the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Portland

Apology to the City of Portland

I have many faults, but I try to own up to my mistakes, and apologize when warranted. I had a wonderful time in Portland. It is a beautiful city with excellent beer and fine citizens. I was especially impressed with Powell’s Bookstore, which I thought was even more impressive than the Strand Bookstore in New York. Unfortunately, I seemed to have angered many Portlandians when I mentioned in a previous post that Sophia and I saw only one black person in the entire city during our four days there, and this was the sax player in a fifteen member big band at a jazz club.


Maybe I was wrong for bringing up this bit of random information on this blog, especially now that I know I was wrong.  There isn’t just one African-American in Portland.  There are TWO —

From the awful Donald Trump-produced Miss USA show on TV tonight — Miss Oregon from Portland


Sophia: “Maybe it’s his daughter.”

There Are More Black People on American Idol than in the Entire City of Portland


1)  There are more black people on American Idol than in the entire city of Portland.  

I like Portland.  It looks like an Edward Hopper painting, a little dark and depressed.  The city is chock full of old neon signs and from the outside, the city seems like it hasn’t changed in fifty years (although the old tannery is now a trendy bistro)…. but maybe the city has TOO much of a 1950’s feel.   I’ve never seen so many white faces in my life.  On Thursday night, we went to a jazz club that Ellen Bloom recommended called Jimmy Mak’s and saw one black guy, the sax player in a fifteen piece band.  That’s ONE black guy in a Jazz Band, in a Jazz Club, in an entire city, in four days!

2)  We’ve met Portland’s finest bloggers.

Lani and Patry (photo stolen from Lani because mine was too dark)

After meeting the charming Chantel at Tequilacon, we made it a mission to meet other Portland bloggers.  We had dinner with blogging friend Alexandra (who baked us some delicious cake) and then attended a literary salon at the home of the uber-talented writer/illustrator Lani.   The meeting was in honor of Cape Cod-based blogger Patry, who is on tour promoting her first novel, The Liar’s Club.   It was inspirational hearing Patry talk about her book, which I can’t wait to read.  Laini also talked about her forthcoming book, Faeries of Dreamdark.   It was wonderful hearing about the successes of fellow bloggers!  (Yeah, right.  I hate them!)

3)  It is official.  Sophia has the “X” factor.

I drive as slow as an old woman.  Sophia drives like a Nascar racer.  She was stopped TWICE by the Oregon highway patrol, but both times she was let go WITH just a WARNING!   Why does that never happen to me?

4)  Sophia and I are punching each other.

Danny’s daughter, Leah, taught us a driving game that is more current than “Geography.”  I forget what it is called, but you basically can punch the other person whenever you see a Volkswagen Beetle.  The score so far:  Sophia – 7, Neil – 3.

5)  High culture — feh!


We’re currently staying in Ashland, Oregon, which is a cute little town in the Southern part of the state.  We’re staying at this offbeat hundred-year old hotel that looks like something out of “The Shining.”  The main excitement in town is that it is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.    So, what did we see at the Shakespeare festival?  A bad Tom Stoppard farce.  However, tonight, there is Shakespeare playing at the Shakespeare festival , but we are choosing to go to the Oregon Cabaret Theater to see some dumb little musical called “Men on Ice,” about a fishing hole in Milwaukee.

6)  Water.

We’ve seen a lot of water — the ocean, lakes,rivers and creeks.  Being a Pisces, I should like water, but Sophia is the one who’s always dragging me to drive an hour and a half to see some creek.  We had a long discussion today, and decided that rivers and creeks are the coolest of all bodies of water.

7)  Soap Opera to Go.


Sophia and I keep up with “All My Children” via our nifty “Hava” machine plugged into our DVR at home.

8)  We’re not done yet.

Tomorrow, we are off to San Francisco — and meeting more bloggers.

Planning Our Road Trip


Sophia’s list of exciting things to do on our road trip to Portland:

Dune buggies in Florence, Oregon
Driving through Giant Redwoods
Jet boating on Rouge River
Mud Bath in Calistoga
“Safari West” in Santa Rosa
Hiking Near Pacific

Neil’s list of exciting things to do on our road trip to Portland:

Stopping at Los Bagels in the tiny town of Arcata, California, voted the best bagels outside of New York City.

Tentative plans:

Day 1 and 2 (next Saturday) — Santa Rosa/Napa

Day 3 – Mendocino

Day 4 – Eureka/Redwoods

Day 5 – More Redwoods, Gold Beach, Oregon

Day 6 – Florence/Yachats, Oregon

Day 7 – Portland

Any suggestions, like what do we do if it rains all the time?

Our Upcoming Drive to Portand


First up, thanks for all those birthday greetings for Sophia.   She was tickled pink.   Yesterday, we saw a concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans.  We ate French crepes in the morning and Indian Tandoori at night. 

But there was ONE little problem.  Remember, yesterday, I wrote a whole post about how important it was to make an elaborate toast for the birthday girl.  And how important it was to make this toast with some sort of alcoholic drink.   So, I waited all day to make this toast until we were at dinner, not realizing that I made reservations at a Halal Indian Restaurant, which means they were Muslim and didn’t have alcohol!   Luckily Danny plied us with champagne when we stopped over at his house after dinner.  To top it all, he baked a birthday cake for Sophia!

What we are looking forward to during our upcoming road trip to Portland to meet some bloggers:

Neil:  Tillamook Cheese Tour


Sophia:  The Redwoods —

(thanks, Psychomom!)


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Brokeback Birthday

Six “Weird” Things You Don’t Know About Me


  1. I live with a woman that I am separated from!
  2. I am travelling all the way to Portland, Oregon next month just to spend ONE NIGHT meeting a bunch of bloggers I hardly know!
  3. I am DRIVING all the way to Portland, a FIFTEEN HOUR trip!
  4. I am driving to Portland WITH this woman that I am separated from!
  5. I am driving to Portland without any real plans, other than taking 4-5 days to drive up the coast, and stopping at both Napa, California for some wine and Tilamook, Oregon for some cheese!
  6. Oh, and I LOVE naked women!

Totally weird!

Let’s see… who else is on the way to and in Portland? — Dagny, Leese, Buzzgirl, Jurgen, Chantel, Alexandra., etc. I’m sure this is exactly what Sophia wants to do on her vacation — watch me talk about blogging with some more bloggers!

Update: I just read this over again, and the proximity of my naked women joke and the mention of several female bloggers might wrongly give the impression that I want to see these bloggers “naked” as I am driving up towards Portland. That is far from the truth. Well, I mean, if I actually got to see another woman naked, it’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but that isn’t my main reason for mentioning these specific bloggers. Maybe what I meant to say was that I enjoy seeing women “naked” in the sense of knowing a person’s “inner truth,” like a naked “soul.” Eh, maybe I should just stop now before I make things worse —

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