Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mississippi evening marks the true start of summer in Portland.

There’s the calendar, then there’s the feel.  Friday night felt like summer, so did last night and this morning. 

N. Mississippi Avenue offers a few of the most vibrant blocks in Portland.  From about Skidmore to Freemont, the avenue is packed with restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and people on a summer night. 
This is a change from just two or three years ago.  The vacant condos have been sold, the storefronts have filled in, and some of the less successful operators have been replaced.  Now there is a density of attractive places.  We stopped for a beverage at Interurban, then grabbed food at the Koi Fusion food cart next to Prost!.  Prost! is smart enough to offer an attractive deck with stairs into the food cart pod, and it welcomes people with food from other places, so long as they buy booze from Prost!. 

From that north end, we meandered south, enjoying the warm evening, people watching, and, eventually, some really good ice cream from Ruby Jewel Scoops

Saturday morning found us relaxing on our deck with our coffee and tea.  Saturday evening, we joined an impromptu dinner at Gilt with 7 others before checking out the new wine bar called Remedy on the North Park Blocks.  So new, Remedy still had the faint smell of paint.  That commercial condo had been for sale for a while.  Remedy did a terrific job building it out to a very attractive setting.  We ended up at the McSordyl Condo, a/k/a “Party Party House.”

This morning, back on the deck with coffee, birds, flowers, clear skies and the forecast of (1) 90 degrees and (2) work on a Petition for Writ of Mandamus to the Oregon Supreme Court.  Because, after all, all play and no work would make Jeff a dull boy. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Converting "We shoulds" into "We dids."

How often do we say to  friends or friendly acquaintances, "We should get together."  It happens more times than I can count.

Often, Allyson and I say it when we run into people at events, "Let's go out to dinner some time."  And "some time" turns into years with everyone's busy life.

Other times, to out-of-state family or friends, "You should come out to visit.."

This past weekend, we converted some of those shoulds into dids.  Friday night, we finally met another couple for dinner.  We run into them now and then or talk briefly on the phone.  But we never seemed to actually put a date on the calendar.

Then,  Allyson's best friend from high school had a couple of nights in Portland on her way between So. Cal. and Canada.  It's been so long that her kids are now 17 & 15 years old. It was great to see such a pleasant family.

Sunday evening, I let the other adults talk among themselves by taking the teenagers out for a long hike in Tryon Creek State Park.  I had a great time listening to what's on their minds and explaining what we were seeing along the way.  Matthew saw his first woodpecker. and by the time we trudged back to the car, they could distinguish a cedar from a fir.   (I think they were so tired that their strange, motel beds were no impediment to sleeping last night.)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Comedians in the Family

Before Comedian Auggie Smith was “Auggie,” he lived downstairs from his uncle on Burnside in Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood.  (I’ve known his uncle since 1980.)  Uncle Tim encouraged the boy to give comedy a try, and we watched him at the open mic at a Silver Dollar Pizza on NW 21st.   Since then, Auggie’s hit all the comedy clubs and many colleges in the U.S. of A.  In 2010, he won both the San Francisco and Seattle comedy competitions.

Last night, it was good to see Auggie headline and kill at the Helium Comedy Club in Portland.  Satire, irony, and current events are his stock in trade.  Wild-eyed rants are his vehicle.  He’s married now,  and they settled down in Los Angeles last year.

Now, my niece Rachele is giving comedy a go.  She’s hosting at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, CA next weekend.  Which begs these questions:

At the laugh factory, do Chinese comedians sleep upstairs in triple-high bunk beds and toil every day cranking out jokes?  “Did you hear the one about the Beijing Barber who . . . ?  So Confucius, Buddha and a Shaolin Priest walk into a sooty bar in Jiangsu Province . . . .“ Are there suicide nets to catch the jumpers from the Laugh Factory sweat shop? 

Which reminds me of one of my dad’s jokes, “Did you hear that 1 in 4 children born in the world is Chinese? So, my wife and I stopped at 3 kids.”

Okay.  I’ll stick to serious law and forget comedy, except in a cheerleader role.

Heeeeeeeeeere's Rachele Friedland on Youtube.

and heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Auggie:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dandy Warhols kick off the Summer

Summer began at 10:04 p.m. with the The Dandy Warhols playing their third or fourth song of the night at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom.

With general admission seating, we figured it might make sense to get in before the 8:30 start time.  Ha!  The old hall was nearly empty when we arrived.  Hmm.  Either the band has no fan following despite all of its hits, or we don't know how things work here. Yep, we were ignorant.  Warm up band until about 9:10, and the first Dandy song started at 9:49.  Now, we know.  We also know not to go to concerts at the Wonder Ballroom.  You'd think a concert hall might care about acoustics, but I guess not.

So, we learned a couple of things to start the summer.  We learned that the Dandy Warhols have some good songs, we learned not to go to concerts at this venue, and we learned that we should ask around to see when bands start at different places.

We also confirmed that we enjoy getting out together and trying new things on a weeknight.   

Good bye Spring. Hello summer.