Hanging out with Jack in Portland

Saturday, April 24, 2004: Woke up at 3am and started driving again. I reached Portland, Oregon at 8am. I started up Netstumbler to find a wireless connection. I parked in a Hollywood neighborhood to check my email and to see who was on AIM. I was hoping to talk to Heywood from messedup.net but he wasn’t online. He lives around Portland so I was gonna go bother him. Since my kids are gone for the day and I can’t see them until 5pm, I have all day to kill. I decide to track down my biological father who lives in a Portland homeless village called Dignity Village. I’ve only met him one other time before, when he hitchhiked down to Vegas in 2000 to meet me at Defcon. I get the address to Dignity Village from their website, put the address in my GPS program and I’m there in about 15 minutes. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love GPS?) I drive past it several times, not seeing it. A lady walking a dog waves at me so I stop and ask her where Dignity is. She says I’m there so I park and talk to her for awhile. She ends up being a resident there. I tell a few people that I’m looking for Jack and they tell me that he works at the Saturday Market on the weekends.

I drive to downtown Portland, park, get on the train and go to the Saturday Market. I spend about an hour walking through the crowds trying to spot him. They told me that he doesn’t run a booth there, he just helps set up all the booths in the market. I haven’t seen him in 4 years but I figure I’ll find him easily since he’s got dreadlocks. I finally end up spotting him so I start weaving through the crowds to try and catch up. After a few minutes, I say “Hey Jack!” He looks at me and says, “What’s up.” and starts to walk off. I try again, “Don’t you recognize me?” He doesn’t seem to. I tell him my name and that doesn’t seem to help. After about a minute I finally get him to realize who I am and he’s pretty surprised to see me. He starts taking me to all the booths and introducing me to everyone. Then he says to me, “There’s a demonstration downtown today. Let’s go beat up some cops and start some rioting!” So we do.

Well, not really. The demonstration isn’t too exciting. There are over 100 cops there standing around with the news crews and protesters. Everyone is pissed about a guy getting shot by a Portland cop. Jack stands there and points out all of the cops to me, seeming to know all of their names, interests and histories. We meet up with a few friends of his and head to a bar for awhile. The rest of the morning is spent walking around and meeting all of Jack’s acquaintances. Overall, it turns out to be a really interesting day. I say goodbye to him at about 2:30 and get on the train to find my car again.

I end up arriving in Albany at 4:00. I stop at a Fred Meyers to rip out a few phonebook pages of motels. I find the cheapest one and move my stuff into it, then I wardrive for awhile. I don’t end up seeing the kids until after 7pm and they decide to spend the night in my motel. Today is Emily’s birthday so she gets a few presents from me, including some FRS walkie talkies and the new Kim Possible movie. We don’t really do much since it’s late, just sit around the motel and watch cartoons on TV.

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