HEY BEST FRIENDS! I've been getting really reflective about 2012: making tea, bobbing the teabag up and down and up and down, while staring out a second-story window at a foggy field, listening to LCD Soundsystem and nodding to myself at choice parts (like a really subtle, knowing nod... kind of a "Hey, this vaguely Philip Seymour Hoffman-looking dance musician gets it, he gets ME" kind of nod). I've even been skipping stones over bodies of water while mid-'90s alternapop songs play in the background. I know you've probably read a bunch of Best of 2012 lists, but I'm only pretty sure that you can't anymore before you take a swing, I wonder, what are we fighting for? Here's another one!
The Best Thing I Ate for the First Time This Year
The pizza-style Italian sausage sandwich from Michael's Italian Beef and Sausage Company (1111 SE Sandy). This isn't a cute sandwich, it's not a fresh take on an old idea, it's just a goddamned time-traveling wonder sandwich. The sausage is rich and intoxicating, the gravy is perfectly spicy and sweet, the sharpness of the provolone bursts through the swirling maelstrom of savory deliciousness for just a moment before falling back into the totality of the flavor profile LIKE A GODDAMNED HUMPBACK WHALE BREACHING THE SURFACE FOR BUT A MOMENT, EXHIBITING ITS GRANDEUR, LETTING YOU INTO ITS WORLD OF—FUCK, I'M SO HYPED ON THIS SANDWICH.
The Three Best Fake Book Titles I Made Up That You Can Use at Parties
(1) The New Brunswick Fishwife's Beehive Society, (2) The Milkmother's Policeman's Gun Club's Detective Agency and Cribbage Club, and (3)The Stars Hollow Periodontist's Wives' Coalition of Concerned Murder Solvers and Easter Cross-Stitchery Knitters and Co.
Two Acts That I Saw in 2012 That Make Me Glad I'm an Oregonian
(1) Mosley Wotta (mosleywotta.com) is a hiphop outfit from Bend that recall the bouncy melodies and sharp lyricism of Blackalicious. Yeah, it's the type of uplifting college rap you listened to in your early 20s, but it's really good, and it's even better live. Get over your cynicism and appreciate Jason Graham's gift of gab and the sharp skills of his band.
(2) Portland's comedy scene is one of the best in the country, and Christian Ricketts (@aheavyboy on Twitter) is one of Portland's best stand-up comedians. With a repertoire that perfectly balances satire, absurdity, and an incredibly sharp and unique wit, Ricketts is the rare comedian who will get laughs from the paying customers in the front of the room, and even louder laughs from the jaded comedians in the back. See him while those seats in the front of the room are still cheap.
Best Graffiti I Saw This Year
The word "Fartbarf" on an awning in Seaside. I know it's a band, I don't care what they sound like, it can't sound as good as the word "Fartbarf."
Most Dopest New Block:
NE 24th and Glisan, AKA, the Ocean. It has Slowburger, Basa Basa, Uno Mas, 24th and Meatballs, Tails & Trotters, and the Pie Spot, all in one place—it's like if The Expendables was about making me even fatter. @IanKarmel