I don't really give a shit about Christmas. But I DO like finding presents for people and I DO like coming across strange Portland stores in the skilled process of gift-hunting.

So first of all, how did I not ever know about Hand Eye Supply? The storefront of design mag Core 77 opened on NW 4th and Couch last summer and, I swear to God, I somehow didn't even notice it until I was trying to buy American-made aprons online (yes) and realized they have a real life, not-online storefront right here. It's not the place to shop for everyone, but if you see a display like this:


... and think "Gee, those safety goggles would make great stocking stuffers!" then it is the kind of store for you. They also sell nice pens, design books, the aforementioned American-made aprons, and a buncha stuff in the vein of Moleskins.

Across town out at NE Glisan and 72nd, a new, totally-not-cute-or-joking apocalypse preparedness store just opened up last month. The Portland Preparedness Center is staffed six days a week by Alex Ansary, who you might know from his public access TV show.

Look! At the Preparedness Center you can buy enough food to feed two people for a year, as well as canned butter, and (MMMM!) canned bacon!

I asked Ansary what prompted him to open up shop. "I talk about the real zombie apocalypse, not the 'joke-joke hee-hee' one," he replied. "I've been talking about what I call 'the problem' for about five years and I've been looking at finding a solution."

See? This is the kind of spirit of Christmas that I can get into.