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Portland, How Do I Love Thee? Oh, crap, I've lost track of the number of ways

Do you like books? How about movies? Magic? Neil Gaiman? Yes? If not, what's your problem? If so, well, go see Stardust. Obviously I'll elaborate about this in review form soon, but for now, I simply gush. I came up northwards last night for a screening in Tigard (Tigard! When was the last time you had a good reason to go to Tigard?), at which I met up with a Portland-based movie-critic friend, gleefully sat in the media personnel section of the theater, missed my friend Lolly winning a book and giggled ferociously at the best parts of the movie. If only I could do that every week.

Zooming along 217 to 26 is a funny way to arrive in Portland. Miles and miles of suburbs - 'burbs I used to be quite familiar with as an angsty teen when my dad lived in one of them. It all looks the same; it's like a couple of malls bred, and their offspring put down roots and sprawled like, um, sprawly stuff. Or something. It's rather difficult to find interesting words to use when writing about suburban sprawl. But then you hit 26, and after tearing down the hill on which the road's grooves yank at the tires of a smallish car, you're suddenly smack in the middle of Portland. I still mix up my bridges, so it took me awhile to make my way to the Speakeasy, which is one of those perfectly dingy, perfectly welcoming-in-a-slightly-gruff way kinds of bars that Eugene seems to lack. An old man bar, if you will. An old man bar that serves up an Andes mint with your gooey, cheesey quesadilla. Good times, I tell you.

And now: Ikea! I promise to take pictures. Swedish wonderland, ahoy!