Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels they said..

I want to tell you a little story about an experience I had when I first moved to portland. I went on a haunted ghost tour of downtown portland found here.

I did this for a variety of reasons:

  1. It was cheap entertainment for the evening.
  2. Gave me an opportunity to walk around like a tourist.
  3. Also, gave me a chance to hang out with my very cool friend Jessica.
  4. I like dark stories when they involve architecture and secret compartments.
  5. Even better if they feature some sort of dastardly secret society hell bent on kidnapping you and using you for nefarious purposes.
  6. I can use these stories later to not-impress family and friends when they come to town to visit me.
  7. I do believe in ghosts.
  8. I do believe that alcohol can make the above mentioned points even better.

The evening started off mild and wet. I met up with my friend Jessica and ghost hunting partner at a local bar downtown called Oldtown Brewing. This bar is renown for its excellent beer, excellent pizza and haunted and terrifying past.

“Old Town Pizza sits in what used to be called the Old North End, a section of the city with a rather questionable reputation. Despite the upstanding clientele of the Merchant Hotel, even it was known for offering one of the oldest professions in the world: prostitution. As legend goes, one of the young “working women” was Nina, sold into this life by a thriving white slavery market. In an effort to clean up the neighborhood, traveling missionaries convinced Nina to share information in exchange for freeing her from a fate she did not choose. Nina cooperated but soon afterward was found dead in the hotel, now Old Town Pizza. Thrown down the elevator shaft, Nina is reported to have never left the building. Could it be Nina who carved her name in the brick of the old elevator shaft, now the backdrop of a cozy booth in the rear of the restaurant?” https://www.otbrewing.com/haunted-past

The beer was good though, plus they had karaoke. Bad karaoke can make you wish you were dead, so that was close enough for me. I did not meet Nina, there was no hovering over my pizza while karaoke played, but I did hear a neat story told by a great storyteller.

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Entrance to the tunnel proper
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Entrance to the bowels of hell. No really just stairs to the basement.
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The weird tunnel is in the back that just leads off.
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Where we had our story time. No seance this time. 
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Old AF stairs that lead down into the basement. 

 

After our food, beer, and story where concluded. We headed down single file to the back of the restaurant and filtered through a series of hallways and stairs that lead down into the dusty and dimly lit basement. The room looked old by the wood lathe used on the walls. It smelled dusty, moldy, but with the never mistaken smell of rising pizza dough.  You can tell that it had not been used as a busy space in years except by GHOSTS! haha no really, it was pretty well not used. In the corner of the basement was a dark and cordoned off hallway that lead.. well..it led away into darkness.  I am not trying to be all mystical or scary movie-ish. It literally led out into the darkness around the corner. It was a weird hallway. We were not allowed to follow the hallway into the great beyond. My inner goonie was screaming. Apparently it is dangerous to walk around pitch black tunnels in the middle of the night that may or may not be used for slave trade and/or drug running. They could get sued. All I heard was blah blah you are ruining my fun.

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The tour continued around downtown from there. It is a walking tour after all. The guide walked and pointed and the tour group nodded sagely and occasionally took pictures. I know we visited the Bensen Hotel, which is a marvel of wood and crystal and makes me feel both very fancy and underdressed at the same time. Apparently it is said to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner, Mr. Bensen. No freaky apparitions of men from the 1930’s wearing expensive suits were seen. I did however have another drink.

A little bit of trivia, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell died in his hotel room at the Benson Hotel on November 12, 2008 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benson_Hotel)”

I hive-fived his ghost while washing my hands in the ladies loo.

 

 

 

Portland Bucket List

I am never one to shy away from a bucket list or reading list of any sort or really.. anything numbered.

I feel like I haven’t been doing much of anything lately and that is rough on me psychologically. I suffer from “I need to get things done or my life is being wasted syndrome.” Followed closely by, “I’m tired and don’t want to get out of bed (depression)” and “I am to freaked out by the immensity of living that I am just going to curl up into the corner over here and rock back and forth (anxiety).”  Basically it’s fun to do things, it’s fun to not be sad and it’s fun to be like, “I did that, I level up myself.”  So I made a happy list that I will update regularly. Also, if anyone has any additions that I can add I would love that! I am all about trying stuff. If I end up trying it, ill write a post about it.

  1. Eat at a food cart
    1. Do a food cart hop
    2. Do a bar hop
  2. Get caught in a downpour on your way home.
  3. Float the river
  4. Try worlds hottest fritter.
  5. try worlds largest pancake
  6. Swim in the Willamette
    1. Swim across the willamette
  7. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls
    1. Hike to the bridge at the falls
  8. Eat all the donuts..
    1. Old Dirty Bastard at Voodoo Donuts.
      1. Better yet, do this at 2 am because why the hell not.762f8517dfefd20c695debfd6d7ce571
    2. Blue Star Donuts. All I can say is “yaaaaaaas Queen” You so fancy.o
    3. 180 Donuts. Their Instagram looks fabulous.
    4. Delicious Donuts
    5. Pips Original Donuts
  9. Have a Spanish coffee at Huber’s
  10. Go skiing in the summer
  11. Watch the sunset from the Bluffs
  12. Get lost in the corn maze on Sauvie Island
    1. Pick berries at sauvie island
  13. Wake up hoarse from all the yelling and screaming at a concert.
  14. Understand, conceptually, how to make beer
  15. Complain about gentrification
  16. Eat two dozen wings at Whiskey Soda Lounge while waiting for a table at Pok Pok… and drink about half a dozen whiskey sours.
  17. Be “that guy” on a distillery tour
  18. See the Vaux’s Swifts fly into Chapman School
  19. Go to a strip club
  20. See the West Coast’s oldest drag queen
  21. Talk your way out of getting fined on the MAX
  22. Read an entire book on the floor of Powell’s
  23. Smell the roses At the International Rose Test Garden.
  24. Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels
  25. Have an after-hours shot of fernet
  26. Listen to Elliott Smith while it’s raining
  27. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  28. Have your “art” featured in a coffee shop
  29. Visit the largest park in city limits: Forest Park
  30. Buy pot. Legally.
  31. See a local comedy show
  32. Visit the ZooLights
  33. Visit Sunshine lights thing
  34. Visit the street of decorations
  35. Judge the people in line at Voodoo Doughnut
  36. Get a tattoo.
  37. Watch porn with a crowdSure, Hump! Film Festival.
  38. Watch the sunrise from Mount Tabor
  39. Watch the Naked Bike Ride
  40. Visit Pittock Mansion
  41. Visit the Japanese Garden
  42.  Chinese Garden
  43.  Rhododendron Garden
  44. Starks Vacuum Museum
  45. Go to a brewpub Movie Theater
  46. See the smallest park in the world
  47. Take a picture under the keep portland weird sign
  48. Visit the Witches castle in Forest Park
  49. See the Jetliner in the woods
  50. Visit the Towering Redwood Grove
  51. Visit Powells books
  52. Take a photo in the photo booth at Ace Hotel
  53. Get a picture of the Paul Bunyan Statue
  54. Visit the set of the Goonies House
  55. Get Pictures of Castle Rock
  56. Ride the aerial Tram
  57. Visit Detention Liquor
  58. Play Dark Mini-golf
  59. Visit the Belmont Goats
  60. Visit the Freakybutttrue Peculiarium
  61. Eat Dirty Fries at Lardos
  62. Tacos at Por Que no
  63. Pancakes at slappy cakes
  64. Eat Pigeon at Le Pigeon
  65. Eat ice cream at Salt and Straw
  66. High five the Unipiper
  67. Drink a flight of whiskey at Multnomah Whiskey Bar
    1. Highland Stillhouse

Excerpts of the above list were taken from a few different sources and collated into something that works for me. All credit given to the original authors:

  1. https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/portland/portland-bucket-list
  2. http://www.bestfoodfeed.com

Let’s Talk Graphic Novels

I know a whole lot about a few things, not that it has done me a whole lot of good being able to quote and/or extemporize on the glories of early american science fiction or why “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut is so relevant today. I could teach a class on Science Fiction and Fantasy. This makes me either really annoying, and irritating when talking about books or absolutely fascinating because I am so picky. I am going with fascinating here. Don’t burst my bubble. I am wicked smaht in this one thing.

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I started to get bored. I thought to my self, “self why don’t you branch out and learn something new.” Get wicked smaht in another branch of the literature tree.  I thought graphic novels. Yay! Then I thought. LISTS! ALL THE BOOK LISTS! I can lord my love of the highlighter and crossing stuff off with reading cool books. SCORE! Then I looked around and made sure no one else was looking and gave myself the highest of fives.

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Of Course I have a list semi-prepared, because what is life if you don’t have direction and they aren’t picture books. Get that crap out of your head. I have included the first thirty off of my list because typing is hard. I actually have 100 on the list.  You can find a full list here. According to goodreads I have read a cool 60 of the 100.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/210.Best_Graphic_Novels

  1. Watchman by Alan Moore (Mr. Moore tends to be on here a lot.)
  2. The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2) by Art Spiegelman  
  3. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 
  5. Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1) by Neil Gaiman (God you are beautiful Neil)
  6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (The Dark Knight Saga, #1)
    by Frank Miller
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
  8. Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga, #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (My favorite I think)
  9. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, #1) 
    by Brian K. Vaughan 
  10. Blankets 
    by Craig Thompson 
  11. Batman: Year One
    by Frank Miller
  12. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile 
    by Bill Willingham 
  13. The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye 
    by Robert Kirkman 
  14. Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 
    by Bryan Lee O’Malley 
  15. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic 
    by Alison Bechdel 
  16. Bone: The Complete Edition 
    by Jeff Smith 
  17. Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City, #1) 
    by Frank Miller 
  18. Batman: The Long Halloween
    by Jeph Loeb
  19. Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas 
    by Garth Ennis 
  20. Ghost World
    by Daniel Clowes
  21. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)
    by Tsugumi Ohba
  22. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Transmetropolitan, #1) 
    by Warren Ellis
  23. From Hell
    by Alan Moore
  24. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 
    by Alan Moore
  25. The Arrival 
    by Shaun Tan 
  26. Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth
    by Grant Morrison
  27. Black Hole 
    by Charles Burns 
  28. American Born Chinese 
    by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author) 
  29. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft 
    by Joe Hill (Goodreads Author) 
  30. Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction (Hellboy, #1) 
    by Mike Mignola 

I don’t tend to read the first book in a series, because no fun. I try to read the whole thing. Some are better than others like any piece of literature. I love this particular list because it runs the gamut in terms of story type. Autobiographical to high fantasy.

I also want to make sure I say it out loud that I don’t actually believe I will be any kind of expert on graphic novels after finishing this list. Seriously. It’s a place to start and a direction to take.

The Redwood Didn’t Hug Back..Jerkface

Redwoods are really gigantic trees that are not found anywhere in the desert I grew up in. I looked. All we have is Joshua trees, and they lack the oomph that redwoods have.  They only get to be about twenty feet and can look rather alien-ish scary. Imagine a field of fuzzy things from “mars” all raising their arms at you.

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See …weird alien landscape.  Found this photo at HawkedBackpacking.com. 

This is my childhood, with the occasional jaunts to Mt. Charleston for some.. gasp.. pine trees. Mt. Charleston is lovely, but it isn’t the grand arboreal forests I have heard of in California. Places with trees so large that to hug one, it would take you and six friends. I love the landscape. Desert, forest, or arctic tundra. But for some reason, I was particularly entranced and interested in this one type of tree. Call it part novelty and part appreciation.

A very good friend of my, more like a sister really, is from behind the “The Redwood Curtain.” Basically as you can guess it is a barrier of these giant trees that cuts off parts of California. No pipes, or utilities can cut through. Her and I went on a road trip a few years ago to visit with her family and I got to see these giant trees first hand.

Redwood_National_Park,_fog_in_the_forest
A redwood forest, if you look really closely you can see a few sprites waving at you. No not really.

I got out of the car and Stood surveying the prospective candidates.  My friend was like, ‘What the hell?”  then, “Yea yea pick that one.” The one I picked looked particularly snide and rough. Maybe he was having a bad eon or something. I walked over to him and hugged him. I hugged him with everything in me. I hugged him with all the magic I was hoping there was in the world brought on from a childhood reading science fiction and fantasy.

and…….

Nothing happened. What should have happened is a damn Treant comes to life and takes me on a grand adventure to save the forests or something. Instead, I came away a little sticky with a few spiderwebs stuck to my shirt. The tree may or may not have appreciated being singled out and given some hugs.  Either way, I felt better. The tree was beautiful and I was so lucky to have finally witnessed first hand.

 

 

The Life List

This will be a very “listy” post. For obvious reasons, see title.  I thought it would be a good idea to get some of my goals and stuff up and crossed off. I know, super long list and it is constantly getting updated. This is by no means all of them. But a good start and I plan on writing posts about them:

 

Personal Goals


 

  1. Become and ordained Minister.
  2. Solve a Rubicks cube
  3. Fall in love and get married
  4. Have a baby
    1. Subsequent baby calls me momma
  5. Create a Rube Goldberg Machine
  6. Find a conch shell. The Conch Catastrophy
  7. Walk a mile backwards
  8. get a tattoo
  9. Break a bone And This Little Piggy Went Directly Into a Baby Gate and Broke
  10. Create and set off a thermite explosion
  11. Open a champagne bottle with a saber.
  12. Get fired, especially (but not limited to) when you’re getting fired because you want to get fired.  (Should happen to everyone at least once)
  13. Own a flame thrower
  14. Dance with my dad at my wedding
  15. Learn to BBQ some “Slap yo mama” ribs
  16. Save a life
  17. Go whale watching (Again, Thank you Bruce and Melissa)
  18. Cook a book
  19. Be able to do the scorpion yoga pose
  20. Have a hero.
  21. Be a hero.
  22. Meet your hero.
  23. Go ghost hunting.
  24. Lose 130 pounds (wow seems like a lot! It is a freaking lot. Oh well)
  25. Become a published author
  26. Have my artwork displayed in a gallery (When I was 12, but still counts)
  27. Publish a children’s book
  28. Restore a classic car
  29. Restore an old house
  30. Hug a redwood  The Redwood Didn’t Hug Back..Jerkface
  31. Start a blog! (it can be found here :P)
  32. make a 16 hour full day playlist  (I am on Spotify if you want to find me)
  33. Read a book about every american president
  34. Swim / stand under a waterfall (one in Zion pushed me flat to the ground)
  35. Ride a harley
  36. Cruise in a ferrari
  37. swim with dolphins
  38. Become a vegetarian (for 6 months, but I did it)
  39. Taste the finest wine. (Sweet surrender – from Keyways Winery)
  40. read the top 100 books (List can be found here Modern Libraries Reader’s List)
  41. run a marathon
    1. 3.5r
    2. mini
    3. 1/2
    4. whole
  42. Have 100,000 in savings
  43. Have 10,000 in savings
  44. Have 1,000 in savings
  45. Have 10 bucks in savings
  46. Own a 1971 Mach 1 mustang (have only hugged one, and drooled from afar)
  47. Dye hair black and blue
  48. Dye hair red and black
  49. Read the Kama sutra
  50. Know the names of all the American presidents
  51. Memorize the rhyme of the ancient mariner
  52. Complete a triathlon
  53. Walk a labyrinth  
  54. Help Lisa Fly in a plane
  55. Roll around in 20’s like the 3rd rate rap star that I am
  56. Roll around in 50’s like the 2nd rate rap star that I am
  57. Roll around in 100’s like the 1st rate rap star that I am
  58. Change my own serpentine belt
  59. Change my own brakes
  60. Change my own oil
  61. Rotate my own tires
  62. Fly my car 30 feet
  63. make 1000 paper cranes
  64. Attend the Nebula Awards (Thank you Bruce and Melissa. You made one of my dreams come true)
  65. Meet Neil Gaiman (I hugged him)
  66. See a major league baseball game
  67. Participate in a food fight
  68. Read 1000 books
  69. Be photographed in the Iconic breakfast at Tiffany’s pose.
  70. Get a blue box from Tiffany’s.
  71. Go grape stomping
  72. Experience a white christmas
  73. Hug a pug (Lisa, I miss your pugs. Snort snort)
  74. Watch over 100 artists live in concert.
    1. Dave Mathews
    2. Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds
    3. Elton John and the red piano
    4. Reba Mcentire
    5. Rodrigo y Gabriella
    6. Metallica
    7. Godsmack
    8. U2
    9. Black eyed peas
    10. Buckeye cherry
    11. Cypress Hill
    12. Kitty
    13. nonpoint
    14. Cherry Poppin Daddies
    15. Big bad voodoo Daddy
    16. Big bad voodoo Daddy
    17. New Kids on the Block
    18. The killers
    19. Phil Lesh and Trey Anastasio
    20. The Black Crowes
    21. Damien Marley
    22. Godsmack
    23. Deftones
    24. Homegrown
    25. Incubus
    26. Stone Temple Pilots
    27. The Keller Williams Incident featuring Keller Williams backed by The String Cheese Incident
    28. Big and Rich
  1. Watch a Cirque du Soleil show. (Seen a few, those crazy bastards)
  2. Kiss under mistletoe
  3. Experience zero gravity
  4. Go to a drive in move (many times as a kid)
  5. Test-drive a car you can’t really afford
  6. Try on jewelry you can’t afford. (Tried on a pinky ring that cost a half million dollars)

 

Continue reading “The Life List”