Farmers Markets and A Reliable Metro

I had my very first yurt-cooked meal of the trip this morning, eggs and sauteed baby spinach!

First yurt-cooked meal!

While I was cooking, Squirrel Drama Theater was happening in the tree above the yurt.

Squirrel Showdown Theater!

I’ve been jonesing heavy to get to a farmer’s market ever since I arrived. I managed to score a decent mini-fridge for $25, and I’ve got the cook top setup, so it was time! I headed downtown in the Metro to grab myself some fresh grub! I hit the Shemanski Park one. Although it’s much smaller than the University one on Saturday, it’s still about twice the size of the biggest market in Austin. The fabulous weather and produce are a big part of why I come here in the summers.

It was easy to remember where I parked my car. Just look for the life-size brass elephant!

Parked near the elephant…

First Farmers Market Visit of 2013!

In order to stay on budget for this week, I chose not to get too much this time around. A few containers of blueberries, some squashes and onions, and a few green onions to plant in Amanda’s garden. The fresh blueberries are heavenly!

The Second Most Fresh Blueberries!

I then proceeded to Backspace Cafe, one of my favorite downtown hangouts. It’s a huge space with lots of great events at night, and it’s a coffee-house and art gallery during the day. Most of my memories of Portland are fantastic, but some are bittersweet.

Untitled

It also right around the corner from Ground Kontrol, a fabulous retro-arcade that becomes a bar after 5 PM. I played a round of Joust in my first visit, taking the #3 spot on the first try. I later played a cowboy game where you run over the tops of stampeding bulls, Tempest, and waited for but did not get to play Street Fighter II, which was absolutely my favorite arcade game of all time.

Warming up with a little Joust before hitting Backspace

I’ve been Making Noise for a while about expanding beyond GameSalad for my App endeavors, so, after looking at Unity a bit, I decided to go with Corona for the time being. Their licensing has gone up. Although their free version, which I probably can’t get since I have the *old* free version, now has more features, including App Store publishing, the cheapest for-pay version is now $600, which is really more than I can afford at the moment. However, I’ve really missed *programming*, and GameSalad just doesn’t scratch that itch. I’d also like to be able to make things that support social media, networking, etc., and GameSalad doesn’t do those things either. I started with a basic bouncing-crate demo, and added some extra pieces to try out the engine. It was fun and kicked my brain into high gear just the way I remembered. I’ll see if I can get a release happening without paying the licensing fee. If I end up liking it enough, I may fork it over eventually.

Those of you who’ve been Paying Attention will realize that the phrase “Reliable Metro” is an oxymoron and that I must be blowing smoke up your ass. Happily with the Metro there are several varieties available, from the sweet-smelling, pet-poisoning every-present stench of burning antifreeze to the darker smoke belching forth from the tailpipe due to a broken vacuum line.

While in L.A., I had noticed a vacuum hose that had broken off of whatever it was supposed to be vacuuming. I wasn’t able to find the other end, and in the meantime the car idles rough and much too fast, wasting fuel and creating smoke. However, after getting home today, I went another round with the arcane Factor Shop Manual, without which even driving to AutoZone isn’t a good idea, much less a 4000+ mile epic sojourn across more than half the United States. I finally managed to identify all the parts of the Exhaust Gas Reclamation System, and was therefore able to locate the charred, twisted remains of the other end of the hose hiding deep beneath the throttle body. There was enough tubing left on the other side to neaten up the end and put it back on, and once I did the car *definitely* idled better. I’m guessing vacuum hoses are cheap, so I’m probably going to replace all of them in the near future, and make sure they all have clips (this one didn’t) to prevent future Drama.

You might imagine, if you were stupid, that this might lead to a properly-functioning-for-the-first-time-in-months Metro, but you’d be wrong. And since you must be brilliant to have gotten this far into this post, no one is surprised. On the way back from the farmer’s market, I saw that familiar old demon, the Creeping Engine Coolant Gauge. Sure enough, just as I was going over a bridge, the coolant temperature went over the boiling point and I had to pull over. The Bright Side (and it’s *very* important to be able to find a Bright Side with the Metro, in the same way it’s important to remember that the abusive partner who beats you ever day occasionally *does* bring home some money before drinking it all) is that it confirmed my suspicion that the radiator itself has a pinhole leak. The 250+ degree F steam jetting from just that hole made this very clear. Luckily or not, the radiator is under warranty. That’s good because it might mean I get a new one for free. It’s bad because it means I can’t really affect any field repairs or it will void the warranty. After having spent over $60 on antifreeze on this trip, I finally declared bankruptcy and decided to run the fucker on filtered water until I get a new radiator or have to drive home to Austin. While wandering around downtown Portland looking for water (at least I had a empty container to put it in, the full container of anti-freeze can be seen here holding the yurt door closed) I went into someplace with a low-rent looking neon sign that said “Bar” on the front. Once inside, I found myself passing well-dressed patrons clearly preparing to enjoy a $20+ per plate meal, which is one of those times in life when you have to just keep walking. I managed to get into the bathroom without being tackled, and was able to use my hands to form a halfpipe that allowed me to fill most of my 1 gallon jug with water. Romantic lighting and distracted waitstaff enabled my hasty escape, and after contemplating simply waiting until after rush hour before leaving again, I simply dumped tap water into the fucker and headed home.

The Dumpy Yurt

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