Category Archives: Keeping Portland Weird

The New Normal

The Old Normal was living 3 hours away from my boyfriend and only seeing him on weekends.  It was going out with friends for happy hour a couple days a week and brunch at least once each weekend.  It was blogging in my free time. The Old Normal was living in Portland.  It was shopping on Mississippi and eating Pizza Schmizza for lunch and going to the Deschutes brewpub every chance I got.  It was living in the same city as most of my friends and being able to catch up with old coworkers regularly.  It was talking Blazers basketball and Oregon football and Did you see the last episode of Portlandia?  It was making fun of hipster snobs and their fair-trade coffee, PBR and fixed gear bikes, while being a snob about microbrews, Powell’s Books and Tillamook cheese.  The Old Normal was never having spent more than four consecutive days with Galen, even though we’d been together for over two years.  It was not knowing for so long what I wanted to be when I grew up, then deciding, and then the agony of waiting to hear back from grad schools.

The New Normal is living with Galen in an apartment with a great view of the Seattle skyline and very few reliable appliances.  It’s still being excited to see each other at the end of every day.  It’s being 3 hours away from friends, former coworkers, and Galen’s family.  It’s getting to know a new neighborhood and a new city, when I’m not in class, at work, studying or doing homework.  The New Normal is having four or five good friends in this city and feeling like that’s a lot to maintain.  It’s dreaming about having enough time to blog again. It’s taking Galen to the airport for a two-week study tour and realizing we haven’t been apart for this long since last summer, when it used to be Normal.  It’s getting to see my mom every other month when she’s here for work.  The New Normal is not knowing where to go for happy hour or brunch or good Thai food.  It’s waiting for the Sonics to come back to town and trying to have some allegiance to the Seahawks and Mariners.  It’s discovering new donut and ice cream shops, and trying something called “savory pies.”  The New Normal is explaining to people that most of my family and friends call me Mego.  It’s studying something I enjoy and find infinitely fascinating.  It’s having “clients” and trying to pretend I’m grown-up enough to be someone’s therapist.  It’s imagining what will happen after grad school and what the Next New Normal will be.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Keeping Portland Weird, Seattle Reign

Flash Mob – Holiday Version

Yesterday I participated in a flash mob at Pioneer Place mall downtown.  I’d say maybe 100-150 people were part of the group who was milling around in the atrium and upper floors of the mall when we all spontaneously froze for 5 minutes, then started singing Christmas carols.  There was an “official video” taken of the event, but it’s not posted online yet.  Until I can share that with you, I thought I’d post a couple of my favorite flash mob videos. Ours wasn’t nearly this good or well-coordinated, of course:

The Airport Greeters:

I love a capella singing.  I think my favorite part of this video is the “Return of the Mack” guy with the sunglasses (assuming he’s truly caught off-guard and not a plant). He’s so perfect for the song!

The Train Station:

It’s so cool how people go from being “stunned passersby” into performers in a moment.

One of the songs we sang for our performance was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Of all the versions, though, this may be the best:

Official video coming soon!

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Filed under I am not making this up., Keeping Portland Weird, MeTube

Hello December!

Wow. I’m not going to lie, National Blog Posting Month was way harder this year than ever before.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hardest to maintain a blog when there’s something big going on in your life that you can’t write about for one reason or another. It’s tough, because my blog is basically just a collection of my thoughts and ideas, so when my thoughts are totally consumed with something I can’t discuss, writing is nearly impossible. Normally I just take a temporary hiatus until something bloggable comes along, but I felt driven to complete the post-every-day challenge this month, even though my mind was elsewhere. I can honestly say I’m not proud of the quality of some of my posts, but hell, I did it.

I should have some fun stuff to write about in the near future, so I’ll try my best not to disappear in December like I have in past years. (Although, I will need to take a bit of a break to study for finals).

Until then, I thought I’d leave you with a few quotes from the past couple days that I liked:

“I trust in Portlanders’ sense of fairness; that bad actions by one member of any group does not and should not be generalized or applied more widely to other members of that same group. Otherwise, as part of the biggest racial group in Portland, European-Americans, producing many crimes daily, would be in deep trouble.”

– Portland Mayor Sam Adams, in response to a question about Portland’s Somali community in the wake of the bomb attempt here last weekend.

“We need to learn not to profile one race of people. Because actually, most of the world hates us.”

– Kyle from South Park

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Filed under Bleeding-Heart Liberal, Keeping Portland Weird, Words to Live By

Mario Bike

Not too long ago, I found an awesome deal on a gently used bike on Craigslist.  I got myself some nerdy baskets on the back, a helmet, a good lock and some lights and decided to give bike commuting a try.  (I’m currently taking a brake from bike commuting, due to the presence of ice on the roads.  However, I was a faithful rider for a solid month or two and plan to do it again in the spring!)

I have a good rain jacket, as all Portlanders must, and felt fully equipped when it first started raining during my commute.  I park my bike outside at school, though, and quickly realized I had underestimated the discomfort a wet bicycle seat can cause… as well as the sheer amount of water a bicycle seat can hold.

This is what my jeans looked like after my first post-rain ride home:

However!  I wasn’t bothered by the wet bicycle seat because that was also the day I decided to take a new route up North Williams Avenue.  I was in fact pleasantly surprised to see that Williams not only has clearly-marked bike lanes, the bike lanes are complete with banana peels, coins, mushrooms, power boosts, stars and even a few turtle shells.  Apparently some awesome rogue Portlander decided to paint icons from Mario Kart on the bike lanes, making my ride home that day (and every day after) totally awesome.

I later found out it was recently covered on the local news:

Please note how everyone in this video successfully avoids the banana peel.

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Filed under I am not making this up., Keeping Portland Weird, MeTube, Too Cool for School

To Terrorize Y’all’s Neighborhood

I was delighted when my friend Kallyn asked me if I wanted to take place in the 5th Annual Thrill the World event with her this year. The dance took place in Pioneer Square on October 23rd. We prepared by watching the step-by-step videos online and going to a practice or two… Then, of course, came the costumes:

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Dressing like a zombie was highly encouraged. I actually tried to dress like MJ from the original Thriller video, but this black and red Stolichnaya bowling shirt was the closest thing I had to his sweet leather jacket. I told Kallyn she should dress like the girl in the video, but for some reason she wasn’t super excited about the jean-on-jean look. Her costume was awesome, though, complete with fake blood running down her face.

With our costumes and our dance moves, we headed down to the square to do the Thriller dance with hundreds of other fans and zombies:

Galen and our friend Sarah came to watch the spectacle and take paparazzi photos of us:

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It was so much fun! Although now I have a hard time hearing the song without saying the dance moves in my head… I’m thinking about practicing every once in a while so I can bust this out as a party trick.

Thanks to Galen for the photos!

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Filed under Keeping Portland Weird, MeTube, Musical Notes

Prop 8

I keep thinking I should write something about Prop 8.

But what would I say? That I think everyone should have equal rights? That I don’t think sexual preference is a choice? That some of my best friends are gay? That I have seen same-sex couples who are happier, healthier and more in love than most straight couples I know? That I don’t believe gay people should have to deal with extra steps and measures (and costs!) just to get the same rights that straight people enjoy for free? That it makes me sick that some parents have to have a conversation with their kids about why the government won’t let Mommy and Mama get married?

Chances are, if you read my blog, you probably agree with me on most of these issues. If you don’t agree, I would be interested in having a (level-headed, open-minded) conversation with you about it sometime to hear your point of view. In the meantime, however, I passed this car on my way to work today… and I felt like it summed everything up nicely.

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Filed under Bleeding-Heart Liberal, Keeping Portland Weird

The Great Urban Race is Afoot

Remember ages ago when I asked you for help coming up with a costume/theme for Galen and my team in the Great Urban Race? Well, then a month passed… and I still didn’t tell you how it went. Please forgive me. Can we still be friends?

My aunt Carol recommended we check out this page of couples costume ideas. We read through the whole list, stopping occasionally when we found potential options. Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles? Charlie Brown and the Red-Haired Girl? Homer and Marge Simpson? Then I got to Sherlock Holmes and Watson and didn’t need to keep reading.

We pulled the costumes together at the VERY LAST minute. Friday at lunch, I went to a toy store and bought two magnifying glasses, then stopped by a smoke shop and bought a pipe.

(I feel it is necessary to tell you about my experience in this smoke shop. I had visited 3 or 4 stores downtown, asking for pipes – any kind, old, new, tobacco, bubble-blowing – and nobody had any. Then one man recommended a nearby smoke shop that I had passed hundreds of times in my life but never really noticed. When I went in, I realized I was in way over my head. Not only did they have way more pipes than I had ever seen, but everyone in the shop was smoking. I didn’t realize this was legal. One of the men working there must have seen the confused look on my face, or noticed that I was the only non-hipster in the shop under the age of 50, because he asked if he could help me. I told him I needed a pipe for a costume, so I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I definitely had a budget. He pulled out a big basket of pipes and told me they were the cheapest ones they had. While I was poring over them, trying to figure out which one had the best color and curve for our costumes, two other store workers decided to come over and help me. One was an old man smoking a cigar who decided to tell me the history of pipes and which kind Sherlock Holmes would have smoked. Except he picked the wrong ones, if you asked me. The other was a blond woman about my age with an asymmetrical haircut and a pipe in her mouth. Blondie sauntered over to me and my basket of pipes, puffing at her own, and said , “You just gettin’ started?”)

When Galen got into town that night, we sped to Goodwill in search of a vest and a trench coat. We got there ten minutes before closing time, but still had plenty of time to find Galen an awesome brown suede vest with fancy buttons, a trench coat for someone twice his width, and a tie.

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We were going for as many shades of drab as possible.

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We had to lose a few layers around tea time.

We didn’t win the race, but we had a fantastic time. We didn’t win best costume, either, although we did make it into the final round of voting!

After the event, we had a few drinks with some friends…
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…and Galen stayed in character the whole time.

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It was an awesome adventure.

Aunt Carol – thanks for the website recommendation!  I would be honored to buy you a beer (or high tea?) at Waterton as a thank you.

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Filed under Keeping Portland Weird