January 28, 2011

Who Would You Be?

Micheal Jackson impersonator at the memorial

I talked to my long-lost friend Killian last night. Finally. He's been out in Columbus, Ohio since college and isn't the best at keeping in touch. We discussed many things but ended up talking a lot about China and comparing our adventures there. While he never got lost on a mountain with no money and only peanuts in the shell for sustenance, he did end up in a bar in Beijing watching an absolutely uncanny Michael Jackson impersonator. Like, apparently it was mind-blowing The next day he and his brother were back in Hong Kong and they heard that Michael Jackson had died. He suggested the man had stolen Micheal's soul. I don't know.

It got me thinking about the nature of impersonation and the people who end up spending their lives in costume, attempting to emulate someone else. Wearing their clothes, using their mannerisms, their talents, basically living in the body of another. Strange choice, right?

If you were going to be an impersonator, who would you impersonate?

January 27, 2011

Oh no they didn't

We're back in the velvet covered headquarters of American Apparel.

Two designers are sitting on the giant bed that serves as the room's only furniture. One is wearing athletic socks and briefs and sketching in a drawing pad. The other is sitting cross-legged with a laptop, large gold-frame glasses on the end of her nose. They are both smoking cigarettes. All signs point to the fact that they are involved.

Socks and Briefs: Who was your first crush?

Laptop: My  first crush? Um. Blake Green. He had freckles and this super-cute round face. He grew up to look like a pregnant elf.

S+B: Gross.

L: Yeah. Who was yours?

S+B: Ms. Griffin. My third grade music teacher.  She had like, really curly blond hair and blue eyes. She used to give us gummy bears if we were good.

L: Hot.

S+B: She always wore those flowy pants. You know the ones that looked like a skirt, but they were actually pants? Tribal patterns?

L: Those were totally bewildering. They were hammerpants without elastic in the hem. Not hot.

S+B: Are you kidding? They were like flowing rivers of ethnic fabric around her ankles. Seductive curtains for her shins. Always beckoning . . . .

L: Where are you going with this?

S+B: Well, we've done mom-butt denim and pleated pants, I think it's time we go in a new direction.

L: You want to do third-grade teacher pants? Aren't those basically long gaucho pants? All the sorority girls were wearing those a few years ago with their Uggs and raving about how comfortable they were. Sorority girls.

S+B: Gaucho pants! Those were pathetic imitations. They only extend past your knees. Bah! I want to be confused. I want to look at you and not be able to tell if you're wearing a skirt or pants. I want to be tortured. I want to be left wondering until you're walking away. I want to truth to strike like a thunderbolt.

L:  . .  . . . .

S+B: Once they go to production I want you to wear them. Those and nothing else.

L: I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment.

S+B: Just try it. And feed me gummi bears in bed. Then you''ll see.

January 26, 2011

Please, Please, Please

So, Echo and the Bunnymen are touring. Now that I've established it's not too soon to yammer on about Sasquatch, I really, really hope Echo and the Bunnymen are going to make it happen. They're touring right now and not only are they touring, but they are playing Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here (their first two albums) in their entirety. That's awesome. I've checked their tour dates and they don't have anything booked for Memorial Day Weekend. Yes, I've researched it. Slightly obsessive maybe, but I care about this stuff.

Remember my discussion of Band That Is Headlining and how I don't feel like they qualify as an  iconic rock band that I've never seen and finally get to see? These guys do. This would be totally legit. Sasquatch planners, do you hear me?

For the doubters, I give you this:

And then go listen to Heaven up Here through headphones and tell me it wouldn't be amazing when you are lying on the hill watching the sunset.

January 25, 2011

Play Me, I'm Yours

This is just so great. Imagine waking up one day to find a rainbow-paint piano sitting in the park near your house. Last summer the artist Luke Jerran and non-profit Sing for Hope got together and scattered all these beautiful refurbished pianos across New York City. They were for anyone to play, and apparently created all sorts of beautiful moments. The website is here.  I hope this happens in Portland someday.

January 24, 2011

I'm just so sad . . ..

Theme of the weekend. I lost my wallet on Friday on the walk from Gravy to my house. Pretty disappointing but it hadn't happened since 2004 or something like that, so I guess it was time. I got  over it.

The theme really gained steam on Sunday. Bears vs. Packers. Pretty sad. Sam is obviously a huge Bears fan so we went to Spirit of 77 and watched the game. So much yelling and heckling. The Bears' quarterback blew it and for the rest of the game they kept zooming in on his sad, sad face as he moped on the sidelines. People kept jeering at him. Football fans are so intense and I couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon. Yes, I heckled. He just looked so pathetic.

Something really horrible happened on Sunday evening. Sam introduced me to The O.C. Yeah, that psuedo-soap opera show that died ages ago. He has Season One on his harddrive; I watched the first episode and was hooked. I made us watch like, six episodes in a row. The main character just tilts his head all the time and frowns to communicate how sad and brooding and angsty he is. It's totally hilarious. I heckled him too. I realize it's pretty sad to sit there and jeer at a television show aimed at teenagers, but I was really, really enjoying it. I'm sorry. If you never take my opinions seriously again that's okay.

Anyway, I looked through the Sartorialist's photos today and check this out:

That's the face! That's the face I saw all weekend. Bahahaha. I love that jacket though. Nice job Junya Watanabe.

January 20, 2011

Urban Something

I love fashion. You might not be able to tell sometimes because I wear the same five things over and over again, but it's true. Urban Weeds is this Portland street style blog that I really enjoy because it's real people in Portland and not a bunch of rich people wearing very expensive designer things that they will throw away next season. It's a bit more true to life.

While I appreciate this guy's sentiments (I would wear crazy heels every day but they aren't that comfortable and my bike pedals ruin them and it's actually a little dangerous because sometimes they slip off the pedals when you're trying to get out of the way of an oncoming car on Sandy Blvd), I also feel like his outfit doesn't exemplify what he's saying. Maybe it was an unfortunate day for him. I mean, I guess if it's raining leather isn't that functional, but in general I'm not blown away by his look. There are a lot of dirtbags in Portland running around with leather jackets and hoodies. Maybe less with faux-hawks. But anywaaaaay.

Look at his belt! I just got all nostalgic. I don't know if you experienced this growing up, but all the Latino kids at my middle school did this. They wore khaki Dickies and a white tanktop and then either a navy blue Dickies shirts (probably somewhat gang-inspired but it was totally innocent), or a flannel shirt and then they only buttoned the top button. The girls did a similar thing but they also rocked the super-dark lipliner with nude lipstick and barrel-rolled bangs. They all had the same Nike vintage-look running shoes (black with white laces) and the icing on the cake was the belt. The belt was one of those nylon web types but it was always super long and they would let the end just hang down. It was kind of a badge of honor, you know, how long the belt was.  Super cool. The guys also greased their hair. The result was pretty great and when I think about it, they put a lot of effort into that look. Probably more than I did with my bushy hair, baby tees, and bellbottoms.

January 19, 2011

Too soon?

It's not too early right? I haven't purchased tickets yet, but it is the 10th Anniversary and perhaps my last Sasquatch for a while. I'm going to have to get excited. Wolf Parade has been confirmed on the line-up. Which is kind of strange because they have announced an indefinite hiatus. Apparently a hiatus that will be broken only by Sasquatch.

I'm so glad because the only other act to be confirmed is the Foo Fighters. The. Foo. Fighters. Are you kidding me? They haven't had a hit since I was in high school. And they don't have that prolific Oh man I never got to see them in their heyday but now I finally do! thing going on either. It's just sad. There. I will not say another word about it. I'm over it.

Anyway, I've seen Wolf Parade once. It was a great wine-sodden show, though I had to experience a large portion of it solo due to my most infamous partner in crime (who will remain nameless) losing it. She ate some pizza, forgot about eating the pizza, and then apologized,  popped into a cab and left me there. Oh those were the days.

January 18, 2011

City Bikes Repair Shop is the Best!

Bike shop visits in Portland can be pretty hit or miss. The bike culture can be pretty militant and you're expected to know what you're doing when it comes to your bicycle. Unfortunately, that's just not going to happen. My roommates rely on me to program the remote. That is the extent of my mechanical genius. I can't  talk about all the various parts, I don't know what any of them are called, my bike is always dirty, and the bike shop people always seem disgusted when I want to pay them to fix it for me. I avoid bike shops to the same degree that I avoid shows at the Crystal Ballroom. A sometimes necessary evil.

However, my back brakes had worn down to the point that they were completely useless. I used my front brake solely for about a month before finally breaking down and going into a shop to get new ones. So I went to the City Bikes Repair Shop on SE Ankeny. I've never been in there because there are always people with dumb hats fixing their bikes on the sidewalks, and I figured it's the sort of place that will throw you out when you admit that sometimes you pay people to fix your flat tires.

That may be true, but they were SO nice. They didn't make me feel bad about not knowing anything about my bike and they didn't make fun of it or lecture me about how dangerous it is to run around in the rainy season with completely useless rear brakes. This girl helped me pick out new brake pads, she showed me how to install them and gave me the requisite tools. She was showing me how to adjust my brake cable and then she pulled on the brake lever and my cable snapped in a puff of dust. We were like, Um. That's not supposed to happen. So then she helped me thread a new cable in there and adjust the whole system and lube the chain and I even got to wash my hands in a sink in the back and they had powdered soap. I love powdered soap.

It was this wonderful educational experience and I now feel like I know how to fix my own brakes. I may even do it myself next time.

January 17, 2011

Weekend Conquered

Last last weekend I managed to flake out on almost every plan that I made, resulting in a random, mostly relaxing, but completely guilt-tainted experience. This weekend I made up for it by doing everything I planned on doing, plus some things that I didn't expect at all. Rousing success all around.

Friday: Kyle Arthur of the broken ankle is getting stir-crazy. He started sending out these texts that implied he really, really needed to leave the house. So I went to Sandy Hut and waited WITH A BOOK while he rode the bus up Burnside and crutched from the stop at the rock gym (no mean feat) while I read a book at the Sandy Hut. This is a big deal. I've mentioned how I feel about bar-readers and now I am one, so there's one more thing I have to stop making fun of.

Saturday: I looked at some houses with my Mom and my brother. Some of them actually had promise but I have to admit looking at houses and the impending doom that is a mortgage is pretty terrifying. I don't know. One of the houses had a tenant in it and he had put strange carpet over the wood floors and had been frying bacon lately, not sure how lately, but the entire house smelled like putrid bacon grease and I almost threw up. Looking at houses is not without hazard.

That night I went to the roller derby at the Memorial Coliseum with my friend Morgan (she also recently broke her foot, but can walk without crutches now which is pretty exciting. She was actually hit by a car while biking. Not quite so noble as slipping in the Chopsticks bathroom, but whatever). Roller derby is pretty great. I look forward to the crashes, and while both of us understood the basic concept of the whole thing, you never really know why anything is happening, and when we talked about we never used the correct lingo, and were probably infuriating the people sitting around us*.

Sunday: Jocelyn hosted a delicious brunch complete with strata, bacon, and apple cake procured from the Gwyneth Paltrow blog, and then I ran over to Spirit of 77 to catch the end of the Seahawks/Bears game and get schooled in darts by my dad. After that I went to Huy and Carin's to script out the horror movie we have in the works (more on that soon), which was highly productive. I then went home to do things like run, make lunch for the next day, clean the kitchen, and other domestic duties.  Sam and I completed the evening with a movie.

All in two days! I know nothing here was that awe-inspiring but there are days when all I do is watch a movie and eat lunch.  This blog never promised to be grand anyway, look at the byline.

* Soooo, why is that blocker person out?
I don't know. Why is she the only one wearing the leopard unitard?
Maybe because she's an enforcer?
No. There's another one wearing a unitard. One of the fast ones.
I don't know then. But she's my favorite.

January 14, 2011

Age of Aquarius

So, many of you have probably heard that a new astrological sign called Ophiuchus has been discovered, causing a shift in the way we are all categorized. Suddenly, without any warning, I am an Aquarius.

I know this doesn't actually change my life in any tangible way. But when I was a kid I followed up an obsessive Greek mythology phase with an astrology phase. I spent long afternoons used my 32-pack felt-tip pens to jot down the personality traits of each sign, their health dilemmas, their stones, their compatible partners (mine were Taurus, Capricorn, Cancer and Scorpio) and I studied the shit out of those sheets of paper. I was a Pisces. And I was into that. It made sense to me. I was certainly not a Leo or a Taurus. I identified with Pisces. My friends were all compatible signs. I liked cartoons and was idealistic. It was proof. And now? I feel lost.

Kind of. I actually sat down and read both the Pisces and Aquarius descriptions just now (because it's that important) and it was kind of disturbing. Apparently Pisces make great secretaries? They are patient and full of compassion? They are asexual and malleable? Maybe being an Aquarius isn't so horrible.

January 13, 2011

Dark Dark Dark

You know how I feel about the accordion. So when I heard this band had an accordion I got really excited and listened to the whole album on NPR and then I bought their newest LP. I don't even own a record player. This actually set me off on an vinyl buying spree of sorts and I bought Sleepy Sun's newest album for my dad for Christmas. It didn't come in time so I wrapped Dark Dark Dark's Wild Go and gave it to him. We listened to it on Christmas morning, with coffee and the fire place, all the ribbons fluttering around, and the rain from last night on the skylights. He didn't love it but I do and am taking it back for the theoretical record player that I will place in my theoretical living room in the house that I will hopefully own someday.

January 12, 2011

In the Line of Fire

Oh man. A week ago I found out that my entire office was taking a trip to Boise, Idaho for a company retreat of sorts. We recently went through a merger and were going to get together with all the other offices and have dinner and social time, stay at a hotel, and then have a meeting in the morning and do a team-building activity. I pictured holding hands with my LDS co-workers preparing to catch a blind-folded person falling backwards and then sitting in a circle using feeling words while sucking down Dr. Pepper. I shuddered. And then I was torn from my reverie to hear the words "paint" and "ball". Together. In one word. As in, we were going to go paintballing. This, my friends, is the height of team-building innovation.

This paintballing experience involved wearing full camouflage gear, a camo balaclava, and running shoes. The course was in this huge, dim, warehouse with a sticky, sandy floor and old cars, and plywood walls with crude windows cut into them. They divided us into teams, told us to stand in opposite corners, and then set off a bullhorn. This was just like war. Rapid fire, screams, bullets whizzing towards you. I was one the last to survive only because I crouched, squealing, behind a large barricade until everyone else had shot each other in fits of heroism and aggression. We then broke into smaller groups and went to the outdoor courses. One of the courses consisted only of tires which are not that tall, the result being I eventually was shot directly in the forehead. This totally hurt and to make matters worse, I was never hit anywhere but my forehead. Which means I was hit in the forehead many, many times. This may indicate to an experienced paintballer that I did too much crouching and peeking from behind things, but it seemed a lot more logical to do this than move around. The one time I did I was shot by my own teammates.

I'm not sure how therapeutic the whole thing was. Today I have three welts on the top of my head and my arm aches from toting that gun around. The overseers of the paintball company commented that this was the most aggressive group of adults they had ever seen.

January 6, 2011

How to Pick Up Girls in Portland VIII

Beware the Friend Circle: Nowadays, especially in Portland with all its transplantation, the friend circle has supplanted the family circle in terms of approval. When the object of your affection is from Kansas, it’s pretty unlikely that you will have to go through that dating gauntlet referred to as meeting the parents. Not until it’s pretty serious. However, that doesn’t mean you should not be equally wary of meeting her friends. They are probably nice people. Probably nice people just like her, who will laugh at your jokes and maybe buy you a beer and start taking you aside throughout the night and commend you because she just thinks you are so great, etc. etc. etc. OR they will tell you awe-inspiring stories about her ex-boyfriend, ask you awkward questions about your line of work, roll their eyes at your ill-timed quip about Kyron (it’s just too soon), and you will end up banished from the friend circle and from her love, left only with your shame, a hefty bar tab, and a hangover. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get to know her friends. It’s a crucial part of the process. I’m just saying there’s nothing wrong with avoiding it for a while.

Keep your Pretention Level at Medium: As a borderline book snob, I am not going to try to pretend that I don’t judge people based on what they read. If your favorite author is Dan Brown closely followed by Elizabeth Gilbert (you know, Eat, Pray, Love), I will smile politely, purse my lips, and never talk to you again. A liberal arts college-refined literary background means you can bond with any number of girls in Portland who know how to read. This is great. However, THERE ARE LIMITS. You can’t sit at your place of work wanly checking identification cards with your books stacked up in front of you like you just might blow through the second half of Ulysses during your shift, in which case you will follow it up with Anna Karenina.

Be a Man: While I know there’s this whole nationwide stereotype about the Portland bearded dudes running around being overtly manly with their neck tattoos and lack of hygiene and childlike fascination of the outdoors, I’m wondering where they are. As are a lot of other women in this town. We like manly guys. I think we all had that phase when we liked pretty boys with nice hair and slim-cut t-shirts but like a late-blooming puberty, we’ve discovered that we actually like men. Men. We want to know that you can use an axe, build a birdhouse, kick in a door, win a fight, pitch a tent (literally, not figuratively, but I guess that’s important too) and other manly things like reading maps correctly and knowing how to fix the sink when it won’t stop dripping. We are still feminists and all that, so it’s not like we’re reverting to a desire for homemaking, it’s just enough with the pale iphone-obsessed type that tells stories about his cat and has never gone camping.

January 5, 2011


Here is the first sunset of 2011. 

I have never really liked the whole New Year thing. I often find it depressing, or I make poor choices, or I end up doing something disappointing while it seems that everyone everywhere else in the world is wearing cool sequined dresses at awesome parties where they take flattering photos of each other and throw confetti  and kiss in a carefree it's the new year way and have the best time of their lives while I'm standing in some linoleum-floor kitchen looking at a digital microwave clock with a large drink in my hand.

Anyway, I had a great adventure this year involving a car trip up to Bellingham with Sam, the Lion's Inn Motel, Mt. Baker, cherry bombs, sparklers, creepy alleyways, timed photos in front of City Hall, champagne, Dick Clark and donuts.

It wasn't all family-oriented fun however. There were two distinct challenges:

1. I started driving up I-5 and my snowboard rack popped open and I pulled onto the shoulder just in time to watch my brand-new board slide down my windshield. That was nice. But we fixed the rack and continued on. Round 2.

2. Mt. Baker was bullet-proof. It is a gorgeous, steep, awesome looking mountain but that sort of thing just isn't fun for me unless there's fresh snow. Which there wasn't. And after ragdolling down a sketchy line through the trees, I didn't want to snowboard anymore. So it was kind of a short day. But we are totally prepared for next time.

Rest assured, none of this ruined the fun. Not when you're having an adventure. I found my childhood home in Burlington. We drove by it and I would have taken a picture to show you but someone was peeping out from behind the curtains, most likely preparing to call 911, so we left. I also took Sam through Seattle, showed him Pike Place Market and posed with a Justin Bieber cardboard cutout. The things you do for love.

Anyway, my new year's resolution may have been to be a nicer girlfriend but I think I immediately blew it by mocking him for spilling cold coffee all over himself (it still makes me laugh thinking about it), so I think I should move on from that resolution and find a new one. Maybe to floss every day. Did you make a resolution? I feel like the whole thing is kind of lame, and they never work (my goal last year was to be a nicer, more positive person and I think everyone saw that failure in action), but I still like the idea in theory and I like to hear about the futile resolutions other people come up with.

Happy 2011.

January 4, 2011

Christmas Miracle

I know that Christmas has come and gone and probably doesn't need to be recapped anymore. I mean, we've already moved on and celebrated another holiday.  And I know that not all of you are interested in shoes. But I love them and Christmas 2010 was a shoe-themed holiday. My roommate/friend Heidi gave me some adorable old-lady leather shoes, my parents gave me a new pair of fleece-filled moccasins for around the house, aaaaaaand my incredible boyfriend gave me these.

They are wonderful. Yes, they have fleece. And they are heather gray (one of my favorite colors for clothing) and kind of like hightop slippers. And the great thing is that I had seen these on the website ages ago, loved them, desperately wanted them, but responsibly did not buy them because I am on a budget. Here's the amazing part: I never told him I wanted these shoes. I never once talked about them. He just knew. It was a Christmas miracle.