i travelled on the 17 past where i needed to get off for the hostel and looked for somewhere that i could use a toilet. well, i found a cafe that has restrooms for customers so, of course, i bought something to drink. alas, after trying the door and finding it locked i saw the fine print that said, "leave i.d. in exchange for the key" (or words to that effect). it takes so little for me to simply cross my legs and wait until i get home...
it appears, however, that i have fallen into a chess-hustling cafe. i've seen something like four tables with chessboards built into the tabletops, as well as a guy off to my right who's settling in for a long night with three (!) roll-up chessboards and a book of chess problems. he even had it all in a little zip-up bag that looks like he stole it from paul newman... i haven't seen any money changing hands but maybe that only happens in public parks in new york... who knows? the weird dichotomy of the familiar and the alien is unsettling to say the least.
i left the hostel after a late shower (about 10.30) and hoofed it into town, as far as burnside, and powell's. i spent quite a while at powell's, browsing through several sections of books on urban design and planning, fantasy and sf, crime, rpgs (role-playing games not rocket powered grenades). all in all, quite a pleasant way to spend an unhappily humid day. the temperature isn't that warm, about 29-31 degrees, but the relative humidity isn't in my happy zone.
after powell's i stopped in at reading frenzy and finally managed to check out the iprc. it's a lot smaller and pokier than i expected but, then, what was i really expecting anyway? i've got some questions to ask about cataloguing in their zine library and i'm going to drop off some of the zines i brought with me for their library too. they were very busy while i was there, maybe a dozen people all in the throes of various activities. i'll call i there maybe tomorrow if i can get my act together with dropping off my zines. i'm thinking of doing some kind of "what i did in astoria" zine, maybe with quotes from terry pratchett's interesting times... who can say?
something that i've really noticed about portland is the staggering number of people with tattoos. it really does seem to me to be astronomical! it's not just the edgerunners, it's everyone. i've seen office drones waltzing down the transit plazas with celtic bands tattooed around ankles or their non-watch-wearing wrists, or ink on the backs of their calves. i'm starting to feel very much that if i want the full portland experience, i may have to get a tattoo. of course, i have no idea what i'd get and i'd still have to deal with the inevitable me-luck (which is why i never got my tongue pierced) that says, "very sorry, sir, but it's all become infected and will have to be surgically removed before you die of sepsis..."
i know... i'm such a yellow-hat!
anyway, tomorrow i'll try to decide between holing up at the hostel to write or venturing out to maybe visit the oregon museum of science and industry. i geuss it depends on how oppressive i find the weather...