Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On the street, animate. Seen from the bus on East Burnside. October 8, 2011. Portland's just plain interesting.

Almost anachronisms abound. Left to right.

(1) The need for a box fan in Portland in October--see it in the doorway. It's usually in the low 60s, or cooler even.
(2) People sitting out from under cover--the two men closest to the curb. In October in Portland, it's more than likely to be raining.
(3) People smoking near the entrance of the Grendel's Coffee House. The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in most public places and places of employment. Additionally, smoking is not permitted within ten feet of any entrance, exit, window, or air-intake vent.
(4) The USPS corner mailbox beside the brick column. According to a Sept. 8, 2011, article at Seattle PI dot com, in 1985 there were 400,000 of them out and about, now 160,000 remain. Actually the article is pretty informative.

Image cropped and altered with Picnik Effect HDR-ish.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

October 17, 2008, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Jimmy Mak's, an easy walk from home

Solo time. Sound so low that my skin vibrated with the deep timbre of the saxophone.

I walked to Jimmy Mak’s at 221 NW 10th Ave. (between Davis and Everett), just 12 blocks from the apartment where I used to live ...

... on a great Friday evening filled with funky, outta sight live music and a house packed with fans of the band.

You see, I knew the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, having enjoyed them outdoors a couple of times in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.


Women came on stage at the invitation of the band ...

DSC_0373p... to dance ...

DSC_0400p... and groove to the music.

Impossible to remain still. Fine fun.My older son Lamont joined me once he got off at 3 Doors Down Cafe, the restaurant where he used to work. Always great to enjoy live music together, always.

After the show he walked me to the bus stop a few blocks away on Burnside in front of Powell's Books. Not long after, I boarded the 20 and rode on home.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Missed Call and our All Star, LaMarcus Aldridge


LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant, 7.2 seconds on the clock, the questionable call of goaltending came with 6.0 left, tied the game, overtime, Blazers lost, January 6, 2012, the Rose Garden. This is not goaltending. Rotten ref. I took this photo from my seat at the other end of the arena.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Pink, another modern piece of architecture which totally fascinates me.

I cannot remember the term used to describe what's going on with the building in the left corner, the Embassy Suites which started out as the Multnomah Hotel. I believe the same thing impacts the building (a parking garage maybe) which stands between the hotel and the Big Pink. You see, my simple goal as I stood facing west on SW 3rd Avenue on Saturday, February 18, 2012, was to enjoy the glory of that huge blue sky, a sight almost unseen during a Portland winter. Naturally I noticed the Big Pink. Had to take photos, just had to take photos, hoping to catch the sky and the building at their best.

Once I had downloaded the photos to iPhoto, I noticed a bit of serendipity--at first glance the alignment of some floors of the Big Pink seem to meet the building to its left in the photo, the one which I think is a parking garage. Makes it look like the two buildings are connected, doesn't it? Actually they rise on opposite sides of SW 5th Avenue.

Image altered at Picnik, Basic Effects, Sharpen and Color.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Altered with Picnik, Basic Edits: Exposure, Sharpened, Cropped; and Effects: Advanced/Cloned, No. 4

Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland's living room. I cloned the young man's backpack out of the photo and a small round object which was in front of him on the bricks. Normally I wouldn't do such cloning, I'd try cropping it out. However, I decided, "Why not?" I've got little more than two months left with my beloved Picnik, so I'm going to go for it. I really like the results, too. I like the sunshine, especially below his right knee and the sort of glow around him on the bricks; the shadows following the concrete forms along the curve; and the glistening, rain-wet bricks in both patterns.

I took this photo on an unusually sunny winter day in Portland, January 21, 2012, downtown. It would have been my dearly departed husband LeRoy's 65th birthday. I was out and about after that morning's top-knotch lecture at the Architectural Heritage Center--one of the best lectures I've attended:
Real Estate Development and the Re-Shaping of Old Portland
Focusing on the early days of Portland, Dr. Tracy Prince, author of Portland’s Goose Hollow, presented a slide show of historic photos and maps to demonstrate how dramatically different the terrain of Old Portland (the west side—from the Willamette River to the West Hills) was from today’s terrain. This changed terrain includes: building the Great Plank Road which ran through the narrow and dark Tanner Creek Canyon; burying Tanner Creek, Johnson Creek, and Balch Creek; filling Couch Lake and Guild’s Lake; filling the 20-block long, 50-feet deep Tanner Creek Gulch; building streets upon 30-50 foot pilings in areas that today’s residents would describe as flatlands; and 1870s Oregonian stories about 25-foot deep cuts required when B Street (Burnside) was graded beyond the gulch. Such incredible alterations to Portland’s natural landscape were seen as necessary for growing a young frontier city and to accommodate real estate development.

The photo as it came out of the Nikon D50.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

B after B after B, Saturday a week ago. Killer Burger on NE Sandy Boulevard at NE 47th

Barq's Root Beer, one fine fountain drink.

Basketball, NCAA basketball, on the TV at the back of the room, sound turned off. Blues blaring, down home blues blaring from the restaurant's speakers. As I ordered at the counter, I mentioned to the young woman taking my order, "Blues, basketball, and burgers. It doesn't get any better." She chuckled and agreed.

Bun, burger, bacon. I forgot to ask that there be no cheese on my Classic Burger, so I ate it--I'm OK if I only eat cheese once in a blue moon. I have two B words for the fries--bountiful and best.

Bites. Burger on bun with bacon going bye-bye, along with cheese, lettuce, tomato and grilled onions. I did remember to ask that there be no Smokey House Sauce and pickle on my Classic Burger.

Busy, busy at the building which houses Killer Burger on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Bus home, the 12 Barbur/Sandy. I left with a bellyful of Bs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More about the building peaking between the columns and the wall in Friday's post.

Vintage photo, found online. On the right, the U. S. Bank and its massive columns which I posted about Friday and had in the background of the post on the Thursday; on the left, Pietro Belluschi's Equitable Building. Looks to me like the vehicles are late 1940's vintage. What do you think? By the way, today it is known as the Commonwealth Building.

My photo from January 9, 2009. I'm not nuts about lots of what I think of as modern architecture. I miss the details which I enjoy on vintage facades. However, I adore this building. You can just see the corner of the U. S. Bank at the top right of the photo.

Here's a bit about the building that I found at americanwaymag dot com: Pietro Belluschi's Commonwealth Building, 1944-1948 (the construction years): Seemingly floating in the sky, this sleek glass tower, a vision of sea-green glass and gleaming metal, was the first of its kind, pioneering the way for other famous buildings like New York's Lever House and the United Nations Building. What set it apart? Among other things, it was the first to be sheathed in aluminum, be fully air-conditioned, and feature double-sealed glass windows (reducing solar heat and eliminating sky glare). It also set the standard for compact, boxlike structures.

Here's an article about the style of the building, from the Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation:
1948 - 1965

The Curtain Wall style refers to mid-20th Century buildings that use a prefabricated exterior wall sheathing system of glass hung to their frames. While the curtain wall system was used on portions of buildings, and the exterior materials varied widely, the Curtain Wall style refers to buildings which utilized a glass and aluminum system for a majority of the exterior facade.

The use of such technology dates back to the 1918 Hallidie Building in San Francisco, which is credited as the first building to use an all glass exterior wall system. However, it was not until post-WWII when advancements in building technology allowed these systems to become widespread.

The first major example of the style was the Equitable Savings & Loan Building in Portland, Oregon executed by architect Pietro Bellushi in 1948. As the world’s first fully enclosed air-conditioned building, this sleek 12-story structure quickly set the pattern for many post-war skyscrapers and small scale office buildings.

The curtain wall system is comprised of a repetitive grid of vertical extruded aluminum mullions and horizontal rails. Panels called spandrels divide the large expanses of glass horizontally to hide the floors and ceilings. These spandrel panels can come in a variety of materials. Early spandrel panels were made of heat-strengthened opaque glass fused with colored ceramic. The Pittsburg Plate Glass Company manufactured the glass panels under the trade name “Spandrelite,” and offered eight standard colors. The Libbey-Owens-Ford Corporation sold sixteen colors options under the “Vitrolux” brand. Colors ranged from “Hunter Green” to “Cavalier Red,” to “Charcoal” and “Suntone” Yellow. While customers could order custom colors, typical tones found in the Northwest included turquoise, pink and blue. Later, spandrels were available in other materials such as composite metal panels containing lightweight insulation cores, precast concrete panels, asbestos panels, thin stone veneer, and plywood panels (a material particularly popular in the Pacific Northwest).

Considered suitable for virtually any size commercial, government or institutional building, the Curtain Wall style became widespread by the early 1950s. Many post WWII buildings of varying styles also incorporated curtain wall systems into some facades but are not considered Curtain Wall style unless the majority of the visible facades are so constructed. The modular construction method used to construct the Curtain Wall style made it economical and popular for a time. However, by the late 1960s it was being replaced with a more smooth or Slick Skin application.

And here's a bit more about the building itself, found at Wikipedia:

The Commonwealth Building is a 14-story commercial office tower in Portland, Oregon, United States, located at 421 SW 6th Avenue between Washington and Stark Streets. Designed by architect Pietro Belluschi, it was built between 1944 and 1948 and was originally known as the Equitable Building. It is noted as one of the first glass box towers ever built, pioneering many modern features and predating the more famous Lever House in Manhattan.

The building, which was built as the headquarters in Portland of the Equitable Savings and Loan Association, was originally intended to be 12 stories high but was later expanded to 14. It is constructed of sea-green glass and was the first to be sheathed in aluminum. It was also the first to use double-glazed window panels, and was the first to be completely sealed and fully air-conditioned.

The Commonwealth Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places (as the Equitable Building) in 1976. In 1980, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) designated the Commonwealth Building as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The ASME History & Heritage Committee bestowed this landmark status for the specific feature: the first large commercial building in the United States to pioneer the use of heat pumps for heating and cooling.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Altered with Picnik, Various Edits and Special Effects, No. 3

A. E. Doyle is my favorite Portland architect. This building, which also appeared in yesterday's post, is one of his which I adore. One of these days I will go inside and ask if I may take photos. Until then, more about the exterior.


Info found at the Architecture Foundation of Oregon Web site:

The US Bank Main Branch ... Architect: A.E. Doyle ... Built in 1917 (Please notice the building peeking through the space between the columns and the building. More about it soon.)

Built in 1917 and added to in 1925, the US Bank building was built in two stages that allowed it to occupy half of the National Bank Block in Portland. The location of the first project was at the corner of Southwest Sixth and Stark, later extended west to border Broadway. One of the west coast’s leading architects, A.E. Doyle designed the bank in the Classical temple style after the famous Knickerbocker Trust Bank in New York designed by McKim, Mead and White. This style was considered at the time by US Bank president J.C. Ainsworth to ‘embody the most modern type of bank architecture’.

When visiting this magnificent building, the first architectural elements you are likely to notice are the freestanding monolithic columns designed in the Corinthian order. The Corinthian order was chosen for the entire exterior of the building, in part to set a contrast between this building and the Doric order of the rival First National Bank.
Looking up between two of the columns.
This photo contrasts the size of the pedestrian and the dog with the size of the columns. Monumental difference. The intersection: SW Stark is the one way street, eastbound, crossing SW 6th Avenue, looking north on SW 6th Avenue.

Large bronze doors to the lobby greet visitors at the entry. Arvard Fairbanks, a former sculptor and professor of the University of Oregon designed these doors, which were inspired by the fifteenth century “Gates of Paradise” located in the Baptistery in Florence, Italy.

The Bank’s interiors are just as ornate and detailed as the exterior, having been built in a period before the modern movement removed ornamental architecture, and in a time when no dollar was spared to create a masterpiece. Three different colors of marble are present in the main lobby; each traveling from far reaches around the world. The white marble that can be seen in the floor and columns came from Italy; the red marble in the floor traveled from Hungary; and finally, the black marble at the counters found its way here from quarries in Belgium. The ceiling displays excellent artistry in ceramic bas-relief that was made in casts that were hand carved. Architect A.E. Doyle carefully oversaw the hand painting of the bas-relief, which has never needed to be repainted.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Altered with Picnik, Vibrance Special Effect, No. 2

Altered by cropping, tinkering with the exposure, and using the Vibrance Special Effect to make the colors pop.

What do you think is going on here? Did the man on the bicycle squeak in pain after taking the curb, causing the man waiting to cross SW 6th take a close look?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Altered with Picnik, Focal B&W, No. 1


Focal B&W Special Effect. I took this photo on March 12, 2009 with my backup camera, a Coolpix L12.

At the time renovation of the downtown Portland Transit Mall, which goes south on SW 5th and north on SW 6th, nears completion. On this particular day, the lane lines must have been painted; crews had placed bollards alongside the lines to keep vehicles off the paint prior to its drying.

Speaking of lanes, let me explain them to you. Automobiles are allowed in the leftmost lane only and may turn left only (except for one intersection whose location I do not recall). You can tell from the recessed metal tracks that the MAX has priority in either the center lane or the right lane, depending whether it is making time or boarding and/or de-boarding passengers. Buses are the only wheeled vehicles allowed in the right lane, but of course they may not go there if a MAX train is there. All of the bus stops are on the sidewalk beside the right lane. This is SW 6th, looking north in the middle of the block south of SW Madison. I am at this intersection most days after work now that the Mall has reopened.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! My heart's breaking!

Natural curl of the telephone cord, altered in Picnik. I had too much fun with too many special effects to remember exactly what I did!

Now for the heartbreak. Picnik's going away.

Here's what you read when you click on the banner at the top of your photo you're about to alter in Picnik:

"Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012. Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things.

Premium Refunds: To our primo Picnik Premium (That's me!) members, we will refund your current membership fee in full. By "in full" we mean the whole darn thing. Yep, this means no prorating here. Just to say thanks. (They did!)

Now the Good News - Free Premium for ALL! Now the silver lining. To say a great big thank you, Picnik Premium is free for everyone! Use Picnik in all of its premium glory, for free, from now until our official closing date of April 19, 2012. Enjoy!

We are excited to bring even more photo-editing fun to Google Products, like Google+, where you can find many of your favorite Picnik effects. Just look for them under Creative Kit. "

Suffice it to say, I am one great big ol' unhappy camper. Even if I don't use a special effect, I resize my photos because I like the impact that results when I do so. I straighten photos, I crop photos, I can't go on, or I'll be crying on my keyboard.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abandoned on the street, No. 5

Wonder who paid $20 for this framed Portland Trail Blazers basketball schedule and then abandoned it on the street? Maybe someone who tried Miller High Life, The Champagne of Beers for the first time and felt betrayed at the taste? I've never tasted any Miller beer.

And I imagine that originally the framed sign was given to a bar by a Miller salesperson as decor for the bar. On the walk to work November 10, 2011, I came across it leaning up on the fence between two buildings in Southeast Portland.

I have to say, never-say-die-Trail-Blazers fan that I am, something different needs to be done with/for/by my team and/or the coaches. The vagaries of organized basketball escape none of us who watch with a fervor, just as I am sure they never escape those who play and coach. Not winning a game, any game, hurts to the core. Not playing well hurts even more. I surely wouldn't want to be on the airplane home tonight after that loss in double overtime to Dallas.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Abandoned on the street, No. 4

A single shoe hoisted upon the wrought iron fencing which fronts the building where our first rental company has its offices, the corner of NW 21st and NW Everett in Portland's Alphabet District.

I took this photo on July 24, 2010, while I waited for the bus to work.

Now for what I consider a giant kick of irony. That first rental company, Bristol Equities, managed our first apartment which was in Southeast Portland--it's the one Mama took a walk from with Duncan and found the "Free!" items mentioned yesterday. We moved there in June, 2006. Size of apartment, perfect. Location, perfect--four blocks from Lamont and Leland's place and about eight minutes by bus from my work. By September, 2006, notification came that the building had sold through no fault of Bristol Equities, would be turned into condos by the new owner, and we had to move out ASAP even if we wanted to buy a condo because remodeling was the step before ownership. Talk about a couple of unhappy campers! We had absolutely no intention of owning ever again. Ever. We did have an ace up our sleeves, though, a six-month lease, so the new owner offered us a financial incentive to get out ASAP in order to expedite the remodeling. After thoughts of purchasing a generic-building-owner voodoo doll, I finally found us our new apartment in Northwest Portland which ended up being one block west of the offices of our first rental company!

We moved there by the middle of October, 2006. So for a while in the beginning when I waited for the bus to work in front of the wrought iron fence you see in the photo above, my mind clouded with unhappy thoughts about the hassle we went through of packing every single piece of stuff (see yesterday's post for mention of our stuff) AGAIN, moving it all AGAIN, and then unpacking it all AGAIN. What would we have done without my sons? Put our heads down and sobbed, at the very least. Anyway, we loved our new place so much, were very happy there except for the lack of parking, and never once entertained the thought of moving. Until.

When Mama died last January, my sons sweetly asked me to consider moving onto the east side of the river to be nearer them, preferably to an apartment building with available on-street parking. Remembering that our original rental company handled vintage buildings with hardwood floors, I got online and found my new place in no time at all. So, now I don't wait for the bus in front of their offices, but I am once again connected to Bristol Equities in a good way.

Speaking of connections, I wonder why the other shoe wasn't on the fence? Did the two of them ever come together again and regain their connection to their owner?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Abandoned on the street, No. 3

Found on the sidewalk beside the Produce Row Development parking lot, most of an upholstered couch. I took this photo on my walk to work on November 9, 2011, in Southeast Portland.

Is it unique to Portland to set items out on the sidewalk with a sign that reads, "Free!"? Or with no sign at all, just there? Seems like trash when it's as large as a couch, doesn't it? Sometimes, though, I believe it has to do with the ease of disposing of unwanted items which are still viable and may be of use to others.

Here's a little story about "Free!" items and my Mama. Way back in the summer of 2006 right after we had moved into our first Portland apartment, Mama brought home our first "Free!" items--a decorative ceramic olive oil bottle with four tiny dishes, you know, so you could put olive oil in the dishes and dip your bread in the oil. Somewhat sheepishly, she pulled handed me the bottle and pulled the dishes from her pockets after she and Duncan returned from a walk around the block. She cracked me up!

Here's why. When we had visited my sons in Portland prior to our move, naturally we noticed the "Free!" stuff here and there in their neighborhood (we hadn't seen anything on the sidewalks in our home town of Jackson, Mississippi, except on trash day), The guys explained what was going on. Later on as we packed to move to Portland, I heard quite a bit about how we had plenty of stuff, didn't need any more stuff, no need to pay attention to "Free!" stuff. So it cracked me up that my little ol' Mama succumbed first to the urge to bring something home which she had found on the sidewalk with a hand-lettered sign! The last thing I can remember bringing home which I found free in the lobby of our old building is the square, unfinished but well-sanded square wooden table upon which I now type. Hooray for viable, useful "Free!" stuff. The last things I put out for free on the sidewalk near the dumpster and recycling bins beside my new building--four good condition dinette chairs for which I had no room when I moved last January after Mama had died. They were gone in less than an hour.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Abandoned on the street, No. 2

Go figure. Looks like a good bicycle tire to me. I took this photo on my walk to work on September 13, 2011, in Southeast Portland.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Abandoned on the street, No. 1

Boots near the side door of Presidential Court Apartments, NW 22nd and NW Everett. I took this photo May 5, 2009.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Slice of life, seen on the street, downtown Portland, January 25, 2012

I've had a terrible cold, felt awful for over a week, and now almost another week later I'm beginning to feel more like I want to feel, like I need to feel. Thank goodness. So, here we go.

When I got on the bus after work, I wished I was on the 4 instead of the 14 because the 4 would mean a shorter walk to my second bus once I had crossed the river to the downtown Transit Mall. The sneezing and strange feeling which turned into a full-fledged cold by Friday morning had started mid-day, and I had little energy left to expend. However, a short-lived rejuvenation struck when I began my longer walk to the next bus because I looked diagonally across SW 6th Avenue and saw the two mounted police and their horses standing in front of the Subway. I walked to a spot out of the wind, set down my backpack on the sidewalk, and got out my camera, the zoom lens still attached from the Blazers' game the night before.

Got myself a fine slice of life photo, the black horse tethered to the lamp post, the tan horse tethered to the bicycle post, the officers dining al fresco. That's a woman on the right, by the way. I could tell that she was a woman before I even took the photo--stance is a dead give away, isn't it? But I certainly didn't notice the unusual color combination on the tan horse until I had downloaded the photo.