Things to Do in Portland When You’ve Bred – 1. Oregon City

Having a kid really changes things. You could say fucks things up. The bright side is that there’s less time to do dumb shit and every spare moment increases in value like the work of a good artist who just bit the big one. Certain stuff is out. Staying up late partying at the bar is a no go, not too much of a bummer there. I definitely skate less, not a terribly bad thing; I’ve been skating for years. The little dude pretty much needs to be home for a nap every day by 2 or else total nuclear meltdown occurs. So on those bases this is the first of a series of posts about shit to do around Portland in your new life after birth. Installment 1, the Historical Highland Stillhouse loop trail.

We decided on Oregon City because I’d like to see the Falkirk Wheel, a wonder of engineering, but it’s in Scotland and we’re in Portland. From Philippa’s research Oregon City sounds like it has some industry, and also a municipal elevator on a vertical street called elevator street. That sounds wonder-of-engineering enough, so we bundle the little man into his padded restraining seat and hit the road.
If we were looking for something reminiscent of Scotland then we’ve made a good choice. Driving up McLoughlin Blvd by the Willamette past the Oregon City Bridge reminds me of the River Dee at Riverside Drive near Duthie Park in Aberdeen.
P1070163 We pull off into this handy little car park and screech to a stop right in front of this historical-fact-packed wooden sign, where a craggy old balustrade runs along top of the steep riverbank overlooking a barrio-load of ramshackle mill houses. It’s like the Aberdeen paper mill on steroids.
Panoramic view of the mills on the Willamette at Oregon CityMad industry surrounds a section of river that looks as though its bed got stomped on by some giant rampaging toddler. It’s a strange sinkhole and if you happen to know the geology that created it then please let us know in the comments. Especially if the geological process was actually a load of dynamite.
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McLoughlin Boulevard is the section of highway 99E that links Oregon City and Portland. It runs into Martin Luther King Boulevard and Grand Avenue just past the Ross Island Bridge. The bomb-ass graffiti on this plaque would be all the more bomb if it wasn’t being thoroughly interfered with by a bunch of historical info about pioneering, indian language knowing, fur trading, medical licence having, murder rap beating, long-haired french canadian scottish dude Dr John Mcloughlin, after whom this section of highway is named.

He looks pissed about something or other. P1070169P1070170
And Ivor decided to wear his fox sweater for the day. P1070171We turned round and walked back down to find the municipal elevator when all of a sudden we got stoked to find even more historical info on the other side of that wooden sign we’d parked by.
P1070173 P1070174A little further east along the pavement we could see that there was a walkway up on the bluff. It had to lead to the municipal elevator. It just had to. We ran boldly across the highway by this spider’s web and into the dirty soft mud by those bushes beneath the east end of the Museum of the Oregon Territory. The Museum looks sinister on a day like this. Note: if you don’t run across the highway there’s a footbridge just a little further down the road.  P1070176 P1070178 The walkway that runs along the top of the bluff is McLoughlin Promenade. Somewhere along here has to be the municipal elevator and Ivor intends to find it.P1070180
Tight views of the sinkholey bit.
Electrical boxes.
Reasonable advice.
The only Blue Heron we saw.
Aha! The 1954 observation deck of the municipal elevator!

From up top.
From down below.
The first elevator went into operation in 1915. It was a wood, steel, hydraulic contraption that took up to 5 minutes to ascend the 90 feet and caused all the nearby water pressure to drop; when it worked. When it failed you had to squeeze out the trap door and back down the sketchy ladder. 9 years later they went electric, got efficient and in the 50s did the full rebuild. The whole story – with its local house of cards style political shenanigans and a load more fun historical details – is on the little History of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator pamphlet you can get from inside the elevator right next to the attendant. He’s got local knowledge and directed us to a kids play park back up top in the town. That’s where we headed next.
OG bluff ascent.

P1070191 Ivor was wilin’ out at this point.P1070192P1070193
Walking up the stairs like some sort of pimp or something.

That’s just how he do.
Decorative cast iron tree grates by Olympic Foundry! Boo Ya! In case you’re unaware Olympic Foundry’s been busting out products metal style since 1900.
Nice brickwork.
Didn’t go in here but here it is.
Ice T never mentioned this in his biography.
Fire engines. Always thankful for those.


Swing steez.


Goonies-looking houses everywhere.

Local corvids at 5th and Washington.
Nice old Ford pickup on High Street by 3rd.
Cut back through to the bluff top.
Made use of the footbridge this time. If you’re a skater then it’s worth noting that if you had the right skillset, plywood (or maybe just brass balls) and a good photographer you could get a wild photo here. Gravette?

Wild geese.
There’s that museum again. Sinister but probably full of interesting historical stuff.
The walk loops us all the way back to the Highland Stillhouse, a Scottish pub that I’ll go on the record and say is legit.
Is this the hoe?
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It’s often advisable to maximize screen time in these situations.
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Paper Trail

The live-action performance in the intro to Joe Pease animation experiment ‘Paper Trail’ is truly exquisite.
In this post Joe answers 3 quick questions about animation and the animators he considers to be some of the greats.

Joe Pease on set

What’s the first animation you remember watching that got you sparked on the medium?
I would say Disney movies would’ve been the first. The Jungle Book and Sword in the Stone. In Aus we also had these short claymations between programmes called Pingu, have you seen that?
Yes! I used to love Pingu, it was consistently pretty hilarious.
So good! I don’t think Americans know about it.

What do you think is the appeal of animation rather than live action?
I like the look of certain styles of animation. I’m really into line drawn animation. Also, the fact you don’t need to rely on other people to work on it. There are not really any boundaries to what you can do either, which is cool.

Which animators do you find inspiring?
Frank and Ollie, the original Disney animators are incredible.

This guy Bruce Bickford who did Frank Zappa music videos.

Ray Harryhausen for how epic his stuff was before anyone.

I’ve also been super into motion graphics recently. Here’s one by a production company in the UK called Animade

What about Matt Stone and Trey Parker?

Of course! How could I forget?
Joe Pease up close

The Best Worst Graphic Ever

Crappy spray stencil cloud demon yells Get Used to DisappointmentOver the years at Zero there have been a lot of graphics. Often terrifying, frequently strange and sometimes hideous. Today I present to you The Best Worst Graphic Ever. Taken from a photograph of a questionable spray-stencil experiment The Best Worst Graphic Ever sprang, like so many terrible mistakes, out of boredom. What we have here is a crude attempt to depict the demonic spirit that rages through the woods of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2. The graphic is amateur, the logo wonky and haphazardly placed and the signature awkward and incongruous. This could all conspire to leave the final product as merely the worst graphic ever, which brings us to the moral of the story: never underestimate the strength of a well chosen disclaimer.

The Best Worst Graphic Ever will be on display at Cal’s Pharmacy this evening, Friday July the 12th, from 7pm as part of the Chromeball wrap party

Attack of the Memes: The Strange Connection between Joe Pease, Saatchi and Saatchi and Professor Richard Dawkins

At Cannes the opening speaker of Saatchi and Saatchi’s 2013 New Directors’ Showcase was Great British evolutionary biologist, Professor Richard Dawkins.

Never afraid to be the provocateur Dawkins is hated, with vitriol, by many of the same people who oppose gay marriage, for his publicly expressed sentiment regarding a belief in God. Regardless of whether you’re bothered about his joyous banging of the atheist drum I rank The Selfish Gene as possibly my all-time favourite popular science book.

At the 5-minute mark of Dawkins’ NDS intro, the ensuing new-media-nightmare-trip – designed to illustrate the idea that the spreading and transformation of internet memes is analogous to (and even an extension of) evolution by genetic mutation – doesn’t really do justice to the memic beauty that flowed from Antoine Dodson’s brilliant Hide Yo Kids, Bedroom Intruder, news segment (this all ties in with the theme of the showcase this year). But, the floating Dawkins head, the Mars Attacks brain graphics and Dawkins electric recorder performance is well worth checking out.

Besides all that, Peter Brings the Shadow to Life by friend-of-the-bird Joe Pease ended up being featured in the showcase. He shot it on his telephone, during various afternoons and evenings between November ‘11 and Summer ’12. That it’s been included in the reel is a wonderful, encouraging, positive, turn of events for the oftentimes persecuted young warehouse manager.

The Process is called Marquetry

In November 2012 Dudebarn1, Jake Gascoyne and I headed to Vancouver, in Dudebarn’s fuel efficient car, to see the #prettysweet screening. What my friends didn’t realise is that we were also going there to work. The 2nd and final round of Folk Custom Skateboards produced Predatory Bird-in-Hand-crafted decks were in need of a love injection. Fate had dictated that I was the only one with the appropriate syringe.

MARQUETRY (mar·que·try)
Inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials.

We needed to check each cut for imperfections that require sanding with some 220 grit.
Some need to be finished by hand. Carefully working through score by score with a craft knife gets the job done. Continue reading The Process is called Marquetry

Storytime Part 1

The Predatory Bird comic is the result of a troubling social media exchange between a morose, desperate, aging pro skater and a bright, talented, young artist.

The benevolent souls over at Thrasher Magazine have been kind enough to publish the print version each month Continue reading Storytime Part 1


This is the first short production that Sharpened Boomerang and myself worked on for The Predatory Bird using the Lumix GH2 with the kit 14-140 lens (in case you care).
Some of the profound and important themes explored are:-

    • Gender stereotypes
    • Having obligations to do stuff around the house before you get to go skate
    • Overuse of post-production video filters
    • Unauthorized use of audio that was (we assume) originally sampled without authorization
    • How weather affects bicycles


    • The dark wizardry that is a miniature pulley system

Please, tell us what effect this video has on you.
How does it make you feel?
Did it inspire you to improve your home?
What crap have you had to do that prevented you from skating for a while but you were ultimately quite pleased with?

A Proper Riverdance

The current (October ’12) issue of Thrasher has David Gonzales on the cover grinding a very burly kink to drop in San Diego. There is a pentagram, David’s interview is jammed with mind-blowing skateboard trickery, there’s a hammer-filled Toy Machine article with a strong latex fist theme, episode 2 of The Predatory Bird comic contains profane language and avian poop, the Krooked in Kolorado article includes an explicit description of an absurd genital brawl and most relevant to today’s post, the sequence you can see below.

A week or so after this issue hit the newsstands I received Continue reading A Proper Riverdance