Monday, February 4, 2013

Diogenes Had It Easy

Diogenes the Cynic (412 BCE - 323 BCE) was a Greek philosopher of the Ancient Greek school of Greek philosophers. I am sure there have been many Greek philosophers since then, but he was one of the old guys. Anyway, the man was an irrepressible scamp, full of high jinks. He thought he was pretty funny.

For example, Wikipedia tells us that "he used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, 'I am just looking for an honest man.' Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels."

Ha ha. What a cut-up! I'm sure that many people wanted to just slap him.

Well, I'm here to tell you that while finding an honest man in some marketplace in Ancient Greece may have been tough, but finding a bar in Bend to hear the Super Bowl isn't much easier.

Why "hear"? Because Mrs Elliott said to me that she wasn't much interested in the game, but she did want to hear the commercials.

We don't get CBS here (as I previously described here) so if I wanted her company, I needed to find a place to both watch and hear the game.

Sidelines, downtown, is my usual game-watchin' venue, but it was right out. The sound in the place is a mess: an echoey blur, and the crowd -- jovial and enthusiastic they are -- but also noisy. Upstairs at Sidelines they have cushy sofas and big screens, and the sound is said to be better, but bartender Eric told me that the whole upstairs had been rented for a private party.

So I drove to Rivals, out on NE Division Street. They have plenty of screens, and the bartender assured me that the sound is good: they'd have the TVs turned up and the sound up on the surround system. So I got there early, and landed a good table. But as we neared game time, and the place started to fill, the crowd noise overpowered the sound system and all that was left was watching people on the screen moving their mouths while hearing only a vague boom of sound in the background.

Besides, their Bloody Marys were uninspired. Oh, did I forgot to tell you that Jack decided that Super Bowl Sunday was also Bloody Mary tryouts? Well it was.

With kickoff approaching, I drove downtown to find a place with seating, a good screen, and articulate sound. Parked on Wall.

I stuck my head into the Summit Saloon, a place good for watching games, but the bar was packed, and the tables by the other screens were taken, and the sound boomy and difficult to understand.

NB: Normally I don't consider audio important for watching a football game. My old man used to watch the games with the sound on the TV turned down -- he thought the TV announcers were dolts.

I next tried Brother Jon's Alehouse, a very decent pub, but the sound there was also blurry. Not good enough for hearing the commercials.

I crossed the street and checked out the Deschutes Brew Pub, finding the Puppy Bowl on the screens and Jimi on the sound system.

What about Seven? I like Seven, they have gay nights, so I popped in. Found a decent seat on a sofa upstairs in front of an old-school projection TV. The sound was decent though not great. I ordered one of their Bloody Marys.

Awesome! It had two (2) strips of bacon, and had a sufficient amount of horseradish to give it a kick; made the Mary at Rivals taste like the watery bottled mix that it probably was.

While I was waiting, Mrs Elliott, who had been out shopping for Alpine ski boots, texted to say that she had received a recommendation from the salesman for the Cascade West Grub & Alehouse out on Century Drive, so I handed back my unfinished drink, paid my tab, and joined her there.

Jack has never been to Cascade West -- it's pretty funky. Not much of a menu, but I must say the burgers were fine. For the requisite Bloody Mary the bartender gave me glass with ice and vodka -- and the rest was up to me over at the condiments table. I know nothing of how to make a Bloody Mary so the results were . . . odd. Next time I'll obtain the help of a paid professional.

But and but. The sound was about 1 second out of synch with the picture. Maybe the sound system was getting its feed from satellite and the picture from cable? Who knows, but when the video and the audio are out of synch, the result is a disconnected mess. I like the lips of the actors to match what I'm hearing, otherwise it's like watching a dubbed Italian art movie from the '70s.

I dashed across the street to check out the viewing conditions at Players, and the place was surprisingly full. The sound was good, too, but there was no place to sit.

Back across the street. We were nearing half time. I knew that Mrs Elliott wanted to see the show, and it made no sense to watch the singers' lips move while the sound was something else, so I suggested that we go downtown and try a couple other places.

Besides, the Ravens had contained the 9ers and the score was ugly.

We left my 1984 VW camper van at Cascade West and took Mrs Elliott's car in a downtown direction. On the way, I dashed into Brother Jon's on Galveston -- full and noisy; and into the Westside Tavern, ditto.

But M&Js was good. There were seats in front of a screen, and sound clear enough we could hear what was going on.

We watched Beyoncé dance and sing, saw some commercials, and then back to the game. An amazing 108-yard kickoff return. Cool.

Then half the stadium went dark.

We waited and we waited, and finally I said, screw this, score is 28-6 Ravens, the 9ers ain't gonna win, the power may be off for ages, some hulking great transformer has blown, it will take ages to locate and truck in another; let's go home.

Back over on Century Drive, Mrs Elliott dropped me off at my van and headed home.

I had parked the van in a difficult location. If you know Cascade West (and who doesn't?), you know there are several parking places in front of the building, and I had parked in the westmost spot, the farthest from the cutout in the curb. So I was slowly backing my way eastward to the driveway opening when I though, "Hey, there's just this curb between me and the street . . . heck, I'll just pull onto the street from here."

Checked for oncoming, drove off the curb.

K-bump! The front wheels dropped onto the street. K-bump, the rear wheels dropped off.

Then the engine died. I put it into Park and tried to start it.

Nothing, just the grind of the starter. Tried again, and again nothing.

So thar I was, blocking the eastbound lane of Century. I put on the hazard blinkers, put the van into Neutral, and pushed it backward to the curb so as to block less of the lane, but I couldn't budge it forward and turn it parallel to the curb and park it.

Just then, a few guys came out of the pub and easily pushed the van off the street near the German Food street vendor trailer.

I have a triple-A membership and Mrs Elliott's son is a tow driver for Consolidated Towing who handles AAA tows, so no worries there. I called Mrs Elliott, she drove back, we called Consolidated and requested her son, he reported he was on his way, and she drove home.

Our son and his flatbed truck arrived shortly and hauled me and the van back to the house and unloaded the van on the driveway for troubleshooting in the morning.

"Have you been watching the game?" he said. "The 9ers have come back -- two touchdowns and a field goal!"

Mrs Elliott and I looked at each other. "It's a game! Quick -- to the Mrs Elliottmobile and to the closest bar!"

That would be the Broken Top Bottle Shop. They have but one screen, the bar was moderately full when we got there, the Moon Mountain Ramblers were setting up to play some music, but the game was on and there were two seats at the bar, smack in front of the screen!

And we watched that game, and we had some cider, and we enjoyed every moment. Seated next to Mrs Elliott was a fellow who explained the brilliant reasoning behind the puzzling (to me) safety that the Ravens took in the final seconds.

Mrs Elliott, who had only wanted to watch the game for the commercials, ended up being totally thrilled with the game (she knows more than I do about football). I was quite pleased.

We both had a lot of fun.

But I surely hope that next year's Super Bowl will be on a channel we get (anything but CBS) because yesterday was also one exhausting day. I'd rather stay at home where it's safe and easy.

(Oh -- the reason the van stopped running is because the electrical connector to the ECU had been jarred loose, cutting off both ignition and fuel. I plugged it back in this morning, and made sure it was properly seated.)

1 comment:

  1. You're in luck...the 2014 Superbowl is on Fox. Too bad - would have been fun to see what damage you could inflict on self, wife and automobile trying to find a place to watch it....


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