Saturday, April 18, 2009

#16 The L Train

I've never been to New York. The furthest furthest east I've ever been in the United States is Gresham.  And still I know that the L Train is underground.

This is the train that takes you from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  Which means that all of the hip people from Williamsburg are taking this train into the city to buy hot dogs and make fun of tourists in Times Square.  Even if this is totally wrong it doesn't matter because it's underground to sound like you know what you're talking about even though have no clue.

In Portland we have the Max, which isn't underground.  It does go to Gresham though so maybe its a little bit underground.  Then we have the Streetcar, which is definitely not underground.  It runs from 23rd, through the Pearl District, and down to the South Waterfront.  Really streetcar, really?  I haven't been on a less-underground ride since my parents made ride It's A Small World like 8 times at Disneyland in 1992.  

For great pictures from the L Train and other painfully hip Brooklyn crap, check out this site.

#15 Scarves

Scarves are underground because they are mysterious, ironic, and subversive.  A scarf is a way of saying "hey look at my neck, by don't look at my neck.  Okay but seriously look at my neck because I just got a sweet scarf."

The most underground kind of scarves are the kind that come from the middle east. Those are great because they start conversations. If you wear one of those then people will ask you "oh wow, have you been to Israel?"  That's when you'll respond with "no, I just got back from Brooklyn, and they sell these everywhere..."

So I read somewhere that these scarves are originally used so that when you're in the dessert you can keep sand from blowing into your eyes.  Well now that you live in Portland you can use them to keep street grit out of your eyes as you ride down Burnside on your fixie.   

Sunday, October 26, 2008

#14 Tattoos

If you don't have a tattoo, you shouldn't even be reading this blog. Please visit this website. Tattoos are so underground that I haven't blogged for almost three weeks because I've been thinking of all the reasons why they are so underground, and there's millions.

Anything that makes you cool or hip that's permanent is awesome, and that's why tattoos top the list. For example, black-rimmed glasses might make you look cool, but you can always get corrective eye surgery if want to. If you ever get eye surgery that makes your eyesight worse so that you have to wear glasses permanently, let me know because that's really underground.

The best kind of tattoos are the ones that you get when you're either drunk or because of a bet. Those are instant stories. Tattoos that you design yourself are stupid, unless you're really un-artistic, then its hilarious. Tattoos that talk about your significant other are over-done, unless they're on your upper thigh and they're based on a napkin sketch that you did in a San Diego bar when you were celebrating you're brother-in-law's culinary-school graduation, then its legendary.

If you want to be underground, never get tattoos of the following things: barbed wire, flowers, happy faces, ferries, smurfs, asian charaters for "strength" and/or "pride." DO get tattoos of the following: your home state, farm animals, bikes, skulls, bones, eagles, stars, asian characters for "egg roll" and/or "wonton."

One thing that's really starting to piss me off is that all these frat boys all over the country are getting little handlebar mustaches tattooed on their fingers, thiking its funny when they put their pointer finger above their upper lip. "Good job Rico, it looks just like a real mustache, you're so underground!" But when Fox News reports on this tattoo craze then you know its officially gone mainstream. And that little tat isn't coming off any time soon. Well guess what? I'm saving myself the 50 bucks by trying to grow a REAL mustache on my index finger, and its actaully coming in pretty good. Now that's underground.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

#13 My Friend Brian

Brian is usually one of the most underground friends I have.  Except last night we went to a forum on sustainability, the environment, and Portland's energy future.  

I rode my bike, and Brian drove.  Five blocks.  That's crazy-super underground.

I salute you my friend.  Keep on being hip.  

#12 Breakfast

People who are underground don't go to church on Sunday morning, they go to breakfast.  Talk to any hipster and they'll tell you about a breakfast burrito or eggs benedict that made them believe in God.  Often times people in the media have referred to sports arenas or skyscrapers as our "modern day cathedrals."  But in Portland our cathedrals are 2-stories tall and give you coffee while you wait.

Most breakfast places in town are packed on Sunday mornings.  This is usually the bi-product of a crowd that had too many Pabst or whiskey-waters the night before.  Hungry, cranky, and hungover, it's the underground ritual to seek out a breakfast place where the wait staff is equally as cranky, and probably a little more hungover.

Waiting in line is the best part about the Sunday morning breakfast experience.  A group of underground friends can find themselves in all sorts of witty and hip conversation, usually recapping the wild events of the night before or talking about the latest trends in bicycle fashion.  Its not unusual to wait for an hour-and-a-half, only to get a table inside next to the garbage can or outside in the blaring sun.  Then you have to put up with service and food prep that isn't exactly quick.  Let's just say that most Sunday-morning breakfast line cooks couldn't exactly cut it on Iron Chef America.  The secret ingredient: bagels!

An essential element to any good breakfast place is good vegetarian breakfast-meat.  You definitely need to have options like vegi-sausage links, vegi-bacon, or vegi-chicken-fried-steak so that you can feel like you're eating meat, but you don't have to spend the rest of your day with a guilty conscience.  If you're Greek though, then no vegi-meat for you.  Greeks don't believe in vegetarians.  Or Greek omelettes for that matter.  Just get the French Toast.

Monday, September 29, 2008

#11 Vice Presidents

By definition, being a vice presidential candidate is underground. It means you're probably not smooth enough, good looking enough, or smart enough to be the presidential candidate. Being awkward, ugly, and dumb are all things that make someone underground so this tends to make perfect sense. This year we're blessed to have two VP candidates who are so underground that even Canadians want to vote in our election. In case you don't know too much about our candidates, here are two brief bio's I've prepared in order to make sure that people are educated going into November.

Sarah Palin: Sarah was born in an igloo in the North Pole in 1987. She killed her first moose when she was 14 and started playing hockey when she was 2. One time she tried putting lipstick on a pitbull, but then the pitbull punched her in the head and got a two minute penalty for high-sticking. Her BFF is Katie Couric, who she met at the University of Idaho because they lived in the same hall and made out with the same boy at Matt Smith's F4 in 1991. Sarah has 7 kids who are named Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy.

Joe Biden: Joe has been bald since he was
 12. His friends call him Mike Williams. He's never killed a moose but tends to kill a joke at least once a speech. He once told a congressman in a wheelchair to stand up for recognition, which was the most embarrassing thing he did that week. He takes the train to work every day, so I don't think he can afford a car. One time when he was running for president he plagiarized a speech from an Italian politician and got in trouble and had to drop out. I think people noticed when he started talking in Itallian, so the joke's on them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

#10 Bike Messengers

Being a bike messenger is extremely underground. Its so underground that try asking someone how you get a bike messenger job and they won't be able to tell you. Try going to It doesn't exist. You don't become one, you're born one. Last week I saw the most intense bike messenger I'd ever seen. He was riding his fixy, pant legs rolled up, talking on his walkie-t, drinking a stumptown, and carrying two huge boxes. One was strapped to his bag and the other was under his arm. I was pretty impressed because I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was 13.

Many skills are needed in order to become a messenger, and many of them don't come naturally to most people. You need to be able to ride a bike in an urban environment at about 50 miles per hour. You need to be able to feel comfortable in both professional office settings AND local hipster hangouts. You need to remember all names of all of the architecture firms in town, and that's like a big jumble of alphabet soup in your head.

A bike messenger needs to be able to carry and deliver anything in their bag, and I mean anything. Drawings, boxes, computers, even dogs. If people need to send it across town, they'll be looking at you.

So if you do have what it takes to become a messenger then there are certain rules that you have to live by. Always keep random pieces of paper in your back spokes. Drink coffee at least three times a day at Portland Coffee House on Alder and Broadway. Never turn your walkie talkie volume down when you walk into an office. Eat lunch sitting against a blank wall in front of the US Bancorp tower where you can make fun of people in suits. Always make fun of people in suits. Get an ironic tattoo. Talk about how everyone has fixies now and you're thinking about getting a mountain bike. If you can do that, then I have a cute little cocker spaniel I need sent across town by 5:30.