July 29, 2010

He Said/She Said

I'm going to Back Fence PDX tonight. I went to the holiday special last winter and it was highly enjoyable; there is not enough story-telling in the world. The conceit of this particular evening is that two people will be telling the same story from their own perspective. It should be good.

My co-worker and I were talking about it and she was particularly excited about the brother/sister combo. Which got me thinking about my relationship with my brother. We get along great. Now. There was a time, a really brief amount of time (about 10 years) that we hated each other's guts. There is a particular moment that I recall as the crowning moment of our hatred, and perhaps even, the catharsis that we needed to resolve our differences.

I was in the living room, the television was on, and there was something I really wanted to watch, probably Murder She Wrote. I asked Laurence to change the channel. He wouldn't. He exhibited shocking defiance and disdain for my obvious superiority as the older sister. I then told him that he could at least pick up all his stuff that was scattered about the living room. I picked up his shoes and prepared to do something with them (probably put them away, but possibly throw them into the garbage can). I looked up to see this look, this horrible shadow of rage pass over his face and I knew I was totally screwed. I abandoned the shoes and sprinted down the stairs, my brother in hot pursuit. My plan was to escape to the bathroom and lock the door until he resumed normal form, but like some cheap horror movie, he caught me right as the door was closing and burst through. What happened then could be described as a fist fight, though it should be noted that he never actually punched me because I am a girl. We shoved each other around, knocked the shower door off its hinges, bled a little bit, etc. He ended up with a blue eye (not quite a shiner) and a long scratch down his forehead (I don't know how that happened, I'm not a scratcher). And then it was over. I immediately felt better, lighter, amused even. He glowered. I apologized. I drove us to a friend's house to meet our parents for a BBQ. The story was relayed and my parents shook their heads (no doubt deeply embarrassed), and then they took a photo of his face. His sullen, bruised-up, scratched face. And we slowly became friends again.

I would like him to post his version of the story (to be continued . . .), but you may have to settle for asking him yourself. I'm sure he'll be willing to defend his side of the matter.

July 28, 2010


Yesterday afternoon you would have found me sitting on the 834 porch with all my friends sipping white wine in the midst of an R. Kelly Remix to Ignition sing-along. It was like an advertisement. I'm not sure what we were selling, but I'm pretty sure you all would want to buy it.

In a similar vein, we were discussing Ginuwine's Pony and the blog that exists solely to document all the people out there on Youtube that like to put on the aforementioned song, prop up their digital camera, and film the shit out of their dance moves. Look.

July 27, 2010

Tipping Point

My shoe buying moratorium is over! These are rushing to my doorstep right now. I have been dreaming of them* for months and in a matter of days I will be able to stomp around in these things and intimidate people with my incredible height like Godzilla or Yao Ming or some other freakish creature. They are the shoe fantasy of Morticia Adams and Elton John's dutch love child. Be prepared to be terrified.

P.S. I sent a link of these to Kyle Arthur a while ago and asked him what he thought. He said they looked like Chinese footbinding shoes (in other words, hideous). I told him to judge me if I suddenly showed up wearing them because I was on a no-shoe buying responsibility kick and was in need of some moral reinforcement.

P.P.S. Kyle Arthur. I know I said I wouldn't buy them, but this was before I elected not to have surgery. Prior request has been nullified.

* They are Jeffrey Cambell's 99. Sold out everywhere. Based on the far more pricey Acne wedge. Got them off Ebay.

July 26, 2010


So, I went to this dance party down at Produce Row (super random, but they've remodeled and have a sweet patio now) and it was really fun. Surprisingly fun. Apparently these things happen in LA all the time and while I'm not prone to enjoy things that come out of LA, this provided excellent music, amazing people watching, summer evening dancing, and quality time with some of my favorites.

The people watching was really choice. Definitely a younger crowd, lots of good fashion choices, lots of bad fashion choices, blatant pot smoking, awkward dancing, sangria swilling, etc. Which leads me to identify some classic dance party archetypes that were out in full-force last night. Thank you for being you.

Sweaty Dancing Guy:
There's always that one guy that shows up early and leaves late, he's right up front, super stoked for every song, and gets all worked up for the big transitions, with lots of hand waving, jumping and double fist pumping (DFP). Exemplified last night by purple shirt beard guy.

Totally Awesome Cool People Power Couple: Is this a good song? Well, that awesome couple is nodding to the beat so it must be. There was this couple last night, she had an afro, he never smiled, and they looked amazing.

Almost Naked Girl: I don't know how her shirt stayed on, but she was dancing all night and I never actually saw nipple, so she did something right. Maybe tape was involved.

Awkward Couple: Ugh. They always end up on the dance floor, in your way, just like, wrapped up on each other, dropping drinks, and making out. Why can't they do that in the corner? There were two of these at the party and they were constantly up in my business. I was like honey to the flies. The mating flies.

I Can't Dance: There was one girl that just kind of jumped up and down all night, regardless of the beat. It was pretty awesome.

Incongruous People
: It's nice when people are fashionable but it's refreshing when people don't give a shit. This one guy had a large glass sherlock that he kept pulling out and he was wearing New Balance trail runners. Huy and I were created some dialogue for him: I just went hiking in the Gorge. It was super difficult. You wouldn't be able to do it in your shoes. There was also an athlete in track and field gear. She was dancing exuberantly and we think she was a javelin thrower (is there a term for this? Javelinist? Javeliner?).

Anyway, this event is happening again on August 22. It was fun. Check it out.

July 22, 2010

Reading with Faulkner (Or Some Other Drunkard)

So, this is more of a question than anything. What is with all these people that read in bars? I keep seeing people (mostly men, but sometimes ladies) posting up alone at some table in some noisy bar and they're sitting there, sipping an IPA and reading a book. And what I'm wondering here, is whether or not this is actually a passive-aggressive pick-up technique. I mean, I know that when I am reading, I don't want to talk to people. That's why I'm reading. Because I feel like reading and not like talking. But there's the bar thing. Bars are noisy and socially lubricated. They are not conducive to concentration. People sitting by themselves are fair game for some random leering sot who feels like conversation and a little thing like a book is not going to save you. If you want to read in peace you can read in a park or your home, or any number of places. You may argue that one can't buy beer in a park. This is true. But you can buy beer in a store and take it to a park. So, what I'm thinking is that these people are just sitting there, with their book, hoping that someone will talk to them. Is the book just a pick-up accessory, like a puppy or intense cleavage? Does anyone have insight on this?

July 21, 2010

Oh no

American Apparel appears to be on a quest to fill the world with mom-butt. I'm really not sure why this is happening but I imagine something kind of like this:

Two women (top designers/sales girls/models) are sitting in a 70s porn style family room/office. Wood paneling and beige carpet. One wears jeggings and a crop top. The other is in boat shoes, bloomers and one of those crazy plastic visors that old Asian ladies wear. Designer A does a small bump off the formica coffee table.

A: You know what would be really funny?
B: What?
A: If we did early 90s American suburban pants. Like, high-waisted sweatpants and awkward pegged slacks. You know that cut of jeans that you can't even give away at a thrift shop? It's like, vaguely familiar because their moms were wearing them throughout their childhood. It's like going back to the womb.
B: But everyone in the world will have long flat butts.
A: And that bothers you?
B: Actually, it doesn't. Let's do turtlenecks next! Remember thin cotton turtlenecks?
A: One step at a time, my young apprentice. One step at a time.

July 20, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls V

The fifth installment of an incredibly insightful series on finding love in Portland.

With Great Power: If you are in a band (like, a good band, not some amateur hour living room thing that covers Stone Temple Pilot) then you don’t need advice on picking up girls. Because they come to you. Same thing applies to professional athletes, artists, and maybe even the really good-looking baristas and bartenders at Portland hot spots. Is it a curse? Probably not. But the sort of girl that comes to you may not be the sort of girl you want to hang out with. No matter what, it’s in your best interest to be a considerate, responsible human being. A Portland girl scorned can be creatively vindictive and this town is just not that big. The last thing you want is hand-drawn posters of your horrible genital herpes posted on telephone poles all over the eastside.

Tattoos: Crucial Portland accessory. They won’t set you apart (unless you don’t have them), but like clothing and general demeanor they give people a jumping off point from which to characterize* you. Aesthetically there are several realms you can visit. The humor tattoo (ironic or otherwise): animals smoking bongs, random household objects, your face. The traditional tattoos: Often seen in sleeves, sailor stuff, Japanese koi, waves, flowers, death metal shit, etc. The tattoos with meaning: Something you got in remembrance of a moment, a person, a time in your life; could be your hometown and a phoenix rising from the ashes of said hometown. The tattoo parlor specials: straight off the wall and on to your arm, tends to be butterflies or tribal. I can say with confidence that a majority of Portland girls are not into guys with tribal tattoos. They just aren’t. It’s like tanning and hair gel. Doesn’t work here. I have also heard from someone with real-life experience that full sleeves makes you more appealing. I don’t really have any advice on the tattoo front but I don’t recommend getting full sleeves just to meet girls (you’re better off buying a puppy).

Bachelor Pad: Okay, let’s say you’ve managed to lure your subject back to your home. You probably asked her if she wanted to come over and watch a DVD. That’s fine. Whatever it takes. She knew what you meant. But let’s check the scene. Is the kitchen filled with a week’s worth of dishes? A 20-deep stack of various male-centric magazines on the back of the toilet? Have you been using newspaper as sanitary paper for the past week? Are there sheets on the bed? These things matter if you are looking for repeat visits. We like to be able to sit down on a piece of furniture in your home and not feel like we are about to be infected with something. We like toilet paper. I’m not saying it has to be spotless. I do not live in a spotless home. Most of my friends don’t either. But if you are having a lady friend over, you should give her the impression that you are a functioning adult, not a dirty little boy that masturbates every time you visit the bathroom.


July 15, 2010

Keeping It Organized

Those of you who hang out with me on a semi-regular basis know that I can be kind of a mess. Not like food and drink spilled down my front mess (though that can happen), but a generally disorganized, can't find what I'm looking for, rummaging through my purse, running through the house frantically, chronic double exiter. (Double exiter: You know how some people run out the door with a quick see you later and then come back sheepishly 55 seconds later to grab whatever it is they forgot?) So I thought it might interest you to see how organized I can be when it comes to camping. I even took meeting minutes, typed them up and sent them to the group. Here they are:

Ron Toms, 5:30
Attendees: Rachel Wright, Charissa Robbins, Kyle Arthur, Darci Leffler, Sarah Anderson
I had a french dip and a glass of white wine. Both were delicious. Sarah (Gabe's fill-in) and Darci also had the same sandwich. Darci's salad had an abundance of dressing. Charissa and Kyle did not have food, but did consume multiple beers and water. Let the record show that the patio was relatively shaded and not at all crowded. Gabe briefly attended via iphone. And so it begins. . . . .

Transportation: We are going to rent a minivan for this adventure. Kyle Arthur has volunteered to be the renter of the van and put his credit card in harm's way. The van is $280 for the weekend plus the cost of gasoline (is that right Darci?). I'm not sure exactly how we're working out division of cost, as Darci and John-Robert will be participating in the van ride from Seattle to Shi Shi, but not the entire journey. But you can expect total transportation cost to be around $70. Let's make sure we all contribute so Kyle Arthur (unemployed) doesn't get screwed.

Schedule: Portland departure at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. I imagine you Westsiders will meet up on your corner and can swing by and pick up Charissa and I. Seattle arrival around 9? Seattle departure around 9? Shi Shi departure around 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning so that we can get back to Portland at a reasonable hour.

Food: Okay. We divided up meals and as there are only so many meals, JR and Andrew are on snack duty. John-Robert- I have a s'mores request but obviously you can do whatever you want. I have a small frying pan and a small pot that I will bring for cooking (a couple more pots would probably be helpful in cooking for seven). Bring whatever else you will need to cook your meal. Also, we will have two camp stoves (me and Kyle Arthur). I'm probably going to do another pasta dish.

Friday Dinner: Rachel
Saturday Breakfast: Charissa
Saturday Lunch: Kyle Arthur
Saturday Dinner: Darci
Sunday Breakfast: Gabe (also, perhaps traditional cheese and salami)
Car Snacks: Andrew
Camp Snacks: John-Robert

Drink: Kyle Arthur is going to be bringing some mini bottles of booze (he loves those). Charissa is going to bring a bottle of whiskey. We may need more whiskey. Kyle Arthur mentioned bringing beer as well, and maybe carrying in a cooler.


Bear Bucket: John-Robert. Will we need two?
Everyone: Your own plate/bowl/food receptacle and utensils
Everyone: Gallon of water
Tents, sleeping bags, etc.: I have a tent that will fit three. Charissa and I will be in it, with room for one more if need be. How is everyone else on that front?
Toys: Darci is bringing frisbee, speakers and ipod
Water filter: JR?
Camp stuff: I have some pans, camp soap, a little cutting board
Coffee: Charissa is taking charge of the coffee front

Miscellaneous: I think that's about it. Bring clothing for all weather but hopefully it will be nice. Bathing suits. Insect repellent. Please pipe up if I've forgotten everything. Don't forget some cash for the ferry. CDs for the minivan. Cards? Travel scrabble? Ooooh. We should bring some musical instruments!


July 14, 2010

I throw something

I am not so good at throwing things. I do that limp wrist, arm-flail that is peculiar to girls and nerds with glasses. Sometimes I play catch with my dad and my brother and they egg me on and snicker when I attempt to huck a football at them. On Fourth of July we were discussing my throwing skills and eventually a demonstration was requested. This is what happened.

July 13, 2010

I'm totally going to pay ten dollars to see this

So, you know how things are the morning after you throw a big house party? You're sitting around rehashing the evening and everything's funny and a few remnant friends are complaining about your tiny couches (Kyle! It's a chaise lounge) and someone (Charissa) is making waffles and bacon and there are beer cans and keg cups on every available surface and somehow only the best kind of conversation can occur. Charissa and I discovered our mutual love for Adrian Brody after our last party and it was this huge revelation. And then we went and saw A-Team. That was a bad choice and I don't really want to talk about it, but the best thing was the trailer that preceded it. And look who's in it.

July 12, 2010

Summer Weekend

Following a somewhat surgical procedure rendered harmless with various pharmaceuticals, I proceeded to have the sort of weekend one can only have in Portland in the summer. Liz and Jesse swooped me up and we had balcony drinks up in NW before heading to SanSai Japanese Grill (539 NW 21st) and ordering a sushi boat. So exciting. It really was a boat filled with sushi. There was a little mast and a little net sail and a little rudder. All food should come in boats.

On Saturday I wandered around with Caitlin at the Mississippi Street Fair and debuted the Star Wars dress to much positive response. So much to do: scavenged free samples from various locations, checked out each booth before making the ultimate food decision, margaritas at Mississippi Pizza, african drumming heckling, Dirty Mittens, epic people watching, earring hunting, and a game of giant Jenga in the beer garden (this is where the dress comments really came pouring in. Definitely received one of these: Use the Force!) And yeah, I tipped the tower. This was topped by the Thao/Mirah show at Mississippi Studios. If you don't listen to Thao you probably should.

And Sunday. Carin made me blueberry pancakes and then we floated the Clackamas from McIver Park to Barton Park. She has a teal and purple two-man raft with a small hole in one of the side panels. That section of the Clackamas is great. There are enough little rapids, waves and rocks to make things exciting, with long flat drifts in the sun between. And while the side panel was flat by the time we rolled in, our expert rafting skills were unhindered. Carin rushed back to Portland to catch the sunset at Skidmore Bluffs and I lurked in front of the Barton Mercantile and ate a hotdog.

July 9, 2010

Three Things

1. I was walking back to work after lunch and I saw this little sign stuck in the ground. It said FREE! Next to it was a plastic bottle of mustard.

2. Last night we caught the sunset at Skidmore Bluffs. Standard scene: kids lying around on blankets swilling tall boys and blowing smoke while participating in witty conversation.The occasional couple eating corn. Lone wolves reading in the last patch of sun. And then these two girls appeared. One was wearing a red sports bra, blue daisy dukes, and little boy striped cotton socks. The other was in brown and black. They did lunges all the way through the park, the girl in brown trailing uncertainly and lacking the coordination of her aerobics instructor companion. All the kids stopped drinking and stared, beer still dripping from their mustaches. We were like, Is this irony? Is this art? The girls moved on to arm circles and neck rolling. Finally Charissa decided they were just like, exercising.

3. There's this crazy house up the street from us. They tore a large portion of it down and are building an incongruous new section with huge rooms and a strange balcony. There is still a weird little playhouse in the back and there's always lots of scrap lumber piled haphazardly out front. I passed by on my bike this morning and this woman was in the midst of all this working on her feet with a pumice stone.

July 8, 2010

See This

I saw the best show last night.

Sleepy Sun played Mississippi Studios last night with Tu Fawning and it was one of those trifectas of fate: (1) Had the show marked on my calendar but am always on the fence about weekday shows due to work, (2) was invited by a new friend, and (3) received an inspiring text from Alexis up in Seattle telling all her Portland friends that we should check it out. So I did. And I got my dad to come into town, and Liz and Jesse came, and we sat on the porch and had drinks with lots of ice in them and then went down and listened to so much good music (I am focusing on Sleepy Sun here, but Tu Fawning was awesome as well).

And I love Mississippi Studios. I have yet to see a bad show there, the acoustics are flawless, the atmosphere all red and gold and dark and close and if you sit on the balcony you have a perfect view of the band and can actually see what's going on (as a short person I have given up seeing what happens at shows and just dance in the back and smile at my friends).

The guitarists were amazing, the male vocalist tore up the harmonica, and the female vocalist was this little stick girl in red pants leaping around and waving her arms and at times I thought she would fall over but she never did and was always somehow on time and she had the most amazing voice. She was also the random percussionist and at one point she did a recorder solo. I pretty much died right then.

Here's a sample. I've listened to them for awhile but they are a million times better live. You'll just have to see them.

July 7, 2010

In the Water?

So, this weird thing happened that may or may not be a miracle. It happened in Utah so I am prone to think that it was not a miracle. I like to think miracles don't happen in Utah. But, here it is. My knee is better. I have no idea why. The week before the Utah trip my knee was so bad that I couldn't take a walk around the block without limping. It hurt to bike. It hurt to do anything. I assumed that I would be officially crippled by the end of my pygmy rabbit excursion, as the whole week would be spent hiking up and down rocky shrub-steppe hills. But something happened. It may have been the two nights in row that I had my dinner at Rice King Chinese Buffet (so embarrassing, the same people were working both night and they remembered us). It may have been all that hiking somehow shifted something back to the appropriate place in my knee. But I got back to Portland and it still doesn't hurt. I have run twice since I've been back. I skated on the Fourth of July. It kind of feels like a miracle and I may not have surgery (which would be awesome). But I don't know. I am going to be testing it out (running, skating, dancing) for the next two weeks and then I am going to decide. Fingers crossed.

July 6, 2010

How to Pick Up Portland Girls IV

The nice thing about Portland is that there is someone here for everyone. The myriad personalities/obsessions/lifestyles ensure that there is a lady out there that you can bond with over something. That something may be your vegan-Buddhist lifestyle, your tall bike, or a mutual love of Four-loko. That said, here are a few angles that have not seen much success in the field.

You are a teenage girl trapped in a male body: The new Twilight movie came out today? No, I didn't know that. No, I'm not into them. I mean, I've seen them. And I laughed. Yeah, I realize they were filmed in the Northwest. You're from the Northwest and you love them because of the scenery? Listen, Goonies was filmed here too. Just saying.

Hall and Oates: Man Eater is great song. Rich Girl is a great song. There are probably some other hits that I can't think of right now. I especially like the Man Eater video. Mostly for the cheesy fade-out editing effects. And that hair. But the fact that you played in a band that once toured with Hall and Oates is not working in your favor with the 30 and under crowd.

Sweating: From what I can tell, your interests are lawn games and sweating. I like lawn games as much as the next person. Croquet is great and sometimes I can be persuaded into throwing things and catching them (well, maybe not catching). But you are sweating so much that even the tops of your shoulders are sweating, like crazy sweat epaulets and it's freaking everyone out.

July 2, 2010

Day Four

Yeah, July Fourth. Every Fourth is different but fun is always the major ingredient. There was the soda bottle/dry ice/water bomb moment that involved the neighbors coming over and telling us that we had turned their baby into Helen Keller and we were like, What? It's Fourth of July and it's five in the afternoon! and we bbq'ed and played with sparklers and I made everyone beer coozies out of newspaper and duct tape, and we went down to the Hawthorne Bridge and played the Color Game (this involves identifying the color of the firework in real time. Example: Red! Blue! Green! Red!) and then we went downtown to the Greek Cuisina when it still had the big purple octopus hanging off the side and we threw ourselves right in the middle of the dance floor and were definitely the only white people and were dancing in our unabashed white people ways and we ended up going to a squatter's party in the building where the Made in Oregon sign is and some of us climbed up that sign while some of us swung around on this giant swing and talked to people with mono-dreads and we ate mashed potatoes and gravy and jumped off rocks into the Washougal wearing bathing suits with Russian spy hoods and biked down hills in the dark and got flat tires and limped home happy.

And some of you may recognize that this is a medley of multiple Fourths that I've had the good fortune to experience with you in Portland because you were there too.

July 1, 2010

What to do when you're in Japan ni

Night Bus: If you snowboard and you're there in winter you should totally do this. Seriously. Snowboarding in Japan is so much fun. I actually thought I was over snowboarding after a couple winters in Colorado and then I went out there and found renewed love and faith in the powers of snowboarding. The mountains are great and perhaps due to the fact that nobody rides trees out there, you feel like you are an explorer. When you duck a rope you don't have tracks to follow, you just have to go for it and hope you end up back at a chair.
The Night Bus leaves from Shinjuku Station around 10 p.m. You get on this totally crowded bus and it drives through the night. The bus will be really, really warm. Painfully so. You may drink heavily in the hopes of passing out. If you do fall asleep you will wake suddenly to realize you are sweating profusely and drooling. You won't fit in the seat. Japanese people have the uncanny ability to sleep anywhere (you will see this on trains all the time. They fall completely asleep sitting up and then manage to wake right before their stop). They will all be sleeping peacefully. The bus will stop randomly at travel centers with enormous restrooms, snacks, local delicacies, and an all-night ramen shop. Everyone will eat ramen in five minutes and get back on the bus. You will arrive at your destination around 6 a.m. You will get off the bus and someone will hand you your boardbag and unfortunately you will feel like someone beat you with a bar of soap in a sock. You will then go to the lodge and put on your snowboarding gear. If you are a girl you will watch all the girls put a lot of makeup on. I don't know what you will watch if you're a boy. Probably lots of dynamic stretching. You will then go out and snowboard all day. Duck ropes. It's the best part. Explore. No one ducks ropes so sometimes you will find something awesome and sometimes you will end up in a ravine and have to negotiate a series of dams. Don't drop your board in the water. You may have to hike around a large reservoir. That's okay too. Eat a huge Japanese lunch. Go out after lunch and find the park. It may be middling but it will still be fun. Take some family photos. Hike something in-bounds. Ride the last chair and run down to lodge, change, buy a couple chu-hi for the ride home and get on the bus. Nap. Arrive in Shinjuku just before last train and catch your train home.