I used to get phone calls that went something like this:

“Well, I was on Greeley, but then I accidentally took the wrong ramp. I was trying to find Portland Blvd, but this looks like kind of an industrial area?”

“What can you see around you?”

“Well, the streets are all one way, and… wait… If Darth Vader was a building, I found him.”

“You’re on Swan Island. You can follow Channel Ave back to Going. Follow that up to Interstate, turn left, and head north for about a mile and a half or so. But they call it Rosa Parks Way now. Just so you know”


I am basically useless at giving directions outside of the Portland area, but having lived here pretty much my whole life made me a reasonably decent resource if you were lost within the city’s confines. The now ubiquitous GPS features in cars and phones have made this particular skill nearly obsolete. I do have a few other functions:

Gentlemen’s Club Zagat Guide:  Due to the institution of Strip Club Thursdays, I have spent a greater than average amount of time in the naked-lady-dancer establishments in this town. Since I have a short attention span, I tended to seek out variety in my venues, and while I have by no means been to every club in town (it’s Strip Club Thursdays not Strip Club Everyday) I do have a breadth of experience that means I can usually offer a meaningful recommendation. People who have out of town guests who are interested in Portland’s seedier side often ask me to suggest a place. Then I have to ask things like

What kind of girls would they prefer? Girls next door? Tattooed and Trampy? Fake Plastic Shes?

Are they more interested in lap dances, stage shows, or acrobatics?

How important is ambiance? They looking for more of a burlesque club or as skanky as possible?

Armed with this information, I can generally make suggestions that people find useful.

Random Trivia Fact Spewer:  I know a lot of junk. My mom was a Jeopardy! fan, I read pretty much non-stop as a child, and I seem to have a nearly limitless capacity for inanery. Portland history, musical facts (mostly due to the Gay Robot) pop culture, and who invented the swivel chair. It’s all rattling around in there. Sometimes this is useful, in the context of beating someone at Trivial Pursuit, or contributing to a Pub Trivia win, but otherwise I think it’s like whistling; only fun for the person doing it.

 Unusual Word In Place Of Common Word Replacement Specialist: Now, it isn’t all that hard to accuse me of being pretentious. And, you know, sometimes I am. But when it comes to language, I genuinely ain’t. Rather, I care deeply about the nuance of language and have spent a lifetime acquiring the tools to use it better. Subtle variations in meaning are important, as is taxonomy, so if I use a rather less common word in place of something more recognizable, it is not so that I can impress the listener with my big vocabulary, but rather to impress upon them a very particular meaning. This aim, however, is thwarted when the listener doesn’t recognize the word I’m using and has no clue what the fuck I am on about.

So! To remedy this, in some small way, I’ve decided to start a series wherein I define the words in my lexicon that most often result in blank stares or someone reaching for a dictionary app on the same phone that made my navigatrix skills less valuable. 

Requests are welcome!