More surreality in Portland
I've mentioned the random nature of Portland before, and just to follow up, here's a quick recap of Thursday through Saturday.
Thursday night I got a call from the location scout for the Weiden+Kennedy Nike ad shoot -- they apparently wanted access to Conquent's office to add some "lighting effects." As much as I'd love to claim "Nike video" on the Conquent portfolio, it really had nothing to do with us -- they just liked the area and the office makes a centerpiece for their shot. Ironic that Conquent ends up in Nike advertising just by the fact the company exists...
I also found out that the Mad Men Twitterers have been asked to speak at SXSW -- this is a really big deal, and I was happy to accept. I got my travel plans together on Friday and figured this was a good opportunity to go down to Beer and Blog; if I haven't mentioned it or you're not familiar with it, Beer and Blog is a kind of geekfest for people who post blogs regularly, and some folks who have nothing to do with blogging, but like the opportunity to talk tech with Internet geeks. It happens every Friday at the Green Dragon just off Belmont on SE 9th.
As I walked in, I ran into Greg Zimmerman, a friend who doesn't really keep up with any of the Internet stuff who just happened to be at the Green Dragon meeting up with his girlfriend. I hooked up with them shortly after being part of the crowd scene for KGW's news coverage of Beer and Blog (some guy set up his laptop with a web cam, and I guess the thing was streamed live over the Internet to the local news channel).
Turns out they were going to a party at Polara Studios, a really great commercial photography studio. Every year Polara has a big party with a different theme, this year it was Americana, with beer, hot dogs, a juggler (who kept dropping things, delighting the children and scaring the mothers), some odd performance dance and a gypsy swing band which others got up and danced to. I wasn't invited, and rather than going through a complicated story to crash the party, I just introduced myself as I walked in the door, which seemed to be enough (not that they knew anything about me, it's just that confident audaciousness that gets you past most checkpoints).
Great party, great drinks, and I fortunately got out of there early enough that I didn't do anything stupid... that I know of, that is. I mean, there was the woman I was dancing with at one point and we ended up under a spotlight, which fortunately someone killed at some point, but I don't know if that was because we were terrible or just distracting, or completely coincidental.
As a potentially completely separate posting, but to demonstrate the surreality of Portland, I got up Saturday morning and after getting Markie off on her day, and doing some laundry and other mundane Saturday tasks, I took advantage of the weather and got out for a flat 25 mile bike ride. Bear in mind, I am NOT in any kind of shape to be riding, but I figured, flat bike trail, I'll be fine. I didn't count on the headwind which made the ride about as difficult as climbing the West Hills.
So, I really needed to take a break after 13 miles and grab a bite to eat when I got to Gresham; I was going to grab something at the gas station, but I found a bagel shop right across the street -- Jazzy Bagels. I figured it was just a catchy name, although I did find it kind of odd that there was a baby grand piano in the middle of the place.
As I was sitting there eating my veggie bagel, I started to hear piano music, and sure enough, there was a guy playing, no joke, "I left my heart in San Francisco." Note the soda dispenser in the photo, and maybe you'll get an impression of the surreal nature of the place.
Of course it seems that Portland is always surreal -- just keep your eyes and ears open and you'll see we don't even need those "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers.