December 29, 2009

Last Year

Last year in February I went with my friend Jason down to Tahoe. I didn't really know him well but we both got the time off work and it seemed like a natural course of action and thrashing around in the snow is a good way to get to know someone. We had been planning on going to Canada but there wasn't any snow up there and then I heard Mammoth was getting bombarded and then Tahoe was too so we decided to head down there. And I jumped in his truck that morning and asked him if he thought people that believe in god are less intelligent than those that don't and we had this long discussion about all that as Portland rolled back and the land got flat and then began to wind down long hills like thick carpet folded over with oaks and it was snowing near the border of California and the road was closed for about an hour and we got out and walked down the road in the slush in the dark, the snow falling in big wet flakes lit up by car lights and idling semi-trucks and then it all started moving and we had to run back up the road, laughing in panic, soaked to the knee when we got to the truck and we proceeded to have these magical snow-filled days in Tahoe getting lost at the different resorts and having adventures and eating buffet and cackling and exploring and plotting. And now I feel like I have this terrible secret that I shouldn't mention to anyone but it is only fair to say that he just died, I found out last night, he is the first of my friends to die and I am not sure what I am meant to do in this situation, but I know that no one does. And I biked to work today and it was such a cold morning and I am alive and feel differently about that than I did yesterday.

December 28, 2009

Dedicated to Dead Batteries

I finally went snowboarding. Due to faulty knees and an ill-timed injury I haven't been able to go up, but yesterday I finally got it together and it was so much fun. As it always is. It was really a pretty half-hearted attempt, stood around the house brushing my teeth and drinking coffee and gossiping with Charissa while Huy put the racks on my car, hadn't waxed my board, almost forgot my pass, milled around the Fred Meyer in Sandy for awhile, finding this gem in the process:

But finally got up to Meadows and it turns out I can still turn both ways and do really dumb shifties if necessary. And when we were leaving (we left really early because my knee started to hurt and it wasn't exactly an epic day and when it comes down to it, we just aren't very serious) and we got in the car and by the way---I don't have a stereo in my car, only a gaping hole in the dash where the stereo should be, and I get around this issue by listening to my ipod through headphones or else, more often, just singing poorly and loudly to myself---but Huy gave me this wonderful tiny speaker set that can be plugged into an ipod so we had music all the way up to the mountain and we got in the car and I pulled out of the parking lot and 'Shoop' came on and we were both like, yes! and it played for twenty seconds and then my ipod died.

December 23, 2009

An Obscure Reference to 'The Castle'

This was happening at the foot of the stairs at the Basilisque du Sacre-Coeur at Montmartre. Sara and I were directed here by an old man in a little hat who approached us as soon as we popped out of the metro and gave us good-natured directions in french. We bought macaroons and walked up the hill and a loiterer told me that he loved me.

December 22, 2009

Center of the World

 Photo: James Mustico
I know malls suck. There was a time in my life when I really cherished the mall, and shopping and those candy bins and giggling but I feel like that love died when I was 16 and I came out of Nordstroms to find a firetruck parked next to my truck which was altered considerably from the pristine state that I left it in (charred, windows smashed, wet and totaled). But I have had some good times in malls since my early teenage years:
Last Christmas when there was all that snow and Jocelyn and Alexa and Ben and I ran through a large portion of the Lloyd Center to catch the matinee of Australia, dodging people laden with bags and children with balloons tied to their wrists. There's something about running inside in crowded places. And when I came back from Japan and Heidi took me to Clackamas Town Center and we ate a Cinnabon and watched overweight people and people with wide-legged jeans and green hair and facial piercings eat Cinnabons as well and I realized that I was really back in the states.
But last night was the absolute best. Liz and I drove out to Cinetopia in Vancouver to see Avatar. I don't really know anything about this movie (something about blue people, aliens and James Cameron) but it's supposed to be three-dimensional and I've never actually seen a movie like that before. So I was excited. And then we got there and it was sold out and the next show at 8:30 only had the front row seats so we drove back to Portland, straight to the Lloyd Center in hopes of catching it there. And Liz kept trying to make me use her crazy phone with the touch screen and internet and ridiculous buttons everywhere, which was pretty unsuccessful, though we did make up some really nice songs about James Cameron.
And we ran into the Lloyd Center Theater and Liz asked if they had tickets for Avatar and this kid said, "Yes we do." And we both said, "Yes!" and gave each other this epic high-five and it echoed through the lobby and then she followed up with, "In 3-D?" And the answer to that was no. Huge letdown.
We could have, at that point, been utterly defeated. She could have given me a ride home and then I would have gone into my kitchen and microwaved some frozen vegetables and ate them while reading a crappy magazine and then I would have gone to bed.
But that's not what you do when challenged with adversity. I told her, "We are going to go to the Lloyd Center and we are going to watch the ice skaters." She responded to this with less than enthusiasm. "It will be amazing," I said. "It will be wonderful." She conceded and then we ran across the street and entered the mall and it was, of course, terrifying, she mentioned something about the weight of all humanity and then we were there at the rink, leaning over the barrier, laughing hysterically at these kids, falling, zipping around, slamming into walls, brothers in matching snowflake sweaters, middle-aged man with his hands in his pocket doing hockey stops and power pivots, all the bowed ankles, the amazing grunt-groans expelled when they hit the ice, enthusiastic parental support, and eventually suspicion as they noticed the two girls standing at the railing breathless with laughter, at times almost too weak to stand and that's when we left. Also because this guy was starting to vibe us as he zipped by with spin moves and come-hither stares. Liz muttered, "We've been spotted", and we ran out. And somehow in all of this I lost my blue glove.

December 21, 2009

The Remains

Besides a disturbing amount of plastic 1/2 gallon bottles, champagne bottles, beer bottles, cans and keg cups sticky with residue, I discovered a tiny alligator hair clip, a multitude of business cards for someone who does various promotional activities, a biscuit, and Orbs! For those of you who don't know, Orbs are the latest in tobacco development. They are tiny little brown pellets made of finely milled tobacco, hidden in a discreet child-proof plastic container that took me over 30 minutes to open. You are meant to sit there and suck on this little tab and relieve your nicotine fix in a non-repellent manner. I tried it. I don't recommend that you do. It is possible that chewing a cigarette up and swallowing it might be better than the slow dissolving horror of Orbs. In addition my stomach was destroyed for a better portion of the next day and I can only attribute Orbs to this, as nothing else was out of the ordinary regarding my diet or habits.What is more terrifying is that someone at our party was toting around Orbs. The awesome thing is that I discovered the Orbs on the back of the vinyl porch love-seat, indicating that the owner of the Orbs forsook them for a much more appealing, socially acceptable cigarette.

December 18, 2009

Deck the Halls

Also, brief shoutout, my ex-friend Huy is having a show at Hasbeen Design today. Sixth and Couch, six to nine, skatedeck art, probably some cheap beer and then a caravan to the christmas party at 834. Here is the link.

Don't Break the Yolks or I'll Kill You

My friend Molly is staying with me for the weekend. She came up from Eugene where she is living with her boyfriend and cooking him food because she doesn't have a job. She's a teacher but the school she was working at recently closed. It's unfortunate but she will be okay. She is one of my favorite people and I wish I could post a photo to go with this story but I think they are all on my laptop. We went camping once near Buena Vista after playing disc golf at Leadville and shuffleboard at a bar in Buena Vista where a man lurched in on stilts and got a beer. We woke up in this little pine grove and made breakfast burritos in the sun and then drank tall cans of High Life and did a photo shoot. It was pretty grisly.

I got up this morning and took a shower and then I made her make me breakfast. She was sleeping on the couch but it's Dress-up Friday so I was wearing these boots with noisy heels and they woke her up and then I asked her if she would make me breakfast and she actually did. Eggs and toast (this is a big deal because Molly has never been enthusiastic about cooking. I remember snacking on raw mushrooms at her place in Colorado because that's all there was). And she told me that when she was growing up in Coquille this methhead broke into some lady's trailer and pointed a gun at her and ordered her to make him some eggs. He told her, "Don't break the yolks or I'll kill you." So now that's a running joke in her family. And I don't know if anyone's seen Once Were Warriors but that has a great line involving eggs and violence as well and that was a running joke when I lived in New Zealand with six other people at 729a Cumberland. And speaking of eggs, when I was decorating the christmas tree last week with my family, we were talking about how eggs are just little abortions and joked about how we should bring that up with the pro-lifers at the next family holiday event. I guess there is a lot of humor potential in eggs.

December 15, 2009


Just in case you were wondering, like I was last night while we were having a picnic on the floor of my friend Carin's new home:

White elephants were regarded as holy in ancient times in Thailand and other Asian countries. Keeping a white elephant was a very expensive undertaking, since the owner had to provide the elephant with special food and provide access for people who wanted to worship it. If a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would, in most cases, ruin the recipient (courtesy of Phrase Finder).

December 14, 2009


I know it's a little early for this but I was walking around last friday and I saw this pink flyer stapled to a telephone pole along with a bunch of other fliers, and I thought. Yes. That is an excellent option.

To preface, I am really bad at New Years Eve. It seems that every December 31st of my life has been a dubious fail, from puke to sad bedroom lock-ins, to all the jello shots, unfortunate makeout partners, lost jackets, fights between couples who I am third-wheeling with, and so on and so forth. I was just now trying to figure out what I did last year, couldn't even recall it was so lame, and then I remembered: 
patron + pink stiletto ankle boots  =  shit show to the nth power

And after going back to the bar the next day and collecting all of my belongings (phone, purse, coat and camera) and returning the corduroy? H&M blazer that I apparently stole from the bar, I sat with my friends and watched Mr. Magoo (the Leslie Nielsen feature film) and felt hungover and demoralized.

Anyway, what I saw on that pole was a flyer for the Murder City Devils at the Roseland on the 31st. I love them and I'm pretty sure they would be the best band to watch on New Years Eve ever. How could it fail? Watching Spencer Moody flail around the stage and growl is like watching all of my eves combined in one man, and I'm pretty sure that being in the presence of that will dilute any choices that I make to less than slightly regrettable or even pretty good.

December 9, 2009


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are playing at the Doug Fir. This show is sold out. I bought tickets on friday at Music Millenium and the guy told me that there were only 11 left. I'm really looking forward to it, I might even do some crowd participation, clapping and the like, which is usually something I refuse to do (because I'm bad at it, yes, bad at clapping).

December 7, 2009

Coastal skating, cookies and cake

I just had one of those weekends. Gabe and Liz came over on Friday and we watched Aguirre the Wrath of God. It was so awesome. If you haven't seen it you should. Lots of long shots and building tension and incongruous action and some inexplicable slapstick near the end. I read about the filming process beforehand which made the whole thing even better.

Anyway, the next day Drew and Huy and I went out to the coast to do some skating. There were all these low clouds and fog in Portland, we couldn't see the top of the Fremont Bridge as we crossed it, and as soon as we got out of Portland the sun came out. Cannon Beach has a new park (I think they finished it last year) and it's small but fun, was completely empty when we got there, and I should have pictures but I always forget to take pictures because I'm skating instead. The only thing is that Cannon Beach requires helmets, so a lawman came by and kicked us out after a couple hours. We were walking down the street in search of food and came across this man in a top hat and a cape and he told us about free cookies and cider in the library so we went inside and it was true. And we sat in the children's section and ate little homemade cookies and cider served to us by women in bonnets, surrounded by books about the Bobbsey Twins and dinosaurs. It was amazing. And the woman serving tea told me this wonderful story about her daughter-in-law's christmas party but I have to tell it in person because I have to do the voice.

And then we walked down the beach for awhile and watched the birds and saw a man doing tai chi in front of Haystack Rock. And don't get me started on tai chi.

And then we went to Seaside to skate that park, which was also fun, but it was nearing the end of the day and I was tired and it was cold and there were some kids tearing it up, one who had a headband and an immaculate muscle car, he took a break to stand next to it and chug an energy drink, and then went and started whipping around the bowl again. And Huy filmed Drew in the bowl for one of his scumdays videos.

And then I went out with Heidi that evening and we went to Tony's game party and won a game of darts and tied in a fan dance competition (Tony has this enormous cloth fan and it was really fun to whip it open, it makes this great sound, and then wave it around in various ways). And then we went to a dance party and I was the only person wearing a dinosaur t-shirt. And we ended up eating at Holmans with all the drag queens.

And Sunday was my dad's birthday and Heidi and Charissa and I went out to my parent's place and my dad took us to Mike's tree farm (family friend) and got a tree for 834. We got a good one. Taller than us, but not too big and Heidi and Charissa cut it down like loggers and my dad stood there and heckled us. Which was okay because we had been heckling him earlier about being old. And according to him, figure skating is the last thing you will see before you die, and he would rather be punched to death than run over by a car.

And then we ate cake.

December 4, 2009


Look at THIS.

Did you know people do this? I had no idea.

December 3, 2009

One Mystery Solved

 I went to Content 09 awhile ago at the Ace Hotel, and among the standouts I listed, there was this room filled with structurally beautiful pieces falling off the bolt and threads draping through the room from spool to garment and I didn't manage to jot the name down but I've been snooping on the internet ever since and finally figured it out (not the coin though, I still haven't figured out the coin). Liza Rietz is a designer here in Portland, apparently she used to share a space with John Blasioli (the guy with the great jackets) but now she has her own shop at 2305 NW Savier, and it would be worth checking out. Here is what I would be wearing if I didn't have to pay rent and utility bills and doctor bills and eat food:

Maybe not in white though. Everyone knows I can't wear white. She does this romper in a soft gold too.

If it's asymmetrical, I'm in.

December 2, 2009

Writing Group

Last night we had writing group at my house. It's something that happens about once a month (give or take) and it's this democratic process which we start by throwing dates out on a group email and then someone will be gone or someone says yes that's perfect or someone is like, nonono, I don't have anything, writing is shit and I hate it, and then we push it back a week or two. But it's always on Tuesdays and it's always at my house. I think this is because it gives Colin a monthly opportunity to leave the west side. And some of the original members are missing and we have a couple new ones, though Kevinovitch is still not an official member because last night was meant to be his debut and he was on a call to Kyrgyzstan.

And it's great. If you write and want to improve, or for that matter, just don't want to keep a lot of secret notebooks in an ever-growing box in your room without ever having anything to show for it, then you should be in one. I was once terrified of sharing my stuff with these people and now I sit there and ask for more sandpaper and take it and make notes without wimpering and then ask if there's anything else horrible about my story that I should know. Reading outloud in front of actual strangers would be a completely different act of heroism but this is a start.

December 1, 2009


Some people were having a conversation about an idealistic acquaintance who hopes to make money on someone else's farm by beginning an agri-tourism buisness for hip meat-eaters who want to get back to nature and do it themsleves (he apparently forced these people with the farm to raise pigs last year and sold the shares to a few interested parties and now wants to make it big. He's really into farming but he lives in SE). One of the guys (the one from Jersey) said, "Well he should start a blog! And then write a book about it: His Year With The Pig. I was talking to someone the other day and they were like, 'Start a blog!' and I was like, 'Yeah, I'll start a blog. A blog about how much I fucking hate you."

November 25, 2009

Dance Party Disco

Okay, so after yesterday's post I checked out the world wide web. The bird on the coin is not a cassowary, but a lyre bird. So there you go. The cassowary is a large flightless bird (somewhat like an emu) that can maim domestic animals and small children, and apparently Australian men with doors if provoked. Here is a terrifying photo. This doesn't solve the mystery but does brings me one step closer.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which means I am going to eat. My family is pretty big on Thanksgiving. One year we had dinner at my aunt's house and because we didn't have any leftovers to speak of, my mom roasted an entire turkey and we had Thanksgiving again, on friday. With stuffing and potatoes and the whole thing. It was ridiculous.
This year I have something up my sleeve to combat the effects of the two-day food coma. Simian Mobile Disco is playing at the Wonder on saturday night, which will give me an opportunity to dance like a dervish and sweat out some gravy. This is awesome. Their new album is great, with some solid collaboration with various musical forces, everything danceable. Here's their song with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor.

November 24, 2009

Girl with a Coin

I found an Australian coin in my room last night. I was shaking things off my bed (my room is small and the closet is the size of a coffin and sometimes my bed turns into a table because my room is filled with things, clothes mostly, a few unhung drawings, a rolling clothing rack that holds coats and dresses, earrings hanging from a piece of gauze nailed to the wall, shoes, sweaters unraveling from the shelves and bracelets scattered on flat surfaces, lots of loose paper because I print out my stories and then I make notes on them and leave them in piles and books, books are stacked in the bookshelf because there is not enough room for all of them, though the floor is mostly clear except during the weekend when it gets hectic and I change in out and out of things three times and throw rain-soaked jeans on the floor, and t-shirts that I've spilled coffee on, and socks).

So this coin catches on the edge of my comforter, flips to the floor, glinting, and I could already tell that it was foreign, the metal's all wrong and it says 10 in a large script that isn't familiar and I thought it would be from Japan or China or maybe a euro from the most recent venture. I picked it up and Queen Elizabeth II was on one side and on the other were feathers, very pretty, very delicate, on closer inspection there were not just feathers, but a whole bird, with the bottom of the bird and the feet and the wing and the rest, the head, hidden behind all those feathers. I can't remember the name of the bird but I feel like it starts with a "c" (cassowary?) and it was minted in 1993.

Alexa moved to Australia a while ago and to date she has sent me two letters. One on the unicorn stationary I gave her, enclosing an article about Nick Cave, whom I love, and apparently she loves him too, though we did not share this love before she left, and then a letter with 40 American dollars enclosed to reimburse me the cost of shipping her a package and a CD with the Noisettes and Thao. Actually, I was listening to the CD when I found the coin.

And I don't remember an Australian coin being in either letter. And I've never been to Australia. I should have said this from the beginning. Because that makes this a mystery.

November 20, 2009

Welcome Home

In celebration of a certain friend of mine returning from a warm and semi-tropical place I am going to relay a story to you regarding an interesting situation that she found herself in. No names of course, and events may be slightly dramatized.

This friend of mine loves vampires in all their forms. It was she that forced Buffy on me until I actually liked it, and it was no surprise that she adored the first Twilight movie. She teamed up with another friend of mine to sing its praises, repeatedly, until at last I agreed to watch it. I hated it and thought it was dumb (But I was also exhausted and hungover and guilt-ridden due to inadvertently crashing a wedding the night before and probably slightly anemic from all the blood I lost through the gash in my lower back created when the best man tackled me onto a wine glass like an asshole). And though many of my friends have devoted time to these books with all their vampire allure, Mormon values, and easy to follow plot, I refuse to indulge in this cultural phenomenon.

So, my friend was sick the other week, a flu of some sort, and she was laid up in bed for about five days. Finally well enough to sit up and do some reading she decided to read the Twilight series. Because when you're sick you don't want to do much thinking. She blazed through a few of them and found herself at a crossroads. She could stay home in bed and watch movies she had already seen, or she could go out and buy the rest of them.

She went to Borders. A Borders out somewhere on the edge of town, Jantzen Beach or something, where no one would be able to identify her or remember her face. Apparently, (this is what she told me) she kind of smelled and I also imagine her looking very pale, with dark circles, almost like a vampire herself. She couldn't find the books, was circling aimlessly through self-help and diet books and then looked up, (probably picked up their scent) to see them glistening in a large and ostentatious display. Balloons, ribbons, lunchboxes, stacks of books on the table. She took off in a half skip, half run towards the display, full of sick joy , and then tripped over her feet and in a complete collapse of dignity, pulled the whole display down on top of her as she went. The whole thing. She recalls a lunchbox being the sharpest item. Needless to say, it was a shit show and a perfect example of intellectual karma and I would have payed no small amount of money to be there.

On a complete side note, my friend Aaron is going to be dj'ing tonight at the Mercy Studios Opening Party at 537 SE Ash. He is an excellent dj and I can only imagine that it will good. I've heard him explain that being a dj is about developing trust. No musical alienation here.

November 18, 2009

Walking Planks

So. I didn't buy the (Vivienne Westwood)boots but I did buy a pair of pirate boots the other day. Well. Swashbuckler boots. And here's the big thing. I bought them on ebay. I had never bought anything on ebay before yesterday. Which is probably a shocker for most of you, but I'm on a very slow curve with the whole computer thing (the most in-depth thing I've ever created on a computer was a Hypercard project about dolphins and porpoises. I feel like we even added some shitty animation in there. I remember using a scanner for the first time and being pretty liberal with the fade effects and the paint tool).
So, I've been wanted Frye boots for awhile because I'm not into shopping much at the moment and am trying to stick with those investment pieces that last for years and are timeless classics (and you're thinking really? pirate boots?) and used is great because of all the waste and consumer throwaway culture that goes on around here and it makes me feel a lot less guilty and Frye boots really do last forever. As my friend Charissa put it, it's a lifelong relationship. The bonus, she said, is that if we get in an argument I can put them put them in storage for a few years and then find them all over again and wonder how it ever went wrong.
But back to this ebay thing. It was kind of like my first and only judo competition when I was a white belt and the only girl in my weight class was an orange belt and we got out there and bowed and suddenly I was thrown and lying there on the mat with my arm behind my back and my chin in a ringworm soaked wrestling mat. The seller had a set price and the only option was to make an offer. I wasn't really sure what was happening but I dropped $50 off the price and clicked the yes I commit to this price and then it was sold. Just like that. No deliberation, no haggling. It took less than a minute and I was the owner of the pair of boots. Pirate boots.

November 16, 2009

New Home

I've moved. All my old stuff is at Just to update, the weekend was the gory Creature premiere Hesh Law (a reminder of how much I love skating), a white party (a reminder of the fact that when I wear white, people pour pomegranate juice all over me), fixing my car at my parent's place (a reminder that my dad is awesome and that I am inept), hiking at Eagle Creek (a reminder that I love hiking and should do it all the time), brunch buffet at Skamania Lodge (a reminder that buffet is awesome but deadly), and 2001: A Space Oddessey (a reminder that computers are indeed sinister, kind of pathetic and cannot be trusted).

Over or Under

I attended a pre-thanksgiving celebration the other day. I went over early because I wanted to bike and therefore had to take the ingredients in the uncooked form in order to transport them in a non-disastrous manner and I got there and was damp and standing in Nate’s kitchen with three girls that I didn’t know and they were being very nice and complimenting my dress, but they were also wearing jeans and I started to get the feeling that I had over-dressed for the occasion. Which is the worst. I really, really hate being over-dressed. It makes me feel awkward and self-conscious and I think part of it is due to the fact that I dislike looking like I’ve made an effort and part of it I can trace directly back to my first Halloween at pre-school in St. Helens (And I wasn’t actually overdressed, Nate was wearing a bunch of plaid and a cummerbund and other people came and they were all dressed up and no one threw gravy on me but it was the initial panic that recalled this childhood trauma). Here’s what happened:

I was a unicorn for Halloween. My mom is pretty skilled with a sewing machine and adapted my fuzzy pink pajamas (the ones with the feet) into a pink unicorn. She sewed a horn onto my pink stocking cap and attached a yarn tail to my butt and dropped me off at school where I proceeded to prance around and show off my costume. A classmate had built up a huge block castle which I trotted up to and leveled with my horn and to his protests replied, "I’m a unicorn!" and shook my horn around in demonstration. And then he punched me. And we all got in a line and had a costume parade all over the school and around the playground and ate some candy and then the teacher clapped her hands and announced, "Okay, everyone can change now." And I stood there, horrified, watching the entirety of my class skip over to their cubbies and pull out folded over paper bags with normal clothes and shoes in them. And I had nothing. I didn’t even have shoes. Recess proceeded, the teacher made me go out. I was kind of padding around, morose and ostracized, lack of shoes contributing to my helplessness. It was at that point that my usual friends turned on me, became feral dogs, and with cries of "Kill the unicorn!" chased me around the playground until they treed me on the jungle gym and threw chunks of barkdust at me until recess was over. And unfortunately, that’s what happens when you overdress.

Love, Kickstand

Let me tell you about Eva. The first time we met, I had just moved to Portland and she was visiting and we were milling around at Last Thursday drinking beers in the street. Her bangs were hanging in her eyes and she had this leather jacket on and I was a little bit scared of her. And then we started talking and she was totally charming and then she moved to Portland and now we are friends.

She is a walking surprise. We’ll be chatting over beers about something or other, girl talk and she will just throw down some words of wisdom that leave me feeling like I’m in the Brady Bunch and I’m like, "Gee Eva, I never thought of it that way," and I want to walk off shaking my pigtails. Not like Eva in any way resembles the dad in the Brady Bunch. She is adorable and is always wearing awesome clothing put together in creative and flattering ways, fringe and jackets and boots and feathers and just when you are thinking that she is so much more awesome than you are, she will give you a sincere and lovely compliment.

And the great thing, for the rest of us, is that she just opened up a booth at the House of Vintage. She has been collecting all this stuff that she thinks is really cool and that she would wear; but instead, she’s going to sell it to you and I. So that’s good news. And she is a skilled shopper. This girl has been thrifting with her grandmother since she was a child. And the name. The name of her shop is Love, Kickstand. I asked her what the meaning behind that was, thinking she’d come up with something typical regarding Portland bike culture or something. No. Here it is, directly cut from an email correspondence with Eva:
When I lived in Bend I started a band called Master Booty-we were a birthday rap band and I was the MC. I would make up raps about my friends and perform them at their birthday parties. We did a couple of shows at bars and at our first gig was a pajama birthday party at my friend’s house. We all made up our "stage names" and I coined myself Kickstand.

So it’s official. My new wish for when I’m a cancer patient is to have a birthday party with Master Booty and my own personalized birthday rap from MC Kickstand. (Old wish: Being thrown into a giant foam pit by a couple of the Portland Trail Blazers.)

So in explanation, Love, Kickstand is a little present from Eva to her discerning customer. It really couldn’t be more beautiful.

Space #1
House of Vintage.
3315 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland OR 97214

Apparently they are open from 11 to 7. Also, I believe Eva is opening up an online Etsy shop of the same name, for those of you outside the Portland area.

November 12, 2009

New Love

Don’t ever ask me for new music recommendations. I’m a remora that snacks on the leftovers of musical carnage that my much more informed friends leave behind. And then, once finding a band that I’m into, I’m really really into it. Annoyingly so. I will listen to the same album for months at a time before moving on. I can define periods of my life in this manner, albums substituted for atoms and action. I am also very much an album person. I don’t use the shuffle application and I don’t skip songs. So I’m pretty excited to have met someone new. Neko Case got me through the last winter and I spent time with various old flings over the summer but it’s time for something special. Just in time for winter.

October 16, 2009

Harvest Party

Last year we had a Harvest Party and went out to Sauvie Island on a friday and wandered around this massive pumpkin patch with a wagon with nubby tires and picked out all these pumpkins and fresh vegetables and then went back to Alexa’s house (when she lived with that crazy guy alcoholic who liked to tie knots) and cooked it all up. It was a really nice afternoon. Jocelyn made her famous mac n’ cheese and we had beets and salad and apple galette and whiskey and wine and lots of nice conversation about frivolous things.
And before dinner I was sitting on the stoop listening to Gallagher and Alex go through their inventory of accents, and this woman from Sweden came up and asked about the cat lurking around. You know how there’s always that manic cat in the neighborhood that doesn’t care about where its home is and wanders around rubbing itself on everyone’s legs and meowing and sitting on strange porches and getting stuck on roofs? It was one of those and she was concerned, this lady. So we reassured her that the cat was okay and she mentioned that she had considered kidnapping (cat-napping? completely different meaning unfortunately) the cat and taking it to the vet and neutering it. Which I thought was very extreme but maybe very swedish? I know very few swedes so I don’t know how they feel, as a country, about the sneak-attack neutering of neighborhood cats.
After dinner we sat around and drew goats in Alex’s notebook and Jocelyn’s boyfriend at the time was a borderline narcoleptic and he fell asleep before the apple galette but we woke him up and made him eat some anyway. And we all constructed mustaches because there was a tits and ‘stache party to attend, and for myself, a mustache was a much better option, and then we walked down in that general direction and it turned out the party was next weekend and then I went home.
It was a good Harvest Party and Charissa and I are picking up the slack in the line left by the absence of both Jocelyn and Alexa and Liz for that matter, and we are having a harvest party on saturday. But the list of guests keeps growing (which is my fault) and I’m worried there won’t be enough food and I am notorious for inviting people over for dinner and then not having anything ready and making them watch me cook and drop things and swear.
So we’ll see.

October 15, 2009

Romulus and Remus

So, I was looking at Mark Ryden‘s work, which I kind of like. I like the precision, the painterly portrait aspect, the clean figures doing twisted things with blank faces but the the faces with the too-big doll eyes? It’s a little too manga for me, or something. I’m obviously not an art critic. I was one of those people in class that says, “Um. I like it!”
But I’ve been working on some paintings with fairy-tale themes, so it’s nice to see what’s out there. Which brings me to this painting, which made me laugh when I read the title (The Ox Suckling Romulus and Remus) because I remembered this story:

I was in Rome and I was walking around with Fede and Lisette and we had passed the Colesseo and all the multi-lingual party hustlers with their flyers, and the fat men in gladiator costumes saying dirty things and winking, and the Chinese men selling fans and hats and the overdressed tourists with their flimsy shoes and tanlines and we had sat at the cafe at the top of that big building with the horse statue out front (Monte Capitolino) that looks over the ruins all sunken and rounding and all those Italian stone pines arching over everything, and we ate fruit and salad in front of a huge fan with a mister.
We were walking down the stairs after paying to use the bathroom and Fede asked me if I could find the famous Romulus and Remus statue. You know the story. A she-wolf suckles Romulus and Remus and then they found Rome. You know. She said, “It’s huge.” And I stood there on the steps and looked around and I couldn’t find it. I saw tourists and marble and all that hot sky but I did not see this statue. And I was looking all around me and still wasn’t seeing it anywhere and feeling really bewildered and Fede was laughing and finally she pointed it out to me. And it was tiny. It was this tiny bronze on a pedestal with the wolf and her teats and then there is Romulus and Remus awkwardly standing under her with their mouths up and open and their hands waving around. It’s ridiculous. And it was a replica because apparently the real one is inside in the Capitoline Museum.
And it’s like that sometimes, when you are looking for very big things, what you are actually looking for is very small.
And we had a good laugh about it and then we went and wandered through all these narrow brick alley ways and you turn a corner and there’s another beautiful fountain with vines growing over the walls and children kicking a can around and all the women were tan and wearing very high heels and picking their way over the cobblestones like birds. And later, at dinner, we drank wine and it turned out that Lisette could speak English and she and I had halting conversations and she would blush as she answered my questions.

October 14, 2009

Romantic Night

There was a time when a nice evening with my friends involved playing drinking games with cards and forties of Old English HG 800 (.5 more for the same price). This evolved to downing a couple bottles of red wine and then going down to the open mic poetry night to do some heckling.
But oh, how the stakes have risen.
Last night my friend Tony invited 834, that is, Heidi, Charissa and I for dinner and entertainment at his home. We knocked and the door creaked open, much like the beginning of many films in which the protagonists end up bleeding on the floor with knives in their chests. We entered, tentatively, to see candles lit on the dining room table, the fire burning merrily, four empty wine goblets lined up on the coffee table, and some motown on the stereo.
Tony, our host, appeared from the kitchen wearing nice brown shoes and, while he wasn’t wearing an apron, I like to imagine that he was. The menu was seared tuna, cous-cous, and a green salad brought by us. Heidi made the salad while Tony seared the tuna, and Charissa and I leaned on the mosaic mantel, drank red wine and warmed ourselves in front of the fire. It was all pure romance. Yes, the fire alarm went off a few times, and the tuna was apparently purchased from a roving meat salesman, but this did not mar the evening.
After dinner we went for an aperitif at Langano Lounge. Apparently Langano Lounge always has a mystery shot, the bottle wrapped in white paper, and it sells for two dollars. It was very exciting but also very horrible, something with amaretto and Robitussin was the general consensus. Horribly exciting and an official recommendation. Langano Lounge. Mystery Shot. The adult equivalent of the mystery dum-dum.
We returned to the house, it was raining in a soft, mist on the moors kind of way, Tony turned the fire back on (yeah, it was gas with those fake logs) and then we had strawberries and ice cream and Charissa and I sat awkwardly close on the couch. We ended the night with the typical platitudes that follow on a first date in an increasingly amusing and callous manner and then ran off to my car parked under the chestnut tree. I like to think that Tony stood in the doorway and waved, long after our taillights had faded into the night. Romantic Night is now an official Tuesday night tradition.

October 12, 2009

Alien Encounter

I was in the bathroom, home, alone and I see this thing scuttling across the linoleum. With legs and all about two inches long. I was horrified. Like hand-wringing horrified.

I’m not usually anti-insect (with the exception of cockroaches) but I had never seen one of these and my first response was to squish it. Which didn’t work. It evaded my irresolute attack and then climbed up the side of the bathtub and slithered out from under my second attempt to smash it with a shampoo bottle. And then it slipped into the bathtub and met its demise. The sides were too slick and it couldn’t get out and that’s when I swooped in with the tile cleaner and sprayed it until it died. Which took ages and a lot of tile cleaner. I kept spraying and its legs kept moving fast, fast, fast and then slower, slower, slow until finally, thankfully, nothing. I scooped it up with a spatula and put it in a jar.

Here’s the deal (courtesy of New World Encyclopedia): The house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata) of Europe and North America is a fast-moving carnivore that is common in dwellings.

Most house centipedes live outside, primarily under large rocks, piles of wood, and especially in compost piles. They prefer cool, damp places. Within the home, these centipedes are found in almost any part of the house; most commonly, they are encountered in basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, where there is a lot more water, but they can also be found in dry places like offices, bedrooms, and dining rooms. The greatest likelihood of encountering them is in spring, when they come out because the weather gets warmer, and in fall, when the cooling weather forces them to find shelter in human habitats. Unlike its shorter-legged but much larger tropical cousins, the house centipede can live its entire life inside a building.

House centipedes feed on spiders, bedbugs, termites, cockroaches, silverfish, and other household pests. They kill their prey by injecting venom through their fangs. The house centipede is capable of biting a human, but this seldom occurs.

Because they eat household pests, house centipedes are considered among the most beneficial creatures that inhabit human dwellings, but because of their alarming appearance, frightening speed, and painful bite, few homeowners are willing to share a home with them. They do not cause damage to food or furniture.

So there you go. If anyone would like to see my specimen, I still have it in an old jam jar with a tightly shut lid. We suspect the neighbor. We never had house centipedes before the neighbor showed up.

October 9, 2009

Dress-up Friday

I was at work, sitting in my ergonomic eighties chair and if I twisted my neck a bit I could look out over the roof of Starky’s and see that the leaves have changed. Dress-up Friday continues to be a tradition in our office (held only by me and my other female coworker); though its appeal lessens as the days grow colder and biking gets more brutal. I am now wearing gloves when I bike in the morning (though not in the afternoon) and I will soon be layering knee-high socks over my leggings.

Which brings me to my question. When did leggings become pants? I continue to see young and sometimes not so young ladies wearing a normal hit at the hips t-shirt and leggings out in public, not working out or walking the dog, but doing every day life stuff like eating a scone or going to work or drinking beer in a public establishment. Like leggings are jeans or something.

They’re not. Leggings are just footless tights. Only Edie Sedgewick got to pretend that tights were pants and she ended up being a total, utter burnout. Leggings are meant to be worn under things. They aren’t any thicker than tights, they don’t have any structure, unless you are a model or one of those circus people who wears leotards in public (I wash my hands of them; that seems to be political movement spurred by American Apparel and somehow related to the employment of illegal immigrants), you probably shouldn’t pretend that leggings are pants anymore.

Last night I was at Hecklewood’s anniversary party and I noticed a girl in the dreaded small t-shirt/leggings combo but the worst thing about it? These leggings had pockets. Which is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen yet. They were on the butt of the leggings, in jean style fashion, like anyone is ever going to put those pockets to use and risk increasing the overall size or shape of the rump region. And the more sinister connotation was that some designer somewhere said, you know, throw pockets on these things and they’re pants. No. Leggings will never be pants. Pockets don’t make a couple tubes of lycra into a pair of pants. I will fight this forever.

October 7, 2009

But it's Popeye

Apparently, a live-action version of Popeye was released in 1980. That’s right. Everyone’s favorite cartoon sailor came to life. And who was there to step into this role? None other than Robin Williams. A young, blond Robin Williams with one squinty eye, elephantiasis of the forearms and that special way of croaking out the side of his mouth.
The film opens with a punt floating helplessly on the open sea in the midst of a storm with dramatic lightning and a few waves. Cut to morning in a sleepy fishing village with cartoonish sloping roofs and townspeople bursting from their houses into song. That’s right. It’s a musical. Popeye rolls in anticlimactically and begins to croak his way through town, ending up at the boarding house occupied by Olive Oyl. Miss Oyl is played by Shelley Duvall wearing a cartoon-accurate dress and these awkward boots that resemble Ugg prototypes.
It’s all weak slapstick with pictures falling off walls, guy trying to pick up his hat and kicking it away every time, breaking beds, well-timed ducking and lots of shots of Popeye’s bandy sailor legs jitterbugging around on the cobble stones. And he’s always muttering mildly humorous asides in his croaking little voice which reminded me of Mr. Magoo, another horrible example of cartoon come to life.

My father will always receive ridicule for the day that he returned from the video store, in complete despair, with Mr. Magoo in hand. Always.

Back to Popeye, day two breaks about ten minutes in, and the townspeople begin a dolorous song about food and I’ll admit it, I turned it off. I just couldn’t do it. Apologies. This isn’t a review so much as a warning. This is one of those childhood favorites that shouldn’t be shared with others.

September and the Neighbor

Okay. So the house next to ours was this abandoned grey-blue falling apart sort of house owned by a woman with cancer who had gone to live with a troupe of gypsies. Her son was a gypsy and that’s why she was living with them. So the house was basically abandoned which was actually really nice. It was like this for a year, the whole first year that we lived in our house.

And then one day a dumpster appeared in front and they began raking everything out of the house and there ended up being these boxes filled with books set out on the side of the road. Heidi and I went through them and I pulled out a Goosebumps young adult novel and an illustrated book about animals in Africa. But they smelled really bad, all those books, and one could only assume that the whole house smelled like that. And then a for sale sign went up.

And actually, one day I was gardening and the neighbors across the street came over and complimented my flowers and we were talking about the house and the woman said she had been inside and the floors were all rotting and there had been a horrible rodent problem and the woman who lived there had been a hoarder. It took two dumpsters to empty out all the stuff she said.

And then the for sale sign went down and this Miata started parking in front of the house all the time and then this contractor that always wore white and liked to listen to the radio, loudly, would come and work on the house at odd hours with power equipment and hammers and all that. Sometimes all night (that’s complaint number one). And of course there aren’t curtains (that’s complaint number two) and our kitchen window is right in front of the sink so when I’m washing dishes I am just looking right into this house because it has a window directly across from our window and it’s a pretty open floor plan so I can see straight through the house and it appears to be a double living room sort of house. And the new neighbor has never said hi to me or to any of us. He just moved in and stands around and talks to this contractor in white who has a booming voice, and they ignore us if we’re outside. So he’s not friendly (that’s complaint number three). And this neighbor had some guys do some weak landscaping and so now there are some little strips of turf out there and some bark dust and some freshly planted shrubs evenly spaced in the bark dust. And his guys pressure washed the sidewalk and pressure washed all the dirt right down the sidewalk to our house, they just stopped at the property line (and that’s actually complaint number four, it’s a little petty but it’s still a complaint).

And because the neighbor has no curtains we know all sorts of things about him. I’ve never seen him eat but he watches a lot of television. He drives that Miata and is from Colorado (license plates) and also has a crappy motorcycle. He has arranged his living room, the far one, so that the couch that faces the television also faces our window. So sometimes when I’m washing the dishes I’m watching him watch tv. And he plays guitar on the other couch, the one that is front of the window, so sometimes I’m watching the back of his head play guitar when I’m washing dishes. He doesn’t appear to have a job because he seems to be at home pretty much all the time. Playing guitar or watching tv or mournfully smoking cigarettes on the front porch. And then the kicker. Charissa was home alone and suddenly heard something that resembled disco music. Booming voice disco music. She goes to the window to see the contractor (probably in white, but I don’t know because I wasn’t there) standing up, snapping his fingers, kind of wiggling around, singing Earth, Wind & Fire’s September. In its entirety. And the neighbor was sitting on the couch, shyly smiling, with his hands folded over his stomach.

Which actually has spawned a game that we play sometimes. One person sits on the couch and doesn’t smile and folds their hands over their stomach. The other person dances and sings or lip-syncs or whatever with the purpose of making the person on the couch laugh. And you win once the person on the couch laughs. And it’s a pretty awesome game. So that’s something good about the neighbor.