Monday, July 22, 2013


Deschutes Brewery and Public House, Portland, Oregon
I leaf through Eiger Dreams while sipping coffee on a rooftop patio overlooking Northrup Avenue and its streetcars. I get distracted and scribble nonsense into my notebook:

Hypothesis: It is possible to identify a woman's attractiveness by the sound her shoes make against a hard floor.

Portland is starting to wake up and return to work after the weekend. I stare at trees lining the street and think about the day ahead. Again, I get distracted:

Sometimes the most beautiful women wear sandals, which obliterates the hypothesis. Are they aberrations, or do they prove the need for an alternate hypothesis?

Sitting on a patio with coffee and my thoughts soon grows tiresome. I check on Sandra, who is now awake and who looks great in whatever footwear she chooses.

After a quick hotel breakfast, we take the streetcar downtown. Our first stop is Powell's City of Books, where I keep the damage to a minimum:
  • Seamus Heaney, Selected Poems 1966-1987; several people have recommended his work to me
  • Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur; someone once compared an article I wrote ($) about scrappy baseball players and the band Pavement to Klosterman's work, so I had to find out why
  • Jonathan Raban, Bad Land; I loved his Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings and thought I'd try another
  • John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden; Thorn is Major League Baseball's official historian and also once bought me a beer in Phoenix, but that's another story
  • Bruce Weber, As They See 'Em; this is a book about baseball umpires, a copy of which unbeknownst to me lies on a shelf back home
We somehow escape Powell's gravitational pull and walk two blocks north to Deschutes Brewery and Public House. We enjoy several of their beers (the rich, dark, and creamy Black Butte Porter being my favorite), along with well-prepared pub food.

Sandra has Black Butte Porter chili potato cheese soup, and pork belly with egg and toast. I have a bacon burger and fries.

After lunch, she wanders off to nearby boutiques and I beeline to Portland Central Library. We each have our vices.

Effective today the library is closed on Mondays, which leads to amusing reactions from potential patrons. As I later note in an article ($), “you haven't lived until you've heard a woman pushing a stroller launch F-bombs at the city government.”

Plan B involves walking off the beer and/or reading books I just bought. I find a coffee shop and crack open Klosterman. He starts with some choice quotes from film director Errol Morris:

I think we're always trying to create a consistent narrative for ourselves. I think truth always takes a backseat to narrative.

And, a few pages later:

If you asked me what makes the world go round, I would say self-deception.

It's compelling stuff, but a bit much after a few pints. Eventually Sandra rescues me from my thoughts and we further explore Portland on foot.

Walking makes us hungry, so we head to Pioneer Courthouse Square, which contains the indispensable Visitor Information Center. We arrive just before closing and ask a woman who clearly appreciates a good meal for restaurant recommendations. She gives a detailed response, along with coupons for several places.

We end up at Ringside Fish House. Sandra has seared day boat scallops (similar to this recipe), while I opt for the pan-roasted Oregon Troll King Salmon, accompanied by BridgePort Summer Squeeze.

Portland is hosting a barbershop quartet convention this week. A group of attendees at the table next to ours gets up and sings. Their harmonies are ridiculously tight.

We finish dinner with housemade ice cream. Sandra has peanut butter, I have cherry. Both are served with fresh mixed berries.

Back at the hotel, we close the night with a bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. I read a little more Klosterman:
If you stare long enough at anything, you will start to find similarities.
It is best not to stare too long.

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