Monthly Archives: October 2019

Portland Autumn by bike

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Week preceding Sunday, 29-Sept-2019

As you may recall, my Bike had been stolen back in May, after mother’s day.

Insurance had been difficult, as had been bike shops in general – it turns out that not only is Portland much more expensive than Boston when bikes are involved, but that sales people aren’t always the most knowledgeable… After searching through half a dozen bike shops, being told that my budget was impossibly low, and being told that my previous bike had never existed (sales people… Arg!) I gave up.

After giving myself a few weeks to cool down, I threw down.

I went to the neighborhood bike shop, and told them that I wanted a bike. I told them every specific that I wanted, then handed them my credit card and told them to go hog wild.I mean, I also got a quote, compared them to other shops in town, and discussed a lot of options. But that doesn’t make for good reading, so let’s just pretend I acted like a badass instead, and just threw down.

Anyways I got a new bike. Just in time for the Portland Rain to hit. Exactly in time, actually, and I biked home in the rain.

You know what? That’s fine, because I biked. And that’s exactly what I’ve been waiting to do!

Thankfully the rest of the week wasn’t quite as rainy, and I got to take a few after-work rides around town. It’s amazing how much different Portland is when traveling by bike… I’ve noticed so many more murals, but I’ve also just how quiet our neighborhood gets early in the evening. It’s kind of creepy – it’s as if everyone is on exactly the same schedule regarding when to eat dinner and then when to go home.

Still, though. I’m enjoying being back on two wheels, getting to poke around and take pictures of all the pretty streets and ridiculous hipster stores full of artisanally-crafted, single-sourced, small-batch, super-expensive chatchkes that are fun to poke and prod.

I’ve even been able to bike to the gym again, and bike to the local taco spot, and bike to pick up my car… I’m biking again!!

Angels and Airwaves in Portland!!!

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Saturday Evening, 28-Sept-2019

When Daniel and I started doing roadtrips, our album of choice was Phobia, by Breaking Benjamin. It’s a glorious album, very good for the long arching roads between Boston and Virginia.

A year or two later though, we found a new band – Angels and Airwaves. They lent themselves beautifully to the ~4 hour drives to and from the Loj, or the 2 hours to and from Rumney – From that initial discovery, I was hooked and listened to every album as soon as it was released.

When Angels and Airwaves released their movie, I immediately bought tickets… but I wasn’t able to make it. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what got in my way, but I know that I gave my tickets to Daniel, and was jealous of every second he got to spend in that theater.

Then, I heard about how we got to see them in concert back in Boston. He even got me a tee-shirt; absolutely amazing, but also horribly frustrating since I wanted to be the one rocking out in the front row.

Why wasn’t I rocking out in the front row? Why shouldn’t I? Portland was on the tour list, and I can afford to get tickets for Sarah and myself, so why shouldn’t we?

I bought tickets that evening.

Since it’d been ages since Sarah and I had been on a real “date night out”, we made an evening of it. We went to a restaurant called Montage; somewhere that Sarah highly recommended. Montage, a place which I assumed was a french place, for some unknown reason, and that I learned is actually a raucus cajun place. Subtle difference, you know? Once I recovered from the shock, it was amazing! Great food and great energy – absolutely a good way to prep and fuel up for an evening of rocking out with my favorite bands.

We went, we stood in line for exactly zero seconds, and then we walked into the venue and waited for the openers to come on.

What to say, what to say… The openers were good, but not really my jam. I just spent a solid 10 minutes trying to figure out their band names, but I can’t find them for the life of me. And that’s okay, because I didn’t go to see them. I went to see the band that came on after they left. I went to see Angels and Airwaves.

What we saw was exactly what I wanted, and nothing like what I expected.

When Daniel told me about seeing Angels and Airwaves, he mentioned that Tom (the lead singer) didn’t really talk much, and that he mostly just played – as if he knew that people had come for the music, and not for random rants.  Well, it turns out that Portland is different than Boston, and that Tom wanted to tell us stories.  A few of the standouts:

  • Note that, according to the merchandise guy that we spoke to afterward, most of these stories are completely made up.  Maybe it has something to do with those times that Tom walked backstage for a minute or two, and then came back seeming a little more energetic and happy?
  • He got into playing the guitar to “get the girl”, but when he asked her out she said that she was sick.  So, he took flowers over to her house… only to be greeted by her father, who said that the daughter was out with her friends. The father then asked Tom who the flowers were for… to which young Tom responded, “For you, sir!”
    Tom then proceeded to make out with, and then sleep with, the girls father.
  • A time when Tom and his bandmate were walking on the Oregon coast, and the bandmate convinced Tom to strip naked and run around in a dental-floss thong.
  • Less strange story – An east coast city brought dogs backstage.  He loved that.
  • He’s successfully convinced the Navy to declassify information about aliens, and that “you haven’t heard anything yet!”
  • Note: the above is true.  His non-profit group “To the Stars” has successfully worked with the Navy, and they’ve declassified a few examples of Navy pilots interacting with “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon”, which is the new way to say UFOs.

Short version: Tom DeLonge is a strange man, at least when he’s in Portland.

 

Important version: I don’t care how strange he is, the concert was unbelievable and I am unimaginably happy that I got to see it!!!

The music was glorious – it was obviously different from the CDs that I have, but in a comfortingly familiar way.  It was the music I love, but just different enough for me to appreciate it in a new light.

The light show was amazing, even Sarah was impressed by it.  And coming from a theater / film background, it takes a lot to impress Sarah.

The flow and setlist were glorious, and everything flowed well together, even including Tom’s slightly tilted ramblings.  They played mostly Angels and Airwaves music, and a good mix of new and old songs at that.  But they also played some of the older Blink 182 songs, which was super cool.

 

Check out some pictures, and buy tickets the next time they’re in town.

Hiking out to Moraine Lake, 01-Sept-2019

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Sunday, 01-Sept-2019

Bend, Oregon

 

It had been a week.

Not one of those good weeks, but the opposite – one of those bad weeks.

A busy, hectic, urbanite nightmare of bad traffic and workplace emergencies that all piled on top of each other into a twisted heap of unhappiness. Thankfully, I didn’t have to stay in that heap – Sarah was still house sitting down in Bend, and as soon as Friday was over I escaped the insanity, driving like mad to escape to the oasis of calm.

 

The drive itself was glorious – It was clear and warm, and I left the top down for the whole drive.  I left a bit after work, so traffic wasn’t bad at all, and I even found a driving-buddy car who kept pace with me for a good chunk of the drive.  It’s always fun when there’s someone to dodge and weave through traffic with – especially when the traffic is crazy-huge lifted bro trucks that belch smoke when they try to accelerate… and then get completely stomped by two zippy little cars.  Haha, your fancy de-tuned engine isn’t actually more efficient, and you should feel bad.

(Ed Note: for those who might not know, this is a thing.  See “Rolling Coal” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_coal)

I did lose my driving buddy south of Mt. Hood though, when I saw a car stopped on the side of the road with their hood up.  I stopped, but thankfully they were okay – it was actually someone waiting for their friend, who had picked up the driver and taken them to a nearby gas station to grab a fill up.

I doubled-down on my good karma gathering when I saw a second car stopped not 5 miles down the road – this time I couldn’t find anyone nearby, and the car looked like someone was just randomly backpacking… Maybe it was an early-season hunter, or something?

Either way, I drove onward to Sarah!

 

 

The hike was on Sunday, after we took Saturday to explore Bend and just relax a bit.  Like I mentioned, the week had been singularly unpleasant, and a day off was exactly what the doctor’d ordered.

Sunday, we headed out mid-morning.  Not early, but not late either.  Our original plan had been to head up Tumalo Mountain, but we found out that the trail wasn’t actually dog friendly.  And since we had both Ollie and Scout (our neighbors dog) with us… dog friendly was pretty critical to the adventure.  So we pivoted, and headed toward the Green Lakes trail, to go and explore Moraine Lake.

Green Lakes is one of Sarah and my’s favorite hikes – it’s nestled in between four major glaciated peaks, and always has glorious view.  Moraine Lake is off that main trail by a bit, and so we hadn’t ever checked it out… Since we were taking it easy with the two dogglets, this was the perfect time to explore a bit, and take the road less traveled.

The hike itself was exactly what you’d expect – we trundled, and did a bit more trundling until we stopped trundling at the lake. We also stopped a few times on the way; beautiful sunlight through the trees trapped us once, and exploring some beautiful rock formations caught us another time.  But mostly – we trundled.

 

I don’t really know what else to write, if I’m being honest.  The hike was lovely, and the views were just as lovely, but the photos really do that part justice… it was a really good hike.  A good chance to get into nature, let the dogs run a bit, and to just rest and relax after a crazy week.