The best basketball team in Oregon

February 29, 2008 at 6:34 pm (Portland, Sports)

…The PSU Vikings.

The win extended the Vikings’ Big Sky winning streak to 10 and raised their season record to 19-9, matching the highest win total in school history as a Division I program (19-9 in 2004-05 and 19-13 in 2006-07).

I don’t know if I should be glad or sad.  The only prospect we really have of any post season ball this year is the Big Sky tournament.  Oh well, at least I’ll get a good seat for cheap.  I really thought the Blazers were going to be good this year, but now I’ll be happy if they finish with a winning record.


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It’s official

November 1, 2007 at 10:42 pm (Music, Portland)

Portland has finally been completely overtaken by hipsters.  Open mic bluegrass night at the Alberta Street Pub, my bar, is over, and has been replaced by traveling shitheads from Witchita and Minnesota who frequently employ accordians and clarinets.  God help me.

I realize this probably isn’t the best way to break a nearly 2 month blog silence.  I just can’t believe my only mid week solace has been co-opted by a bunch of 23 year old Radiohead wannabes.

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Headline of the Day

August 14, 2007 at 8:23 pm (Humor, Justice, Portland, Random)

Bank robbed by clown.

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Portland City Storage

August 11, 2007 at 12:07 am (Planning, Portland)

Two Very Large Towers are about to be built on the east bank of the Willamette River.  Condos?  Nope, boat storage!  (responding to demand from condo owners)  This will be the biggest single addition to the city skyline since the Fremont Bridge, in my opinion.  Check it out, I think it’s sweet.  The view from the inside (which, apparently is only available on the brochure…imagine a hollow vertical tube with thousands of individual slots accessed by a robotic elevator arm) is straight out of The Matrix.  I want to buy a boat, simply so I can ride down the boat launching system.

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August 9, 2007 at 9:36 pm (Money, Portland)

I’ve been doing some farting around on the Tubes of the Global Interweb, and I found out a few things about how we here in Portland pay our loyal civil servants (pdf). If you are the director of the Water Bureau, Transportation Office, Planning Bureau, Environmental Services Bureau, Police Chief, or City Attorney, you can make as much as $172,286 per year. That’s a lot more than any elected official (Mayor: $113,818, Commissioner: $95,867). Not too bad, except for perhaps the City Attorney, who I think is getting screwed. Of course PDC, in a characteristic thumbing-of-the-nose to the citizenry, doesn’t publish their compensation plan. I bet old Brucey-Bruce makes over 200 large. Anyone know?

UPDATE: Thanks to this crazy invention known as The Google, I found out that I was wrong.  He was #1 of all city employees, at a mere $160,517.  Now I feel really bad for the City Attorney, who wasn’t even in the top 5.

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I thought I knew

July 8, 2007 at 12:15 am (Humor, Justice, Portland)

Where The Simpsons are from.  In “Behind the Laughter” (BABF19) the narrator ends by saying:

The Simpsons’ bitter past was forgotten, and now the future looks brighter than ever for this northern Kentucky family.

That was a few years ago, and I thought the issue was settled.  But the source I am citing says that it was

Replaced with “southern Missouri” on subsequent airings

I have never heard that.  But it’s ok, because everyone knows that The Simpsons are from Oregon.  If anyone bothers to dispute that, I’ll provide many a link as evidence.

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The North American Organic Beer Fest

June 9, 2007 at 3:08 pm (Beer, Portland)

Sweet mercy, I love this city.

If you ever go to one of these beer fests, chances are you will have to buy tickets, and 1 ticket gets you a taste, 4 will get you a fill (a 10 ounce cup you paid 5 bucks for).  I discovered yesterday that the taste is the only way to go.  Some people are a little more generous than they should be.  I probably tried 15 different beers in under 3 hours.

But I am paying for it…this blog post is the most productive thing I have done all day.

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May 3, 2007 at 9:44 pm (Portland, Random)

Spring has officially sprung, so that can only mean that the season for door-to-door solicitations has arrived. This evening it was OSPIRG, begging for money to lobby for a renewable energy bill. The same bill that has absolutely no chance of not passing the through Democratic colon in Salem. I told the girl I am a grad student and can’t afford to contribute right now, but I do pay the additional .2 cents per kW/hr for wind-generated electricity. The last 2 parts of that statement are true. I plan to continue to exploit the possibility that I am a student, at least until I am completely gray.

A buddy of mine turns 30 this weekend, and in his aged wisdom, decided to celebrate on a Thursday. I finally went to Vendetta on N Williams and Skidmore, which has the nicest back patio I have seen in this city. It also has the unfortunate distinction of attracting the highest concentration of Fallout Boy fans and other assorted hipsters of any bar this side of the Mississippi (River). So I had a few beers, came home and voted. I love Oregon. Incidentally, I voted no on all ballot measures. In my mind I had penned a lengthy post as to why, but then I remembered that no one cares. For school board, I voted for those persons who appeared most physically attractive in their avatar. Incidentally, on page M-34 of the Voters’ Pamphlet, we are informed that “This voters’ pamphlet as week as other valuable information” is available on some web site. I wonder how many of the 500,000+ copies contained this informative message? My guess is all of them.

The 1-0 Portland Timbers are playing a Mexican Premiere League team on Wednesday in an exhibition match. I understand that beer will be available. Any takers?

One of the only reasons I pay for basic cable is so I can watch government hearings on public access. Yes, it is constant excitement here at jalalablog headquarters. Some guy from the Bureau of Environmental Services just handed over the mic to some other guy from PDOT, which is a clever acronym for the PortlanD Office of Transportation. He introduced his successor as from the Department of Transportation. It is a very common mistake. I can understand the average joe thinking it is a “department,” but some career bureaucrat should really know that there are no “departments” in city government…that’s just not what they’re called. A few weeks ago I heard the chairman of the fucking board of the PDC say the same thing at a City Club speech. I can’t even begin to explain how much that infuriates me.

Here is my list of the top 5 bass players in the history of rock music:

1. Victor Wooten
2. Les Claypool
3. John Paul Jones
4. Geddy Lee
5. Mike Gordon/Geezer Butler (tied)

Am I wrong?

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Transit Tracker

February 9, 2007 at 6:31 am (Portland)

Dear cute girl who rides the same bus as me:

I thought I would take this opportunity to tell any random Portlander who may be reading this about a wonderful local service called Transit Tracker. (first reviewed by me here)

No one seems to know about this, despite the fact that it is advertised at every bus and MAX station in the entire metro area. You can call 503-238-7433, press 1, then enter the stop ID number, displayed prominently on the posted schedule, and get real-time arrival info for the route you are relying on. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why our taxes in Oregon are so high. You don’t have to act all impatient, then ask the schmuck standing next to you when the goddam bus is arriving.

Of course, I don’t mind being The Guy Who Knows. If only you hadn’t spent the entire ride on your cell phone, I might have continued our conversation. One pitch, 3 strikes. Nice.

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On architcture and urban design

October 20, 2006 at 9:02 pm (Planning, Portland)

Here is my latest 1-page masterpiece for my landscape architecture class:

Few could plausibly argue against the notion that the era of auto-oriented, strip commercial development has introduced a bland monotony to the American landscape.  Endless rows of fast food restaurants, large retail stores, and gas stations are found in virtually every metropolitan area, and they are nearly indistinguishable from each other.  It isn’t that those places lack a sense of place per se, but rather that the sense of place they embody is unpalatable to most academics, environmentalists, and design professionals.  In much of America, however, shopping malls and Wal-Marts have become the new town commons.  In West Virginia, where I grew up, these establishments are where you must go to purchase virtually everything, where people can find a job, where teenagers congregate and socialize.  They are the corporatized, 21st Century version of Market Street.

Despite this, if the soul of a culture is reflected in its landscape design, as Lewis suggests, then a transplant to America might think that we are a somewhat vacuous society.  Our metropolitan areas seem to lack variety, originality, or any real defining characteristics.  This is true not only of suburban housing and commercial developments, which bear the brunt of criticism, but also of our cities.  Many American cities are lacking in architectural variety.  This is particularly true of western cities, where urbanization has occurred relatively recently.  Portland is unique in that our “grid” creates unusually small blocks, but otherwise we exemplify this trend.

Increasing density and revitalizing the urban core are laudable goals, but the Pearl District and South Waterfront are typical cookie-cutter, “McCondo” developments.  The Pearl District is San Diego’s Gaslight District, with shorter buildings.  South Waterfront is Vancouver’s Coal Harbor.  These urban condo canyons, adjacent to freeways and technologically identical, are becoming the new strip developments, uninspiring, varying only slightly in shape and color, universally exportable.  They are havens for the rich, investment properties, insipid representations of a desired urban experience.  Building a trolley, a faux-wetland, or even a baseball stadium cannot obscure this reality.

It remains to be seen if these experiments in urban renewal will be deemed successful.  In 40 years how will we view the South Waterfront?  How do we view South Auditorium district today?  I look at this Corbusian design and wonder only what used to be there.  I doubt that many people will lament the loss of empty warehouses and an abandoned railyard, but I also have serious concerns whether the standard alternative is providing this city with the heart and soul, the sense if identity, that it seems to be so desperately seeking.

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