Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Summer of Semi-Celebrity

Summer of 2008 turned out to be more than half-way decent for a change, probably the best since 2002, the year of South Africa (which you will be hearing about very soon, I assure you). With the passage of time, the seasons tend to run together and it's difficult to take it all in the way you could when we were kids. One of the reasons I enjoyed this year was that I was fortunate enough to catch a few Portland area notables around town. Maybe this won't mean much to the rest of the free world, but here in Portlandia, we have quite a few lovable lugs to call our very own and once in awhile, there are some celeb-spottings, my favorite being a few years back, introducing myself to a REAL celebrity-wrestling legend and star of John Carpenter's THEY LIVE, the Hot Rod himself, Rowdy Roddy Piper.
That was a probably five years ago.But this summer was a virtual Portland celebrity orgy. I was soaking in it!
First of all, I saw the one and only Daria-probably the number one Portland media darling legend of the past decade as a radio host and TV weather girl (usually in animal prints) and now the co-host of The Daria and Mitch Show on 105.1 The Buzz.
I stopped by the Hollywood district Trader Joe's before work one Wednesday and, lo and behold, working her shopping cart through the wine section was Daria herself. I recognized her right off especially since she's so distinct and because she spent sometime as a TV weather babe. She stopped dead her in her tracks when we locked eyes, not because she knew me from Adam Cartwright but probably due to the fact that she wasn't in the mood to be bothered. Her semi-startled expression seemed to say, "Dude, not today. Please just let me shop. I'll say hello, but I'd rather not." It's just the vibe I got in that split second. It wasn't as if she recoiled in horror, but my Spidey-sense was tingling, so I retreated. Too bad. I would have loved to have met her. Another day, perhaps.
While waiting at checkout, I did catch her playing a non-intrusive game of peek-a-boo with a toddler in a stroller, a sweet little moment captured in my mind's eye and a definite clue to the personality of someone I've admired since I moved to Portland.
Check her out at: and find The Daria and Mitch Show.

At another grocery store, this time Whole Foods out in Hillsboro, the High Priest of Portland radio news, Tim Riley from The Rick Emerson Show shopped for various items and trying to remain anonymous by adopting a Corey Hart attitude. Yes, he wore his sunglasses at night. Maybe he was watching for aliens ala Roddy Piper. Though I recognized him right off, I kept a safe distance, didn't make eye contact or even speak to him for fear that he might Mace me. Newsmen have been on the defensive since the Dan Rather "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" incident years back and if you've ever heard Tim's broadcasts, he is no exception.

The very next day, who should be sauntering down the street toward his "office" at the Ross Island Grocery but Mr. Clyde Lewis, the original "hairy scary guy" and host of Ground Zero, the destination of all things weird and wild. I gave him a friendly wave from the car which he returned with a gregarious arm straight up in the air and a big jolly smile, almost as if I were an old friend, which is impossible since we've never met. For a guy who is a living embodiment of an X-File, he appeared to be a pretty decent Joe to me. Hope that doesn't damage his street cred. Check the strange world of Clyde at
Lastly, once again another store related spotting, this time of a national semi-celebrity(I say semi in this case since she may be on TV, but on a basic cable reality show), I saw Amy Roloff, one of the stars of LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD on TLC, pushing a very full shopping cart all by her lonesome self in a Safeway parking lot. I always thought I'd run into one of that brood since we live in the same neck of the woods.

But nobody is more semi than myself, though I make no claim to be a celebrity in the least. I'm trying, kids. I did make an appearance on Portland radio back in August plugging RED ASPHALT on AM 970's MILES AROUND show . One person I know was able to hear it while others across the country patiently attempted to listen online. Honest to God, I had people in New York, California and North Carolina trying to catch my big media debut, but with the live stream down that day, all they heard was a re-broadcast of The Emerson Show. But now, through the miracle of podcasting, the truth can at last be known! Now the podcast of that particular MILES AROUND episode is available. Go to: and clock on the MILES AROUND PODCAST feature or the MILES AROUND ON BLOGGER (also found at )
Look for the August 3, 2008 show (which was actually August 2, but hey, what's in a number?) and you'll find me at about the 20 minute mark. If I sound like I was being strangled, it was just nerves, but it sounded not bad to me. Thanks again to Dennis Pittsenbarger and all the guys at MILES AROUND.
AND...on the very last day of summer, my book, RED ASPHALT, has finally been reviewed (and quite favorably, thank ye) by Shannon Yarbrough at The Lulu Book Review. You can read this at: or at its posting at the Amazon listing of RED ASPHALT. I wanna tell ya, as Bob Hope used to say, this capped off my summer season like a cherry on top of the RED ASPHALT sundae. I appreciate all the good strokes I've gotten from those that have read my book, but to finally get a review-and a four star review at that-certainly gives this writer a sense of validation in the world that tells me that maybe, just maybe I am on the right track after all and the encouragement to press on.
A public thank you to Shannon Yarbrough on behalf of all the authors published on Lulu for providing this service for us. This gives those of us fighting the uphill battle a chance get a review for our publish on demand books under our belts so that we can get our work out there a little easier. It ain't been easy, but Shannon and the Lulu Book Review offers us a little hope and that one thing we always wanted-a chance.
By the by, I'm not to fill this blog with anymore RED ASPHALT stuff. I have a separate blog for that now: You can find all things related to that book there as well as a full posting coming soon of Shannon Yarbrough's review of this here book in question...which can be purchased where?, natch as well as several others sites on the web including DIRECT from the publisher:
My summer pimping days are now behind me.
Happy Autumn, folks. See ya in the pumpkin patch.
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