Weekend!

I don’t really know what Portland stories would be interesting.

We sat around a table and drank and argued and the people who didn’t show up until later walked up to us and said stuff like “I don’t know who any of you are but I’m guessing from the fact that you’re arguing about immigration and Communism means that you guys are from Ordinary Times?”

As it turns out, we were from ordinary times. But my guess is that Portland usually has a lot of people arguing about immigration and Communism at bars.

As we drove around the first night, I remember thinking “there sure are a lot of Call People out and about” and I was told “no, that’s just how young people dress when you’re not in Colorado Springs.” *THEN* I found that the restaurant was in the Red Light District. So we were both right.

Another night I stepped outside and smelled that a skunk had sprayed nearby and I said something to the effect of “golly, we have skunks in our back yard sometimes but they tend to be live and let live” and everybody kind of smiled to themselves and they pointed out that I wasn’t smelling a skunk but Smelling Skunk and I felt like a square from squaresville.

We *DO* have skunks in our back yard sometimes, though.

Powell’s is an absolutely amazing bookstore. I asked for a book that they said they had on the computer and they couldn’t find it so I got a 10% off coupon! So I bought the Fight Club 2 graphic novel. The lady behind the counter said “you found the Palahniuk!” and I said “It’s not for me, it’s for someone else entirely.” I’m pretty sure she believed me.

At the dinner, I ordered the second cheapest bottle of wine. The wine guy screwed up the cork and then brought out a second bottle which he then *BROKE*. The guy in charge of the restaurant then opened the wine for us. You just *KNOW* the waitstaff drank those first two bottles after close.

While riding on a mostly full elevator, we picked up a passenger who announced to the car that she was loaded, and therefore would be facing the back of the elevator and speaking to us until we got all the way to the lobby. She pointed out that this was against social convention.

The farmer’s market was downright amazing. It made me wish I had a kitchen nearby. Instead, we bought a couple of half-pints of berries and ate them with ice cream as we sat on a bench and listened to hippies play music for dollar bills. Not every male at the farmer’s market in Portland had a beard, but out of those that did, my beard was the shortest. That’s because I prefer to not use beard products at all.

I pretty much had it confirmed that everyone who is a member of OT is good looking, has a good sense of humor, and doesn’t mind arguing loudly in bars with complete strangers.

You all totally need to come to the next Leaguefest.

As for this weekend, I’m going to spend it recovering from the last weekend.

So… what’s on your docket?

(Image is Tristan and Isolde Drinking the Love Potion by Gautier Map from the Messire Lancelot du Lac. He did most of his stuff in the 12th and 13th century so I figure it’s in the public domain.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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37 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. At the dinner, I ordered the second cheapest bottle of wine

    Oh, don’t let any economists know this.

    One of the things that I for once was smart enough to anticipate was how draining Leaguefest was likely to be. *I* was tired from the trip, but the Better Bath was tired from my not being there and having to take care of everything herself. Somehow one of our tumblers made its way all the way into the garbage disposal, and she couldn’t get it out, so we had a fruit fly infestation. I managed to get it out with a little effort and work through the piles of dishes.

    It was actually this morning that the Littlest Bath came to our bed and asked where I had gone. It took me a while to register, and I said Portland. I think she’s still processing the idea that Dad was away for a few days. I am actually glad that it at least had some effect though and I’m not wholly irrelevant to her life.

    This is in stark contrast to “Dakota”, which is now going to be the official blog name of the devilishly good-looking dog that is my avatar. The Better Bath in his mind would be better termed “The Only Bath.” I think he couldn’t care less if I died today as long as she were still around. I’m actually glad for his attitude too though. It’s better than him being anxious when any family member doesn’t come home. I grew up with a dog who would go on a hunger strike if one of us weren’t at home. We loved him dearly and vice versa, but I’d rather that he could have adjusted better to our absences for his own sake.

    It was great seeing everyone!

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  2. we picked up a passenger who announced to the car that she was loaded, and therefore would be facing the back of the elevator and speaking to us until we got all the way to the lobby. She pointed out that this was against social convention.

    So Kimmi made it after all? Well there goes the bot theory. :hugs:

    As a one time wine wholesaler… the bottom of the list is the worst place from a *value* perspective to buy. I know, I know, a dollar’s a dollar… but still, move up 3 notches to the wine you’ve never heard of – that’s the really good wine they can’t sell so it’s just above the cheap stuff that’s holding the place at the bottom of the $$ they will let you spend.

    Another trick is to be open about your budget and ask the wine guy (if its that kind of place) for a recommendation, he’ll usually bump you up about 5%-10% (so if you want $30, say $25) but you’re zeroing in on the value on the list. Recently I was very surprised to have the sommelier sell me a more expensive bottle (Beaux Freres) for the price I wanted because the 2006 was on the far side of premium drinking age (it wasn’t) – even I was surprised at that.

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    • @marchmaine
      Back when I worked at the restaurant, the wine formula worked thusly:

      Purchase a case of wine for $X/bottle. Sell bottle of wine for $3X+$1. So a $5 bottle of wine became a $16 bottle of wine… and a $16 bottle of wine became a $49 bottle. Craziness.

      Now I don’t *KNOW* that all restaurants use a similar formula, but I’d be shocked if they use one that gives a price smaller than $2X+$1.

      It is with that formula in mind that I always buy from the cheap part of the wine menu.
      It is only my pride that prevents me from purchasing the cheapest.

      Well, that and if it’s a Malbec or something.

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      • It’s always fun to see a bottle of wine on a menu at a nice restaurant and reflect “I saw that bottle of wine at HEB for 1/3 the cost”.

        (I don’t know if it’s universal to HEB, or just locally, but whomever does the beer and wine selections for our local ones are pretty darn solid. And diverse, with a big emphasis on local breweries from across the state.

        In general, far better than most actual liquor stores unless you hit up the big warehouse sized ones).

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            • Yep. They have upscale and regular branches, but even the regular ones have a surprising variety of wine and beer.

              I mean again, 80% of it’s going to be the stuff most of their shoppers drink — Coors, Bud, etc. But the other 20% Local breweries, micro-brews, imports — wide selection. Wine’s the same way.

              Won’t compete with a big, well stocked specialty liquor store (and no hard stuff, just beer, wine, sake) but short of that? And their beer and wine selections (outside of the regular “must haves” of Coors and the like) are solid.

              Not like…”only a few people will appreciate this beer” but solid selections across a diverse range. Sadly, a new local (Texas at least) brewery I’m interested in exploring hasn’t quite gotten as far as me.

              The stores about two hours south carry it, but not ours yet.

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      • Yes, that is the baseline… but remember, that’s the Wholesale cost. So $10 wholesale is $15 retail and $30 on the list. So, if you are seeing 3x retail – well, that’s my point. The worst price-points to buy at are $30 (extra multiple) and $60 ($19.99 wholesale is very common (for $29.99 retail), so this is full mark-up). $85-$100 is usually the best (this is where you find your $33 wines $49.99 retail – plus all the $40 wines they want to keep under the psychological price-point of $100). This is the tier where all the emerging and high-quality wines that haven’t “made-it” yet are kept. Over $100 and we’re back to 3x or more depending on rarity – because these wines have the name recognition (and, a lot of those wines won’t *allow* their bottles to go into retail – so extra scarcity – but hey, then they are worth it because you are paying for something you literally can’t get).

        It does though depend on the restaurant and the wine list… and the volume, and the cellar, and the market niche.

        As noted, the bottom of the list has some really weird distortions… that is, they don’t even want you to have a $16 option, so that wine becomes $23 or $28 (very few lists these days start below $30)… so in those cases you sometimes get dinged for 5x or 6x. On the other hand, at the top end of the list, the margins tighten a lot – that’s where much of the competition comes in. We’re seeing 2x or 2.5x with regularity. Now, at the top-top end, ah then you are at market prices and they bear no relation to the original cost of the bottle. Restaurants with superb cellars treat the wine as an investment (but they are rare/rare).

        I was doing a tasting with the Sommelier at the Inn at Little Washington (this was before the fin de siecle) and he told me that he had pre-sold a bottle of 1900 Chateau d’Yquem for New Years Eve 1999/2000 for $30k becuase, well, decadence, and there were only about 30 bottles left in the world and he had one of them. He got the full mark-up plus some.

        Dang, sometimes I miss the wine trade.

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  3. Another group of us did the distillery tour. We were able to visit three distilleries: Eastside, Rolling River, and New Deal, which produced my favorite of the many liquors we sampled, the No. 33 Gin. Although I’m still thinking about the habanero vodka* and how well it captured the tart flavor of the pepper without being too aggressively hot to drink.

    And, folks, I have to admit, Mrs. Likko and I cheated on you on the way home. After separating to catch our plane, we found our way to House Spirits, and sampled their wares, including their extraordinary Aviation Gin.

    Mrs. Likko and I also took in the Saturday Market, which had a lot of arts and crafts type stuff on offer. It was very, very crowded, owing to the fact that we were there right before the Great Oregon Beer Festival was about to open up for the morning immediately upstream on the waterfront. And I’ve been enjoying my loot from Powell’s ever since I got on the plane to fly home.

    * Was it vodka? Was it gin? Was it that “white dog” stuff that in Tennessee they’d have called “moonshine”? All I tasted in it was the pepper, so I’m assuming it’s vodka.

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  4. I’m bitterly sorry I wasn’t able to make it. Portland is really nice, sickening frustratingly nice considering how brutally difficult it’d be for anyone who isn’t loaded to move there. I bet the conversations were epic.

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  5. My LeagueFest didn’t end until yesterday, coming home after a jaunt to Victoria, B.C., where I shared some of the New Deal 33 gin with my friends. In a way, it won’t truly end until tomorrow, after a tour of North Shore distillery, here in Chicago. The search for gin continues!

    As far as Jay’s wine selection went, the wine was delicious. But that’s coming from a guy whose wine knowledge extends to red and white. Burt’s gin, Campari, and grapefruit cocktail, on the other hand, is begging to be tried.

    As for the rest of the weekend, I’m going to see my friend’s C&W band play tonight. And Sunday will be spent weeping in anticipation of having to return to work on Monday.

    This was my first LeagueFest, and it certainly won’t be my last. What an interesting group of people! If you can at all make it to future Fests, by all means do so. You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t.

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  6. I am looking forward to a lot of recuperating this week too. One of the most frustrating parts about actually being so much BETTER than I was is that I push myself way harder…. then I have to pay for it later. But on the (far more important) upside, I get to do a lot more stuff.

    So instead of spending the whole weekend exhausted in bed, I am also looking forward to watching person of interest with Jay on Friday night, gaming on Saturday night, and attending an all-female-cast production of Titus Andronicus on Sunday afternoon.

    Still there will be resting. And reading. Lots of those. And mayyyyyyyyyybe some chores. The bathrooms have not been cleaned in a Very Long Time.

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  7. So, not only did I have to miss LF16 to go visit my aged and ailing father, but to add insult to injury, my wife is in Portland this weekend visiting a girlfriend.

    /Shakes fist at clouds

    Sounds like a great time was had by all!

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  8. It’s weird when leaguefest is in your home town. It’s just not the same when I’m sleeping in my own bed and Junior is tagging along. That being said, it was a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone who came all the way here! I can’t wait to do it again! Meeting everyone in person is priceless.

    This weekend has been a spring cleaning type of prepping in anticipation of moving back to Portland from just across the river. I donated platelets, which always requires a nap immediately after.

    And!!! an epic Pink Martini concert last night. I did not expect Ari Shapiro to be signing!!! I totally forgot he grew up just outside of Portland in Beaverton. Yes, he is that good looking in person. And so talented too… swoon.

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    • It was so amazing to meet you!

      On a more general but not unrelated note, the one frustration I have with Leaguefest is that all of you are so delightful that I really just want to corner each of you one-on-one and make you talk at me for HOURS. And instead we have all the delights of group discourse. Which is, indeed, delightful. But leaves me still with the yen for cornering. As Jay says, we should really all live in the same city. Or have teleporters.

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      • Ack! You’re one of my favorites, but don’t tell the others. ;) Teleportation would make life more interesting. Until then, I’m prepping for Leaguefest 2017. If there was a planning committee, I’d totally volunteer for that sh@$!

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  9. we picked up a passenger who announced to the car that she was loaded, and therefore would be facing the back of the elevator and speaking to us until we got all the way to the lobby. She pointed out that this was against social convention.

    I mentioned that we were on our way to get loaded too, which seemed to soothe her.

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  10. “I pretty much had it confirmed that everyone who is a member of OT is good looking…”

    Dagnabbit! I was hoping I’d make up for a dearth of writing talent by being handsomer than everyone else. But now that plan seems ruined…

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