Sunday, April 22, 2018

The kind of day it’s been.

Sometimes I like to take what I call “expedition days”. Today was an expedition day.

I woke up too early for no reason.

Made some coffee.

Took the 8 bus from NorthEast across the river to Old Town.

Walked down to the 20 bus.

Took the 20 up Burnside past the Taco Bell (Hey, we have a Taco Bell!)

Rode to where Burnside goes up into the forest and narrows.

Missed my stop.

Got off on the side of the road in the hills where there was no place else to walk to.

Ran across very busy Burnside.

Tried to hike up the shoulder a quarter mile to the next bus stop in the opposite direction.

Saw my bus coming and threw my hands up in the air, swearing.

Saintly bus driver pulled over next to me where there was no bus stop, picked me up.

“Thank you so much! You’re the best!”
“Yeah, I look out for people on the side of the road up here.”
“I think I got off at the wrong stop.”
“I think so too.”

Got off at the right stop.

Dashed back across busy Burnside.

Hiked up steep, narrow, sidewalk-less roads to Pittock Mansion (kinda Portland’s Hearst Castle).

Crested the hill at the top.

Misunderstood how the line for the bathroom worked.

Paid $11 for entry after misreading the website and thinking entry was $1.

Followed the footpath around the house as it opened up to one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen, looking down the tree-y mountain to the heart of downtown Portland, the thicket of buildings, the river and bridges beyond, then the eastside of Portland growing house-y then hilly then mountainy, then distant and blue toward the steep peak of snowy Mt. Hood up above the horizon line.

Wandered through the mansion. A big house made of many small rooms: the music room, the dining room, the library, the butler’s pantry (a narrow hallway with a beautiful sink and amazing view), the sewing room (round), the writing room, the social room (oval), the west sleeping porch, the master bathroom (round and amazing views from the bidet). I studied the steampunky showers, with hinges and nozzles and tanks for mixing hot and cold water. I played with the antique intercom phones until the docet told me not to. I climbed up the marble grand staircase and then down the otherside and then down to the basement and then up the otherside and then down again and then up again and then watched tourists take adorable pictures, one of them on each step.

Wandered back out to that amazing view and took more pictures.

Began to descend the narrow road again and saw a trailhead for Wildwood Trail, which I’d hiked part of before. Considered that I had no water and only 44% left on my phone. Decided to go for it.

Hiked down and down and around and then I was in the woods. Down and down and around. Took off my overshirt. Took off my hat. Began to talk to the squirrels, “This goes to downtown, yeah?”

Through quiet forest. Then noisy forest, dead ending at bust Burnside again.

Dashed across busy Burnside again.

Then down Wildwood again, then down and around. Map-less faith in my feet and the good weather and the fact that all trails eventually lead somewhere. Tried to whistle a Billy Joel song (Moving Out) but discovered I only know the chorus.

Ended up on the shoulder of the road somewhere near Hoyt Arboretum.

Completely suddenly randomly got pulled up on by the Washington Park free shuttle and hopped on.

“You headed toward the MAX train?’

Rode down past the Holocaust memorial (Been there before, it is quiet and beautiful and stark. The stone walkway littered with weathered brass sculptures of discarded suitcases, the type that would have been left behind in stacks at German depots. Striking. Definite. Accusatory. Hard.)

Rode down past the Japanese Garden, the test rose garden, war memorial, toward the zoo.

Climbed off the shuttle. Into the big elevator. Down underground. Into the windy train tunnel. Slipped onto the Red Line to the airport. Zipped up through the longest underground train tunnel in North America. Blasted out into sunlight again somewhere west of Downtown.

Got off by the Target. Wandered through Director Park, a European-style town square with cafe tables and fountains and little kids running barefoot. Under the glass pavilion there was a hopscotch dance panty of some kind going on. I watched for a while, thought about that Gilmore Girls episode.

Walked south on 10th to the Safeway and bought two corn dogs and ate them on the sidewalk walking to the university.

Went up into the library to charge my phone and work on my book about avocados.

Work. Avocados. Work. Avocados.

Walked out to Broadway and hopped on the 8 bus, back across the river, back to where I live right now. Back to where I started.

That’s the kind of day it has been.


Now I have stumbled into some sort of dance party.

Look at these trees I found! I shall call them “redwoods” because they’re kinda red and made of wood.

This is what Portland looks like to Bigfoot as he gazes down wistfully from the edge of the forest.

Bright blue bus trip

Saturday, April 14, 2018


After a busy year and a half, I have finished my MFA in Creative Writing!


Yes, yes, I know, I’m very impressive and you’re impressed.


Anyway, it was my plan to start writing here again immediately,
but as luck would have it I smashed my right hand at work the other day.
Nothing broken, just some mean looking purple swelling.
Seeing as how I’m right handed, my ability to type right now is pretty degraded,
but WATCH THIS SPACE because new stuff is coming soon!




“I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.” -Raymond Chandler