A few months ago I got a manuscript copy of Low Town, a debut novel by Daniel Polansky. The rep who gave it to me isn’t a big genre fan, but she couldn’t help but rave about this book. I dug into the the first chapter as soon as I got it. I was hooked. Polansky has written a gritty crime novel full of the classic tropes, from the tough fallen-hero protaganist to a cast of rogues, unsavory cops, and violent dilettantes.
To me, there is really only one name in hiking guides: William L Sullivan. Being that I live and generally hike in Oregon (I usually seem to regret the hikes I’ve taken on the other side of the river), Sullivan’s guides have me pretty much covered. He’s been hiking around Oregon since he was a kid and his knowledge of the trails and parks is second to none.
On Saturday, I went on a long hike up the side of Mt. Hood to McNeil Point. The guide book said that it would be difficult, and I must say that in this case, Mr. Sullivan was telling the truth. By the time that we stumbled back to my companion’s car, we were both beat to exhaustion. On the other hand, this was probably the single most rewarding hike we’d ever taken.
Today I wore a lot of hats. Events, and my reactions to them, conspired to make me into a number of stereotypical ‘men on the street.’ I should be used to this by now, being one of those ‘Californians’ that seem to make up half the population of Portland. Unfortunately, it seems to be my lot to shift from one caricature to another by virtue of my familial tendency towards eccentricity.
It is my birthday today. I’ve turned 39, which I must say is a pretty unspectacular number. It isn’t mathematically interesting like a prime or a square, nor is it one of those milestone years that I am supposed to be dreading or anticipating. I took the day off, but not so much because of any desire to celebrate my aging, but to facilitate a long visit to the dentist. Already, you can see that I really know how to ‘live large.’
A couple weeks ago, I managed to grab an advance copy of the new novel from Neal Stephenson, Reamde. The title is a play on the semi-deliberate mangling of English words by non-English speakers when naming knock-off products or other merchandise, while referencing the classic readme files that accompany many varieties of software. Without even opening the cover, we already know that this is going to be a book about computer geeks and knowing Stephenson, that it will have broader themes and outrageous ideas. All of these things boded well.
Hello. My name is Christian. I moved to Portland 5 years ago to escape the ridiculous cost of living in California and rejoin my friends who had already migrated to the area. I work for a Portland icon and I commute to work by bike rain or shine. In many ways, I am a model Portlander, yet I am a terrible misanthrope.
I’ll probably be writing about the things that I enjoy: books, cycling, hiking, and being a dad. To balance out these moments of good nature, I’ll make sure to pass along my keen insights (read: mean-spirited quips) about Portland’s popular culture, fashion and semi-ironic grooming. I’ll try to post most days and hopefully my simple words will entertain.