I made my beet cupcakes last week for my Portland Dungeons & Dragons gang. I found gummi hearts and added little green stalks to make them look like love beets (click to embiggen). One person in our group is allergic to gluten so I made them with gluten-free flour substitute. I think they turned out all right but like most gluten-free goods they feel heavy in your stomach. But you can put buttercream frosting on a rock and it’ll taste good.
In my last post about intercultural observations from an outside perspective on Portland, I may have seemed a bit harsh. My goal with the post was to try to point out differences, and that differences can be challenging for anyone when experiencing a new environment. But I learned that some Portlanders are also sensitive to critique, which may or may not be a cultural generalization.
Anyway, there are plenty of things I do like here, and some neutral observations that I hope don’t come off as offensive to those who carry concealed weapons here, as I’m told they often do in Portland. But then again there were plenty of guns and knives in DC but that didn’t stop me from running my mouth. Anyway, here are some pluses:
- Beards. Lots of epic legendary beards. No more of those 4-day stubble I don’t want my DC lawfirm to disapprove of punk-ass beards. Big giant wonderful beards.
- There are lots of entrepreneurs here. I’ve met a guy who runs his own bakery, a food truck guy, and many others. It’s been interesting to meet them, and I didn’t run across many entrepreneurs in DC.
- The food here is incredible, and probably wasted on my low-class tastes, but I’ve eaten at some pretty good joints so far.
- Independent coffee shops are everywhere, usually with cute bearded baristas serving you. See beard comment above.
- Easy and quick access to outdoor recreation like hiking and snowboarding.
On our weekly hike we went to Aldrich Butte which overlooks the Cascade Locks on the Columbia River. There were remains of an old World War II lookout at the top, and a nice view too.
I haven’t gotten out snowboarding yet but we are waiting for better powder conditions. My contemporaries here are pretty fussy about snow quality, and the season here runs later than on the East coast so I’m willing to wait. I have been doing core body strengthening exercises to prepare as best I can.
I’ve scrapped the idea of playing rugby in the spring. While it would be a great way to meet people and work off some steam, I still don’t have a job yet and thus no major health insurance coverage. A major injury would be devastating to me at this point, and I’ve learned I don’t play well with that thought in the back of my head. USA Rugby membership does include a degree of health insurance protection with a membership, but I’d feel safer with more reliable insurance.
Some other observations:
- They day “yeah yeah yeah” to convey agreement, which is kind of endearing.
- Since it rains a lot, the city center doesn’t smell like stale urine like in DC or San Francisco, but there are a lot of moldy houses.
- I smell weed everywhere, although I don’t partake. I call it the “funky skunk” smell, and it is strong here.
- There will be a push for gay marriage in Oregon in 2014.
- The bartenders here serve ridiculously strong drinks. This is often a good thing, but sometimes regretted.
I’m still on the job hunt, and I’m approaching six months of unemployed status. I recently dipped into some of my 401k savings to go a little further. I’m getting the feeling there are hundreds of applicants to the jobs I’m applying to, which is a bit dispiriting. But I’m told the job situation here is better than it was a few years ago. I just don’t have the network here that I had in DC to hear about those jobs that aren’t widely advertised to get the jump on an opening, or to get my resume on someone’s desk through a friend or acquaintance. But I’m finding at least two jobs a week that I’m qualified for an interested in and sending those applications through. Still haven’t heard from the interview I had in Salem in December, but see my application is still in review. At least that’s what the application website says. Keep swimming…