Travels to Portland, OR

In early November I had a work trip out to Portland, Oregon. I was excited. We were working an event with a great client and I was going to have a bit of free time to explore. I have never been to the Pacific Northwest and Portland was always one of those cities I thought would be great to live in.

flying into Portland
Flying into Portland was a beautiful. The sky was sunny allowing full view of the gorgeous terrain. After landing, it was another story - overcast and rainy.

After getting checked into the hotel my tummy was grumbling. Across the street was a Burgerville, an area fast food restaurant which uses only local ingredients. I slammed down a Blazers Burger before meeting up with the crew for the pre-production meeting.

I had a lot of beer bars and breweries to visit while in town and knew it wasn't possible to hit them all. I convinced the crew to come with me to the world renowned Horse Brass Pub for drinks and eats. Upon walking into this British style pub I instantly knew it would be amazing. The beer list was phenomenal loaded down with so many unique selections, mainly from Northwest. I drank plenty here including Alaskan Brewery 2010 Smoked Porter, Limped Brewery Old Tavern Rat Barleywine, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, Deschutes Los Meuertos Sour Wheat Ale, Ninkasi Oak Aged Renewal Porter and some delicious fish & chips. It's all about the breading! This place is a must stop for beer lovers.
inside the Horse Brass Pub

Since we were only a few blocks away we stopped by Belmont Station so we could pick up some bottles to take back to the hotel. By the time we got back another member of the crew finally arrived. He wanted to find a place to eat. So a couple of us went with him and ended up at McMenamin's on Broadway. I split some tasty Cajun Tots and sipped a Terminator Stout. It was getting late and we were all tired. Plenty of beer in my belly made me fall asleep with ease.

The next day we cranked out the set for the general session. Afterwards we went walking around the Broadway area and ate at a nice little eatery/bar called Aztec Willies. I took down a tamale, enchilada, chips, and washed it down with a Fort George Working Girl. This was election night and polls were running close. By the time I got back to my hotel room it was announced Obama had won.

Day three consisted of tweaking out general session, production run through of day one show, and helping the breakout crews get finished. We were still done at a decent time. A few of us decided to head out for foord and drinks. We ended up at Broadway Pub & Brewery. I ate a calzone about as big as my head and washed it down with a Pacific Porter, Smoked Lager, and a Black Magic. It's a decent place. 

The fourth day was a long one as we had general session in the afternoon, followed by rehearsals for the early morning session, and a set up/tear down for a magician. Plus there was the Colts at Jacksonville game many of us wanted to fit in. No real exploring occurred. 

Friday was my last day in town. We finished up with our morning session and had everything torn down and loaded by 1pm. It was time to head over the bridge and see some new places. A couple of guys made the trek with me. The first stop was food. We ended up at Kells Irish Pub. The beers started flowing early as lamb stew entered my system. The next stop was dessert at Voodoo Doughnut. Where else? It didn't take too long to move through the long line. I ended up buying three and ate one, the bacon maple bar. My stomach was so full of sweetness.

tasty treats from Voodoo Donuts

I still wanted to checkout Baileys Taproom and have a couple more beers. The other guys were tapping out. I dont blame them. It was only 4pm and we were all stuffed. I persevered and made it to Bailey's. I found a seat at the bar and ordered a Flattail Honeymoon Saison, the a sampler consisting of Maui Hawaii 90 Wee Heavy, Columbia River Paddler's Porter, Elysain Omen Stout, Ninkasi 2010 Critical Hit Barleywine, and a Silver Moon Twisted Gord. After a glass of Terry's Migration Porter my stomach felt like it was going to burst open. Plus I was starting to feel pretty good. Bailey's is a nice establishment with friendly bartenders and a mixed crowd.

walking over the bridge at night
The brisk early evening air did me good. I got back to the hotel around 6:30pm. I packed and just chilled out for awhile before heading down to the hotel bar for a couple of last drinks.

The next morning came and so do my ride to the airport. I had heard that PDX can be rather busy and take a long time to get through security so I arrived a couple of hours early. I was ticketed and inside the gate in under thirty minutes. I guess PDX isn't so bad a 7:30am on a Saturday. I walked around the terminal killing time. And ate an incredibly spicy sausage from Good Dog/Bad Dog. Soon after the journey back Fort Wayne began. 

one of my favorite signs

Portland is an incredibly unique city. I really enjoyed it out there. Great food and great beer culture and I met a few fine individuals as well. Plus I hear there are so many activities to do in nature, of which I did not have the time to partake. My previous thoughts were correct... I could make a this city my home. 
Maybe some day.

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Indianapolis Colts (2012 1st Half Recap)

At the beginning of the season I predicted the Colts season. Here's how I've done through the first eight games.


Week 1 (9/9): at Chicago Bears
Loss, 41-21
What Happened:By the end of the game Andrew Luck looked like a rookie throwing three interceptions and the defense folded quickly after a solid 1st quarter. The far superior Bears routed the Colts to a loss.
Prediction: Loss (0-1)
Actual Record: (0-1)

Week 2 (9/16): vs. Minnesota Vikings
Win, 23-20
What Happened: Solid offense gave this team the early. They got way too conservative with play calling in the 2nd half and allowed the Christian Ponder - Percy Harvin connection to take over the lead late. Luck makes a comeback and Viniterri kicks a last second, game winning FG.
Prediction: Win (1-1)
Actual Record: (1-1)

Week 3 (9/23): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Loss, 22-17
What Happened: The Colts couldn't stop MJD who almost rushed for 200 yards. The Colts jumped to early lead but again came out flat in the 2nd half allowing Jacksonville to come. They missed a late FG, defense stepped up with a stop, offense moved the ball and hit a FG with under a minute left to take the lead, the defense immediately gave up a 80 yard TD pass, and then the offense tried to make it interesting by moving the ball into scoring position. They failed as time ran out and loss the game due to inexperience and foolish penalties.
Prediction: Win (2-1)
Actual Record: (1-2)

Week 4: Bye Week
Tough week as Coach Pagano was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia. He is lost for the season. The impact on the team will be interesting. 
Week 5 (10/7): vs. Green Bay Packers
Win, 30-27
What Happened: Colts got down early. Then the defense got ramped up and the offense started scoring. They got the lead late in the game. A bad decision on a fair catch, a three and out, followed by a long TD run gave the Packers a narrow lead with 4:00 left. Luck and Reggie Wayne seemed to will this team to a TD and the we saw the Pack shank a long FG attempt as time expires. An amazing game and a great victory.
Prediction: Loss (2-2)
Actual Record: (2-2)

Week 6 (10/14): at New York Jets
Loss, 35-9
What Happened: I stick by my statements that the Jets aren't a very good team. They did have home field pride going for them as they already lost their two previous home games. Coming into the game the Jets had many significant injuries. So did the Colts, which seems to be a theme every damn year. The Jets overcame those injuries and whipped the Colts handledly in what I think was this team's worst game of the season thus far. Indy looked completely unprepared. The defensive line couldn't stop anyone from running the ball. The offensive line could make holes to run the ball or give Luck time to pass. Plus the receivers had way too many drop balls, another theme this season. A terribly disappointing game which has the Colts still looking for their first road victory of the season
Prediction: Win (3-2)
Actual Record: (2-3)

Week 7 (10/21): vs. Cleveland Browns
Win, 17-13
What Happened: The Colts possible played their most complete team game of the season. Luck didn't have to throw out any last minute heroics, the run game was solid, run defense was outstanding, and special teams was fabulous. Cleveland hung around to end making the score a little closer than I would have liked but mental mistakes cost them in the end. A good game to build on.
Prediction: (4-2)
Actual Record: (3-3)

Week 8 (10/28): at Tennessee Titans
Win, 19-13
This game was ugly for both teams as silly mental mistakes proved costly. It also was a surprisingly low scoring affair despite both teams moving the ball quite well. Indy went into the half down by a TD, thanks to a blocked FG, but rallied and tied the game at the end of regulation. The won the toss, drove down the field on mostly running plays, and Vick Ballard scored one of the sweetest looking TD's on the season. The Colts win an important game within the division and equally important get their first road win of the season.
Predicted Record: (5-2)
Actual Record: (4-3)

Week 9 (11/4): vs. Miami Dolphins
What Happened: Another week against another young team searching for an identity due to new personnel. It's a common theme in the first half of the season. Miami hasn't done much to impress me in the pre-season. Well except trading Vonte Davis to the Colts. Today he makes the Dolphins wish they didn't and leads the Colt defense to its best performance of the season and the Colts to it's fourth straight win.
Predicted Record: W (6-2)
Actual Record: (5-3)

My Thoughts:
I'm one game off on my predictions. And I am more than fine with the how the first half has played out.

This team has played with more heart, character, and emotion than their talent level indicates. Call it #ChuckStrong or "Building a Monster" or what ever you want. But as a fan, I am gitty with enthusiasm.

Luck is every bit as good as advertising and if the receivers would stop dropping passes, his numbers would be even better. The run game has been adequate when the line blocks and heading in the mid-season the starters have yet to really play together due to injuries.
The defense is playing well enough. They have a lot of guys who are not suited to play this style of defense but are trying and over achieving. Again, injuries are hampering a lot of the squad's progress.

Heading into the second half one thing is plainly clear. The AFC has a lot of mediocre teams and the Colts play many of them. They are hitting stride and getting healthy at the right time. Also playing on the inspiration of Chuck Pagano may carry them right into the playoff.   

Creative Commons LicenseObservations of an Illogical Mind by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Please feel free to share the link but contact me for any other uses or publication.