Monday, May 31, 2010
In an attempt to prevent the next disaster, I built a run off area on the back side of the storm drain. My hope is that if the storm drain gets clogged again, the water will have a place to go, other than under the house. It was a lot of work, but hopefully it will make a difference. I lined the side with large stones to direct the water down the hill and away from the house. Once it gets past the house there is a large patch of ivy that the water can disperse in. The next question is, do I need to fill it with stones or will they just wash away?
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Pal's Shanty is a classic Portland restaurant. It has been around for a long time but looks like a dump from the outside, and the inside for that matter too. We rolled up at 6 PM on a Friday night and it was already full. We managed to get the last table over on the side "extra" area. We were in a little bit of a hurry, so we didn't read the menu as closely as normal. We jumped on the chowder and a couple of specialties, the steamed clams and the Louie Salad, half shrimp and half crab. We also got a couple of beers. I have to say, the food was great and the service was good too. Unfortunately we ordered way too much food. The steamed clams came in a huge bucket and Barbara was only able to eat half. My salad was also huge and I ate as much as I could, but there was about one third left. We then had a big debate about whether or not to take the clams home or not, can you reheat clams? We decide yes. Next time I am there I am going to try the open faced crab sandwich, it is highly recommended.
4630 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97213-2074
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
If you have ever driven down SE Belmont in Portland you might have noticed the Dixie Mattress Company at 3326 SE Belmont across the street from the Zupan's grocery store. The reason you would have noticed it is that (a) it's called the Dixie Mattress Co and (b) it had big rebel flags on either end of the sign. It really stood out in this hippie neighborhood and I always wondered how they got away with this openly racist sign, and furthermore who would do business with them?
The second question seemed moot as the place always looked like it was closed and locked up. Turns out, the place was owned by two old sisters that did mattress repair and they literally did not care what people thought of their sign. They were from the South and proud of it.
Well, this point of controversy is now gone and all that remains, for the time being, is the sign on top of the store (pictured). The rebel flags were quickly painted over as the storefront is papered up for rehab. The Dixie Mattress Company is closed for business. While I am glad this raciest sign is gone, it is still weird to see this old part of Portland die.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Both of the interviews went well, but it was a challenge. First I had to remember this person would not be working for me and that I needed to hold them up to the standard of the organization, not W+K's. Secondly I had to come up with good questions. The good questions part was the hardest. Again you have to think of questions pertinent to the job they are interviewing for, not just stuff you want to ask.
The biggest difference is how informal we are at W+K. I usually never have questions planned out in advance. I like to treat interviews like a date, if you don't like the person and you can't imagine spending a lot of time with them, then it's probably not going to work out. In the real world, I think you need to be much more objective.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
And what an era it was. The Stones had left England and were in "tax exile" in southern France. They made the record in a dank studio in the basement of Keith Richards mansion, and it was a huge departure from previous records. It was rock and roll, it was excess, it was everything the 70's would become.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
We need to get back there more often.
Bombay Cricket Club
1925 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214-3817
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The day began with a ride into town on the MAX. I don't think the dogs enjoyed that very much, they were shaking the entire time. When we got there we enjoyed the pancake breakfast that the volunteers were making and took a walk around all the booths - everything from the pet hospital to Starbucks. At 9:00 AM the runners took off and at 9:20 the walkers followed. There were a lot more walkers than runners. Luckily the weather was great, so the walk along Naito Parkway to the Hawthorne Bridge was great, but this i were we hit the first bottle neck. The crowd thinned out as we crossed the bridge and walked along the eastside esplanade to the Steel Bridge and back to the start. We didn't stick around too long, but there was a lot of food and music for those that did.
This evening was the pinnacle of the restaurant tour with dinner at Genoa. We started with a great cocktail, Italian sparkling wine with a scoop of sorbert. Genoa serves five courses for $55 and you get a choice of pasta and main course.
The first course was Fregula con Cocciule- Puget sound clams steamed in a soffritto of garlic, parsley and tomatoes then baked in their shells and served with Sardinian couscous. This was followed by the choice of Culurjones de Patate- delicate pasta stuffed with potatoes, and mint tossed with butter, fava beans and topped with grated Fiore de Sardo cheese or Malloreddus- traditional handmade semolina pasta flavored with saffron and shaped like little gnocchi served in a savory ragu of pork and veal flavored with rosemary. The salad course was Insalata de Ricotta Pecora Fresca- a composed salad of creamy sheep’s milk ricotta with fresh English peas, pea shoots and grilled green garlic drizzled with Sardinian extra virgin olive oil. For main course there was the option of Aragosta con Bottarga di Tonno- broiled Maine Lobster with smashed baby turnips and wilted turnip greens finished with a complex sauce of lobster essence and cured tuna roe or Quaglie con Funghi e Ortica- Pan roasted quail stuffed with wild mushrooms, nettles and herbs served over grill asparagus and finished with a Cannonau wine reduction or Arosto di Agnello- roasted leg of Oregon lamb served with roasted fingerling potatoes and artichokes and topped with a rhubarb and caper compote. I had the lobster and it was excellent. I also tried a taste of the lamb which was very rich and delicious. For desert we decided to go with one of each of a creamy lemon zuccotto, rhubarb crostata, and fried ravioli dolce with orange blossom ice cream.
Overall the meal was amazing and the service was top notch. Genoa is back in a big way.
2832 SE Belmont
Portland, OR 97214
Friday, May 14, 2010
I am also making an all out effort to grow grass this year. I thatched all the moss and spread grass seed on half the yard a month or so ago and that is starting to look pretty good. Today we raked out the moss on the other half of the yard and spread grass seed on it. I also went back and over seeded the first area to hopefully fill in the gaps. I don't know how successful this venture will be as the back yard is very shady due to all the trees we planted when we first moved in.
As a reward for our hard work, we had a great dinner at Nostrana. We stuck with our regular order, the Insalada Nostrana, which is a ridicchio caesar, and the charcuterie plate to start. Then we got the Margherita pizza with arugula and prosciutto and the Diavola pizza with spicy sausage that were both excellent. Their wine list is a little expensive, but I have found a Barbera D'Alba from Filippo Gallino that is a steal at $27. It was also nice to say hello to Chef Cathy Whims, who was nominated for a James Beard award for best PNW restaurant.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Sin Ju is well located on the Jamison Square, the fountain is nice to walk around when the weather is good. Tonight there were a lot of kids splashing about and a few dogs looked like they were cooling off too. It's a great place to take people from out of town as it is vibrant and lively.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
After it was over, I could still feel some pain, but it was greatly diminished and I had a lot better range of motion. It's a little expensive, but I think I'll try it a few more times to see how it works out.
Monday, May 10, 2010
President Obama announced today that he is nominating Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Ms. Kagan was the first female dean of Harvard Law in the school's 186-year history and the first female solicitor general of the United States. If confirmed, Kagan will be the fourth woman ever on the Supreme Court, and, for the first time, the Supreme Court would have three women serving together.
Democratic Senators are already saying what a great choice she is as the conservative interest groups have begun to assail her and pick apart every speech she has ever made. It should be a fun approval process.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Barbara did get a little Mother's Day love as she joined her sister and her niece for lunch on Saturday. Next year we all need to make a better effort.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I read this book in college and in the story the author is a college professor, I remember because he refused to tell students their grades on tests until the very end of the class. I thought this would be very interesting and it caused a lot of discussion with my classmates as it did in the book. Almost everyone thought it was a bad idea, but it works out well in the book.
So, why should you read this book? Reason one, it is the best selling philosophy book of all time, despite being rejected by 121 publishers (a Guinness world record). Reason two, you might learn a little something about philosophy. And finally, reason three, it's a good story.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Yesterday I took a trip down to LA (Anaheim to be exact) to tour the The Tiger Woods Learning Center. Unfortunately Tiger was not there, but it is a pretty amazing place. It is a huge building on 14 acres of land with a driving range and a putting area. However, it is not a golf academy. The TW Foundation was founded in 1996, by Tiger's dad Earl. The idea back then was to try to get kids interested in attending a session by offering up a little golf, then getting them into a life lesson course. Then in 2006 they built this great building where they offer classes in everything from nutrition and money management to rocket propulsion and marine biology. The first, and still most popular class, is in forensic science, where kids can learn how to test for finger prints and solve mysteries.
The Learning Center serves kids in the Orange County area from elementary to high school, with all kinds of classes. You can attend an eight week program or drop in after school and work on the computer of in the video lab. They also help kids with AP classes, SATs and college applications. If you get into college you can get scholarships and find mentors that can hook you up with a part time job. Basically they do everything they can to help you achieve your goals of getting a better education as long as you are willing to commit and do the work.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The underlying theme of this book is violence against women, which seems to be a real problem in Sweden. The book opens with Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist, having just been successfully sued for liable. After his conviction, he takes a break to work on the family history of a very eccentric and rich Swedish industrialist. Along with this assignment he is tasked with finding any new insight he can into a 40 year-old murder case. As you can imagine the book takes a lot of interesting twists and turns with this murder mystery. Then just when you think they story is over, there is a second chapter that circles back to the original libel case.
At almost 600 pages, this book is a page turner. You may loose a lot of sleep trying to get to a good stopping point once you get started. Unfortunately Stieg Larsson died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, but at least there are two more books to tackle.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Things They Carried is a strange book as it is billed as fiction, but it feels very real when you read it. It is composed of a dozen intertwined, first-person stories of the author's tour of Vietnam, but again it's fiction. Further confusing matters, the narrator in one of the stories makes a distinction between "story truth" and "happening truth." The authors tells us that no war stories are technically true, it's the ones that bring the experience to life without concern for total accuracy that make it easiest for the uninitiated to understand what war is really like. If that was his goal O'Brien does a great job. The mundaness of humping your way from village to village is interspersed with horrific stories of loss and callousness towards the enemy, as well as the difficulty of returning to the real world and letting go.
This is a great book and I look forward to reading Going After Cacciato.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Paul Harding was formerly the drummer for a band called Cold Water Flat. This is Harding's first book, and he wins the Pulitzer. Where do you go from here?
The story is hard to explain, as this book is more about the writing than the plot. George Washington Crosby is a tinker, a man that repairs clocks. As the story begins he lies dying. In his mind he travels through his life, where he is reunited with his father and relives an interesting and painfully impoverished New England youth. Epilepsy and it's effect is the common thread that runs through the family. It is a sad and at the same time heart-warming book. It is great to see that a small book like this get so much notoriety.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Another weekend another James Beard award winner. Tonight we tried yet another of the well reviewed restaurants that have cropped up on NE Russell St., Toro Bravo. They do not take reservations, so we tried to get there before 7:00 PM to beat the crowd. Our plan did not work, the place was already swamped and we had an hour wait. Luckily there is a great bar (and restaurant) next door called the Secret Society, however it was also packed out. After a short wait we were able to get up to the bar and order a couple of Derby Cocktails, which were a very nice bourbon drink. This is a great place and will get a return visit at a later date.