Break Away From Your Internet Rut

The Internet is a massive and wonderful tool. You can connect with old friends, get the most current information on almost any subject, and find endless sources of cheap entertainment. Yet, those who use the Internet for that last list item, I am sure, often quickly find themselves in a rut. Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit. So even when given unlimited options for entertain ourselves, we are still more likely to continue to peruse the same few sites over and over again. I am no different. And so, I have decided to share a few of my favorite Internet locales in the hopes that this broadens some people’s scope of entertainment and encourages them to suggest a few back.

1. Listverse – How could I start a list about fun websites and not include the one that lists everything else? Listverse.com is the massive compilation of hundreds of lists pertaining to everything from art and literature to health to the bizarre. It provides an excellent time waster as well as a way to learn a fun fact or two. Just beware of the subject/list you choose. Some can be fairly creepy of graphic while others have images that are definitely NSFW.

2. Foodgawker – Looking though a 2-inch thick recipe book with nothing but recipe titles and finely printed ingredients/instruction can get old. Welcome to foodgawker.com. Both inspiring and mouth-watering, this website allows you to choose your recipe based upon the image of its end result. You may also narrow your search to one of the multiple categories (my favorite is “desserts” of course) or use the handy search tool to look for a specific main ingredient. All results look absolutely delicious. The hardest part will be choose just one! (An incredibly similar site to this is tastespotting.com)

3. People of Walmart – If you are a frequent Walmart shopper, I apologize in advance if this you find this site offensive. But COME ON! It is absolutely amazing how many train wrecks walk the aisles of that store. Peopleofwalmart.com provides hilarious photos, contests, stories, and videos of the shoppers of said discount store. I would try to describe some of them but you are really better off just going to the site yourself. There is also a book and a merchandise store. A merchandise store for a website about a store! Really?! Really.

4. Tucker Max – Perhaps some will remember the film “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” from a few years back. I personally never saw it. I couldn’t tear myself away from Tucker Max’s website long enough to buy myself a ticket. This site is definitely not for those easily offended or disgusted. Seriously. However, if you are looking for some hilarious and raunchy alcohol fueled (quite well written I might add) then give tuckermax.com a try. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you if you end up vomiting (whether from laughter or disgust) on your computer screen.

5. Postsecret – The only downside to this site is that you only see a new post once a week. Nevertheless, the vulnerability you recognize from reading the cards on postsecret.com is both chilling and amazing. Reading these secrets brings out so many feeling for me personally. I have been furious at the writer. I have been furious at the person that hurt them. I have smiled and laughed aloud. I have felt deep empathy and pity. I have thanked God I know some secrets don’t pertain to me and sometime look at others and wonder if they do. The most incredible feeling is when you see a card, a secret, and you KNOW you share the same one.

This is, by far, not all the places I stop on my way about the web, but certainly some of the most common and memorable. Hope you enjoy a site or tow from this list and please feel free to recommend your own.

ABCs of P-Town (part 2: I-L)

Alright bloggers, here is another little snippet:

International – No, I am not referring to PDX, Portland’s International Airport. Nor am I speaking of the multiple ethnic restaurants and food carts around the area (although, if you have a chance, they are definitely worth a taste).  Instead, I am talking about Portland’s overall acceptance, abundance, and celebration of different national cultures. There are, of course, the expected celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Irish Festival,  and Oktoberfest. (The last link is probably the most prominent of Oregon’s Oktoberfests, at Mt. Angel, but if you are looking for one that is actually closer to downtown Portland, check out the events page for Oaks Amusement Park.) But then Portland takes it a step further. Other festivals throughout the year include the Festa Italiana, the Greek Festival, the India Festival,  the Chinese New Year, and, an event I have yet to see but am definitely going to mark on my calendar, the Portland Highland Scottish Games.

Japanese Gardens – A popular tourist site, the Japanese Garden is really something to see. Nestled next to the International Rose Gardens and walking distance to the Wildwood Trail, you could easily spend an entire day enjoying mother nature at her finest. Picturesque bridges, steps, streams and fountains mingle gracefully with the surrounding flora. In addition to its beautiful landscaping, the Japanese Garden also is host to multiple events and festivals throughout the year. There is even a free admission day for those on a tight budget. (Veteran’s Day)

Klickitat Street – For those who grew up reading the many children’s books written by Beverly Clearly, Klickitat Street should definitely be ringing a few bells. This is the street the famous little Ramona Quimby (and her older sister Beezus, of course) grew up on. Haha, I still love recalling the book where the two girls complain about cow tongue and are forced to make dinner for the family the following. Not knowing how to check first for ingredients, Ramona and Beezus end up making a simple dinner of rice, chicken, and cornbread include substitutions of banana yogurt, cream of wheat, and chili powder.  In their world, one could also hope to run into Otis, Ribsy, Henry, and many more Cleary characters. Well, actually, you might run into a few of those characters too. Near Klickitat, in Grant Park, there are a few bronze statues, erected in 1991, depict Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Ramona Quimby.

Light Rail – While Portland (and let’s face it, the U.S. in general) is waaaaaay behind Europe when it comes to public transportation, it does do it’s part with the Trimet MAX or Light Rail. The Light Rail here consists of 4 different lines (Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green) that run from various metropolitan areas into downtown and back out again. This provides an easy way to get around, a relief from the task of finding a parking spot, and a daily dose of entertainment. (see my earlier post, Trimet). And no Light Rail is going to give you more of this than the eastern Blue Line, which runs into from Gresham (deep SE Portland) out to Hillsboro. Simply put,  SE Portland people are CRAZY.  (Again, read my earlier post, but know I see far-fetched variations of those interactions almost every day.) Even so, the Light Rail really is the trick to getting to and from the airport without the hassle or cost of a taxi, or to Jeld-Wen field to cheer on the Portland Timbers, or even to see an a capella group randomly break into song. You may know where you are going, but you can never be sure what you will see along the way.

The ABCs of P-Town (part 1: A-H)

I was originally going to make this all one post, but, since I am too impatient to wait until Z (in my defense, going through the entire alphabet takes a while), and the end result would end up being some ungodly length anyways, I am just going to break this down into parts. The final post will have the entire alphabet so no one has to jump around for the complete list. But until then, here is A-H.

Alphabet District – How perfectly appropriate that we start the ABCs of Portland with the Alphabet District, which is, I must admit, one of my favorite areas in the city. First, there are dozens of smaller shops, boutiques, and restaurants that provide a lovely departure from the main stream mall feel and bustle that surrounds Pioneer Place everyday. Second, there are more than enough unique and charming older style houses to give you that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia… even if you, like me, are only 23 years old. And if nostalgia isn’t for you, maybe recognizing a few Simpson’s characters in street names might brighten your day. (Matt Groening is from Portland, after all.) Finally, as the name would suggest, the streets within the Alphabet District are, indeed, in alphabetical order, beginning with Burnside and heading North. Add to that the numbered avenues running perpendicular and finding any address suddenly became 10x easier.

Burnside – Aside from being a Bridge and a great place to meet Bums (I am on a roll with this letter) Burnside St. is also unique in that it is a very handy navigational landmark for finding your way around Portland. In the greater downtown area, if you see any address or street labeled “NW” or “NE” you will know that you are North of Burnside. Likewise, “SW” and “SE” refer to any location South of the street. Just remember not to try this same trick if you end up too far out in the ‘burbs’ or Beaverton. Then again, why would you go there in the first place?

Costumes – Portlanders absolutely love to dress up (or down in the case of the annual Naked Bike Ride). From body and face paint, to drag, to some of the most outrageous/unique/creative outfits you can think of, there are hundreds of costumes and literally dozens of opportunities to wear them throughout the year. One is very likely to see attire fall short of the norm at the The Starlight Run, SantaCon, PDX Hunt, Urban Iditarod, One Mile Drag Race, Zombie Walk, Tour de Lab… just to name a few.

Donuts – For those who live in Portland, or who just watch the Travel Channel or Food Network a lot, it should be no surprise that Voodoo Donuts made this list. These lovely deep-fried creations are delicious, no doubt, but that isn’t the only reason that Voodoo has become such a staple and tourist attraction in the Rose City. The shop itself is an experience, a far departure from the boring task of grabbing your sugar fix from Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme.  Voodoo boasts innuendos in its slogan and menu items, some truly unique looking and tasting fare, legally binding wedding ceremonies, and, most recently, a world record for the largest box of donuts. Did I also mention they make a special Blood Filled Voodoo doughnuts depicting the Portland Timber’s opponent before each match? Well, they do that too.  Just make sure you are willing to stand in line for the donutty experience. So far this year, I have yet to see it any shorter than around the corner from the original shop downtown. The Magic is in the Hole.

East Bank Esplanade  – Much to the dismay of my boyfriend, this esplanade is how I am able to torture him every sunny day as I take my lunch hour. By connecting this pathway to the Tom McCall Waterfront via the Hawthorne and Steel bridge, I have a lovely, nearly 3 mile loop to stroll along, admire the Portland cityscape, and catch a little bit of my daily dose of Vitamin D. Any time the weather warms, you can expect to see numerous people walking, running, or cycling along this loop, or connecting it to the Springwater Corridor that runs further South. Warning: while most of the walk is enjoyable, there are a few smelly areas (hey, it is on the Willamette), but not to worry, the worst parts are on the west side so you may not even notice them.

Farmer’s Market – When it comes to food, Portland, in general, has a wonderful selection of restaurants, bars, and even some amazing food carts. But if you are looking to add the warm fuzzy feeling of helping a local grower out (while still noshing on something delectable) then the Farmer’s Market is definitely the place to go. I usually frequent the one up near PSU (Portland State University) where I can find anything from homemade tamales, to just-picked berries, to sweet baked goods, and even some fresh fish or amazing smoked salmon. It really is a great place to wander around, listen to a little music, and enjoy a market focused on food without all the crazy that is the larger Saturday Market down near Skidmore Fountain (although that can be fun as well). Just remember to watch your waistline and wallet in these parts. With all the good grub at Farmer’s Market, it becomes almost too easy to over-indulge.

Green – When thinking of a typical city most people will picture paved roads, skyscrapers, congestions, noise and traffic, among other things. But something that Portland adds to this black and gray concrete jungle is green, a lot of it. Portland is home to the largest inner city park in the United States. Sorry New York, but Central Park couldn’t beat this one. Forest Park, located in the West Hills of Portland, is filled tall trees, lush flora, and an escape that will make you forget how close to the city you really are. There are miles upon miles of trails suitable for a simple stroll, a nice run, or a walk with man’s best friend. And these trails don’t just take you in circles either. Local and historical attractions can be found throughout Forest Park and its interconnecting trails such as Council Crest, the Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, the International Rose Test Gardens, Pittock Mansion, the Vietnam Memorial…  or you can just lose yourself somewhere on the 30 miles of the Wildwood Trail, all while forgetting you are still in the city.

Hollywood – Yes, there is a Hollywood in Oregon… well a Hollywood District. But don’t be fooled by the name. It is definitely not as glamorous as its California counterpart. Portland’s Hollywood has a little more of an indie/bohemian feel and it is not necessarily the place I would want to be after dark… then again, most places out in SE or deep SE Portland are probably areas best avoided at night. One of the neatest things about this District, however, is the Hollywood Theater. A historic Portland Landmark, this not-for-profit theater is often showing movies you are not likely to find anywhere near a mainstream cinema. Older movies, film festivals indie flicks, and student shorts are the main sources of entertainment in this building, making the Hollywood Theater a great alternative to some over-sold blockbusters. 

15 Palindromes

Where’s “race car”?

1. Go hang a salami. I’m a lasagna hog.

2. Do geese see God?

3. Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw? 

4. Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era? 

5. A nut for a jar of tuna.

6. Dennis and Edna sinned. 

7. Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo 

8. A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!

9. Ana, nab a banana.

10. Borrow or rob? 

11. Vanna, wanna V? 

12. We panic in a pew. 

13. Never odd or even. 

14. Madam in Eden, I’m Adam. 

15. Murder for a jar of red rum.

Publications International, Ltd., the Editors of.  “15 Palindromes.”  21 September 2007.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://people.howstuffworks.com/15-palindromes.htm&gt;  03 February 2009.

P I C – and all it means to me

So for one of my classes this term I am working with a start up company with the acronym PIC. As a result, I have decided to see what other PICs (partners in crime) this acronym could have…

  1. Please Incubate Chicks
  2. Postage Is Cheap
  3. Princess Imprisonment Camp
  4. Panty Inspector Caught
  5. Pretty Incisors Chomping
  6. Pumping Iron Cans
  7. Plain Iguanas Cuddle
  8. Plateau Inclines Crash
  9. Petty Infractions Cost
  10. Postcards Inch Creepily
  11. Peas Investigate Creaking
  12. Puddles Inquire Cordially
  13. Phone Interrogators Cackle
  14. Phony Impala Caress
  15. Plastic Ingests Cauliflower
  16. Paddle Icky Cancer
  17. Pentagons Ignore Candles
  18. Petroleum Icebergs Crunch
  19. Ponder Ingenious  Celery
  20. Paint Insomniac Caterers
  21. Package Illiterate Carrots
  22. Portable Ibuprofen Charter
  23. Paranormal Ice Cream
  24. Paper Ignites Creativity
  25. Pandemic Ice Caps
  26. Prank Impatient Cucumbers
  27. Palm Illegal Candy
  28. Parallel Igloos Chastise 
  29. Photograph Incest Confirmed
  30. Pope Imitates Cabbage
  31. Play Iceland Cribbage
  32. Panthers In Church
  33. Potato Impacts Choir
  34. Platypus  Identifies Challenge
  35. Parties Insinuate Chimpanzees