July 26, 2011

Poor Man's Missoni

I know not everyone loves when I talk about fashion (ahem, guys). But it's an important part of my life. While it may not appear that way (Hey Rachel, you're wearing jeans again. And a t-shirt. Really breaking some ground), I occasionally like to see what's going on in the high fashion world. It's times like these that I often get really sad about my life. One, because I'm short and high fashion is made for tall, willowy people with bony knees. Two, I will never be able to afford that stuff. Three, knock-offs of the really, really good stuff never make it to you and me. It just doesn't happen. By the time it filters down through ready-to-wear to the inspired-by styles that grace local, attainable hangers, it is often a sad, misshapen version of the glory it once was. Burberry trench to Victoria's Secret trench over a push-up bra to sad-sack trench in shiny, synthetic fabric that smells vaguely of plastic.

However, it is good to dream. And Missoni's Fall 2011 ready-to-wear is pretty dreamy. It's like Lisa Franke in water color. Cotton candy pastels, grunge cuts sweetened by embroidery, snakeskin bombers, sunset sweaters, flowing skirts, and those boots. The snakeskin galoshes are my favorite part.

I don't know if anything like those boots will ever end up in stores where I can afford to shop. But these Jeffrey Campbell Litas are probably your best bet for a general approximation of color and texture, though the silhouette is obviously a completely different ballgame. The only advantage is that these would get me a few inches closer to tall, though alas, without the willowy.

*photos from style.com

July 21, 2011

Something to do

I'm going to see Missile to the Moon tonight. That is, if it isn't raining. If it is raining, I will probably be inside somewhere, complaining about the weather. That's what I do now. I talk about the weather.

We saw Troll 2 last year at this very same rooftop movie series and it totally exceeded my expectations. The experience should be slightly different this year, as Filmusik is putting it on. Besides being oddly spelled (does it make you feel slightly exasperated when K is substituted for C for dramatic effect?) the group creates magical original performances combining film with live music, dubbing, and sound effects. Charissa's boyfriend Scott wrote an original score for Missile to the Moon and will be conducting tonight. Troll 2 did not have a live score. It was the original score and dialogue in all its glory: "Nilbog is goblin spelled backwards!!!! "I'm going to pee on our dinner!!!! Grandpaaaaa!" Anyway, I need to let go of Troll 2. It was great, but I'm sure Missile to the Moon will be great too.

Here's NW Film Center's synopsis:
In this wonderfully absurd sci-fi tale—definitely not made by rocket scientists—scientist Dirk Green catches a couple of escaped convicts hiding out in his backyard rocket ship and forces them to help pilot his ad-hoc flight to the moon. As plot thickening would have it, another scientist and his fiancée happen to climb on board at launch time too. After Green dies in a freak accident caused by a meteor shower, the makeshift crew finds there is cheesy life on the moon after all: oddly ambulatory rock-monsters, the sinister female ruler Ledo and her scantily clad moon-babes, and awesome giant spiders that look like they may have been made by inspired, but only moderately gifted, third graders.

I love third graders.

July 19, 2011

Seattle Ho!

I paid a visit to Alexa's new home a few weeks ago. True to form, I am only now posting about it, but it doesn't make the adventure any less special. Jocelyn and Ruby (her trusty canine companion) and Carin and I rode up in a cloud of glory, passing through some foreboding rain showers only to find a glorious sunset behind the skyline. As usual, I was starving and on the verge of panic by the time we arrived (I don't know why I don't keep an emergency stash of granola bars on me at all times). I sent Alexa a text telling her we were ten minutes away and that supper better be on the table. It was a joke of course, but one of those jokes that's not really a joke because you hope with all your heart that it's true. Her reply: Oh just you wait.

She greeted us with sangria and roasted root vegetables and we ate and drank and took over her kitchen and made it a miniature dance club. The floor was shaking. We then went out on the town but it was Pride Week and bars everywhere were stuffed to capacity and blasting techno. We made our own fun and admired some mid-century furniture along the way. The night closed out at a strange place with boys go-go dancing on cubes. I believe this was due to Pride, but I'm not actually sure. Either way, the evening was an adventure.

Saturday involved a wonderful brunch at Smith (by suggestion of Nate, one her roommates). He really came through. Check this place out. I am pretty proud of our breakfast spots in Portland, but Smith was a serious, serious contender. Dead animals on the wall, cutting board plates, bloody mary's filled with pickled vegetables, and really great food. I had the BLT and it is highly recommended.  We spent the rest of the day milling around, eating food, sitting in the sun in the backyard, and bbq'ing. Alexa and I ran to her local and took two of the worst photobooth shoots of all time. What an embarassment.

Sunday was coffee and reading in the sun at the cafe down the street, and then we caught the bus down to the Pride Parade to meet up with Carin. Drill routines, ribbon dancing, pony play, glitter, and pasties. For a very interesting recap of the Pony Play segment, please refer to Alexa's blog here and here. A description and a rebuttal. Fascinating stuff.

We made the trek back to Alexa's house and spent a few quiet moments in her kitchen booth with some mac n' cheese before making the trek back to Portland. I left with a expanded love for Seattle in my cold heart. Thanks to Alexa for a perfect time.

1. Seattle. Obviously. 2. Sleater-Kinney Road. That is rock history right there. 3 and 4. Haven't you ever wished that you could step through some shrubbery and find a magical world? Maybe we did. 5. Pride Parade flair. 6. We got friendship bracelets because we're friends. 7 and 8. We found Carin by the fountain. She was wearing her mermaid dress and she gave us glitter eyes.

July 18, 2011

American Beauty

It was Charissa's birthday yesterday*. She made a massive, three-story carrot cake bedecked with cream-cheese frosting and invited friends to meet her at Roadside Attraction to eat it. Charissa turns a year older and we get cake. It was a fantastic trade. To celebrate Charissa's birthday, I gave her a book that will help her age with grace and dignity. It's called The American Look-How It Can Be Yours.**

 This book includes gems like recommendations for regular massage from a home masseuse (masseurs are creeps), the ideal weight (100 lbs=5 foot woman, add three pounds for every inch above 5 feet and don't forget to subtract a few pounds from your allowance if you have a small frame), wrapping your hands in cold cream when performing the countless tasks around the house that require gloves (dishwashing, scrubbing, gardening, picking things up off the floor), and what to do if you get cellulite (she has no idea since she's thankfully never had cellulite). All this is supplemented by countless photos of her doing American things like running down the beach, posing in 80s workout gear with her leg up on a bar, lying on a chaise lounge with her surprisingly unattractive child Gaston, or just standing there, being fabulous.

I highly recommend it. If anything, it's great to know how much time you're saving by avoiding the American Look. If I ever wrote a beauty book, it would be very brief and to the point. It would involve recommendations like, "You don't need to wash your face!" and "Makeup is time-consuming!" and "Burritos are delicious!"

* Happy birthday!
** Check out this link if only for the review. It's priceless.
Photo from here

July 15, 2011

Consequences: A Drama in Three Parts, Part 3


Saturday dawned bright. Our only full day at Shi Shi, the day for leisurely breakfast, morning cocktails, tidepool exploration, swimming in the ocean, dancing in the sand. When life is this idyllic, it's only natural (from a dramatic story perspective) that tragedy is looming. As a foreboding David Lynchian soundtrack floated on the wind past our unhearing ears, we came up to the second camp to say hello. Nathan (Team Seattle), someone  I had met earlier that day when I was distracted by the task of turning 48 eggs into breakfast tacos, was lying in the sand against a piece of driftwood. His nose, his whole face really, was turning a garish shade of red. "Do you have any sunscreen?" I asked him. 
"They have some at camp, maybe."
"You should use some. It looks like you're burning."
He grunted an acknowledgment that communicated he wasn't a sunscreen kind of guy. I moved on. 

We spent the afternoon swimming, running up and down the beach, and had a quick lunch at the Seattle Camp before going back to Portland camp to rest and relax for a bit. I read a chapter of The Hobbit outloud. We had cocktail hour. And then we got dressed and prepared to head back down to Camp Seattle for dinner. Gabe and his crew were providing a hot dog and chili feast, and Camp Seattle had promised a massive bonfire. It was, indeed, a massive bonfire. Practically the size of a funeral pyre. We arrived to half-naked friends stoking a pyramid of driftwood taller than me. After roasting hotdogs on a smaller cooking fire, we moved to the bonfire which was now roaring merrily. We sat down on driftwood logs circled around the fire, passed whiskey around, and began story hour. This involved someone standing up and telling a story about someone else in the group. The person featured in the story was the next person to stand up and tell a story about someone else. The bonfire raged on. It was so hot you couldn't stand close enough to roast a marshmallow. 

It was then that Bob appeared. But no one saw him. Almost no one heard him. He might have passed unnoticed but for the events left in his wake. He slouched into our circle, looked into our eyes, and whispered in Nathan's sunburnt ear, "Firewalk with meeeeee." And so Nathan did. In an act of bravado (and stupidity), Nathan attempted to run up one of the half-burnt logs that leaned across the bonfire. He did not succeed. He half-fell, dropped a foot down, and managed to get to the other side. Seconds later, Greg did the same slightly more successfully. What followed was loss, darkness, mayhem. Nathan surrounded by his friends in the far-off low tide, his moans, the night pressing in, the fire burning pitilessly. 

The story comes fragmented. Some of us had already gone back to the Portland camp, some were lost to whiskey, some to fear and helplessness. I saw his blackened shin but his foot was only half in the light and covered in sand. At a loss, I went back to camp and fell asleep in my tent. Darci and Caitlin stayed up through the night and pouring water over his burns. Greg lay in his tent whimpering, his feet burned as well, but not so badly. Someone's cell phone and a call to 911. The Coast Guard and Search and Rescue came down through the forest on ATVs, I imagine them looking like the men searching for E.T. in the forest, all flashing lights and noise in the night. A helicopter was called and circled over the beach at sunrise, took Nathan away around six in the morning. We woke up to mangled stories and confusion. Darci's description to the dispatcher: "Nathan, earmuffs." He covered his ears. "It looks like a dead person's foot."

The happy ending to the story is that he's okay in the he-will-live sense. There are the bills for Flight for Life, the hospital stay, and skin grafts that will come later, but alive and in debt is probably better than loss of a foot to gangrene. Another positive is that it's quite probable that he will never make this exact mistake again. One can hope that his firewalking days are over; he walked and came through on the other side.

July 14, 2011

Consequences: A Drama in Three Parts, Part 2


Shi Shi is epically beautiful. Rock formations, sandy beaches, a strangely diffused light similar to those scenes in movies when people think that they've died and they talk to a loved one for awhile who's all lit up and glowing and gives really great advice. We arrived, laden with heavy packs, to find real sunshine. This feels like a miracle on the Olympic Peninsula. We set up our camp, jumped in the ocean, and watched the sunset while some of Team Portland prepared dinner on an open fire.

I should probably explain how this worked. The Shi Shi Beach trip had its humble beginnings three years ago. I had been dreaming about checking out the Olympic Peninsula and brought it up with John-Robert (JR) who lives in Seattle. JR had been weaned on tales of his dad wandering around at Shi Shi Beach and we decided to follow through. The original group: Gabe, JR, Darci, Alexis and I, set out from Seattle and spent one night at Shi Shi. We loved it. We vowed to go back. Last year we expanded to two cars (one from Seattle and one from Portland) and spent two nights. Each of us were responsible for a shared meal for the group and we ate incredibly well all weekend and fell in love with food sharing. Fast forward to this year. Twenty-five people. Madness. Mayhem. We had a group coming from Portland and a group coming from Seattle, six cars, and still were attempting to plan shared meals in an organized fashion. Team Seattle did not seem as in to the idea of food sharing but this was only assumed on our part due to their lack of internet presence. There was talk of eating members of Team Seattle if things went awry.

Team Seattle had set up a camp a mile and half down the beach from where we settled. This worked out well, as there are various rules in place to preserve the pristine nature of Shi Shi. They came down to dinner and we sat around the campfire and told stories and talked. It was a modest fire. It was getting late and clouds were rolling in from the ocean when Jocelyn turned to me and said, "This makes me think of Bob."

The conversation turned to Jocelyn repeating, "Fire walk with meeeeee" in a creepy voice while I made various high-pitched noises of discomfort.

I hope you've seen Twin Peaks. It's great. Bob is basically evil incarnate and appears as this hideous grey-haired figure who appears in visions, nightmares, and mirrors. Lynch makes this character move incredibly, unnaturally fast, snapping his teeth and growling, and the whole effect is something straight out of a bad dream. Let's not make too little of this. David Lynch is the king of foreshadowing. Why this five second long still of the lacquered box on the mantle? Why close the scene with a zoom into her glassy eyes? Why would Jocelyn think of Bob? It always has meaning. You just have to pay attention.

July 13, 2011

Consequences: A Drama in Three Parts, Part 1


There comes a time in everyone's life when they make a really stupid decision and have to face the consequences. For some this comes late in life, for others it comes early. I have made many stupid decisions in my day. Sometimes I have received punishment in direct measure to the crime, and other times I have managed to squeak by without measurable effect. The Fates are fickle.

The first time I truly remember being punished for my actions was when I was about four years old. We still lived at the first house I ever knew, in St. Helens. I was eating cereal for breakfast and my dad was sitting across from me at the table. I feel like he may have been reading the newspaper. I'm not sure. What I do know was that I was also drinking apple juice. I had finished my cereal and left the sugary milk in the bottom of the bowl. I didn't enjoy drinking leftover cereal milk, something my parents forced me to drink so that my bones would be the sturdy pillars of health they are today. In direct defiance, I poured my apple juice into my milk. "Look," I piped up, "I mixed them." I'm not sure what I expected. Probably a pat on the head and suggestion to go play. What I received was a steely glare. 

"You will finish that." I'm sure I responded in some negating fashion. "You will finish that before you leave the table."

After many protests and the horrible realization that my dad was sticking to his guns, I took a sip. Do you know what apple juice and milk mixed together tastes like? Shit. It totally tastes like shit. I drank the whole thing.

The great thing (or perhaps the sad thing) about mistakes, is that the possibilities are endless. While I never mixed apple juice and cereal milk together again (and thankfully have never tasted that concoction since), I continue to find creative ways to do stupid things. I'm pretty sure that most people experience this unless you are so boring that you hardly do anything at all.

My friends are not boring. It is quite likely that Shi Shi Beach has never witnessed a debacle like the one it saw last weekend. We had our annual Shi Shi Beach camping trip last weekend, and while it was beautiful, joyful, and otherwise magical, not all of us escaped unscathed.

Tune in tomorrow and prepare yourself for a lot of Twin Peaks references.

July 12, 2011

How an empire is built

I think you know how much I love Jeffrey Campbell shoes. They're crazy and wonderful and well-built. The creative finishes, huge platforms, and the sometimes strong resemblance to other, much more expensive designer shoes* (I would never say knock-off) means that I am constantly admiring and oftentimes purchasing yet another pair. At times my devotion to a particular pair of shoes has a resembled an odd religious fervor, even obsession. The term cult-status is not far off the mark: the popular models sell out in days and people start distributing them on Ebay at substantially raised prices; I'm not the only person who loves this brand. But like any empire, they couldn't just leave it at shoes, they had to keep building. Jeffrey Campbell is making bags now. Why not?

Of course this bag has color and fringe, the two things I like most in a bag. I'm doomed.

July 7, 2011

Summer Cover

I spent a lot of time in the sun during  Fourth of July weekend and it was totally glorious. Two river trips and a visit to the coast. Sun all day every day. But I burned my skin. A lot. My face, my arms, my legs, pretty much everything that was exposed. It's turning to tan now and is a necessary step of Oregon Summer but I feel a bit guilty due to things like skin cancer and wrinkles. I am going to start wearing more hats to circumvent this problem. This is my new dream hat:

It's by Stetson (so classic) and looks pretty much perfect. Cool, straw, nice straight brim (didn't you hate those janky cowboy hats with the crazy creased brims that were featured so prominently in Abercrombie and Fitch ads and photos of fratboys at Shasta? I did. I still do).

Also, I have two new obsessions:

1. I am officially obsessed with surfing. Before Fourth of July Weekend I felt like surfing was something that was kind of fun, but I was unusually daunted by the whole thing. I liked it but in a really grudging, hand-wringing kind of way. The wetsuit, the carrying of the board, the paddling, the avoiding of other people surfing, the tides, the whole thing. Sam would be giddy with joy and I would be, well, nervous mostly. But that changed. We had a sunny day out there and I felt like I was making progress and popping right up and paddling into things rather than just being pushed around. I want to go right now.

2. Watermelon juice. It's amazing! You just throw a bunch of watermelon in the blender and suddenly it's a delicious cooling juice. I drank it straight. I made alcoholic beverages with it. We used it to make melon jungle juice for a jungle juice party and won a prize. I will drink watermelon juice from now until you just can't buy watermelon anymore.

July 6, 2011

Sasquatch's Last Stand: The Journey

This truly was the last year I will go to Sasquatch (though, if the perfect storm of bands were coming through, I could probably be convinced to go for a day or two. But I would be pissed about it). Anyway, things were made extra special by the attendance of one Killian McKilroy and one Bryan Davis, two old friend who hadn't been in these parts for a fair amount of time. I traveled with them up to the gorge and Killian took a bunch of photos with his sweet new camera. You can see some of them in this post. He's a good photographer. I still haven't developed my film, so at some point this summer you will see a few more stories and hear a few more tales relating to Sasquatch.

As it was, we hopped in a rental car and traveled up the mighty Columbia. The weather had been pretty crap in Portland, so it was nice to escape the rain and slowly make our way into the more sun-soaked east. It was a relatively uneventful ride. We did stop at a rest stop completely overrun with incredibly tame, obese squirrels. We stopped to watch a few people feed them Cheez-Its, marveling at the creepiness of it all and feeling mild disdain for the sort of people who would feed squirrels crackers at rest stops. I left Bryan and Killian with the people and the squirrels while I went to the bathroom. By the time I had come back the people had left and the boys had taken their place. The tables had turned. We were now the freaks holding Cheez-Its in our hands, filled with glee whenever a squirrel came close and ate a crumb out of our hands. There is video proof of this.

We eventually continued on, but not before contributing to the inevitable premature death of several squirrels by snack-food. Additional stops included Replica Stone-Hedge (worth a stop), a gas station where I purchased a neon worm toy that smelled of lemon Pledge and a toy cellular phone with a kitty/puppy hologram on it, and an abandoned house surrounded by gnarled trees straight out of Tim Burton movie. Killian picked up a tick. I thankfully did not. We rolled into Wildhorse Campground triumphantly (we did get lost for a while but not before seeing a double rainbow) and claimed our place in camp.

July 5, 2011


Sam's birthday was last week. Specifically Thursday. I gave him a pair of desert boots. He's been dreaming of those boots for awhile now and I feel pretty great about making a dream happen. I'm like Sam's personal Make-a-Wish-Foundation. Without the cancer element. Sam has given me shoes (you may remember the Christmas Tom's booties), and I'm pleased that we're a couple that gives each other shoes. I mean, I never say no to shoes.

He had to work on Tuesday night so I began Stage 1 of an elaborate plot. There is really nothing better than an elaborate plot. It started on Tuesday. After accordion class I went home and started making icecream pie (my mom used to make this all the time, and it is always a hit). Liz came over to watch me make pie and more importantly,  so that we could talk about our lives, Ayn Rand, Janeane Garofalo, and old people. I realized, once I had cookie crumbs flying all over the place, that Sam had left a note saying the plumber had finally fixed our sink and we couldn't use it. So I had to figure out a way to clean up the evidence without using water. That wasn't really possible, so I had to improvise using the bathroom sink and a lot of paper towels. There were dark chocolate cookie crumbs everywhere and random dismantled pieces of the food processor shedding evidence everywhere. Eventually we got it under control, Liz spirited the pie away and Stage 1 was complete.

Stage 2 commenced on Thursday. Sam had to work at Mulligans on Hawthorne. We gathered at a bar down the street (with the aforementioned icecream pie) and then proceeded to Mulligans in a small parade lead by me and the icecream pie. It was kind of melty and the candles were leaning, but when we busted into Mulligans singing Happy Birthday in our shrillest voices, the overall presentation could not have been better. Sam's regulars were impressed, the pie was delicious, and I think, for a workday, that Sam had a pretty decent birthday. I love orchestrating surprises. Any excuse for an icecream pie.

July 1, 2011

To Do:

1. BBQ

2. Hawaiian-themed, jungle juice soaked, going-away party for Micheal and Jacquelyn

3. Skateboarding

4. Go to Sky High so that I can jump around in a trampoline room filled with like-minded adults who wish to celebrate Sam's birthday by jumping

5. Watch Buddy Guy play the guitar at the Blues Festival with my dad

6. Surfing

7. Play the color game

Have a great Fourth of July weekend!