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May 2017

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Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag By Stacy Begin / Owner, Two Fat Cats Bakery

TIPS FOR PIE LAND AND BEYOND Did you know there is a Pie Land out there in the internet sphere? I didn’t. Even though I’ve made hundreds –maybe thousands of pies – with my own two hands, I had no idea that the discourse on pies was taking place in the virtual town square. It was brought to my attention by a customer who was looking for a few tips on making blueberry pies. He assured me it was true – there were entire e-mail chains and tweets about pie temperatures, pie fillings, pie weights, pie crusts, and on, and on, and on. Who knew? Pie is more than just a pin to Pinterest – it’s an actual topic! Fascinating. I’m not much of a Pinterest person, I rarely check my Facebook page and I never engaged in chat groups. But, the temptation to add my own tips to the world of pie land is just too irresistible. Not every baker may agree with my tried and true tricks; and, in fact, some may entirely disagree. Nevertheless, it’s all about furthering the conversation, right?! So here are my tips for a great pie (with apologies to Pie Land, of course): You can use frozen fruit: Say it with me “yes, we can.” It’s not taboo and the pie comes out perfectly delicious. After all, what better use for those pick-your-own strawberries that you froze in a Ziplock bag last July?? Just, don’t thaw the fruit. Thawing adds excess liquid which you just don’t want in your filling. Mix your dry ingredients together before adding to fruit: This helps with an even distribution of the starch. If using frozen fruit, add your dry ingredients, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then give the fruit one last stir. Temperature is Controversial: This is a minefield. I’m going to tread very carefully here and timidly suggest a pre-heated oven at 375; or start at 400 for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 375 for the rest of the bake time. It works for me. To those who disagree – please no tweets. I respect every pie baker’s natural right to calibrate their oven to the temperature which works for them. When all starches fail, try tapioca: Tapioca Flour, that is, not the pearls. Tapioca pearls always look like fish eggs to me (anyone else with me on that?). And, besides looking like fish eggs, the pearls won’t thicken your filling. Use the pearls for pudding so you can hide those little beads in a mound of whip cream. A little juice in the bottom of the pan is just fine: Really. It is. Listen, you don’t want the filling to be soup, but you don’t want it to wiggle like Jello, either. The sweet spot (literally) is somewhere in the middle. So, if there is a little juice in the pan, you’re ok. Even a bad pie is still pretty good: Don’t throw away your failures! I’ve eaten ugly pies, pies that didn’t set, pies that burned on the bottom and pies that were just a really bad experiment. And you know what? They weren’t bad. With a cup of tea and a good Netflix show, a pie gone wrong can still qualify as a great night at home. So make your pie, pin your pie and eat your pie. Pie Land awaits!

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Sauntering With Mat

By Mat Robedee / Up Portland Commentator

Growing up with the White Mountains as my playground, I am partial to the Appalachian foothills of Western Maine. Stretching between New Hampshire and Maine is the White Mountain National Forest. From this forest to the sea, the lands are scattered with quintessential New England villages and farmland. There are acres of rivers, fields and streams amidst rolling hills, which often allow for sweeping panoramic views. I’m talking about places where it is common courtesy to wave as you drive by each person you pass, whether you know them or not. If Maine were Middle Earth, Western Maine could very well be the Shire. Like a moth to flame, I have always been drawn to the Appalachian Mountains. As a child I was told that the Appalachians, specifically the White Mountains section, were the oldest mountains in the world. It was something locals seemed to pass down to one another as if it were common knowledge amongst all. It was local lore at its best. Never researching this on my own, I took this big fish tale to heart. Thankfully this resulted in me becoming fixated on the western mountains of Maine and I grew up believing all that land full of granite and pine contained an ancient magic of sorts. Everything from the swim holes to wildlife became sacred to me…and they still remain so to this day. The Appalachian Mountains may not be the oldest in the world (I later learned this fact in college, but it did not dim my fascination.) but they certainly are older than most. Over 450 million years ago these mountains formed and at one point even reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains. These highlands naturally eroded in time and while the jagged peaks may have disappeared, the lure to these lands never did. These areas were once bustling artesian and farming centres that fell on hard times in the late 1800’s with the Industrial Revolution. Nowadays these areas seem to be frozen in time — postcard worthy reflections of Maine’s charming countryside. So that long-winded prelude brings me to the present day. On Easter Sunday I decided to go on a long country drive. With the windows rolled down on our first 80+ degree day and Stevie Nicks as my copilot, I packed a lunch and set off to reconnect with lands that I often call home. My first destination was Hiram Falls Dam to view the river, raging from all the snowmelt. A must see for any river or nature junkie. The sheer volume and velocity of the waters here put Hiram Falls on a map of Southern Maine’s “must see” list. From Hiram I drove for nearly five hours, all the while following back country roads connecting small towns such as Brownfield, Parsonsfield, Limerick and Shapleigh. These areas are bursting with hauntingly beautiful architecture and natural wonder — beauty I took for granted being raised with it all as my backyard. Nowadays, as I rediscovered in mid-April, I have a deeper appreciation. I un-

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derstand that areas like this are unique in the world. Places where time seems to slow down and so much can be missed at the blink of an eye... places where remnants of timber framed barns, scenic cemeteries and lone country stores are simply waiting to be explored. Today, or at the latest this weekend, would be a grand time to do some discovering in this area for yourself. Slow down, take your time to actually see, visit and experience. I think you will find a lot you did not know about before and maybe, just maybe, you’ll also rediscover some old “friends” amongst the towns and back roads of Maine.

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Beyond The Forecast

By Jack Sillin / Weatherman & Meterology Student Hello Everyone!

April was an eventful month weatherwise here in Maine. We started off the month with nearly a foot of snow in Portland (as the photo on this page shows from 1 April) only a few days later to be awakened by loud rumbles of thunder. By mid month, temps soared to near 90 before a dreary stretch (facing page photo from East End Beach 27th April) took over. As of this writing — 27th April — it appears as though the month will finish on a warmer and sunnier note. In like a lion out like a lamb perhaps?

the wind. For big thunderstorms along the coast, you need a southwest wind to keep the marine layer at bay. The final main characteristic of the marine layer is that it’s often rich in moisture. Cold temps and high moisture content is often a recipe for condensation where there’s too little energy in the atmosphere for water molecules to stay in their gaseous (high energy) state and thus they revert to their liquid (medium energy) state. What does this mean for you? Often times with a southerly or easterly wind (or some combination of both), you’ll see drizzle and fog along with the occasional shower. We’ve seen this more than a few times this year so far and we will continue to enjoy that type of weather in the months to come. What was it we said about those foggy, showery, dreary days like we had for what seemed like weeks on end at the latter part of April? It’s important to note that while this discussion pertains to the marine layer in the warm season (late Spring through early Fall), the marine layer also exists in the Winter, but with very different results. Winter marine layers are also stable

This month’s Beyond The Forecast column will discuss a time honoured tradition in the warm season in Maine. The culprit behind phenomenon such as fog, drizzle, and low clouds that we so often see in Portland during the Spring and Summer months is known as the marine layer. The marine layer is a layer of air that is heavily influenced by the ocean. There are a few important characteristics of the marine layer. First of all, it’s cold. In-depth research was conducted on the 19th and 22nd of last month to track related events to come to this conclusion. At that time, the temperature of the Gulf of Maine just off of Portland was 44 degrees. When air sits or is blown over water long enough, eventually it will reach the same temperature, which in this case, to us, is very cold. The marine layer is what you feel on days with a sea breeze, so it’s a nice natural air conditioner in the otherwise hot Summer months. The cold nature of the marine layer plays a part in another one of its characteristics. It’s a stable layer of air meaning that vertical motion is very limited. Buoyant energy is also close to zero because temperatures will often rise with height in the marine layer. Why? Because the farther one climbs above the cooling influences of the ocean, the less cool it will be. If you remember my column last Summer about thunderstorms, you’ll remember that thunderstorms need air to cool with height to create positive buoyant energy. This doesn’t happen in the marine layer which is why you’ll often see thunderstorms evaporate as they approach the coast, especially early in the season and especially if there’s a southerly component to

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(the atmosphere is rarely convectively unstable in the Winter) and moisture laden but they’re warmer than continental air masses. You’ll often find the marine layer in the Winter lurking on the east side of a coastal front during a nor’easter and this boundary is oftentimes the rain/snow line. I’ll be back with more next month and in the meantime, enjoy the marine layer, it won’t stay to our east for long! — Jack

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Jack’s Weather Terms —CAPE: CAPE stands for Convective Available Potential Energy and is a measure of how much energy there is in the atmosphere available for thunderstorms to tap into. CAPE values range from 0 (no energy available) to roughly 8,000 (insane energy available). Here in Maine, we start looking for big storms if CAPE values rise above 1,000. We rarely see CAPE in excess of 2,000, so you need to go to the plains or the Gulf Coast to get the really high CAPE values. What makes for high instability? You need two ingredients. First, rapidly cooling temps with height (see lapse rates below) and second you need high moisture availability. Without the warm surface temps, air doesn’t rise and without moisture, there would be nothing to condense into clouds. CAPE combines both of these into one easy to read index that can indicate if severe weather is expected to develop over a specific area. —Lapse Rates: The lapse rate is how quickly air cools with height. In a perfectly dry atmosphere, a parcel (basketball sized chunk of air) rising through the atmosphere will cool at a rate of 9.8 degrees Celsius per kilometer or, if you prefer, 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit per 1000 feet. In a perfectly saturated atmosphere, air cools at a much slower rate but the lapse rate in a saturated environment is not a constant but rather is dependent on the temperature and pressure of each given parcel. For thunderstorm formation in Maine, you generally look for low level lapse rates (lowest 2 kilometers of the atmosphere) to be between 8 and 10C/km with mid level lapse rates (2km6km) near or above 7C/km. If you find a weather term you don’t know and want an explanation, send me an e-mail at jack.sillin@gmail.com and I’ll work it into next month’s column!

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Mostly Towns & Travel Welcome to Up Portland’s monthly crossword. Last month you had such fun with the people, places and things that this time it’s all about our Maine and nearby towns, states and other locations in the Northeast and Canada, as well as how we get from one place to another. As always, comments are welcome at ted@upportland.com and the solution is on Page 29. Oh, and the photos are some “hints” to a few answers... Good luck!

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The Buck Stops Here

RMDs apply to assets held in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and workplace retirement plans like 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans. The RMD rules do not apply to Roth IRA owners, but may apply to owners who inherited someone else’s retirement savings. The rules governing RMDs are complex, and the steps required to take distributions may appear overwhelming. Here are some answers to common questions that may clear up the process:

By Luke Reinhard / Advisor — Ameriprise Financial I have several things this month regarding retirement and if you’re in or nearing retirement, you’re likely thinking about it as a time to relax, check items off your bucket list and enjoy what you’ve earned. But from a financial standpoint, it’s important not to get too comfortable. Once you leave the workforce, you will likely be reliant, at least in part, on your savings to cover living expenses. So it is important to stay diligent and be aware of potential risks to your financial security. Here are three key risks to keep an eye on in retirement: — Not revisiting your investment strategy. As you approach or enter retirement, you may have to re-assess your risk tolerance and make sure that your portfolio aligns with your goals, the lifestyle you want in retirement and your financial situation. Remember that you may have less time to recover from market swings, so consider protecting your portfolio as you prepare to live off your savings. With that said, being too conservative isn’t always the right solution. With many retirees living decades in retirement, you will likely have time for your assets to grow or at least, keep up with inflation. Plan to periodically review your portfolio in retirement to make sure you’re comfortable with your progress and risk tolerance. — Spending too much too quickly. When retirement rolls around, you may find you have more money accumulated than you’ve ever had before. This can lead to a false sense of financial security and prevent you from adjusting spending in retirement. But if you begin spending at an unsustainable level in the early years of retirement, you risk depleting your nest egg too quickly. If you dream of travelling or starting a business after you step away from the workforce, factor those activities into your retirement budget. That way you can feel good about enjoying what you’ve earned while also being cautious about not outliving your assets. — The rising cost of living. Many retirees believe the amount of money they can generate from their investments and other sources of income, such as Social Security, will be sufficient when retirement begins. But keep in mind that, historically, the cost of living has risen over time. For example, if you live for another 25 years after you retire and the cost of living rises by an average of three percent per year, your annual living expenses could potentially double in that time. Consider the possibility that retirement may be much more expensive as time goes on. Accounting for inflation impacting the most prominent items in your budget, such as health care or travel, is a good place to start. Keep in mind the benefits of being prepared. Preparation and discipline can keep you on track and feeling secure about your finances in retirement. You can take steps to help address these risks prior to leaving the workforce with proper planning, diligent saving and a portfolio that is aligned with your goals and risk tolerance. If you’ve already entered retirement, these risks deserve consideration to help you continue to manage your assets on the way to achieving long-term financial security. Along this same line, remember that age 70-1/2 represents an important milestone for your retirement savings. Once you reach this age, you will need to begin withdrawing money from your retirement accounts. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires you to take these mandatory annual withdrawals, which are formally known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).

Q: When am I required to take annual minimum distributions from these accounts? A: Required distributions must begin by 1st April of the year after you reach age 70-1/2. If you turn 70-1/2 at any point in 2017, you have until 1 April 2018 to take your first required distribution. If you continue to work and have a workplace plan, you may be able to delay taking RMDs from that account until after you retire. Q: How often must I take withdrawals? A: You must take your RMD amount by 31st December of each year. If you wait until the year after you turn age 70-1/2 to take your first distribution, the second is still due by the end of that calendar year. In other words, a person turning 70-1/2 in 2017 will need to take distributions for both 2017 (by 1 April 2018) and 2018 (by 31st December 2018). Q: How much is my RMD amount each year? A: The IRS provides tables that help you calculate the distribution amount for a given year based on your age and life expectancy. RMDs need to be recalculated each year. The RMD for any year is based on the value of an account as of the last day of the previous year. That value is divided by the distribution period defined in the applicable IRS table. You are always free to withdraw more than the calculated RMD amount at any time. However, if you withdraw more than your required RMD in 2017, you still need to pay the full RMD in 2018. Q: If I have multiple retirement accounts subject to RMD rules, can I take all of the distributions from one account? A: RMDs must be calculated for each account separately. However, if you own multiple IRA or 403(b) plans, you can add up the RMD amount from each plan of the same type and take a single withdrawal from one of those accounts. For example, you could satisfy your IRA RMD requirements by taking a single withdrawal from your SEP account, but not from your 403(b). Rules are different, however, for 401(k) and 457(b) plans. With these accounts, RMDs must be calculated and distributed from each account separately. Q: How are distributions taxed? A: Generally, withdrawals of pre-tax contributions and earnings are taxed as ordinary income. Although, failing to take distributions on a timely basis subjects you to a tax penalty equal to 50 percent of the amount not withdrawn to meet the minimum distribution requirement. (There is also a penalty if you withdraw less than your required RMD.) RMDs are an important part of your retirement income strategy. If you have questions or would like more information about how to take or prepare for taking your annual withdrawals, consult a trusted financial advisor and tax advisor. (EDITOR’S NOTE—It is with great sadness that Up Portland learned recently that Luke Reinhard will be leaving the financial services business immediately due to a major health issue. He will be closing his Portland office about the time this edition hits the streets, and thus, this will be his final column. Luke has written for Up Portland since the newspaper began, almost two years ago, and not only will we miss our occasional personal visits with him at his office on Middle Street, but all of us will most certainly miss his insightful monthly columns. We wish Luke all the best with his health and we want to say a big thank you to him for his support since day one.)

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Tony Hawk attempted a miserably-received comeback last year with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, but other, popular franchises have been lost to the winds of time. SSX, Hydro Thunder, mascot-themed racing, Matt Hoffman BMX, the Skate franchise… the list goes on and on with dozens of franchises abandoned, as developers move farther and farther away from innovation in sports game development.

By Randy Dankievitch — TV Critic / TVOvermind

On the Xtreme Lack of Sports Games in 2017 There was a time in the late 1990’s when sports games of every genre flooded the market — from multiple games for each professional sports league to a bevy of “extreme” sports franchises like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Cool Boarders, gamers enjoyed a plethora of options when it came to virtual sports action. Games like Super Mutant League, Jet Moto, NFL Blitz and 2Xtreme captured a wide berth of different activities, offering engaging ways for gamers, even those not personally invested in the traditional American sports, to enjoy the spirit of digital competition. Naturally, as technology improved (and got a lot more expensive to implement), the market began to correct itself a bit. The rights to the professional sport licenses got a lot more expensive, while court cases pretty much removed any logical implementation of college sports in any meaningful way. Series like Tony Hawk burned out their fan base with yearly releases, and other, smaller titles simply failed to exist at all. There were no Windjammers sequels, no yearly iterations of California Games to begin building a community of fans; as technology got more expensive, developers began taking safer and safer approaches to releasing sports games, to the point where the flood of releases at the turn of the century, were a mere trickle by the mid-2000’s.

This is odd, considering the case of Rocket League, arguably the most innovative sports title released on any platform in the last 15 years. A wildly successful mix of bumper cars (flying, rocket-powered bumper cars) and soccer, Rocket League has captured the casual and professional gaming audience like no sports title ever has. And it checks every single frickin’ box it could: it combines traditional sports with extreme gameplay, featuring a hip, memorable soundtrack (a must for any truly special sports game), simple controls, and most importantly, accessible, endlessly addictive gameplay. Given the trends of the last 15 years, one would naturally think Rocket League would flop miserably; but it was a success of epic proportions, only further highlighting how cold and barren the creativity behind modern sports games has become in the HD generation. The last two years have offered inklings of hope with other titles like Olli Olli and Steep (or the upcoming return of the Hot Shots Golf series this Summer, as Everybody’s Golf), but it’s pretty clear most developers have given up on the endless possibilities of sports games. Hell, even though Wii Sports is the best-selling video game in the history of video games (that is a fact), Nintendo hasn’t bothered to put a single sports game on their new system, the Switch. Not a single boxing game (RIP Fight Night and Ready 2 Rumble), not a single mini golf game… not a single sports game period, outside of the brief glimpse of NBA 2K in the initial trailer for the system. In a generation of video games that desperately need some sparks of ingenuity, it’s odd developers haven’t turned more to the world of sports to try and find creative new ways to engage with the well-known tools sports offer as gaming experiences (beyond failed physics experiments like Dangerous Golf).

Even large sports franchises were beginning to die off; Microsoft’s ill-fated attempts at building sports franchises died out by 2006, followed by 2K’s exit from baseball game development altogether a few years later – leaving a hole in the Xbox lineup that to this day, has not been filled by another franchise.

In 2017, most sports games have turned into isolated, simulation-like experiences, emphasising narrative-based career modes and monetised franchise modes in order to maintain relevancy - and to a large degree, profitability.

Many people blame Madden’s exclusivity rights with the NFL for narrowing the landscape for sports games, but that ill-conceived deal is but a part of the larger mosaic of problems surrounding the sports game industry. After all, this didn’t stop EA from trying, and failing, to resuscitate NBA Live multiple times, nor did it also cause 2K from dropping out of console NHL game development in 2012.

But there’s a noticeable hunger for something more… well, extreme, bringing back the grinds of Sk8te, the power of NFL Blitz, and the speed of Twisted Metal — a hunger that will continue to be starved until developers begin to shed their traditional developmental thought processes, and begin embracing the freedom, diversity and excitement inherent in the sports games (extreme or otherwise) of yesteryear.

Simultaneously, the rise of different genres of eSports took precedent when it came to competition. No longer were people lining up to win, or even watch, tournaments of sports games. Instead of Madden and NBA 2K tournaments, titles like League of Legends, Counter Strike, Call of Duty and any number of fighting games became the focus of major events and developmental efforts. Rather than building hype for the yearly Madden tournament during Super Bowl weekend every year, the attention shifted to the developing scene of “majors” around other, non-sports competitive titles, like the DOTA Invitational or the EVO fighting game tournament. All of these factors have led us to where we are today, where the only yearly releases are for NFL, NBA, MLB (only on Playstation, of course), WWE, international soccer, and NHL. None of these games, save for soccer, have multiple franchises (though EA still insists an NBA Live game still exists) – and when it comes to non-traditional sports, there are no franchises left to speak of.

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Food For Thought... Two different restaurants this time with one common theme — informality. T-shirt and shorts or jeans will do just fine at either and neither one will break your wallet, so they are neat spots to visit — one in Portland and one in Kittery. The first (in town) made me hearken back to my college days, when our “dorm meal ticket” at Bradley University, where I attended in Illinois, covered 20 meals a week. But wait... seven days times three meals daily equals 21 and not 20. And that is why I, and a bunch of my fellow students, became good friends with ramen noodles. You know, the kind you can get a zillion packs for $5 of at the grocery. We’d all get together and whip up a few packets; often adding some meat or whatever we wanted to go along in the days when healthy meant nothing like the green and organic world we have today in Portland. So what’s that have to do with now? Only that a truly international crew exists with great ramen these days right here in Portland at Ramen Suzukiya, 229 Congress Street — across the road from the Eastern Cemetery and right next door to Sip of Europe, the wonderful crepe shop we wrote about a few issues ago. In fact, we suggest they put a door in the wall and combine these two unique eateries so one could have ramen and then one of Sip’s chocolate or Nutella crepes for dessert. Adding the two up also makes it even more an international spot as we got to meet Mr. Suzukiya, who is, of course, Japanese. His twoperson lunch crew included Sofia, from the States and Bulgarian transplant Emil in the open kitchen making the magic happen. Add in the Russian immigrant owner at Sip of Europe and this is a really remarkable international area.

it was back in my college years) salty, so be prepared to drink a bit more water after lunch or dinner and for heaven’s sakes do not schedule a blood pressure check within 24 hours! But what’s the ramen like? Like nothing we’d ever thought of back in the day: fresh noodles, some wonderful fresh bok choy and scallions, to go along with optional add-ons like salmon. Probably our biggest disappointment on a recent mid-week visit was that Suzukiya had sold out of the daily special flavours of noodles by the time we hit their door a bit past one. Make a note to go a bit earlier, but they are open for lunch only from 11.30 a.m. till 2 p.m. and then dinner’s served from 5 to 9 p.m., aside form Mondays, when they only do dinner and Sundays, when they take a needed day off. So did we like what we got? Yes! Will we be going back? Well, I will because it was really a lower calorie (say that word: healthy) lunch and left me feeling full

But we talked about the crepes before, so let’s not steal any thunder from the ramen restaurant... and nothing should be said but good things. In fact the only negative comment between the two of us dining was that ramen is today (as

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without a lot of fat, nothing fried and no high fructose anything. Sadly, my dining companion says she liked her Fish Don (Menu says rice topped with salmon cooked slowly in a sous vide with a house-made teriyaki sauce) but it went a bit over her salt intake limits so she will have to order more carefully next visit or sneak next door for a crepe and join me on the sidewalk out front to dine together al fresco. As for me, I had the Ramen Traditional, with what the menu describes as “house-made ramen noodles in broth, topped with a slice of seared pork, softboiled egg, baby bok choy and shredded cabbage.” I chose the Shoyu Ramen, which had a soy sauce flavour with a mix of chicken and vegetable soup base. I found it delicious and very, very filling as well. We were, as mentioned, a bit late, so we skipped dessert though I do want to go back and try one of the restaurant’s ice creams: green tea or ginger flavours are on offer, or I’ll run next door and have that crepe for my afters. In any case, not only is Ramen Suzukiya a wonderful short walk and addition to my neighbourhood, but the sheer good food and fun staff will make it somewhere I’ll be returning when I can. Oh, and the pricing is, I feel, quite fair with our two lunches coming in just a bit shy of $20, to which we added a 20% tip for friendly, fun, good service.

which are an easy drive from the peninsula. We have often sung the praises of Dock’s Seafood in South Portland, just across the bridge at Broadway & Evans Street. And they now have a second location in Biddeford, too. But we’re talking here about spots with a bit of a drive attached, and for that, no destination, we feel, is better to set your sights on than Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, which has been dishing up great seafood dinners year-round in an informal atmosphere since the mid 1950s. I know some are screaming, “what about Red’s Eats in Wiscasset?” and our reply is they have opened for the season and have great lobster rolls, but after having been discovered by all of the foodie channels and “experts” the lines are a bit long for this reviewer despite the food. Last we checked, they also did not take credit cards. Not that Bob’s in Kittery won’t have the lines and has not been featured on a blue million (OK, bit of an over-statement there) TV shows, including Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but to us the fact it has some indoor dining and a year-round presence are both winners. Also, it’s nice to pay with plastic as like Red’s the portions are very large, the seafood as fresh as you can find, but to get the best you will have to pay just a bit extra.

It was nothing like our Sunday night ramen fests in college, but it was worth doing, so I’d recommend Ramen Suzukiya for a new and delicious experience.

I went recently with my sister and a friend, both visiting from Florida. What did we three have? Well, there’s no way I’d venture across the street, much less the hour or so down I-95 and U.S. 1 to a clam place without (ta-da!) clams. And Bob’s really are about the best we have had anywhere — offered in the strip or the whole belly versions daily.

Meanwhile, Spring is here and with it sunshine, warmer, longer days and for we locals, a small window we can crawl through between everything being frozen and closed and the whole area crawling with tourists, meaning we get to wait in long lines and face often-harried staff ready to go home if we want to try the special places we hear, see and read about.

Having moved to Maine just a couple years ago, I embraced the whole belly clams thing head first upon arrival. For those, who like me need or needed initiation, a whole belly clam includes the clam’s gastrointestinal tract and, some claim, offers a fuller “clammier” flavour. They can also at times be a bit grittier and have a strong flavour, which is my way to say I maybe ate too many upon

There are no spots as cool in these few quiet days as the Maine seafood places

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More Food For Thought... Continued From The Previous Page

If you must eat and move on, and Bob’s is packed, you might try the equally popular Maine Diner on U.S. 1 in Wells or our old stand-by, Warren’s Lobster House off U.S. 1 just before the Memorial Bridge, which connects Kittery to Portsmouth, N.H. We can promise you will not get a bad meal at any of these, though since this is about Bob’s we will say if you have your heart and mouth set for clams, that’s your go-to spot and well worth the effort to wait.

arrival so now, while I like both, I have tended back to the strips. Bob’s offers both and neither is anything to frown about: great taste, just enough breading to be good but not hide the clam flavour and offered as a basket or dinner; the latter having more food, a dinner roll and the same slaw and fries to eat along.

One of the three of us opted for the Bob’s lobster roll, which was also delicious though the price is “market” so changes often. It was $19.99 the last time we visited. My gripe: the one we got delivered contained a lot of mayonnaise. Now do not get me wrong: I love mayo. I buy as many different brands as possible and always have at least one open in my fridge. But since arriving here I have found that I like lobster way better with lobster (a.k.a. plain) or with drawn butter. With mayo? Not so much, but I am learning that like so many things, that’s a personal taste and many Mainers swear by mayo on their lobster rolls.

Even if you do get in and enjoy a meal, save a bit of time to shop outlets in the area, and venture in to When Pigs Fly’s bakery store just up from Bob’s and then head north on U.S. 1 to the headquarters campus of Stonewall Kitchen. There you can not only buy their gourmet items, but take cooking classes, have a snack in their cafe (not that after Bob’s you’ll want one) and watch their bottling line through huge windows. From there it’s a fast drive back to Portland via the Maine Turnpike, as there’s an entrance just across from Stonewall’s HQ, or you can meander up U.S. 1 thru Ogunquit, Wells and more. Traffic tends to move slow, but there’s plenty to see, visit and do — from Nubble Light to the Bush Compound at Kennebunkport.

We last visited Bob’s at the very beginning of April and on a weekday at lunchtime and we found plenty of seats, but the locals (and staff) told us as soon as things get warmer and schools start to let out, watch for lines not only to eat but even to park, so do not say we failed to warn you. If you want less packed, try a weekday or wait for Winter! The good thing is the Kittery area has changed, which Bob’s menu notes thus: “Established in 1956 on busy Route One long before that stretch became bustling and busy with Kittery’s outlet shops, Bob’s was the locals’ golden fried standard..” Now we have those shops and places to occupy our time if you find the restaurant so busy you can’t get in, but we are told it remains pretty much continuously busy in season, so might be good to bring a book, an iPad and just prepare to wait.

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Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


Saturday, May 6 | Ogunquit Beach

Registration 1pm - Race 2pm peabodycenter.org

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Downtown’s Most Up-To

3 1

Page 16

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


To-Date Map & Directory

4 9 2 6 7

Top Stops By The Numbers

10 8 5

The Observatory

1

Coastal Pharmacy

2

Rite Aid Pharmacy

3

Hannaford (Grocery)

4

Whole Foods

5

CVS Pharmacy

6

Two Fat Cats Bakery

7

Ocean Gate Terminal

8 1

Maine State Pier

Maine Jewish Museum & Etz Chaim Synagogue 10 Longfellow House 9 1

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com Page 17


Hackin’ The Net By Ted Fleischaker / Publisher A few different topics this month, so hope I will at least have one which will be of interest... —First off, I seem to be bombarded with folks asking what the new rules Congress just passed will mean to them. Those are the regulations which change socalled net neutrality and also free your internet service provider (ISP) — that’s the company like AT&T, Spectrum, FairPoint, etc. you buy your connection to the internet from — to sell ads which will target you with products based upon places you go online. This is NOT (despite what some of the worried folks have thought) permission for them to track you, because they already have that and always have. It’s in the fine print of the agreement you signed with your ISP when you got the service. You did read every word of that before agreeing, right? We know of at least one case where the old TimeWarner caught a customer using a torrent to download a movie without paying and temporarily switched off the guy’s service. Why? Seems the video was an HBO production and TimeWarner owned HBO, so they were able to identify what he was doing and sent a warning about piracy to protect their own business interests. Bazinga! Anyway, what the changes may mean — and that’s only IF the various ISPs choose to use them — will be targeted ads on your home pages or elsewhere originating not from a site you visit, but from your provider, regardless of what you are viewing. But we all already have similar from various sites. Who out there reading has not looked at say American Eagle for jeans only to find afterwards American Eagle Jeans ads all over their Facebook on the next visit? Or who has searched for a hotel room in say Chattanooga on Priceline only to have deals for rooms in Chattanooga pop up on the sides of other sites, often for weeks, hoping you will click on them, despite the fact your work trip to Tennessee was cancelled. All this law change will do is allow your ISP to do the same, and it could be as mild or obtrusive as you and they wish. Right now, I see no real reason to panic because I love fast internet and whatever can be done to speed loading is, to this writer, a good thing. The problem is all that infrastructure to hurry our service along costs big bucks, so would you rather shell out $20 extra a month for the next tier or tolerate a few Chattanooga hotel ads so the ISP can make money to improve speeds from ad sales and not from your wallet? As I said, I see no reason to panic just now, but I will be interested (and watching) to see who does what and what use they make of it. And, of course, I will report as changes happen right here, so stay tuned. The other big issue here is the net neutrality part. Right now, that term means every website gets treated the same by your ISP when you type in their URL to surf there. The possibility exists that going forward your ISP could slow the load speed of sites owned by companies not greasing their palm with extra cash.

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If that happened, it’s possible Company A’s info would load two or three times faster than Company B’s if B is not paying . I won’t be happy if that becomes widespread, but if they simply send me a few more hotel ads I can ignore then bring it on and speed things up a bit. To conclude on this topic, the jury is out, but it does bear watching, so look for more on this soon, once the law’s full changes take effect and the companies decide their next steps. Do remember, however, that you are still free to choose who you use (and the firms providing internet are aware of same) so if they get too fast and loose with extra ads and slowing some popular sites, it might be they who pay with lost business. Complex... very complex. —This brings me to the photo you see below. I took this at a Portland restaurant recently and it shows someone surfing the net on the restaurant’s WiFi but with a piece of tape covering their laptop’s camera. Why in this case is anyone’s guess (and I did not go speak to the person, whose identity I edited out of the photo), but friends who work in the business refer to these types as “tin hat crazies” because many actually believe that the government or some outside agency can get into their computer and watch their every move through the camera. Our friends who service devices like phones, tablets and computers report that they’ve seen the tape or foil covering more than a few cameras and if asked about it, their owners commenting that it’s for their “privacy”. While I cannot with 100% assurance say there is no one watching or listening, I can say the likelihood is remote so I won’t be covering my camera or worrying about it. Should you? Depends on how you feel and what you believe, but to me it’s a waste of perfectly good tape and a laughable act of silliness. These folks, and all of us, would be wiser to watch what we are doing on “open” WiFis in public places to keep our secure information safe. That means, tempting as it is, do not check your brokerage account or log onto mobile banking from that coffee shop or cafe. And don’t share anything you are scared could be compromised when you are on one of the almost ubiquitous free internet connections at restaurants, malls, stores or coffee shops. Do the personal stuff at home and play your game, check the weather radar or text your sister from the

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


public WiFi to keep your identity and personal data safe. Skip the tin foil hat, too! —Finally, I seem to be getting more and more texts and instant messages as time goes along and that brings me to some of the reading I have done about chat etiquette. My pet peeve (and that of other writers) seems to be “the last word”. In any conversation — be it real time, voice phone, instant messenger or text — there has to be a final comment, but just like in real face-to-face chat, you (or I) do not always have to get the proverbial final say. I say this as I see a growing trend amongst friends and others who text me to always, always have to have that final word. Maybe it’s so you know they are done or maybe just because, but I have read where a lot of folks have this same issue, meaning my tip of the month (worth exactly what you are paying for it) is to finish a text conversation and stop. Really, that extra “bye” or, worse yet, those emojis some folks seem to love to send in twos, threes and more add nothing except aggravation to most. Say or type your piece and be done. Really, trust me, you do not need to always have the last word! And about those emojis — those silly little smiles, figures, characters or sketches which are growing in popularity. In short, I, as a techie person, hate them, and I know many other folks do as well. I know there are plain ones, included with chat/text programmes. There are also animated ones, photo ones where you can put your own face dancing or showing off and more. But why? Maybe I am an old crank (as a nowKansas residing former employee used to call me when I was his boss) or maybe I am too about business, but I just do not get the strings of emojis some folks feel they must have to close a conversation. I have one person I am especially amazed by who never says goodbye

or good night or anything close to a farewell without it being accompanied by string after string of these space wasters. As best I can recall, her record was 21 in a row one day, apparently “just because”. That’s a part of them at right. So remember before you bomb someone’s chat or text with emojis to find out what they think of them, and for heaven’s sake, please leave them out of business texts. I actually had one company rep who sent three useless emojis after a request for some information on ads. I sent him what he was after, but it does make me wonder how serious he is about doing business. Just as I’d hope he’d not show up for a business meeting in a Speedo and tennis shoes while shirtless, I’d take him a lot more seriously were he to leave out the emojis on business chats. And the same is true with abbreviations. Ask anyone under 25 what things like TBH, STFU and IMHO mean and they will surely tell you those and 300 other abbreviations they chat with, but if it’s a business text, use whole words, spelled correctly and with proper grammar. You may not think it matters, but given the competitiveness of business these days, doing it right, the old fashioned way, may well make the difference between a sale and a fail. And that whole words mantra is also valid with dad or mom or grandmother, etc. Even if you understand all of those apparent jumbles of letters, chances decrease with age that your recipient will, so take a few extra seconds and type it out. Save the abbreviations for your peers or folks you know will know what you are trying to say... not Aunt Lucille or your boss! And now, taking my own advice, I’ll say comments and questions are welcome here via ted@upportland. com and I’ll shut up... with nary a single emoji!

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com Page 19


Here’s What We Think...

in that, so we as a paper want to say we’d like the legislature to not meddle with the clocks. Besides, in the limited time they have each year to meet, we taxpayers would be well better served were they to take time to work on jobs, education, too-high property taxes and crumbling infrastructure. I will not disagree that a lot of folks do not like the sun going down in Winter at four, and that’s their right, but for some of us, including this publisher, things are just fine as is so please, Augusta, hands off my clocks!

Up Portland’s Opinion

Several topics crossed my mind as I read the news this month, so let’s see what I’m feeling, after I invite readers to share their comments on these or other issues via ted@upportland.com or thru the contact us link on the front of our homepage at www.upportland.com UNHAND THAT CLOCK! It seems that time zone issues follow me wherever I live. I moved to Maine from Indiana a couple years ago and left behind a state on the far, far western fringe of the Eastern Time Zone. Yes, indeed: clocks in Indianapolis read exactly the same as those in Portland — only Indianapolis is about 1,000 miles west of here so the sun rise and sun set times are way, way different. For a long time, Indiana had “Indiana Time” which was Eastern Time, but with no Daylight Saving, so we did not change clocks in the Spring or Fall. A few years back, a pushy governor, despite polls showing we were happy as we were, got the legislature (if memory serves, by one vote) to pass Indiana going to Daylight Saving Time. As the guy’s name was Mitch Daniels, I always swore that DST stood not for Daylight Saving Time, but Daniels Stupid Time. Arriving in Maine, I was sure I’d heard the last of years of controversy over what time it was, but lo and behold the Maine Legislature is now going at this very same issue, trying to consider making us a part of the Atlantic Standard Time Zone where Maritime Canada and the Caribbean Islands now reside an hour later than we. The theory is we’d change time once from Eastern Standard to Atlantic Standard and not ever mess with the clocks again. That, lovers of afternoon daylight, feel would be wonderful, changing those late December days from 4 p.m. sunsets to sunsets around 5. Problems are two... actually three. For one, some of us like — no, we love — those Winter afternoons when dusk gathers about 3 and the sun sets by 4. They are the cozy, sit in a chair and relax days. The kind we need more of here, especially after the frenzied months of Summer wildness we call “season.” Secondly, were Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to join Atlantic Time, there’d be a time zone line between us and the rest of the northeast. In Summer it would not be noticeable as Atlantic Standard is the same as Eastern Daylight Time, but in Winter, we’d be an hour off, which would wreak havoc with train, plane and bus schedules to places we all go, like New York City, Philadelphia and Washington. And finally, we’d not “save” any time or really do anything if we were to play games with clocks because nothing would change. As that old, too often used, “old Indian Chief” fable goes, “When told the reason for Daylight Saving Time, the Old Indian said, ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it on the bottom and have a longer blanket.’” There is no attribution for the quote we could find, but there is a lot of validity

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BUT IT’S LEGAL... I want to say in full disclosure that I have not smoked (or inhaled) any pot in over 25 years, though I did occasionally partake in my college days in the wild and crazy 1960s. Despite the above, I and this newspaper strongly supported legalisation of marijuana last November at the ballot box because I have a bit of a libertarian streak and I feel what someone does at home or at a club designed for pot smokers is simply their choice. Sadly, ever since the pot referendum passed (yes, by the slimmest of margins) it seems cities, towns and governments of all ilk appear to be doing all they can to go against the will of the voters with restrictions, moratoriums and bans. And we at Up Portland feel this needs to stop. The question we passed was clear: Smoking by over 21s only, no driving while smoking, no smoking in public places or where children were present. And limits on how much one could buy and possess. But ever since pot became fully legal in January, the barriers have been going up. City and town councils have voted to have moratoriums which they can expand into bans on sales of pot or marijuana clubs in their jurisdictions. Others have applied the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) theory to ban pot clubs or stores. And a few days back on the appropriately named “4/20” when a pro-pot crusader handed out small bags of pot on Monument Square to a delighted crowd to celebrate the “yes” victory, the mayor of Portland complained about it, even though he said he did not want to waste police time on the issue, but legally public smoking is not allowed. To Mr. Strimling, as well as others who are whining, Up Portland has three words: Get Over It. And if you oppose pot, three more: Don’t Use It. The voters were asked and decided we wanted legalisation, so instead of trying to restrict, complain and grumble against the will of the majority, it’s time to do what the law as passed said: sort out the dotting of the I’s and crossing of the T’s and make this an orderly situation. Instead of slamming on the brakes, move with due speed to zone where pot shops and clubs can locate. Find areas away from schools and playgrounds, and get some sensible regulations in place (including ways to penalise drivers who choose to smoke and get behind their wheels). The electorate was asked and we voted so now’s the time for those (as the old saying goes) to smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and for those who lost to move on. Maybe a pot brownie, toke or puff will make the pain a bit easier to bear, but the “no pot” side lost, the votes are counted so make it happen promptly! I HAVE THE STREET! One final point involves some controversy which began when a proposal was floated to rename Franklin Street for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I and many

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


friends feel that the naming of a street to honour Dr. King is a good idea (as can be seen by the one in New York City, below), but at the very same time, we oppose changing established street names. Not only is it a confusing map-makers nightmare, but it costs businesses along those routes who need new letterhead, cards and other marketing things to reprint and restructure anything with their address. That includes their Yelp!, Facebook and internet homepages. For that reason, I think a far better solution would be to leave the already about dead suggestion of renaming Franklin Street for Dr. King to vanish and instead let’s name an entirely new street for the leader. Where you ask? I have that answer, too. The Portland Company project calls for a “new street” just east of the extension of Mountfort Street off Fore Street in what’s about to become a very exciting new development. Since this will be an entirely new roadway, let’s name it for Dr. King from the beginning. The road is recommended in the

Eastern Waterfront Master Plan and will be built to carry residents, shoppers and visitors to the waterfront, so it would be a very visible and very professional tribute to the great peacemaker Dr. King embodied. To council and the mayor, Up Portland says leave Franklin alone. Ben’s already been bothered too much with “urban renewal” in the 60s and becoming first the Franklin Arterial and then Franklin Street again. Instead go with the new street so at the same time we inject a new air of excitement into what’s been a decaying ex-industrial area, we can name it in tribute to a great American role model. Besides, I rather like being able to tell folks needing directions, “Oh, that’s a block down, at the corner of Fore and Dr. King streets!” It has a nice ring to it!

Ted Fleischaker, Publisher

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com Page 21


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Dinner Theatre Is Back At Anthony’s If you are like a lot of downtown residents and visitors, you see the sign on Middle Street for Anthony’s Dinner Theatre, but aside from great Italian lunches and dinners at Anthony’s there haven’t been any plays lately. Well, our wait is over as the curtain goes up at Anthony's Dinner Theater as they start their 14th season Saturday 13th May with a “Tribute to Mom” show just in time for Mother's Day. Owner Anthony Barrasso told Up Portland that, “The great Jennifer Miller, Charlie Grindle and yours truly will be performing many tunes from Broadway classics.” In keeping with the dinner part of the name, Anthony promises an Italian Buffet of stuffed shells, meatballs, sausages with peppers & onions and antipasto salad. Best of all, both the food and entertainment are included in the $39.95 per person price, plus beer and wine will be available at a cash bar. Not costing extra (and a great perk in the crowded Old Port area) is parking: It’s free in the rear of the building at 151 Middle Street in Portland. Reservations only call 207/221.2267 then make plans for a great night with a meal and music. Oh, and don’t forget to bring along mom because it is Mother’s Day Weekend!


Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com Page 23


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Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


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Up Portland is edited in Portland and printed the last week of every month in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We may be contacted at the e-mail or phone number below. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy and fairness, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors. Liability is limited to the cost of said ad. Ads not cancelled by published deadlines may be billed at agreed-upon price. Ads may be edited or rejected for content at the discretion of the publisher. All items appearing in Up Portland, as well as the name, logos and design are copyright 2017 by BBS, A division of High Speed Delivery Fork Ltd. & Ted Fleischaker and may not be reproduced in any form without prior written approval.

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Maine Maple Sunday Is

Make a note for next year not to miss Maine Maple Sunday, always the 4th Sunday in March and sponsored by the Maine Maple Producers Association. Many of the sugarhouses also open their doors on Saturday to make it whole weekend, as was the case with Maple Moon Farm near Lebanon, Maine, where Up Portland went with Florida visitors. Thanks to the farm for great hospitality and teaching we “city folks� about what it takes to get the syrup we love on our pancakes, ice cream, in drinks and more. And the snow this year made the scenes, aromas and whole atmosphere tromping thru the groves and visiting the boiler even more special.

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Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


A Sweet Annual Event

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The Standard Reviewer

By Bill Elliott / Up Portland’s Film & Theatre Reviewer

Imagine a world where everything you do — every phone call, text, or e-mail; every conversation, encounter, or movement — is accessible and available to everyone around the globe. That is the theme of Dave Eggers’ bestselling 2013 novel, The Circle, and the recently-released eponymous film, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. Directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, The End of the Tour), and with a screenplay co-written by Eggers himself, the film posits — depending on your feelings about the subject matter — either a future in which everyone lives in harmony, benefitting from the sum total of human learning and experience, or a nightmare vision in which privacy is a thing of the past. The film, which is largely faithful to Eggers’ book, is a dystopian glance into a nottoo-distant future where everyone (and everything) is connected by social media-like technology. It draws on the imaginations of Yevgeny Zamyatin in We, Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, and, especially, George Orwell in 1984. In the book and the film, the Circle is a global social media juggernaut (think Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple all rolled together) that is constantly expanding its products and services, and becoming ever more embedded into the lives of human beings across the globe. From the point of view of the Circle’s founders (and shareholders), technology is a force for limitless good, providing access to the sum of human knowledge and uniting the human race in harmony and a common destiny. “Sharing is caring” is one of the organisation’s oft-repeated slogans, and those who work for the company have an almost disciple-like reverence for the Circle’s mission and a superhuman work ethic in order to achieve it. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world in which “tyrants and terrorists can no longer hide,” where “knowing is good but knowing everything is better?” Mae Holland (Watson) certainly wants to be part of the Circle. She is a temp at a West Coast utility company, dealing with irate customers from her cookie-cutter cubicle that is the same as the hundreds of others in the gigantic office in which she works. Each day is a struggle to make ends meet, punctuated by escape-from-it-all kayaking trips in the San Francisco Bay. Even then, as the film’s opening shot is at pains to point out, the idyllic expanse of ocean can’t silence the ubiquitous ringing of the personal cell phone. Mae has to juggle her limited time to help out her parents; her father is debilitated by multiple sclerosis, barely able to feed himself or control his bodily functions. Her parents’ lives are made more difficult by insurance companies that balk at covering her dad’s medical bills or won’t pay for effective treatments. Mae’s college friend, Annie, calls her out of the blue to tell her she has gotten Mae an interview with the Circle, the country’s (and the world’s) largest social media company. Mae nails the interview, providing the kind of sappy, snappy, humane-buttechno-friendly answers that have become the expected norm when interviewing at large tech corporations. The Circle is housed in a sprawling campus that extends beyond the company’s Pentagon-like (except round) structure. Showing Mae around on her first day at work, Annie points out all the perks, from sporting activities to social groups and entertainment events (to make the point, Beck is seen playing onstage that evening); it is a workers paradise where no-one wants for anything. Mae begins her career at the Circle working in customer service, answering the public’s questions and helping with technology issues. She is expected to get ratings

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of 90% or more on each transaction, badgering customers with follow up texts to respond with more positive reviews of her services. Mae is a “guppy,” a novice who is learning the ropes. Those ropes involve not only fielding calls from around the globe, but communicating on a daily basis with colleagues, constantly commenting on work and extracurricular activities, and sharing ideas to boost company efficiency and employee happiness. The Circle expects its employees to be “on” 24-7. Each Friday — “Dream Friday” — Circle co-founder and guru, Eamon Bailey (Hanks) addresses the company’s employees. As played by Tom Hanks, Bailey is a mixture of Steve Jobs, Tony Robbins, Mr. Rogers, the Dalai Lama and L. Ron Hubbard. This last comparison is most apt because Bailey is portrayed as a grandfatherly figure, whose easy-going manner and upbeat sense of humour lull his employees into unquestioning adoration of him and blind faith in the company. Mae is pulled away from her family and friends (another cult-like feature of the Circle) by the sheer volume of work expected of her. She converses with her family via the Circle’s social media technology. On a rare face-to-face visit with her childhood friend (and perhaps former boyfriend) Mercer, she talks about a possible future date. “We should plan to get together. I’ll send you a text,” she says. “Or we could do it now since we are both here,” replies Mercer. Mercer is a techno-cynic and a nonbeliever. Mae tries to draw him into the fold by posting pictures of his artwork (he makes sculptures from deer antlers) online. Mercer isn’t happy; the photos generate death threats for being a “deer killer.” They drift apart. Mae’s star rises within the Circle, while Annie’s begins to fall. Annie, a member of the “gang of forty,” the Circle’s inner circle, if you will, begins to question the company’s encroachment into every facet of human existence, including politics and law enforcement. When Mae comes up with an idea for a programme that can track down criminals (as well as friends), she is encouraged by Bailey to use it to locate Mercer, who has gone off the grid. Utilising the technology — now available to almost everyone in the world — Mercer is found in his rural hideaway within minutes. He tries to escape mobs of smartphone-wielding individuals and drones until his truck is forced off a bridge. The road paved with good intentions backfires tragically. After a period of grieving, Mae is back at the Circle, but bent on revenge against Bailey and co-founder Tom Stenton (Patton Oswalt). During a Dream Friday meeting she publically invites the two of them to “go transparent” (i.e. make their every social interaction and movement available to the prying eyes of the world). Realising the gravity of the situation, Bailey whispers to Stenton, “We are so fucked.” Unlike Eggers’ book, the film version of The Circle is not overly challenging. There are no real “wow” moments or heart-stopping revelations. Even the comeuppance of Bailey and Stenton at the end of the film falls a little flat. Since the company’s technologies are still globally pervasive, what exactly has changed? As the Who sang in the 1970s, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Initial responses to The Circle by critics and audience have been lukewarm, with many feeling that the film is either too obvious, too naïve, or lacking in real analysis. While I loved Eggers’ book, which is far more nuanced, layered and textured than the film, and has a darker and more Orwellian ending, the film still raises important questions about the wisdom of allowing private corporations unchallenged access to the lives of billions of people. Perhaps the reason The Circle has not been more warmly received is because, for many people in the world, living life openly in full public view via social media is now the norm. Written in 1948, Orwell’s 1984 was a nightmarish vision of a world stripped of privacy and with brutally enforced surveillance. In 2017, such outside intrusions into our personal lives have become not only acceptable but entirely consensual.

Up Portland 05.17 On The Web At: www.upportland.com


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Eric’s Optimal Corner Martha Leonard / Optimal Self Community Health and Wellness Center The word “yoga” literally means to “yoke” or link together. Linking physical movement with breath is the foundation of yoga, and allows yoga not only to be a physically demanding practice, but one that actively builds in rest and restoration as well. This is unique because as a form of exercise, yoga accounts for the needs of our muscular and skeletal systems, but also the needs of our internal, involuntary systems such as our nervous system. As schedules and lifestyles have developed in the 21st century, humans have adjusted with amazing agility. Professional demands increased, so we created healthier fast food options, invented desks that allow us to stand as we work, and phones and watches that track our food, steps and even our heart rates. In this effort to maintain healthy bodies, yoga has been generally accepted into the western world as an option to build strength and flexibility. We hear that yoga can help with physical ailments such as lower back pain from sitting too much, and a regular yoga practice can go beyond typical physical exercise to work from the inside out to help increase focus, eliminate insomnia, improve digestion and reduce stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure.

your ribcage and then your chest with air. As you breathe out, imagine that the air flows out in the reverse order, with your breath emptying from your chest down to your ribcage and finally your belly. 3.) Next you could link your movement with your breath by scooping your hands on either side all the way up to reach up above the crown of your head. As you inhale you could reach your fingertips to the ceiling, and then allow your fingers to float down toward your sides as you exhale. This allows you to link the movement of your hands with your deep, three-part breath. 4.) If this feels good after a few rounds of breath you could allow your exhale to bring your hands all the way to the earth. Your knees can bend and your head can relax all the way down as you exhale, and then you can carefully stand up as you inhale; bringing your fingertips back up above your head. 5.) Next time you exhale, as your fingertips come down to the earth see if you can step back into a plank position. Allow your deep, three-part breath to continue as you hold plank, and when you are ready bring your body down to rest on the ground. 6.) After this short practice allow yourself a moment to fully rest on the ground with your eyes closed. Namaste and enjoy your practice! Martha teaches Kripalu-style yoga for all ages and levels. She offers donation-based classes for adults at Optimal Self and Rosemont Studio Collective on Saturdays and Tuesdays, respectively, as well as a Saturday morning Teen and Leadership yoga class at Rosemont Studio Collective. For more information on her classes and what she does, please visit www.marthaleonard.org

The autonomic nervous system has two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic nervous system, or SNS, works with stress hormones to heighten our ability to deal with a dangerous or potentially life-threatening situation. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system, or PNS, slows our heart rate and blood pressure to allow our bodies to recover after the danger has passed. When our SNS is activated, other body functions such as digestion slow down to allow blood to flow to muscles more important in emergency situations. In contrast, when our SNS is calm our PNS allows our internal organs to function better. The demands of a high-stress lifestyle often stimulate our SNS, causing us to feel like we are living in a constant state of tension. Without actively resting and allowing our PNS to jump in, we can begin to feel the negative effects of chronic stress. With high ambition comes high stress, and with chronic stress comes negative implications for nervous system health. Many people today are living in such a constant state of stress that their bodies believe they are under constant threat. While we have adjusted many of our habits to support a 21st century lifestyle, we must not overlook our nervous systems. A regular yoga practice which incorporates physical poses (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation can be extremely beneficial in reducing the negative impacts of stress and stress-related conditions. The act of yoking together physical, strength-building movements with breath help to nurture a body that can not only survive but thrive in our busy, modern world. If you are new to yoga and would like to try a few poses to practice linking your breath to movement try the following exercises: 1.) Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart, your hands by your side and your belly and shoulders relaxed. 2.) As you breathe in, imagine that you are filling up the base of your lungs / belly,

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UP PORTLAND MAY 2017  

UP PORTLAND MAY 2017

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