Monday, May 08, 2006

How I Spent My Cinco de Mayo Weekend

Greets! I have returned from my anniversary jaunt to Portland, Oregon. I hadn't been in the Rose City since my senior year of high school with the Science Club. Before that, my grandparents would take me on their weekly trip to the stockyards to buy cattle when I was a kid. I still have (and fit in) my Oregon Museum of Science and History (OMSI) t-shirt from 1982 when they were doing their "Chips & Changes" exhibit about computers... which, in looking back, seems really odd because of how much computers have changed since then. Hotel listing from a travel book I wore that shirt on Saturday but we decided not to visit OMSI because that would require getting in the car or hopping a bus, which we didn't feel up to doing. Did I see right, that Waddles family dining turned into a Hooters? <shrug> Enroute there we stopped in Centralia for a bite and passed this rediculously large yardsale, which turned out to be one of those junk dealers we adore from Packwood's yearly communitywide yardsale. And I bought a stack of 45rpm singles. Okay, after we finally got the hell out of Washington, we wandered into Portland and tried to figure out where we were and how to get to where we wanted to go. After visiting a library in Hollywood to get directions, we made it downtown. We stayed at the Mark Spencer Hotel downtown, which came highly recommended by one of my wife's coworkers. I have to agree, it was pretty damn nice. First thing I noticed about the place is that it was rather elegantly laid out, with a real continental breakfast -- cereal, pastries, juice, little muffins, scones, coffee, and not one quartered Costco bagel in the vicinity -- and afternoon tea. Second thing I noticed is that they're nonchalent about rate shifts: they were up-front that Friday night would be $85 and Saturday night would be $115, plus $16 a day for their subterranian parking. We snapped that up and never drove again... but it was downtown Portland, pretty much everything we wanted to do (beside OMSI and finding a Kohl's department store, which has been rather vehemently advertised in Washington and Oregon without there being any stores in those states up until last month when 4 opened in Oregon) was right there within walking distance.

I didn't read the travel guide's description [above] until had already been enjoying the nightlife walking by, and my response was "well, duh..." In-room blowjobs! The room itself was indeed elegant, with a full kitchen, ironing board and iron, walk-in closet, air conditioner, Gideon's Bible, hotel stationery pad that was much more than 5 sheets thick, table and chairs, and hanging in the bathroom an in-room blowjob [left]. The building had a great fire escape, just like every other 3+ story building in town, and a rooftop deck with the largest potted lavendar I've ever seen. I took a lot of pictures, from the roof and fire escape as well as from walking around town looking up. If you're good, I might post some. The stated goal of this trip was to visit Powell's Books, the country's largest independant bookstore which occupies an entire city block for its main store and a couple smaller buildings for specialties (such as the Technical Books, which is a block away). That we did, repeatedly and daily. The best sarcastic comment came from this slacker chick at the helpdesk: a guy came up and asked if they had any books on HTML, and she said "Those are available at a computer store." I wish I could get away with shit like that. On the first night I got halfway through the humor section, it was that expansive.

Saturday morning I got up and went downstairs to pick up some continental breakfast food for both of us, barefoot with bleary eyes and pillow hair, and as usual when I'm looking my worst other people come into the picture. In this case, this cute young woman sitting at a table in the diningroom in a white undershirt and nothing underneath, small and perky and giving me a reason to get the gunk out of my eyes. Breakfast for my room was blackberry turnovers, chocolate chip scones, and chocolate chip-banana muffins with orange juice. (To answer the obvious question: no, Jamie, my wife stayed in bed and sent me for the food.) Once we'd eaten and gotten ourselves composed, we took a walk about ten blocks to visit the weekly Saturday Market, which definitely was not a farmer's market but a collection of hippy-trippy artisans and a whole lotta food booths. The gyro I had and the teriyaki-on-a-stick she had were the best such vittles we'd ever eaten, but I think that has a lot to do with differences in the health codes. The liquor laws are different too, apparently, as Oregon doesn't have a problem with public consumption of alcohol. We also went to a couple toy stores and a gallery which was said to have excellent kaleidescopes. Junior and Senior One of the toy stores had several editions of the Presidential Paper Doll series, and what I asked here recently was answered: there is a Shrub Junior paper doll set [right], and they also had the Shrub Senior set plus the Carter set... Amy is a preteen, the other two kids make an appearance, plus the colorful Lillian and Billy pay special visits. (I will share the Billy Carter paper doll in the future, it's a kick in the pants.) I didn't see a Clinton set but I didn't really look, I was distracted by the tater-tot pencil toppers. Across the street from the Saturday Market, this entire waterfront park was overrun with a massive Cinco de Mayo celebration that one had to pay to get into. We didn't, and the road between the two parties was being torn up, so the photo I took of Miller's End Park, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest public park (it's a lightpost base that was the subject of regular jokes in a local paper years ago), shows it behind chainlink fencing. We got back to the room later on, really bushed, and she took a little nap while I went to visit my friend Oberon (King Of The Fairies) at Pioneer Park and shoot pictures of the wildlife that gathered there. Hi Jeff! He gave me a history lesson about the area, bought me a hot chocolate and tapped into free WiFi just because he could, and the two of us sat there gabbing in the wind as the homeless passersby passed until long after I pledged to be back to my room. One bit of amusement was that this security guard started hovering about these two guys sitting on the stairway in front of us, and I thought she was just going to harass them a bit. It wasn't until she stood in front of them and demanded to smell their cigarettes that a waft of potsmoke blew past me and I understood. Obie explained that in Oregon, possessing an ounce or less and using it privately isn't a big deal, but public use is a no-no and using it here in a designated no-drug-zone (despite the Legalize It rally that was happening right here hours earlier) is really a bad thing. The cops ticketed the dudes, I don't think they were arrested. We went back to my room, the three of us went to Powell's to continue our shopping extravaganza (and I finished the other half of the humor section), then he went home and we went in search of Old Town Pizza, which we'd heard so much about.

We walked several blocks and wandered through Chinatown [below, unaltered by me] to come upon the place. Definitely great pizza and an interesting atmosphere. Know how some places will nail antiques to the wall in a hodgepodge and call it ambiance? This place invented the practice, but unlike Ruby Tuesday and Applebees their antiques were real and sensible and tasteful. Across the street, there was a bar hosting a Female Impersonator night, come as you wish you were, so we had dinner and a show to enjoy out the window. Drag-racing! I'm eating my kalamata olive/mushroom/pepperoni pizza and my wife points upward. Over my head is the rear half of a century-old kiddie hobbyhorse residing on the upper floor. Hmm, the rocking horse of Damacles. Meaty Chewy Chinese After we finished and she was in the washroom, I went upstairs to investigate, and found there was no real danger -- there was a two-foot panel between our table and the next table (with two young women at it) and the rocking horse was squarely between the two. We wandered back to our room and got some shut-eye. In the morning once again I got up to retrieve breakfast, and once again the young woman was there (with a sweater over her pink shirt) but she arrived after I did so I got to see her from behind... I almost thanked her for her presence. Possibly I did, in a way, since shoes wasn't the only thing I left in the room, but there's a reason for that: all this walking had made my upper thighs rub together (yes, I may not be fat but I do have to lose this desk-job weight gain) and I've got a wicked rash which I chose not to inflame further, ergo I 'went commando' as I gathered more scones and, per request, granola. We got composed, checked out, went to Powell's again but this time it was to meet with a family she knew which had moved there from here, and after a couple hours of them haunting the stacks and me walking in the rain taking photos of buildings and goofy stuff, we went to a record store then to Rocco's Pizza (me: the daily special of feta, tomato, and spinach), and came home in the light-to-driving rain. Never did find a Kohl's.
Since I told you last entry that I'd brag about what I'd bought:

Popular Science magazine, August 1955, rather mold-smelling.
45s: Freda Payne "Band Of Gold"; Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight"; Bobby Sherman "Julie, Do Ya Love Me"; Donny Osmond "Puppy Love"; The Royal Guardsmen [3] - "Snoopy vs The Red Baron", "The Return Of The Red Baron", "Snoopy's Christmas"; The Partridge Family "I Think I Love You"; Herman's Hermits "This Door Swings Both Ways"

The Boiler Maker by Piombo/Rubington, 1961 [a followup to their The Hero Maker which I had swiped from a classroom in college]
The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970's by Wendy McClure, 2006 [the basis of the book was originally a feature of the author's website so I laughed over these cards two or three years ago... good to see she may make a few bucks with it!]
Up In The Air by Shelley Berman, 1986, autographed [I've wanted this book for years, and am glad to see that Shelley nowadays shows up on "Boston Legal" as an impatient malaprop-spewing judge... the signature is a bonus]
Depeche Mode "Suffer Well" on twelve-inch vinyl, featuring Martin Gore in a wedding dress on the cover

You packed a lot into your weekend. You ate a lot of pizza! Since it is pretty much my favorite food, I see nothing weird about eating pizza often.

I've made many breakfast runs while we've been in hotels, my hubby has too. I always take the tray from the room, so I can load up enough for the four of us with only one trip. I leave the breakfast room with a mountain of little muffins, donuts, pastries and cups of OJ. It's a balancing act making it back onto the elevator and to the room.
Pizza = Good

Inevitably I'd spill a little of something (Sat: OJ, Sun: milk) but happily it was never enough to mess anything up. Now, the challenge is to get out the room key and open the door while holding the full tray...
Mushy, what does "I was commando" mean?
oh I've figured out. no pants on, right?
we can say, your lamppost made the morning brighter.
under the full moon
I hope my lamppost make that person's day brighter. ;-) You guessed it, "going commando" means no underwear. You wouldn't think it would matter much when you're just going downstairs for breakfast. :-D
I always put the latch over so the door won't close all the way. That way, upon my return from the breakfast room, all I have to do is push the door.
After the many motels/hotels we've stayed in, I've got the routine down to a science.

Ariel is such a cutie! Her comments over at Waking Ambrose are always so good. She is quite a smartie!
"Going commando" is probably not taught when learning the English language.
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