Saturday, February 23, 2013


Hello Family!

Here is where you can sign up for, and pay for, as many days worth of lodging and food that your family will require for the reunion! I've had to pad the prices by a few dollars, since PayPal takes a percentage of each transaction.  If you think this is dumb, then you can write me a check for the amounts mentioned on the facebook page.  This way is much more convenient though.

First:  Select the number of nights you'll be staying, for each person in the drop down menu below. Then, once you're taken to the "cart" page via PayPal, you can select the "quantity" which should equal the number of people in your family (not including children who are young enough to eat off parents plates.)

1 Person Lodging For How Many Nights?

Second: Do the same, but for meals!

How Many Meals Will You Need? (Select One below for each Person)

Ok, now go double check the number of people and meals you've signed up for, and re-check the math.  Then pay up, and be done!  View your cart below.
That's all there is to it!  IF you make a mistake, let me know, and I do believe that I can make refunds, but it takes 3-5 business days if I'm not mistaken.

Thank you all!  We love you and can't wait to see you there!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Non-Verbal Communication in a Nightlife Environment

While the Portland club scene might not have as much glitz and glamour associated with it as many "super-clubs" or "ultra-lounges" in the world, it does seem to host a wide variety of differently themed clubs. Whether they are geared to punk rock, metal bands, honky-tonk, top 40, or underground electronic music scenes--it becomes obvious that the type of club has some effect on the type of patron it eventually attracts.

I recently made a trip to the downtown nightclub "Dirty," and conducted an ethnographic study of the behaviors and environment there. My original goal was to focus on how the night club environment affected non-verbal communication between people, but after a reading of Roland Barthes' "Mythologies," the approach toward my observations changed.

Barthes had suggested that due to the particular designs in our physical surroundings, we can be enabled (or disabled) in regard to the attainment of specific goals, and that the environment we operate in simultaneously confines, constrains, and encourages certain types of behaviors. Nowhere is this idea more easily seen in action as it was for us at Dirty.

For example: The nightclub Dirty is outfitted with 36 stripper poles. This is more than most of the stripclubs in the Portland area, which is saying something, as Portland has the highest number of strip clubs per-capita in the United States. In addition to the stripper poles, the club featured full lenth mirrors, swings, multiple bar areas, lounge areas (in front of the stripper poles).

It is obvious, when you walk through the door, that this place is designed for one thing. Debauchery. And it seems to infect its patrons with that type of sentiment, as participants can be observed acting in "dirty" ways, throughout the club, especially as the night wears on and the alchoholic intake increase.

In our study, we made copious notes about the design of the club, and how each and every feature contributed to the fancy-free party atmosphere. We obtained a treasure trove of photographic evidence which supported our claims, which we performed content analysis of, and coded 5 seperate modes of behavior which we were able to observe. They were listed as such:

1.) Naughty frames, where the participants were engaged in what we dubbed “dirty” behavior.

2.) Friendship frames, wherein the participants were engaged in shows of less sordid affection for each other, symbolized by side-hugs, arms around shoulders, and group solidarity photos.

3.) Humorous “photo op” moments, where the participants were either “hamming it up” for the camera, or the camera person himself found a particular scene to be funny enough to warrant a candid shot.

4.) Drinking frames, where participants posing for photographs were in the act of consuming beverages.

5.) Vanity frames, where the photographer captured participants wearing extravagant (or very little) clothing, and otherwise attracting attention to themselves.

In all, our observations led us to believe that actors in a club environment tend to socialize and interact nonverbally in ways which allow them to express freedom and disconnect themselves from the outside world. The club environment affords them opportunities to attract members of their preferred sex, and facilitates their doing so by providing music for dancing, and alchoholic beverages for consumption, which encourage "dirty behavior" among participants. This effect is then amplified by the presence of a photographer, who may act as an instigator as well as the record keeper for the events which unfold. As people will no doubt wish to re-live these experiences at a later date, the functionality of the photographer is well appreciated.

Furthermore, we suggest that the very existence of such a themed nightclub is reflective of the type of company it keeps, and in a metaphorical sense, the patrons of the club, the appearance, and goals of the club environment are congruent. This is a place where value is given to "classy" ways of becoming "classless," and the venue itself communicates these ideals to its patrons. They, in turn, act accordingly.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Ford Dealership in Cow Town

Growing up in Salem, Oregon can be difficult for a teenager who has a full summer on their hands, with nothing to do.  Fortunately, there are plenty of nice swimming holes around the area to visit, and socialize with the rest of the bored-out-of-their-minds crowd.  One such place, to which I make attempts at facilitating a yearly pilgrimage in order to relive my childhood, is the North Fork of the Santiam river.  It is a wonderful place, with plenty of dangerous bridges to jump off of, as well as water chiseled cliffs to dive into crystal blue waters from.  A mecca for those who search refuge from the "busy city life".

This past year, as I drove myself down highway 20 toward the city of Stayton from Salem, I saw something I hadn't quite noticed before.  A brand new Ford dealership in the middle of the country, just outside of Stayton, population: 7,765, and spread out over quite a large area of farm country.

It seemed to me quite odd, that a large Ford dealership would be located in an area that was as sparsely populated.  My first thought was to rationalize the methodology of the higher ups in the company, thinking "cowboys need trucks" --but on closer examination of the dealership, much of their inventory are cars. 

It simply struck me as incongruent for a retail dealership of such massive technology to be located in a place where the "corn festival", agriculture, and farm lifestyles are so prevalent.  This disconnect really made me think about what kind of reasons a large corporate conglomerate such as Ford would even think about putting a dealership in a lowly populated area. 

Then I thought, "this place isn't sparsely populated at all--we're on one of the most well travelled roads in Oregon!  The gateway to the east, and cities such as Bend, Redmond, and Prineville." -However it still struck me as odd... less in a practical sense, because many people DO travel right by the VERY visible lot full of vehicles, so in an advertising sense, they are probably getting their money's worth.

That doesn't excuse the aesthetic blunder which exists, and effectively disrupts a travellers spacey gaze out the window over rolling hills, and beautiful pastures.  See for yourself.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Carts in the Portland Area

Portland was recently listed as the "World's Best Street Food" by CNN/Budget Travel.  With over 580 Licensed carts, there's bound to be a pod of delicious carts in your neighborhood!

Here's the list:


PSU - SW 4th and Hall
3rd Ave - SW 3rd and Stark
2nd Ave - SW 2nd and Stark
Lot 91 - SW 2nd and Ankeny
SW 5th - SW 5th and Stark
Alder - SW Alder @ 9th and 10th


North Station - N Killingsworth and Greeley
Mississippi Marketplace - N Mississippi and Skidmore
Mississippi/Fremont - N Mississippi just N of Fremont
Crystal Gardens - N Lombard and Richmond
Lombard Pointe - NE Lombard and MLK
Dreamer's Marketplace - NE MLK and Graham
AREA 23 - NE 23rd and Alberta


E 7th - E 7th and Burnside
Cartopia - SE 12th and Hawthorne
Good Food Here - SE43rd and Belmont
A la Carts - SE 50th and Division
Division and 48th
Ala Carts - SE 102nd and Stark
Sellwood - SE 13th and Lexington

Oh yeeaaaaaah!  Get it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interesting Places: The Rose Garden Sports Arena

One of the most interesting places to go in Portland is the Rose Garden Arena. On any given night, attractions might include rock concerts, basketball games, hockey games, rodeos, moster truck rallies, or childrens musicals such as "Disney on Ice". It is interesting not only because of the entertainment acts which it features, but also because of the many functions it can take on as one of the largest public establishments in the state of Oregon.

Built in 1993, and opened in 1995, the Rose Garden arena was mostly funded via Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc. who is also the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team.

The exterior shape of the Rose Garden arena was designed to invoke the shape of a Rose, in congruence with Portland's identity as the "City of Roses".

In particular, Blazers basketball games tend to have the most consistent and largest draws.  With a total capacity of just over 20,000 people, the Rose Garden can be a raucous place when a crowd is excited.  There are no "bad" seats in the house, as the walls of the arena are sloped at such an angle as to accomodate the maximum amount of people possible, and to bring them as close to "center court" as possible.

As one approaches the arena, there are many entrances and exits which open to a large concourse which encircles the building.  Every 50 or so feet, there are vendors stationed against the walls selling clothing, sports equipment, novelty items and gift items.  There are concession stands built in next to the entrances to the arena itself, which offer the entire gamut of junk food fare for the masses. 

On the first level (the 100 level) where the nicer seats are located, it is also possible to gain access (for a price) to the "Lexus Club Level", which includes an "all you can eat" buffet during games, and an unlimited access snack bar which is litterally a parent's nightmare for children pursuing a sugar high.

With as much hustle and bustle as it takes to get people seated in their correct seats, there are plenty of helpful attendants, and the doorways are all numbered with their corresponding ticket and seat number.  There are escalators, elevators, and wide staircases which allow for thousands of people to navigate through the buildings levels.  Traffic is seldom jammed, unless too many people decide to go through the same exit.  There is always another exit close by.

Probably the most exciting thing about the Rose Garden arena is the simple fact that the people who arrive there, are already excited themselves.  Many of the attendants are apt to paint their faces, wear ridiculous outfits, make funny signage, and generally act in such a way as to incite other participants to match their level of enthusiasm for the home team.  High fiving, chanting, hollering, and chest bumping are commonplace here.

All the trappings of a good time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission Hearing; Why It Mattered

At the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing last Tuesday night, we were all exposed to, among other things, a briefing on the current Portland Plan, by Eric Engstrom and Alex Howard. They addressed the 11 commissioners appointed by the Mayor, and laid out their visions for how Portland might best serve its communities within the next 25 year period.

Presented as "The Portland Plan", it includes nine major policy areas which will be affected throughout phases of the project. These main areas are: Prosperity & Business Success, Education & Skill Development, Sustainability & the Natural Environment, Human Health, Food & Public Safety, Transportation, Technology & Access, Equity, Civic Engagement & Quality of Life, Design, Planning & Public Spaces, Neighborhoods & Housing, Arts, Culture & Innovation.

The first phase of the project was basically to listen to what people had to say about what they envisioned the process being like. They were able to define their needs and values, and communicate to each other the ways in which they would like to see their own communities develop and grow.

The next phase will be to begin implementing some of these plans and achieving the directives they set forth for each area.

While learning of these plans, and seeing how well articulated and prepared the plans are, it occured to me that this system does indeed seem fairly utopian compared to some of the readings I've interpreted over the last few weeks.

In particular, my mind seems to gravitate toward the readings of Davis and his descriptions of the fall of the Los Angeles area into urban sprawl. As and after effect of failing to plan very well, and their obvious inability to come to some consensus before actual groundwork was laid and foundations were built, they ended up having very little green spaces or parks for recreational purposes, and became considerably drab with regard to their aesthetic value as neighborhoods.

WE here in Portland are lucky not to have that problem. This planning process is a prime example of what TO DO in order to avoid our city turning into a gnarly grid of neverending asphalt.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dudley vs. Kitzhaber Debate

Last month, current governor John Kitzhaber, and his opponent Chris Dudley faced off in a debate held at the KGW studios in Portland. The format of the debate was such that the candidates fielded questions from political analysts of the Oregonian, a live studio audience full of undecided voters, and questions which were sent in via email.

During the debate, the candidates sparred over a range of subjects, the most frequent of which were job creation, economic stimulus methods, capital gains taxes, and funding for schools and infrastructure.
Toward the beginning of the debate, the candidates were asked how each of them would propose to create jobs if they were elected. Chris Dudley remarked that he would not borrow more money to fund the creation of new jobs, as he suggested that “...the state credit card is maxed out...”, and that “…the private sector creates jobs, not the government.” Governor Kitzhaber replied by indicating that he has proposed to create jobs via the instatement of a large scale weatherization project, which would help to spur business in the private sector by creating jobs for local contractors and service providers, whom could then hire on more workers, and that this would also have the effect of saving energy in the long term.
The next issue addressed was that of capital gains taxes and other tax issues. Chris Dudley proposed that lowering the capital gains tax would bring more business into the state because our nearest neighbor Washington has a lower capital gains tax, which is more attractive for businesses. Kitzhaber argued that what we did not need was tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals, but that the state needed to keep it’s spending in check, and do so in such ways as to not underfund public programs and commons which promote the welfare of the citizenry.

At one point, the discussion turned to that of experience between the two candidates, and why they each thought they should be given the governorship. John Kitzhaber repeatedly pointed out that due to his current service, he would be able to hit the ground running, and be effective “…from day one”, and put his proposed ideas into place immediately. Whereas Chris Dudley pointed out that experience was less of an issue than that of current failed policies, and that what Oregon needs is “…new leadership.” To which Kitzhaber took issue, and reminded everyone in the audience that “…a new face does not necessarily mean new policies…” and that the other side’s policies were taken directly from failed Republican policies during the Bush administration. Dudley reinforced the idea that “the status quo isn’t working”, and that change was needed.

Neither candidate tripped much over their words, and both came off fairly astute and knowledgeable about the subjects which they were asked, but in a notable exchange, Dudley fumbled for an answer when he was asked “Which specific current land use policies would you disagree with, and why?” To which he replied gawkily “Boy, I can’t really think of any right off the top of my head, but that’s a good question, I’ll have to um--I’ll have to get back to you on that one.” Kitzhaber immediately responded with a derision of the proposed Gorge Casinos, and also lamented the fact that a particular stretch of the Woodburn area has become segregated with regard to the majority of jobs being on one side of I5, and the majority of housing being on the other, which creates extensive traffic issues in the area.

Later, in another exchange, the two were asked about their feelings about personal attacks in advertising for their own campaigns. Chris Dudley remarked that he thought that it was “unfortunate” that attack ads had become prevalent, and Kitzhaber noted that advertising represents an opportunity to point out differences in the campaigns, but also wished that the two sides were able to mellow the tone a bit, and focus on the issues. As a bookend to that notion, Kitzhaber invited Dudley to debate him at the upcoming City Club meeting (where Dudley has declined to debate him), and in turn, Dudley invited Kitzhaber to join him in any of four debates that he had scheduled in Medford, and elsewhere around the state. There was no response given, as time was up. The moderator signaled that the two camps should probably talk about those possibilities, and signed off.

In the end, both candidates seemed to hold their own, with no major gaffes or awkward moments between the media and the candidates, which is rare for this format. Each candidate seemed to easily regurgitate their respective talking points, and were able to articulate their views fairly well in a public setting.

Here is a link to the debate coverage: