Thursday, April 11, 2013

Behind the Scenes at the Infinite Art Tournament

Perhaps you occasionally think to yourself, "I wonder where Michael5000 puts together the engrossing weave of word and image that is the Infinite Art Tournament?"  I mean, hell, it's not likely that you think such a thing, but it's theoretically possible, right?  So I'll tell you.

Sometimes, of course -- like right this second, for instance -- I write from the confines of my comfortable home on the East Side, which I jocularly refer to as "Castle5000" in these pages.  But I generally spend a least a few hours every week working at each of two other locations.

1. Sound Grounds

The Sound Grounds coffeeshop, on Belmont Street, is within a stone's throw from home, if you have a good arm.  It's where I go of a weekend to drink somebody else's coffee instead of brewing my own, to use someone else's wireless connection, and to listen to music on my headphones instead of my stereo.  Strange behavior, arguably, but I've always enjoyed being alone-in-public.  I like the people and the vibe.  It's my "Third Space," if you will.  And -- this is important -- it has big south-facing windows.

In the dark third of the year, I try to spend at least a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday at that window, absorbing as much daylight as I can in hopes of warding off the Seasonal Affective Disorder, and also zee Seasonal Affective Ennui.  It is a robust full-body lightbox, and it seems to work pretty well.

This is Bruno, my laptop.  At least 90% of the IAT content, and all of the actual tournament content, is researched, composed, edited, and stored on Bruno.  He is a rugged and capable machine, and I have a genuine affection for him.

Like many coffee shops, Sound Grounds has an eclectic collection of mugs, and like many regulars I have my arbitrary favorites.  There are four that I will use, but my first choice is the lightly chipped purple "Western Oregon State Mom" mug shown here.  I like that it is purple, slightly larger than average, and ridiculous.

Incidentally, if you are feeling in a healthy mood, the Big Salad is pretty tight.  Although I often err on the side of cinnamon rolls.

2. JavaMama

At least once a week, my work takes me to the western suburbs of Beaverton and Hillsboro, and on Wednesdays I celebrate the midweek by taking a long lunch at JavaMama, an improbably lovely shop tucked between a liquor store and a nails salon in a shopping center on 185th Avenue.  If Sound Grounds is my Third Space, JavaMama is my Fourth Space.

Here, too, there is a passive solar lightbox that nobody else uses.  And stellar coffee.  Before I started going to JavaMama, I put sugar in my coffee, but their coffee is so good that I stopped needing it.  They also carry a line of baked goods that inspired my life-concept of "pastry-for-lunch Wednesday," which has itself led to the life-concept of "the Wednesday night protein famine."  So worth it.

Because I'm there midweek, my JavaMama blogwork is a bit specialized.  It is sometimes the site of bracket maintenance, but it is also where I often do the the preliminary research and first drafts of the monthly saints and elements.

And my favorite mug there is the Big Green (rounded) mug.  (The Big Green (cylindrical) mug is good, too.)

I highly recommend both establishments.  Tell them Michael5000 sent you!  It will be funny, because they'll have no idea what you're talking about!


The Calico Cat said...

Sounds like you replaced cola with coffee...

Michael5000 said...

Let's say "supplemented."