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Worst. Night. Ever.

Friday, September 19, 2014

8 Hot Dogs: View an Achievement for the Ages

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Hey, everybody, remember when you made me participate in a hot dog eating competition? I already wrote a bunch of delightful words about it, but now there's comprehensive video proof.

Since I was competing next to two gents from the Big Eaters Club, I'm featured fairly prominently in the group's footage of the event (green shirt, hat flipped backwards to avoid food flecks on the bill).

It looks like I wasn't trying. I was trying like hell. Bon appetit.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Guy and Dolls: My Trip to the Crossroads Doll & Teddy Bear Show

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 12:45 PM

grinnin_gary_close_up.jpeg

PERFECTLY PLEASANT.

People keep asking me how the Crossroads Doll & Teddy Bear Show was, and that's my answer: Perfectly pleasant. When Blogtown readers voted on my Worst. Night. Ever., they narrowly, narrowly decided that they wanted me to spend a Saturday among dolls and teddy bears and the people who love them. Well, I did, and it was perfectly pleasant.

Okay. Maybe not perfectly pleasant. There was one thing about attending the Crossroads Doll & Teddy Bear Show that was pretty messed up. But we'll get to that in a bit, because, quite honestly, I don't think you're ready for it yet. First, let's deal with some of the other questions I've been getting.

BARGAIN BIN Three dollars per body, five dollars per wig.
  • BARGAIN BIN Three dollars per body, five dollars per wig.

HOW BIG WAS IT?
Big! The doll enthusiasts and their dolls—along with teddy bears, doll clothes, doll furniture, doll books, doll magazines, doll paintings, and flea market-style ephemera—filled up the entirety of the big room in the Kliever Memorial Armory, with four or five rows of booths spanning the room. There were also vendors set up around the room's perimeter and in the armory's entryway, where a cheerful old gentleman was taking admission fees and giving out hand stamps. If I had to guess, I would say there were roughly 20 million dolls crammed into the armory.

WAS IT CREEPY?
Yes, but not as creepy as you'd think. Mostly it was just kind of... sweet? Like a comic book swap or a bingo night, it was a lot of people who liked doing a thing getting together to do that thing. Yes, in this case, that thing can be creepy, because dolls can be creepy, and there were a lot of 20 million dolls there—a great many of which, admittedly, seemed to have been forged in the Uncanny Valley by Chucky himself, wrought out of children's tears and toxin-laced plastic. But any sense of unease that I got from how legitimately fucked-up many of the dolls were was offset by seeing the friendly people—most of them women who looked like your grandma—who were just delighted to be surrounded by so many dolls! Add in the fact that the average age of attendees and vendors was around 50 (this was the kind of event where one of those TriMet busses designed specifically for carting around old people was parked right outside, and there was a good number of attendees in their 60s and 70s), and it was unexpectedly easy to recognize that while the dolls might be weird to me, all these other people loved them, so okay, sure.

That said: Turn off the armory's fluorescent lights, get rid of the nice old ladies, seal the doors, and put me alone in that room, and I'd probably scream my throat to bloody shreds.

TK TK.
  • THEY'RE WATCHING YOU They're still watching you.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dirk VanderHart's Worst. Night. Ever!: The Zach's Shack Hot Dog Eating Contest

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The Worst. Night. Ever. rules are very clear on this: We're assigned an event—an awkward, terrifying event—and we've got to put up with it for two hours, or until it is finished. The rules are clear and they are fair.

But the other night I ate a turkey sandwich and tasted hot dog instead. I'd been avoiding bread altogether, fearful the tiniest bite would recall yeasty mush and strange strangling sounds off to my left. I'm pretty sure my ankles are swelling.

See, the rules didn't account for this. Blogtown sent me to compete in the annual hot dog eating contest at Zach's Shack this past Saturday and, in many ways, I never left. I'm not sure I ever will.

First, let's get this out of our systems.


Continue reading »

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Erik Henriksen's Worst. Night. Ever!

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 2:04 PM

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Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday when we're discussing our event picks for the week, someone suggests an event that's the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing these potentially worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while an underwater hula-hoop dance-off might send Erik into stabby fits, Steve might be willing show up to it in a gold lamé onesie! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now, let's see who's up:

SENIOR EDITOR ERIK HENRIKSEN'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Erik's a man of many proud contradictions. He's got a seemingly boundless tolerance for the most-sloppy movies—there's a framed poster for Michael Mann's Miami Vice above his damned desk—yet fails to see the charms of a lovingly sloppy vehicle. His Subaru's leather interior is almost militantly pristine, and one can feel him bristling if, say, one just wants to get comfortable by putting their feet up on the dash on the way to a film screening in Tigard. Get over yourself, Erik. Another example: Loves otters for their childlike playfulness, doesn't like children (but likes when children are maimed by otters).

It is actually very, very easy to put him out (though our seemingly airtight scheme of forcing him onto a Mormon love boat last year mainly resulted in a lot of thoughtful reflection) so we're feeling confident what we've concocted this year will do the trick. Your options:

• Erik must attend the Crossroads Doll and Teddy Bear Show, where he'll have to belittle five dolls and/or teddy bears to their owners before offering to purchase them for exactly $1. Crossroads, colloquially known as "the doll show," is already going to be creepy, but we think it would be amusing if Erik assumed the air of an avid doll enthusiast, perusing the booths for hidden treasures and criticizing wares in order to get a bargain price. For this Worst. Night., he'll need to critique some aspect of a doll or Teddy's condition (say, commenting on its sloppy bisque restoration or suggesting it's got a "harlot's sneer") then, immediately afterward, pull out his wallet and offer to purchase it for a dollar. Five times. I love the thought of this very much, but it comes with a risk: Erik says he'll refuse to "be mean to sad people." I explained he doesn't have to be "mean" to anyone, and that probably the people at the doll show have very full and engaging lives. Erik just has to try to give them the hard sell.

• Erik must attend the sing-along version of Frozen at Laurelhurst Park on Friday, and join hundreds of children in full-throated song. This gets back to what I was saying up top. Sure, Erik loves terrible movies, but he's got varying takes on delightful ones. Plus he lacks the capacity to feel—probably like Frozen's antagonist, if it has one—and he despises any music that's not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And do you know what he said to me the other day about children? "They are like procompsognathus—they are fine unless they are in groups." I wish I were making that up. To successfully complete this Worst. Night., Erik has to make a game attempt at signing along. Pretty awful.

No mimosas allowed, for Erik.
  • Cody Augustine Photography (via Facebook)
  • No mimosas allowed (for Erik).
• Erik must attend Circus Church: A Sunday Brunch Variety Show down at the Analog Cafe. Originally, we wanted to send Erik to another event at the Analog—the 2014 Dark Alice in Wonderland Ball—but someone messed up and it was last weekend. So instead we're doing Circus Church, which we assume includes some of the same awkward nudity and dark posturing, and throws in people dressed like clowns. From Erik: "It sure as fuck isn't how i want to spend a Sunday morning, if that's what you're asking."

Now vote, damn you. Polls close at 10:30 am Thursday.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

It's Dirk VanderHart's Worst. Night. Ever!

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

1403028412-1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday when we're discussing our event picks for the week, someone suggests an event that's the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing these potentially worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while an underwater hula-hoop dance-off might send Erik into stabby fits, Steve might willing show up to it in a gold lamé onesie! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now, let's see who's up:

NEWS REPORTER DIRK VANDERHART'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Okay guys, Dirk has strong feelings about the following subjects: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the literary talents of George R.R. Martin, and disc golf, which eliminated about half of our choices for his Worst. Night. Ever! Last year, Blogtown readers voted to send Dirk to the huge Scientology compound downtown to take Emperor Klaktu's patented personality test, where Dirk learned that he was "unhappy and depressed," "extremely critical"," "in a complete state of nervousness," and "irresponsible." It sounded like a complete downer of an experience, but I'm sure this year's outing will be even worse. Dirk's future misery in three parts:

Attend the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival: I'm sure you've seen the billboards for this hillbilly fest, which takes place two hours away in Brownsville, Oregon. This is a music fest with a strange fixation on toilet talk, offering private porta-potties for VIP campers. ("When nature calls, she ain’t leavin’ no voicemails... Each unit will be stocked with four rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitizer... You can [and should] bring a lock so that only the people you want touching your can. We are not responsible for drunken idiots or entitled jerks attempting to use your unit.") The Mercury will not be springing for a private crapper for Dirk, so he might want to prepare for can-touching and unit-using. For this event, Dirk must camp overnight and listen to the musical stylings of a barn-load of adult-contemporary-country musicians, the sounds of which are enough to set most stray dogs to howling.

John Edward: He sees dead people.
  • John Edward: He sees dead people.
A Group Reading with John Edward: John Edward is a psychic medium. His website describes him as a "tireless warrior for the work" with his "uncanny ability to predict future events and communicate with those who have crossed over to the Other Side." This novel writer, psychic, and personal-growth-system seller's private readings usually go for $850 (because "John is anxious to share his ability with those that need him, [but] he is unwilling to compromise the quality of his work for the quantity that seek him out), but at the Oregon Convention Center, Dirk—along with hundreds of attendees—will be guaranteed* a convo with his dead loved ones, all for the cheap, cheap price of $150.

* "No one attending any John Edward event is guaranteed a reading."—John's website

Hot Dog Eating Contest: Dirk must enter (and hopefully win) Zach's Shack's 11th annual hot dog eating contest on Saturday afternoon. It lasts 10 excruciating minutes, wherein our intrepid news reporter must cram as many wieners and buns into his mouth as humanly possible. Last year's winner scarfed down 25, and he'll be back to defend his title. Rules say: no booting; all tube meat products and their accompanying bread must stay down. Winner gets a championship belt, golden T-shirt, and sweet, sweet wiener glory. Bonus: We can go cheer Dirk on. I think you know what to do here... vote wisely.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Courtney Ferguson's Worst. Night. Ever!: Great Horror Campout

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 11:29 AM

I spent 12 hours being chased by monsters and all I got was this T-shirt.--Haggard Courtney
  • I spent 12 hours being chased by monsters and all I got was this T-shirt.—Haggard Courtney
I went to the Great Horror Campout and it was messy as fuck.

By the end of the 12 hours, I was covered from head-to-toe in fake blood and chunky neon-green baby vomit. The smell was unholy. I'd crawled around in dumpsters while being egged on by goatmen, human centipeded with a complete stranger (TWICE!), stripped to my skivvies, and got locked in a coffin by a kinda racist voodoo ritualist, the likes of which haven't been seen since the 1973 Roger Moore 007 film Live and Let Die. Not only that, but I'd also witnessed a pretty epic moment in monster history... Cthulhu straight up hanging with Nosferatu, best-bud style. (What do those two even talk about?) But I survived the Great Horror Campout for my Worst. Night. Ever! With my gag reflex intact, even!

Hit the jump for all the camping 'til dawn 'n' dirty details.

Continue reading »

Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's Courtney Ferguson's Worst. Night. EVER!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 1:44 PM

1403028412-1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg
Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday when we're discussing our event picks for the week, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while a tiny stripper lube-wrestling match might make Alison feel uncomfortable (down there), Ned might think it's the cat's pajamas! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

COPY CHIEF COURTNEY FERGUSON'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

Now the thing that's going to happen next is going to piss some of you off to no end—so please believe me when I say, I. DO. NOT. GIVE. A. SINGLE. FUCK.

It's well known that Courtney has a thing for horror movies... but would she feel the same way if she was IN the horror movie? That's why we're not giving you any real choice of events, and we're sending Courtney this weekend to stay overnight at the GREAT HORROR CAMPOUT.

Maybe you've seen the billboards for this thing around town, and was curious about what goes on there. We are, too! That's why we're sending Courtney to this serial killer-themed campout, which is located in the wilds of Beaver Creek, Oregon and according to the website is...

A 12-hour, overnight, interactive horror camping adventure. Campers can choose their level of engagement when they choose their activities and tent zone. The experience can be an extreme horror adventure or a more mild horror adventure. It’s completely up to the camper.

Naturally, we're sending Courtney on the MOST EXTREME HORROR ADVENTURE in which she'll have to share a tent with four total strangers (one of whom might try to hack her into tiny pieces). The organizers advise her to bring a white t-shirt that she doesn't mind getting bloody (??), an underwater snorkle mask (??), and a few changes of underwear (I get that one). Also, apparently she is not allowed to touch the killers, but they are allowed to "touch, bind, and kidnap" her. (GULP!) However, the organizers are quick to point out that it's "all in fun" and there's "no actual danger"... but isn't that exactly what a serial murderer WOULD say?

I also tried to force her to wear a bikini the entire time (like they always do in those sex-crazed teen horror flicks), but our HR department ruined my fun once again. BOOOOOOO, HR!!!! Anyway, that's what she's gonna be doing this weekend for Worst. Night. EVER!, and since I know you're going to cry and moan about not being given a choice this week, you can still offer suggestions in the comments about what she should wear or do, and we'll at least allow you to a chance to vote on something. So go ahead. Cast your useless vote.

Wm. Steven Humphrey's Worst. Night. Ever!: FaerieWorlds

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 9:59 AM

For those just joining us, the reasoning behind Worst. Night. EVER! is for you to gain some sort of sick sadistic satisfaction out of a Mercury employee's suffering and unhappiness. But for me, it means something different. For me, it's about exposing ourselves to a culture that you or I would never voluntarily explore, and while we're there, "walking a mile in their shoes," as it were.

That being said, HOW DARE YOU? How dare you vote to send me to an event where it's impossible to walk in someone else's shoes—because they're not wearing any shoes? I'm speaking, of course, about FaerieWorlds—a three-day musical event and "gathering of tribes" (WHAT?) just outside of Eugene, Oregon. That's right, EUGENE: Whose only significant exports are hippies and Duck fans. AND it takes TWO hours to get there—so that's FOUR hours (there and back) in the car for a music festival catering to a group of people (hippies!) that historically, I cannot stand.

HOWEVER. There was one redeeming aspect of FairieWorlds that neither you or I predicted....

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More after the jump.

Continue reading »

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's Wm. Steven Humphrey's Worst. Night. Ever!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

WORSTNITE.jpg
Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday when we're discussing our event picks for the week, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while an exhibit of handcrafted cat-hair mittens might make Dirk feel all fussy, Marjorie might love it! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

EDITOR IN CHIEF WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

Thanks, everybody who's about to get me fired. Steve's my boss. He signs my paychecks. (Sometimes with one of those magic, four-in-one pens that lets you switch colors every letter!) And now, to repay his multicolored benevolence (I'm actually lying about the pen), I'm asking you to send him someplace he'll think is TERRIBLE, to do something he'll think is TERRIBLE. And no matter what thing you choose that's TERRIBLE, I'll be the one he holds responsible.

So do it right! Steve seems like he'd be an easy person to set up for this little game, because he thinks a lot of things are TERRIBLE. But that's also what might make this pretty difficult. Because he hates so many things, and because he's not just an editor but also an actor of the stage, you've got to pick the thing that he'll find the MOST TERRIBLE OF THEM ALL.

1. FAERIEWORLDS, in Eugene.

Last year, we sent Steve to a renaissance faire in Silverton. But that ain't shit compared to this. It's true Steve is profoundly annoyed by nerds (don't I know it!). But he also secretly sees them as mostly harmless and benign. THAT IS NOT TRUE FOR HIPPIES. AND IT WILL NEVER BE TRUE FOR HIPPIES. His loathing for the dirtfoots and their pan flutes is biblical and fierce and beautiful. And this weekend, you personally could send him deep into the heart of his Sodom and/or Gomorrah.

Faerieworlds is billed as a "gathering of the tribes." It's also known as a premiere "mythic music festval." But that's not why this is the best thing ever.

Steve will have to spend the day stalking around the place dressed in faerie garb, dancing with people similarly attired, feigning respect for things that disturb him like earnest paganism, and pretending he actually also believes that "the revitalizing, healing and transforming spirit of faerie is alive and moving actively in our lives."

Participants are invited "to enter the Realm as your magical self and release the beautiful, magical faerie spirit that’s inside you!" Part of me isn't sure I really want to see Steve's magical self. But the rest of me knows I'd never be able to look away.

2. BRET MICHAELS, at Spirit Mountain Casino.

We might not ever see Steve again if we purposely send him inside a gambling palace. It might be worth the risk. For one, Steve will have to endure whatever soft-rock iterations of his non-hits Michaels is showcasing these days, including any "encores." But he'll also have to dress like the increasingly ancient Poison singer. That means stubble (NBD for Steve on a Friday) and a wig and a bandana. Sexy-parts-engorging blue eyes are strictly optional. Michaels' fans—most of them probably wearing bifocals after enduring menopause (male and female!)—may not be able to tell the difference. That would make for a funny writeup. Or they'll just think he's the saddest person in a roomful of very sad people. And that, in turn, might make for a boring one.

3. MONDO CROQUET AND MAD HATTER PICNIC, in the Park Blocks.

I'm not entirely clear on what this entails. It's croquet, which is a sport for royal poofters and WASPs. But the style played here involves "a bowling ball and a sledgehammer." And if for some reason Steve doesn't own either of those things (which I highly doubt), they've apparently got "plenty of extras to loan out." (Technically they mean "lend.")

There's also a dress-up element, which is either terrifying or amazing: "You’ll enjoy yourself more if you’re dressed appropriately in lawn whites, or Mad Hatter gear, or simply appropriately inappropriate." I'm not sure anyone should trust Steve to decide for himself what's "appropriately inappropriate." (Shudder)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

It's Denis Theriault's Worst. Night. Ever!

Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM

1403028412-1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg
Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday when we're discussing our event picks for the week, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while an exhibit of handcrafted cat-hair mittens might make Dirk feel all fussy, Marjorie might love it! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

NEWS EDITOR DENIS THERIAULT'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

This is a tricky one, guys. Denis is arguably the most affable member of the editorial department, plus he's from Chicago so I think he's tough to scare. Last year you guys sent him to some sort of bondage-themed foam party and he upped the stakes by voluntarily enlisting to let a stranger flog and electrocute him. Frankly I'm not even sure why we're bothering with Denis this year? He let himself be flogged. FLOGGED. That's the WNE equivalent of a mic drop right there. But rules are rules, so... let's do this.

Race the Reaper: A six-mile obstacle course in Yamhill County "created to physically push your body while, inspiring you to do something you’ve never done." Their website is full of pictures of very fit people like, pushing tires and dangling from ropes. As a non-jock just watching their promotional video makes me feel like I'm about to get bullied.

Volunteer at the Portland Highland Games: According to their website, the Portland Highland Games is looking for volunteers to ensure that their two-day festival of "Scottish Highland music, athletics, dancing, piping and drumming competitions, and cultural activities" runs smoothly. We think Denis would make a great Competition Assistant; duties include "assisting with the Dancing, Drumming, Piping and Fiddling competitions. Working with the events to ensure that they run in a timely and efficient manner."

Elaborate Nerd Trolling: Okay, bear with me here. Super-nerd Denis has to dress up like Spock (he's already got the costume) and play a trombone on the fringes of the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival—while wearing a sign identifying himself as Riker. If you're a nerd you're super mad right now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Alison Does Standup: A Beginner's Guide to Open Mic Comedy. Kind Of.

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 3:44 PM

tldr video's after the jump

Last week, Mercury readers voted to send me to perform standup comedy at an open mic.

And I was okay with that! It was easily my top choice from my Worst. Night. Ever. options; it would make the most interesting writeup, and it might give me some fresh insight into a beat I've covered for years. As I watched the votes roll in, I thought: I got this. I've done storytelling shows and readings, and even hosted a show of my own for a few years, so I have plenty of experience talking into a microphone. Plus, I don't actually want to be a comic, so I won't be too invested. It's three minutes. How bad could it be?

Pretty bad, actually. Not so much the performance itself, but the preparation, which ate up far more than three minutes of my weekend and involved a *lot* of lying on the couch moaning "Why do i have to dooooo this."

Screen_Shot_2014-07-14_at_3.00.47_PM.png

I in no way anticipated how much time and effort would actually go into writing, rewriting, and rehearsing my three-minute set, or how incredibly nervous I'd be when it came time to perform.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's Alison Hallett's Worst. Night. Ever.

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 9:59 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while attending a Taylor Swift listening party might make Courtney claw her eyes out, Steve might love it! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

ARTS EDITOR ALISON HALLETT'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

When I think about stuff Alison is into, it's like: cats, books, Twitter. One of the Mercury's toughest critics, she has little to no tolerance for misogyny or intellectual laziness of any sort (except for when she does). And while she can usually muster her sense of humor in uncomfortable situations, we think we've come up with a good list of things to make her squirm. But it's up to YOU, Blogtown, to choose the squirmiest of them all. (Protip: While part of your reward might be her punishment in general, try to picture which of these situations might also yield the most intriguing follow-up report. Just a tip!)

UNROCK THE BOWL. Alison gets uncomfortable whenever someone floats a WNE contender that involves feats of physical strength, but she never said anything about plain old manual labor. With this option she'll be working alongside volunteers with the Human Access Project to literally remove rocks from the Tom McCall Bowl beach in downtown Portland so that the rest of us can have a more barefoot-friendly beach experience right in the center of the city (thank you!). The rock moving happens from noon until 5 pm on Saturday, a day that my weather app tells me will reach a high of 95 degrees! Better break out the SPF 50, Alison, and get ready to "show off your rippling muscles"!

CURIOUS COMEDY OPEN MIC. We're fixated on the opportunity to force one of our staffers to perform stand-up comedy. Someone's gonna do it before the summer's out, damn it. Alison might be the best among us to give it a whirl, too. In addition to covering local theater, she's also one of our resident experts when it comes to the city's stand-up and improv scene, spearheading the paper's coverage of Bridgetown and other lafftastic events. She's not afraid to apply her sharp critiques to this art form either, so what will happen if the tables are turned and she's held up for scrutiny by a community she routinely and publicly passes judgment on? Laughter or tears? Laughter and tears?

RUMBLE AT THE ROSELAND. It's safe to say that Alison vastly prefers to do battle by her wits rather than her fists. Generally averse to violence and meatheadery of all sorts, forcing Alison to stand by (ideally in blood-splashingly close range) as young men attempt to destroy each other by any means necessary should rattle her sensibilities up pretty nicely. At the very least, being in a huge crowd of surging testosterone and bloodlust should keep her stimulated and at ease.

Polling closes at 5 pm tomorrow. Her fate is in your hands. (Also keep in mind that next week is Denis' Worst. Night. Ever! Got any discomfortable events for him? The time frame is July 17-20, so leave your ideas in the comments!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Worst. "Night." Ever. If by Night You Mean Three Days.

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Every time it's my turn for Worst. Night. Ever. someone points out that, as Ned put it, I have a problematically high "tolerance for bullshit." Something about that, along with my loud aversions to certain footwear, led my coworkers and Blogtown voters to concoct not just a single, event-based night of torment, but three solid days of being forced to wear what I think pretty much every reasonable human being can agree is a stain on the very existence of footwear: Vibram toe shoes.

But honestly, when this went up for vote, I was kind of rooting for it. Unlike the other two possibilities (attending the KISS concert in full makeup and on the KISS party bus—I really do hate KISS, but this would've been stupid fun—or performing stand-up comedy at an open mic), it didn't require any real effort or scheduling. I was free to do my usual thing, and not have to worry about messy makeup or stage fright. Just wear something like this for three days? I can do it:

photo.JPG

But... that's not exactly what happened. Something you may have picked up on is that WNE's rules tend to evolve on the fly, like when Steve Humphrey, in his infinite cruelty, decided something as staid as the above simply wouldn't do. Instead, he had something much, much worse shipped to the office overnight:

photo-1.jpg

I know. :( They're the worst of the worst of the worst. I still feel the need to apologize to everyone I visually assaulted in them. I could tell they were cramping other people's style, not just my own. Nobody wants to be in a social setting where anyone is wearing these.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's Marjorie Skinner's WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:14 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

Welcome back to the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while attending a Taylor Swift listening party might make Courtney claw her eyes out, Steve might love it! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

MANAGING EDITOR MARJORIE SKINNER'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

It's Marjorie Skinner's turn on the wheel of destiny. Now, Marjorie's one tough cookie. She's able to take most things in stride, and her sense of adventure* is second to none. Now, I think it's unlikely Marjorie will get as badly burned as I did, but we still found plenty of opportunities to make her suffer. Which of these three options is guaranteed to make her as uncomfortable as possible?
* translation: tolerance for bullshit

catmanmakeup.jpg
KISS AT SLEEP COUNTRY AMPHITHEATER. Marjorie hates KISS, or so she claims. This Friday, KISS is playing in the Portland area. However, Def Leppard is also on the bill, and for some reason, Marjorie's okay with them. That's why we're upping the ante: She has to not only attend the show and stay for the duration of KISS's set, but she'll be going up and back to the venue on the Shanghai Party Bus, which will be packed to the brim with some very enthusiastic KISS fans. And to top it off, she'll have to wear KISS makeup for the entire night—and no Starchild or Demon makeup for her. No, Marjorie has to wear the lamest one: Peter Criss' Catman face! (NOTE: Peter Criss isn't in KISS anymore, although I think the new drummer still has to wear the Catman makeup. Also, Marjorie loves kitty cats, so she might sort of enjoy this.)

OPEN MIC AT CURIOUS COMEDY. As far as I know, Marjorie has never done stand-up before. It is in your power to send her to Curious Comedy's open mic on Sunday night, where she'll have to perform a three-minute set to a room of legitimate comics and comedy fans, who will no doubt greet her pitiful attempts at humor with deathly silence.

toeshoes.jpg
WEAR TOE SHOES FOR THREE WHOLE DAYS. Let's just say that Marjorie, the Mercury's fashion guru, has opinions about shoes. So. Many. Opinions. That's why wearing a pair of some unbelievably terrible toe shoes for three entire days could just about wreck her weekend. Now, you and I will know precisely why Marjorie's wearing these godawful things, but should a friend or acquaintance come up to her and ask just what the hell she thinks she's doing, she must reply, "I just think they're comfortable."

Polling closes at 5 pm tomorrow. (Worst. Night. Ever. is taking next week off because of America's birthday, but the following week is Alison Hallett's Worst. Night. Ever! Got any discomfortable events for her? The time frame is July 10-13, so leave your ideas in the comments!)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Worst. Night. Ever.: Ecstatic Dancing and Lots of Dong

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

ecstaticdance.jpg
It wasn't my intent to be this summer's first victim of Worst. Night. Ever—the schedule just sort of turned out that way. And my coworkers laid it on THICK, throwing down three truly uncomfortable options like they had been saving 'em up all year. I'll level with you: I am glad I didn't have to go to the gun nut convention. Really, really glad. Instead, most of you guys opted to send me to the weird sex ecstatic dance naked thing, which hit pretty much all of my remaining anxiety points: strangers, dancing, new age therapy, repetitive trance music, Burning Man hippie shit, and optional nudity.

Was it worse than the gun thing would have been? I can't say. I can say that the Naked Bliss dance was, for me, 100 percent absolutely excruciating—far worse than I was anticipating. I'm still bummed out about it. Congrats, Blogtown readers and my Mercury co-workers; thanks to you, I truly did have a Worst. Night. Ever. And I hate you.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Return of... WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

It's back! Welcome to the triumphant return of the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while attending a Taylor Swift listening party might make Courtney claw her eyes out, Steve might love it! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

MUSIC EDITOR NED LANNAMANN'S WORST. NIGHT. EVER.

Ned is a lumbering, clumsy moose who, like the rest of our editorial staff (excluding me), has all the social graces of an ostrich that's high on panic-inducing pot. That's why we chose the following events that could possibly push him waaaay out of his comfort zone:

NAKED BLISS DANCE: This "dynamic meditation" takes place every first and third Thursday at the private residence of Bob and Sam in SW Portland... but let's allow them to explain it. "Our dance tends to be more sensual than most other dances; you can dance topless or even fully nude if that is what is authentic for you in that moment." I think this would be a great way for Ned to really get "in touch" with his own personal freedom, and come out of his shell. Oh, and if he has trouble affording the $15 entry fee, he can always "pay with trade or labor such as cleaning the floors."

OPEN COURT IMPROVISATION: Now this sounds super fun to me... but will probably terrorize Ned beyond belief. Curious Comedy Theater has a twice monthly event called "Open Court," and here are the deets: "What happens when improvisers of all levels of skill and experience, come together to perform longform improv for each other and the audience? FUN! Everyone is welcome to play or watch whether you have been playing for years or have never been on a stage in your life." Ned has never even been NEAR a stage in his life. This will be so good for his self-esteem.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR VETERAN'S RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP CLASS: Umm... Ned hates guns. Has never shot one before in his life. But this sounds perfect for him: The Revolutionary War Veteran's Association (RWVA) will be conducting a Project Appleseed rifle marksmanship event on June 21-22, 2014 at the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Participants will learn how to shoot rifles from practical field positions such as the prone, sitting, and standing positions. Participants will also learn how civilian marksmanship played a pivotal role in the founding of our nation." Oh-oh! Does that sound like what I think it sounds like? Let's send Ned to this event and find out!

Polling closes at 5 pm tomorrow. (Next week is Marjorie Skinner's Worst. Night. Ever! Got any discomfortable events for her? The time frame is June 27-29, leave your ideas in the comments!)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Worst. Night. Ever.: Scientology Hates Me

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 10:59 AM

L. Ron Hubbard could rock an ascot
  • L. Ron Hubbard could rock an ascot

Erica is from Germany, probably in her seventies and really a very nice lady once you get her talking. She’s also a Scientologist, and last Thursday she broke some delicate news to me.

We were sitting in a small cubicle off the lobby in the Church of Scientology’s shiny new downtown headquarters, huddled around a spiking blue graph delineating my faults, and Erica said: "You have a problem." Simple as that.

I am, Erica calmly explained, pretty morose. I’m more nervous than is practical, as well as withdrawn, critical, and irresponsible. I also have a striking lack of accord.

This was unwelcome news.

I’d handed in the church’s personality test—the 200-question Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA)—minutes before, weirdly confident I’d aced the thing. I even played out a little scene in my head while I watched a short video about L. Ron Hubbard. It wasn’t super specific, this vision, but involved staff at the Scientology center being duly impressed by—proud of, even— how well-adjusted and content I am. I achieved their admiration, we shook hands, and I left whistling.

Didn't happen like that. Scientology thinks I'm deeply broken.

Let me show you:

B3: You are unhappy and depressed. You have a pessimistic outlook towards life. Problems and difficulties are too much for you and because you are generally despondent you have a hard time handling them. You mostly blame other people, situations or circumstances for your depressed frame of mind rather than looking for the real cause in yourself. Your friends and family find it difficult to be with you because of this.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Worst. Night. Ever.: Enter the Dungeon!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM

You people could have had me selling egg-encrusted forks on Alberta Street last week—one more clod stinking up the place with my "folk art" during Last Thursday's overhyped teenage bacchanalia. Instead, you sent me to a kink show at Bossanova Ballroom and then a foam party. Remember? It was my turn for our "Worst. Night. Ever." series. You thought I'd hate it.

The bathroom was the only place at the sexy party where it wasn't weird to be seen alone.

So I went to the party. I wore a unicorn horn, just like you insisted—and I even got bullied for it. I stood around and watched sexy stage performances, despite being awkward, alone, and sober—painfully aware I was a pudgy, married, stubbly 34-year-old man at an event absolutely dripping with drastically more attractive physical specimens.

I took notes. I chuckled at the surprising number of boyfriends in Old Navy shirts making out with their topless, wing-wearing girlfriends. I silently mocked another guy in his 30s who showed up alone in a 1990s gray polyester shirt. I think I caught a couple actually having sex in the VIP balcony.

But I didn't hate it. Not really. And I started to worry that whatever post I came back with might be boring... I mean, if you've read one fish-out-of-water story, you've read them all, right? So I bravely decided to do the one potentially humiliating thing at the party you didn't compel me to do. I signed up to be dominated! For the first time in my life. By a man dressed kind of like an angel. And you know what else? I got to go home with souvenirs.

All over my body.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Dirk VanderHart's WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 2:14 PM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

It's back! Welcome to the triumphant return of the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week!" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while Erik might enjoy nothing more than an art exhibit featuring only asthma inhalers, it might send Ned into rageful fits! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. We're closing the books on this year's season with:

News Reporter Dirk VanderHart's Worst. Night. Ever.

Poor, tired Dirk. Dirk just got back from a week in the Midwest, except it wasn't so much a vacation, he confessed before our morning editorial meeting today, as an alcohol-and-food junket that maybe has him feeling more bloated and exhausted than he was before he left. Perhaps, just perhaps, this was some clever ploy so that we'd all go easy on him. But if it is, I'm not falling for it. Dirk can take whatever we're dishing. He still moonlights as a karaoke jockey on Saturday nights in Old Town, and that's arguably like having to do a Worst. Night. Ever. Every. Fucking. Week.

Also! Dirk was the loudest voice, every week, egging us on to eschew "passive" events for bits that were far more, as he put it, "participatory." Oh, okay, is that how it's supposed to be? "Participatory?" Yeah, Dirk, I think your chickens are about to come home to roost.

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #1: Mickey Hart Pre-show Drum Circle!
At risk of rousing possibly one or two of Portland's hippies from their dope-induced stupor, I'm going to insult Mickey Hart by calling him the stinkfoot drummer of a stinkfoot band that hasn't even existed since 1995 and really wasn't relevant, despite their incessant touring, for 10 years before that. That's right. Hart was drummer for the Grateful Dead, and like everyone else who clung to Jerry Garcia's plaque-clogged coattails, he still travels the country hoodwinking aging suburbanites and young potheads into watching his annoying performances. (Disclosure: I have never seen or heard one of Hart's shows.)

Dirk is not a huge fan of the Dead or its tired, weed-addiction-fueling spinoffs. Although he does claim to like their "one folk album" or some nonsense. But never you mind that. The hell of this choice is what he must do before Hart's show: A drum circle. Some flower-power flunky of Hart's, visiting from Corvallis, wants a bunch of other patchouli clouds to show up outside the Roseland on Friday night, two hours before the show, and awkwardly bang bongos or snares or buckets or garbage cans or whatever. "Come add your special flavor to the circle," the ad reads. That might actually have been the only thing I needed to type.

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #2: Take a Church of Scientology Personality Test
The Scientologists just opened a fine, new headquarters in downtown Portland—so fine, in fact, they had to Photoshop in hundreds of people who wanted to attend the big opening gala but, for whatever reason, just couldn't make it. Even though our new neighbors are just a few doors (or blocks, actually) down from us, the Mercury—shocker!—hasn't even been by to say hello or offer to borrow a cup of sugar.

Depending on what you, our dear readers, choose, Dirk could be that neighborly ambassador. All Dirk has to do is walk over to the new "Mission of Portland," which has no relation to Mission of Burma, alas, and let them do what they do best: try to get their money-sucking meat hooks into someone they hope is unhappy enough to believe in a dead science fiction writer's crazy book about aliens and emotional blockages.

The first step in that acquaintance is a personality test designed to help anyone struggling with sadness to figure out where they've gone wrong and how they might get it all right once again. FIND THE SOURCE OF YOUR SUPPRESSION! It's definitely not creepy and invasive and it's never, ever used against troubled people as an insipid recruiting technique.

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #3: Jerry Garcia Birthday Tie-Dye Golf Tourney
This is the blurb on the piece of paper they gave me to help write this post: "Celebrate Jerry with 20 holes of golf." Yes, because whenever I think of Jerry Garcia, I think of golf shirts tucked into high-waisted Dockers belted tightly over a pants gut. For several reasons, this is the worst of the worst, in my humble opinion. Dirk doesn't much like the Dead, but he really doesn't like golfing.

He'll need to rent the cheapest and most embarrassing clubs offered. It's early on a Sunday morning in Edgefield. He'll have to wear a tie-dye shirt. The whole event is a dumb idea that works only because all of the dim college kids who partied with bikers in the stadium lots outside Dead shows in 1984 have all grown to become fretful grandparents with second mortgages.

What's the only thing that smells worse than patchouli? A 58-year-old man with coffee breath who's been walking in the sun so long his noxious Right Guard sports deodorant has all but vaporized.

But there are prizes. I guess.

Voting ends at noon tomorrow! VOTE NOW or forever hold your pee! (Like on an airplane, when the seatbelt light is turned on.)

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's Denis Theriault's WORST. NIGHT. EVER!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 10:59 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

It's back! Welcome to the triumphant return of the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week!" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while Erik might enjoy nothing more than an art exhibit featuring only asthma inhalers, it might send Ned into rageful fits! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

News Editor Denis Theriault's Worst. Night. Ever.

Denis Theriault is Canadian (citation needed) and Canadian's are notoriously easy-going about things (some might say "boring" rather than "easy-going"). And all week long Denis has been bragging that there's nothing Worst Night can throw at him that will push him over the edge of comfortability. OH REALLY?? We shall see about that, my fine, smug Canadian friend!

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #1: Kink Night Foam Party!
Because he is Canadian, Denis is not kinky at all, and hates the idea of being perceived as perv. Therefore sending him to the last hour of this Night of Kink Party (fetish and fire dancing performances with a "unicorns" theme!) at the Bossanova Ballroom this Saturday night at 1 am, and then to the FOAM PARTY afterwards at Echelon Studios starting at 2 am will make him terrified, confused, and very very sleepy. Denis will be required to wear a unicorn horn on his head, and stay for at least two hours. No ear plugs or drinking is allowed. Here's a video of the kink party in action. WARNING: Video is NSFW, and the audio is unnecessarily loud. Poor Denis' ears!

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #2: Vancouver Mommy Fitness Workout
Denis will have to get up early Thursday morning, drive to Vancouver, WA with both his kids and participate in a mom's group stroller workout—WHICH SOUNDS EXHAUSTING. From the website:

it's open to stay at home moms and dads who want ACCOUNTABILITY in working out (plus, it's a good excuse to get out of the house)! What better way to model and interact with the kiddos! :) This group is designed for mom of ALL different levels of fitness; all ages—new or expecting; even dads with little ones, where we will incorporate various forms of exercise in a POSITIVE, supportive, and encouraging environment. We are COMMITTED to being ACTIVE members and meet RAIN or SHINE—NO EXCUSES, even when the weather does not cooperate! :)

Denis is required to take BOTH of his children to the workout, and exercise with them in his double-stroller—SO DOUBLE THE EXHAUSTION. Ugh. Spending time with kids AND working out? That's fucking torture.

WORST NIGHT CHOICE #3: Sell Dirty Forks on the Street Corner during Alberta's First Last Thursday.
Nobody likes First Last Thursday. Especially Denis. It's like a Hepatitis breakout waiting to happen, with awful loud noises, gross people, and weirdos selling weird shit on the street that no one could ever possibly want. That's why if you choose #3, Denis will be forced to set up a "dirty fork" stand on a corner in the middle of Last Thursday, where he will have to sell at least three egg-encrusted dirty forks before being allowed to leave. (He's allowed to haggle, but he cannot sell a filthy fork for less than $2.50).

The forks must be dirtier than this.
  • The forks must be dirtier than this.

Voting ends at midnight tonight! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!

WORST. NIGHT. EVER.: Worseth Night

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Gryffindore the Wizard (AKA me)
  • "Gryffindore the Wizard" (AKA "me")
WORSETH NIGHT: A TRAGEDY IN THREE ACTS
by Wm. Steven Humphrey

ACT I, SCENE i: A Renaissance faire in Silverton, Oregon.
Enter a blacksmith and a flamboyant wizard.

BLACKSMITH: Good morrow to you, sir.

WIZARD: What? ...Oh, yeah. Umm... "and I bid thee the same, gentle sir?"

BLACKSMITH: Is this thy first visit to our fine faire?

WIZARD: Yeaahhh... I mean, "in truth, verily."

BLACKSMITH: And, magical wizard... what thinkest thou thus far?

WIZARD: Well...ummm... its kind of... challenging.

BLACKSMITH: "Challenging" you say?

WIZARD: More "confusing" than "challenging," actually.

BLACKSMITH: (pause) What?

WIZARD: Don't get me wrong. It's got entertainment value... but, frankly, I just don't understand why anyone would do this.

BLACKSMITH: (pause) What?

WIZARD: I mean... why the English renaissance? Right? It's like the worst renaissance. There were a bunch of renaissances all over Europe. Yet all England produced was, like, Shakespeare and Marlowe. Now the Italian renaissance? That was a kick-ass renaissance. You had your da Vinci, your Michelangelo, your Galileo… I mean, c'mon! Even Poland had a better renaissance! At least they had Copernicus! So Shakespeare wrote some plays... big whoop. Copernicus figured out the earth revolved around the sun! Now that's a big freaking deal!

The Blacksmith stares long and hard at the Wizard.

WIZARD: But... I hear you guys have jousting? Soooo... that's cool. Right?

The Blacksmith stares long and hard at the Wizard.

WIZARD: Ahem. Okay, well... umm... Foorsooth! Enough dallying. Hie away with me thither, your worship!

The Wizard scuttles off in fear, bumping into and nearly upending a table of handmade scented skull candles.

ACT I, SCENE ii: Examining the Cut of My Gib

It wasn't difficult for Blogtown readers to choose a suitable "Worst. Night. Ever." event—where the Mercury staff picks three events they know will annoy the shit out of me, followed by Blogtown choosing the worst one for me to attend—because they all know I violently despise the following things: fantasy fiction (especially that Hobbit crap), the Beatles (they're overrated and British), and "theater folk" (egotistical shitheads). The Canterbury Renaissance Faire contains variations of all these things, and so off I went on the one hour drive to Silverton, Oregon to spend a beautiful afternoon having my psyche jabbed with metaphorical needles. OH, AND DID I HAPPEN TO MENTION I WAS INSTRUCTED TO DRESS UP LIKE A "FLAMBOYANT WIZARD"?

Read the gruesome details after the jump.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's Wm. Steven Humphrey's Worst. Night. Ever!

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

It's back! Welcome to the triumphant return of the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week!" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while Dirk might enjoy nothing more than a rousing afternoon of bike-based ballet, it might send Marjorie into rageful fits! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

Editor-in-Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey's Worst. Night. Ever.

Shit, didn't I just write one of these? NO MATTER! Worst. Night. Ever. must go on.

Wm. Steven Humphrey, my wise and benevolent boss, enjoys many things: watching television, performing in local theater productions, reading pulp novels, complaining about Aquaman, and insistently iChatting me to "talk about John Stamos." He's a pretty hard guy to faze... but here at Mercury HQ, we think we've found three events that will faze him.

1. The Canterbury Renaissance Faire in Silverton, Oregon
Note: STEVE HATES FANTASY NERDS. Hates them, hates them, hates them. He is the only person on the planet to have never seen even one of the Lord of the Rings movies. He loudly, repeatedly mocks everyone who watches (or who he suspects might watch) Game of Thrones (naturally, he has never seen an episode). He flies into a blind, frothing rage at the slightest mention of "elves," "dwarves," "wizards," "Harry Potter," or "centaur," which I know, because those are the words I type back at him whenever he wants to talk about John Stamos. So please, picture him—in costume, which he has agreed to wear, preferably as some sort of flamboyant wizard—at the Canterbury Renaissance Faire, an organization whose tagline is "Come and Live the Majesty!" Their PR pitch begins thusly:

Come ye come ye for the Canterbury Renaissance Faire! Here you will find fine feasting, amazing artisans, and marvelous performances of the middle ages, Renaissance, and fantasy persuasion. Singers, fiddle, harp, dance novelty acts and more await you the lovely shady grove of White Wind Farms. The Imperial Knights will be jousting, the blacksmiths will be forging, and the players will be entertaining. We also have horse rides and games for the children. So come and join us for a wonderful day at faire!

2. Community HU
I can't even... okay. Do you think Steve—a man who regularly uses phrases like "At the risk of sounding racist..." and "THAT'S how perky my nipples are!" in his weekly TV column—would be interested in a "simple spiritual exercise that has helped people of many different faiths open their hearts more fully to the uplifting presence of God"? What if I told you there was singing involved? Singing a single word? For TWENTY MINUTES STRAIGHT?

We invite you to join us at the Community HU. We sing this song, pronounced like "hue," in a long, drawn-out breath, for 20 minutes followed by an inner quiet time of five minutes where we each individually listen to God.

This event will occur at a totally legit-sounding place called the ECKANKAR Center of Portland. HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

3. Comedy by Riggs!
I forgot to note that Steve is also a fan of standup comedy—and as anyone who's suffered through an opening act at Helium can attest, there is nothing worse than bad standup. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It is why the word "excruciating" was invented. Is Riggs ("Riggs has a talent for finding the absurdity in everyday life. He leaves no stone unturned") a "bad" standup comic? Well, that's up to your taste; I won't make that call for you, but I will just leave this video here, and note that it involves Riggs discussing how he likes to do "origami" with Asian women's labias.

If attending Comedy by Riggs!, Steve has agreed to sit in the front row and willingly engage in any and all "audience participation" opportunities. This event takes place at the Main Street Bar and Grill in Battle Ground, Washington, a place that seems pretty fun.

Voting ends at 10 am tomorrow! Get on it!

Worst Night Ever: Mormons! On a Boat!

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

WORST. NIGHT. EVER. It was exactly like this.
  • WORST. NIGHT. EVER. It was exactly like this.

For Blogtown’s continuing Worst. Night. Ever. series, you, the readers of Blogtown, sent me to the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 22nd Annual Portland Regional Single Adult Conference—specifically, the “mixer” part of said conference, which took place during a two-hour cruise on the H.M.S. Portland Spirit, a stalwart and seaworthy (or at least riverworthy) vessel. Why did you do this? I have my suspicions, but we’ll get to those later.

PART I. Some Things You Might Not Have Known About Me

1. As Marjorie mentioned in her post, I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. JEALOUS?

2. No, I’m not Mormon. Both of my parents were raised in the church; both of them left it long before having me and my sister. They raised me and my sister agnostic—which, for me at least, basically worked out as an atheism starter kit. At this point, the closest thing I have to a spiritual icon is Carl Sagan.

3. I’ve got plenty of stories that people outside of Utah usually find entertaining; most of them involve what it was like to be one of the very, very few non-Mormon kids in my elementary school, and my middle school, and my high school. There are others that detail my grandmother realizing Joseph Smith could have very well just made up the Book of Mormon—she had this realization while reading The Lord of the Rings and realizing Tolkien had just made up Middle-earth—and what it was like to have my ninth-grade girlfriend glance nervously at her CTR ring whenever things started to get even close to awesome. Also, fun high school drinking stories! (Mormon kids can drink.) Anyway, buy me a beer sometime, I’ll tell you all about it.

4. Considering I didn’t go to church services or anything growing up, I guess it’s not surprising that I managed to never learn much about the church’s tenets until after I went away to college. Growing up, I knew Mormons had a lot of babies, but didn’t know why (THEY ARE TASKED BY GOD TO BRING DOWN SOULS FROM HEAVEN!); I knew my buddy Chad had a poster that showed Jesus in outer space, but I figured that was beause Chad knew everything was cooler in outer space (not because GOD LIVES ON ANOTHER PLANET); I knew that when when our scout troop ran our scoutmaster’s garments up a flagpole on a camping trip, it was funny because hey, look, underwear on a flagpole (only realizing years later that they HIS MAGIC UNDERWEAR THAT PROTECTED HIM FROM EVIL). Likewise, it wasn’t until much, much later—when I read stuff like Under the Banner of Heaven and The Executioner’s Song—that I realized how critically and suspiciously Utah is viewed by those outside its borders: as a desert haven for weirdos.

PART II. Some Overly Generalized But Still Fairly Reliable Things You Might Not Have Known About Mormons

1. They are prettier than you. They don’t drink alcohol or coffee. They don’t smoke. They go to bed at reasonable hours. Those are three things that have an incredible affect on one’s physical appearance. For those unaware of this—for those, say, who live in Portland, and thus largely see people who smoke all the time, drink booze and coffee instead of water, and who go to shows rather than going to bed—visiting Salt Lake City and looking at the people around you can be a profoundly disconcerting, even humbling experience. (Did I mention their churches have gymnasiums in them? And they’re, like, encouraged to use them?) Alas, there’s an Aryan uniformity to it—something that, given the church’s steadily changing racial dynamics, I have to imagine is diminishing—but there’s also no way around it: As white people go, Mormons are an intensely physically attractive people.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Guys Are Voting Wrong for Worst. Night. Ever.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

Don't get me wrong—I'll attend whatever you guys send me to, and I'll do my best to write it up in an entertaining manner.

But in the interests of a Worst. Night. Ever. that even has a chance of going beyond the now cliched "Well, that was a little uncomfortable, but actually totally fine," I'm going to (SELFLESSLY AND MASOCHISTICALLY, I might add, YOU'RE WELCOME) urge you to read Marjorie's descriptions of the possible events a tiny bit more carefully before voting ends in a half hour. Worst. Night. Ever. is only as worst as you make it, and so far I'm lucking out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Erik Henriksen's Worst. Night. Ever.

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

1370906261-1274824543-1274200773-1273510254-worst.jpg

It's back! Welcome to the triumphant return of the Blogtown series we like to call "Worst. Night. Ever." Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week!" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of throwing acid in our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing what could be entirely worthy events to vanish forever, we're asking you—yes, YOU—the Blogtown readers to decide which of these events one of us should attend... whether we like it or not!

Every week an editorial staff member will be presented with three events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. And here's the fun part: YOU will vote on and pick the event that must be attended by our unlucky staffer. Afterward he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while Dirk might enjoy nothing more than a rousing afternoon of bike-based ballet, it might send Marjorie into rageful fits! That's why you might find a perfectly pleasant event or two in the list below. Also, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience. Now let's see who is up this week:

Senior Editor Erik Henriksen's Worst. Night. Ever.

The trick with Erik is to play a game of opposites. For instance, does an all-expense, chef's choice (with wine pairings!) dinner at Toro Bravo sound like the makings of a potential Best. Night. Ever.? See, Erik would hate that. It would force him to deviate from his strictly limited diet of 1) Grilled cheese, 2) vegetarian pad thai, 3) pizza, 4) cereal, and 5) bagels. How about a super big party with like 300 people, 25% of whom were models? Sounds great, right? Nope. You'd find Erik hiding under the bed.

So, what does he like? Reading! Movies! Videogames! Comic books! Action figures! T-shirts with action fig—ZZZZzzzzzzz........

This should make it easier for you to make the right decision.

CAMP CASCADIA (Occupy Mt. Tabor)
This is a protest over the city's decision to stop fighting a federal mandate to cover our reservoirs. Promising "major rabblerousing," these activists are going to pitch up tents and make themselves comfortable for a looooong while. It is safe to assume that there will be a decent amount of crossover here with the anti-fluoride crowd, who will eat Erik alive when they find out how much he made fun of them. You also wouldn't be able to knock me over with a feather if there were some hand drums being played, some marijuana being passed, and Erik trying vainly to hide behind a tree. Oooooh, and protest chants! He will fucking hate this.

Latter Day Saints Single Adult Conference
Don't forget: Erik grew up in Salt Lake City, and has had lots of exposure to LDS culture... it's unclear whether this simply makes him immune to their irritations, or if he hates it so much he moved hundreds of miles away and is never going back. Your move. Friday night is the Portland Spirit cruise and mixer, which might sound pleasant if A) he knew anybody, which he won't or B) he could drink, which is not permitted in the ever-changing WNE bylaws—and besides, this cruise is only serving water, soda, and snacks. Oh right, and C) Erik hates mixing!

Portland Dance Festival
Don't be distracted by the fact that this arguably sounds fun: the Portland Dance Festival is a celebration of swing dance, line dance, and country dancing (isn't that the same as line dancing?). We are fairly sure that Erik is not especially schooled in these—or any—specific dances. However, no worries: There is a free beginners class scheduled at the festival's HQ (the airport Sheridan) on Friday night that would be just perfect for him.

Choose Erik's Worst. Night. Ever. wisely, Blogtown. Polling closes Thursday at noon!

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