The sweet, crafty joy of donut awesomeness

Or, is it Doughnuts? I say donuts, much easier to spell and text out.

Within the older downtown Portland (Oregon) area, there is Voodoo Doughnuts, an awesome and very well-known freshly-made donuts shop (and growing chain) in the west U.S. The lines are often long, but worth it.

It’s important that I stop here for every visit to the central Portland area. It’s central location is open 24 hours, and I will wait anytime.

Special note to locals and frequent visitors: I hear much about the Blue Star Donuts shops in the area. I will get around to that eventually, then report back. I swear!!!

For every visit, I go with a favorite and something new. On the left (see picture above) is the Mango Tango, a raised yeast shell filled with mango jelly and topped with vanilla and Tang frosting. On the right is a special only available until the end of March, The Hi Tea. That has some earl grey flavored frosting with hibiscus drizzle. Partial proceeds for the Hi Tea are donated to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Every bite leads to some finger-lickin thumbs up from me. There’s other great and tasty choices too. Here’s a sampling from the central location…

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#voodoodonuts #portland #donuts

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That’s all for now. If you have a favorite donut place, or just a favorite flavor… I would love to know in the comments below.

Orion T

Up and about Portland in wintertime

Within the wet winters of the Pacific Northwest, can be the best fresh air and beautiful blue skies. Gazing high, I see freshness and the gentle passing of new time, bringing light and hope to a world that can feel pretty dark sometimes.

Below, I enjoy the often quiet breaks after the bursts of wet, gloomy, rough weather. That goes double for me when out of my big city, and into a neighboring city. Because then, I find more of what I miss.

Recently, I was Portland (Oregon), enjoying some beautiful hours from the weekend. In the morning after a heavy night of heavy showers, I enjoy its calm feel under the bare trees, vintage architecture, setting upon its often quirky gluten-free option heavy atmosphere.

The streets seemed almost empty last Saturday morning, with fewer humans walking about. I stopped by one of the many food truck blocks, seeing them all mostly closed until after the noontime hits.

And you can walk around easy, aimlessly enjoy the open streets, hum a little song, because “Keep Portland Weird” is a community push. I had my usual destinations before my business to do here. I don’t come often, but I never forget my sense of direction through the the central downtown. I know all the main spots I love, especially the Courthouse Square, Cameron’s Books, Ground Kontrol Arcade, Voodoo Donuts, Multnomah County Central Library, a bunch of favorite quirky stores and restaurants through all over the city, and some great parks to let that fresh outside air sink through to the heart.

And, I can never forget Powell’s Books, a place I end up often spending an excessive amount of time indoors. It’s also here, where I easily forget how pleasant the outside is.

I will have to talk more about Powell’s Books, in a feature to its own someday. But for now, here is a picture that best represents me in the Portland moment.

– Orion T

The momentum of the abstract view

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Sometimes, I look up. And, I take a picture with a camera.

Sometimes then, I forget to switch a setting meant for the night. The original shot was kind of boring, while the overexposed revealed a weird dimension of countless angles and forgotten math.

I love it.

The actual shot is below a fixture inside the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland. Further details of the moment are unimportant.

– Orion T

Saturday..

photo by Orion Tippens

is back.

Thank god.

What a crazy week..

Bombs in Boston

Explosion in Texas

Earthquake in China

Another bombing inย Baghdad

Many hurt, some dead.

Heroes everywhere,

We could use more heroes..

Otherwise,

enough troubling news,

I hope.

For this week.

It’s gloomy outside.

Don’t care.

Going to go out anyway,

because I need to.

You need to.

Find the good in this world.

Take a walk.

Smile at random people.

Enjoy nature.

Because that’s all,

the many of us have left..

to enjoy the week.

Libraries, for your travels

photo by Orion Tippens

Hello to all, and Happy National Library Week!

Libraries are useful and not limited to their typical establishments; the collected, organized, accessible amount of printed material and physical media. In modern times, libraries are also important as central hubs for the online access to digital information and services, through computer/printing stations and personal WiFi accessible devices. There is so far more a good library can offer to ANYONE.

Love a good public library, especially when traveling.

Libraries are perfect for travelers. They can help, save, and probably enhance an adventure. By that, I mean a descent into unfamiliar territory. This could be the next neighborhood over, or a different country. There are useful, often amazing libraries through every developed setting your feet can take.

I have walked through many libraries, mostly through the Pacific U.S states. I’m always excited to see one for each first time. I admire and study interesting histories behind older libraries, and innovative architecture on newer postmodern structures. Some, I will highlight and detail some in future postings.

For their content and services, libraries have been vital in contacting friends and business online, find better places to stay, sort out car repairs, chill out from tough weather, find temp work. Also, various libraries helped me follow some local mysteries in my travels and journalistic work including the Pink Lady spirit of Yorba Linda, the S.S. Point Reyes shipwreck, drug culture origins in San Francisco, the real town affected by the murder of Laura Palmer.

That being said, here are the best ways and suggestions to keep in mind, on libraries can help you better enhance your next adventure:

Online access: Many will have FREE Wi-fi access and use of computer stations with online connectivity. Commonly, they do not charge by the minute, or interested in profits or ads like most office supply stores. Most also offer printing services. Most libraries welcome incoming visitors no matter the distance, so ask for a visitors or guest pass. My best advice is to understand the extent of station usage times, closing of the entire branch (try not to hold them over to the very last minute and beyond of closing, library workers often hate that), printing costs (have some spare change handy), and sit near the reference/information desks if you may need quick assistance.

Enhanced tourism: Many libraries have amazing architecture with some rich in history and visuals (see additional links at the end). You may also find some local guides, maps, brochures, and leads to current events and happenings. Many large libraries have local history rooms or sections, to better get to know your area better. Look around. If the information desk workers are not occupied, nudge them on interesting facts about the place or area. The answers may surprise you, perhaps lead into your next local adventure.

Personal directory: Sometimes unfortunate stuff happens, and help is lacking in a strange land. You may need a nearby clinic, police department, or other public service. You might need a phone-book or local directory to fix your car, or tech gadget. You may need this info fast, as patience wanes for the inclusive googling. A well-trained librarian or assistant can give you the proper answers or better point in the right direction. All this, often fast. Also consider, available local travel books and guides for places, ideas to shop, eat, live. Every good library should be ready to help you better understand and utilize your surroundings.

A peaceful place: Sometimes the rain, wind, snow, heat outside can be unbearable. Why go back to your hotel or temporary place of residence? You have all night for that! Or perhaps, there are many more miles in driving. An open library welcomes all inside, with no need to buy coffee or snacks. Relax and sit down, maybe recharge that cellphone. But, don’t sleep or snooze. Library workers often frown on this, and may poke with you a stick. My advice to check out any local newspapers present, where the near news really give you a feel of the surrounding lifestyle or give ideas on what to do next.

Used bookstores: Many libraries have used mini-bookstores within, usually consisting of donations and weeded out check out materials. In addition to books, bookstores usually include music CD’s. DVD’s, magazines; also helpful in passing time for that next long trip. All usually dirt cheap, as these places are often small and needing more room for continuous incomings. My best advice, to simply ask for books on your specific interests. Often, the used book stores are managed by volunteers and happy to help. Often, I had treasure placed in my hands from behind the displays. Also, be on the lookout for large upcoming book sales, hopefully matching your schedule. Overall, proceeds from these special shops go back to their libraries and your purchases helped out.

The important thing to know, libraries are awesome and helpful on many levels. You take part by benefiting from their services, and their importance is fortified. As long as you and others support libraries, than no one is truly lost as long as a library nearby is open.

Here are some fantastic libraries from around the world to note.

The most beautiful..

The most unique..

The most historic..

My picture from above is from my visit to the Multnomah Central County Library in downtown Portland, Oregon. This library is worth a visit for Portland trekkers with, many rooms and walkways to explore. Also here, a creepy relief of famous children’s author, Beverly Cleary:

photo by Orion Tippens