TUNDRANAUTICA

Bringing Home the Freshest Kill

Posts in the fools category

I continue to hate my fellow Portland cyclists.

One of the more militant ones rode by me tonight (are there any that aren’t militant?) and screamed:

YOUR TAIL-LIGHT IS OUT!!! SO IS YOUR FRONT LIGHT!!

I mean, where to begin. As if I didn’t realize this was the case. It’s like “Hey jerky, anything else I should pick up when I’m at the bike shop? Maybe a stupid, canary-yellow adventure spandex suit like yours?

God these people suck. It’s not funny, it’s not “quirky Portlandia stuff.” It’s fucking annoying.

BTW, I’ve seen this particular asshole yell about bike lights before, as though he’s the Official Hall Monitor of Portland Cycling. If you see him, feel free to tell him he’s an ignoble cunt monster. He usually rides with a cycling buddy in the area of SE Harrison and SE Lincoln.

Gym Shorts

Artwork by the great Ricky Sprague

 

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A love odyssey at When Falls the Coliseum.

Excerpt:

Rockabilly Girl said her punk rawk blog, Abba Cadaver, allowed her to “excrete neuroses via the printed word.”

I felt like I was standing on the edge of a volcano. Yeah, I said it. The chicks were hott. Even with their vast carpets of back-hair.

There was some heavy, industrial music coming from their moist apertures. The air was thick with cred.

I felt like a lawn jockey in comparison, a dead-end turd from a lifeless cul de sac…

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Oh I think it’s time to bust out Transgressive Man again, in tribute to the innumerable imbeciles in Portland and points beyond that act like this.

When I encounter such clods, it takes all of my self-control not to pinch a loaf on their face. Or, more accurately, to quote TV’s Benjamin Horn:

“…Sometimes the urge to do bad is nearly overpowering…”

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Am I the last sane person in Portland?

I wish I were joking.

Portlanders afoam with protest juices

I’ve long complained about our city‘s many faults — its smugness; its Smart Growth advocacy; its godforsaken “Young Creatives”; its weird preoccupation with food carts (and community seating); its highly overrated transit system; its contrived friendliness, and, of course, its fascination with “keeping it local.”

A quick disclaimer before I embark on another rant. There are many things I like about Portland — my son was born here; I have nice neighbors; I like the weather (in all its variants); I enjoy the city’s proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, etc. Those things are immutably good.

But…there are so many things wrong here — and I experience them so frequently — that it baffles and alarms me when people (both locals and fawning national media types) extravagantly talk up our richness of purpose, our supreme sustainability, our unparalleled livability.

It’s as though I’ve infiltrated a cult. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say there is a distinct mass pathology at work in Portland.

Finally though, even the New York Times — a huge propagandist and cheerleader for Portland — has noticed cracks in our farm-to-table facade. In a July 8 piece called “The Pride and Prejudice of Local,” NYT journalist William Yardley shines a floodlight on our regional neuroses. People in the other 49 states will no doubt be amused by the story’s quotes, but they need to understand that Yardley isn’t cherry picking. He’s not exploiting the anomalous behavior of a few morons.

No, no, no.

Yardley provides a revealing snapshot of our dystopian hamlet. He describes — with absolute clarity and perfection — the overriding mindset of the entire city. To wit (emphases mine):

Duane Sorenson, who founded Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland in 1999, is originally from another coffee capital, the Puget Sound region of Washington. Stumptown, named for one of the city’s early nicknames, now has cafes in Seattle, New York and Amsterdam. Predictably enough, it has lost a few fans in Portland as it has expanded.

I don’t even go to Stumptown,” said Paul Sykes, who makes bike fenders and bottle holders out of wood. “I go to a more local place.”

Not that Mr. Sykes opposes growth. Most of his business comes from the Internet.

I sell these things all over the world,” he said of his products. “That’s the only way I can make any money.”

Yardley shows great restraint in not drawing further attention to Sykes’ sad, stupid statement. There’s no need to, after all. The lunatics keep presenting themselves…and impaling themselves…en masse. Witness the righteous indignation of someone named Eric Bechard at a recent culinary contest involving pork ravioli and niblets.

For Mr. Bechard, it came down to this: never should a pig from Kansas or Iowa have even been entered in the contest; it only made it worse that the Iowa pig won. After all, there are Red Wattle heritage pigs raised right here in Oregon. The chefs who competed work in Oregon, and most promote locally produced food.

“I get there and I get the flier and I’m immediately sickened because I’m seeing ‘local,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘local farms,’ ‘local chefs,’ ‘local wine,’ ” Mr. Bechard recalled, “and then two of the pigs are from Kansas and Iowa? I’m looking at my friend and he said, ‘Eric, just let it go.’ ”

Many hours and drinks and insults later, witnesses told police Mr. Bechard was the aggressor when he encountered Brady Lowe, the event’s Atlanta-based organizer, outside a bar. Words were hurled and fists flew. The police came, firing Tasers and pepper spray.

Staunch Defender of Local Pork: Eric Bechard

Does anyone besides me detect a fundamental error in judgment here? A profound misunderstanding of how reality works? I don’t fault outsiders for laughing at these anecdotes. I’d laugh too were I not confronted (and confounded) daily by similar exhibitions of childish naiveté and illiberal group-think. Note, too, the sympathy that Bechard elicits from other locals:

…Manuel Recio, a former advertising executive who decided to become a vegetable farmer several years ago, said Mr. Bechard should not have gotten into a fistfight. Yet, he also told of Portland chefs who blend imported strawberries into desserts whose ingredients are misleadingly labeled as locally grown. He said Mr. Bechard had a point.

“It was great to finally have someone call people out on it,” Mr. Recio said.

Um, yeah, Manuel, it was awesome. You fucking lunatic.

Gawker caught wind of this kerfuffle and offered some worthy observations of its own.

…in Portland, each cultural entity is born almost simultaneously with its backlash. Anti-Stumptown sentiment has existed almost as long as Stumptown. Even before the roaster lost its local cred a couple years ago by opening its first store “abroad” (in New York), alternatives had popped up for those who thought Stumptown had become too corporate. (In Portland, anything that makes enough money to stay in business is “too corporate”.) One popular Stumptown alternative, Courier Coffee, started as a door-to-door bicycle coffee delivery service. Stumptown tried to counter with a program to buy bicycles for Rwandans, but it was too late: The double-backlash was on, and shit-talking Stumptown is now an excellent ice-breaker in Portland.

Forgive the “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” pretense, but yours truly has despised Stumptown since its inception. Perhaps things have changed, but when the store was freshly squeezed from Duane Sorenson’s entrepreneurial teat, it seemed like a haven for Portland’s teeming masses of contemptible indie dorks. If it has truly “gone corporate,” then perhaps I’ll become a Stumptown “fan.”

Some more Gawker observations though:

Anyone who thinks the double-backlash is the harmless pastime of a bunch of white people in a damp Pacific Northwest enclave would do well to look at Bechard and Lowe’s battered mugshots. As successive backlashes drive maddened Portlanders ever-more militantly local, this whole thing might end in a Civil War.

Civil War? No, but extreme polarization of idiot splinter groups? That’s possible. Throw in the perennially exasperated pragmatists like myself, and you have fertile grounds for a highly sustainable bloodbath.

Hopefully there will be ample community seating available for this clash.

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PORTLAND!

What city is more smug than ours?

If you said Seattle as recently as 3-to-4 years ago, you’d still be right.

But these days, Portland is King of the Hill as far as smugness goes. Granted, I’ve never been to, say, Brooklyn — and I’m sure it’s smug there too — but it can’t possibly be as bad as it is here. In New York, you still have a solid bedrock of tough, hard-working people who have lived through disappointment, frustration and pain and emerged with greater strength of character.

Not so here!

We are beset by condescending, privileged twerps.

Just look at the following photo, for Chrissakes, snapped secretly by a friend at the airport the other day. It’s two garden-variety Portlanders. For all I know, they might be wonderful people. Salt of the fucking earth.

[image missing]

But nearly EVERYONE in town looks just like them. Ironic clothing…ironic eye-ware…the same old tiresome song.

To be clear, I have no problem with anyone’s personal aesthetics. I frequently see Portlanders dressed up as pirates, and though I don’t think of them in positive terms, I spend no mental currency on their place in this world. Honestly, smug Portlanders — I couldn’t care less if your wardrobe personifies indie-rock cliche. When it’s all said and done, you’re just another jerk I’ll go out of my way to ignore.

Here’s the rub though: these wiry, unfruitful clods don’t simply ignore others. NO! They sneer and scoff at anyone who doesn’t fit their DIY Cool Person Template.

It has steadily gotten worse in the 10 years I’ve lived here. It’s one effed-up milieu of shit.

More than ever, the city is teeming with unoriginal, emaciated oafs who wear tight brown pants and sing loudly to themselves at the bus stop.

Such individuals.

I try hard to avoid the cliche of misanthropy. Misanthropy is an easy emotion. But the oppressiveness of the cool Portland alpha culture has reached an intolerable apex. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked up from reading my book on the bus and some skateboarder fuckwad was glaring (or smirking) at me because my dress shirt and slacks didn’t ooze awesome-fucking-street-cred.

These days, the forecast consistently calls for a torrent of fist-showers…on the faces of Portland “creatives!”

O! I wish to pummel these creatures.

If there was but one day a year when I could rain blows upon their smug faces w/o fear of legal reproach!

O!

What happy times those would be, friend!

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The wife and I have experienced an inordinate amount of bad customer service in Portland lately.

The most glaring and recent example occurred at the REI store in Clackamas a couple weeks ago.

The skinny: I went to REI (a store I’m not terribly fond of to begin with; it’s mostly overpriced, urban backpacker/adventure-wear for well-to-do kayaking dullards).

REI is Horrible

Anyway, the only reason I went was to replace my stolen bike with one authorized by my home insurance adjuster. My intent was to get in and get the hell out so I could rest my aching head, as I was suffering from an awful cold.

Enter REI Bike Store Guy to “help” me with my purchase!

Do you need some help?” he labored to ask.

Yeah, I need to look at a bike. Is there a bike guy around?”

Yeah,” he said, not bothering to elaborate that he was “the bike guy.”

Umm…is that you then?” I said for clarification.

Yeah.”

Bike Store Guy was in many ways a typical Portland service industry person — zero social skills; totally aloof; monosyllabic…too cool to help. I should be thankful that I had the opportunity to buy a $600 bike from him.

What follows is a short list of his trangressions:

  • When my wife asked Bike Store Guy if the bike came in any different colors, he definitively said “no.”
  • When I requested to take the bike for a ride, his body language made it clear that I had crossed the line.
  • I told Bike Store Guy the handlebars on my old bike were slightly longer than the ones on the replacement bike. His response? “No, they’re the same.”
  • When it became obvious that I was going to purchase the bike, he asked…

Are you an REI member?”

Yes,” I said. “I think I became one when I bought the last bike. I don’t have my ID number or anything though.”

His response?

Well, if you go over to the customer service desk, they can help you.”

Even though I was astonished by the idiocy of this remark, I was deep in a Robitussin haze and didn’t really give a damn. Plus, I’ve come to expect so little from Portland service industry people that when they act like retards, it barely registers.

But finally, the goon dawdled back to the repair room with my bike to do some final tune-up work or whatever. When he re-emerged — maybe 3 seconds later — miraculously he had checked off the 10 or so items on the “pre-sale” checklist.

More Robitussin-tinged astonishment on my part.

You did all of this?” I politely asked.

Yeah,” he said.

Lastly, Bike Store Guy attempted to rush me through the sales paperwork. Since he was obviously in a hurry to do something — eat lunch, masturbate, take a piss — I pored over the paperwork like I was reading the Magna Carta.  I asked a clarifying question about the warranty, which rankled him.

He then spurted out the incredible line: “Just sign right there.”

Finally, when Bike Store Guy saw that I was dotting the last “i” on my John Hancock, he rapidly said something indecipherable and then raced upstairs to the bathroom or lunch room (or hopefully, nearest noose).

I stood motionless, perplexed. My wife, usually one to hold back her anger with customer service people, demanded we leave. My 5-year-old started crying.

Later that evening, as my cold improved, I experienced “retro-rage,” and I tweeted incessantly about the stupid ordeal.

As bad as it was, though, I’ve seen worse, namely Belmont Computers in Southeast Portland. Worst, most moronic service ever.

But that’s a tale for another day.

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