Tag Archives: portland

#5. a concert. a really good concert.

the august list is in full swing.
next up, #5.
a really good concert.

sigur ros at mcmenamins edgefield just outside of portland.
with siblings and friends, ale and blankets, birds and planes overhead.

i kept looking at the tree catching the changing light right behind the stage. thinking of jem. cheers’ing to him.

it was a most beautiful night.



portland bound.

i’m not sure there’s anything better than going to sleep knowing a big train is going to whisk you away in the morning and take you all the way to portland.

i feel so very lucky to be at the time in my life that i am.
and that at this exact time, the train is off and i get to go with it.

see you in a week!

i’m telling you, this is a big deal.

huddled next to the burnside bridge in portland, oregon is a group of people who have a direct and daily hand in shaping the future of south africa. these numbers have faces is educating and empowering youth in the townships of cape town, south africa through education. there’s a brilliant 30-second explanation right here.

they have gone from 1 student in 2007 to 16 in 2011 and this year want to replicate their community impact program by going global in 2012.

their goal?

3 new TNHF programs.
3 countries.
3 years. 

dani press has eagerly partnered with TNHF since i began in february 2010, giving 10% of profits towards their work in south africa. with the market season only a few weeks away, i can’t wait to bring more awareness to what they’re doing and to see their influence grow even further this year.

you can check out their community model, their amazing students, and how you can get involved along with all their other radness here.

happy monday everyone!

guys who have their crap together.

i bought “to own a dragon” by donald miller back in the fall from powells books in portland.
they shipped it up.
it arrived in a brown envelope.
it quickly made its home squished into the stack as the newest addition of the “books i have every intention of reading” catalogue.

well, i actually started it, but stalled at the end of chapter seven.
i have this horrible habit of starting books then hastily abandoning them for more interesting-looking book covers. i never return to them. i’ve mentioned this before, here.
(years ago i nearly finished “the da vinci code”. i made it to about three-quarters of the way. and literally, in the middle of some crazy chase, i just, meh, lost interest. never picked it up again. didn’t care what happened. still don’t.)

but, i’d like to say i used to have that horrible habit. it’s actually starting to bug me when i do it now. so i left it for a month and when i found it under a pile of stuff, i signed myself up to finish it. to change my habits.
to actually finish books.

as soon as i picked it up, i instantly remembered why i hadn’t made it past chapter seven.
excitement boredom.
it’s him talking about growing up without a father.
and seeing as i am 1. not a dude and 2. didn’t grow up without a dad, it wasn’t exactly the most relatable read.

but i plowed through and was relieved to find the words i count on miller for – words i can underline and take out. 

the funny,

“during the years i lived with the macmurrays, i discovered children were loud. in the mornings they rise with the sun and get into the cereal before their parents wake. within ten minutes, one of them has stabbed the other with a fork and so you rouse each morning to the sounds of murder.”

“what i am saying here is there had to come a point when i started taking responsibility for my life. i had to start opening envelopes, even if i didn’t feel like it. i had to, because if i didn’t i knew i would become one of these guys whose car is filled with newspapers and fast-food wrappers and stuffed animals in the back window.”

“in the end, women are really attracted to guys who have their crap together.”

the honest,

“i don’t know how many months, how many years i spent sitting and watching television, complaining to myself about how boring life was.”

“i had put my head in the sand and let life happen to me. i was like a basketball player sitting at center court reading a book, meanwhile the game was happening around me.”

and the wise.

“the most difficult temptation, in chess and in life, is the temptation to react. reacting without thinking never, ever works.”

“maturity practices  self-discipline, and points a person’s character toward a nobel aim.”

“i can’t list the number of times i thought life was completely over, that i had ruined everything and was going to end up living in a box under a bridge.
sometimes i wish i could go back in time, sit down with myself and explain things were going to be okay, that everybody loses ground sometimes and it doesn’t mean anything. it’s the way life works. this is hard to understand in the moment. you get to thinking about the girl who rejected you, the job you got fired from, the test you failed, and you lose sight of the big picture – the fact that life has a beautiful way of remaking itself every few weeks.
the things that matter right now aren’t going to matter a month from now, a year from now.”

next up?
“catcher in the rye”. i stalled out at page 172.

the undertow.


being someplace else can be incredibly healthy.
you walk different streets, you eat at different bistros, you drink different beer, you meet different people.
the skies different. it’s all just … not what you know. it’s something else.

kate lives two doors down from modest mouse. it’s a bigger corner house with a mannequin looking out of the top window. it overlooks a park and she can hear them jamming all the time. i stood in front of it and thought, 

“hey, you’re famous. i love your porch.”

seeing where they live made them normal. they make rad music, but they’re no different than anyone else, really. these dudes drink beers and pay their rent and call their friends and have a deer lawn ornament. 

but as most of my thoughts do, the boat caught the undercurrent and i found myself wondering about all the decisions they made to have their lives be this, right here, on this street, at this house. what did they decide that culminated into this?

and that, that undercurrent of thought, is why being someplace else can also just irritate the shit out of settled dust.

it’s kind of annoying. here you think you have a few things figured out and suddenly you stand in front of modest mouse’s house, cock your head to the side, and you feel it, feel something shift. and the dust does a giant, unified grab for the ceiling. f.

rely on their lyrics to articulate it better than i can:

“i like songs about drifters – books about the same. 
they both seem to make me feel a little less insane. 
walked on off to another spot. 
i still haven’t gotten anywhere that I want. 
did I want love? did I need to know? 
why does it always feel like I’m caught in an undertow?”
– world at large. 

holy shit. i don’t know.


the porch across the street.

falling in love with mothers bistro and stumptown and…


so i’m back. and i missed this here little blog.
that’s not to say i wish i would have been writing it instead of walking down burnside or watching the bridges break to make way for the barges or apparantly doing exactly what donald miller does,

“if you want the best food, I’d take you right back to Portland. I’d get us a morning table at Mothers Bistro, and I’d have them bring out the French toast. Then I’d watch you fall in love.”

i read that on his blog this morning and laughed. i just did that. twice. sat at the bar with brandon and jon, a spanish coffee with stupidly dense whipped cream and a plate of their french toast wrapped in corn flakes. pear compote sitting on the side while we relished in portland mornings spent under vintage chandeliers.
i did fall in love. with the french toast, with mothers bistro, and even further with portland.

on the train ride there i wrote. on the train ride back i wrote even more.
and it will undeniably leak onto these pages, but right now, i’m just going to adjust myself back to canadian air and keep my nose in my brown stumptown coffee roasters bag filled with organic ethiopia mordecofe.

if there is one thing that is absolutely certain, it’s that the smell of stumptown will solve anything.


onward, to portland.

i have a black duffel bag slung on the chair next to me. thrown on top of it is a pack of djarums, 15 US dollars and a train ticket. if a 6-pack of beer was poking its head out of the zipper, i’d think my packing was done.
i actually think that’s the makings of a hobo’s bag, or a fugitives. ha, maybe i’m both in some sense. 

at any rate, i’m off to portland tomorrow!
it’s only for 3 days, but even in that, it’s a reprieve from routine. and the short timeline cannot pop my party balloon. i am stoked.

it started out as a trip for writing project research (basically holing up at powell’s books for an entire day) and tumbled into seeing oregon’s truest son, ryan, and my dearest, dearest friends that i met in bali in march.
as soon as word was out that i was coming, melissa and brett offered up their guest room and a keg and brandon and jon were ready to wear their bintang t-shirts and write “reunion party” in permanent marker in their wednesday. 



i love these people.


i love these people.



i love these people.


and i love portland.

tomorrow i’ll pull up to main street station early in the morning, grab my black duffel and hop onto the amtrak cascades to chug, chug, chug my way down to oregon.

freedom comes in all shapes and size. mine looks like a train right now.