August 18th, 2011

Captain Kris W'lash

A day off done right

If Randy Newman had written U2's "Beautiful Day," he would've written it not "It was a beautiful day; don't let it get away," but "It was a beautiful day; you let it get away."

Search your feelings, you know this to be true.

Guess what today was? Beautiful. Also a day off, which I wasn't expecting you to guess, so chill. This ain't a quiz. But I wanted to be sure to get out in it. Decided to drive, since I'd previously invested in enough gas, so I got out a map and looked for a particular place to go.

I braved 82nd (and saw a guy who was a few months' hair growth and an apocalypse away from being Blank Reg from Max Headroom) to go to Rocky Butte, which I hadn't been up to for a decade. It might be the tallest butte in Portland -- it's one of my city's many big hills, including Mt. Tabor, an honest-to-God extinct volcano -- and has a neat walled plaza on top, like a castle lookout. Bricks rising up about a story from the circle road at butte-top. Not surprisingly, the view kicks ass, especially when the day's beautiful. I shared the park with a few other people and at least one raptor, crying its hawk-cry. I saw it once, sitting regally on a Parking sign. I'd never look so regal sitting on a parking sign.

I also stood or sat in the shade and read, having brought along Wil Wheaton's Just A Geek, about his struggles as both an actor and an up-and-coming writer. His website was my computer's home page for years, so I've followed and rooted for the guy for a while. Good food-for-thought reading, as it came from a period where he had real trouble getting any acting work but was still hugely insecure about whether he could give the writing thing a go. Turns out he did, and as a lot of us fellow geeks know he made inroads as an actor again, too. (I finally saw him for the first time a few weeks ago as the hilarious jackass Fawkes in Felicia Day's web series The Guild, which not only made me laugh a lot but also scratched my "I lurrrrrve hearing TV stars swear a blue streak" itch.) Wheaton calls himself out for bullshit when he reprints his early journal entries: he says more than once I was trying to convince myself things were better than they were, so I wasn't being honest, to me or to you. I know better now to be honest. He's making that work. I hope he keeps doing so.

Headed home circuituously after that; drove through NE Portland neighborhoods I don't get to too often, and as I went along Prescott I remembered the Cannon's Rib Shack near NE 33rd and Killingsworth, and decided dammit, I'm going to splurge. Brisket, cole slaw, a muffin and a black cherry soda are now getting digested within me. Time and money, I'd say, well-spent. The last time I'd tried going there, with a friend no less, we got there minutes after it had closed. I made up for that today.

May it be beautiful now or at least very, very soon wherever you are.