We returned to Hippo Hardware one last time to redeem an $11 store credit. I brought my camera to snap pictures of every little thing in the store and remember how, even in a city as rapidly changing as Portland, there are still some genuinely beautiful pockets holding their corner.Read More
How to sum up the incredible and complex forces, both pushing and pulling, that would provoke a family to leave their beloved home for a new city, across the country?Read More
A recent visit, and farewell, to my favorite donut shop in Portland, Oregon brings an encounter with Old Portland, New Portland, and this place we still call home, but don’t live in anymore.Read More
This is a love letter to our home a stylish Arbor Lodge bungalow, with a classic interior, a sleek, elegant kitchen with a built-in dining area that was a raging pain in the ass to build. From the formal living room with fireplace and handmade built-in cabinets and window seats with plenty of storage, to the beautifully renovated tile bathroom and handcrafted artisan built-ins in the master bedroom, this home is a luxurious palace, and it’s totally for sale.Read More
Today, a lot of people will be shaking her hand and wishing Jaclyn all the best luck on whatever lucky project she’ll work on next. It must be a weird day for her—twelve years—and everything to show for it.Read More
OMSI’s Animation Land. Created in partnership with Jolby and Friends, and largely designed by Jaclyn BarberRead More
When someone is about to call the cops on you, I find it’s best to call them first.Read More
This is a story about how, in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, in the spring of 1998, I became old friends with 20 or 30 seniors on rumspringa from Green Bay Wisconsin and how they almost destroyed Western Europe with a photograph.Read More
While in Minneapolis for a brief, busy weekend exploring new apartments and job prospects, a mid-April blizzard hits town and I miss my flight home.Read More
I have never been very current on fashion, so my trips to the mall usually included eye-opening updates on trends. Apparently, judging by the three Russian figure skaters, there was some huge fad for czaritsa chic going around.Read More
I love malls. This is an essay on how I came to fall in love with malls, accompanied by a series of pictures I shot in January, of Portland’s Lloyd Center Mall.Read More
I love this pen. This is my love letter to the Pilot, V5 Precise.Read More
Whether we like it or not, art is all around us. If we’re paying attention, we might just have the opportunity to be its chaperone.Read More
A creepy encounter with a strange old man and the seedy backstory behind the pillars of Kenton, Oregon.Read More
Stand anywhere in Portland, Oregon, throw a rock in any direction and, with that rock, you could hit two bicycle frame builders. Maybe though, don’t throw rocks. (Just a thought.)Read More
While I love a good, handmade bicycle, I’ve always been especially impressed with custom built racks. Racks are often overlooked as strictly utilitarian. They are, after all, meant to be covered by whatever they’re built to carry.
There’s something extra when such care and attention is spent to build a non-centerpiece beautifully. Our world has no shortage of shady corners and seemingly mundane objects. When we are able to tidy-up, and make pretty the humdrum places and things (even when it’s very likely nobody will discover and appreciate that hard work), we are doing the good work. This is especially true when you consider how much of a pain in the ass racks are to build, and even more of a fight to build well. I won’t elaborate on the boring, esoteric reasons why a rack’s manufacture is so mind-bogglingly horrible. You’ll just have to follow along when I say, rack building is a grossly under-appreciated art.
This blog is a companion to Norther Cycles Will Save America
The road is a roiling, lusty sway through the always-green tangle of our Tillamook State Forest. West, the forest’s magnificent deepness drains suddenly to gash-open swaths, clear-cut raw. The shorn hills seem caught bare, obscenely bright and dry and uprooted, scattered about with the once-wise trunks of once-impenetrable forests, now gray and kindling. This moonscape is only made more conspicuous by the roadline of trees—spared by the loggers—serving as a faux curtain to obscure the landmaster’s handiwork. (It isn’t fooling anyone.) Quickly though, the land pulls back again, under the heaving shroud of fir and blue spruce, the drinkable wetness of sod and turgid cedar and the iron tang of constant and forgiving rain.
First, salt, then ion. A creamy seabreeze indicates large water is near. Here, it seems, salt is a way of life: a fine, ruddy patina has settled on, has worked its way into, all surfaces. We’ve only just unpacked the jeep, hauled the coolers and the many bags into our rental and, already, my daughter’s fine hair sprouted a wicked twang of voluminous curls. The beach is near, so we walk, and as we walk, the ocean’s deafening shawl gathers, a constant punctuated only by a thumping wave tearing at the breakwater. Mom is out of her sandals and, toes-spread, makes for the water’s edge. I leave on my shoes and, still remembering the many ruined vacation-shoes of my childhood, sandpad delicately behind her. From here, from the water’s edge, stretching inland behind us, a tsunami plane, for miles and miles. Everything within its incredible reach—houses, people and even the solid forrest—is doomed.
Dad and I set ourselves to a practical task: building a fire. It is a simple task, but one that requires some amount of teamwork, cooperation—which can be touchy work for a father and a son. Luckily, our prospects for fuel are scant—we must scour a nearby forest for kindling. We return with a bumper crop of branches and logs—all of which are hopelessly water heavy. Miraculously, a saw is located in our host’s garage. It is small and dull, but we have time. Dad holds down a thick, surprisingly solid wooden corpse while I maniacally lop off burnable hunks. From a nursery of tissue and twigs, puny flames are coaxed into a roaring, white-hot fire—the sizzling wood weeping an acrid liquor. For now, brute determination has won the day, which, normally, is not a good thing. But this time, at least, it feels good—this small accomplishment between men notoriously clunky at (but eager for) knowing one another.
In the absence of birthday cake, pumpkin bread—impaled with candles—will have to suffice. My daughter helps to blow out the waxy fire threatening her grandmother’s cake, nearly losing her eyebrows in the melee. Cheap champagne (a new family tradition—landing the cork in our neighbor’s back lawn signifies good luck) is uncorked. The shot ricochets around the rental. We consider a long life lived, and how—glasses raised, clinking—it actually isn’t long at all. But there is no time to mourn—the past may be brief but mourning only makes it briefer. There is only time to fashion a notch in this moment and move on, happily spent, back home and back to work.
Witnessing the Winter Solstice, it's not hard to imagine why its first observants wanted commemorate the occasion. It must have been scary as hell, a moon like that, and without the lights of the city to dilute its fullness (as they did here). Will the year's crops fail? Are we all going to die? Or, does this foretell good luck? Is this the year my wife will finally buy me that Ferrari I've always wanted?!
On a recent whim trip to Seattle, an old native is stunned to see the city he once knew, transformed into… something else. Here is a small tour through the place he once knew, accompanied by wildly inaccurate and purposely false claims about their history.Read More
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
when Dan quit his job, I set out to write him a LinkedIn recommendation. What started as a simple endorsement turned into a longer story about one of the best/worst jobs I’ve ever had, and the lovely, highly capable man I had the opportunity to share it with.
These are excerpts from that story.