— Jenny Neill

Search Bot Gots: Coffee Beans and Bicycles?

I can be the queen of procrastination when I have research to do. Thank goodness there are Google Alerts to help me out when I would rather be polishing my silverware by hand with a toothbrush than actually investigating a story idea. Let’s review the array of topics found by an alert I have set up to look for “coffee Portland” once a day.

Free Stamp

Photo courtesy of David Haines. Some rights reserved.

Starting with the “bad news” category, the most mentioned item of the day was that the same drive-through coffee bar was robbed twice in two weeks. Apparently, the suspect ripped off at least one other espresso drive-thru. Five out of seven mentions had to do with this tale of woe.

Here’s what I’d call the “very loose cultural connections” or “head-scratchers” portion of today’s results. One hit turned up a brief post about a band from California because the reporter met them for coffee and they’d recently played with a Portland band. There’s also an odd little puff piece about a television actor from a show that takes place in Portland. Her last name is Coffee, and the story is about her humorous prognostications about which NFL team will win on her blog. (Or maybe, since the predictions are all videos, we should call it a vlog?)

With the holiday season looming, the mentions of special roasts for Thanksgiving or the many opportunities to buy gifts for loved ones at a local cafe come as no surprise. In a Q&A about a book based on his TV show, Fred Armiston describes Portlandia as “the fictional, dreamy place… a world of coffee shops and bicycles.” Well, Fred, from what I can tell your fiction ain’t terribly far from reality.