Animal Grossology 101
The Poop, the Secretions and the Blood
Oozing with Disgusting Science
A recent trip to Portland to see my younger brother and his girlfriend, Puja, led us on a cloudy day to venture forth and get some grub. Portland is filled with great hole in the wall restaurants. There had been a great place down by OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) called "Sweetwater Jam." The food was hot, cajun with a wall of hot-sauce sitting against the back wall. The hot-sauces were spectacular and the food was incredible for a decent price. Patrick knew where it was so Patrick, Puja, Linda, Tanis and I piled into Big Green and headed through downtown and over the Willamette River on the north side.
Even though it was overcast and drizzling, as Portland is wont to do, we wanted to have a nice day. I forgot how much I missed living in Portland with the small neighborhoods and the dazzling assortment of pizza joints, used book stores, local coffee shops with actual good java, corner pubs and little ethnic holes in the wall with large, plate glass window-fronts. Portland is perpetually retro and slightly goth. The winters are depressing, drizzling for weeks on end, never really raining, just a constant larger than mist falling at all times. The sun breaks through the clouds for an hour. After that brief respite the drizzle and rain kicks back in for weeks more. This goes on for a long time. But the summers and the spring make it all worth it. The temperature is perfect and the foliage, roses, blooming things with the city thumping with the warm weather make it the best place to be on late weekend evenings and early mornings. I can't count the number of mid-fall evenings where you are sitting out on the deck of some fantastic restaurant at 2:30 in the morning and it never drops below 72 degrees with slight humidity.
Oh, yeah, Patrick. Look, he just makes goofy faces. No matter the picture, he will find a way to make himself either look retarded or horribly gay. The above picture is Uncle Fester while trying to touch his index finger and pinky together, and the one below is him looking like he just picked up a sailor on Coney Island and intends to vigorously earn that $20.00 he just got. He has only ever taken five good pictures in his life. It's not his fault, he is just that way.
We drove down to the area and found the restaurant that used to be called Sweetwater Jam. It was now a Cuban outfit called Savaldor Mollys. The food was good and cheap. We all got some pints and threw back the some seriously hot and juicy chicken wings. The rest of the food was very tangy, with a lot of sauces dripping out of the tacos. Everyone walked away stuffed and feeling good about going to OMSI. They were running an exhibit called Grossology that was going to be studying all of the slimy and nasty stuff in science and animals.
OMSI was one of my favorite places to go as a child, it had great things for me to touch and play with. There used to be a bicycle that powered a row of light bulbs, the fast you pedaled, the more lights lit up. Simple yet I loved it. There was a beehive that was encased in glass with glass pipes leading outside where the bees were constantly coming in and out at a feverish pace. It was pure entertainment for hours for any kid. The new OMSI is a bit more rounded but its pretty spendy. You pay for everything you do. Wanna see a movie, that will cost. Wanna take the ride in the sub, that will cost. Want to see the exhibits, that will cost. That aside, it's still a great place to go.
There was a small section with some of the best animal exhibits and the largest snake I have ever seen in my life. It lookslike it could swallow a small child. And a dragon! It was pretty big, much bigger than I would have thought they would be. An assortment of other snakes, lizards, these really kick-ass looking Leaf Thingies. I can never remember the names of insects. After looking through the classic exhibits upstairs, we headed over to the Grossology exhibit, the big enchilada!
A large mechnical fly, with some hoog hanging off his probiscus, greeted us at the front of the exhibit. It was sitting on a giant chocolate chip cookee it had threw up on a few times. It moved around pretty smoothly describing how it gets on your food and then pukes all over it, turning the food into a gooey mess that it slurps up into its hanging mouth. My wife has...food issues. I could tell this place was going to be pretty rough on her. Tanis was delighted. He ran over to a large ball of poop, about 12 feet high. It had a game on each side where you maneuvered a dung beetle up and over the ball of poop to the top. This ended up being one of Tanis' favorite games. Their were ear wigs and other insects among the debris that kept you from easily climbing to the top.
The rest of the exhibit was about lots of things that sucked blood or secreted nasty, hoogy stuff or burrowed into flesh to suck on blood or secrete nasty, hoogy stuff. There were tape worms, hagfish, tube worms, fleas, leeches, mosquitos, dung beetles and the lot. There were games where you got to pick the slimiest creature in the world, something my son giggled the entire way through while his mother kept her hand over her eyes and mouth through the contest. I think hagfish took the cake, that is a seriously nasty animal.
It truly lived up to its name. It was gross, but a lot of fun. We took off shortly after that and went out later that night to the Blue Moon Pub and later onto the Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of animation. I hadn't seen one in a while so it was great to watch the most messed up cartoons you have ever seen in your life. It is not for anyone who really believes in political correctness or has moral values of any kind.