December 31, 2010

Another Year

Okay, so 2011 marks the third year Rachel Wrong has existed as a blog. Kind of. I actually started the blog in September of 2009 at Wordpress, (here is the first post I ever did) so this whole three-years thing is kind of a technicality. Nonetheless, 2011!

So, to mark this auspicious occasion I want to know what you would like to see in the new year. Not in general, but from this blog. My goal is to entertain you, readers. All five of you. What would make this more entertaining for you? More ranting, less raving? More photos? More music reviews?* More stories that feature yourselves and your amazing accomplishments? More hard news and facts?**

There are a few things this blog shouldn't be. I know that we don't want this to be some sort of stream-of-consciousness thing that reveals the inner recesses of my mind (Oh jeez, she's analyzing the symbolism of the samovar in Dostoevsky again and now she's thinking about her muscles), and we don't want this to be a diary (Sample: Dear Diary, I love my boyfriend sooooo much. He is the best. OMG.), and we don't want this to take a political slant (It's all horrible and I'm disappointed and relatively uninformed). So, what do we want it to be? More of the same things that really don't matter? I'm fine with that but I am also open to change. Small changes.

Please comment because this is going to be the lamest post that I've ever done if you don't and I will just have to move on like I never wrote this long appeal filled with weak attempts at humor and question marks. In fact, if there aren't any comments I will probably just quit.

* I use the term "review" loosely.
**  Hopefully not.

December 28, 2010

Christmas Vacation

I'm taking a holiday blogging break. But you should know it's been non-stop Christmas tunes, ice skating at the Lloyd Center, fudge for breakfast, piles of snow, new Christmas snowboards, present duplicates, fine scotch, feasts and gambling. Pretty much the best Christmas ever. I'll be back once the new year thing happens.

December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays

Last night I prepared for a small holiday gathering at our house tomorrow, you know, just some drinks and snacks with an emphasis on guests bringing something so there isn't any kitchen slaving or that sort of thing. But I'm feeling pretty festive this year and got home with this whole baking mission in mind. Fancy butter cookies with roasted cacao nibs, stuffed mushrooms, and fudge. These are simple things but I probably wouldn't be telling this story if things went according to plan.

It started out innocently enough. Got home. Turned the christmas lights on. Ran to Whole Foods to get cacao nibs. This was the first hiccup. They are expensive. Apparently it is cheaper to make actual chocolate than to put some raw nibs in a bag and send them up here. And I asked the dapper checkout guy if they had any roasted ones because that's what the recipe called for. He has to call the grocery section. No. We don't. Cause they would like, melt. In the roasting process. I feel brief shame for not only being ignorant of the cacao nib roasting process, but also because I'm buying cacao nibs in the first place. I purchase them and run home.

I prepare the cacao nib cookie dough with minimum fuss. I am gaining confidence. And then, the mushrooms. The stuffing mixture looks delicious and I'm thinking about how everyone will be impressed with these amazing mushrooms. The recipe calls for baking the mushrooms before putting the mixture in. Like, first with the round side down for twenty minutes and then you turn them. I do this while preparing all the elements for fudge which cleans out all the white sugar in the house and involves that marshmallow goo. That is some gross stuff. All the while Christmas music is playing on the soft rock AM station and I'm thinking about what a competent adult I am, just sitting at home by myself, baking in a meditative manner, listening to Christmas music, multi-tasking with ease.

Then I start boiling the fudge elements. Making fudge is like jumping in a car with no brakes and driving down a mountain. You can't stop, it's just hardcore boiling and stirring and waving that candy thermometer around hoping it hits the right temperature. If it doesn't you're left with a strangely grainy chocolate mass that no one wants to eat. It's alchemy. There's flour and goo everywhere. I'm chopping hazelnuts for the fudge, the sugar/butter mixture is boiling and then the timer goes off for the mushrooms and I obviously can't ignore them but I have to abandon the fudge mixture and I open the oven and they are the size of buttons. I have never seen mushrooms get this small and dessicated. I pull them out and one falls in the fudge and I'm trying to get the hazelnuts into the fudge and instead they all pour down into the stove element in a rattling finale. And still the Christmas music goes on.

So, I have to pour the fudge into the pan and hope for the best.  All the remnants are sitting there in the sauce pan and I have to eat it to prevent waste. I'm twitching from all the sugar in this fudge-eating daze and then this song comes on and it's that Can You Hear What I Hear song but it's sung by tiny children. With an echo effect. You know how children sing all close to the microphone and flat? It's not cute, it's just horrible. I suddenly feel like weeping and I'm just standing there with this fudge covered spoon in my mouth wondering what happened. There's no other way to describe it. Shit got real.

December 21, 2010

I got the test results back and I definitely have breast cancer!

You probably haven't seen The Room. But you should. You should see it twice in theaters, and then you should buy the DVD so you can watch it many more times*. It is insane. It is the worst movie I have ever seen, by far, which paradoxically may make it the best. The Room topped off a Romantic Night of epic proportions.

I can't even describe the plot. Or the characters. The acting is equivocal to the "acting" that occurs in pornographic films before they start doing it. Clunky dialogue, complete disregard for place, the passage of time, and foreshadowing make this movie an exciting adventure in bad film from start to finish. We were quoting choice bits of dialogue all night. One of them being the title of this post.

Here is a tiny taste. It was one of my favorite scenes. Thanks to Charissa for finding it.

*This is a quote from the director Tommy Wiseau.

December 20, 2010

Photo Surprise!

My strategy for posting recaps on significant events is quite similar to my strategy for birthdays or other holidays involving gifts. Incorporate the element of surprise. If you delay the gift long enough, your giftee has given up hope, decided you were a horrible friend, and probably already defriended you on Facebook. This is when you strike. The gift is infinitely more awesome because it is completely unexpected. I gave my friend Molly her Christmas canteen in July. Had it been received amongst all the other thoughtful gifts she undoubtedly received on December 25, she may have been underwhelmed. As it was, she really couldn't have been more pleased.

Below is a photo from the basketball session of our Hooters/Hoops/Dirty extravaganza. That's right. When I play basketball, a mystical smoke rises to strike fear in the hearts of my adversaries. The very court trembles and the hoop bows to my basketball prowess. We played a game of PIG that came down to Charissa and I* battling it out for the glory and I emerged victorious. I made a three-pointer, Laurence (my brother) made a three-pointer, and Sam? Well, Sam tried in vain. This was the night that I coined the Wright family motto:  

The Wright Family: Our bones don't break and we make three-pointers.

 * The ladies. This was a source of pride. We were wearing our cheetah-print leggings and ruling Irving Park court. Sometimes we just lurk at the park and join pick-up games with the neighborhood thugs**.

** Not really. I can't dribble.

December 17, 2010

Hasbeen Holiday

This is happening on Saturday and I urge you all to attend. I am going to have a deck up, so really, it's your only chance to see my artwork hanging in a space like it's the real deal. Plus, this great building is going to be torn down in the name of progress and you will not have many chances left to attend a party in this fun little gallery/t-shirt shop/screen-print studio. But let's be honest, you will probably have a few more chances, as I'm sure the Hasbeen boys are not going to let the destruction of this gem go without a fight.*

*And by fight, I mean loud party.

December 15, 2010

The Angel of Death watches me crash

So, I don't really hate biking in the rain. I have all the requisite stay-dry gear and while I hate showing up places  and immediately taking off my rain pants (awkward) and revealing unfortunate half-wet helmet hair that never dries right, I have this kind of martyr mentality about the whole thing that makes it enjoyable. You really feel Alive, or something like that. Plus the Northwest Curse has descended upon me, and every time I ride my bike to Sam's it starts pouring only to let up the moment I arrive at his apartment. If I didn't ride in the rain I would never see him again. Basically, I'm resigned to enjoying it. Last night however, I really feel like the rain got the best of me.

I was biking home from work and was planning on turning left from 28th onto this quiet side street. The sidewalk is designed to allow you to do this with ease. It looks kind of like this:

Yesterday it looked like this due to some heavy rains that occurred earlier.

I didn't want to get my shoes soaking wet so I developed a plan. I pointed my bike in the right direction (was going relatively fast from the slight downhill across the 28th bridge) and lifted both my feet off the pedals so they would clear the lake. I then hit, not the gently sloping part of the sidewalk that is supposed to accommodate bikes, but the curb. I ran my bike right into the curb. The pillars that mark the entrance were apparently not enough of an indicator for me. The force shot me crotch-first onto the frame of my bike and my left foot into the deepest part of the puddle. If I was a man I probably would have to give up any dreams of siring a child. As it was, I started howling and cursing, and trying to get away from the humiliating scene as quickly as possible. While making my getaway I saw something white out of the corner of my eye. I  looked up to see what I thought was the angel of death, only to realize it was a women in a bathrobe watching her dog poop and my failure. Yes, there was a witness to the stupidity.

December 14, 2010

Romantic Night Returns

Tony Vu is back in town and with him, Romantic Night. You may remember Tony from the sweater dress fashion tips or the Romantic Night that occurred last year. He invited 834 over for seared tuna steaks purchased from a real-live fish monger, wine, a fireplace, a mystery shot, and strawberries and icecream. It was special.

Tomorrow we are hosting this magical night. This gets a bit problematic. As I have not seen either of my roommates for more than five minutes at a time since December hit, there is no grand romantic plan. We have not orchestrated some sort of red rose-festooned table top, we don't have a Christmas tree (though we do have giant colored lights on our porch), and we don't know what we're making. The point of Romantic Night is dinner after all, and Tony is supplying the dessert and hopefully (in a wonderful twist that no one saw coming) the dinner as well. Preferably lobster, crab, or some other shellfish dish (he's at the beach right now). One can only hope.

December 13, 2010

The Perils of Engagement

Okay, so this is not really a consequence of becoming engaged. This was a direct result of alcohol and karaoke and the urine-slick tile floor in the men's bathroom at Chopsticks on 28th and Burnside. Who is that man holding Kyle's hand? Nobody knows but it was established that he is not an EMT or a trained nurse or even a good friend of Kyle's. Notice the unnatural angle of Kyle's right foot. The positioning you see there is due to the fact that his bones are fractured in three places and his foot is not actually skeletally attached to his leg anymore. Emily remained calm and collected while encouraging photos and cracking jokes, and an ambulance soon arrived to cart Kyle off to the hospital on a backboard. This is why Emily has requested that Kyle's bachelor party take place at least two months before the wedding. Considering this was just the engagement party, I think that's a pretty good idea.

December 10, 2010

In Celebration

So, it is Liz's birthday today. We have been friends for a number of years now (since 2003?) and I count her among my dearest friends. The first time I technically met Liz, I slept on her couch in Eugene and her mom made us pancakes in the morning. However, the first time I really met Liz was later that fall term at a Summer in Winter party in some scummy house near campus.

As implied by the premise of the party, the heat was on high and there were random tropical decorations everywhere. I remember that someone had beaded curtains over their door (classy) and we were all piled on some bed talking about music. Perhaps the beer ran out, but I had decided that I wanted to head over to 80s Night at John Henry's. I'm not sure how it is now, but 80s Night was an institution back then. Insanely fun nights, dancing on speakers, the floor so crowded you ended up with other people's sweat all over your bare arms. Somehow Liz and I got on the topic of 80s Night and she was totally into it. So she and I, two girls who had never actually hung out before, ran off into the night. On our way we stopped by her house so she could change into something more 80s. She came out of her room in a full spandex outfit and red converse. Impressive.

We got to John Henry's and while I had a fake I.D. at the time (probably the one in which I was Hispanic and named Vianey Diaz), I'm pretty sure that Liz did not. I can't recall what we did, but it involved some theatrics and perhaps the good ol' I've already been stamped swagger through the door. It was an incredibly busy night, as usual, and we couldn't even fit on the dance floor. This didn't matter. It turns out that Liz loves dancing and the necessity of space in which to dance as much as I do. We danced in the hallway right in front of the entry and probably accidentally punched people multiple times. The standout moment occurred when Under Pressure came on. We both began to sing as dramatically as possible, notice I say sing and not lip sync, and alienate everyone attempting to pass by us on their way to the bar/dance floor.

 It was in this glorious moment that I realized there was no way that Liz and I could not be friends.

December 9, 2010


It's Liz's birthday on Friday which coincides perfectly with the Big Freedia show at Holocene. Big Freedia is the queen of New Orleans Bounce. I don't know. I have never really kept up on all the different regional hip-hop stuff (not exactly a purveyor of hip-hop culture) and find it embarrassing to make people explain hyphy to me and whatnot. It's not like I'm at expert on Bounce or anything, I just happened to be perusing the Holocene website and thought it sounded fun. The music is fast and dirty with an emphasis on  shaking your lower region as quickly as possible. There are various videos of live shows that I could post in illustration but I'm pretty sure this one is my favorite.You really have to love video that involves a boombox.

December 8, 2010

Totally Awesome and Not Inexpensive

Look at these! As I've said before, Etsy is a perilous place. You start out looking at hand-knitted socks for your loved ones and suddenly find yourself in a dark forest filled with dangerous rough-cut gems and silver rings of power. And guess where they're from? The Midwest. Who knew it could be such a magical place?

December 7, 2010

Inexpensive and Totally Awesome

Welcome to my gift-giving guide.

We all know that Christmas is a time when resources are tight. I am working on keeping my credit card bills down, and while I love to pride myself on how financially organized I am, my mother totally sent me the hey-have-you-paid-your-car-insurance email which I responded to with bewilderment and then called my agent only to find my mother had paid it. Yesterday. Total embarrassment.

Anyway, I have some tips on keeping your budget down and the excitement and gratitude levels high this year. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

Give the gift of experience: While this can be classy and pricey (spa-trip for two in romantic Tucson! scuba diving lesson! pole dancing classes!), it can also be an affordable solution. Buy a nice card, write out the details of a special day that you will theoretically make happen for the recipient, voucher for back rubs, future drinks purchased, etc. and then give. It's especially good to give when it's something that you will enjoy as well. There is a possibility that they will lose this card in the holiday gift-giving fray but this only works to your advantage. This puts the gift-receiving in their court and they have to acknowledge that the thought was there.

Socks!: While no one actually likes to receive socks, everyone needs them. Unless the socks are woefully too small, the recipient will end up wearing them at some point, and at that point they will think of you. Success! I like to put the socks in a really, really large box so it looks like you are giving something very exciting like a microwave.

DIY: Do-it-yourself is back with a vengeance and the possibilities are endless. Crochet a scarf, pickle something, brew your own Kahlua, paint a plate, infuse your own vodka, olive oil, or something else that can be infused. It helps to be somewhat good at what you're doing, but the thought counts thing applies here. I once received a hat with my initials and some weird buttons sewn on it. It was an oddly depressing hat but that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate it. That being said, I don't recommend distributing button-covered stocking caps this year.

Presentation Counts: If you are like me, no one really expects anything of you. In high school you were too self-centered for gift giving, in college you were too poor. Now that you maybe have a little disposable income it's not mandatory that you suddenly come through with lavish treats for everyone you know. In fact, it would probably seem out of character. Something thoughtful, personalized and well-wrapped is the way to go. As long as it's exciting to open, it's appreciated. In other words, don't give your best friend a candle swaddled in a plastic bag from Fred Meyer.

December 6, 2010

Film Noir Fairy Tales

The next three weeks are going to be wonderful for several reasons. Snowboarding is getting good, I love crappy Christmas music, and there are birthdays and parties and all sorts of festive things to do. Yet another good thing? Gabe finally got the Red Riding Trilogy from the Portland library and we have three weeks to watch it. The trilogy was originally broadcast on U.K. television, and as I understand it, is an examination of the corruption of social foundations in Yorkshire. Each film has a different director and the trilogy spans from 1974 to 1980 to 1983. Moral corruption! Film noir! Yorkshire!

Here's a synopsis of the first one from Slant Magazine:

Julian Jarrold's Red Riding: 1974 kickstarts the proceedings by focusing on Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), a rookie journalist who, like the protagonists of the subsequent 1980 and 1983, is returning to Yorkshire after time away. Back on native soil mere days after the death of his father, Eddie sees careerist opportunity in the abduction case of 10-year-old Clare Kemplay, a figurative Red Riding Hood (replete with crimson hoodie) whose disappearance he soon surmises may be linked to two similar missing kids in the region. Driven by a strain of young-turk ambition that, as suggested by the environment's cigarette smoke-decorated nastiness, can only lead to ruin, Eddie makes the cardinal sin of all noir chumps, believing himself to be more (or at least different) than he truly is. It's a mistake that plays out not only through his investigation into Clare, whose body is suspiciously discovered in a construction site owned by local development magnate John Dawson (Sean Bean) with swan wings stitched to her back, but his eventual amorous relationship with Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall), the mother of one of the other missing girls. 

Here's the trailer:

We're watching 1974 tonight!

December 2, 2010

I'm so sorry

I have been extremely, horribly busy with work. Things were rough. I couldn't even look at a computer screen after work. So that's why nothing was happening here for awhile. But it's over. There are a lot of pressing issues I could discuss, but here are some things that have been torturing me lately. Think of these as my atonement for not entertaining you every day.

Long socks/skinny jeans: It's so hard. You pull up your socks. You pull down your pants. And then you end up with the socks rolled, halfway down your shin, protruding from your jeans like a weird tumor. I really liked that look in third grade for some reason, but it wasn't good then and it definitely is not a good thing now. Putting on socks should not be on the same difficulty scale as algebra.

Marriage talks at Thanksgiving: Last year I was told by my aunt that I should find a nice man to support me so I could stay home and presumably raise our brood. Then my uncle told me, shouted down the table really, that the Bachelor was too young for me and that I needed to find a man my own age and settle down. Awkward. This year was an improvement, as I was only asked by one cousin, in a relatively casual way, if I was married yet. I think having my boyfriend at dinner helped to stave off the raving accusations.

Random skin disorders: I am horribly allergic to poison oak. Like, welts and blisters and full-body hives allergic. I picked up a tiny patch of poison ivy out in Indiana back in October and my skin hasn't been the same since. The other day one of my eyes was half swelled shut and I was just sitting there, hunched over the computer, groaning and rubbing my Quasimodo face. I'm going to the dermatologist today. Pretty excited about it. I hope she gives me a shot and just like, cures me. 

November 24, 2010

Beauty Bar!

So, Shola already gave her report, but now you are going to get it from my perspective. I biked over the Burnside Bridge, extremely pleased to escape the torrential downpours that had plagued the rest of the day, and encountered this sad state of affairs on the way. RIP Made in Oregon sign. I have to admit, it's kind of exciting to cross the bridge and see all the lights of the city and the reflections in the river. You really feel like you're doing something.

Beauty Bar was very, very quiet, which was extremely nice. I may have a theory about frequenters of the west side but so I'm going to save it until I can truly present an informed argument. The lack of patrons made photography of the decor especially easy. You know, no random people in the shots. Anyway. Shola and Emily had arrived early to Beauty Bar and signed us up. We waited for about twenty minutes and had a drink. Then we went upstairs and a very lovely girl painted my nails. You will recall my concern regarding drinking ability? Rest assured. It all works out. While she painted my left hand I lifted my drink with my right hand and visa versa. Absolutely no problem. After our nails were done we moved to a dark corner filled with 50s hairdryers and vinyl couch-things. Why were the 50's so much more awesome and space-agey? Until this visit I had  never sat under a hair dryer that looks like an alien brain dismemberment device. We sat under them and we shared our opinions on various things and talked about weddings and boys and sign language. You know, the typical stuff girls talk about it. And then we did the photobooth to document the fun and went home. It was a perfect ladies' weekday evening.

So. Here's the run-down: Beauty Bar is located on 111 SW Ash Street. The manicures start at five. You have to sign up and it can get busy, though it wasn't busy last week. A measly $10 will get you a set of newly painted fingernails and a good drink. The service was great, the decor is all pink and sparkly and 50s, aaaaand they have bowls of matchbooks on the counter. I love a good free matchbook.

November 22, 2010

Life Saver

What a weekend. I watched the new Harry Potter movie with Sam last night. While we watched it  I thought about all the myriad times their lives are in danger and they manage to survive through wit or pluck or magic. It struck me a little differently. I've always wondered if I would be able to keep it together in a life-threatening situation. And now I know that, at least sometimes, I can.

Huy and Sam and I went up for opening day at Meadows on Saturday. I was so excited to share a resort that I absolutely love with Sam. We had some issues with his bindings falling apart run-by-run but finally got it together and started taking some runs together. And then we got to this gully and decided to go down it. Gullies are fun. You can ride up the sides and there are little things to jump over and Sam found this tree to slide on and then he disappeared down a little drop and it sounded like he fell. I went down around the other side and found his board and his legs and that was it. He was buried face-down in some sort of hole. He could only move his legs a little bit. I started digging around him and tried to pull on him, but obviously couldn't move him (he weighs about 170) and people have about two and a half minutes when they're buried in an avalanche and I was just using my hands and couldn't find his head, had only uncovered his back and finally one of his arms and I was yelling for help and it had been about five minutes but no one was around and we were hidden in this gully, anyway. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. By far. I have nothing to compare it to. I sincerely thought he was going to die. Finally I just grabbed onto his board and I pulled him out. I must have had an adrenaline rush because it wasn't that hard, it just kind of happened and he popped out. He told me he expected to see like, three people standing there, but it was just me. He had created a little pocket with his hand so he still had some air but his face was still kind of purple. And we both just kind of sat there and tried not to be hysterical. And we hugged and tried to warm up my hands because I took my gloves off at some point, in the panic, and they were frozen.

So, we took a few more runs after that (we took a break and dried out our goggles and whatnot) and the whole day felt so surreal, with this disaster averted, this thing that you hear about happening to other people but never to you, and it's staying with me. I still can't believe it happened.

November 18, 2010

Guest Fashion Advice: On the Subject of Sweaterdresses

You know, sometimes a sweaterdress can be a little unflattering. They're a little bulky, and can hit at an awkward length or create the illusion of barrel-torso/pin-legs if the cut's not quite right. The solution?

Belt it and go.

November 17, 2010


In high school I had this huge rhinestone phase. It was after my hippie phase and after my mildly gothic phase (not really gothic, but there were steel-toed boots and lots of black and lace and smudgy eyeliner). I was dressing up a lot and gluing sequins on all my stuff. I'm still a sucker for costume jewelry and cocktail rings. What I am getting at is that I have always loved gaudy things. I love rhinestones, I love glitter sweaters, I love kitschy items that would scream "costume" to anyone but me.

By the way, the other day I wore my glitter cheetah print sweater to accordion class. My instructor was SO impressed. She has never commented on anything I have ever worn and she actually stopped in the middle of the lesson and was like, "That is such a lovely sweater. Where did you get that? You could wear that anywhere, you could wear that to the opera." She did. She said I could wear it to the opera. I love her.

Anyway, I recently made the mistake of going on Modcloth and I saw this:

It's so wonderful. It's exactly what it looks like. A sweaterdress with a rhinoceros on it. I've suddenly realized that I would like to own some sweaterdresses. They are warmer than normal dresses. You can just throw them on over leggings and you are basically wearing bedazzled pajamas. Also, I missed out on this:

 Already sold out, what a tragedy.

November 16, 2010

New Project

 My partner in crime is a mail-order bride.

In an effort to embrace the west side of town, Shola and I have decided to form a westside blogging alliance. We are going to start crossing the river on a regular basis to conduct social experiments. We met last week at Secret Society to form a plan of sorts (if you haven't been there you definitely should. It's my favorite place to get a nice cocktail in Portland). A list of possible field trips has been developed but we welcome feedback, advice, and requests.

We're meeting at Beauty Bar for the martini/manicure special this week. Do you know about this? $10 martini and manicure. That's a great deal and there's an appealing element of novelty to the whole thing. Though, I hadn't really thought about it until now. I guess you really wouldn't be able to drink the martini while receiving the manicure. Unless there are long bendy straws. But a martini out of a straw . . .? I'll keep you posted.

November 15, 2010

Warm-up Dinner

Last night Nate had Pre-Thanksgiving at his house. His house is so great. It's one of the only houses on the edge of the industrial area in Southeast, the train goes wailing by, there's a fortress of a factory blowing steam into air, and he has chickens and a garden and a fire pit.

Anyway, he had this dinner last year and it was quite successful, so I was looking forward to this year as well. It's a potluck and everyone made the most delicious things. There was a turkey and brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes and mashed parsnips and mac n' cheese and stuffing and broccoli casserole and mushroom gravy and other things too, but it got pretty overwhelming. About halfway through I was in physical pain. By the end I thought I was going to die. I was wearing a high-waisted (non-elastic band) skirt and tights, which was a horrible choice. It's not that the skirt was the problem, the problem was my gluttony. I just would have felt a lot better if I was wearing my gray sweatpants. Also, since it was a dinner party I couldn't just collapse on the floor afterward, I had to have conversations. And then there was dessert, which I couldn't pass up either. Once we got home I spent the rest of the evening in my sweatpants groaning and rolling around with a distended stomach. The thing is, I'm going to do the exact same thing on Thanksgiving as well. What a disturbing tradition.

November 12, 2010

Boot Scootin'

Ha! So last night I had the ladies over for a happy hour of sorts. I made stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped dates and coleslaw (I recently ended up with an extra head of purple cabbage because I forgot that I had just purchased one and bought another one two days later) and Liz brought cornbread muffins and Laura brought homemade rosemary bread and some sort of delicious tart and we sat around and gossiped and drank red wine and traded old clothing. It was so nice. And because I lost my ipod a while ago, I couldn't play music. But I wasn't daunted by this. I turned on the radio and flipped through the stations and the clearest one happened to be a country station. So we listened to that all night. And I'm not saying it's good, but it was on and I just kind of let it happen. I'm not really even that ashamed.

It took me back to my youth (fourth and fifth grade), when I had a country phase and would sit in my room and eat candy and listen to country and read the Anne of Green Gables series. And it's really kind of embarrassing to admit, but my first concert was Alabama. It's actually totally embarrassing. I wish I could say that is was Micheal Jackson or Gwar or something, but that's what it was. I saw Alabama at the Memorial Coliseum and I remember the lead singer was wearing impossibly tight white jeans. And I'm pretty sure he had a mullet in a similar fashion to Billy Ray's. I know it's passe to make fun of mullets, and thank god fashion mullets have died, but how have they survived that firestorm? How is Billy Ray still traipsing around with a mullet?

Image source

November 11, 2010

Oh Eddie

I have been listening to this song obsessively over the past few days. Dedicated to Kyle Arthur and Emily and their new engagement. Pretty amazing to think that only six months ago I was writing about Kyle Arthur's imaginary girlfriend that he made up only to avoid the occasional social function. Now she is my favorite person to discuss the male domination of the literary canon with. Yay for love!

November 10, 2010

You are a Tiger

I'm not above some psuedo-artsy photos now and again. It harks back to the days of my black and white photography class in which I did a human roadkill project and made my friend Killian lie in the street with raw hamburger coming out of his head. Because it's Nostalgic Photo Week, I'm posting a few photos of my favorite subjects, Liz and Alexa. They are always willing to pose for me, even if it means being infected with  bedbugs or lying on a thistle. I direct them in the manner of a coked-out fashion photographer and they do the modeling. This how a good friendship works.  

From Top:

You are dying in the desert and the only water is alkaline and tastes like Pabst.
You are a vagrant with really good shoes hanging out in your sidewalk living room.
You are a raptor.

November 9, 2010

Try Not to Drown

Now that the rain is really starting in earnest (I'm not even sad because I know that it's snowing in the mountains), I really have to say goodbye to swimming in the sun until next summer. I'm not sure there is anything better than jumping into water, cold or not, on a hot day when you have nothing else to do. It's a way to measure good times. It adds pomp and circumstance to otherwise typical events.

Once, when visiting Gisborne, my friends Elizabeth, Belinda, Tyler, and I went to a bar and drank beer and danced to the Clash and on our way home we decided to jump off the bridge in the center of town. We left our clothing in little bundles under some trees near the water's edge, and ran out on the bridge in the dark in our underwear. Cars honked at us. We stood on the concrete railing, giggling. Elizabeth jumped first, before the countdown had ended, and we followed blindly into black water. An otherwise typical night transformed.

From top: Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula, Shi Shi Beach, Siouxon Creek

November 5, 2010

Navy Blue Weekend

Something has happened to me. I like navy blue all of the sudden. I found it the most dull color in existence, had almost purged my wardrobe of it (except for dark-rinse jeans), and all of the sudden I have this huge old-man cardigan in navy blue, and tights, and shoes, and I'm wearing them all at the same time and I like it. I'm not saying it's the new black or anything, but I am suddenly feeling a lot more tolerant. Next thing you know, I'm going to start wearing khakis.

November 4, 2010

Who I used to be

I once heard that the books that really impacted you as a kid, the ones that you read over and over and over again, are the ones that will impact your writing voice, for better or worse, forever.

I think the same thing applies to drawing. I draw in a very certain way, a strong-lined method that brings to mind those old hand-drawn animations. One of my favorite movies as a child was the Last Unicorn. It is the most magical movie. I love all the lines, the curves, the colors, the epic journey, the lost self/lost love story, the America soundtrack. Yes, it was kind of a musical but that only made it better.

I recently stumbled across Caitlin Hackett's work on my love for you is a stampede of horses.

So beautiful and all done with ballpoint pen. Not only artistically inspiring but I immediately thought of the harpy in The Last Unicorn. I would bet money that Caitlin watched The Last Unicorn as a child.

November 3, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls VII

Three pick-up techniques that don’t or shouldn’t ever work. This one’s dedicated to the lovely Heidi, who came home from a Last Thursday confused and disgusted by yet another passive aggressive pick-up.

Passive aggressive pick-up: Some dude is sitting at the bar watching a girl flip her hair around, sip her drink, and play shuffle board like an adept retiree. He decides that she is attractive. He approaches her, finds a conversation of mutual interest, indicates his desire to take her out. He probably says, “We should hang out sometime.” She agrees. He then gives her his number. We don’t know why you guys do this. You’ve already done the hard part. You’ve expressed interest, you’ve received some interest or at the very least some cordiality, and then you give up. That’s like asking someone on a date and then telling them they need to plan it and bring their credit card. Girls won’t call. It wasn’t their idea. It was your idea. They may have even liked the idea, but this method lacks follow through and that means you probably still live with your mother, have a poor credit score, and are afraid of horses.

Whistling from cars: I’ve never understood this. No matter what type of whistle, holler, or whoop you emit, you are still a person in a moving vehicle. Let’s say the girl in question does, for some insane reason, find you appealing. What is she supposed to do? Start sprinting? Write down your license number? Post an I saw U (You hit and ran over my heart . . .)? Unless this is taking place on 82nd, it’s pretty doubtful that anything will come of this. It’s uncouth. Whistling from cars indicates that you grew up with sheep and probably love professional wrestling.

Using The Game: The worst birthday of my life involved sitting in an izakaya in Kita Urawa, Japan, listening to two sleazy English teachers explain how The Game works. Prey on your insecurities, tear you down to build you up, appeal to your caveman instincts, etc. Gross. The same people who use The Game use tanning products, hair gel, trim their pubic hair into awkward shapes, and probably own at least one Ed Hardy item. Utterly depressing. These are the guys in Portland who voted for Dudley.

November 2, 2010


Sam and I had a bet riding on last night's Blazers game. Due to his childhood proximity to Chicago, he is a Bulls fan. I am, of course, a Blazers fan. My hatred for the Bulls harks back to the '92 finals when it was Mike versus Clyde and you could get those commemorative glasses from Dairy Queen.

So, if the Blazers won, Sam was going to have to wear my Blazers jersey to the upcoming Blazers/Bulls game in February. If the Bulls won, I would have to wear his stupid Jordan jersey to the game. And the Bulls totally won.


November 1, 2010

Fun with stop motion

My friend Huy did this.

October 29, 2010

Hello! My name is . . .

I am so excited for Halloween. In the past I have been, amongst other things, a tupperware salesman, a pet rock, a unicorn (with disastrous results), a pregnant eighties coke wife, and a dead prom queen. Here is hint for this year's costume:

Also, my friend Huy is having his second annual Halloween party at Hasbeen Design tomorrow. Visit the first four levels of hell and bum out his neighbors. 6:00 to 9:30. 521 NE Couch St.

Photo source

October 28, 2010

Guest Blog: How to Ruin Halloween

Yay! I love guest blogs. Here is Elizabeth's take on Halloween and her own mortality.

I love Halloween. I love costumes, and dancing, and fall, and pumpkins. I love that prudish girls become slutty referees, nurses, and Dorothys. I love scaring children when they come to the door, body paint, eating candy, fog machines, and lasers. I love fake blood, fake swords, haunted houses, fake spiders, and hay rides. I even love the way the rotting leaves smell while I dance the Monster Mash.

What I do NOT love are doctors. Latrophobia is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the most rational fears that modern man has to deal with. When you go to the doctor with any type of symptom, there is only one thing that he or she can relay, which is that there is something wrong with you. Either they have reasonable empirical evidence that there is a disease, break, disorder, wound, condition, infection, mutation or detrimental lifestyle habit, or there is nothing medically wrong, and you have to continue to live with the symptom while knowing they think you’ve made it up. In addition, the only person who can say with any authority that your life is about to end is someone with a medical license. Considering my eternal demise is also one of my least favorite things. I tend to believe that all those people who have come to terms with death haven’t really grasped the gravity of the end of their existence.

Needless to say, going to the doctor is extremely low on my list of priorities. I typically go only if there is no other way I can avoid it. When I have to go, I will hyperventilate for several days preceding the event while I think of ways to tell my family that I do in fact have a chronic disease that is very painful and will soon kill me. Depending on severity of the issue and the amount of time I have between scheduling and execution, I may break into hives, have a spike in my diastolic blood pressure, and/or cry until my face looks like Rhianna’s at the end of her relationship with Chris Brown.

Long story short, I thought the doctor couldn’t get much worse, but on my recent visit I found that to be false. My doctor came into my room and introduced himself with a smile. He apologized for being late, and was still wearing his scrubs from the surgery that he had just completed. He had me lay back on the table while I was violated with cold metal instruments more appropriate for an alien abduction than a Tuesday afternoon. As I stared at the ceiling during my probing, there was only one thing to look at . . . . the bloody skeleton doctor seen in this photo. All I could think was, “How could you ruin Halloween too?”

October 27, 2010

The Joys of a Significant Other Vol. 1

I always assumed that couples don’t have any friends because they get so deeply involved in each other that there just isn’t enough time in the day to devote time to such a paltry thing as friendship. There’s also that strange mutation from large group of fun single people who are all friends, to large group of decreasingly fun people who are all in relationships.

What I am realizing now is that it’s not that couples don’t attempt to foster friendships, it’s that their friends just don’t want to hang out with them anymore.

My theory is that a relationship creates a socially coddled person who can’t take the harsh realities of the outside world. When you are in a relationship, your partner nourishes the side of you that would normally be called into question by any chemically balanced friend. Here are some examples that have no bearing at all on my life. These are just examples. You don’t get to cry at the end of Christmas specials without being ridiculed, you don’t get to force your friend to give you back rubs, and no friend would allow you to sit on the couch looking like a bag of clothing refused by Goodwill and watch seven hours of Twin Peaks. Eventually a friend would say, “I’m hungry, there is absolutely no food in your house but a butternut squash and oatmeal, and you need to brush your hair.” Who wants that when you can hang out with someone who says you look beautiful even when you look in the mirror and see that, in fact, you do not?

Additionally, my limited social graces are going out the window. I hate small talk. You may find that ridiculous considering this blog is basically dedicated to talk that is small, but it’s the truth. It actually pains me. I like meeting new people, but only if I immediately like them and can start joking about hunchbacks or bodily functions. Now that I am armed with a boyfriend who excels at chatting in an easy and friendly manner with complete strangers, I’m giving up. We were recently sat at a wedding with some random aunts and uncles of the bride and I just sat there and ate and sipped wine and smiled occasionally while he talked. It was heaven. I will probably never make another new friend.

Eventually I may realize that I want to make new friends. But by that point it will be too late. I will be unable to introduce myself and ask the appropriate getting to know you questions in a coherent fashion, will say “we” all the time even when standing by myself, and be otherwise unpalatable for friendship consumption. And then I will go home and comfort myself with Twin Peaks.

October 26, 2010

Blood, Chainsaws, Freaks and Lasers

In the spirit of Halloween, I have been working on terrifying myself. This included a trip to the Milburn's Haunted Manor last Friday.

I'll be honest. I have only attended a few haunted houses and am certainly not a connoisseur. The first was when I was eight or nine. Maybe older. Our Aunt Sharon took us to Enchanted Forest. We were having a great time until she suggested we go into the Haunted House. I got about 10 feet in and when the first dummy with an ax fell out of a trapdoor, I yelped, "I don't like this!" and we marched right out the front door. The next haunted house was at Disney Land when I was thirteen. Pretty mild stuff. I had a bad shag haircut and an equally bad attitude. Was more terrified by the Small World Ride. The third and fourth were the aforementioned haunted corn mazes, which were certainly fun and relatively scary.

Milburn blew them out of the water. If the website alone doesn't entice you (please check out this feat of technology), I will say this. I screamed, convulsed, almost knocked over my friends, and gibbered with terror. I don't want to give away any surprises but it was intense. I was losing my voice by the end of it. They offer three separate features for $20. You should do all three.

October 25, 2010

Recapturing the Magic

The trifecta of amazing was, well, amazing. Here is a quick summation of the events:

Hooters: Insane. Absolutely insane. It was UFC night at Hooters which meant we had to park in the Safeway parking lot due to the sheer mass of Hooters attendees. We had to sit with randoms and they were turning large groups away due to the two- to three-hour wait. The wings were satisfactory. People love taking their children to Hooters. Charissa and I donned leopard-print leggings which would remain the sartorial theme of the evening. Laurence befriended our table mates and Charissa and I impressed and amused them with our UFC commentary.

B-ball: We jogged over to Irving Park. In the rain. Played a game of PIG. Charissa wore the leopard-print leggings and booty shorts. I wore the leopard-print leggings with a Fernandez jersey and leg-warmers. Laurence and Sam fell to the wayside, Charissa and I battled it out for the gold. I turned the corner with a three-pointer and emerged victorious. Picture to follow.

Dirty: The leggings made the transition to evening. 4loko with licorice straws. We caught the bus on MLK and then walked across the Burnside Bridge where we were accosted by Kyle Arthur pretending to be a creepy crack distributor. There were a lot of poles on high platforms, light-up disco-square dance floors, scenes from Coyote Ugly playing on a large TV screen, and many awkward people. I befriended an Egyptian exchange student wearing Ali G glasses, hanging out in Dirty by himself. I'm not sure why. I felt sorry for him. Charissa and I did attempt to dance on the poles. If you can call attempting to climb the pole like it's the rope in gym class while wearing slippery leggings dancing (it wasn't really dancing). At one point a random girl started dancing with me and cried, "Save me from that creep!" I turned around. It was the Egyptian guy with the Ali G glasses. Birthday drinks for Kyle Arthur (it was his birthday! Happy birthday Kyle Arthur!) and then we went to Tube. Things kind of fell apart at that point, as they are prone to do at Tube due the logic vacuum located in the back near the bathrooms.

Aftermath: So many episodes of Twin Peaks.

* Image source

October 21, 2010

Fall Fashion

Oh do I love Fall. Biking across town this morning treated me to the leaves glowing in manner of a Turner painting, some guy having a dancehall freakout on the bridge, and that special autumnal air with all its brisk and snap. Which leads me to the wardrobe change that has been occurring over the past few weeks. You know when you leave the house wearing what you usually wear in August and realize that you are freezing and that you don't have a coat or gloves and you are cursing your hubris? I'm there. And I'm making changes.

I've been catching up on my fall reading and would you believe it? Sweaters are back. So are extremely wide-legged pants. We won't see that in Portland for another year or two due to skinny jean love, but it will happen eventually. Long skirts and Helmut Lang pants are back too (cropped, slightly flared). Camel and oxblood. Capes. All good things. But sweaters? Really? Aren't sweaters back every fall because it's cold? That has to be the most irritating thing about fashion. Yes it's cyclical. But it seems that the cycles are getting tighter and tighter (90s are already being referenced hard), and yet, you can't just recycle because everything is being tweaked and the original version looks dated.* It's not like you can just pull out your pilled-up sweater trench with the knitted belt from 2003 and look fresh.

Here's what I want to see more of when it comes to sweaters:

Novelty sweaters: Yes. I can't help it. I love these. I have three in my closet right now. I'm also a sucker for novelty prints. That's why I own a polyester shirt printed with trains. Polyester is gross and it makes you sweat, but there were trains on it. I couldn't say no. Airblaster has a yeti sweater and H&M is pushing that squirrel sweater with a furry tail.

Sweaters with elbow patches: Right? Durable. And they remind me of serious professor types. I don't have any, but I've always been into the idea. I saw some guy wandering around on the Burnside Bridge with one of these sweaters on. He didn't look like a professor but he did look awesome. Come to think of it, I also saw a woman hanging out on the bridge with Fair Isle leg warmers (another trend for Fall 2010). Fashion visionaries out there.

Giant, all encompassing, cape sweater things: I like the idea of wearing an enormous blanket around like it's an outfit. Like this look from Wunderkind. Why wouldn't you want to look like a Scottish/viking wizard warrior woman?

* Kyle Arthur. Cargo pants are already back. But they are cut skinny now. I can't imagine anything more horrid.

October 20, 2010

Dirty. Um. Yeah.

It's good to experience new things. So, my friend Charissa and I decided a while ago that we wanted to investigate a side of Portland that we have never experienced. The spray-tan, hair-gel, push-up bra'd side of town. Specifically Dirty. The nightclub. Add some wings at Hooters and a quick game of pick-up basketball and you've got yourself A Day!

I'm not sure why we decided this because I just took a look at the Dirty website and even I am getting cold feet. I don't want to scare anyone but look at those photos. I love kitsch. I love trashy. But this may be too much. I'm know I'm going to end up seeing people from highschool here. The website advertises thirty-five stripper poles, as well as some swings? Thirty-five? Whose grand vision was that?

Huy asked me to post a dress code on here. Um. Judging by the photos I would suggest that the men grow some ridiculous facial hair, buy some Paris Hilton sunglasses, and spray your face orange. Maybe pick up a tall-tee encrusted with rhinestones and work on your best "I'm a gangster from Beaverton" pose. You are going to need it.

Ladies? Just don't wear much of anything. You know, wear a nice tube dress or something. And maybe swing by Mystic Tan.

Some girl with a Coach bag may try to make out with you for a photo op. Avoid this.

Note the classy shirt.

Requisite pose and facial hair.

These photos are from their website. Apparently someone waltzes around with a big camera and takes party photos. You can buy these! We may end up with mementos!

October 19, 2010

The Tragic Downfall of Smoothie Prichard

On Tuesdays I drive to work. This is because I have accordion class after work and have no other way to transport my giant accordion. There is probably some gypsy roaming around Portland with their accordion and their bicycle but I am just not that dedicated.

This morning I decided to take advantage of my status as a driver and take my breakfast to work with me. This came in the form of delicious smoothie. Strawberries, orange juice, and yogurt. I got in my car and propped my full-to-the-brim mason jar full of smoothie in my purse in the passenger seat. Now I'm sure you're all thinking: That's idiotic. That's totally stupid. But rest assured, I have done this many times and have never had an issue with this form of transportation. I did think: Hmmmmm. It would suck to have smoothie all over the inside of my purse. But that will never happen.

I began driving. I got as far as Fremont and 9th, before coming to a stop and watching the jar tip over and unleash its contents all over the front seat of my car. And, of course, my purse. I will spare you the expletives that spilled from my mouth. I continued the drive to work in resignation as the smoothie lake sloshed around on my leather seat and spread through my car like lumpy pink cancer.

Once at work I ran to the bathroom and grabbed a mile of industrial grade non-absorbent paper towels and smeared the smoothie all over my seat, my car floor, and my car mats. I ended up dumping out the smoothie-coated contents of my purse and soaking the whole thing in the sink. It seems that smoothie is actually extremely water-resistant and could be used as a coating for an aging rain jacket or an old pair of boots. Who knew? There is now dried smoothie on my skirt and these splotches look less like smoothie and more like I had an accident involving my bladder. And this is only the beginning of my day.

I'm not exceedingly fond of giving advice on this blog. But there's a lesson in this, and I hope some of you have picked up on it. Smoothies are stupid.

October 15, 2010

So Wholesome it Burns

It is seriously fall. I'm getting sad. The days are getting impossibly short and this is only the beginning. I just bought a light box and am hoping that prevents me from becoming a lunatic this winter. We'll see.

On a lighter and much more pleasant note, some friends and I are doing this on Saturday afternoon. Yes, we are going out to Sauvie Island and celebrating fall. So wholesome. This includes picking pumpkins and going on a hay ride and drinking cider and probably an ear of corn and maybe a caramel apple*. Liz wants to sing songs on the hay ride. And then, once night descends (this is happening earlier every day) we are going to go through the Haunted Corn Maze. So great.

Alexa and Furell (visitor from New Zealand) and I went through one a few Halloweens ago and it was actually a really terrifying experience. There's a lot to deal with. Random shrieks of other maze-goers coming from every direction. Rustling in the corn which usually, in real life, would be a bird or something, but in the corn maze always turns out to be a horror movie come to life freak in a mask who gets in your face until you run away. And then you start thinking about the sort of people that would volunteer to work a haunted corn maze and imagining that they are probably deranged psychotics who are actually plotting to make this a real haunted corn maze and start killing their victims and dragging their bodies off into the corn and soon the paths are slick with blood and the corpses are stacking up and no one can find their way out and I think it's pretty obvious that I have unwittingly written out the plot to a new horror movie. You saw it here first.

* To be honest, I'm not into caramel apples. They are sticky and messy and the good part is only on the outside and then you have all this apple on a stick to eat and your teeth are filled with sugar-goo. They are one of the only sweet things I'm not into.

Photo source

October 14, 2010

Fawning all over you

I try to avoid looking at things on Etsy because whenever I do, I find something that is so awesome that I get all weird and twitchy and filled with longing. Like when I am crazy and old and have eight cats in my apartment hovering and waiting for me to die, I will look back on this pendant and think about how much better life would have been with it. I will imagine our afternoons spent in cafes on the Champs-Elysees, our picnics in the park, our quiet mornings with coffee and crosswords. And if I ever develop a drug habit, I would have a convenient place to store it.

October 13, 2010

Music Appreciation

I am having a weird time right now musically. Sometimes I am really good at finding new things I like and sometimes I'm just awkwardly obsessive in the manner of a really lame teenager*.

Hence, repetitive listening of Florence and the Machine's Lungs and the Decemberists' Hazards of Love. Hopefully it will end soon. I mean, I'm enjoying it and everything, but it's getting kind of embarrassing when people ask me what I've been listening to lately and I say the same two albums every time, neither of which are particularly recent. Recommendations are certainly welcome.

This is a sweet video. Right up there with Kate Bush twirling around in a meadow.

*Ask Charissa about my Chris O' Donnell phase.

October 12, 2010

No Coast

While I've touched on the whole East coast/West coast thing, there's an entire realm that hasn't been brought into the equation: No coast. Sam is from the Midwest. The. Midwest. It's not surprising. He has that certain wholesome quality that people from the Midwest possess. It's very charming to someone like myself. Something about being from a state bordered by the ocean brings out a different quality in people. Some may call it "pretentious". I prefer "discerning" or something of that nature. Something mildly positive.

Anyway, I was tasked with meeting a million members of his enormous family. This stressed me out for several reasons: (1) I suck at groups, (2) I suck at small talk, (3) I suck at interacting with small children (there were going to be many), (4) I'm from the West coast, and you know how those people are, and (5) just the general fear that they would all hate me and Sam would decide that he hated me too and I would end up banished from the campfire ring, lost in some cornfield, trying to figure out where the Chicago airport was.

While it would be much more interesting if something like that did happen, I'm afraid I will have to disappoint you. As far as I know, nobody from the Grant clan hates me. They seemed to like me. They were friendly and welcoming and all the things good people from the Midwest are. All the kids were running around with swords, the leaves were changing, beer was consumed in epic amounts, and I didn't do anything particularly embarrassing. In fact, as stated yesterday, I held a baby.

This was a pretty big deal. I feel like babies are similar to dogs as indicators of character. If the baby/dog doesn't like you, it means there is something inherently wrong with your soul and you may in fact be evil. So, this was something I was pretty worried about. The Grant family watching me and thinking, Hmmmmm, Rachel repels children. Get out the wooden stake.

I should preface this by explaining that I'm not a baby person. They are terrifying. The only other baby I have had any experience with was a girl named Ayla and I would sit and talk to her like she was a tiny therapist, explaining how my day was going and what I ate for lunch. Probably a total bummer. I don't hold babies. When I was very young, I tried and dropped it and I have avoided the experience ever since. So it was kind of stretch for me to do the baby thing and make my voice high and wave my hands around and smile a lot. These things don't come naturally.

On the second day, we were hanging out around the picnic table and Sam's mom suggested that I try to hold Evelyn. Put out your hands and see if she comes to you! Moment of truth. I put out my hands, fearing the worst, and then she put out her hands and suddenly I was holding a baby. And she smiled and didn't cry the entire time. Sam took photos which will show how extremely awkward I was, but that's okay. It was a little miracle and sometimes those things have to be documented. We became friends and by the end of the trip she was telling me stories in her made-up language and laughing at them hysterically. I feel like I am slightly better at life now.

October 11, 2010

Adventures in Middle America

I haven't updated forever because I haven't been home. I went to a place called Illinois. Illinois is located in the United States in what is known as the Midwest. If you look at a map of the United States the state of Illinois does not appear to be in the middle of the west as the name implies. It's actually pretty east. It is not a typical place for a vacation. At least, not a typical vacation for me. I went there with my boyfriend to hang out with his family and go on a camping trip at a state park near Rockville, Indiana. He has a huge family. Last year 82 people attended. Was I intimidated by the whole venture? Yes. Incredibly. I was so out of my comfort zone about the whole thing that I was actually resentful. Fortunately, I was so awkward about it the night before we flew out that Sam ended up asking me why I was being so weird and I had to explain to him what was going on. That helped.

It would take me a while to detail all of the things that happened while I was there. Some were expected and perhaps typical: corn fields, hot dogs, midday light beer drinking. Some were not typical, at least for me: I held a baby. I played flashlight tag in woods in the middle of the night. I bought a soft pretzel with cheese from Amish folk. I met so many people that I could only remember a handful of their names and spent a lot of my time smiling and trying not to be disappointed with myself every time I was greeted with "Hello, Rachel" and I had to say, "Hello . . .. ".

Unfortunately, I have been up since 3:30 a.m. Central Standard Time and really don't have much more to say. I may elaborate a bit later on, but I've reached my communications quota for the day.

October 5, 2010

The Last Wedding . . . .

Of the season, but probably the first of many. Rachael (with an "a") and Kale, the pioneering couple of our friend circle, were married two weeks ago, most likely setting things in motion that cannot be undone. They say weddings are contagious amongst friends in a similar manner to children and divorce. We'll see how things work out. I have some predictions.

I flew into San Francisco on Wednesday for the bachelorette party (reunited with Alexa, adorned Rachael with bling and a pimpstick, got confetti in my suitcase, and insulted some englishmen wearing pink). Alexa and I spent the next day in the city achieving attainable goals like napping in the park, eating frozen yogurt by the pound, seeing some old friends, and eating tacos for dinner. Goals are so much better when they're attainable. I'm never going to have a lofty goal again.

We drove up to Sea Ranch the next day. The Northern California coast is spectacular, craggy, and blue. The sun was shining the entire time. We stayed in a gorgeous house that slept eleven (had family dinner and mini friend-reunion, sing-alongs, dance parties, sunbathed, read, took photos in the sunset, hot-tubbed).

And then, the wedding. It was lovely and emotional and all the things a wedding should be. The bridesmaids were all in pink (a source of some trepidation) but everyone looked beautiful and/or handsome. Everyone in the wedding party rose to the occasion and gave a great toast (my favorite part of weddings) and then we danced like maniacs (my second favorite part). Our friend Kyle Carnes was the wedding photographer. He was running around like a mad man but it was definitely worth it. Here are some of the standouts and here is his website in case you are looking for someone to document your shining moment.

October 1, 2010

Yet Another Gem on 28th

I really love the location of my office. In addition to the joy of spying on midday Sparky's attendees (so many miatas!), the location of my office is in ideal proximity to a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Artemisia* is my new favorite. They sell plants, garden stuff, art, bones, jewelery, terrariums, shells, and so on and so forth. Natural treasures. On my lunch break the other day, I bought an airplant as a birthday present, and had to buy one for myself as well. Those things are so cool. You just have to submerge them in water for an hour every two weeks. That's it. They are the ultimate low maintenance plant. I need that.

I will never forget the disappointment I felt when I learned that I was a plant-owner failure. One of the first things I did my freshman year of college was go to the Saturday Market in Eugene with my new friend Shauna. We both bought a little cactus to decorate our shitty dorm rooms. The following spring, after many nights of spiced rum, last-minute studying, and buffet-style cafeteria meals, Shauna called me, elated.

Shauna: Hey! My cactus bloomed. It has a beautiful pink flower! Did yours?

I am sitting on my desk next to my cactus. It looks just like it did when I bought it. Little green pincushion. Inert.

Me: No. No it didn't.

Shauna: Ohhhh. I'm sure it will.

And it never, ever did. It finally just died. I thought anyone could keep a cactus. We'll see how this whole airplant thing works out.

*Photo from Artemisia

September 29, 2010

Neon Indian Night

Saw them last night at the Wonder and had do to do some research (Wikipedia) to figure out what was going on with frontman Alan Palomo. He was doing lots of mad scientist action, twisting knobs very intensely, flipping switches, etc. and I was curious about how much of it was necessary and how much was complete theatrics. Apparently he uses Abelton Live which is some high powered, loop-based software sequencer. My conclusion is that most of it was theatrics. However, he also had a theramin and playing a theramin is pure drama. The guitarist had a guitar with some sort of lit-up tie dye hologram screen on it and he was all about the guitar solo. What I'm trying to say is that this is the sort of band that you take drugs before seeing. There were clouds of smoke billowing above the crowd at all times. Also, we saw Wayne Coyne. From the Flaming Lips. He was wearing a gray suit and had that crazy hair and was being a normal person attending a show until this girl started shouting about Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips as we were exiting and he disappeared into the floor like a sprite.

September 28, 2010

Shi Shi II

It's time for a photo essay. I'm not great with prompt uploading of photos but I recently went through my Shi Shi photos the other day and it's about time I share a few. For some reason I love the idea of annual events. Planning has never been my strong suit, but as I get older I've found it more natural. I'm also easily disappointed (impossibly high expectations for everything) and find the anticipation of an event to be almost as important as the event itself. For these reasons, the annual event provides a particular joy for me. You can look forward to it for an entire year. You can make next year better. Shi Shi I was all about spontaneity. Shi Shi II was all about food. Each person brought a meal and we all waited with anticipation to see what delicious surprise we would be eating next. We also got a full day of magical sun, a rare occurrence at Shi Shi. We explored down the coast and ended up having to wade back at high tide in waist-deep water. So much adventure. I'm already looking forward to Shi Shi III.