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Portland Confidential

Saturday, May 22, 2010
I just finished reading Portland Confidential. A fun book, and a quick read, it chronicles organized crime in Portland in the mid-20th century.

I first heard about the book on one of the rambles that I do; one of my favorite ramble guides knows everything about Portland and enjoys sharing some of the stories from this book as we pass the locations in which they took place. Of course, hearing the stories made me want to read the book!

Portland Confidential, thanks to infibeam for hosting the image

As I mentioned, it's an easy read, 187 pages - but a hefty chunk of that is period photographs. The stories, which flow together, are well-written. Of course, there were plenty of characters and names and, occasionally, it was hard to keep track of which minor character was doing what.

On of my favorite lines in the book:
By order of the attorney general himself, the investigation was conducted by the Oregon State Police, who, then as now, were probably more suited to chasing down speeding motorists than dissection systematic institutional corruption
I'm not going to lie - I laughed at that bit. Written in a casual, informal tone, the book's main failing is that it seems to try just a little to hard to make the crime in Portland sound more intense than it really was at the time. Sure, we got a write-up in Time and some national news coverage, but let us not delude ourselves into thinking we were a Chicago or really anything out of the ordinary. Still, for those of us who wake up in love with our city, it's a fun book to read.

Mother's Day

Thursday, May 13, 2010
I'm a bit late in writing this, but I wanted to show the world what my brother and I did for our mother on Mother's day. After much deliberation (which, of course, means several emails that I read and didn't respond to) my brother and I decided to get our mom a new kitchen faucet. Though she lives in an apartment, a small (undo-able) upgrade to the fixtures there would make her life better.

Her new faucet

She moved in to a nice apartment, but it had a cheap faucet. The cheapest, in fact. It did its basic function of allowing water to flow into the sink, but that's about it. She really wanted one that was detachable and had a built-in sprayer. We set out to find one.

Of course, I jumped up and volunteered to do this project having never done anything like it before. Still, I figured, "how hard can it be?"

And, let's face it... it wasn't that difficult. At least, not for the design we were using. Fortunately, everything was still relatively new so the parts were all modular and there wasn't any rust or anything like that. The only hiccup was that I had to make a mid-project run back to Home Depot to get some longer hoses.

Her new faucet

It's a modest upgrade, to be sure, but still... I'm happy not just that I was able to help my mom, but also that I was able to do it. I've never been very handy around the house, yet I feel that this project may have emboldened me. Are there more interesting upgrades to come in the future?

First Thursday Run

Saturday, May 08, 2010
Last Thursday, also known as First Thursday, I participated in the Fit Right NW First Thursday Run. I'm going to let you know right now that it was awesome, and then I'll fill you in on the details.

Registration opens at 5:00 (it's free) on NW Raleigh between 22nd and 23rd, and the run starts at 6:00 (it's also free). Right at 6:00 PM, in this area crowded with runners, several identical large maps of downtown Portland are unveiled. These maps have a bunch of checkpoints marked on them. The goal is to right down all those checkpoints and then run to as many as possible. At each checkpoint there are raffle tickets to be had. At the end of the run, right at 7:00, the raffle tickets are drawn for prizes (free) while the runners drink beer (also free).

The 1st Thursday Run Map

The catch? So far, I can't tell that there is one.

I was with my running group at work and we charged through downtown. They hit all the checkpoints. I'm not quite so fast, and didn't make it to the last one. Still, there were probably 10 or more places in Northwest Portland that I managed to make it to... the map says it was over 4.5 miles of running!

Before the run I went into Fit Right NW and purchased the official shirt. Wearing this shirt gave me four free raffle tickets, plus VIP access to post-run beer (which was graciously provided by Lompoc. VIP beer is provided from a separate area, with a much shorter line. VIP beer tastes better!

Did I have fun? Yes.
Did I run a lot? Yes.
Will I be there next month? Definitely!

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