My wife, Kate, and I, had The Most Superb Time yesterday. We met up with Australian Forum member Alan Perkins in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon!
Alan's on the left, I'm on the right. We're taking a brief pause in our high energy conversation for Kate to snap a picture:
And here's Alan in the middle of showing me some cool things on his iPad:
The venue was Tasting East, the cafe at the very nice Paramount Hotel where Alan was staying. I jumped up from our tasty Japanese-inspired meal to snap Alan and Kate:
Good food and good company - it's pretty tough to top that combination!
Alan's career in internet technology has kept him incredibly busy for a number of years now, so he hasn't been as active on the Forum as when I first joined in 2006. But he visits and contributes when he's able - And it looks as if his dizzying, non-stop globe-trotting schedule will be settling down this year, and then once again we'll all benefit from Alan's contributions of both excellent commentary and equally excellent music here at The Garritan Forums.
A few months ago, Alan became The Director of Technology and Product, APAC (Asia Pacific) at Rackspace Hosting. As described on the company's Facebook page:
"Rackspace Hosting is the open cloud company. We provide Fanatical Support® in all we do! Our mission is to be recognized as one of the world's great service companies."
Rackspace at Facebook
Currently, Alan is being shuttled all over the globe, meeting and conferring with his Rackspace team members. I was fortunate enough to have the company fly Alan to Portland which is an hour's drive from where I live in Salem - So when Alan alerted me about his trip to Oregon, I instantly cleared my schedule so we could meet.
Just as Alan said, it was like the reunion of two long lost pals. For four hours, the conversation flowed. We rapped our way non-stop through lunch, then tootled around the city in one of Portland's San Francisco-style street cars. We almost got lost in the vast, famous Powell's Books - the largest bookstore in The States:
Powell's Books online
And Alan was just as intrigued as Kate and I were by Benessere Inc. - a beautiful store dedicated to only two products - Exotic Olive Oils and Vinegars! We all left with products - It may sound strange, but this place carries
some of those most sensational flavors imaginable. Take a look - Here's the store where we went wild tasting the powerfully flavored Balsamic Vinegars and Olive Oils Benessere carries:
The clerk there introduced us to a new concept - making cocktails from their pungent Vinegars mixed with sparkling water!
Alan is hoping the Oil and Vinegar set he purchased there will make it through customs inspection when he returns home in Australia later this week. I said if they confiscate the goods, he'll have to suggest eating a salad right there with the inspectors! But after they get a taste of the products - they'll keep them for sure!
Alan is as impressed with Portland as we are. After we scheduled this meeting, for the first time, Kate and I started talking about the possibility of moving to Portland. So there was a fortuitous synchronicity to our trip up there to meet Alan - We looked at Portland for the first time as potential residents. And now, we're more stoked than ever over the possibility. Portland is a metropolis bursting with culture. It makes it seem like we're living in a town that never wakes up. The energy and excitement of The Big City is calling to us. So there was that bonus aspect of going up to Portland to spend time with Alan - Maybe we got a preview of our new home. We'll see!
Only once before have I met people from our Forum. In 2008, at the premiere of my show "Dorian Gray," I met Gary and Marianne Garritan and also our own "Fastlane Phil." Now another online friend and I have met face to face, and Alan and I can vouch for each other's actual existence! This experience makes me hope to eventually meet more of this great online community. If we put our minds to it, we could make that happen!
What a completely fabulous day, Alan. It was an unforgettable get-together. Thank you so much for the idea to meet, and I thank your company, Rackspace Hosting, for making it possible.