PDX Weather…

Life in the PNW is low-key glorious.  We don’t want word getting out and even more people moving here to experience it.  They always bring their hometown tarnish with them and it harshes our mellow just a bit.

Let ‘em scratch their heads in confusion about life here:


Without umbrellas.

Great food.

That comes from a truck on the street.

Great coffee.

That’s intimidatingly simple to order.

Beer swilling liberal haven.

Filled with inexplicably fit folk…

Being smart and right burns a lot of calories, m’kay?

Let ‘em think all that crap about us. As long as they stay there and don’t move here.

Come get a taste of the wonder, but be careful how you time your visit.

You can get a great hike in our in the gorge or cascades.


You can watch horrified like the rest of us as our beautiful landscape burns at the hands of some punk.

You can enjoy our tasty brewed treats – caffeinating or intoxicating.


You can question reality – and how strong that beer was – when you (think you?) see one of these characters.

Two of those are undeniably real, the other is a secret.  Not sure whether any of them are actually a reason to stop drinking or a better reason to start.

Again, it’s about timing in the PNW.

Just when you think you know all the potential traps to avoid when planning your exotic getaway to weird Portland, Orygun, you go to your travel agent and say something like, “Um, like we wanna go” – just assuming you’re from the San Fernando Valley for some reason – “for a weekend during Spring Break.  All the locals will be gone, but it’s not as touristy bad as summer will be.” only to find yourself wondering why your Travel Agent is giving you this face.

It’s because you can’t outsmart us.




It’s a little known fact that our summers here are simply glorious.

God’s Country.

Lit by the longest, most sunshiny days you can imagine.

An even less known fact is springtime in Portland.  Every year I wait for it.  It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does…it’s amazing!

It’s been on my radar since early this week, when people were talking about snow this coming Saturday – aka: tomorrow, at this point.

I have to check myself when I start to expect it, because you never know it’s coming.

Wrap your mind around this:  all four seasons in one day.

It almost happened yesterday.

I woke up and tried to plan my day’s attire.  Really, the mystery here is what type of outerwear I’m putting over my jeans and tee shirt.  It was 32 degrees.


I’d gone in on my usual day off, but ended up arriving a few minutes later than expected.  I’d taken a later train than planned when I’d returned to my condo for an umbrella after hitting the street and discovering rain with drops the size of my head.

Aaaah, Spring.

And, yes.  We locals do use umbrellas.  We aren’t idiots, like the transplant that started that rumor.

I left work and decided that I deserved a margarita.

The Silver Fox joined me for my second and when we left, proving margaritas are a cure for what ails ya – working on my Saturday, in this case, it was sunny and golden bright out.


For two blocks.

Then it was sunny and raining out.  It kept getting brighter and the rain got harder.  People were laughing and smiling as they strode the sidewalks of Old Town in the surprise – and gorgeously lit – shower.

“Sunshine drops!”, I yelled out, giddy over the prospect of hitting the weather lottery.

This is why people think we don’t use umbrellas.  You’re out and about and get caught be a sudden shower.  Others might step into a doorway and wait it out, Portlanders relish it and carry on about their business.

I went home and surprised Myrtle doing something she wasn’t supposed to do – sitting in one of my dresser drawers that for sure wasn’t open when I left.

But I was only home to grab a growler so I could get provisions for the evening and hole up for the finale: snow.

I went to the Big Legrowlski to fill up and chatted for a sample or two with one of my favorite Pearl District peeps as she filled my growler with a lusciously light triple IPA.  

As I was leaving: hail.

So close.

I woke up this morning to a reminder from Apple and Mother Nature:

PDX Weather…

An Apple A Day

Keeps the doctor away.

What keeps Apple at bay?

Oh, $2.99/mo will do it?

Still “Not Now”, Apple.

I sprang for the iPhone 7 because I was tired of the storage-slash-memory on my 6s being too full to download apps or take pics when I wanted.  That was ~$500 – which comes out to $27/mo, until I got bored with a $100 monthly phone bill and paid it off last month – and now I gotta cough up another buck or three a month to get you off my back again?  

For – y’know – ever.

Can I just buy a ranch in the Cloud where all of my storage can run free with apps and pictures of my meals and Myrtle?

Hey…even better, can you make it easier for me to delete apps from my Cloud ranch that I really don’t want any more?

Looking at you, Scruff and Grindr.

My virtual world would be a lot less cluttered without you two hoes running around eyeballing the fenceposts on my Cloud ranch.  My actual world would probably be greatly enhanced without you reducing my culture to its basest components.  

Hey, Apple…if I do cough up $2.99/mo forever can you get rid of the asocial media apps?


Oh, right…one begets the other.  Gotcha.

The most frustrating thing is this, no…wait.  I just thought of another:

1) With a billion active Apple products in the world, can you really not afford to give up s little more free space in this vague Cloud thing?  Google gives its customers unlimited photo backup when they buy a Pixel phone.  Are they better than Apple?!?  Don’t tell me you’re hurting for cash and looking for a way to scrape together an extra half bil each month to make ends meet…

2) Is this weekly passive-aggressive sales pitch really just a way of making me break up with you and get with GOOG?  We’ve been together for six years.  We’ve had three phones together…doesn’t that mean anything to you?

I mean, I get that you’re not going to give me more free space in the Cloud or let me delete obsolete apps from it.  But at least let me delete photos from my camera roll after I put them in a file without deleting them from both locations…that just screams redundant space usage in the Cloud.

Oops…sorry about the not so subtle obscenity in the wallpaper on my screen grab.  Here’s the whole pic for you curious types:

At least it wasn’t the actual pic that gave The Wallpaper his name…that is a deliciously inappropriate pic.

An Apple A Day

MAX Blog Challenge

Allow me to explanationize myself.

I spend a lot of time during my commute with no responsibilities concerning paying attention to anything.  Unlike you driving-type people.  I ride the MAX, which is the light rail train here in Portland, OR, for those of you from not around here.  In case it ever comes up in a pub trivia, it stands for Metropolitan Area Express.

See how clever us Oregonians are?

Ever moreso than our big sister city counterparts up north, not only because our light rail name is way cooler than their Link Light Rail.


But also because we had the good sense as a city back in the late 70s-early 80s to say “Yes, please” to the federal money offered to us for light rail.

Seattle – apparently – said, “Nah.  We cool.  Look at this major freeway running through downtown and our floating bridges!  Trains are old school.  Did we mention our freeway has a park over it?!?”


Anyway, our MAX gets me to and from work on the daily and that leaves me with some downtime where I don’t have to worry about silly things like steering and not hitting other vehicles.

So, what do I do?

I watch a lot of cat videos.

And the Facebook.

And the Words With Friends.

And the Instagram.

Until my brain is pretty much dripping out both ears.

Ergo, the purpose of this little MAX Blog Challenge is to use my 35-ish minutes to toss off a few brief blog entries.  Such as this or this.  Just something to keep the old bean nimble.

It’s especially helpful when waking up my little gray matter for my early work mornings, I can tap out a quickie on the way to work and be quasi-alert upon my arrival.  Plus, my post numbers are way up.  Win!

On the Sunday morning that I started thinking about this self imposed challenge, I was flashing back to the leisurely Saturday morning the previous day.  I’d hit my favorite local coffee roastery for my weekly treat and instead of my usual Iced Hazelnut Latte, I was feeling like an Iced Mocha.

I was tres conflicted.

One of the coolest baristas in Portland noticed my uncertainty when I was asked if I wanted my usual and asked what was wrong.

Or if I wanted-slash-needed a quad shot.

I told her about the source of my conflict and she immediately offered to do a mocha with hazelnut syrup for sweetener instead of the normal vanilla.

“A Nutella Latte?” I ejaculated.

Sure, she responded, chuckling uncertainly.

How could I not?

I mean, really.

So there I am, 16 ounces of iced latte magic in hand, walking down NW 13th, happy as a pig in chocolate and hazelnut syrup.  I have a literal pep in my step.

Oh, yeah…I went with the quad shot, too.

Then it happened.  The Latte Song just happened.  Popped right into my head, it did.  The music it was set to was Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie.

And, it’s official.  I’m the biggest dork on the planet.

But, a well-caffeinated dork.

That was the story that I wanted to write for my first official MAX Blog Challenge.

But I couldn’t.

As soon as I started, my phone vibrated to let me know I had an incoming text.


I’d used all my high speed data for my billing cycle.  No biggie.  I usually have a couple of gigs in my data stash.  Then I saw it – the dreaded LTE in the upper left hand corner of my phone screen.

And it wasn’t going away.

Another text from T-Mobile, which usually follows telling me that I was going to switch to my stash.

I’m awash in relief.

“You have used all of the 3GB high speed data in your T-Mobile monthly data plan.  You will continue to experience slower speeds up to 128 kpbs until 05/05/2017…”


kpbs…what type of actual BS tech is that anymore, anyway?  Could I also get a couple of tin cans and a string, please?

Being fairly easy going – shut up, everyone I know – I decided to just roll with it and keep typing along.  Then my mind started churning on the low speed data thing.  When I went to save or post this blog entry, it was gonna take a year and a half to update and complete.

Hard pass.

I could tough this out.

It was only…seventeen days.

Seven-fucking-teen days?!?!

Harder pass.

How was I going to make it?  I needed to get me to a T-Mobile to add a free range gig of data to get me through.

But how did this happen?  I never burn through both my 3 GB of high speed data and my stash.  Never.  It’s how I end up having a stash of data in the first place.


He and his boyfriend had popped into town two weeks prior for a real fun weekend and had been talking – over our three bottles of wine before The Silver Fox and I split for an evening of Lauren Weedman fantasticness.  Well, it was supposed to be fantasticness, but not every slugger hits a home run every time at bat, right?

Whoa.  Sorry about that last paragraph.  It was very Weedman of me!

Nevertheless, during our full evening of fun packed into a 90 minute pre-funk conversation, they were mentioning the podcast they had listened to on their drive down from Seattle.


s-townIt sounded good.  Entertaining and thought provoking at the same time.  They had mentioned their podcast listening on previous trips down, so on the Sunday after their visit, I opened up my podcast app and started the seven episode series.

And finished it in four days.

Which apparently takes a lot of data.

Who friggin’ knew?




Ok, it was totally worth it.  But that’s a different blog.  Maybe.  If I remember.

Today I finally get to walk into a T-Mobile for that free range gig of data.

Which they no longer offer, because this is my life.  Gone are the days of a $9.99 gig fix for the data poor.

Great.  Now what?

As it happened, I needed to get me to a T-Mobile today for other reasons.  Namely, my phone contract is on a Jump! plan and on that plan, my traditional 24 month payment plan became an 18 month lease, where I could Jump! to a new phone pretty much whenever.

But I never did jump.

Oh, and did I mention that the 18 month lease ended with a balloon payment for the remaining balance of the phone cost?

Oh, yeah.

Who friggin’ knew?

So, I had also in this data crisis gotten a text saying that I needed to either get to T-Mobile to Jump! to a new phone or I was going to have a $164 balloon payment on my 4/28 bill, in addition to my normal $60-ish phone bill.

Balloon payment.

Does anything strike greater panic into the heart of a senior citizen?

I didn’t know what I was afraid of, it’s just some uncontrollable, throwback panic.

Quite beyond my control.

But, I like my phone fine.  One of the reasons I never Jump!ed in the first place.  Why not just ride it out?


My phone started giving me that “Storage Almost Full” crap and the “Cannot Take Photo” gas in the interim.

Well, I could use a little larger capacity on my phone…let’s see what the options are.

I head on down to my local T-Mobile.  Leaving myself not enough time to pull the trigger on anything before my 11:00 lunch date with the parental units.

Did I mention that I waited until the day the payment was due to hit my checking account?  No?  Because, I did.  I’m there learning that my free range gig was no longer available, but that there is a comparable unlimited plan available with unlimited data for $70, all taxes included.  Which would make my phone bill about $4 more per month compared to my current unlimited data plan where taxes are extra.

“Unlimited data”, <wink, wink> I say to the sale person, Kristina.  No…unlimited high speed data.  For real, she assures me.

It’s an attractive plan.

But, help me with my storage problem, I beg.  She shows me some external drives that…I stopped listening.  Another device, I don’t need.  I already have a brick of battery life that I think I’ve charged once since I bought it.

Lesson learned:  I don’t use the external tech add ons.

Basically, my options became to buy Cloud storage or buy a new phone.

This, of course, prompted a Grumpy Old Man rant about how I don’t even know what’s currently in my fucking cloud, nor do I know how to remove anything from said cloud.  I’m the victim here!  It’s all a big con.  Now I can’t take pictures.  I hope “they” are happy!

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I back burner that decision while giving Kristina some whiplash and tell her that I’ve decided to go with the new data plan.  She parries with the information that she can’t set it up until I decide on paying off my old phone or getting a new one.

A few awkward seconds follow where we stare each other down.

The store’s phone rings.

And rings.

And rings some more.

I cock an eyebrow at her and she excuses herself.

like this woman.

My dad texts that they are leaving a bit late and will see me in an hour.  Great.  What Impulsive Xtopher didn’t need was enough time to complete a phone purchase.

When she gets off the phone, I tell her that I’ve decided to get the new phone, but to use the traditional 24 month payment plan versus the Jump! plan, since I didn’t.


“The base 32 GB will be fine for you.  I mean, every time your phone updates, it will eat a little bit more of the storage because”…I’ve stopped listening.

“I’ll take the 128 GB”, I say, “Let’s see Apple update me out of that much storage!”

She tells me that I have to pay the $100 price difference up front, and I’m fine with that.  What I’m not fine with happens a few moments later when she realizes that she can’t stop the draft for this month’s payment.  What that boils down to isn’t a big deal, the $160 for the old phone will just appear as a bill credit next month.

It’s important to note that I’ve been short-handing the amount of the balloon payment on my old phone.  The actual amount of the buy off is $163.99.  It’s a shorthand that I now find myself regretting.


She says, “Or, you could just wait and trade this phone in after the bill clears your account tonight” going on to elaborate – after my encouragement – that my trade in value would be <keyboard tapping> $160.

<Grumpy Old Xtopher to the stage, please>

“So, I lose $4 on the deal?” I manage to grumble and laugh at the same time.

Kristina the Sassy gives me a look that suggests that I’ve had a couple of weeks to complete this transaction that would have pre-empted the draft we are now discussing.

“Or you could just sell it yourself”, she tosses out.

Yeah, right.  My inner voice says.  I’m pretty sure I know what my face is saying to broadcast that thought.

Then my mouth says, “Yeah, I think I’ll do that.”

And I bought a phone.

I know that I don’t have enough time for her to set my new phone up for me, and this should bother me, since I’ve never set up a phone in my lift.

There’s people for that.

Smart people.

Smarter people than I, anyway.

But, here I am.  Backing up my old phone and restoring that data to my new phone while I type out a blog about how this insane adventure all began in the first place.

I can at least take solace in the fact that it only cost me $100.  Well, $100 plus the $4 my phone bill went up when I switched data plans from limited unlimited data to unlimited unlimited data…

On the upshot, I can reset my old phone to factory settings, get it unlocked and then sell it – with the Mophie battery pack that doesn’t fit my new phone – for an easy $250…so, really, I make out ok.

Because I’m a grumpy middle aged white guy and that’s how my shit rolls.

MAX Blog Challenge