Tag Archives: Portland

Famous Photographer

One of my photos I posted on Flickr has been selected to be featured in some new online guide to Portland. That’s kind of fun. No money, but fame and prestige will clearly soon follow.

Here’s the link. Scroll down to where it says “Portland Spirit” and on the right my picture and name will appear!


Moving Mountains

I got up at 4 ‘o clock this morning to catch a 6 a.m. flight out of Portland. I wasn’t supposed to come back to Arkansas until next Thursday but my grandmother died this past Wednesday morning. The funeral is tomorrow, so we moved up my flight to today. I’m now looking forward to 2 solid weeks back in Arkansas for Christmas vacation. Not my ideal, but, you know, these things can’t be helped.

My flight out of Denver was delayed today for about an hour and a half (it was 5 below, and billowing snow), but I finally made it into Arkansas just in time to get to the family’s visitation at the funeral home. Tonight my whole family and my uncle’s family (wife and kid) convened over at my grandmother’s house to have dinner and start sifting through an entire house with almost 70 years’ worth of accumulation. There are literally thousands of pictures strewn about, in scrapbooks, stuffed in drawers, filling entire storage bins shoved under beds. The pictures go back for decades and decades, and we all had a lot of fun looking through all of them, sometimes having to try to guess who the picture was of. My oldest brother and I pulled out all the old magazines from under the built-in shelves in the living room and had the best time looking at them. There were a whole bunch of Newsweeks from the 60’s, with Truman Capote on the cover when In Cold Blood was released; one with George Wallace on the cover from when he won the election in Alabama in ’66, in what was supposed to have been the “year of the Negro;” and yet another from 1966 with a huge screaming headline that said “THE NEGRO PROBLEM: The Growing Menace in the South.” From 1966!! There were also lots of really funny headlines in Better Homes and Gardens and various other magazines about women’s roles in the home, and how they can help their husbands and such. It all made for very amusing, and sometimes shocking, reading. There were also tons of old, original Elvis and Beatles records, and even a bunch of unopened old classical records. It’s a bit of an overwhelming undertaking, but so far we’ve been having a lot of fun just going through stuff.

Anyway, they’re going to have an estate sale soon, so my mom said to just take anything I wanted, so I grabbed a few little things. I’ll probably get some more before the vacation is over. God knows how I’m going to get it all home, but that’s another matter.

Other than this, though, it’s been a pretty lazy week. Tom finally made it into town last Sunday, so we’ve been having a lazy week. We’ve been cooking a lot; taking long walks and spending lots of time in old bookstores on Hawthorne; eating ice cream; watching lots of movies and season 3 of Friday Night Lights (which is the best thing ever; building fires; and sleeping a lot. Tom’s brother was here for a couple days before he flew back to Chicago, and Tuesday, before he left, we finally rode the aerial tram that goes from the south waterfront 3,300 feet up to the Oregon Health Sciences University. From the top you can see the entire city, with stunning views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, both of which are about 55 miles from the city in their respective directions. It was a clear, lovely day. Below are two pictures. In real life, you can see Mt. Hood towering behind us, covered in snow, but it didn’t really come out in the picture, unfortunately. But you can see the high rises of the south waterfront.




About 5 weeks have passed since Tom came to visit, and in honor of his finally moving here (he’ll be arriving with his brother on Saturday!) I’ve finally gotten around to posting all the pictures of his last visit, on my new Flickr account. If you’re interested, you can look at our adventures in the city, in Washington Park, at the Rose Garden, at Bagby Springs (which will look familiar to anyone who’s seen Old Joy), at the School of Professional Psychology’s Fall Social, at Laurelhurst Park, my favorite park near my house. Plus a bunch of older pictures from Austin that I’ve posted.


Tom on the MAX

Tom on the MAX

Portland’s Prop 8 Protest

Collier and I decided to go downtown today to check out the Prop 8 protest, as part of the Nationwide Day of Protest going on in every state in the country, including over 300 cities. I would estimate that there were at least 1,000 people down there, but probably closer to 2,000. Openly gay mayor-elect Sam Adams gave a nice speech, and overall the crowd was very upbeat and jovial, with lots and lots of families, both gay and straight. That was really nice to see. One straight couple brought their 5 kids, and they all had signs. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a march, but as Mayor Adams said in his speech, there wasn’t time to get a permit. Well, fuck that, I thought, in true revolutionary spirit, we should have just marched anyway and shut down traffic on a busy Saturday downtown. But oh well. And naturally we forgot a camera, so I’m stealing some images I found off Flickr. Enjoy!









Portland's Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

Portland's Mayor-elect Sam Adams.

That’s how the light gets in

Finding a therapist is just like any other relationship in a person’s life: you have to find one that you connect with, that shares your values, and for some people, having a similar background as you is important. So considering that, auditioning therapists is also a lot like dating. Sometimes you can go to a therapist for weeks before realizing that maybe this isn’t the right therapist for you. Probably that won’t happen; a good therapist will usually do an assessment 2 or 3 weeks in to see how you’re feeling about him or her and the process, and gauge whether or not you’re happy with them. Nevertheless, shopping for a therapist can be an intimidating, lengthy, and frustrating experience.

Fortunately and unfortunately, my first real therapy experience was so out-of-the-ballpark awesome, and so exactly what I needed, that I think I’ll be forever spoiled on other therapists (though I also realize that this is a general mind-set I need to get out of). But lately I’ve been pretty acutely feeling the need to be back in therapy, so my new search has begun.

Most therapists, however, are out of my price range, my being a meager grad student with shitty “insurance” and all. Lucky for me, though, Portland has a glut of therapists that can get a little competitive with each other. Not to mention numerous “counseling centers” that make it easy to find them: there’s the Samaritan Counseling Center; the Men’s Resource Center; Wise Counsel & Comfort; and then just a myriad of things like the Gay Dads Group. To name a few.

So I’ve started making a list, based primarily on cost and background. It’s important to me to go to a gay male therapist, I think. I’ve never really tried any other kind, except at St. Edward’s, because it was free, and while that guy was real nice, we just didn’t click.

So I’ve narrowed down my list to 3 gay men; one woman who looked nice in her picture; one normal straight dude who’s still needs to finish his doctorate and therefore has a “liberal sliding scale” for fees and is right around the corner from my house; one guy that practices Oriental medicine and healing, which makes me cringe, but he gives you acupuncutre, which I’ve always wanted to try, and he goes as low as $30 a session; and then some dude that practices something called Social Construction Practices, which, if you can past the new agey mumbo jumbo, actually sounds reasonable. One thing I think affects me is that I live in an individualistic society and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m much more suited to living in a collectivist society, and that causes me adjustment problems.

Or maybe I’m full of shit with that, but it sounds good.

But the best part of everyone I picked? They all have a free initial consultation, which lasts anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes, so they way I look at it is if nothing else, if I go on a “date” with all these therapists, that’s 7 free sessions!

Whoever said I wasn’t resourceful?

The stars at night are big and bright….

So I bit the bullet and registered to vote in Oregon this morning. I’ve been harping on and on since I got here about how important it is for me to vote for Obama in Texas, thus, I sent in an application for an absentee ballot. But that was almost 2 weeks ago, and I haven’t received the ballot yet, and today is the last day to register in Oregon, so I got really nervous and went ahead and registered (can you imagine if this was the one election where I didn’t vote??!?). There’s an Obama/Merkley campaign station about 6 blocks from my house (and in Portland, blocks are about half as long as they are everywhere else, so it’s really like 3 blocks from my house), so I walked down there this morning. When I told the guy why I hadn’t registered yet, he looked at me like I was crazy and gave me grief about “living in Oregon now,” and that I needed to vote here and get a driver’s license. Whatever. Either way, my vote won’t really count. Obama won’t win in Texas, and he’s definitely going to win Oregon, but I wanted my vote in Texas to be symbolic. You know things are bad for the Repugnicans when the Republican challenger to Merkley runs TV ads insisting that he’s really liberal, and associating himself with Ted Kennedy and co-signing the Matthew Shepard Act. But I guess you have to let some dreams go.

It is another bright, sunny day in Portland, Oregon today, with a crisp autumn chill in the air. The beach this weekend was cold, but sunny with the smell of burning fireplaces filling the entire tiny town of Manzanita. I took three walks on the beach and visited the town’s only tiny pub and the town’s only tiny grocery store. It was wonderful. My friend Alex took a bunch of pretty great pictures, and as soon as I have my hands on them, I’ll post them up. (I know, I really need to get my own camera; it’s getting pathetic.) Now I’m off to the library and then to a meeting with a classmate for a presentation we’re doing in our Human Development class next week. Ours is about gender identity disorder. Bet you can’t guess who’s idea that was….

Together we’ll mend your heart

Today I attended my first workshop with theBridge 13 program that I interviewed for a few weeks ago. (If you recall, it’s the outreach, diversity training arm of the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center here in Portland.) My boss and the “youth facilitator” led the workshop while myself, another new volunteer, also from Pacific, and another staff from SMYRC sat in the back and observed. We went into a class at Lewis and Clark College of grad students, all studying to be high school and middle school counselors and did a quick, introductory session on gender and sexuality sensitivity.

It was a great experience. I had so much fun just watching the workshop take place, and seeing how eager some of the students were to be interactive, and seeing just how hungry for this kind of knowledge they were. Several of them came up afterwards and gave sincere thanks for coming, that we had made them think about things in whole new ways, and inspired them to delve deeper into some of these issues on their own time. Even though I didn’t even do anything (yet; I will be co-leading next time probably), it was so gratifying to know that what we were doing was actually having an impact. These are the people we need to be reaching. It sounds cliche to say, but these are the people who are going to be getting jobs in the next year or so and eventually taking over these institutions and they aren’t absolutely scared to death to deal with this stuff. They are the future and they want to understand.

I had a relatively easy time in high school. I struggled, but I never was exposed to any real violence, or rejection by my peers or family. I never had trusted adults turn on me and betray me. My parents never kicked me out (you wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me in my life if my parents disowned me when they found out I was gay) or beat me up. I’ve never been gay-bashed (though I think I’ve pretty narrowly escaped it a couple of times). It’s difficult for me to imagine being in a place like that now, much less when I was a teenager and had no power, resources, stability, or perspective. Sometimes it seems trivial to go around schooling people to not assume that certain people identify as certain pronouns just because they look like they do, but children are so fragile, and tonight in this workshop it finally hit me. These people took this information seriously and they had open hearts to learn and accept it (especially some of the men, which surprised me, because I just assume most straight men are still neanderthals), and I was truly moved. I concluded definitively that yes, this is what I want to do with my life. This is a way that my life can have meaning, not just for me, but for society and the world.

I got off easy, but so many people don’t, and if you look at any single risk factor you can think of for teenagers, from smoking, to suicide, to dangerous sex, to gang violence, to whatever, the rates are higher for gay or questioning youth. Across the board.

There is still so much resistance, and so many adults just want to close their eyes and ears to this and remain ignorant or pretend it doesn’t exist, and hearing stories about how so many adults still react to kids with emotional problems related to sexuality issues is shocking. Even in Portland, which is supposed to be so enlightened (which I’m quickly learning is not necessarily the case, despite its reputation), my boss said that administrators of schools here say there’s no need for us to do a workshop in their school because they don’t have any gay students. Definitively.

I’m excited to be at a place where I’m needed and wanted, and where people actually have their shit together. It feels really good and like this is how things are supposed to be going. And I also got hired at the Parry Center, the children’s residential treatment center I interviewed at last week. I’m about to be very busy but I’m thrilled about it.