April 30, 2010

Some Inspiration for Tomorrow

While part of me is a Bukowski hater, I have to admit that he made horseracing sound fun. And Marguerite Henry did too. And for that matter, all those horse books I read when I was a kid. I was recently looking into being a jockey (new career path) but I found out I would have to lose about 15 pounds and that dream was squashed. Portland Meadows is hosting the Oregon Derby tomorrow, along with some sort of showing of the Kentucky Derby, and there will be music and hat contests and racing and all that. I'm imagining kids with balloons and people drinking whiskey furtively out of flasks and men in cream linen suits. I'm going to win money.

*Hat by Lady Diane Hats (Insane. For all your custom hat needs.)

April 29, 2010

Cats, Cats, and More Cats

When I was a kid I was really into writing and illustrating children's books. I had this theory that only children should write children's books. Sadly my publisher was also my mother, so circulation was extremely limited. Many of my books were first edition one-offs published on xerox paper pilfered from my mother's office. Included in my published works was the highly sophisticated Cats, Cats, and More Cats. It was loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood but as the title suggests, it incorporated cats, an animal I apparently loved at the time.

I still like cats. I don't have one. I'm not sure that I want one because the poop thing freaks me out and I don't like fur on my clothing. But with all the talk of me becoming a cat lady (seriously, like once a week someone brings this up. Usually a close friend, like they are seeing warning signs or something), I have been paying more attention to cats and their place in the world.

What freaks me out more than poop and cat ladies are cat boys. I'm not saying any guy that owns a cat is a creep. I love cats too. It's the guys that are really, really into their cats. There is something decidedly unmanly about some guy telling you a really cute story about something his cat did, complete with paw pantomime hand action and a little voice. It seems to me that cats become replacement girlfriends for these guys. And again, that freaks me out a little. This blog pretty much sums it up. I can't look at it for very long; it's painful.

Japanese Magic

It's rare that a music video truly captures a moment, a feeling, in this case a country. This is just like my life in Japan. Not to mention the soundtrack for the robot unicorn attack video game.

April 28, 2010

Baby Ape Cave

So, this is especially trivial but last night Jocelyn and Charissa and I were walking over to Free House (new favorite bar on Fremont and 14th?, delicious drinks, well-priced food, nice soundtrack, and foosball) and I thought I stepped in shit. I didn't. It was moss, or a leaf, or something like that, but this led me to say that there is nothing worse than stepping in shit. Which I immediately amended. There are many things that are worse to step in or on. We started naming things. This game ended with: having to travel through the entirety of Ape Cave (the difficult section) except for it is completely carpeted with babies. Not even dead babies. Live babies that scream and cry out and try to cling to your shoe laces as you stomp on their faces in an effort to reach the end. Sick right?

When I was younger my parents would take us to Crane Prairie Reservoir out in Central Oregon. We would camp and fish. I have a million great memories from that place and the best was all the little baby toads that came out in early summer. We would catch them and play with them. Hours of fun. One year they were so numerous they completely covered the shores of the lake and you seriously couldn't walk anywhere without stepping on tiny baby toads.

It would be like this, only with babies. And dark and echoey due to the cave factor. You would go totally insane.

April 27, 2010

Ape Cave!

I grew up in the Willamette Valley and I had never heard of this place until last year. Currently the longest continuous lava tube in the western hemisphere (until proven otherwise), Ape Cave was first discovered by Lawrence Johnson in 1947 and was explored by a group of boy scouts called The Apes (hence the name). It was awesome.

I am kind of a martyr. When something is physically difficult and I am uncomfortable I am usually kind of into it. I don't sprint around tracks until I puke or anything, but there is something pleasant about finding your way out of a difficult spot. So Ape Cave has two portions. The first portion we explored was pleasant, flat, and populated. We went to the end. We came back to the entrance. And then I took my brother and Nathan (visiting from San Francisco) down the hole of death. It was 1.5 miles and it felt like eight. After the third enormous rock pile we had to climbed and descend, Nathan said, Okay, now I'm going insane. And I began to worry that Nathan and Laurence would kill me if things got tough. And then they actually said they would. My worries were confirmed. My headlamp was weak, my feet tired, the rocks sharp, and the darkness and the unknown, it all starts to wear on you. Even though I had done some research and was reasonably sure there was an exit at the end, I didn't know for sure. And while I was enjoying it, I was also thinking that we might not get out at all, and would end up pale bones piled up in a dark corner. Laurence fell down one of the rock piles and got wedged in between two boulders and I had to pull him out, we passed an enormous group of whining 6th grade boys, a teacher fell on Laurence (he seriously received the brunt of the trip), we clambered up the 8-foot lava fall (seriously just a huge 8-foot wall looming in the darkness) and finally Laurence told me to shut up because I kept saying we were almost there and we weren't. And I'm not going to lie, my brain was jumping to Lord of the Rings comparisons on a pretty steady basis, though I mostly kept them to myself. And finally we reached the end. It was sensory overload on the outside, our eyes were shocked by all the bright and detail and then I realized that my headlamp had a brighter setting that I had failed to use.

April 23, 2010

Eye Curse

While it was nice to get rid of the blood curse, I am worried that I still carry a remnant of the curse. Every time I have watched a Blazers game this season (with the exception of the time Meagan and Huy and I watched them from the beery haven that is Billy Bob's Dive) they have lost. Usually they have a lead and I watch them lose it in the last five minutes. Yesterday was worse. I went to my first playoffs game (yep, $60 dollar seats and commemorative towels and $8.50 beers and a band reminiscent of Aerosmith playing outside the Rose Garden and a man maybe high on ecstasy dancing in the intermittent fountain trying to get us to do calisthenics with him) and watched them play a miserable game. Miserable. I wore my jersey. I wore a Blazers jersey in public. Heidi wore her hat and a Canadian tuxedo. Jesse and his brother wore what they always wear, probably, but they also purchased chicken strip dinners. We clapped. We yelled. We stood up. We catcalled. We would have done the wave if someone had started it. We watched the Blazers somehow, miraculously bring the game to an eleven-point difference in the fourth quarter and then just fizzle out miserably. Was it me? Is this the curse? Why can't they keep it together?

April 21, 2010

Capital T-N-Y-R-S

TuNe-YaRdS. She's going to be at Sasquatch. This is a one-woman, self-recorded, do-it-yourself sort of thing, though she has people join in on various instruments and I'm wondering if she will have a team assembled for Sasquatch. It sounds very home recording (because it is) but is way more lovely than anything that Liz and I have recorded during our music-making dates. Maybe because she has Talent and we only have Talent's ugly kid sister (Enthusiasm).

April 19, 2010

Grey Monday

While it was in the best sort of way, the weekend totally pummeled me. I can confirm that Kyle Arthur's home really does exist and the spanakopita was wonderful. Yeasayer is tonight, I'm having people over beforehand so that we can perfect our synchronized neon dance routines. Watch this for inspiration.

April 16, 2010

Red Weekend

This weekend is going to be brutal. Tonight is Kyle Arthur's "party" at his "apartment". He is still promising spanakopita. On Monday I will provide a full report on the verity of his home and said spanakopita. On Saturday my friend Jacob is having a lawn games birthday party over in North Portland, including but not limited to: Portland parks liquor license, croquet, and bocce ball. And hopefully lawn darts. I was visiting with a friend the other day and we ended up throwing lawn darts from his porch in an attempt to hit the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb. It was pretty miserable but I will have to add that I was closer to hitting it than he was.

Then the Red Dress Party is happening. It's a fundraiser for the gays (this year's recipients: The Q Center, Men’s Wellness Center, and the SafeChoice Program of the YWCA of Clark County) and everyone in attendance has to wear a red dress. According to the website kilts don't count. A Portland-wide shortage of red dresses is occurring right about now and the luckless will end up in weird old lady dresses that Betty White would refuse to wear. Not that that doesn't have its own appeal. The above photo is from last year's party and those are my adorable housemates shaking it to what was probably mildly bad techno. The party will be in this space, which looks pretty amazing. We have friends coming from Boise, Idaho for this thing. That's how serious it is. Liz has promised a follow-up champagne brunch on Sunday and then Monday (which isn't even the weekend anymore) is the Yeasayer show. Like I said, brutal.

April 15, 2010

Minigolf Takeover

Holocene had its annual minigolf tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. I attended last night after sitting at Roadside Attraction for hours (that place is in a time vortex and I always drink whiskey lemonades there. Always.) and they had a fire outside that was shooting ash out over the picnic tables like Mt. St. Helens and I smelled heavily of campfire by the time I left. Ran into DJ Aaron who said I smelled like the forest. Which is slightly better than camping, which is what Carl said. Our friend Carl is a welder. He used to do the floats for the Rose Parade but he has recently moved on to bigger things. Kind of. Not size-wise, but job-wise. Anyway, designers and artists and friends get together and design a mini-golf hole and compete for prizes, including cash money and tattoos. Carl's reminded me of that game Mouse-trap, you had to blast the ball up this tube and then it went around in these wire tubes suspended from the ceiling. It took me about five tries. Jocelyn was failing in ways that Carl had never seen before, eventually losing her ball in the crowd and Alex got a hole in one. My favorite was this super simple hole, just an L-shaped bit of astro-turf but the trick was that there were two dancing people rolling around on the green, just like, spazzing around and messing with you. It was amazing. Kind of like watching a weird french bum busker mess with people on the street except that you are prepared for it. The guy was wearing black leggings with a hole in the crotch (seriously) and he was absurdly tall, and he had a sweatshirt with a neon galaxy on it and the statement You Are Here (I have this sweatshirt but not in neon) and I feel like it was a kid's sweatshirt because it was too small for this guy and kept riding up. I don't know if this was an outfit that he specifically chose for dancing and messing with people at mini-golf but either way it was something really special.

p.s. Check out Alexa's Shiny Things and Cake. She says nice things about me, kind of.

April 14, 2010

When you can't see me

My friend Liz tells me the reason she reads my blog is to know what I am doing when she's not around to watch me struggle through life. She also told me that she sees me in my Bjork costume. Always. The costume has trumped all outfits that I have ever worn and now, as soon as an action of mine has been committed to memory I am wearing the Bjork costume.

Anyway, yesterday turned out to have this gorgeous afternoon and I needed to pick my car up from Liz's house (I left it there on friday when she gave me a ride to the airport. I have really nice friends. My flight was delayed coming home and Heidi came and picked me up at midnight). So I biked over to her house by Columbia Park (it's so nice because you can go down Willamette along the bluff and look out over the river and the industrial area and the sun was doing really dramatic things with the clouds). Unfortunately she wasn't there. But my car was. I put my bike in the back seat and started driving and I heard this knocking sound. I figured it was my bike tire rocking around in the trunk. I stopped and jumped out and tried to open the trunk but it was locked. I gave up on that because my keys were in the ignition and the car was running and surely the tire would settle in. I drove up Foss and around the corner and was looking at all the families in the park thinking it would have been nice if Liz had been home because then we could have gone on a walk, when there was this crazy noise and I looked in my mirror to see my bike helmet skipping across the road. Yeah. I left my bike helmet on the roof and it flew off once I got over 15 mph. The knocking sound was the helmet against the roof which I somehow didn't notice when I got out of the car the first time. I pulled over and walked back half a block to where my helmet was lying under a parked car and one of my teal blue gardening gloves was there in the road and I didn't see the other. I'm like, really? I looked under the car but it wasn't there. I walked back to Foss and peered down the street but I didn't see a little blue corpse back there and then I walked back to my car (still running) thinking it was incredibly embarrassing that I had somehow lost yet another blue glove and Liz was going to mock me forever and it was there. It was still there on the roof.

April 13, 2010

Drowned Rat or just Dead Rat

I biked to work today. Those of you in Portland know that it is raining today. Really raining. We have a lot of different words to describe type and severity of precipitation. It was certainly not pouring as I rode to work, but it was raining, not cold, but really raining, steadily. And I'm an idiot and I wore my converse so that means I sit at my computer with wet socks and wet pant bottoms and stringy hair. And the funny thing was that I saw this girl biking in a poncho. Not a rain-repelling poncho. Some sort of crazy knit pink poncho that was flapping around her elbows. There was fringe. And I'm not even anti-poncho. Surprisingly. It does seem like something I would hate, but I also really like blankets (when I sit on a couch I need to have a blanket) and wearing a poncho is kind of like wearing a blanket, except that you can leave the house. But today? While I really like the idea of wearing a blanket right now, the thought of wearing a wet pink blanket with fringe does not appeal at all.

And the photo taken above was taken in Sapporo in a snow-covered alleyway. The Japanese love alleys which is something I really appreciate. That rat is obviously dead. But Brian isn't. We found it on our way home from the bar and obviously thought it was a perfect photo opportunity.

April 12, 2010

Hot Tip Monday

Denver has the best thrift stores ever. Ever. Last time I went to a Valu-Village in Denver I was looking for a Halloween costume. This was in 2005. I found a blue Dolly Parton dress, the suede fringe jacket pictured above, Dolly spur strap cowboy ankle boots and a bunch of pearl accessories. On Saturday I found one amazing waist-belt after the other (including an 80s Jordache with a gold horse logo buckle), and the crowning achievement of my life: ORIGINAL STAR WARS SHEETS. Two sets. I would use them but they're twin sets. I am not planning on owning a twin bed for the rest of my life, so summer nerd dress coming soon. Sam found a framed print of a kitten hanging out with a bunch of roses. If you don't smile when you look at it, you are a robot.

April 8, 2010

Hot Hot Hate II

So, to balance out all the hate this list emits into the world, I am also including love. This list is just like Switzerland.

People I hate:

People who wear running shoes in bars
Americans are notorious for wearing running shoes about town like they are an acceptable and fashionable form of footwear. All over the world Americans are picked out of the crowd by their shiny white running shoes, their Nalgene bottles, and their Lonely Planets. Fine. You are traveling. You may be walking long distances and maybe you don't want your feet to hurt. There are other footwear choices that would be more attractive but whatever. However, a night out in your city of residence? Unless you are also wearing full gym attire and a slight sweaty sheen from your recent venture at the gym, you shouldn't be wearing those shoes. Those are workout shoes. And they look dumb with your jeans.

Fun killers
Why? Why would you kill someone's fun? It may be that you are incapable of having fun because you are too self conscious or sober or depressed or existentially challenged. But that doesn't mean you need to step in with your heavy hand and ruin it for everyone else. Take your judging eyes and scathing comments somewhere else.

People who participate in consumer transactions while talking on their cellphone

When you are ordering a latte or depositing a check or buying a greeting card you expect their undivided attention and you should give them the same.

People I love:

Guys with weird combovers
It's just so awesome and fascinating. Everyone knows you're bald. You know you're bald. But you've got this long hair that grows by your ears and you have found various creative ways to wrap it around and attach it to your skull. And sometimes it comes loose in a strong breeze and starts waving around but that doesn't stop you. Thank you.

People who give me Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs on Easter

So great. It's a giant egg-shaped Peanut Butter Cup. More peanut butter, more chocolate, more everything.

People who eat more than me

I eat a lot. We went to Skamania Lodge for this brunch buffet (it was amazing! Endless mimosas and a whole dessert tray and crab and waffles and etc.) I ate two or three more plates more than my brother. He found it disturbing. He even tells his friends about it, like it is a defining feature of my character. I like it when I am not the person at the buffet table with the largest stack of plates.

April 7, 2010


I'm so excited for this show. Yeasayer. Wonder Ballroom. April 19. It's going to be the worst Tuesday ever.

April 6, 2010

Shi Shi

The weather's been brutal and I am getting increasingly antsy for summer. Besides the usual suspects: sunbathing, popsicles and swimming on the Washougal, I am looking forward to the second annual Shi Shi backpacking trip. Shi Shi Beach is out on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula and it's beautiful and remote and you need a bear bucket for food storage (note: you absolutely have to have a bear bucket. Not because of all the bears. We didn't see any bears. But if you don't have one the rangers will make you walk back to trail head and ride with them to town to purchase a bear bucket). Highlights included: ferry rides, fat-kid food, gourmet pasta dinner flavored by hiking hunger, urine water, beach combing, solo misty morning exploration, and lots of laughter around the campfire. I'm hoping to expand our expedition team this year and perhaps stay another day. We did not get the requisite amount of exploring in last year but it was a good start.

April 5, 2010

Peace on Earth?

Everyone's favorite teenage hockey team is in the semi-finals. Caitlin is a Rosebud (they dance on ice and have red pom-poms and outfits she personally made from old hockey jerseys)and she has some mean spirit finger/clapping moves down. Pretty inspiring. Anyway she hooked me up with some tickets and my dad and I followed up a family Easter lunch (egg dyeing and all) by attending their game.

They lost! They lost to Vancouver (BC, not our friendly neighbors to the north) and really, Vancouver is a wonderful city and if we are going to lose to someone at least it was them and not somewhere lame like Oklahoma City or Ottawa. But there weren't any fights. Honestly, I was more disappointed by the lack of fighting than the loss. I'm pretty sure this makes me a bad person. Maybe even a horrible one.

April 2, 2010

Phantom House

My friend Kyle Arthur is surprisingly mysterious. He looks straightforward enough. He has a beard and a pleasant expression. He's not above wearing things like khaki cargo shorts to super hip events like PDX PopNow and tolerating people making fun of him to his face (me). But he also has a dark side.

He has a "girlfriend". Apparently they have been dating forever, since early college years and they live together. For the longest time we didn't believe that she existed. She never came out with us or accompanied him to events. We never saw her or proof of her (khaki cargo shorts? Why didn't you stop him?) Kyle was always a solo flyer and that was okay, but he continued to lie about this girlfriend of his and we continued to pretend that we believed him. Until she actually did show up at a bbq/living room dance extravaganza and dispelled the myths once and for all.

The issue of his home has yet to be solved. I have never been to Kyle Arthur's home. No one has. Apparently it's an apartment in NW, on like 20th or so, and Couch. Or so he says. He never has people over, no dinner parties, no pre-parties, no movie nights, no pizza parties. Nothing. And then he finally says he's going to invite people over, creates a facebook invite (that means it's real) and then pulls it today at the last second and aborts the whole mission. He promised us spanakopita. Hey Kyle, April Fools was yesterday. Not funny.

If it weren't for the fact that Kyle and I were enrolled in the same black and white photography class at UofO I would be 100 percent sure that Kyle Arthur is actually a crazy homeless impostor who paid a girl to show up at a party where all his young and attractive non-homeless friends were to keep the lie alive. I'm beginning to doubt him. We'll see. He has postponed the party for two weeks. . .