29 February 2016

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge Opening, Part II: The First Walk Across

There was an event, back in the 1970s, when that majestic span, the Fremont Bridge, was about to be commissioned and opened to automobile traffic. They called it a Peoples' Day, and this big, graceful arched bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic, which was a boon, and walking across the Fremont Bridge is something you could only do then, because pedestrians were never expected to ever use an intracity freeway bridge.

Dave Strom points to the event, here.

I was too young and too not-living-in-Portland then to take part. I still resent the vicissitudes of a life that caused me to miss out. Of course, living in Silverton meant I got to see it all on TV, but not really a fit substitute, I'm sure. And we missed the opening of the Tilkum.

But today, we were there. And, when the gate was pulled back, we filed onto the bridge along with everyone else who was there.

It was a bit of a crunch, but nobody was unduly stressed. Everyone was too 'oh, cool' to be too bothered about the crowd. But, we're Portlanders, we can live with each other close to hand. It's what we do.

In the photo below, look on the right. See that ragged chunk of concrete deck there? That's the end of the old Sellwood Bridge, which, up until about two days previously, had been connected to the bitter end of SE Tacoma Street, the road which feeds the bridge, which we were on just a handful of feet previous.

We were really entering unexplored territory.

Here's a view looking south from the bridge down the Willamette in the direction of Milwaukie. The river is rather wide at this point, and narrows kind of like a funnel. By the time it leaves the picture, it's only about 1/2-2/3rds as wide here as it is at the point of the bridge. Where it leaves sight it's because it kinks to the east just a little, and there, just out of sight, is the Milwaukie waterfront. 

This geography was the site of a great commercial struggle in the late 19th Century as Portland, Milwuakie, and Oregon City fought for the reputation of head-of-oceangoing navigation. It seems absurd these days, since the river seems terribly small, but not only were ships much smaller then, the tidal flux on from the Pacific actually reaches up the Willamette River as far as Oregon City … a point about 15 miles away from here in the direction of the view.  

The reputations of great cities were made on such paleolithic arguments. The proof of history stands as its own illustration.

This next view looks north off the new bridge, and really shows what a poor wreck the old Sellwood was:

The Sellwood Bridge, as dear as it is and about-to-be was, was not built for the ages. I've heard it was only supposed to last about 1/2 a century at the outside; presumably they figured by the time it was ready for a replacement, they would be well underway to making one happen. They were right … but not on that timeframe. That's 91 years of civil engineering that is about 40 years past its pull date. When you look at the cracks in the outside of the deck, the way the railings look like they were snapped together and might snap apart at any time, you really get a sense of how urgent the need was. And people used it because the choices meant going a minimum of about 5 miles out of your way in the best case to get across the river.

I myself used this bridge on a regular basis about a decade ago, and they were talking loud about how fragile it was then. Let this be a testimony not only to the service the old bridge put in, but also to the neverending resourcefulness of Multnomah County's maintenance and engineering forces. This is MacGyvering on a mass scale.

Contrast it with the new bridge … wide, commodious, generous sidewalks that provide ample room for bicyclists as well as pedestrians, spacious travel for cars, and a solidity that is so palpable that more than one both The Wife™and myself found ourselves compelled to amazement that it easy to forget there were several stories of nothing between you and some cold Willamette River water. Seriously. It was that easy to forget you were on a bridge, there was such a firmness to the whole thing.

Now, we look north.

That's downtown Portland there in the distance. The hill on the left is Marquam Hill, or Pill Hill as we locals have called it since when; the building there at the top is one of the complex of hospitals at OHSU. Moving to the right of the picture, there's a grove of river-bottom trees on a fingernail's pairing of land called Ross Island (it was once almond shaped, but then Ross Island Sand and Gravel had its way with it over a period of decades. It's going to be a public park someday when the powers get around to straightening everything out). The neighborhood on the too of the hill below OHSU is an area we call Johns Landing; SW Macadam Avenue runs through it, connecting downtown to this bridge.

Look right, and you'll see a screenshot of a Google Map that I measured a distance on. See that tall white pillar in the downtown area that's inflected with black? That's the Wells Fargo Tower, originally built as the First National Bank Tower, and Portland's (and Oregon's) tallest building. It measures 40 floors and 546 feet (or 166.4 metres) in height. And, as far as I can tell, that building's roof is about 3.6 miles from my POV right here.

Portland isn't big in area as cities go, quite a compact town actually, but it's sizey for an Oregon town. it's just the right size, for me.

The buildings I can identify are, of course, the Wells Fargo Tower, the Pacwest Center is just behind it and to the lift, the red rocketship to the right is the KOIN Center, the building with the arched top is the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, Big Pink is mostly hidden now by the towers of the South Waterfront district, which is to the Portland skyline what tailfins are to cars mostly.

Join me again next time, when I take some more looks at the bridge from the west end.

28 February 2016

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge Opening, Part I: Being There

When a bridge opens in Portland, it's a big, big deal. And that's always amused me, on a basic level. You see, there are cities which are not just woven together, but knitted tightly, my more bridges than Portland has. Pittsburgh comes to mind. New York City has some spectacular ones, and it's on a chain of islands.

But none of them get called Bridge City. Maybe our bridges are just that much more hardworking and awesome in their way.

Yesterday, on the 27th of February, 2016, one of them got a rebirth. The Sellwood Bridge, named for the city, which was later a neighborhood of Portland, that it served, was originally built in 1925. It was a harder worker than most of Portland's bridges, and, far out on the city's southern frontier and built for service rather than looks, hadn't entered most Portlanders' minds much. But some time ago it developed that the bridge was beyond its useful lifespan: a survey rating Oregon bridge safety from 1 to 100 gave the Sellwood Bridge a 2. TriMet pulled service from the span and truck traffic was banned.

Eventually a coalition of state, Federal, and city powers funded a new bridge, one that would be built to exceed earthquake standards, serve the community for a long time to come, and look beautiful doing it. Because we're Portlanders, and we love our bridges.

We were there yesterday and I snapped over 100 photos. Lot to see …

From the people and dogs and bikes that thronged the bridge …

To the old structure which was still standing, on temporary supports, along side the new one … it had carried traffic until just this last week …

Of course, there were the dignitaries, speechifying …

Sitting in front, L to R: City Commissioner Steve Novick,
County Commission Jules Bailey, US Senator Jeff Merkley;
Between Bailey and Merkley, with sunglasses on,
County Commissioner Judy Shiprack; at the podium,
County Chair Deborah Kafoury

… to the citizens, one of which being me, who were pretty thrilled to be there … but I didn't get a t-shirt like this guy:

Naturally, it's not Portland without at least one unicyclist (and several food carts) …

And at least a few members of an extraterrestrial marching band.

It was a big bridge party, but The Wife™ opined it was more like a street fair, and she's absolutely right about that. It was great fun. I'll break it down over the next couple of days with a few themed posts, which is something that just now occurred to me … but with 126 photos, there's no other way to do it, Cascadia. 

Just showing off, and why not?

26 February 2016

[pdx] Mount St Helens, With Extra Lenticular Cloud

Mount Hood was too suffused in brilliant sunlight today to mess with, but I did see something interesting across the river.

Nobody needs an introduction to Mount Saint Helens, of course, but since there's no smooth peak, you don't see lenticular clouds capping it often. This, however seems to apply:

The picture was taken from just off NE Fremont Street, on NE 124th Pl, a very short cul-de-sac street hard by the I-84 freeway, with a great view.

The contrast was a little soft, so I zoomed in and fiddled about with settings and such until something looked good. And that is this:

That cloud is formed by winds rising over the hump, clouds condensing out when the winds get high and cold enough. It looks a little like Donald Trump's hair-do, to be honest, but I didn't say that out loud where Loo-wit could hear. She's got a hot temper, as we all know.

And, since I can't stop playing with the Vivid Color feature, this:

Punching up that red color makes it feel more like fall. Of course, with climate change being what it is, who can say?

[liff] Tele-faux-to Beauty

One more stop along the intersection of Foster and Holgate for now, then we move on.

I just have the one digital camera. It's a Canon PowerShot S100 provided by a most beneficent friend who has my f-stop number. It's a step up from the Kodak that we had before it, which is still good … but this's better. Fun effects, things to play with … better zooms than the old plastic fantastic, the ViviCam 3705, which still does home duty.

Every device has its place, and we don't throw things away because they get old. The old cameras are still doing just like they always did, though the 3705 seems to have developed a disease that has made it even more hungry for battteries, which is strange, because it's an inanimate object. Or … is it?

Point is, being limited with ones equipment makes one push the one they have to the utmost. With the power of the Canon's zoom and the various effects and a talent I seem to have for composition and finding interesting perspective lines, it wasn't long before I was exploring. I've done this before. I found out that if I chose the right sight line and framed and zoomed just so, the effect I got was much like I remember telephoto pictures, and since I'm faking it, I call it my own word: telefauxto. Pronounced the same. And I like the effects just the same.

First, looking down Foster Road, from the series of shots posted yesterday. The line of electrical poles have a rhythm, logic and meter of their own, and form a skeleton nailing down the landscape you can see behind it. And, partially shorn of context, make a poetry of its own.

When I look down a side street, zoom and crop just so, a different perspective imposes itself and becomes the star of the piece. This is saturated with a mood and presence that remind me of a great many Southeast Portland side streets.

This one doesn't use a high-angle perspective but it does go with a contextless approach to generate a sort of introspective mood of its own. Wires, poles, insulators, and transformers against a turbulent sky. The shapes defined by the colors, values, and straight lines can lead to other worlds, if the eyes linger long enough.

Reality is real, but reality is also what you put in, and what you leave out.

25 February 2016

[pdx] Tele-faux-to View, SE Foster Road

Northeast Portland has Sandy Boulevard; Southeast has Foster Road. Two great diagonal boulevards which cut across blocks making interesting shapes and enabling any enterprising commuter to make right triangles at will if they are so inclined.

East side's hypoteneuses. Hypotenusae?

Here's two tele-faux-to views … this one, looking east-southeast …

The greenspace on the left is Laurelwood Park, and it's in the sharp gore-point of Foster and Holgate. And, in a city that seems to be gentrifying before our eyes and becoming shiny and sterile, Foster Road seems fine in not putting on any airs at all. And this is why, of the streets of the inner east side, Foster Road is still one of my most beloved places.

Note the building on the right there? It says K&B over the front entry; and undoubtedly something happens somehow in it, but I'm not sure what. Just being what it is, its old working-class self, doing whatever it does, and not (so far) in a hurry to become tidy, neat, and sterile.

And then there's this view, west-northwest:

… modest, a little dusty, real, and it is what it is. There are some newer, posher places up that way, but there are some small striving places too. And notice, too, it's not an actual straight diagonal; it zigs and zags a bit, turning a little north there, and then in the distance, as you pass George Morlan Plumbing, bending a little the other way again. Of course, on a map, the bends aren't that obvious, but they do have a habit of making a terribly interesting road just that much more interesting.

Old eastside Portland still lingers, to a degree, on SE Foster Road. And we love that.

[pdx] Foster Holgate Tango Foxtrot

In Southeast Portland, the two charming trafficways, the mighty SE Foster Road and the more modest but still dear SE Holgate Blvd, meet at a rather severe angle; Holgate runs cardinal east t'west, and Foster is one of our two great eastside diagonals. And in that corner is, this exuberant building.

The building is actually home to three businesses. Over there on the far right is SharedSpace, the studio where Jake and Barry (and a few others) work and do wonderful stuff. In the middle is a cute little old-fashioned barbershop (at least it looks that way; those who know me know that with barbershops I have little truck (nothing personal)). But that splash of color?

That's an Argentine-style tango studio where you can really get lessons and such. They call it Tango BerretínTango got popular again maybe a decade ago, and faded; but Tango Berretín is still kicking in high style, so they must be doing something right.

This mighty intersection is where three streets actually come together; the aforementioned Foster and Holgate, and SE 67th Avenue. Above is the picture of the building along the 67th side, and below, of course, is the gusset point. The view faces NE.

I'll cop to something here; there's a "Vivid Color" setting on my trusty Canon PowerShot, and it seemed unfair to photograph this delightfully over-the-top, unafraid décor in anything else. And it really made the cloudy sky dramatic, which I visually enjoy.

An eclectic corner like this kind of proves with all the ambivalence about the way Portland's growing, there are still corners of town that haven't forgotten how to weird, Portland-style.

20 February 2016

[Out122ndWay] The Divine Comedy of SE 122nd Ave, Part II: The Alpha and The Omega

In the last post, I presented documentary evidence that the sensorama of human life is well and perfectly recapitulated on SE 122nd Avenue at Morrison Street. But if you need a metaphysical frame, you don't need to go far. Just go north of Stark Street about as far south as you were just then.

On SE 122nd between Ash and Pine Streets, there's the Omega Funeral Home. And, on SE 122nd, very next block, between Pine and Oak, is the Shepherd's Gate Church … the one that used to be a strip club.

Tell me there ain't no subtext there, campers!

A few blocks south of here, life poses questions and answers them in mortal ways. And, here, life's questions are bookended and debated on quite another level.

The Shepherd's Gate Church first appeard on this blog here: http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2015/05/out122ndway-122nd-and-stark-goodbye.html.

SE 122nd Avenue, from Ash to Morrison. It's more than just an interesting jumble of business punctuated by a Burgerville.

It's Portland's philosophical, existential highway.

And so it goes.

[Out122ndWay] The Divine Comedy of SE 122nd Ave, Part I: Existence

There's a section of SE 122nd Avenue that recapitulates the sum total of human existence. It's all there … birth, death, and all in-between.

Peep this:

There's (going away from us), a dive bar, a porno shop, an auto parts store, a Volkswagen, and a public library. Everything here, but everything is necessary, including the street (the 12100 block of SE Morrison) which separates the auto parts store from the library.

Because … well, look. You have books for knowledge, dive bars for food, fun and companionship, the pornos for sexy sex that causes more people to happen (or so I've heard) and an auto parts store … because if auto repair isn't pain then, my friends, absolutely nothing is. Existential dread is best represented by the time spent waiting in the mechanic's waiting area to bring you the bill.

And Volkswagens are necessary. They just are. Don't question it.

If they don't have it in this stretch of SE 122nd, just south of Stark … you don't really need it.

But things go metaphysical just two blocks north of here. See next message.

18 February 2016

[pdx] Powell's Friends and Family Sale … This Sunday

Powell's Friends and Family sale, in case you haven't heard of it, happens this weekend. All you have to do is flash the Friends and Family coupon to get the 30% discount from your entire purchase.

You don't need a thneed, you need this, manifestly. There's never been a friends and family circle it's been so easy to get into.

To get the coupon, all you have to do is sign up for the Powell's Newsletter, by going to http://www.powells.com/ff2016 and following the destructions.

The next step, padawan, is yours.

[Out122ndWay] The V's Of Birds, The Rush of Traffic, The Promise of Spaghetti

Three views of NE 122nd Avenue today, all taken from a single pivot point. Where do you stand on 122nd? It depends on where you sit. Instantaneous contrast …

Looked at one way, it's the V's of bird flights across the mother-of-pearl sky.

Another way, you're in the country of 60 years ago …

And then rotate a little another direction, and just that quick, you're back in the city.

One street, three worlds, one place.

[WyEast] Mt Hood Today: Mantled in Nacre

This was the mountain from NE 122nd Avenue today, under a mother-of-pearl sky over outer East Portland:

Closer up, the peak is clothed in cloud, mantled in luminous nacre.

It's not a searchlight-shadow, but it's pretty good.

17 February 2016

[art] Judgmental Goat Eating Grass Is Judging You

This caught The Wife™'s fancy when we were at Fanaticon. It's a delightful little work by artist Rick Marcks which also got autographed.

It's a goat, see?

And, it's totally judging you.

Rick Marcks's Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/rick.marcks.7.

[art] They Said I Could Draw Here, So This Is What I Drew

I'm playing with a guided sketchbook called Drawing Is Magic, and the author encourages the book's owner to draw in spaces that weren't specifically meant for drawing. I wanted to, so I did.

If you'll note the mailbox, you can see that I'm so painfully Oregon that I know what the mailing address for the State Capitol.

[comics] What We're Still Loving: The Helm

We're a bit late to the party on this one. But we stumbled on it in meeting a wholly witty person. Therein lies the tale.

During OryCon last, we stumbled upon a man billing himself as J.R.R.R. Hardison. Little did we know. He was promoting a book … but I'll not get ahead of myself. To promote himself, he was distributing copies of the comic he wrote, The Helm (with heroic art and Frazetta cover homage by Bart Sears). I thumbed through it, and, as though by fate, a sequence hooked itself right into my cortex.

It's just after our main character … Mathew Blurdy … has gone through the worst part of his no-good, very bad, terrible day. Not only has his girlfriend dumped him, publicly and humiliatingly, at his place of work … a DVD rental shop … his inability to keep it together there immediately and subsequently cost him his job. A miserable mess, the now-unemployed, now-nodding-lonely, 30-year-old, overweight manchild manages to intersect with an eerie, almost-comically portentious garage sale. A whim draws him hither, where he meets the titular artifact, which calls to him in only a voice he can hear.

Mathew is the Chosen One. But The Helm's vision is cloudy, that day … and once it sees what doughy clay it has to work with, tries to reject him, all but saying I said GOOD DAY, sir! And, in the frame after, after the garage sale's equally-creepy proprietor (who figures mightily in a crucial way much later) tells him bluntly to put the merch down unless he intends to buy, a bronze, chiseled hunk of a brick house appears as though fated to be, and asks to look at a sword. The Helm, tellingly, speaks not to him.

The hunk so distracted, the chunk steals away with The Helm.

That, friends, the sort of deft comic timing I enjoy. The joke may not be complex, but the telling is timed like a precision time piece. And that's the sort of comic timing that made the comic worth the possessing.

I've read it many times since; if I was going to write about it, I want to do it justice, but the subtext that sticks with me is that Mathew Blurdy is terribly believable. He gets the superpower, he slowly learns to pay the cost; like most mortals, he certainly didn't genetically know what to do next and stumbles about with it like a 6-year-old kid who just got the keys to a Lamborghini. But somehow, chaotically, when the moment presents itself, he goes with his considerable gut and shows he has what he needs just when he needs it. He ends the adventure changed a little, but not significantly, and The Helm, realizing it's stuck with him, does the best that it can with what it has to work with.

Everything and everyone in this play is so perfectly imperfect.

It's that comic timing and grasp of the absurdity that is people that give me high hopes for Jim's upcoming novel, Fish Wielder. The wit of The Helm's writing shows an aptness for writing sharp satire. I don't think I'll be disappointed, but the wait … the book's due out in August of this year. But, if the story's good enough for Piers Anthony to glowingly recommend it, and if the comic's good enough for Harlan Ellison to be delighted by it, then it ought to be good enough for anyone.

Holy crap, Jim! You did all the LOLs!

Contact Jim on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jim.hardison.75

[liff] Jamie Varon: Everything In Its Due Time

Recently this article happened on The Huffington Post and it's been getting into my bean quite deeply.

I have tried far too many motivational and inspirational systems to be anything but jaded. They'd work for a while, but then the returns either diminished or never happened, I'd eventually look at myself, wonder just what it is that I'm doing here, and drop it and move on. I know I'm capable of some pretty good work … I've pulled things together before, but somehow, success only seems to beget more success randomly, if at all. To say I'm jaundiced would be to severely gild the lily; I've quipped that the most absurd bookstore section would be the one for used self-help books.

Maybe, though, I just don't completely understand evolution, at least as much as I fancy I do. I know to change you have to grow along a gradient. There seems an impression that one can go from aborning to finished just by stepping on the gas. But life is fickle; just because you've finished your rocket and have blasted into orbit doesn't mean the space station you had faith to be there to dock with will actually be there.

Not for the first time I think maybe I'm going about this all wrong. Yeah, that's got to be a universal human thing; but maybe there's some specificity about it.

The article (which I'll link to at the bottom of this post) seems to be saying to just keep paying attention to what's going on around you, and try not to fret (and in this human world of limited lifespans, believe me when I tell you that's the real trick!) about the fact that you don't have all the parts yet. Keep gathering the parts. Sometimes, a thing can't be over-rushed, and that even means the big things one imagines one's been working towards. It'll be there when you get there. Just make sure you're still trying to get there.

It takes working on the little things. The big things should come in time, but you can't quit working on the little things … not that that isn't another thing I need to work on, of course. But persevere …

That's my takeaway, anyway. Have at Jamie's article (which has been around the world several times for very good reasons) and get your own: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-varon/to-anyone-who-thinks-theyre-falling-behind_b_9190758.html

[marketing] Morning in Rubio's America - It Begins in Vancouver BC

In this absurdest of all political seasons, where the phrase how bizarre can you be seems to be fielded as a dare rather than j'accuse, We've seen some pretty bizarre, head-scratching things. Such as when Donald Trump illustrated his support of American military veterans with pictures of Russian ones.

You'd think that they'd take more care in vetting these, but maybe I expect too much. This week, The Vancouver Sun newspaper revealed that in one of Marco Rubio's recent ads, one promising "Morning Again in America" (brand-checking Reagan), there's a tugboat motoring across the harbor of that great, prosperous, American city … Vancouver, British Columbia:
“It’s morning again in America,” says the narrator as a tugboat zips through the water in front of familiar Vancouver landmarks like the Harbour Centre, One Wall Centre and Port Metro Vancouver cranes.
It’s unmistakably Vancouver.
Follow the link above to see it.

I guess that's the sort of thoroughness you get when your ad staff are unpaid interns. Either that, or they just don't care.

Either way, it's brand fail.

15 February 2016

[comics] What We're Loving: They Call Me Black Fist

The cover of the slender volume is most evocative and lets you know exactly where you stand with it.

Blaxploitation/Rockabilly/Fighting Manga? SHO'NUFF!

There are those of us … and you know who you were, don't be apologetic, because it was awesome … who would live for Saturday and Sunday afternoons, because that's when our local TV stations would fill those unprofitable hours with cheapass content. Like B-monster martial arts movies.

Especially those. 

Well, Pharoah Bolding has a treat for us, because in his hero's little debut adventure, They Call Me Black Fist, he's mashed up those so-bad-they're-good Saturday and Sunday afternoon adventures with a healthy dash of nostalgic affection for those styles, blaxploitation, and deserving of a soundtrack of Carl Douglas.

Everybody was Kung-fu fighting. The fallout is an affectionate satire and pop-culture deconstruction you'll take right to heart.

The story, while witty, is very straightforward; enigmatic, good-hearted but stern-valued martial artist with a pompadour that's on its own mission from God finds himself in a jive situation, which needs taken-care-of in short enough order when an absurd villain invades his local comic shop to steal all the free stuff on Free Comics Day with the idea of storing them and making money off them when he can sell them in 10 years time … without so much as even reading them.

The villain is evil … but at least he plays the long game.

Our hero, teaching a hard lesson, and teaching it hard.

But the gauntlet is totally thrown. The justice, as someone once said, is brought-en; on the way to that justice and a lesson in comic-shop etiquette, one rare, near-mint ninja three-pack gets severely downgraded, one comics shop gets seriously trashed, and one comic shop owner descends into near shell-shock. Furious action obtains, with specific moves hilariously called out.

The story is funny and enough just as it stands, but what really makes this little comic desirable is production values that put you back in the day; the weathered movie-poster style front cover is a bit of cosmic deftness that even comes complete with a price sticker straight from the spin rack at the supermarket and ad reproductions that include that back page Johnson Smith Co mail order mall … remember the X-Ray Glasses that sold for a dollar? That sort of thing.

And the inside back page? I never thought I'd see an ad for Chuck Norris Action Jeans ever again.

There's better news. I finally met Pharoah at Fanaticon (see that blog entry which is immediately before this one) and found that the affectionate humor in the work is only natural … in person he's just as affable and humorous as the jokes he tells in the story. And, as promised on the next-to-last page, Black Fist will return … we got to lay eyeballs on some blue-pencil sketches that got us very excited.

Black Fist will return … and we'll be there for him.

If you want to be there for him, dial your Stargate to http://www.pharoahbolding.com/.

14 February 2016

[comics] Fanaticon 2016, or, What If You Held A Small Teen-run Comics Fest And Quite A Few People Came?

As I promised earlier this week, Fanaticon, the teen-run comic festival being staged at the East Portland Community Center, happened, and also, as promised, we were there. We have some pictures, and here they are.

The multipurpose room at the EPCC was impressively filled with a number of vendors and the whole thing ran rather smoothly and enjoyable. Not only were there first-class things to buy, but there were a great deal of new people to meet as well as some old friends to say 'hi' to.

Among the vendors who were there was, along this wall, starting from the farthest, Dylan Canfield, Caitlin Like, and Mikah Berkoff. All produce great work. Dylan does sharp indie stuff, Caitlin does a elegant romantic Steampunk story called Mistress of the Machine, and Dylan contributes 1/3rd of the great local crowdfunded graphic magazine Combine.

Above, the women of WabiSabiPDX posed for us.  They specialize in adorable SF- and geeky-accountrements, and also PDX … I now have a Timbers logo pin done by them, because #RCTID, man. Many delightful trinkets there.

From left, Barry Deutsch, Jaymz Bernard
Barry Deutsch and Jaymz Bernard also posed for us. Barry's graphic novel series Hereville is one of the things that rule my world, and Jaymz is the talented creator who is one of the other thirds of  Combine and more. Following Barry's link will take you to his Amptoons homepage, and Jaymz's will take you to her Facebook presence, where more can be found thereon.

While there wasn't any cosplaying per se, there was some inspired costume choices, and some people who know how to dress to impress. These two participants weren't a pair, but when they posed together, they worked together on an artistic level:

Puttin' on the Ritz, Fanaticon Style.

… and not only does this young lady have a sense for style, she rocks the hoop-skirt.

Jake Richmond and Jaymz Bernard
The teens who had the enterprise to create this microcon are students in the Cartooning class led every quarter by Jake Richmond, he of Modest Medusa, who we've met in this blog before, and those same students decided the time was ripe to put on a show, in the old-school style. I'm liking Jake because he represents a certain encouragement to the beginner from the pro that we don't see so much in the world in general but which I come upon quite often amongst the comic creator community. So, far much of the stuff Jake instigates turns out nifty.

He was selling Modest stuff, some books, including the most recent publication, anthologizing his three Modest 24 Hour comics. They're really sweet and great comedy.

Also appearing, in effigy, the Knight of Chains in adorable hat style.
Nothing personal, but much preferable to the Knight of Chains in person.

These two sellers, whose names I did not get, had really cool crafty head circlets that were kind of, from my point of view, the unexpected hit of the con. They sold very well and adorned the head of more than one con-goer.

Three of the con staff, who were selling a compilation of EPCC class work, but I loved this arrangement because the names of the trio read Kate, Nate, and Josie, which scans mightily well. Something that didn't escape my notice was that the staff had a large young female representation, which, given the trends as I see them, can't be anything but a good thing.

Christine "Kiki" Knopp
We purchased some of the work of Kiki, a/k/a Christine Knopp, an illustrator who does some really fun, whimsical animal illustration, heavy on the cats, and some of the cutest foxes I know of (stickers of which adorn some of my own sketchbooks). She's got some impressively deep professional experience, is just plain a nice, affable person to talk to, and also does private art lessons. Her FB presence is https://www.facebook.com/kikidoodle.art/, and you can find her other neato stuff from there.

This last picture is an unexpected treat … the purple-shirted fellow in the center is Pharoah Bolding, who's work, They Call Me Black Fist, an unafraid mashup of rockabilly, fighting manga, bad 70s kung-fu movies, classic comics, and satire, which I stumbled on at Spritely Bean and tipped on my own Facebook presence some time ago (I had thought I had reviewed it, but just figured out I hadn't, which is a think I must redress and will do so soon). They Call Me Black Fist is as funny as hell, and Pharoah Bolding has a real-life sense-of-humor that is every bit as audacious.

One photo I didn't get was of Huynh Pool and the Spritely Bean's table, where good basic coffee, Thai tea, and Boba tea were all available, and made everything go smoothly.

The best cons tend to run so smoothly you don't notice anything else but the fun you're having and the people you're mingling with. It was all good and the kids did a tremendous job. 

We give it many many thumbs up. We'll have to borrow some, because we only have so many, but sacrifices must be made.

We hope they do it again next year.