Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the metrosexual

“The definition of a metrosexual varies but often includes urban, wealthy and a hint of something more sinister: the very term connotes an abundance of self-indulgence. Any man interested in style… must have some intrinsic, decadent flaw.”

Right. I feel the same way about men who can cook something without benefit of a grill, enjoy room service at a posh hotel or who can talk honestly and openly about their feelings.

Seriously. Guys like that need to man up.

If a man takes care of himself, uses moisturizer and knows a bit about fashion, is it fair to call him a metrosexual? And doesn’t the term imply that men who do make an effort are something of an aberration? I have an editorial in a fashion magazine this month that talks about the term metrosexual, and makes the case that the term is discriminatory. Check it out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy anniversary

It’s been one heckuva year, readers. As many of you know, I moved from a small town in Northern Kentucky to Portland at the end of April. The blog moved too, and it’s had some growing pains along the way:

Low points: Switching comment systems due to an influx of spam and effectively losing all of your comments. Blechh. And moving a popular geo-blog to a new city proved confusing for new visitors. I’m working on it.

High points: Getting freelance writing work from people who like the blog. Meeting amazing new people. Slowly but surely, gaining some ground in Oregon, with new readers visiting the blog every day.

In fact, Visitors from 28 countries and 42 states visited the rose city journal this month. And it’s an ADD blog, but if you’re a regular reader, you knew that already. I started blogging to bring attention to an area of Northern Kentucky that wasn’t getting much play in the news. Then I wrote a couple of essays from the heart that became so popular, I kept on going.

And with the move to Portland, things haven’t changed too drastically. I still write about stuff that you and I both love to do: drinking craft beer, festivals, concerts in the park and some art-y happenings. Well-documented on the blog this year were my relationships with family, friends and of course, love interests- they’ve continued to be blog mainstays.

I look forward to a new year with you. As things keep changing for me, I’ll keep you posted. I hope you’ll keep me posted too.

December 11th is the two-year anniversary of the rose city journal.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Because darn it all, I’m ready for the New Year. Are you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Ship Parade

For more than 50 years, the Portland Christmas Ship Parade has charmed visitors to Portland and its year-round residents. There are two Christmas Ship Parades, one that trails the Columbia River and one that follows the Willamette River. Approximately 60 boats are participating in this year's event.

The Portland Christmas Ship Parade website offers information about where to see the boats, including hotels and restaurants (if available) and on-shore spots along their routes where the flotillas can be viewed. The skippers pay for their own fuel, holiday decorations and other expenses, so donations are welcomed at the holiday boat parade’s website. This weekend, both fleets will be sailing together on Saturday from St. Helens beginning at 6 pm and Sunday from Scappoose beginning at 5 pm.

The Christmas Ship Parade runs through Sunday, December 21st.

Portland Christmas Ship Parade
Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas
Through December 21st

Monday, December 8, 2008

the grinch

When it comes to giving handouts to the homeless, I have to admit, I’m kind of a Grinch.

Since moving to Portland, I’ve found that the city, like many cities on the west coast but more so, is exceedingly helpful, tolerant and generous to its considerable homeless population. The affordable housing program is doing so well, it’s being duplicated in other cities. The town turns a blind eye to a squatter’s village inside the city limits. And everywhere you go, you’ll find citizens of the rose city communing for homeless rights. Yay for us.

But when it comes to spanging, I don’t help out at all. I don’t give anything to anybody. At some point I decided that if I give money to some people, but not to others, I’ll never know which ones to choose. Which ones to say no to. So instead of saying yes to all, I say no- to everyone.

I wasn’t always this way. In college, with each visit to the Bay area, I warmly greeted the homeless people (who correctly surmised I was just off the turnip patch), and handed out change as freely and as often as it was asked of me. I even used to engage many of the homeless people I encountered, asking them where they were from or what war they’d served in.

But I don’t do that anymore. There are an overwhelming number of homeless people in Portland asking passers-by for change, going through the recycling bins and hanging around the bus stop asking people for cigarettes. And these days, I don’t stop to give them money or to shoot the breeze.

In fact, I sort of walk around them.

I know, this probably makes me a bad person. And trust me, I’m lousy with liberal guilt. But almost every time I’ve been asked for money, I’ve just paid my whopping rent check. Negotiated a payment plan for medical bills. Been shocked at the ever-increasing price to heat my little home.

And that seems unfair. Because I do I have a home. Get to go to a cushy doctor’s office to get checked out. Have lots of nice things that many other people don’t have. And with the holiday season close upon us, I feel my stinginess more than ever.

I don’t want to be a Grinch. To be self-involved and to only care that my own needs are taken care of.

But right now, I don’t know any other way to be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the mattress

“I’m getting a mattress,” she said, smiling shyly. The pretty young student moved upstairs two weeks ago and has hardly any furniture at all. “I can’t afford a new one, so I’m buying one used.”

I remembered when Tawny, who worked with me at the paint store, started work at the rent to own store instead. And her stories, gleefully told, of maggots in couches and roaches in beds.

“You can’t see them so ya gotta be careful,” she admonished me when I ran into her at the diner one day. As if at any minute I would race to a rent to own store to buy some dirty couch.

I didn’t tell the pretty graduate student any of this. Just:

“Ask them to flip it over.”