Tuesday, May 19, 2009


when people asked me what i was doing with my weekend, they wondered, "why Portland?" i couldn't really answer why, other than the fact that it was one more city to explore. the last time i was in Portland, i was seventeen and with my parents, and all i remember of that trip was going to church and eating Korean food. because that's what my family does. this time i was going to discover the City of Roses on my own terms. my own terms included:

hunting down Simpsons creator Matt Groening's old high school. legend has it that he scrawled his name along with a doodle of Bart Simpson, somewhere in the cement. i searched all over for it, but i couldn't find it and only got a lot of weird looks from the high school kids hanging around.

visiting the country's biggest used book store. this one had a whole huge room dedicated to science fiction alone. i pretty much cleared their stanislaw lem collection.

what i am pretty sure is the world's smallest park. yep, this Charlie Brown tree. this is Mill Ends Park. Portland has a lot of beautiful greenspaces, but this one definitely amused me the most.

the Saturday Market, which was open on Sunday. Portland is very American, but it is also very green, so the markest were an interesting mix of beer, hot dogs, white people, organic candles, face paint, texan guts, tie-dyed shirts, and BEAUTIFUL art. Chuck Palahniuk claims that artists moved to Portland en masse because of the low cost of living, but there's not a lot of people to buy the art, so it's high quality art at cheap prices. speaking of art, i discovered another Preloved-esque recycled vintage designer line called Shabby Knapsack. i pretty much fell in love right away. needless to say, my wallet got some exercise.

the amazing Ira Keller Fountain, which serves as a perfect playground for kids on a hot summer day. perfect, that is, until someone slips and falls down the sheer vertical waterfall drop. then it's the perfect playground for personal injury lawyers.

vegan party. there is apparently quite the vegan culture here. vegan strip mall, vegan cafes, vegan grocery stores, vegan ice cream, vegan doughnuts, even a vegan strip club. oh West Coast, you are so...west coast.

oh, by the way, i did end up running into my elusive friend ryan. turns out he had an even rougher time at the border than i did. as in, the van was confiscated for hours while they did a drug search. and then they did a drug search on HIM. and it was quite the...intimate search. but, we got to meet up. i went to his magazine launch, saw Amanda Rogers perform, and even got to play a few songs myself. i was mostly glad to be able to meet up with ryan. i first met him when my band showed up at his house in halifax. even though we didn't know him, he let us sleep on his floor and take over his house for a few days. i would never say this to his face (mustn't stroke the ego) but he's quite the incredible guy - political activist, poet, founder of T.O.F.U magazine, and a key part of the Halifax music scene too. too bad i need to go to another country to meet him.