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Preview: Tales from the Stump

Tales from the Stump

Random thoughts from Portland, hammered out by a pair of old friends who share a passion for adventure, and enjoy getting in a bit of trouble now and again...balanced out, of course, by the quieter moments of their love of film and the occasional chilled

Updated: 2015-11-18T20:53:05.138-08:00




In case you haven't noticed, Old and I haven't been around these parts in a while. I come with no excuses, though. Instead, I want to offer a somewhat inspiring tale; one that I experienced while riding the bus home from work one day. I offer it to you, the readers of 'Tales From the Stump,' as a unique Portland tale; a tale that could easily have happened in any other large city, but makes perfect sense to have taken place in our little City of Bridges, Portland, OR.As I waited at 39th and SE Powell Blvd for the 75, I lost myself in the blistering heat and anonymity of an urban street corner. Only when my bus came did I come to, responding quickly to the race to find standing room at the peak of rush hour. As those boarding shoved their way on, making it nearly impossible for the ones exiting to escape, the bus driver began yelling at people on the bus to move to the back. In hopes of accommodating everyone trying to board, he instructed everyone to cram together and continue pushing their way toward the rear of the bus. Clearly exceeding capacity, the bus driver continued to yell, only amplifying what misery the riders already felt inside the hot, muggy, sardine can of a bus. When the bus driver's voice reached its peak, just after I made my way on, a passenger, clearly fed up with being yelled at, and in sheer defense of his fellow riders, voiced up, "Quit yelling at us, we can't move back any further." Given the circumstances, and various factors at play, I did not foresee this situation playing out well. I couldn't help but add up all the variables: extreme heat, cramped environment, rush hour, disgruntled bus riders, and fascist bus driver. Oy vey!Unfortunately the dialogue did not end there. The bus driver responded, "You're gonna have to keep moving. This is my bus." To this, the passenger again voiced, "We're trying, but you don't have to yell. You're being an asshole." Immediately, other riders nodded their heads and agreed with their own chiming of, "yeah" and "that's right."And that's when I thought it was going to happen, an all out revolt. Right then, at 4:00 pm, on the 75 heading North, Portland bus riders stage a mutiny and overthrow Nazi bus driver. Something happened, though, and another force turned the tide.In addition to it occurring to our rush-hour tour guide that he had gone over the edge, another scenario was beginning to play out, which forced the good in our driver, as well as the majority of the passengers, to manifest itself, as we were all about to become good samaritans.Before the dust even settled from the exchange between the fascist bus driver and the peoples' champ rider, another series of events began to unfold, in which our 'collective good' was to be challenged. Here's what happened....Nearly cutting off the aforementioned dialogue, a middle aged woman, too, raised her voice. This time, however, the raised voice had nothing to do with space on the bus. Actually, she was alerting everyone on the bus that she believed a man just stole something from her purse. In fact, she stated, "Hey, that guys just took my DVD!" With the various raised voices, most riders looked a little confused, but the familiar peoples' champ wasted no time in asking who she was referring to. When she points to a man on the other end of the bus, she says, "The guy in the hat." For a minute, everybody looked at a young man wearing his hat backwards. Again, the people's champ chimes in, while looking at the teen, "Who, him?" while pointing menacingly. Realizing he was possibly being falsely accused, and nearing a public lynching, the teen sheepishly said, "Me?" The lady who was robbed shook her head and said, "No, the guy behind him." Now everybody was staring at a middle-aged Hispanic man. Clearly understanding where all the commotion was going, the accused man pretended as if he didn't know what was going on. The more people stared, though, and began grumbling about the possibility he was a thief, the man shrugged his shoulders and acted as if he didn't understand English. His act o[...]

Soap Moguls, back up in this mutha


(image) Yep, not only is the blog up and running, but Old and I are inching closer to having a complete corner on the market. Which market, you ask? The soap market, suckas! Yep, Old came over yesterday and we concocted a sweet Christmas-time soap recipe: Cinnamon Solstice. This is just the latest batch under the umbrella of Stumptown Suds Corp (aka, The Honestly, We're Not Gay Soap Company). Unfortunately, for all you eager consumers, this batch is purely for gift-giving purposes. This will come as good news for close friends and family in the Northwest, but, I'm sure, a disappointment for those ready to throw money at us for our cleansing and hygiene needs. Fear not, loyal customers, our next batch will be our most innovative and marketable yet. Be on the lookout for some Stumptown Suds after the New Year.


Dwarf Ride The Whip


Once again, the rains have come and settled into the Stump for at least the next 11 months. With this damp chill comes a deep desire to hibernate and absorb the world of the moving picture from the comfort of a soft sofa, warm blanket and enormous mug of coffee on hand. Around this time of year, I tend to max out my hold allowance at the library, amassing an amazing list of classic films to last me through the dank depths of drudgery that is the Portland Winter.

It was during a recent screening of one such film, Werner Herzog's first full-length picture, Even Dwarfs Started Small, that I stumbled across what is likely the original inspiration, if not the first actual occurrence, of the phenomenon known as "ghost riding the whip."

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From Old to Young


Fear not, Tales from the Stump lives on, it's just that I'm going to be taking an indefinite hiatus to work on my latest project, From Old to Young, a daily journal detailing my wifey's last days of pregnancy, the impending birth of our soon-to-be son, and the next year or so of my adventure as a stay-at-home dad. A sort of love letter from me (Old) to my son (Young Old) to reflect on later in his life, when one begins to care about these sorts of things. I'll still be pooping out an article or two here every few weeks, since the fun just don't stop here in Stumptown.

If you've got the time, please check out the new site:

Stay up, folks.

Guest Editorial: Oldie's Obsession


[The following guest editorial was written by my dear wife, Kes, who, upon being asked to write an article, immediately struck upon this tribute to an embarrassingly obsessive tic of mine. Enjoy. -Old]Jeff once eluded to the note taking master in a past blog…well that, folks, is my husband. Now you will say to yourself, "Well sure, I write lists and take notes to help myself remember things" …but I think that the note taking abilities of my husband, better known as Old on this blog and to friends, is quite an incredible skill of his. It is rare to be hanging out with Old and not have him break into a search for a bit of scrap to jot something down on…in fact it has become an integral part of his way of being.I would like to share some of these amazing notes/lists that I have managed to collect.Who knows what these refer to! But Old apparently knows, as I recently watched him jot them down into his little black book of notes…yes folks, he keeps a little black book full of notes that are organized and neatly printed, unlike the scrappies (my fond name for his notes) he takes on the daily. Mind you, this transfer of scrappies usually takes a full evening, since he takes so many notes in a week's time…it could be a full time job.Now many of you know that we are having a baby soon---3.5 weeks to be exact (if baby Jasper comes on time) and this was a list of things that Old wrote recently. I think he partly feels as though we are dying when the baby comes…the list is titled “Do Before I Die.” One thing I want you to notice is the line that says “finish road trip journal”...that is because we took a 6-month roadtrip after graduating from college (over 5 years ago), and he took diligent notes which he then had to transfer into our journal…tedious and, well, unfinished, of course…but the notes live on!To exemplify Old's ability to save his scribbles for future writing projects, here is an example of notes from December of 2007 that were taken during one of his great PDX adventures: SantaCon. They still have yet to grace the pages of Tales From The Stump. So my question to Old is, why spend such time on notes that may never be published?Old leaves notes on everything...newspaper corners, receipts, empty or full sugar packets, plant leafs, basically any flat surface…making my life of discarding scraps of paper a dangerous one such as this reciept that if I had not closely inspected would have been recycled. The other side of this obsession is that Old has a thing for pens. We have an entire drawer in our desk chock-full of pens, 10'' deep, no exageration...and if Old can't find his pen that he keeps in his pocket at every waking second of the day, he becomes quite distraught.One good thing I can say, is that he's responsible about taking notes. If he's driving, I'm frequently asked to take notes for him, rather than him texting or note taking while driving, like many of our friends do. [She's refering to you Jeff, I'm sure. -Old]One day Old called me and told me about his great new sleeping plan as a way to save time on his life (again, I think this stems from our baby coming soon and his unconcious "we are going to die" mentality)…here are the notes that he presented to further his description of this new sleep plan (mind you this plan lasted about 2 days)….For a year we lived with opposite work schedules and notes were our lifeline…but to this dayhe still takes diligent notes on what he does on the daily when I'm away.More recently, I realized how vital a part of our life his notes are when he presented our 3 year plan to me on this note below...and, my friends, that is how we ended up pregnant…But best of all are his notes that he takes/keeps for this blog, which sit in the untouchable cubby next to the computer, piled about 3 inches thick. Some day, if you are lucky, you may get to read about all these scrappies…that is if he ever gets around to it.Long live the master note taker/list[...]

Kennedy School


For those unfamiliar with Portland, we love our movies. More specifically, we love our movie theaters. And to go further, we love our funky, second-run and independent film playing theaters. The McMenmin brothers capitalized off of this when they combined their success in the brewpub industry with that of local love for cinema. In addition to their numerous pubs, they started opening movie houses by the dozens (maybe not that quickly, but they probably outnumber Starbucks...although that's not hard to do in Portland). These pub/theaters show independent and second-run movies at a much discounted price: $3.00. What's more, they serve up locally crafted beers to be sipped (or chugged) while sitting in front of the big screen.One of the more popular brewpub/movie houses is the Kennedy School. Originally an elementary school, dating back to its opening in 1915, the building at 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave closed in the 1970s due to declining enrollment. In the late 90's, the McMenamin brothers snatched up the property and decided to sell beer and movie tickets at the location. What a novel idea. During the renovation of the property, they added space for a couple bars (one is in the old detention hall), a restaurant, an area for private parties, a dozen hotel rooms, a soaking pool, and a movie theater (in the old cafeteria).A few weeks ago, Syd and I went to see a movie there. While walking around, giving ourselves a tour, we stumbled across one of the employees who was just finishing the cleanup of an empty room. As he walked out of the room, we tried to get a peek inside. He noticed our interest and let us in, while also informing us that they had one room left for the night (hint hint). Syd and I, in the interest of spontaneity, decided to snatch it up and stay the night. Who cares that we didn't have our toothbrushes or a change of clothes?The rooms look like old classrooms, with chalkboards and all (you can imagine some of the naughty things we wrote with the provided chalk...think immature hangman). The hallways resemble how they would have 50 years ago, giving it an eerie feel of little school kid ghosts running up and down the corridor. The restaurant and bars have a lot of character, too. We ate in the restaurant before seeing a movie (which we enjoyed with a pitcher of beer), and afterwards took shots in the bar. While stumbling back to our room, we managed to grope the statues in the hallway, climb the fire steps leading to the roof, and convince an employee (who took our picture) that we've been pen pals for five years and just met for the first time that night. It wasn't long before we crashed and had to vacate the room the next morning. Although the hangover wasn't pleasant, the stay was well worth the money.Old and Jeff[...]



While we're on the topic of road trips and national parks, I thought I'd share the highlights of a recent trip Syd and I took to Glacier National Park. Located in the northern part of Montana, just south of the Canadian border, Glacier boasts some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen. The park is full of mountain goats, grizzly bears, little merganzers, and, yes, glaciers too (only 28 remain, though, from 150 a century ago).Syd and I hit the road for Montana on a Wednesday night, just after ending our work week. Thinking it would take just 9 hours, we (I) thought a 10pm departure time would get us to the park at 8am, just in time to get the primo camping spots. What I forgot to take into account, though, is that, one, I drove like an old lady and, two, I like to sleep when it's late and dark. So, after a couple hours of driving, and not even making it outside of Oregon, I had to rest. Being the stubborn person I am, I refused to relinquish the car keys to Syd, so my need to rest turned into "our" need to rest. We pulled over at a trucker stop and slept for about an hour and a half.After hitting the road again, we only made it another hour and half before I had to sleep again. After finding another truck stop, we pulled over and slept for a couple hours until the sun rose. Upon waking, as if being blessed by the grace of god, we found ourselves beside Templin's Way-In, a trucker stop paradise, where you can stock up on all your junk food needs, get a greasy breakfast, load up on gas, and get your fill of caffeine. If the sarcasm wasn't obvious, let me tell you how terrible this place was. First of all, it is the same truck stop that you find on some desolate, dusty road in Texas, as well as the one you find while lost on a rural highway in Arkansas. Yeah, that one. Now, with only two needs to satisfy (to potty and get caffeine), we figured even Templin's could not fail. Upon filling our first need, using the bathroom, I found racist writing and other various redneck propaganda sprawled all over the walls. When leaving the bathroom, and meeting Syd in the market, we attempted to fill our second need: caffeine. Even this became tough, as the coffee was served out of an automated machine, marketed as cappuccinos. We got our cups, placed them under the dispenser spigots, picked the flavor of cappuccino, and hit play (or serve, or start now...whatever). As if being witness to the early wonders of the industrial revolution, this cappuccino machine started squirting boiling water into our cups, and then without warning, spewing a snowy blizzard of cappuccino dust all over the place (some made it in the cup). When the dust cleared, and we realized we were no longer interested in a cappuccino, we asked the clerk if they just had regular coffee and real creamer (they only had non-dairy, powdered creamer on display). She made it clear that if we didn't pay for the cappuccino, and pile of brown snow that came with it, she'd call Vern, the longtime, bitter sheriff who would most certainly hunt us down on the desolate highway and let us know what the locals think of city folk driving through their little stretch of town (squeal like a pig, boy). So, mostly out of fear of aforementioned (fictionalized) Vern, we reluctantly bought the cappuccinos and split.From Templin's, we drove straight to Glacier, filling our time with the alphabet game, talking into our tape recorder, and making fun of my slow driving. During this time, I was impressed with Syd's ability to tell me when to pull over so she could pee on the side of the road (how could you not love a girl who uses a car door as cover while she pisses on the side of the highway?). We finally made it to Glacier at about 3 in the afternoon (only 7 hours off our mark). Upon our arrival, we learned from a ranger that most of the campgrounds were closed due to snow (did I mention this was in May/June tha[...]

Arches/Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon Flicks No.2


Here continues my selection of photos from Kes and I's trip earlier this year to the Southwest. See the previous post for more details.The Navajo Loop Trail in Zion. Simply awe-inspiring.Chilly evening in Bryce.Hoover Dam.The Grand Canyon.Yuma Prison. Run Russell Crow, run.Pure Americana. Stare long enough and you can almost hear the heavy metal. Old and Jeff[...]

Arches/Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon Flicks No.1


Earlier this year, Kes and I decided to head out on one last big road trip, knowing that gas prices were about to skyrocket and that the little one Kes was carrying in her rapidly expanding marsupial pouch would soon keep us housebound for at least the next year or two. We began by heading east on Interstate 84 towards Utah, our ultimate destination being the central Southwest and it's plethora of natural wonders, an area that we hadn't been able to squeeze into our epic six-month road trip back in 2003 due to empty bank accounts and our then-looming wedding. This time around we were only gone for ten days, but managed to visit several National Parks that had been tempting us for many years...Arches, Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon, along with a few that I had previously never heard of like Canyonlands, Great Basin, and Cedar Breaks. We stayed in hostels most nights, something neither of us had really done before, and fell in love with this more communal, less commercial, form of temporary residence. Here are a few pictures from the first half of our trip, with the second batch coming up in another post later this week.[As always, click on the images to enlarge to their full beauty.]Old and Jeff[...]

Gargoyle Park and Portland Pork


My homebwon Steve was in town many weeks back, coming up for his first visit to our fair City of Roses. Along with him came a cast of crazy motherfuckers, comprised of Maniac Lee, Nate the Coke Lord, DANDAVE, and Slumbering Brian (who, of course, napped the entire time you want to come up, you're uninvited...just kidding, I'll have plenty of pillows, blankets and chamomile tea waiting for you). Though it was a short visit, and I worked one of the days they were here, we still got deep into the lifeblood of the Stump. We were faded the entire time, so details are fuzzy. Suffice to say, they greeted Jeff and I with cans of Pabst (what good Portlanders) upon our entrance into their room at the Jupiter Hotel...where they proceeded to display the most impressive drug collection witnessed by man since Hunter S. Thompson's infamous trip to Las Vegas. The room was soon destroyed with 707 area-coded and thizzzz-related chalk tags (thanks Jupiter, brilliant amenity!). Over the next few days we went on a whirlwind of fried dough, strip clubs, and assorted smoky dens of alcoholism. We attended the Blazers v. Mavericks game (Sergio hexed Dallas back to the Stone Age, and we loved it), smoked danky in the heat at Waterfront Park, checked out the view from Big Pink, and visited Yam Yam's, featured prominently in a Mac Dre (these guys are his disciples) verse on Cool Nutz's second album Speakin Upon A Million..."I met this bad bitch/she was comin' out of Yam Yam's". We walked around the city at 2am with four cases of shitty beer, drinking with any and all street denizens we happened upon, including a bike cabby, Tookie Williams' fellow death row inmate (not sure how he escaped a similar fate), and some guy named Glen, who was cool until he started trying to get Lee to molest him and throw him out a sixth story hotel window. We also brought forth our inner Gaaaarrrrgoyles and visited the Mecca of Gargoyles aka Mill Ends Park (henceforth known as Gargoyle Park by our fellow acolytes)...there we paid homage to His Gargoyleness by sacrificing Glen's still-beating heart. Oh, and did I mention the cops? No trip to Portland is complete without a firsthand experience with the unchecked brutality of our local boys in blue. Stumbling past the clubbing crowds near the Skidmore Fountain MAX stop on our way to the Steel Bridge, out of nowhere, as if magically initiated by a finger snap from the God of the Police State, at least a dozen bacon-wrapped cops appeared, dressed in black armor and equipped with riot shotguns, and homed in on a single unidentified black man, hitting him with mace and Tazers, without warning and seemingly without any provocation or reason whatsoever. They then proceeded to rough him up...all the while a massive crowd is forming, we're filming video and taking pictures, the pork patrol is telling us it's illegal to videotape police operations, we're telling them it's actually not, Maniac Lee is trying his damnedest to get any cop within view to shoot him in the stomach with a plastic shotgun pellet, I'm shouting out the name of James Chasse (a relatively recent victim of unprovoked police murder) and Kendra James...thankfully, cooler heads amongst us prevailed and we slowly walked off before arrests began to occur. Steve recently posted video of the attack, taken from his cell phone, on YouTube (search Crooked Portland Cops, or click here for videos 1 and 2)...the quality's pretty, well, cell phone-ish, but you can certainly feel the chaos erupting.Thanks for coming up, homeloccs. Old and Jeff[...]

Rapture Rhapsody


Though the situation in which this originally came up in discussion has since been lost to the fog of an old man's memory, I thought I'd share the eternally cheerful lyrics of a fundamentalist rapture tune that my father used to urge his Christian flock to sing. Anyone who knows my Pops now would be hard pressed to imagine him as a preacher man, but indeed he was...creepy aviator glasses that would have made David Koresh proud, creased/dog-eared/note-filled black leather Bible, Serpico-style bushy black beard, and the myriad other trappings of a crazed Sin-Saver. Sometimes for a good laugh, I picture him once again dressed up like this, frantically belting out this heart-warming song:

I Wish We'd all Been Ready

Life was filled with guns and war
and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready

Children died the day grew cold
a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed she hears a noise
and turns her head he's gone
I wish we'd all been ready

Two men walking up a hill one disappears and
one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

Life was filled with guns and war
and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready

Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind
The father spoke the demons dined
The Son has come and you've been left behind.

Almost makes me want to start going back to church to get my fear on.

Everyone needs a kiddie pool


With the longest day of the year just behind us, we are officially in summer. Although that just means Portlanders can now expect approximately 12 days of sun before the 10-month winter rains begin again, it is still time to rejoice. And what better way to celebrate than to risk skin cancer and soak in some Vitamin D (it cures colon cancer...I just read it in the paper).On a recent weekend in which temperatures soared into the 90s for two full days (that takes care of 30% of our allotted sun for the year), Syd and I did our best to fully energize our solar plexes. It was a two-day adventure that resulted in 12th degree burns, near fatal traffic mishaps, and a lot of cursing (ironically, wishing the rain would just come back). I'll explain all of this in depth below.Day one:Syd and I went to Freddy's, where we realized all of our shopping dreams. We bought a cooler (for beer to dehydrate us, and water to rehydrate us), a whiffle ball and bat, a hacky sack, a tennis ball with accompanying velcro mitts, beach towels, and some snacks. After navigating through the hordes of people who also take great pleasure in shopping at Fred Meyer, we set off for Sauvie Island. For those not familiar with Sauvie Island, it is an oasis just outside the city. Indeed, it is an island, mostly inhabited by hippy farmers, but also home to some great country scenery, as well as small beaches. After getting lost in some farmland, Syd and I finally found a beach. We parked, sans permit (we wrote a note for the rangers, informing them we didn't know where to purchase them), and took our goods to the sandy shore. Because of the heat, and mostly due to my sweet, sensitive Irish skin, we were pretty diligent about applying sun screen...sort of. Somehow I managed to protect my back, shoulders, face, neck, and legs with lotion, but I forgot to apply sunscreen to my stomach, chest, feet, and the top of my hands. I didn't realize this was a problem, though, because Syd and I were too occupied playing catch with our velcro mitts and forming our own floater mob gang (simply done by getting enough people in the water on floaty devices...however, they must display certain carefree, gypsy-esque, and slight pirate qualities). By the time we got done picnicking, playing with our various novelties, doing a crossword, playing in the cold water (Syd discretely warmed the water with her pee...thanks, babe), and despising the growing crowds, I noticed a sharp pain on my hands, feet, and front torso. I also noticed a curious and alarming change in color on my skin. What's more, this new, red coloring on my skin had finger prints, marking where I had applied sunscreen to the rest of my body, but leaving a vulnerable void on the other half. Yes folks, I was burned. Syd managed to escape the sun's wrath because, for one, her pigment allows her to tan and, secondly, she was smart enough to put sunscreen all over her body. While our field trip to the Island of Sauvie was an enjoyable one, I'm still debating whether the weeks of snowing dead skin from my chest and stomach was worth it. Oh well....lesson learned.Day two: After sufficiently frying my skin and over-energizing our solar plexes the day before, we needed a down day. Even though I was in extreme pain, and not able to completely stretch out my body for fear my skin would rip off, I still felt the need to enjoy the sun. That was before 11 am, though, when the heat was still fairly tolerable. By noon, we were at a loss for an escape route from the sun. Our apartment was bloody hot, and if we went outside, we would have melted; also, I could not handle going to a movie or the mall, despite the temptation of their air conditioners. After cursing the heat for an hour or so, and realizing we were clo[...]

Holding it Down in the Stump


My brother Dan (aka MC Roofless, one half of the world-renowned Weapons of Mic Destruction) rolled through the City of Roses a few weeks back, fresh off a trip to Seattletown, fiance Marie and friend Colleen in tow. It was Marie's first time in the Stump, so we had to hit the streets hard, embarking on a non-stop whirlwind tour of all the city has to offer...after thinking of all the shit we did and jotting down some infamous "Old's Notes" (keep an eye out for scanned copies in a future blog post), I realized only a literary genius or someone with untold hours of leisure time could squeeze a detailed and descriptive narrative out of this mess of an activity list. Instead, I'll simply reproduce the list below, in full, and add a few colorful bits of commentary wherever I deem necessary...Their week in Bridgetown in no particular chronological order:-Hotel Monaco...Colleen works for this chain of hotels and was able to put Dan and Marie up for mere pennies. Though not much time was spent here, we did appreciate the French/Arabic/Northwest vibe and the free wine/beer/martini/massage/canvas painting-filled happy hour. The owner of Voodoo Doughnuts was also on hand, setting up shop next to the booze, handing out freebies (There is a God!). Of course, we both grabbed a Bacon Maple bar, the equivalent of a complete breakfast in each bite. "I recommend a BM a day," he spake. We concur, good friend.-Chin Yen...the best goddamn Chinese food in Portland. But really, the green tea is extra? Seriously? That's like paying for hot sauce at a taqueria; it just isn't done.-Stumptown Coffee..."and on the eighth morning, the Lord figured he'd like the most delicious cup o' joe, and he created Stumptown." Genesis 1:29. -Costello's Travel Cafe...euro vibe, good coffee, good enough.-Kes and I found out we're having a boy. We've named him Jasper. He already hates us for it. Hey, it's better than Sue.-Staccatto Gelatto...the tasty flavors of ice cream's cousin sure hit the spot on a very warm day, one of four we're likely to have all year.-Columbia Gorge...we made a day out of this, motoring up into the hills on the old Colombia River Highway, stopping at the Crown Point overlook, Latourell (my personal favorite), Upper Horsetail and Multnomah Falls (second tallest in the States). We attempted to get arrested at the Bonneville Dam, and admired the whale-sized sturgeon guarding the fish hatchery. -Stood by helplessly as Dan purchased a Bluetooth Cyborg Cochlear Implant for Marie. I now officially hate her and Dan for populating this earth with one more of those pieces of Mongoloid Machinery.-Marinepolis Sushi sushi, cheap tempura, cheap sake, FREE green tea...Haaaaii!!!-Citybikes...great bike repair/parts shop. Unfortunately, they don't sell bikes, losing out on a few hundred bucks from my wallet. Dan tried to become an apprentice mechanic, but they sneered at him to get the fuck out.-Upper Playground...Frisco-based T-shirt shop/art gallery (did anyone see the wonderful Usugrow show? was off the chain-link fence). I recently purchased a mock Sesame Street shirt, that reps our local Couch (that's Cooch, for you's not knowin') Street, featuring the show's cast swigging Old E and smoking crack pipes. Got to be a role model for the baby boy, right? favorite coffee joint, serving Stumptown and homemade nuggets of pure delight. The kalamata olive bread is not to be slept on. -Pioneer Courthouse Square...checked out the Festival of Flowers. An interesting enough temporary addition to the city's living room.-Laurelhurst Park...our very own mini-Central Park. Met up with my homie Robinson Crusoe the Raccoon. He looked so lonely, I just wanted to swim out to his island and rescue the poor little mammalian[...]

Soap Moguls Back In This Mother Bee-Eye-Itch


(image) Put your orders in, suckas. Oldie and I are again attacking the soap market. Fresh bars of lemongrass delight, with an added dash of crushed pear seed to exfoliate your gentle exoderms, are now availa(image) ble at the bargain price of $3.00 per bar (actually, I think Old and I set the price at 2 bucks, but my beautiful sales rep and wifey, Syd Vicious, hiked the price up to speed up our retirement). They're selling like hot cakes, so act quick ya'll.

You can email orders to, or, since we've forgotten our log in and password for that account, you can leave a comment here with your requests.

Word to the mother.....

A Necessary Clarification


Coming home from work today, bone-weary and sleep-deprived from my sixth straight shift in ZooDooLand (and still have four more to go before a day off...groan), I finally managed to crack open the ol' email account. Not having checked the blog for several days, I was quite surprised to see that I had dozens of vitriolic messages, berating Jeff and I for going soft, for turning the blog into a poster child for the Cute Revolution, for even thinking about discussing such subjects as love and girlfriends and babies.

Please...let me apologize on behalf of both Jeff and myself for this extreme oversight. We'll try not to let it happen again. This blog will attempt to maintain its hard-earned street cred by once more bringing it to you dirty and drunk like you've come to expect.

Fear not, we're still the same folks who wouldn't hesitate to put a blind autistic retard in a headlock. In fact, by the time you read this, the invitations to Kes and I's long-anticipated Afterbirth BBQ will be en route via snail mail (look for them by the end of the week, with all the usual info such as location, date, time, and types of spices to bring to the Placenta Potluck). Yes, we roll like that.

Thanks for bearing with us during our hour of darkness.


In other news, a baby was born with a penis on its back. Makes you think twice about accepting when someone offers a piggyback ride or asks if you want to play horsey, doesn't it?

The Move


As I mentioned in my lengthy apology below, part of the reason I've been absent on this blog is because I recently moved and was without internet for a while. In the spirit of keeping the blog alive, as well as to keep our readers up to date on our lives, I thought I'd share "The Move."Prior to moving, Syd and I had been living out of a room in an apartment I shared with another person. While the apartment was fairly nice, it didn't feel like ours, so we often confined ourselves to the 12x12 box upstairs, which quickly transformed into a big pile of clothes with a bed in the middle. After living like this for a few months, Syd and I made the decision to get our own place together.After talking about it for a couple weeks, we finally got a list of vacant apartments and made an effort to view them. On our first day of looking, just before quitting due to being discouraged by what we had seen so far, we stumbled across a complex just off of Belmont. These apartments weren't on our "to see" list, but because it was listed in an apartment guide, and we were in the neighborhood, we figured it couldn't hurt to check them out. So instead of driving by, ready to go wallow in our sorrows at my roommates, we stopped and went to the manager's office. Unfortunately, nothing was available...or so we thought. The manager initially told us there were no vacant apartments, but after warming up to us and being infected by our cham, she decided to let us know about an apartment that could "possibly" be open upstairs. Apparently she didn't particularly like the prior applicants, so she showed us the apartment and urged us to fill out an application. We did, and within a couple hours, we were on the fast track.Although the manager made it obvious she wanted us (actually, it was as if she hand-selected us), her aloof nature resulted in a somewhat delayed acceptance, as she forgot to push the application and call us back as soon as she had promised. After a few days of anxiously waiting (we even called once and it seemed like she didn't know who we were), Syd and I almost began to give up. Then...while we were at work, I got the call (we gave the lady Syd's number, so we both expected her to get the call). I walked on to the unit that Syd was working on and told her we had to take a drive. This was a surprise to Syd because, although she was just about to get off, I still had a few more hours left on my shift. She asked what I was talking about, and I told her we got the apartment. She lost it and pranced around the unit, doing a gypsy dance in front of her kids and coworkers. Apparently she was excited.The deal was sealed, and Syd and I had our own place. I left work to sign papers and get a few essentials from my old apartment. However, because we were in the middle of our work week, and planning to go to San Francisco within the next week, we were unable to move much furniture into the place for a couple weeks. This, coupled with the fact we didn't have a big enough vehicle, we went without a bed for a while. So in the meantime, we camped in the living room on a pile of blankets. Although not the most comfortable, it was an kinda fun.The apartment is located in a great part of town, not too far from restaurants, bars and shopping. But, despite being so close to the amenities, it is surprisingly quiet. We have a big courtyard that gets a lot of sun and has already been witness to some outdoor napping, a whiffle ball game and some kiddie-pool parties.It took time, but we eventually started to make it home over the next couple months. We did a lot of price comparing at different stores (we loved City Liquidators, but [...]

The Ancient Potato Eaters Win


How appropriate.

The tied-winners of our most recent poll (asking what your 40 ounce malt liquor of choice is) run parallel with Jeff and I's cultural backgrounds. He's a leprechaun-faced, fuck-the-Brits, Once-obsessed, Mickey's-drinking Irish folker. I'm a rambling, geezer-toothed, shitty-diapered, wisdom-spitting Old English head. And apparently, our audience is split right down the middle, each giving props to their respective chilled bottles at a hefty 37% a piece.

-Tied at second with 12% of the vote each, we have our old standbys, Steel Reserve aka "211% Stronger" and St. "Crooked Letter" Ides. We've spent many a night together with these frothy dames.

-Unfortunately for the rest of our contestants, they each pulled in a whopping 0% of the thousands (or was that 8?) of votes received. The failures: "Hide from the Cops" Camo; Country Club, the Gentleman's Choice; Fake 40s (filled with watery swill, i.e. Coors); Some other equally tasty IQ depleter...not with this crowd; here we respect our elders and the wee-little peoples.

And what do our lucky winners receive? A trip to 40oz Heaven:

Final Push


Here it is, folks; our last concerted effort to revitalize the blog. Oldie and I have been seriously slacking for the last six months. I'm mostly to blame, as I've been without internet for the last few months, and prior to that was caught up in the beginning stages of being in love. Well, I now have internet and, while still being in love, am finding more time to catch up with my literary pursuits.

So, for our readers (if there are any more out there), we'd like to fill you in to our game plan. Oldie and I have given ourselves two months to prove to ourselves that we can re-capture our passion for blogging. If we can average about 10 posts per month through August (when Old has to start preparing for fatherhood), then we will continue with "Tales From the Stump." If we do not meet this goal, then our once revered blog will be no longer.

In the next two months, please visit the blog and leave as many comments as possible. This will let us know that people are indeed still reading our ramblings. Also, it will give you a chance to provide feedback in the way of suggestions, thus letting us know if we should continue and, if so, what kind of changes we should consider making.

Alright bombaclots, stay posted. We're back with a least for the next two months. Keep it pimpish.....

Did It Me-Self Bookshelf


Taking advantage of a very brief lull in the icy, spirit-dampening rainstorms of late, I busted out the box of spray paint that had been laying dormant since my graffiti-filled youth, and tackled a project that had been on the queue since last fall. Jeff and I had taken a trip to the local mecca of hardware/fixtures re-use, The ReBuilding Center, in search of molds for our soap venture, only to come across a massive heap of sad, abandoned desk drawers in a musty, damp corner of the cavernous warehouse. Inspiration sparked, and I quickly purchased four bright-pink, Formica-laced matching drawers ($4!), and took them home where I promptly forgot about them (a mind focused solely on becoming a soap-mogul refuses to become distracted). Anyway, time passed, and there was this pause in our shitty Northwest drizzle, so I cracked out the paint, dusted off the shelves, screwed them together in an interlocking alternating fashion, then applied many many coats of, I believe, Colonial Blue Rusto, embellishing this monument to our damp grey-blue skies with swollen, leaking rain clouds. The finished product, stocked with literary goodness:

Which brings me to the point of this post (aside from shameless back-patting for how good the project turned out); I think that I've finally let Portland's D.I.Y. culture begin to permeate my mindset. More and more, I'm finding that when faced with some challenge around the house that would have normally sent me scrambling to IKEA (damn those Sweds) or Fred Meyer (not Nordstrom...sorry, Mac Dre reference) with wallet in hand, instead I often find myself looking at the problem from a more creative approach. Bored of my t-shirt? Make a stencil and paint a design on it. Ran out of soap? Make some. Running out of room for my OCD-like collection of books? Well, you get the picture (if not, see above). The benefits are numerous...aside from the obvious cost savings, you're keeping previously unwanted items out of landfills, supporting local businesses, and most importantly, participating in an act of creation rather than consumption...getting in touch again with my artistic side has certainly helped me slog through this winter (which felt unusually dreary), and has sparked my interest once more in photography and drawing, hobbies that I had unconsciously left at the side of the road sometime over the last few years.

In other words, go make something, you'll feel better about yourself for it.

[Thanks to Aurora for the photos, and her original post. Much love.]

Character Love


Not sure what childhood influence (Mom, was it the lead-based paint chip smoothies? Dad's mongoloid sperm?) resulted in our need to create "characters" such as these, but Dan and I have been working away at them for decades now.

Without further ado, please bear witness to Caveman Dan, the Savage Survivalist.
As a bonus to my long-time homebwoyns out there, here's an oldie, but goodie.

Old Gollum
Now please direct your attention to our newest poll, asking you, our dear readers, which 40 ounce variety of lovingly handcrafted malted liquor you prefer on those nights when a six-pack of Pabst just doesn't cut it.

Catching Up


I'm not sure an apology would be appropriate for such a dismal effort in maintaining this blog. While Olde and I have our reasons, none should have kept us from writing at least 5-10 a month. Hopefully Olde's latest blog, as well as this from me, will reinvigorate us and our faithful readers, too (unless you've already given up on us and no longer visit our site)!Anyway, as Olde mentioned, he's had to deal with moving, looking for a new job, preparing for a baby, and being a housewife. His excuses are definitely legitimate. Mine, on the other hand, are not as valid. In fact, there is only one real reason that I've been slacking: I'm in love and my head's in the clouds (one of the one's that looks like a castle). I know it shouldn't prevent me from writing, but since I've met Sydney, we have gone a total of three days apart (not including my trip to Colorado). As you can imagine, blogging has not been a priority.So, in what may be a feeble attempt at re-sparking the literary greatness that is Tales From the Stump, we continue forth. The following is a summary of what I've been up to the last few months.... - Despite being in Portland for 2.5 years now, I've only been to the Oregon coast a couple of times. A couple months ago, I made my third trip. Syd and I went to Cannon Beach, where we did our best to find Chester Copperpot and One-Eyed Willy. We never found them, nor the Goonies, but we did have a good time chomping on some Dorittos, drinking wine, tossing the football around, and snuggling under a blanket. The only negative to this trip was our less-than-fulfilling dinner at Mo's. We were both in the mood for seafood, and fish and chips in particular. What we got at Mo's were perfectly cut, rectangular frozen fish sticks. It was quite disappointing.- We've made a couple trips to Amboy recently. While the first trip was to introduce Syd Vicious to the folks, the trips have also served to clear our heads a bit and get some fresh air. In the process, Syd was able to witness an open mic at the Amboy museum; multiple nasty dogs from Wimpy; retarded roosters that cockle-doodle-doo at all hours of the day and night; Mike rant and rave about preverts; thousands of frogs having an orgy; and the daily coffee shop gossip session, where all the regulars meet downtown for espresso and the day's newest rumors.- My best friend, Matt (aka Mixle, aka Cock Slinga), visited the Stump with his girlfriend, Tiffany. The four of us did the couples thing for much of the weekend, as we showed them around Portland trying to convince them to move up here. On the night they arrived, the four of us went to Dug Fir, where we caught up with some drinks by the fire. The next day we walked around the Pearl District, eventually settling in at Jameson Square where we watched Matt show off his parkour skills (this was one of the themes to their trip...Matt free ran all over the place. If you don't know what parkour or free running is, peep it on youtube. In short, it involves running up buildings, jumping and climbing over things, and doing flips.). While they were here, we also played some Scattegories at a park where Matt entertained us with his answers (apparently the word "mail" is a four-letter word that begins with "s." Also, in case you didn't know, mail is something you distribute). Anyway, they talked about moving up here, which gives me an instant hard-on thinking about.- Also that weekend, H-Block was reunited as another old friend flew in to the Stump. Yes yes, y'all, Tony the Armenian was in town (leavin[...]

A bit of this, a bit of that...


Posts have become less than frequent lately, and I apologize to you, our loyal readers. I'm still out hitting the streets, e'y day all day, looking for work, and Jeff has a girlfriend, which if you know him, explains everything. As I'm beginning to become somewhat dispirited with my employment search (not sure if it's the economy, or just that I'm that goddamned overqualified, but I can't even seem to get a job tossing pizza, moving rental vehicles, delivering coffee, packing boxes, or bussing tables), I'll try and harness some of my lack of desire to search out crap work on Craigslist and deliver a few more posts before the month's demise.-R.I.P. Lagniappe, the formerly wonderful restaurant serving up steaming plates of Cajun will be missed. Kes and I discovered this place when it was a itty-bitty joint on Broadway and instantly fell in love. Emboldened by its success (or perhaps rising rent?), the owners moved the operation into a cavernous space on bustling Alberta Street. Unfortunately, patrons never really came through, and on many of our visits, the spot looked to be imitating a ghost town...this lack of support killed those crazy Cajuns, and now I'm left with nothing but impossible dreams of their mouth-watering beef brisket, pleasingly-acidic collard greens, Star Destroyer-sized Po'boys, and crisply-hot hush puppies.-In related news, one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants, Mudai, appears to have folded, as well. Our new apartment is much closer and I've walked past the sunken storefront many a time now, and have yet to see an Open sign. The doro tibs was magical. R.I.P. Mudai? Say it ain't so.-An updated (well, 6 month old) photo of the killacat, Frisco, mean mugging ya'll sucka asses.- Another Only In Portland item: In a recent Willamette Week article, Kyle Burris, a candidate for Mayor, stated the following as the most pressing issues facing Portland today..."The rampant gentrification, perpetuated by yuppie scum, and City Hall. The corruption of our culture, perpetuated by the goddamn hipsters." Another great response, this time by candidate Vladislav Davidzon (perennial winner of the Coolest Name Contest)..."The biggest issue facing our city is that our media believes that we can state the issues in 20 words or less." In. Your. Face. Media. Scum.-A few interesting websites I've stumbled across recently.UrbanEdibles ...for if I'm having a craving for free filberts. Make sure you peep the listing for "corn niblets," as it's delicious.Basic Instructions ...a charming little comic, full of life, laughter, and possibly corn niblets.Guerrilla Gardening ...please, if anyone is interested in teaming up to get this done, email me, and let's go botany bombing.Iran Graffiti ...I love repressed, 20 years behind the times, graffiti. Most of these burners and tags remind me of the shit I came across in Chile a few years back. A lot of really bad pieces, but also a few good examples of delightful Banksy-inspired rebellion.-I really like this photo of a man slowly murdering a tree outside of my former abode.-Some art piece that snuck out of the gallery and grabbed my attention on a dismally dark and drunken December night. I couldn't but shed a smile. Lots of love to you all, and stay with us, we'll get back on track soon. I hope.Old and Jeff[...]

Alaskan Bush Journey .2


Well, that was certainly more than a day or two, but who's counting...anyway, enjoy this second helping of photos from our trip to Alaska.=================================First thing my father noticed upon entering town was this official City message board with a lovingly handcrafted note attached proclaiming that the water was currently unusable...though we continued to use it, and the nervous ticks have yet to diminish.This cute little bugger is what's affectionately known as a Shit Lilly in these here parts. Put your nose in it and it really does smell like the crusty asshole of a dead hobo.The typical trappings of an Alaskan porch: random beach finds, illegal whale bones, and a string of deceased weasels...for sale. My dad bought three.This is Kes' father's home, one of the nicest in town. That's the boardwalk out front (PA doesn't have any cars, so no streets required). Below is a drift log we hauled into the back bay from a mile away, tied up and waiting to be chainsawed, then axed for firewood. That little row boat is David's primary form of transportation around town.Me holding up a 75 lb. halibut. Note the rubber gloves, which are worn to ward off the notorious slime halibuts secrete...impossible to wash off and smells like Hoggle's earwax.My dad's slightly bigger fish (he was sure to rub that in the entire trip). This picture was taken moments before the gaff hook slipped out of my hands and impaled my fathers paunch, located above that ridiculous cock-guard he's wearing. I won't say it was on purpose, but that thing was pissing me off.The group showing off the day's catch. Our friend and guide Ryan in the back, then from L-R, Squirt, Old, Pops, Kes. Lot's of meat that we're still eating on (email me if you want some, as I'm dying to be able to put some ice cream in my freezer once more).Pops spending some quiet time alone in the Back Bay via The Skiff. It seems peaceful, but he returned with 3,472 mosquito bites and itched like a scabies victim the remainder of the trip. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Old and Jeff[...]

Alaskan Bush Journey .1


Oh, the wilds of Canada, or as Kes and her family call it, Southeast Alaska. It's a majestic place, filled with grizzly bears the size of houses, wife-swapping hillbillies, limited public infrastructure (no electricity, roadways, running water, or government), shotgun-toting rebel fishmongers, and the most pristine silence present on this planet. The kind of silence that amplifies the residual noise of freeway traffic, alarm clocks, cell phones, TV, and the combustible engine (an invention that hasn't quite made it to these isolated islands as of press time) for a solid week after arrival. It is a land that I've been fortunate enough to have visited half a dozen times over the past nine years, as Kes' father claims territory here (he's a frontier squatter). While I must admit that upon first impression, this rugged region didn't capture my heart (I mean, who really likes wiping their ass with dried salmon skin?), over time it crept inside and took hold of my soul, kinda like a heroin addiction. As proof, you only have to look at the trail of discarded jobs I've abandoned instantly at the chance of heading up north...I hate working, and AK is the perfect place to be a lazy drunkard. Everybody's doing it. I remember Kes' father once mentioning that it costs him less than $7,000/year to live in the land not down under. I just made that figure up, but the point stands.Anyway, we took my Pops and little sister Squirt there this last summer and frankly, we had a ball. Here are a few pictures of the trip, starting with our journey from Sitka, where we stocked up on ammunition, salted pork, and oranges to ward off scurvy...and ending up in the oatstanding Canuckian (posing as Alaskan) outpost of Port Alexander, affectionately known by its settlers as PA. Enjoy.Totem Park, Sitka.Mt. Edgecomb (aboot to erupt), Sitka.The Starship Tourista...these Pluto-originated crafts are singly as big as the city of Sitka herself. And carry twice the population. It's not uncommon to see four or five docked at any one time.A lone fishmonger returning with the day's catch (baby seal and polar bear mostly). This is what night looks like.Typical view out the window of a flying four-man deathtrap affectionately known around these parts as a "float plane".A man's arm. Somewhere in the background is the back dock of Port Alexander, and David's home (made completely with solid gold panned from the Klondike itself).Arriving at the front dock in PA. This will be the last form of modern-day civilization that we'll have contact with over the course of the next 7 weeks.A video of our fearless pilot abandoning us to a life of beach asparagus diets, twelve year-old room temperature bottles of Budweiser, murderous 40lb. ravens, disturbingly-grouchy house tigers, radiation-affected mosquitoes, 24 hour insomnia, and dozens of potlucks (Oh, the Horror!). You're right, just like summer camp. I have a vague recollection of the pilot shouting "SUCKAS!" as he gunned it for civilization. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />To be continued...Old and Jeff[...]

Scrabble Bags


On any given Thursday night, in a dark and smoky bar tucked beneath the Morrison Bridge, a battle of wit and wisdom is being played out. In this industrial part of the city, where wharehouses and homeless encampments fit in more than the aforementioned bar, a phenemenon begins...already starting to sweep the nation.Le Merde, the adjoining bar to Le Bistro Montage restaurant, is the quintessential underground watering hole. This may seem counterintuitive to the fact that it sits next to a very popular restaurant and is full on most nights. However, because of its industrial setting, as well as dark and smoky interior, it gives off a sort of rebelious, intellectual air.Every Thursday night at nine, Le Merde hosts a trivia in which multiple teams battle it out for pub-intellect supremecy. Anybody can play, so long as they are in groups of five or less, and have a team name. Shannon, aka Shanrock, is the hostess and provides the questions and structured format. The rounds are broken up by category, as well as the way the questions are asked and supposed to be answered. For example, one round requires you to listen to one clue at a time and, based on the number of clues it takes for you to figure out the answer, you'll receive a variant amount of points. There is also a music recognition round, and a physical challenge, too.A group of friends and I have been going to Le Merde for a couple years now, and, until recently, have been picking a new team name every time. However, as the core group of people going narrowed down some, and our attempt to win became more serious, we decided it was time to name ourselves. So one night, in the company of Bobby, Ian, Stephanie and Olde, we unveiled the new name: The Scrabble Bags. For the simple-minded, this could refer to an assortment of lettered tiles in a felt bag. Or, if you are familiar with Old's dad's lingo, or just plain brilliant, you'd know it is more of a reference to the male anatomy. Whatever the case, we thought the name was perfect. It now represents an approximate grouping of Chrissie, Casey, Ian, Bobby, Olde, and I. There are stragglers, of course (Stephanie, Sydney, and Maggie), but the core remains farley intact (with Bobby, Olde and I the most committed). This commitment has begun to catch on, and has now become a movement (in many ways, a force to be reckoned with). Case in point: on a recent trip to Denver, my sister (being granted honorary status as a Scrabble Bagger) and I went to a pub trivia with a friend of hers. Intent on representing the Scrabble Bags in another state, and unwilling to take on another name, we forced my sister's friend to change their team name to incorporate "Scrabble Bag" in it. Unfortunately, the outsiders tainted the force, and we fared poorly. However, the word is now out and spreading across the nation. The Scrabble Bags have arrived...and there will be no avoiding us.Peep us at Le Merde on any Thursday night that we can get our shit together and make it out. At worst, you can get a beer and some bomb mac and cheese from Montage. Check 'em out at 301 SE Morrison St.Old and Jeff[...]