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On Sunday I flew up to Portland where I will be for the next few days training. Abbott has agreed to pay for some ASP.NET training, which is great. EXCEPT – I miss Corinne’s first Halloween, that’s a bummer. I have had to reschedule this class at least three times. The company that puts these together pays for the room and the flight. It saves Abbott money which makes it easy for them to justify the cost of training. All good, minus the missing Halloween with the girls part.

The flight was nice, just under 3 hours. the local transit system up here is called MAX. I jumped on the max which took me right to the convention center, which is no less than 300 feet from the Red Lion, the hotel I am calling home for the next few days. Very convenient, on top of which, the class is held here in the hotel. Done.

When I did get to my hotel, I sat around watching tv and tried to get in touch with childhood friend Jason Porath. At about 7pm, I jumped on the MAX and headed downtown. I got off the MAX a little too soon and ended up in a less than reputable part of Portland. I started to make my way back towards, but up one street on second, just north of the Portland downtown district and found, what may be, the best damn Irish pub in portland.

Kell’s is a dimly lit, brickwall-dark wood Irish pub. It’s really more of a restaurant as the bar area was minimal. When I walked through the doors, I KNEW I had come to the right place. There were no less than 7 guys sitting with mandolins, flute, tin whistles and guitars playing traditional Irish music. All just sitting around a couple of tables in the middle of the restaurant that had been pushed together. Having a pint, playing some really upbeat traditional Irish music. Well, this was quite a treat for this traveler.

I ordered this sort of fried sausage in a crispy bread, which was very good. The menu had all the traditional sorts of Irish fare. If ever you are in Portland, you really must make it a destination as it is a very special place.

As the evening progressed, I noticed some of the musicians asking a young couple to sing a song, the two stood up, at which point, all the musicans shushed the patrons around the restaurant. The couple sang a beautiful Irish melody – maybe 3 minutes in length totally unaccompanied. It was beautiful hearing their voices intertwine, absolutely beautiful!

I stayed at the restaurant for a bit longer, making conversation with a couple from Escondido. Ellen and her husband Ted, who was playing mandolin at the table, were up visiting, taking in a weekend in Portland. We had some very nice conversations about music, life in Southern California and the fires. Turns out Ted is in IT development, started up a media company, called  Veoh, which I have been just checking out – very impressive.

At about nine, I figured it was time to head back to the Hotel. I got a chance to speak with the singing couple, I only caught Catherine’s name – she and her bo sing in a band called Circled by Hounds. How cool is that?! They were a pure source of information on live Irish music in Portland. Apparently, Monday at the Moon and the Sixpence is where all the bigtime local Irish musicians play – I will be hitting that tonight for sure. THEN – on Halloween, Circled by Hounds is playing. So I expect to be in attendance for that as well.

Got back to the hotel, watched a little TV and spoke to Deanne for a little bit. Funny how 2 minutes after I spoke to her I was able to get a little sleep. I already miss her and the girls.

It’s almost 8am here and I am in a bad way having only got 3 hours of sleep and running into problems with email account not being migrated to a new email server. This weekend was the big switch out of the GDT domain, which I can’t talk too much about other than that I can’t get my email. Spoke to Jaime at work, he thinks we’ll get it moved shortly. We’ll be back in biz again shortly I am sure.  Going to get ready for class.

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