May 2010

I visited my folks recently and found this.

When I was nine, my family went to the Malibu Grand Prix–an amusement park where, among other activities, we could race Go Karts. I’d wanted to do this for a long time. Unfortunately, when we got to the desk where they issue the licenses, we found that I didn’t meet the height requirement. I never cried much as a kid, instead I kept it inside. But apparently I was so sad that everyone in the room felt it–this 9-year-old boy so quiet, so down in this amusement park. The people at the desk took my picture anyway, gave me the license, and said I could drive a Go Kart with my Dad. He mostly steered, though my hands held onto the wheel as well. There was a moment where Dad let me steer, and I didn’t do well at all. But I remember being so happy, going so fast, and leaning my head back, seeing my Dad smiling above me, and then looking further, up at the sky.

I gotta admit, I love the art of both Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I’ve been thinking about their contributions to American art a lot lately, and decided to have some fun and whip up this little diddy.

Oh MAN, a trip was needed. I just got back from Portland, Oregon, and it was so amazing. There were mainly two things I can’t get over: The crispness of the air and the drivers who stop when someone is standing at the curb. I guess I’ve been in New York too long.

I happen to have been in Portland during the Stumptown Comics Festival, so I stopped by, picking up a couple amazing comics. I also briefly met Farel Dalrymple, which was pretty dang cool. Farel’s Pop Gun War was really inspirational to me, the cityscapes in that book are almost unequalled. I went to Cosmic Monkey Comics for their after-party and was drafted for the Comics Art Battle hosted by comics writer Jeff Parker. It was a blast, and they were playing great early 90s hip-hop, so I started shakin’ my booty. Soon enough, we were all dancing and for the last round of the battle, Jeff initiated a dance off. I gotta say, The Golden Well‘s Hazel Newlevant can groove.

I also got to stop by the Independent Publishing Resource Center. My favorite part was that they had a Yeti Research Station. There’s an Oregon map inside indicating spots where people have seen Bigfoot and spots where footprints have appeared. And of course, being Portland, there’s an insane amount of karaoke going on at all times. I also got to drop in on a bingo night and won $20. Not bad at all.

The Japanese Garden was also wonderful. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to visit the Chinese Gardens. The rain was a bit too much that day. I did, however, make it to my friend Jenny’s new cart, the Portland Smoothie Company. It’s wonderful, and I was so happy to see her doing so well.

On one of my favorite days, Katie, Kuuipo, and I visited three waterfalls, stopped by the Astoria Crab Fest, and then made our way to Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is where the ending of The Goonies was filmed. I was stoked to be there. We stayed a while and had a bonfire and ate hot dogs. Life was good.

So it goes without saying that the city treated me kindly. The few times I’ve visited, I’ve always loved it, and it don’t look like I’ll stop loving it anytime soon. Thanks, Portland!