Monday, July 28, 2008

Pallets and Porters

This week, there was good news and bad news. Remember that big warehouse set we had to fill up with crates? Crates made of paper we had to cut, foam cubes we had to sand, and glue we had to wash out of our clothes? Well, we finished them! It took four interns four days, but we did it! (That's the good news.)

The bad news was: next, we had to make a forklift pallet for each one. This involved more X-Acto knives and more glue, with the difference that these pallets were so fragile that you could demolish one just by resting your elbow in the wrong place.
But even though these took more time and more care than the crates did, they were more satisfying to make. I think we felt like there was more craftsmanship involved, so we could be proud of the work. My frustration with the crates was that I thought, "Any old Schmoe can make these things... " Which may be true, but it doesn't necessarily mean interns can; in the end, the art director rejected about half of the crates we had made. Whoops!

After work hours, I spent a lot of time with an old high school friend of mine named Ben. He's a student at Portland's Lewis & Clark College, and this week, we explored another reason twenty-somethings love Portland: beer. Portland is home to many, many microbreweries. Ben and I went to one of them, the Rogue brewpub, for a friend's birthday. In addition to hot dogs and hamburgers made from Kobe beef, Rogue serves delicious dark beers. Mine was a mocha porter. They also offer hazelnut and chocolate brews.

I was also excited to find out that July is Beer Month in Portland. Ben and I celebrated by going to the Oregon Brewers Festival on Friday, along with his friend Maddy. The festival was in an enclosed section of Waterfront Park. There were two huge tents, one on each end of the enclosure, which together housed about eighty beers. You buy beer with wooden tokens worth a dollar each. A sample of beer costs one token, a full mug costs four. And of course you have to drink the beer out of your very own 2008 Oregon Brew Fest official souvenir mug made out of genuine recyclable plastic ($5).

At first, we went for beers with delicious-sounding names, like Dragon's Milk, Pliny the Elder, and Quilter's Irish Death. We bought the one-token samples in order to maximize our sampling range, but soon found that it was also a good way to maximize our beer intake. This was particularly true for Maddy, a cute Filipina girl, whose "samples" tended to be larger than ours.Ben and I decided the Best In Show was the Almond Brown Ale from Standing Stone Brewing Co, Ashland, OR. Maddy concurred with our other decision that the Worst In Show was Widmer Bros.' Full Nelson IPA, which tasted like alcoholic armpit sweat. Appropriate for a beer named after an illegal wrestling move.

Since that was the last weekend in July, there are no more beer festivals in the cards. But there are still plenty of microbrews to be sampled, and as Dorothy Parker (quoted in some beer literature we read this weekend) once said, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."