Archive for April, 2014

[pdx] Photos on Sunday: Underwater at Powell’s Books

Posted in liff in PDX, NW Portland, Photos on Sunday, Powell's Books on April 30, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Sunday was for Powell’s. I will never doubt how lucky I am to be a Portlander.

Those of you who are, as I am, luckier than most, know something of the nabe it’s in. It’s as urban as Oregon gets. Vistas of city as far as you can stretch; from the parking garage entry on NW 11th Avenue …

… to the increasingly Manhattan-y views afforded by the streets. This is looking north up NW 11th Avenue:

… a view that, to my perception, reminds me of my idea of what the Upper East Side of Manhattan looks like. These used to be working blocks; Blitz Weinhard used to call this area home. Blitz is gone, most of its brands being made from 2002-2012 out in Hood River by Full Sail Brewing, but since then, brewed … oh, who cares, really?

If you aren’t drinking, Widmer, you aren’t drinking true Oregon beer, son. That discussion ends here. 

But it is what it is, and it is what we have it, and what we have now at NW 11th and Couch is this:

Which, admittedly, makes for a pretty nifty building shot. So, no complaints about that.

Looking south on this selfsame block of NW 11th you see some authentic Portland.

Up ahead, on the right, is an old building which holds one of Portland’s more popular nightspots, the Fez ballroom. Kind of a Crystal Ballroom before the McMenamins got a hold of it. Goth, punk, all sorts of things there. Top floors. Just ahead of that, on the farther right, is one of the last SRO hotels in this part of town: the Joyce Hotel. The kind of place that’s still for the down’n’outers and the folks on their last pins.

That whole area of town, between Burnside and Stark, going from about SW 10th Avenue west to where Burnside and Stark met, was a paradox. Some of the seediest territory you ever wanted to avoid but still somehow so compelling you couldn’t stay out. Some of the biggest gay clubs in Portland were there; the Club Portland, at SW 12th and Burnside, was legendary, and I’m betting the renovating of that building into the McMenamins’ Crystal Hotel was nothing short of harrowing … I imagine it was like Forrest Gump’s box ‘o’ choklits, except that not only did you not know what you were gonna git, you didn’t want to see it.

Strange, isn’t it, that the most intimidating things are the things that are the most brimming with life and energy and vivre? I think the key is to remember that most of life is really unknown, so, thusly, there’s no point in being frightened by the unknown.

Farther ahead the street grid bends, as you see by the angle of that high-rise in the far distance. That’s another reason why this corner of town is nifty. This is where the street grid angles. I’ve always liked travelling down streets that go through changes like that; not only are the street junctions interesting as hell, I’ve always gotten a kick out of the idea that when I turn, a whole lot of geography has to follow.

A cab unloading a passenger selling boxes of books to Powell’s. An Oregonian like me looks at this and sees New York in it somehow. Must have been all those Odd Couple episodes I watched as a kid. Past, as always, is prologue.

Anything promising a dryer Powell’s works for me. Hell, anything that promises decades more of Powell’s works for me.

Specifically, they’re remodelling. If you’ve been down there any time within the last couple of months, you’ve seen it. The old entry at 10th and West Burnside has been completely closed and its advanced stage of remodelling is obvious from the street. That corner of the block, the south east quarter, is the oldest part of Powell’s. We shouldn’t be surprised if it was leaking from the roof, though the idea of leaks in that hallowed place is an atrocity.

And inside, some of the lights in the ceiling are temporary …

… giving one the sense that one is in a submarine … a frigg’n awesome submarine …

… that happens to be the size of a building and full of books and books and books.

Going down, yo.


[liff] Caption This!, or Religion TODAY!

Posted in liff, teh_funnay on April 30, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I’d provide one, myself, but what with my irreverence combined with my absolutely torn feelings about creeds these days, I’m afraid I might lose my last four readers.

[art] My Photos Get Around, Tom Peterson Edition

Posted in copyright, digital photography, PDX photos, SE PDX Photos on April 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Casting ones art upon the waters is a dicey (as in, ‘throw of the’) proposition.

One hopes that the exposure gets one the good kind of notoriety, perhaps the notice that encourages people to support you, either with money or, at the very least, encouragement. And, just like the roll of the notional dice, it’s a random thing.

Latterly, I’ve found this photo:

… the Tom Peterson’s that was, out in the wild. Two places.

First, and most flattering, is this:

Which is in the Tom Peterson’s Facebook channel and refers to a BuzzFeed listicle here:

It illustrates point number nine:

It’s not only flattering that someone thought my photo was nifty enough to illustrate, but that it did the job it was supposed to do. Also, being chosen to illustrate a Buzzfeed listicle, I think, equals achievement unlocked in some way. So what if I’m an amateur? Every photo I take, I think composition. Every one. If there was any artistic technique anyone should learn before doing any sort of art, it’s composition. Randomness isn’t a sin, mind … but if you’re making any sort of visual impact, you’re not only taking a picture, you’re orchestrating a scene.

Take pictures that way and even your snapshots become memorable.

Another place I found is a blog entry. Disappointingly, I was not credited. Now, I know by putting the photo out on the intarwebz, I take this risk; depending upon the kindness of strangers. Fools’ errand these days, to be sure, but if we don’t share, we wind up having a very dull world. In September, 2012, a blog called Noticing SW Portland, which is fortunate to have been linked to by OregonLive according to the About section, commented on getting free tomatoes from a friend with the post Tom and Tomatoes, in as much as free IS a very good price, an idea I am pretty much down with. The illustration to evoke Tom?

Yepper. That’s mine. Renamed, too.

For what it’s worth, I’m not going to run this woman down and hassle her about it; I did post it to Flickr with a CC-BY-SA license, meaning anyone can have it, remix it even for commercial purposes, as long as they credited me for it. Because of this, I’ve changed the licensing to CC-BY-ND-SA, reducing the rights I’m releasing … no more commercial re-use, and no more redistribution if you remix it.

Now, I’m aware of the legal status of the CC licenses. I use them as a notice; it’s easier to affix a Creative Commons license with my approximate desires than it is to endlessly tell people how I feel about it. CC isn’t hard to parse and its something everyone should be aware of.

So, by posting to Flickr and affixing the CC-BY-SA, I made my intentions clear. Buzzfeed recognized that; a local blogger did not.

If she does happen by this post, though, I do ask one thing; just credit the photo, and we’re square.

Even though I may be seen as an amateur by the world, my photos are not free for the taking. They might be free for the asking. At least you can ask. Terms can always be negotiable. 

[liff] @SJKPDX, Now With Extra Added Facebook

Posted in networking, net_liff, social media studies, twitter, ZehnKatzen on April 27, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I was finally allowed to shift my Twitter profile to the new Facebook-esque style. I did this because I love not being able to tell if I’m on one or the other, apparently.

Twitter me at @SJKPDX

[pdx] Juanita vs. Josefina: A New Chip Tries To Block Off The Old Chip

Posted in branding, brand_design, Buy Local, identity and branding, liff in Cascadia on April 26, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Josefina is out to get Juanita.

This could get ugly … but we hope not.

In this corner, Juanita’s yummy-a$$ tortilla chips … an Oregon original, made in Oregon, by Oregonians of Latino descent. Hood River produces more than apples, beer, spirits, windsurfers, and charming train rides.

In this corner, the challenger … Cocina de Josefina, produced by a plant off Fruit Valley Road in Vancouver. Local? Kinda …  as Willamette Week has revealed …

But while the chips are indeed made in the Northwest, they’re manufactured at the Vancouver Frito-Lay plant at 4808 NW Fruit Valley Rd., the Columbian first reported, and Frito-Lay is listed nowhere on the packaging because, in the words of a spokesperson, “this is a specialty brand in the Northwest. We wanted it to have that local feel.” Some stores display the chips with “Made in Vancouver” signs.

Remember these commercials?

Now, it’s true that Cocina de Josefina brand is made in Vancouver, but since the initiative doesn’t seem to come straight outta Vancouver, it makes us think of a trend in marketing that makes us pretty sad, and that’s this compulsion the big players seem to have to horn in on every single market they can make an excuse to compete in. Life is homogeneous as it is, and Frito-Lay is hardly hurting for customers. Cocina de Josefina … whose bags, while not identical to Juanita’s, has a design resonance which seems more than coincidental … is apparently going up against Juanita’s, and, well, those are some great chips. You can’t really improve on what’s already good and satisfying.

The best you can do is reinvent the wheel. An the wheel’s rolling pretty good as it is.

Well, they’re going to do what they’re going to do, regardless of what lil’ol’ me says. So, for me and my house, we’ll stick with Juanita’s.

When you have a choice between the fake-local and local, I recommend going with the local every time. 

[pdx] Tom Peterson and Parkinson’s Disease

Posted in PDX Broadcast Media, pdx legends on April 26, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I’ve documented hereunto my affection for growing up in the age of Tom Peterson. The man was Portland’s quintessential salesman, always smiling, always selling. Growing up, watching Portland Wrestling, with Tom good-naturedly hawking Xonix TVs in the crow’s nest at the Portland Sports Arena next to Frank Bonnema … you can’t really say you’re an Oregonian kid unless you have some resonance with that.

Tom’s store, after ups, downs, Stereo Super Stores, bankruptcy, resurgam, addition of Gloria to the famous logo, and final closing, was the keynote and heartbeat for Portland advertising for so very many years. Whether or not you would ever shop there, you’d take him to your heart. That smiling face just couldn’t ever be mean to anyone.

If you hit him up on the right days, you could get a free haircut, too. Any style you wanted, as long as it looked like Tom’s.

Tom’s visage beatifying SE 82nd And Foster Road, back in the day.
©2009, Samuel John Klein, all rights reserved

He was out there and loved what he did. Some Taoist lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure.

The Tao of Tom.

As broken on KPTV-12 (the station where you’d most likely see him), he’s advancing into the thick of his battle with Parkinson’s disease, the one thing … short of absolute annihilation … that would have stopped him from selling. In honor of this bright spot of just plain decent human from back in the day, then …

You can see the video at KPTV’s web page via this link. Have a hanky or two ready … seriously, it’s kind of hard to watch, especially if you remembered his smiling face from all those commercials, and especially if you went down to 82nd and Foster and bought something from him. Xonix TVs are forever, you know … a haircut, well, it’ll grow back.

I’m feeling a most existential sadness here. When Tom finally leaves us, as he must, a bright little part of silly, innocent Portland will kind of go with him.

And I’ll miss it. Because I was there for that. It’ll be losing a friend I never had the chance to meet.

Facebook has a group for people who remember the awesome, if you’re interested: I’m recommending this, of course.

The Portland Mercury has a bit at as well.

[type] The Royal Futura 800 Manual Typewriter

Posted in liff, type, type design, typewriters on April 24, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I do, in fact, have a manual typewriter.

It, as near as I can ID, is a Royal Futura 800. Here it is:

It’s a lovely machine, stylish, and with the sorts of lines you’d expect something that exulted in the model name Futura to look like if it came out in the late 50s … streamlined corners, a cool wedge-shaped cross section, with the lid section sitting on top like a plugin.

The best feature there is the ROYAL logo … it’s clear plastic and if you press on it, it turns out it’s the latch that opens the top, which is spring loaded, which is a bit of a plus.

Ribbons being what they are, it’s fortunate for us that we have an old-school office-supply store a fifteen-minute walk away from us. They’ll sell us a ribbon whose spools will work in this machine, however, you have to install brads at each end of the ribbon or it won’t trip the mechanical link that reverses the travel of the ribbon.

Annoying, but fixable. DIY, y’all!

The biggest niftiness about this? The font. Peep: