Out looking for a place to live, my wife and I happened upon a quaint little house in the city that we liked. There was a cyclone fence that wrapped around the backyard with an old-fashioned and weathered “beware of dog” sign on the gate. The front yard was grass.
We thought the yard and the fence would come in handy for those times when family stopped by with their dogs. In anticipation of the fun we’d have we even picked up a Chuckit and ball.
At no time were we advised there were plans to change anything about the house. The property management people treated us throughout the entire process like the rental scum that we were.
Finally it was moving day. We rolled into town in our U-haul and arrived at the property. It was so exciting. We hadn’t seen the house in two months.
Surprise. The fence was gone although the gate remained. It was no longer a place for dogs. The lawn had been replaced with raw dirt that would soon be the uber cool and trendy urban front-yard farm.
Sorry, dog. We’ve been victimized by bait-and-switch. There’s no place for a game of catch around here. But I do see a nice place where you can bury your bones. Please, feel free.
Famous Toms: Stankus
I was sitting around holding my eyelids open and trying to shoot tiddlywinks inside when I had an idea. “My name is Tom. Who are other people named Tom?”
Yes. It is time for this blog to get all educational up in your grill. I am proud to present a new irregular ongoing series entitled Famous Toms From History.
First up is someone named Stankus. Yes, that’s Tom Stankus, you brainiac. You catch on fast.
Portland Restaurant Waiting Guide
Next up, on Iron Skillet Chef America our celebrity judge feels he’s entitled to share his opinions. Alloy cuisine!!! –Ed.
As a proud “native Oregonian” I’ve lived in Portland, on and off, since 1981. I’ve been to a few places to eat along the way. From food carts to neighborhood pub n’ grubs to world class cuisine, Portland has a veritable plethora of long waiting lines guaranteed to satisfy most any connoisseur of the latest trendy thing.
Voodoo Doughnut? I’ve never been. The line has always been too damn long. Who has that kind of time for a doughnut with bacon on it? My trick? Go to two different places, grab a doughnut from a regular place and a side of bacon from a diner. Voila! I call that Voodoo without the wait. When you’re downtown you’ll people toting around with their little pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts as if to say, “Look at me! I did the wait!” Pro Tip: That pink box goes really well with plaid.
I Chop To The Trees
The people in the self-described “weird” city of Portland, Oregon are serious about many things. Like roses, microbrew, recycling, bridges, kale, bicycling, front yard gardens, cafés with garage doors, beards, fedoras, the Trailblazers, dogs and, last but not least, trees. These are but a few of our favorite things.
We were lucky enough to be the recipients of a new tree in our front yard courtesy of a non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees in metro areas. We also routinely have a CAR2GO parked down the block but that’s another story.
What we didn’t know was that this tree was the harbinger of a new long-term relationship in our lives. These trees like to put down roots.
Taking on the responsibility of a tree is a serious matter. It’s nothing to bark at.
We recently received our second report card (in the form of a flyer on our door) based on a personalized visit to our home. Yes, in a crazy mixed-up world where abused children often go unnoticed and sadly fall through the cracks, our baby tree is lavished with love, support and attention. If only the government could run with this much efficiency.
I thought I’d end this post by leafing you with a description of our tree parenting grades. I told my wife we should have redshirted the bastard but no one ever listens to me. Now our graduation ceremony marking us as successful tree companions is in danger of going timber.
Soil: Mixed. Ours was rated “a little dry.”
Mulch: Thumbs down. Ouch. But they said they’ll take care of it.
Root Zone: Thumbs up.
Bark: Thumbs up.
Canopy: Thumbs up.
Sucker Growth: Thumbs up. (Apparently we got a waiver for me to remain on the property.)
Overall Grade: Double secret probation.
There was nary a gold star on our report card. Apparently we’re falling down on the job. But we did get a nice thank you doing our part to help the “urban forest” grow.
In the comments section they also noted that we have failed to properly christen Junior with a name for his root certificate. I’ve purchased some baby name books and we hope to accomplish this soon. I’ve already got a bottle of champagne ready to smash on his/her trunk. Hopefully the christening procedure won’t hurt our Bark Rating.
No trees were harmed during the creation of this post.
Word from the western front arrived early. It was going to be a “heat advisory” kind of a day. We hunkered in our bunkers and prepared for the worst. I put on a pair of clean tighty whities. Because:
To brine thine own self be true.
–Tom B. Taker
I was already looking forward to the salt water sores in my private areas. You know what they say. “Fight ’em over there or in your underwear.” Like always I choose the latter.
Sunday night the neighbor set up a table saw in his front yard. He ran that sucker until 11:36 pm. On a work night. I kid you not. I believe this is the exact storyline of the movie Saw.
Even more table saw. It was all squee … squee … squee … when the hours were wee.
What every happened to politeness? Basic manners? Please and thank you? All as dead as my peace of mind and peace and quiet.
Two nights of noise in a row. The urge to fling poo was becoming unbearable. Somehow, though, I was able to hold on.
But, little did I know it at the time, those two nights were merely flanking feints. The best was still yet to come.
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Tales of the Moved
And now a few exciting storyoids from the Mover’s Notebook…
The greater the change, the greater the likelihood it will stab directly into your heart like a stiletto and abscond with your life.
–Tom B. Taker
As some of you may already know, my wife and I recently made a big move. Excepting a trip to Mars (where I’m currently on file as a one-way volunteer) it ranks as pretty substantial as far as moves go. We went from the quiet rural lifestyle of a tiny goat farm in the Himalayas and a village of 42 souls to one of the most urbane existences possible in the heart of a big city: Portland, Oregon.
What follows are a few of our observations and experiences.
I hate people who think they are above the law. How rude! Such bad form! Like people who park in the fire lane to use the ATM rather than walking the 20 feet from a legitimate parking space. Or people who say they made charitable donations on their tax returns when they really didn’t. I loathe and despise that sort of thing.
People who park on the wrong side of the street also make that list.
Yet here, in Portland, there’s so much of it that it’s hard to imagine that it’s actually illegal. In fact, it almost seems like parking on the wrong side of the street is the norm and parking legally is the aberration. It’s that prevalent.
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How To Survive After A Disaster
I am not in the mood for writing. Not at all. So I’m not gonna. Today I’m just going to go wordless because Wednesday is making me its bitch. No words for you!
Gurney Halleck: Not in the mood? Mood’s a thing for cattle and loveplay, not writing!
Tom B. Taker: I’m sorry Gurney.
Gurney Halleck: Not sorry enough!!!
Okay, okay! Dammit. I will wordlessly through the power of magic share one of my most top secret survival tips of all time. For you, the loyal reader, this is when all the bullshit you’ve put up with finally pays off.
Any idiot can survive a disaster: natural, manmade, Godmade, or otherwise. All it takes is shit-ass luck. So you survived. What do you want? A medal. Fuck that. Now comes the hard part.
Surviving your fellow human beings.
Good luck. You’re gonna need it.
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