Posts tagged "portland"
Today I was asked whether I liked Portland or Los Angeles better. I often write about the pros and cons of each…er, mostly the cons of each, so I thought I’d actually punch out an unbiased, friendly, honest list of each!
So here we go.
Portland vs. Los Angeles Round 1: Pros
1. Family/Friends – Obviously, a large part of my heart belongs to Portland because some of my best friends still reside here. Drew, Jake, Josh, Joey, Kristen, Andrea (just to name a few – sorry if you got left out of the short party list) always have my back. It doesn’t matter what time of night it is (Andrea and Kristen) they answer. They realize I don’t live there anymore, and I feel like a welcomed visitor and brother when I’m home (Drew, come visit me ‘cuz I owe you lunch now), and I can talk about all the old times and career highs I had in sports over a smoke and a brew (Jake – well he doesn’t smoke or drink, Joey, Josh). Not to mention Tim and Jan (cough, mom and dad) still live in Gresham, and so that’s a plus…and I’m totally underselling how great of a plus it is!
2. Nature – I live about 30 minutes from the foot of Mt. Hood, an hour away
fromthe lovely beaches of Oregon … okay, so that’s stretch. They aren’t beaches by California definition, but if you love hiking and viewpoints like I do, it’s a plus, and I live 20 minutes from the Columbia River Gorge – for you non NW’s out there, they filmed Twilight in that area. So that’s a pro or con depending if you like the movie I suppose.
3. Breweries – We have the most per capita in the country I believe. Now, mind you, I haven’t quite got to experience this yet unless my friends or parents bring home beer and ale, but the food is great in itself, and that leads me to the next point…
4. Downtown Portland – It beats LA any day. LA thinks they are hipster (looking at you Hollywood) but it’s not. It’s Clean Hip. In LA, everyone has clear skin, straight teeth, tightly trimmed beards, and unwrinkled clothing. In Portland, everyone wears flannel, big, ugly fake glasses, their beards grow wild, and there are enough tattoos and piercings to cover most skin. The atmosphere is amazing. We have Fire on the Mountain, VooDoo Donuts, Pioneer Square, The Pearl District, the Portland Rose Gardens, the Rose Garden, and a city transit system people use. Win.
5. Coffee – One word: Stumptown. The end.
1. Biola University – Uh, this one is easy. It’s why I live in Los Angeles in the first place. Some of my (new) best friends go to this school. When people ask to describe the environment, I simply say, “Let’s just say, some people in my wedding have been replaced – on both sides of the ceremony!” (Well, still no luck finding the wife, so maybe it’s not here…I will not get a ring by spring, I will not get a ring by spring…or give one…).
2. Orange County – I love this place. It’s full of beautiful, vintage towns (Orange) as well as my favorite beaches (Newport/Balboa, Laguna). The coffee shops are wonderful too, although they aren’t quite Portlandesque. Also, there are a lot of cool viewpoints overlooking cities, some cool areas to hike, and it’s the OC baby – the malls and restaurants are to die for!
3. Opportunities – I’m a coach at a successful football program in the LA County. I have met Britt Hume, Chris Tomlin, drove a member of Leeland around town, met Ali, a former Bachelorette, sat at a party with a film crew that handled Keith Urban’s new music video, as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m meeting with Jayme Dee’s manager, and the list goes on an on. I also temporarily interned at a major (although creepy) PR firm in Westwood, and I see (periodically) semi-famous stars. Except one time I ordered coffee with Chris Pine from Star Trek. Amazing.
4. Disneyland – I’ve been nearly or over 100 times. Uh, the magic is still magical. And now I know the trade secrets. I’m a seasoned pro…except the Beckers still one up me every time.
5. Traveling – Whether it was opportunity or simply location, I’ve had some awesome chances to see parts of the world I never would have though of before, thanks to the Biola Network – the unofficial name for your Biola friends you either know, barely know, or heard of – who live throughout the country. I’ve seen San Fran, the Grand Canyon, New York City, San Diego, and a lot more – thanks to the wonderful people of God’s church who opened their doors for me. Amazing.
Round 1 Result: Tie.
Round 2: Cons!
1. Gresham, Ore. It sucks. From Urban Dictionary: Portlandand in regards to the Max transit system: “MAX= lightrail train, NEVER ride it in Gresham, you will be raped.”
2. Townies. People that grow up in Oregon, never move, drive big lifted trucks or beat up cars from the early 90s, know nothing outside of Oregon hick life, chew tobacco and still go to Mt. Hood Community College.
3. Small Town Feel – Where I’m from, they like to think they’re a small town. Everyone pretends to know everyone’s business, and if they don’t, they make it up. It’s especially brutal in the churches around where I’m from. Don’t get me wrong; there are some GREAT churches in Portland too. But…
4. Slow Drivers. Nothing irks me more than drivers who go 54 in a 60. Dude, getover. Pull over. Jump off the bridge. You’re causing me an ulcer and everyone else around you.
5. Obesity – Face it Oregon, for every organic Whole Foods health nut, there is 5 overweight people in the boondocks. I hate how I get in trouble for saying this. Obesity is something that to some degree can be controlled. GET HELP! Stop ordering the Deep Fried special at KFC and stop using your motorized scooter at Albertsons. You’re 35. The 90 year old is walking faster than the machine can move with you on it. Walk some more, eat healthy, and get help.
1. Fake Plastic. Dear women of Los Angeles please don’t believe the “BiggerBreasts” billboard or the “Get Thin Now” ads – we’re already skinny enough and full of enough plastic down here as it is. You’re beautiful … if you just subtract the 5 layers of extra makeup and Botox. Thank you!
2. Rudeness: I’ve picked up the LA attitude, so I must apologize, it is an issue. But, you get use to it. If you don’t move within .001 seconds of a light turning green, you get honked at. If you don’t know what you’re going to order before you get in the 10-minute Starbucks line, you get yelled at. If you say hi to those around you while walking around, you get shot. Well, maybe not…kinda sorta.
3. Lack of Clothing: To all women and girls. Please cover up your breasts and buttocks. Thank you.
4. Racial Diversity and lack of acceptance: Um, just because someone is black, doesn’t mean they aren’t good people. Just because someone is Mexican, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know English and is lazy. Just because someone is Asian, doesn’t mean they can’t drive and only work at donut shops (okay, most of the time it doesn’t), and just because someone is old doesn’t mean you need to talk to them as if they are already dead. They can probably sort of hear you…maybe.
5. Traffic. UGH. And yes, this is real, on a daily basis.
Round Two Results: Portland for the win.
Oregon has about 4 million people as their population.
LA COUNTY has about 12 million.
Los Angeles and Southern California has teams that actually win. Portland doesn’t. We also have at least 7 professional sporting teams, well, that’s if you include the Clippers. Portland has 2 now, and no, the Winterhawks don’t county.
LA has a lot more colleges, therefore, more college aged people, therefore more hip fun things to do.
Portland has a safe city you can walk in.
Overall win…Portland for the nostalgia, Los Angeles for the future…and thank God He has an ordained plan.
Perhaps the mystery lies within a crevice of the soul that has yet to be fully uncovered and explained in the midst of my constant journeying. Perhaps, the answers are before the mystery.
There are fewer things that I love to do when I go home then have a drink, a cigar, and seeing my friends. More specifically the mysterious light that shines from their eyes amidst new ambitions and the lowest of lows.
In a short weekend trip, these are four things that can happen very easily, and it reminds me of the simplicity of the life I enjoy when I reside in the 503. Yet, there is a wall to be breached every time I’m home, and I was walked in the Pearl District just a few nights ago, listening to a random street band perform on a stage that seemed to fit their personalities to perfection, that wall was breached.
It got me thinking what I’m really doing in my life - who I am, where I’m going, what I’ve done, and the adventures yet left to climb.
There are two separate worlds in my life - and there is very little that ever crosses intothe other. In one universe, I live in Los Angeles - I sit around a table with people who hang out with Keith Urban and the Red Hot Chili Peppers after a long day on set, I order coffee with Chris Pine, and I wander around Disneyland when I’m bored. And if it’s a really good day, I read at the beach. It’s a dream…and yet, it leaves me dying a little bit more each day, because I know it’s just a small stop in a long life that I hope to enjoy, no matter how long, because God gives it and takes it away. I want to make it last for Him and His glory. I want to do majestic things for the Kingdom. I want to save lives, because when I had none to give, He saved mine.
Then in my other world, I wander around Portland like a character from a Nicholas Sparks book…a tad bit confused, heartbroken, pathetic, and heroically daring at the same time. I sit around a camp fire and retell as well as listen to stories about the prime of my friend group’s lives when we were The Buck Crew. Before school, distance, women, men, and life decisions slowly but surely called us to grow up. I enjoy a cup of Stumptown Coffee with my mom as another cool Oregon breeze blows through the vacant and clean city streets of Portland.
It’s a vast comparison of the slow and romantic versus the fast pace and what seems hopeless. Yet I wonder why God has me in either. But there must be a reason I ask.
I have a tendency to look back and cherish, and a bad habit of looking forward and spitting out the taste in my life. On those (sometimes too often) seasons of life where I ride the arrogant horse into my future, I think I have it all. And then I come home. And then I don’t get that call back. Then I don’t get hired. Then I get kicked off a team with my friends. Then I make some terrible mistakes. Then I get reminded of grace. Then I come back to this spot.
If you’ve made it this far, this will probably remind you of my old blogs, where I was more confused and passionate. Perhaps it’s a good thing, perhaps it’s a terrible thing. All I know is that I love today. I love this trip home. I love where God has placed me, and I can’t wait to for the (hopefully) global adventures that lie ahead.
Degree or not.
Single or not.
Full of friends, or riding like the Lone Ranger, solo into the sunset.
Rich or poor.
Needless or needy.
It’s going to be a beautiful picture that will be finished when I’m XX years old.
I thought I left my heart in SF where my bachelor and city life could fly to new heights.
Before it was NY.
And it will probably be Portland this time, only for a completely different reason.
So where is that sunset…and pass the Stumptown and Rum please.
Could Joel Przybilla come back in a Trail Blazer uni next year?
The Blazers 2011 Free Agency Forecast
With the latest first round departure, it was obvious the Blazers had a few glaring holes in their roster that is separating them from being one of the “elite” championship level teams.
In order to be able to step in the ring with the Big Boys (think Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio), they have to get players that fit one or more of the following criteria: veteran, a shooting presence, explosive, size.
Right now, the NBA is in transition: you have a power shift to the East, where the Bulls and the Heat look to be solid for years, with the Magic close behind. The Celtics, Lakers, San Antonio, and Dallas seem to be on the backend of dominance.
This offseason (barring a labor deal), the Blazers could be looking at their last chance to join the party. I’m eliminating trades in this circumstance, because it doesn’t look like the Blazers will give up Batum (at least I hope not), and he’s the only player any team really wants these days – especially with Rudy showing just how streaky he can be during this postseason.
First need: Point Guard
The Blazers don’t need a Chris Paul – I may be hated for saying that, but we don’t need that caliber of player at the point. It would be nice, especially with what he did to the Lakers without any supporting cast, but he’s either going to be in New Orleans forever or stage a dramatic move to the NY Knicks. You decide.
That said, I think the Blazers should look to sign Aaron Brooks from Phoenix (2.0M Restricted FA) and let Andre walk (7.8m team option). We can then resign Patty Mills (who looks like he can be a solid backup if he continues to develop), and we let Oberto, Collins, Barron (yeah they are on roster) leave, and possibly resign Chris Johnson (more on that later).
Brooks has the explosiveness Portland needs from their guards (is anyone afraid of shaky knees Roy or Miller right now?) and Wesley Matthews, while efficient at the two, isn’t going to dominant night in and night out. It’s just not in his DNA.
Plus, Brooks can slash towards the basket or hit the open jumper (something Andre certainly can’t do) even if he isn’t the best shooter (36% career 3p%). He doesn’t necessarily have the best vision, but in the Blazers offense, you just need to be able to pass efficiently and he tore us up when he was in Houston.
By signing Brooks, you make the move at Center a lot easier.
Second need: Center
Give Oden one more year. I think most people who know basketball know we have to. You can’t give up on a 7-footer as the men on the radio said tonight during the postgame report.
Oden sucks up 7.8m in team option, but if he is remotely healthy next season, he could play a solid 18-20mpg and be effective. All we need him to do is average something along the lines of 8ppg, 8rpg, and 1bpg. There wouldn’t be as much pressure on him if we figure out a way to keep him on the court (more on this later).
If we keep Oden, we might possibly keep Johnson as well. Now, he lacks bulk (210lbs) but he is experienced on the team. Not a shabby option to keep for depth at the end of the bench.
So, whom do we sign to start then? Well, bringing back Joel the Killer Thrilla Pryzbilla isn’t a bad idea. He loves Portland, we know he can stay on the court after last season’s scare, and he can produce what we lacked: toughness down under (as Patty Mills would say!). He would probably even come for less money since he knows he’s at the end of his career.
What about Nenad Krstic? A solid 7 footer (7ft, 240lbs) who could at least keep the Blazers alive against big teams (we got burned when we had to slip in Batum and Rudy by shifting LA to center). Former McMillian player Reggie Evans wouldn’t be a bad idea either. He grabbed nearly 12 boards a game. He doesn’t have ideal height (6-8) but he’s a bulky guy (240lbs) who could make a difference.
Third Need: A new training staff. Why doesn’t ANYONE question these guys? All of our players have knee issues. That doesn’t raise a warning flag for anyone else?
Wildcard: I think Gerald Wallace could be the dynamic, explosive player the Blazers need. He has a lot of heart, attitude, and can finish at the rim, but more importantly, he does the little things: makes solid passes, handles the ball well, has decent range and can fly around defensively.
Notable backup plans:
Steal Peja from Dallas. He’s a free agent, he can shoot, and he would simply come off the bench. Imagine if we had him late in the game this season? It would be a last ditch stop much like Pippen did when he left the bulls.
Trade Machine! This would kill Blazer fans everywhere, but think about this – and note I’m against it:
(and a handful of expiring contracts)
(cash, picks, or last men on the bench guys).
I don’t need to explain it…but it would be freaking scary for years to come. The Blazers wouldn’t do much the first year, but after the second year they could add some more depth. By then, who knows, maybe I can donate my shabby knees for Roy’s.