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