For Portland Monthly: Fly Direct to Anchorage for Axes and Pancakes, Surfers and Straight Talk

In which I clown on Portland for being so precious and discuss my begrudging affection for truck nuts.  Here’s how it starts:

“On a recent trip to Seattle, I found myself nursing a mason jar cocktail in a bar that also sold beard oil and leather notebooks. Looking up, I spotted an ax mounted on the wall. Like, as décor. In that moment, I knew I’d never quit Anchorage.

Don’t get me wrong; I liked living in the Pacific Northwest: Portland, specifically. (New Seasons, you complete me.) But 13 years ago, I moved to Anchorage for a job. Now, I love my city—hard.

Ain’t nobody turning their axes into wall art up here. The beards aren’t oiled. There’s no irony in the old Wranglers we wear, or the plastic nuts dangling from a pickup’s tow-hitch.

Maybe this sounds weird, but I love that stuff—the giving of zero Fs, the relief from the cute and the curated. I wave that well-endowed pickup through the intersection with a nod. Because months from now, I might find myself in a snowy ditch, and you can bet that guy’s got a tow-strap. (This has totally happened.) That there, whatever that is—that’s Alaska. We don’t wall-mount our axes; we use them to split kindling. And we’ll split some for you, too.”

Read the rest here.