June 29, 2010

Adventure 3.2

I had such a great week away from my computer and I have realized that I went into the wrong field. I should be a biologist. You are paid to walk around the woods and look for things. In this case, we were looking for pygmy rabbits but I also saw a family of marmots, bat guano, three deer, four jackrabbits, a mountain lion den, a tiny nest in the sagebrush with baby birds without their feathers and one blue egg, broken down Mormon towns, sunsets, lizards, and a lot of poop. That was the main thing we were looking for. Burrows and poop. However, rabbit poop is called "pellets" and it sounds a lot nicer. I took a few photos but (of course) my camera died because I am irresponsible and assume that electronics take care of themselves. I also drank a disturbing amount of 3.2 beer which is really refreshing and pretty much like drinking barley flavored carbonated water. On the last day we got a pack of Olympia, the only case of Olympia in Lin's Market, and I swear it wasn't 3.2. We were all on beer three and were like, "shit, I'm actually feeling something. This is like the real thing." It may have been the altitude but I like to think that the Northwest triumphed and managed to get some real beer through the iron gates. That, or Utah made me soft.

June 28, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls III

We had a summit on the Skidmore Bluffs last night. It was one of those situations involving a blanket, a bottle of wine, cheese, bread and prosciutto, often referred to as a picnic. We watched the sunset, guys and girls in short shorts, the dogs, the couples, and we actively participated in girl talk. Many of the things discussed are completely private in nature and cannot be shared. However, I think it may be fair to pass along a little of what was discussed.

Go for it: Portland girls are tired of chasing guys around. If you notice a girl looking at you, don't get all darty-eyed and pretend to be reading the beers on tap behind her. Make eye contact and smile. It is okay to look at someone you find attractive, just don't leer. Try greeting your subject or introducing yourself. If your mission fails and the girl rolls her eyes, makes some scathing comment about your sideburns or your shoes, and then walks away to giggle with her friends, take a deep breath and move on. You are a shark. Or a lion or something. Don't give up. Everyone is rejected at some point. It is a sad fact of life and it feels a lot less dire the more you experience it.

No sneak-dates: Don't do this. If you like a girl we strongly suggest asking her out formally. It doesn't have to be dinner, it can be a bike ride or a picnic (we love that shit) but your intentions should be clear. If you have established something with a girl that may or may not be friendship, it is best to clarify the situation as soon as possible. We think it's obvious when we like someone or just want to be friends but historical data has shown some disconnect between the sexes. The best thing to do if you're unsure is attempt to talk about it before you've spent a bunch of money on Yeah Yeah Yeahs tickets and dinner. While it may be awkward to talk about your feelings, it's also incredibly awkward to realize that someone you don't have feelings for is suddenly trying to hold your hand during an acoustic version of Maps. Note: If the sneak-date fails , don't be a poor sport and send her an itemized bill (though that would be funny).

Don't pee on her belongings in the middle of the night: But if you do, clean it up.

June 21, 2010

While I'm Gone . . .

I'm going to miss the CocoRosie show which is pretty heartbreaking. They don't tour often. But could someone pick these up for me? As a welcome home consolation gift? I think that logos are a horrible choice and I hated that moment in the late 90s when everyone was doing all-over logos and whatnot. I know it was meant to be clever and some sort of commentary on the ostentatious nature of couture, but it was ultimately tacky and not ironic enough to save itself. But these boots. . .

*(Garance Dore photo, Fendi boots, they may be vintage and are probably impossible to find. I am imagining a world in which things like this appear on my doorstep, because I am about to go search the scrubland of Utah for pygmy rabbits and what sort of world is that? A world where anything can happen.)

June 18, 2010


I'm off to the land of knee shorts, compounds, and 3.2 beer. Yes, the spiritual mecca that is Utah. I will be searching for the elusive pygmy rabbit and I will not be blogging. I leave you with What Claudia Wore. It's amazing. I know you've read them. Even boys picked up one of their sister's at one point or another. I personally read every Babysitter's Club book that was available at the Newberg Public Library and probably reread most of them. It may be where I got my fashion sense.

June 17, 2010

No Egg Puns Here

There is this department store in Japan called Parco. It's one of the big ones. Here is a Parco ad featuring Faye Dunaway. I'm going to be honest. This makes me really sad. Jealous, rather. While I was in Japan I saw a few funny ads featuring Tommy Lee Jones, but the rest were like, Cameron Diaz and Hillary Duff looking really, really perky. If I had seen this ad while watching television I probably would have cried in sheer joy (it was an emotional time). Also, this is dedicated to Heidi (we have this hardboiled egg thing going at 834).

June 14, 2010

What to do when you're in Japan ichi

A friend of mine is going off on a research expedition (On a boat! So jealous) and he may be stopping in Tokyo. Which made me think of all the things that I was fond of in Japan and what would be best recommended to others. While it may be the trivial items that I found most satisfying (teasing Japanese children, onigiri from 7-11, telling the lady at city hall that I was leaving and needed to cancel my health insurance in Japanese), these would not be the highlights of a brief visit. I had to split this post into segments because it got too big. Apparently there are a lot of things I liked about Japan.

Buy something weird: The Japanese love kitsch and they love to shop. A lot of my female students listed shopping as a hobby. Most of the train stations double as shopping centers, malls are everywhere, and then there are the actual shopping districts. They also love products with English or French sayings on them. It's really charming. You really don't have to go far to find some random stationary, a t-shirt with a really creepy slogan, a horrifically sexual figurine, or a watch with a lot of crazy buttons. The hyaku-yen shops are great too. Dollar stores. They have so much great random stuff. On one trip I returned with a recorder, a potted plant, scissors, a sewing kit, earrings, a wind-chime, and a notebook with donuts on it.

Climb a mountain: There are some cool places to hike in relatively close proximity to Tokyo. It's gorgeous, there are usually some funny signs, and it's a nice break from the concrete. At most summits there will be some sort of shrine and a village or restaurant area and you can buy food and huge bottles of beer to sustain your descent. There's the added bonus of seeing Japanese in the outdoors. They are super friendly. You will be saying konnichiwa all day.

Skate!: If you skate, you should skate there. Skating around Tokyo is classic, there are all sorts of ledges, steps, and obviously concrete forever. There are quite a few parks around and some shops with mini-ramps but the best thing to do is just wander around. It's nicest in the evening, less people and cooler.

Ferris wheels: The Japanese love ferris wheels. They are everywhere. They are in any city of merit, they are at amusement parks, they are at ski resorts. I recommend buying a grapefruit chu-hi (tall), hiding it in your belongings, and finishing it by the time the ferris wheel has made its rotation.

June 10, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls II

Here is Volume II of The Guide. Volume I may be seen here. Or you could just scroll down. Either way.

Cupcakes: I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Even an average cupcake is still a delicious tiny cake covered with frosting. Perhaps it’s due to the size or precious appearance of the cupcake, but I think it's an essentially feminine dessert in nature. Like, someone handing you a Snickers bar just doesn’t have the same appeal. Ladies often appreciate it when a man shows his feminine side, it just has to take the right avenue. No to hair gel, yes to cupcakes. There are many places to get cupcakes in town (St. Cupcake is probably the most renowned), but making cupcakes on your own will demonstrate that you are intelligent enough to add eggs and oil to a powder and do simple math. Super appealing.

Talk about your glasses: There are a lot of glasses in Portland. Sunglasses. Prescription glasses. Fashion glasses. That light sensitive combo that middle-aged people like. I saw a high-school girl get off the bus the other day with huge black plastic frames, no lens, just going for it. It’s a statement on your face and it’s okay to talk about it. While Wayfarers are current champions in the game of life (especially in Portland) and will probably stay champions in a similar manner to Werner Herzog, Neil Young, and Converse, any glasses are okay to talk about. Just say something like, I like your glasses. If they are Wayfarers you can ask if they are Wayfarers or Wayfarers II. I personally have never been able to have that conversation because my “Wayfarers” are foreign, cheap imitations and that tends to kill the conversation. But you can bet someone will be into it.

Put dollars in their g-strings: Portland strippers are Portland girls too. While there is a high probability that they are only pretending to like you for tips, strippers are just like you and me. They too need love and affection and may also be seeking a relationship or a new friend. That said, you will probably see a higher return on investment if you stick to buying cupcakes (or drinks) and give them to girls who are not stripping.

June 9, 2010

It's an El Nino Year

So far it's been text book. Early start to winter (remember all the November snowstorms?), then dry nothingness, then the longest wettest spring ever. The whole thing typically lifts around July 1, so June is going to continue to be a warm, wet mess. I've never seen such a miserable start to summer. I've even been complaining a bit and I love Oregon weather in all its temperamental glory. The good news about all this (for snow sport enthusiasts) is that the Northwest usually has epic winters following an El Nino year. The bad news is that typhoons will be raging down south. At least, that's the pattern. And I should have a smoother segue-way developed for this, but it's early and I love this band so I'm just going to move on.
Typhoon. I can't stop listening to their latest: Hunger and Thirst. They are a Portland band that's been around for a few years, but were recently lauded as like, second best new band by Willamette Week. A seven to 14-member ensemble, they are gorgeous, playing Pick-a-thon in August, and my new favorite.

June 8, 2010

Clawhammer and Clothespin

I am growing old. Sam actually found a white hair attached to my scalp, like, the real thing. Grey hair. Horrible. And the thing is, I don't even feel like an adult yet. I mean, I have an adult job but I still rent (and have roommates), spend money haphazardly on rabbit-fur jackets, often drink more than a regulation glass of wine in an evening, eat cupcakes for dinner, and laugh at poop jokes.

So it's always kind of shock to me when my friends do adult things like open up a sweet vintage store with a gallery leaning, complete with art openings, bands, and the ability to take a credit card. But that's what happened. Margaux Rust and Lauryn Moore are the lovely proprietors of the relatively new Clawhammer and Clothespin, a well-planned shop with the right ratio of racks to floor space, curios, books, and men's and women's clothing. Clawhammer and Clothespin emerged from the duality of design and beauty, a philosophy you'll see in the clothing : no wolf sweatshirts and kitsch windbreakers, but a well-edited collection of classic clothing from a variety of eras. The shop is located on SE 36th and Division, open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 to 7. I went home with a few treasures, Jocelyn scored an amazing pair of boots (having medium-small feet kills my vintage shoe luck), and they had some beautiful insect art by Claire Siepser up and a great band playing (I will someday provide the name of this band, but not today).

June 7, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls

No, I have not jumped from the Good Ship Hetero. But I don't have any advice on picking up Portland boys and I am, above all other things, an observer. As an observer, I feel like I have witnessed my fair share of courtship in the wild and I feel like I can provide some really valuable pointers here. This is obviously not a comprehensive list, I imagine this to be an ongoing thing. I am compiling data. It's science.

Brooding and back from abroad: Yeah, this book that I'm reading is not an English book. It's actually a book written in Spanish. Yes. Yes, I read things in Spanish. I used to be a single-language person like yourself but then I went abroad. As in, I roamed another country on my motorcycle and used sign language and broken English to gather food, alcohol, and vague directions to tourist attractions. Yes, it was an amazing life-changing experience. My favorite memory? Oh, I don't know. There were so many. It was so wonderful and foreign. Why did I bring this book into a bar on a Friday night? Well, that's pretty obvious. To pick up girls.

Jukebox hero: What you choose on the jukebox is critical to the type of female you want to attract. If you are looking for slightly crazy and willing to shotgun a beer with you, then by all means play Holy Diver. If you are looking for classy with a slightly better record collection than yourself, I would go with some soul or perhaps something bluesy, Sam Cooke or The Animals. No Collective Soul or Live unless you are looking to reel in someone from Beaverton.

Moneybags: Seriously. Buy the lady a drink. I know this doesn't happen because everyone is unemployed and worse than that: cheap, but buying someone a drink is a nice thing to do and it means you get to talk to your victim for at least five minutes or so. Buying said drink may illicit a confused response but this is only because the lady in question has not had a drink purchased for her the entire time she has lived in Portland. In fact, the five minute rule probably doesn't even apply here. I wouldn't be surprised if she stayed by your side all night in the hopes of having yet another drink purchased for her. She would probably go home with you on principal. I don't know, I haven't seen it in practice because drink-buying chivalry is dead in this town.

June 4, 2010

New to Me

Whoa. Split Pea Vintage. Despite the American Apparel stylings (how awkwardly can I lean against this table? No, really, I'm super comfortable. Yes. Yes, I'm wearing mouse ears) this site has some gems. I just got a one-of-a-kind rabbit-paneled cotton jacket off here for a paltry sum. I'm usually not a fan of paying other people to find me cool clothing, but things are actually reasonable here and this jacket really was a gem. You'll see. And it's based in Canada. Canadians are so nice.

June 3, 2010

Neighborhood Favorites

I live in the King neighborhood in northeast Portland. I love it. It's quiet and there are harness hitches on the curbs, walking distance everything, MLK grime and noise a few blocks away for when I feel like riding the bus, Irving Park, Mississippi and Alberta shops and restaurants, and there is a great liquor store on Fremont and MLK with the bottles behind bars and these sassy older ladies that have no problem giving you a little friendly shit as you make your purchase.

Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia: King straddles Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Ainsworth Street to Fremont and is at one end of the Alberta Arts District, a commercial district where locally owned shops, galleries, and cafes have brought new life. Once predominantly black, the neighborhood has rapidly gentrified since the 1990s and attracted more young residents. Previously an area of high crime rates related to gang activity, poverty, and the crack epidemic of the 1980-1990s, King and other inner northeast neighborhoods have attracted buyers who could not afford housing in predominantly white areas.

Here are a few things I treasure in the neighborhood.

The view from my window.

Best creepy daycare sign ever.

I don't know the story behind these little plaster people. I do know that Huy and I were skating around one evening and we found them and were standing there laughing and a lady came out and was like, You gotta dollar? No? Well, pay up or keep on pushing.

June 2, 2010

The Fashion of Sasquatch

Okay, so I didn't do a great job with this. I had these grandiose schemes of taking a bunch of photos of people and jotting down their names and their favorite fruit or something but instead I frolicked around with loved ones, danced far too much, and didn't bring my camera charger.

I can tell you that headbands, face paint and feathers were huge. Seriously. The face paint thing was especially pervasive and probably the most awkward. It's one thing to add a little face flair to your howling wolf shirt, your jorts, your Sperrys and all those crazy pendants. In fact, it's kind of expected. But topping off your polo shirt-khaki pants-river sandals combo is a whole different ballgame. There was a lot of neon, a lot of capes, a lot of gold lame. See example below.

There were a lot of short-shorts. Apparently they are a right, not a privilege. I would say that the majority of people wearing short-shorts were female, but there were a lot of men who did not wish to be denied the caress of the breeze upon their thighs.

There was a lot of general spectacle. Sasquatch days are long days and most dress for function and comfort. However, a lot of people treat Sasquatch like an extended costume party. Like this guy. Note the face paint.

However, for every almost naked person (worst example was the girl storming around in a brown bikini and white athletic socks and running shoes) there was someone keeping things modest. Like the charming mom-butt ladies that set up in front of us for Camera Obscura. We were sitting, they were standing, we were laughing, they were toe tapping in oblivion.

Yes, those are homemade legwarmers held up by rubber bands. I don't know. But for every poor decision, there was someone running around looking adorable.

I wish I had more photos like that, but let's be honest, bad choices are funnier.