Ellen Forney
Hey. It's me, Brian. I was just wondering if you had those notes I let you borrow. You know? Those notes? For the test?

Oh, well... uh... I let you borrow them last week, but if you don't have 'em, that's alright. I've got copies. Yeah...ohhhhkay. So! What's going on? Oh, you've got a hangover? Sounds like you had a pretty good weekend. Myself, I was really busy. Played a little Scrabble, some Magic, bought some comics... Hey, maybe you'd like to come along sometime? No? Oh, okay. That's cool. Uhh, yeah, I have to go, too. See you later, I guess. (GOD! I'm such a DORKUS!)

SCRABBLE!

Something's going down every Thursday night at the Rose and Raindrop--and it's not Gus Van Sant. Comb through the cigar smoke in the front room all the way to the back and you'll find 10-20 men and women poring over one-inch squared tiles. The Portland Scrabble Club welcomes newcomers, but beware--just because you beat your grandmother doesn't mean you'll even touch these players. These folks play by the book (literally--a copy of the Official Scrabble Club and Tournament Word List is always at hand) and use chess clocks. Don't let this--and the fact that a handful of the club members competed in the National Scrabble tournament this year--dissuade you from coming if Scrabble's your bag. Despite the rules, it is quite informal and essentially a social activity. Most members are affable and are willing to share their expertise. And possibly their digits--club director Richard Moyer met his wife at the National Scrabble Tournament 10 years ago. "It's a good place to meet babes," he affirms. WG

Thursdays at 6:30 pm, Rose and Raindrop, 532 SE Grand; Sundays at 2 pm, Lucky Labrador, 915 SE Hawthorne; hit http://home.att.net/~rfontes/index.html for more info.

PORTLAND MERCURY USERS' GROUP

Welcome, fellow Mercury enthusiasts, fans, and connoisseurs! It is us--the P.M.U.G. ! What is the P.M.U.G., you may ask? It is our private sanctuary by which we praise and discuss the most greatest of all newspapers ever, the Portland Mercury. That's it! That's all we do! Honorable membership has awarded us high regard amongst our Mercury idols, including many, many invitations to actual Mercury parties, where we've rubbed elbows with such iconographic wordsmiths as Justin "Master Thespian" Sanders, Chas "Critic At Large" Bowie, and of course, Marjorie "Sexy Kidnap Victim" Skinner! (OMG! She's so foxy--we're totally crushing!) LOL! ;) MB http://groups.yahoo.com/group/portlandmercuryusersgroup

WRITING GROUPS

Whether you're itching to find people to share your writing with or still trying to work up the nerve to pick up the pen and/or boot up the word processor, Portland has a place for you. Network with other writers and get feedback on your projects at the downtown Powell's Writing Group, which meets the first Monday of every month at 7 pm in the World Cup coffee shop. If that's too intimidating for you, try taking a class or two at The Attic, a "literary studio" with regular workshops of 12 people or less on major styles like screenplays and memoirs. Or hit up the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC), a haven for zinesters looking for cheap/free resources, materials, and workshops. If you're flat broke, Write Around Portland (WRAP) has marvelous free creative writing classes for the underprivileged, GLBT youth, and those with HIV/AIDS or mental illness. Just be sure to call and preregister. JWS

Powell's, 1005 W Burnside; The Attic, 4332 SE Hawthorne, 963-8783; IPRC, 917 SW Oak #218, 827-0249; WRAP, 917 SW Oak #406, 796-9224.

BLUE WIZARD BEATS DARK DWARF!

The official card game choice of pale basement dwellers everywhere, Magic involves 20-sided dice, assorted orcs and other fantastical creatures, and the carefree usage of terms like "manna," "counterspell," and "hit points." For this reason, there are certain people who will always be too cool to pick up the game, but that group doesn't have to include you, my secretly geeky chum! You see Magic is marvelous in its simplicity. Nothing more than a simple deck of cards, it's a game you can whip out anywhere, anytime, and within seconds enter an entire universe of strategy and intrigue. Magic is the Othello of the card game world; with a seemingly endless array of card combinations and game play options, it truly does take "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master." If you have the guts to shuck aside your painfully contrived hipster façade and step into the nerd world for a day or two, you'll find a supportive and open environment at the Backspace downtown, where a group of Magic dudes meet every Wednesday night to play with decks they've already built, and also to engage in a slightly more advanced contest in which contestants buy three new packs of cards on the spot and compete using only that random assortment. All are welcome, be you a novice spell caster or an experienced barbarian! JWS Backspace, 115 NW 5th, Wednesday 6 - 9 pm, $2

RESEARCH IT UP!

Sometimes I'd much rather flip through a 1903 Portland telephone directory than have sex with my boyfriend. If this urge hits me between 1-5 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, I'm in luck and can peruse my fill at the Oregon Historical Society library. In addition to numerous tomes depicting Ye Olde Stumptowne through the ages, the library has an extensive collection of old newspapers and books on Basque folklore in Eastern Oregon. One can even flip through the still-current card catalog (or, if you'd rather, check the online databases--yawn) to find out that Failing and Going Streets weren't named after gerunds. Students of most area colleges and universities (except Lewis & Clark) are permitted to use the library free of charge. Others must cough up $8 for the privilege. This fee includes entry to the OHS museum, whose permanent collection showcases "Historic Vehicles in Miniature" (pretty goddamned adorable, I'll add), but it's still pretty steep. Take advantage of the OHS's free monthly lectures coming up instead. Every second Friday at noon, talks focusing on the literary and artistic history of Oregon (as well as coffee and tea) are provided. WG

Oregon Historical Society Museum and Research Library, 1200 SW Park Avenue, $8, free to most college students, Hit http://www.ohs.org for more info.

USED BOOK SALE

Fall has many indicators, but the one most anticipated by geeks like me is the Friends of the Library Book Sale, the largest used book sale in Oregon! Show up early, bring some cash, and take home armloads of great books, videos, DVDs, CDs, and records to while away the cold rainy days of winter. It's pure push and shove as bookish types fight for bargains at this annual bonanza of all things media. Everything is priced to sell, with most items going for $1-$5. For the best selection, go to the Members Only pre-sale on Thursday night, but be prepared to pay $25-$50 for membership at the door. Or skip all that and shop with the norms Friday-Sunday. Whatever you decide, all the money goes to help keep the Multnomah County Library system one of the best in the country. MLS

1635 NE Sandy Blvd., 224-9176,

Thursday, October 14, 6-9 pm, Members Only, memberships available at the door.

Friday, October 15, 1-9 pm; Saturday, October 16, 9-6 pm; Sunday, October 17, 10-4 pm, Discount day: 75% off!