PDX Day 1: My stupidest accomplishment
PDX Day 2: Happy hour indeed
PDX Day 3: Portland so far
PDX Day 3.2: FUPD has assumed control
PDX Day 4: Laughs, libations, and lost chances
PDX Day 5: Cherubs, rainbows, and unicorns shitting Portland glitter cupcakes
PDX Day 6: Homebound
Wed, 13 April: Paul Duane discovers Happy Hour
Portland is made up of great neighborhoods: Each neighborhood has it’s own character, it’s own taverns, bars, mom & pop restaurants, boutiques, and reputation. Zak lives next to what’s called the “Alberta Arts District”. Truly excellent dining and drinking are just a few steps away from his place. We start the day with breakfast at a super cool eatery just a few blocks from Zak’s house. On the way back, I saw this sign:
…which reminded me of this story on how being a born again christian has adverse effects on brain size and function. It’s scientifically proven, folks. The Bible is bad for your brain. Virgin birth? Noah and the flood? hehe….
Later on make our way downtown. Zak goes to work at the station, and I set out on foot with camera in hand to explore downtown Portland. I walk through what seems to be a mall district. I see Nordstrom, and decided to take a walk through my favorite department… and look what I discover:
The Portland Nordstrom carries Wolford hosiery. Yet another great thing about this city. For those of you who don’t know, these are the top brand in the world. Wolford is made in Austria, and is the top choice in almost all fashion shoots where wardrobe includes hosiery. They have the best fit, they look amazing, they feel luxurious on your skin, and they last longer than any other brand. Most sell for about $50 / pair. Ladies, if you are of the idea that pantyhose / tights are uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself to try Wolford’s products. Hell, even if you are of the persuasion that you enjoy hosiery – maybe even more so, you deserve to try Wolford.
Moving on from Nordstrom, I weaved through the streets observing the unique subtleties of commerce in downtown PDX. There are food carts everywhere. I stumbled upon a whole city block lined with food carts: literally, all 4 sides of the block were lined with these trailer eateries. Every cuisine, every ethnicity, every variation:
One of my small regrets is that I didn’t sample any of the food; one can only eat so many meals in a day. Zak tells me that the food found here is quite awesome, and that many of these carts go on to become brick and mortar restaurants. This city block is like a beehive where in embryo are all lined up, being fed a steady diet of customers while they mature and prepare to leave the hive as full fledged restaurants.
This lovely city has 2 happy “hours”… generally from 4 – 7, and then from 9 – 2am. During happy hour, you can eat very good food at very nice places for just a couple of bucks. Like 3 or 4 bucks. It’s amazing. Zak recommended Jake’s Grill. Upon arriving, I noticed the white linen table cloths and fine dining atmosphere. I was wearing a semi-vulgar t-shirt and felt under dressed… I almost didn’t go in, but thought, “Ah, fuck it. I’m just going to go in there. It’s happy hour and people will just have to cope with my crude t shirt”. I also wanted to to be able to report back to Zak on it. I walked in, sat at the bar, and was served a great Oregon brew by gentlemanly bartender dressed in a white jacket and bow tie.
He seemed wise beyond the question of what libation to partake of – seemed like the kind of guy that would also give you some solid life advice while you sipped the suds. A guy sat down to my left and started talking to me about his job as some kid of clandestine government operative that “takes out the bad guys before you even know they are bad”. People like this put me on edge because
A) I usually don’t believe people who tell things that are supposed to be secrets to total strangers.
B) I don’t like people who work for the government that have any kind of say in who the “bad guys” are.
I prodded him a bit for more details, I tried flattering him by acting like I totally believed him to see if that would get him to talk more. At this point, a woman sat down at my right. For some reason, I was somewhat wary that she may prove to be a cougar on the prowl. However, she did have a wedding ring on. She joined our conversation. Her name was Lisa. Pretty soon Lisa mentioned that her husband is a famous musician. I did not believe her: “Oh great. Another person trying to impress me”, I thought. But why in the world would she give a shit about impressing me? My inner diatribe continued: “This bar attracts people with delusions of grandeur. This bar sucks”. On the outside, I’m politely entertaining the conversation: “Oh really? That’s great. Who is your husband?”, I ask her. “Tommy TuTone”, she replies. I know exactly who Tommy TuTone is, and so do you. Even if you don’t know his name, you know who he is:
At this point I’m thinking she’s just name dropping. Nevertheless, I maintain the pleasantries, nodding and smiling while she talks, wondering where this is all going. About 20 minutes later, she says, “Oh, look, there he is!” …and in walks Tommy TuTone. I was shocked. For the next 2 hours, I hung out with Tommy TuTone (his real name is Tommy Heath for you music trivia nerds) and his wife. He ordered food and shared it with me. He had me taste his beer during a discussion about the differences between Oregon beers and Stella Artois. I was amazed that my first afternoon in Portland would be so fortuitous. The conversation continued. It came up that I was going to do stand up comedy on Friday. Tommy and Lisa said they wanted to come hear my set! I couldn’t believe it. I’m sure these guys have PLENTY of things to keep them busy… why in the world would they even say that they wanted to come hear the comedy of some unknown stranger from Salt Lake City? Lisa gave me her number and told me to call her with the details. We wrapped up our visit at the bar, and I left with my head in the clouds. Did that really just happen? Did I just hang out with Tommy TuTone? WTF??!!
I was scheduled to have dinner later that night with another former band mate, Jason Van Orden. We used to play “Jenny”. I couldn’t wait to tell Jason who I had been hanging out with.
I LOVE Portland!
I spent the next few hours wandering around the city capturing my impressions of the city with my camera:
Later in the evening, I met up with Jason Van Orden and his awesome wife Melanie at the Portland City Grill for dinner. Jason and I go way back. We became friends before my mission, we both played in bands in Logan and knew each other through that scene. We both went on missions, and ran into one another while in the MTC (missionary training center, for the uninitiated):
During this conversation, we said, “Hey, we should get together and jam, maybe start a band together, when we get home”. That’s exactly what happened. Jason and I both played in a band called Mercury Blue upon returning home. He met his wife Melanie while playing in the band. Jason and Melanie have one of the few relationships that I’d classify as enviable: They were married as active mormons in the LDS temple. Since then, they have both grown out of organized religion. Changes like this rock – and destroy – many relationships. Somehow they experienced the changes in tandem. They had slightly different experiences and different learning curves – Melanie was the first to dissent – but here’s what’s important: They loved and respected each other through it, and remain a beautiful, happily married couple. They have been married for over 10 years, but I’m sure that onlookers thought they were on their 8th date. It makes me so happy to see marriages succeed in this way. Great marriages ARE possible! I’m honored to be friends with them.
This restaurant sits at the 30th floor of a downtown high rise, and gives a breathtaking view of the city & Willamette River. The happy hour menu featured some delicious things for very little money – I had a california roll, crab bruschetta, and a glass of chardonnay for less than $20. When it came time to pay, I realized that I had left my debit card at Jake’s earlier in the day. I guess my head was too far up in the clouds after hanging out with Lisa and Tommy TuTone to do basic things like, remember to put my card back in my wallet after paying. Fortunately, the staff held my card safely for me until the next day.
And the moral of the story today today?
- Follow your spidey sense – ESPECIALLY when the counter voice in your head is a small, stupid voice that is coming from a place of fear. Had I decided not to walk into Jake’s Grill just because I was afraid of not fitting in because of how I was dressed, I would have missed out on befriending Mr. & Mrs. TuTone.
- Jesus lives under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland.
Tomorrow: Bringing some FUPD to the airwaves of Portland, biking through the Alberta Arts District, and FUPD blows off the mayor of Portland