hockey Night in Canada". 

So I present to you the best hockey song ever written. This is Corb Lund (who has a fantastic new album out called Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! which I can't stop listening too). The original is by Stompin' Tom Connors, a Canadian music legend. 

He actually has a couple different last verses to this song. They're all genius. He does a live cover on at least one of his albums. 

The other lyrics are:

Oh goodness me, FOX TV, where did you get your sight
Can't you keep track, the puck is black, that's why the ice is white!
And that big red glare you see up there, well we've seen that for years, 
for heaven's sakes, all it takes is a couple dozen beers!

Genius. These lyrics reference the old FOX TV broadcasts of NHL hockey where they attempted to highlight the puck traveling across the ice, creating a blurred effect and seriously pissing off Canadian hockey fans. 

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Always Be Closing!

So lately I've been gravitating towards the great film speeches. Two of the best are by the great Al Pacino. 

First is Any Given Sunday. 

The older I get (and to be fair, I'm not very old), the more accurate this metaphor gets. How small the difference between winning and losing! Especially when I watch my co-workers and see the spectrum of where people end up, you can see where people stop pushing. 

And secondly, Alec Baldwin's performance in Glengarry Glen Ross (just put on in an excellent performance at Portland State University.

Beyond the obvious stellar cast of actors involved in this project, what impact this has! You cut it or your out. You want to be big, play big. 

We're all just left wondering whether we can play big. 

Monday, December 10, 2007

MAX Factor?

Today the Trib ran an article about the security concerns on Portland's Tri-met transit system. 

First, let me say that I have never personally witnessed any major issues of concern on Tri-met (other than the occasional loud people). 

However, ever since living in London a few years ago, I have wondered whether the answer to Portland's transit conundrum lies in TFL's system. For those of you who haven't been, TFL runs their fares almost completely electronically. They use a scanner system much like access cards in buildings to record entries and exits from the system. 

My thought is that perhaps a card system that had entry scanners on all MAX doors and bus front doors, and could be quickly verified by a handheld wireless scanner used by fare checkers, would massively increase the speed of fare checkers and allow them to cover ground quickly. That has to be coupled with zero-tolerance enforcement system wide. This means that after one ticket, an exclusion and an arrest for theft of service is appropriate!

In the meantime, how about some Tri-met and police joint stings. Pull a train into a station. Anyone on it without a valid fare is removed from the train and ticketed by the line of Tri-met checkers waiting for them. See how many warrant arrests you get from that. 

A few of these kinds of checks at random on the system would get attention real, real fast. 

Sunday, December 9, 2007

We Have Computers & This Is What We Made

You know how you can send hours on YouTube and just wander into random shit? Here's a great example. 

Seriously, there have to be at least a dozen people who have done their own Arrested Development chicken dances? Is this where we've come?

Also, this is the YouTube journey that got me there.

Songs from Superbad -> Big Poppa -> Don't Trust the Police -> Interview with Emma Stone -> Interview with Ellen Page -> Hard Candy -> Juno -> Interview with Michael Cera -> Arrested Development -> Chicken Dances.

Well. SantaCon 2007 is gone and done. What an adventure. My first SantaCon was a night to remember. 

Here's the recap:

1100: Started at Rock Bottom. While sitting at the bar, a passer-by actually came in and asked my friend and I to take a picture with them. Jesus. 

1200: Skidmore Fountain. There have to be 300 santas here at this point. Also about 15 easter bunnies. Someone just gave me a Budweiser in wrapping paper. 

1300: Captain Ankeny's Well. There are elves outside shouting "What do we want? RIGHTS! When do we want them? SOMETIME SOON, but definitely before Christmas!". Seriously. 

1400: Rialtos. Get a pool table before the flood of Santas. Robot santa is awesome. Chat with folks we met at Ankeny's. Get a phone number, they live in the neighborhood. Sweet. 

1500: Heading to the Waterfront. Hey, a game of Santa Tug-of-war! We win! They're setting up a trebuchet, but we're already off to Jax's rooftop bar for another pint. 

1600: Met up with friends at Jax. There's a girl straddling Santas and posing for photos. I'm not going to discourage her. 

1700: Head to Pioneer Courthouse Square. Photo girl from Jax is now making out with other girl Santas. 

1800: Some bar in "Vaseline Alley". Hey, free booze from a flask. Tastes like honey... mmm. 

1900: We're running through Powells arm-in-arm with other Santas. Powell's people are non-plussed. Powell's people are cool. Also, what does plussed mean?

2000: My friend needs a moment to sit out, lets take a breather

2030: I'm at the Benson Hotel at a corporate christmas party (not mine). No one seems to question your presence when you are Santa. They gave me drinks and yes, they sat on my lap. 

2100: OK, off to Casey's to join the rest of the Santa pack. Down to the dance floor. Hello, who are you? You're freaking cute, I know that. 

2200: Voodoo Donuts. I've merged with a group of new people. Nobody actually bought a donut. Why are we here?

2300: CC Slaughters. Hmm... there seem to be a lot of guys in underwear in here.. oh wait. Santas everywhere. Time to head home soon. 

Well, hello there!

Hello to all ya'll. 

This is the first of a series of posts that I hope will become a routine occurrence for me. I haven't been too successful doing things like this in the past. Lets just see how this goes...