“Hey, Wasn’t there Supposed to be a Fourth Guest Blogger?”

Greetings, fellow citizens of Scalzi Nation!

I feel like I should apologize for being so late to the guest blogger party, but since I was warned against beginning with an apology by a scene in the beautifully written, acted, directed, and generally note-perfect flick The Kids Are All Right just the other day, I’d better not, huh?

Oops.

OK, take two.  It was an honor and a privilege to be asked by Scalzi to join his handpicked group of sacrificial lambs guest bloggers, so despite the fact that I’ve never attempted a, for lack of a better phrase, “whatever-style” blog, here’s hoping that I’ll take to the form quickly … or at least, for your sake, fail in a spectacularly entertaining manner.  Scalzi hasn’t thrown a total neophyte at you though… I’m no stranger to blogging, it’s just that to date, and with just a handful of exceptions, my blogging has been limited to music (I’m a fiend for live rock ‘n’ roll; I easily see over a hundred bands a year, and blog the SXSW music festival annually for Twangville.com), comic books (back in my AOL days, when I co-created ComicsAlliance.com with my colleague and fellow lifelong comics geek Chris Dooley … man, getting paid to cover Comic-Con International a few years back?  As exhilarating as it was exhausting!  If I recall my stats correctly, they went something like: 5 nights, fewer than 20 hours of sleep, and over 50,000 words blogged … but, like Peter David, I digress), and Microsoft SharePoint (my current employer is Bamboo Solutions, a Microsoft Gold-certified partner and a leading provider of SharePoint add-ons).

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One of those three blogging topics is not like the others, huh?  Yeah, that’s the one I’m least likely to be blogging about here, especially since I haven’t had a platform to blog comics, movies, books, etc. in front of an existing and engaged audience since the AOL days, but given the size of Scalzi Nation, and my loyalty to my employer, I figured I had to get in a plug for Bamboo since I figure the odds are strong that many of you are SharePoint users and/or pros.  And for those of you reading who are SharePoint users/pros, if you have an interest in doing some guest blogging of your own for Bamboo Nation, the Bamboo community of which I am Managing Editor, by all means, please give me a shout.

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So yeah, books, music, comics, movies (and in the era of HBO/Showtime/AMC original series, even TV) … that’s the stuff.  In other words, I’m a pop culture junkie (reading is my primary drug of choice, but music comes in as a close second), so that’s the kind of stuff I’m most likely to blog here.  I look forward to reading your responses to the stuff I’ll share that’s rocking my world, and (even more so) looking forward to hearing the stuff I might be missing out on that you think should be rocking my world.

A little more about me so you know where I’m coming from … I hang my hat in the ‘burbs of Washington, D.C., along with my fabulous wife, Amanda, our dog, Kirby, and cat, Monty.  Kirby’s an English shepherd, and they’re natural herders, so, yes, he’s been known to (attempt to) herd the cat and, yes again, if I could ever manage to capture the results on video, you better believe that I’ll share them with the world through the magic of YouTube.  This six-week guest blogging stint will also find me traveling to Asbury Park, NJ (for the Gaslight Anthem show at the Stone Pony this Thursday, followed by a couple days on the beach with my wife and a group of like-minded friends), Portland, OR (and surrounding wine country and coastal areas, a.k.a. Amanda’s and my summer vacation), and Long Island, NY (for my Grandma’s 99th birthday party), so you may very well see some “locally sourced” content influenced by those travels in addition to my arts and entertainment love letters.  Oh, and if you’ve got any Portland tips, I’m all ears.  I already know to plan on spending at least a half day at Powell’s though.

And with that, I’ll sign off now with what I expect will be a regular “Now Playing” feature at the end of my posts, in the hopes that, even in non-music-centric missives, I might be able to turn some of you on to some sounds that are rocking my world, in the hopes that you’ll make with the clicky so that they might rock yours too…

Now Playing:  Real Control, the new album from Moneybrother, a fantastic blue-eyed soul / rock band out of Sweden that I saw about five or so years ago at SXSW.  Happily, they’re coming back to the U.S. for a tour this fall with Jesse Malin (who’s also a fave of mine).

32 thoughts on ““Hey, Wasn’t there Supposed to be a Fourth Guest Blogger?”

  1. Reserving judgment until I see photo of Monty. But no degrading videos of Monty being herded, please. Remember that every cat is an honorary member of 4chan…

  2. Hmm. This post is bylined ‘johnanderson2.’ Clearly, the delay in posting was caused by the, er, disposal of ‘johnanderson.’ But I’m quite sure this poster isn’t a pod person. Really…

  3. OMG!!! Portland! I just got back from a 4 day visit and am excited to say I am ready to move out there based only on the chicken wings at Pok Pok. That place has some of the best Thai food I have ever had!

    Throw in the AMAZING Peruvian food at Andina and those are my two “can’t miss” places there.

    If you like beer, definitely check out Henry’s in downtown. 100 beers on tap. Yuuuum.

  4. You’re always fashionably late to parties, too, aren’t you? Well, thanks for being here.

    Good lord, we’ve got alot of dog owners a,pmg our hosts. This is great!

  5. David, you missed out on the absolute best Thai in Portland if you didn’t hit Thien Hong. Their pepper salted squid is to die for.

    Seriously, move there if you have the chance. I have no idea why I ever left. Dumb.

    I’d also like to give a shout out for the Lucky Lab in Southeast. Great beer brewer, and decent food.

  6. OK, I’m going to try not to ask if we can be friends, because that’s just desperate.

    But what sealed the interest was The Gaslight Anthem. I just recently stumbled on them and am still in awe of their awesome. (Awfully full of awe, in fact.)

    Dorkiness aside. I look forward to your posts. A great deal of shared interest and locality piques my curiosity.

    *rapidly takes note of the Now Playing section and signs off*

  7. “Beautifully written, acted, directed, and generally note-perfect” — but unfortunately boring. Perhaps I know too many ordinary lesbian families to be impressed by a film about the life of a lesbian family being just as messy as any other family in pretty much the same ways.

  8. Montage for food in Portland.

    Our family has been happy with McKeowns restaurant in Seaside.

    Cannon Beach is a better “Tourist trap”. (imho)

    Can’t go wrong with Powell’s & there is an AWESOME (slightly expensive) seafood restaurant, Jake’s Crawfish, just a short walk south on 12th st. (not even two blocks)

    Hope you enjoy your visit.

  9. Voodoo Donuts is overrated.

    Pok Pok is not overrated.

    The waffle window on SE Hawthorne is weird and great too.

    Oceanside is incredibly quiet and peaceful if you want to go to the coast and avoid the tourist crowds. But there isn’t much to do there.

    If you like beer, there’s plenty of places to partake in stuff you’re not going to get on the East coast. Bridgeport brewery/Rogue/etc. Since you’re a dog owner you might like the Lucky Labrador too. Brewery that is dog friendly (though I doubt you’re bringing your dog with you).

  10. Yea! Comic Books. I am a fan and look forward to geekery.

    My company has talked about Sharepoint for a few years now and it supposedly is installed and being piloted now. My assumption is that it will never be rolled out to the general public and therefore I will remain a Sharepoint virgin.

    On a final note. You are aware of the mandatory followup posting of cat/dog pictures yes? Similar to a sacrifice to the gods, pet pictures must be offered up to the readers of Whatever on no less than a weekly basis.

  11. Make that no longer than a weekly basis (i.e. at least once per week). Daily pet picture offerings are of course welcome.

  12. Strolling through the Saturday Market near the river in Portland (assuming it’s still going on). Lots of fun and wonderful crafts.

    Wave in the general direction of Beaverton (Dad) and Milwaukie (Mom) for me, please. Dark Horse Comics is in Milwaukie.

    I’m going in November and want to go to Mo’s on the coast for clam chowder and maybe get to Mount Saint Helens if it’s not too cold and snowy. I was trapped on I-5 on the wrong side of the eruption for most of that memorable day and haven’t been to the mountain since then.

    Smoked Salmon Northwest style. Oh, yum!

  13. All I know about Gaslight Anthem is that ESPN has suddenly discovered them and insists on playing their music to accompany video highlight clips. That 1:30 segment isn’t enough to persuade me they’re good, but your report after the concert may do so.

  14. Good heavens! You’re coming to Portland? Clearly you must contact me when you arrive so that we can do some sort of bizarre joint blog post. Also I will show you around and introduce you to the world of Portland microbrews.

  15. hello and welcome.

    While in Portland, try out Marakesh for Morrocan grub. I have no idea how authentic it is, but the place is interesting, it smells good and the food is tasty. Also try Doug Fir for a burger and this place will satisfy your music interest as well. And there is an awesome R. Crumb exhibit at the Art museum right now. And drive out to Mt Hood if you can.

    -Zip

  16. Heya, gang – Thanks for being so welcoming!

    Based on the abundance and enthusiasm of your recommendations, I can already tell that we didn’t budget enough time for Portland proper (3 nights split between 2 weekends, but essentially only 2 full days) during our time in OR. As if I wasn’t already excited enough about the trip, all of your advice has me all the more excited. Thanks VERY much to everyone for your recommendations, they’ve all been duly noted. Oh, and yes, indeed, I am most definitely a fan of beer, and aim to do my damnedest to do right by the local selections. (The deal Amanda and I made is that Portland is about beer, the Willamette Valley is about wine, and we’ll split the difference while on the coast. That’s fair, right?)

    Mary, sounds like some kind of “bizarre joint blogging” will most definitely be in order … though with your (much appreciated!) offer of a guided tour of Portland microbrews, perhaps we ought to consider instituting (at least) a 2-drink minimum for Whatever readers prior to reading such a post?

    Shrike58, that’d be the VA ‘burbs. If that’s not the “right” answer, perhaps I can make up for it by saying: based on your handle, might I safely assume that you’re a fellow admirer of The Hyperion Cantos? (Related: Would you believe that just this morning I finished reading the collected Letters of John Keats? True story!)

    Eric J., surely you must realize that we’re already friends (nay, brothers!), united in our shared love of the Gaslight Anthem. Clearly, we must join forces in a mission to bring Linkmeister into the fold.

    Rick, well spotted. Not a pod person… possibly an evil twin though. Or, no, wait, Bizarro John Anderson!

    Kejia’s Cat, never fear, were I able to capture Kirby’s cat-herding attempts on video, there would be no degradation suffered on Monty’s part whatsoever. Since I’m unlikely to capture the scene on video, however, perhaps my next post shall attempt to do it justice in words… accompanied by, yes, pictures of them both.

  17. I’m intrigued by the dog. An English Shepherd? We don’t have those here in England ( well we probably do but not with that name – sorry to preempt the pedants.) will need photo evidence please.

  18. I’m late to the party and haven’t lived in PDX for years but yeah, if you like driving, pick a direction and go. An hour out of the city in any direction and you’re looking at something interesting.

    Here’s another rec for the Lucky Lab, and if you’re buying your beer in bottles I don’t think Deschutes bottles anything I don’t like. Okay, maybe their IPA, but only because I’m not into IPAs.

    If you only have one day to drive, go up the old Columbia Gorge highway and admire the waterfalls. Nice hiking if you’re into that. The coast is great but you want a full day if you’re going to get south of the tourist traps.

  19. indeed. I will crusade for Linkmeister’s fandom.

    Also, now knowing that you’re in the VA side of the ol’ capital, I now know that I can dispatch my ninja monkeys and still have them back for dinner. Yes. plans are forming.

  20. I am going to risk being expelled from the city, but not the biggest fan of VooDoo Donuts. If you are going to be at Powell’s however, I highly recommend lunch at Deschutes Brewing. It is within easy walking distance of the book store and has great grub and outstanding brew. For a memorable dinner, check out Meriwethers on NW Vaughn street. This place boasts its own farm, from which they source the majority of the food they serve. They also have a great wine list showcasing the amazing wine makers of this area.

  21. Sounds like you will definitely enjoy Portland.

    My recommendation for Powell’s is less about how much time you budget for it; what’s *most* important is that you know what your credit limit is before you enter.

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