September 30, 2011

This Contest is Haunted

Hey friends. You are creative and talented and attractive and you love Halloween as much as I do. Time to express your creativity and general delight in the macabre with the first annual This Contest is Haunted. Send me your original scariest stories and photographs for the chance to be a crowned a Champion of Horror (just like Stephen King but without the weird face and coke problem).

There will be two categories: Photographs and Stories. You may enter pieces in both categories if you wish and there is no limit to the number of entries.

Photographs: Please submit your own original photographs in a digital format. Almost anything goes, something dead that you found, a creepy self-portrait or tableau of your friends, but I would prefer that everything you do is legal (no snuff photographs or weird, real-life torture stuff).

Stories: Stories should not be more than about a page long (500 words or less). They can be true or completely fictional, as long as they are terrifying. Note: I will not be editing these, so make sure you proofread.

Submit your horrifying photos or stories by October 24. The top five finalists for each category will be selected by a panel of judges. The top five will be displayed on this blog and the champions will be decided by a public vote.

There will be prizes for the champions. Not like, a trip to a Hawaii or anything, but not something lame like a stick of gum either. Exciting prizes!

Please send your entries to:

Here's some inspiration: the newest trailer for the Couch Street Massacre.


I remember the first time I was ever really truly terrified by a movie. It began with Indiana Jones and continued on throughout each awkward phase of my life.  This is the loose timeline:

5 years old: Watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Terrified when the bleeding heart was ripped out of that man's body.

6 years old: Watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Terrified by the man's head rolling out of the mist. Had a nightmare.

Grade School: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Goosebumps, Lois Duncan

Middle School: Dean Koontz, Stephen King, my dad hiding in the orchard at night when I had to go out to the barn and then jumping out and scaring the living shit out of me.

13 years old: Scream came out, followed by gems like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Final Destination. Often filled with an irrational fear of something coming to get me when washing my hair in the shower with my eyes closed.

14th Birthday Party: Watched the Exorcist for the first time. Actually, didn't watch it because I was covering my face with a pillow.

15 years old: Tried watching the Exorcist again with Charissa. She made me turn it off. We watched it again the next morning all the way through, it was almost worse in the light of day.

16-18 years old: Caught up on classics such as Halloween, Psycho, etc.

21 years old: Watched the Grudge in a movie theater in Auckland. Reverted to pre-teen levels of fear of the dark.

28 years old: Remembered how great scary stories are when Caroline told us stories about the haunted house she grew up in. Further inspired by her gift of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Vol. 1.
  **Decided to have a scary story and photo contest complete with real prizes (no Big Billy Bass for you)**

Details coming soon.

September 28, 2011


I've been listening to the Father, Son, Holy Ghost album on repeat. It has this wonderful nostalgic guitar vibe and also takes me back to the 90s when I was obsessed with Pink Floyd. This is the first song on the album and definitely the most peppy. Note the awkward crop top. Speaking of crop tops and the 90s, Sam and I watched "Fear" last night. I had never seen it. The 90s Seattle fashion with all those underwear-skimming skirts, knee high tights, and crop tops is just priceless.

What a story though; the whole thing really escalates. One minute it's harmless roller coaster handjobs and the next thing you know people are smoking out of crack pipes and Mark Wahlberg is tattooing "Nicole 4 Eva" into his torso and snapping necks in the woods. Amy Brenneman drills through someone's hand! The ultimate moral of the story? Don't have sex with Mark Wahlberg. 

September 27, 2011

Dos and Don'ts of Backpacking with your Significant Other

Sam and I hiked up to Santiam Lake last weekend. It was our first backpacking trip as a couple and really couldn't have gone better. However, like any new experience, it will provide a template for our next attempt. Some things were perfect and some things could use some adjustment. 

Do: Wake up at 5:00. Start out the morning with coffee and toast. Read your boyfriend the Savage Love column when it is particularly shocking.

Don't: Forget to change to your tail light. You will be pulled over on I-5 and almost have a heart attack. 

Do: Make sure you know where you're going.

Don't: Forget your notebook/sketchpad/directions in the car.

Do: Find the perfect walking stick.

Don't: Decide to pee behind a tree at the exact moment some hikers are coming around the bend. Stopping midstream is uncomfortable for you, plus the hikers will feel awkward about having to walk by some girl standing silently behind a tree while holding her pants around her waist.

Do: Bring delicious turkey sandwiches with avocado and basil. Eat them on the shore of Duffy Lake and feel good about your foray into the outdoors.

Don't: Forget that your Northwestern spirit feelings are no match for your boyfriend's Midwestern over-obvious logic. Forgetting this will send you across the Misleading Meadow, up the Road to Doom, past the Lake of False Hope, across the Barren Burnt Pine Wasteland, and finally into The Land of Early Death where you will finally realize that there is no way you are going the right way.

Do: Turn around.

Don't: Assume that your journey is over now that you are at Santiam Lake. The truth is, you are going to walk around the lake to get to the farthest campsite and the fact that you thought you were done makes this a million times more difficult. Try not to lose it.

Do: Give your girlfriend some space. Let her walk down the trail thinking she is by herself. This is beneficial for two reasons: (1) she will get her second wind, and (2) you will have the opportunity to watch her struggle to get over a down tree for three minutes. It will give you great joy.

Don't: Forget the marshmallows.

Do: Set up an awesome campground complete with tarp awning and firewood pile while your girlfriend naps in the meadow. She will be impressed.

Do: Eat a delicious pasta dinner and then sit around the fire and talk about how awesome you guys are at backpacking.

Do: Say something like, "Oh man, I wish I had brought a little bottle of whiskey" and then once your girlfriend agrees that would have been awesome, pull out the little bottle of whiskey you brought. Again, she will be impressed.

Don't: Try to use the water filtration pump by yourself. Apparently, for you, it's a two-person job.

Do: Enjoy breakfast and coffee while sitting on little rocks on the shore of the lake. Watch the clouds whip overhead, the fog spin over the lake, the fish rise. Be glad you are in the mountains.

Don't: Start hiking with every warm piece of clothing you own on your back. Once you really start walking, you will almost keel over from the heat. 

Do: Enjoy your walk back to civilization and then head straight to your girlfriend's parents' house where you can shower and then eat a warm home-cooked meal.

September 26, 2011

The Last Sasquatch Vol. 2

From top:

Kale and Kyle love hats

Kyle in Kali's hat


Wool and fur

September 23, 2011

Good Morning Music

The first thing to pop up on my ipod this morning. What a great way to start Friday.

September 22, 2011

The Swifts

Oh wow. I saw the swifts last night for the first time. My friend Colin was extremely disappointed to learn I had lived in Portland for several years now and hadn't seen them.

For those of you who don't know, Vaux's swifts are migrating south right now. At sunset they find a large, hollow place for their entire traveling party to nest. Fortunately for us, the Chapman School up in NW has this giant chimney that has been designated one of their spots. There was festival atmosphere up at the school. Children were sliding down the hill of dried brown grass on cardboard boxes, people were enjoying picnics with goat cheese salad and white wine, and slowly but surely the swifts began to gather in a cloud over the school. I arrived about half an hour before the sun began to set. There were a few flocks of birds circling high overhead but as Colin and I chatted, the flock grew and expanded and you could see groups wheeling in the sky, converging from various directions, and growing in mass. They're tiny birds and at times they almost disappeared in the sky, depending on the angle of their wings against the last bit of light. As the sun began to set, they zeroed in on the chimney and the flock became tighter and more intense. Finally, a single bird picked up the courage and they were all diving in, spiraling down in a gigantic tornado of birda. It kind of looked like this, but far more magical:

The swarm continued for ages at a dizzying consistency. At one point a hawk swooped by and the crowd booed, but who could blame it? It was like the best kind of swift buffet. As it got darker, there were only a few lonely stragglers attempting to find a place inside the chimney which I can only imagine was stuffed to the gills. 

If you haven't see the swifts, you have to. Go now, before it's too late.

September 20, 2011

The Last Sasquatch

All shot on slide film.

From top:

Bryan Davis at Stonehenge

The haunted house

The stage

Kali and the sunset

The bus

September 19, 2011


Ah, I guess I'm not as angsty as I used to be, because I can't remember the last time I compiled all the things I hate and described them to you in detail. Looks like it was in April last year.

But I have to tell you, I was waiting at a busy intersection today and the light turned green and I started to pedal but my foot slipped and I hit my shin on my pedal and almost fell off my bike and I screamed and this really slow round lady passed me as flailed around (I had passed her earlier) and then I was stuck behind her for a few blocks. And my shin is still aching. So, in honor of my pain:


People who carry helmets but don't wear them: I get it. Helmets are dorky. Tragically so. But if you have gone through the bother of purchasing a bike helmet and then decided to take it with you when you left the house, why not just put it on? In two days I have seen two people biking around with bike helmets attached to (1) their messenger bag, or (2) their handlebars, and I really can't think of anything stupider. My only consolation is that it's Darwin's theory in action.

Hipster jokes: Yeah, yeah, hipsters are really annoying and soulless and they ruin everything and everyone under the age of 35 is a hipster except for you and your friends who are really cool and yet somehow aren't hipsters. Who cares? Let's move on. Hipster jokes are OVER.

Wetsuits: While I am loving surfing, I'm not sure if I've communicated how horrible wetsuits are. Imagine trying to put on a onesie that is over 4 millimeters thick and three sizes too small for you. Because it's supposed to keep you especially warm, the only path of entry is through the neck hole at the top of the suit. You have to squeeze your body through what amounts to a cervix while it resists with every fiber of its neoprene being. Then there's taking it off. Your wet body in the suit creates the kind of vacuum seal that canning perishable item requires. Again, being born is an extremely accurate simile. And this whole process is a necessity every time you go surfing.


Nature shows in action: Sam and I went for a walk this morning and we witnessed a stand-off between a housecat and a baby opossum. It had such huge eyes and a very intimidating hiss. It finally disappeared into dark under the steps. However the cat went under there too. I know not its fate.

Old couples who know how to dance: We went to Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel this weekend and saw this great family polka band (Caitlin's future husband!). All of these old couples in lederhosen were up and skipping around, doing all these great dances moves and just generally looking awesome.

House Parties: You know, I hadn't been to a house party in a long while. We ended up at one this weekend, and I made new random friends, did some dancing, ate some cupcakes, saw from friends that I didn't expect to see, and then had a nice late night walk home. House parties are so much cosier than bars. I didn't know most of the people there, but everyone assumes you're somehow affiliated and treats you like a friend.

September 15, 2011

Faster than Lightning

Surfing was only one highlight of the past weekend. Some of you don't know this, but I actually have a secret skill. I am a race car driver.

That is a slight exaggeration but every once in a while I go to the track with my dad and I drive his BMW race car. It's a 1991 318i that he has Frankensteined into this amazing tiny but powerful beast. Roll cage, huge engine, racing slicks, short shifter, and probably a million other things that make it fast and easy to drive. I usually go out to PIR (Portland International Raceway for the laypeople) but this weekend was a special treat. We went out to ORP (Oregon Raceway Park for the laypeople; car people love acronyms) for a special racing weekend.

This track is a crazy rollercoaster. If driving PIR is like driving in Houston (flat), driving ORP is like driving in San Francisco. There are banked turns, drops, dips, places that you drive straight and fast even though you can see the track due to all the little dips, and weird off-camber spots were you just hope your car doesn't fly off the track. Sometimes it does. There were plenty of dust clouds billowing over the course of the day, but I emerged victorious in that I didn't go off track or ruin my dad's car. He is usually my instructor when I go to these track days. Having Tim Wright as your instructor means that you hear a lot of, " MORE THROTTLE DON'T BRAKE MORE THROTTLE GO FOR IT!!! and then you go for it. It was definitely my favorite track day so far in my limited history of track days. Now you know who to call when you need a getaway driver.

Do you have any secret talents I should know about?

September 13, 2011

Sneak Preview

I finally developed some of the film that I have sitting around (yes, you finally get to see Sasquatch photos). The wonderful thing is that every single envelope is like opening a Christmas present. The bad thing is that I literally have no idea what they are anymore. The problem with this is that Sam volunteered to drop them off and pick them up. He had a few rolls he wanted to develop as well. He dropped them without incident. It was when he picked them up that things got awkward.

Now, I worked at a camera shop for awhile in high school. Our policy was to offer to look through the photos with the customer so they could ask for corrections if they wanted. Often people were surprised we looked at the photos while developing them. I developed countless rolls of film and bore witness to a million shitty teenage party pics, awkward family photos, detailed photo documentation of a stuffed animal collection, two dudes and a stripper in a hotel room, christenings, graduations, marijuana plants, puppies, Haystock Rock, pretty much everything that could be documented with a camera. If something was particularly hilarious you would save a print to show the rest of your coworkers. We rolled our eyes at blown out, out-of-focus disposable camera pics, backlit portraits, and the people who wanted us to magically make them look better. The only thing you were required to report are photos of child pornography. The rest was fair game. That doesn't mean I wouldn't go out of my way to let someone know I thought their photos were lame (For instance, asking the businessman with the stripper if he would like to look through his photos in an overly sincere voice). Basically, people who work in camera shops are punks.

So, Sam goes to pick up the photos and receives a fair amount of grief from these kids. They're doing your classic knowing commentary and eventually throw out, "So, I guess you really like to party huh?" Sam is clueless. "Let's just say there are a few photos of a . .. uh .. . phallic nature." Sam is shocked. He looks through them. He doesn't recognize anyone in the photos except for Liz. It's a party and no one is really wearing clothes. He brings them home to me. Most of the people I don't recognize but it slowly comes back to me as I flip through the photos. The disposable camera I took to the "Anything but Clothes" party. We all have that water-logged look of people who were soaking their livers in beer on a regular basis. As I flip through it becomes apparent that someone took my camera. The photos are blurry and random. This camera thief first photographed people I didn't know, the floor, people's feet, and then he apparently tired of that and decided to photograph his penis. Horrible. And he had a Prince Albert piercing. More horrible.

Poor Sam.

September 12, 2011

Big News

I bought my first surfboard! This thing could practically catch waves by itself. It's the Shuler Cosmo, an 7'5 egg that's thick in all right places, with long-board stability but the maneuverability of a short-board. More importantly, the Cosmo will ride well in pretty much anything. As a weekend surfer, I don't get to be choosy about conditions and this board will never be the limiting factor in how much fun I'm having (that would be my skills). Shuler Surfboards is located in Seaside and it's pretty great to have the opportunity to support a local shaper.

We took it out for its maiden voyage yesterday and I had a fun day, even with inconsistent sets, wind, frigid waters, and a cloud bank that sat on the coastline all day while Portland enjoyed summer. Sam had his most epic belly flop ever, I saw Kyle Carnes stand up, and Jeremy, well, Jeremy caught waves because that's what he does. All the time. Poor Rian forgot one of her booties (look!). Not really acceptable on the Oregon coast (I was in a wetsuit, hood, booties and gloves) but she still stuck it out for awhile, winning the Toughest Surfer of the Day award. She also took that photo up there.

September 9, 2011

Killian Martin: A Skate Illustration

This is amazing. Apparently Killian Martin's from Spain, started out as a gymnast and then turned to skating. His style is an odd fusion of the two, fascinating, and totally different than other skating I've seen.

Brett Novak directs.

September 8, 2011

Charles Bradley Tonight!

At the Aladdin. This is going to be so good.

September 7, 2011

Like sand in an hourglass

What happened? It seems like summer is already over. I mean, the weather is finally gorgeous but all of the sudden it's September and leaves are starting to blow around on the road and occasionally the wind wafts in that smell of must/opportunity that only really comes in the fall. I still have so much to do.

As a true Oregonian, I always feel an intense sense of guilt whenever it's sunny outside and I'm not taking advantage of it. So much guilt I can't even live with myself. I think with all the gray this summer, we're all feeling like we haven't taken full advantage of all that summer in Portland can offer. There are always a million things on my list for the precious days that the sun graces. That backpacking trip I always mean to take, the impromptu barbecues, more surfing, more swimming, more sunbathing, lazy afternoons on a porch with white wine and ice, late warm nights biking home from dance parties, flower picking, picnics that last all day, tomato eating, hikes early in the morning when the sun is just beginning to rise, evenings on the bluffs with the sunset.

Agh. I have so much to do. You do too. Let's make some last-minute plans.

September 6, 2011

The Greatest Invention of All Time

I know there has been a lack of postings lately, but work has been insane. Like, working late nights, working the weekends, getting up obscenely early insane. I started to get kind of delirious. Maybe not really in touch with reality, but that's when the creative juices really flow. At some point in there, I came home late and started making up a lunch for the next day. After a series of unfortunate events which you may be able to discern from the advice spelled out below, I came to a realization. I have discovered the money-making idea that will make me a millionaire. I jotted it down and have been saving it for when I would actually have time to share it with you. And here it is:

Talking tupperware. Just imagine if you had someone there to save you from opening a container filled with six-month old bean dip. Or what if the ketchup bottle told you the lid wasn't on before you started shaking it all over you and your date and the people in the booth behind you. I can't even fathom how much better life would be. It would be like trying to imagine what people did before there was electricity or wrinkle-reducing eye cream. This is the future.