de Rigueur

December 18, 2009

The previous post mentioned the cafe in the Portland City Building. Many mornings I grab breakfast from another place in the Standard Insurance Building a couple of blocks away. I spend time in the line with this view of my weekday uniform.


Early 20th Century Hybrid Vehicle

December 17, 2009

Portland Goat Cart

This is one of my favorite historic photographs of Portland: a group of people assembled around a public fountain on SW Main Street circa 1910, one of whom is rocking this small cart pulled by four goats. This photo – from that bygone era when all men wore hats and the mere presence of a camera was enough to make the people on the next block take notice – hangs in the Portlandia Cafe in the Portland Building where I frequently have breakfast before work.

Slipped Fell on the Black Ice

December 12, 2009

Black Ice

Driving home from downtown tonight near 8pm I encountered a solid sheet of black ice at the top of the SW hills near Council Crest. When my car started spinning and sliding sideways, I quickly slowed to 10 mph and tried to head back downhill where it wasn’t as cold. I pulled off the road to turn around and realized I wasn’t going forward or back. I had to abandon my car in a pullout next to the road.

When I got back to SW Patton Avenue, taking baby steps to keep from falling on the sheet of ice that coated every surface, a police officer was lighting emergency flares and closing the road in both directions. I continued walking downhill but got to a spot so steep and slick that I could not continue on foot.

Drivers coming up the hill turned around to head back when they saw me sliding down it and clutching the fence posts to keep from falling. I stopped one whose window was down and asked if I could get a lift down the hill out of the danger zone. He gave me a ride back to downtown where I caught the MAX train home.

Kicking Down the Cobblestones

December 11, 2009

I wanted to stretch my legs this morning in the dry 20 degree air before work so I exited the bus a half mile before my regular stop and walked the rest of the way through downtown. I caught this shot of a glass condo tower with stellar views of the city and the Cascade mountains. There have been an awful lot of these concrete and glass structures erected in Portland in the last 10 years, but that’s all stopped now. A dozen or more condos in the Eliot Tower are on the market, some for top dollar.

Judgment Day

December 9, 2009

Clackamas County Circuit Court

Today I had to go to Clackamas County Circuit Court in Oregon City, Oregon to pick up a certified copy of a judgment. It’s the former capital of the Oregon Territory, located at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers; the literal end of the Oregon Trail.

My first surprise was finding several open parking spaces right in front of the court and a parking meter with nearly an hour of remaining time on it. (Portland replaced all of its coin operated parking meters with solar powered, card-reading machines several years ago and free time on the meter is a thing of the past.)

The second surprise occurred when the file I needed was checked out of the records room. Instead of telling me I was out of luck and shouting “Next!” like the clerks in Portland would have done, the Oregon City clerk called three different places in the courthouse to find the file I needed and then sent someone to go get it.

Office Christmas Party

December 5, 2009

Arriving too early for the office Christmas party Friday night, I went to the hotel bar to kill some time. A couple of partners of the firm were there having a drink and invited me over. One asked the other, a guy with a well-known fondness for the finer clothes in life, about his red and green tie.

“It was handmade by virgins on Mount Vesuvius,” he said.

The first partner nodded and turned to me.

I turned my tie over to examine the tag and said, “I think mine was made by wage slaves in Thailand.”

Pre-Thanksgiving Walk

November 25, 2009

I took a long walk in downtown Portland tonight in preparation for a day of utter gluttony tomorrow. While I was walking, I decided to pass by Powell’s Books to see if they had a copy of an early John Steinbeck novel. They did. A used paperback for $3.95.

I wanted to get a photo of the sign to post here and I was surprised when I looked up and saw a friend’s name in lights.

Civic Duty

November 19, 2009

Washington County Circuit Court

I was called for jury duty on Wednesday. I work across the street from Multnomah County Circuit Court (zoom out) in downtown Portland and, in fact, will be there at 8am tomorrow morning for a hearing in a big case I have been working on for a year. But since I live a few hundred yards across the Washington County line, I had to go to Hillsboro (zoom out), which is a complete unknown to me. I felt like a kid on the first day of school in a new town.

After sitting around for a few hours with a couple hundred others waiting to be called, I was part of the jury pool for a misdemeanor DUI case that would have bored me to tears. I was glad I wasn’t picked to serve because I have been working 12 hour days this week to prepare for big events in two important cases. I think I was passed over during voir dire because I had to tell them my profession and employer on the juror information sheet. I think most lawyers don’t want legal people on their juries because they think the other jurors will believe we know what we are talking about when it comes time to decide the case.

When the defense attorney asked if anyone thought negatively of a person just because they had a drink of alcohol, one woman raised her hand and said she might have trouble with that because her father was an alcoholic. A couple of minutes later she suddenly fled the room saying. “I’m sorry I can’t do this!” She was in the hall before the judge, who had been kind of absentmindedly tapping away on his computer, looked up in surprise, then blurted out, “You’re excused!” Wild.

Car Repair Field Trip

November 15, 2009

Today became the gray Sunday I had to deal with the dead or dying battery and some other issues with my car. The adventure started off with a push start down the driveway and a quick blast up 26, 405, 5 and 84 to the best Acura mechanic in Portland. Keys and a note saying help were deposited in the overnight key slot.

Kim's International Sign

The shop is across the street from a bus stop where I can catch the Number 19 to downtown.

No 19 bus stop

No 19 bus

And a quick early dinner at E-san Thai before heading home.

Pad himmapan

Tomorrow after work I will do the whole thing in reverse and be with wheels again.

Holy Crap China is Filthy

November 14, 2009

chinapollutionHere are some shocking photos of out of control pollution in China. No climate change here. Nope, not a bit.