Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Unicycles

All of the sudden, I feel like I'm at a French circus. There are copious numbers of unicycles and unicycle related events popping up all over town. The momentum seems to be coming from a sketchy group of enthusiasts called The Unicycle Bastards. Last week, intrigued, I attended the World Championship Unicycle Polo Tournament. They are tying to build a movement here, people, so if the same 16 men women and children are switching jerseys and standing in for North Korea, Russia, Mexico, India, etc, that's fine because maybe actual unicyclists from those countries will show up to play polo on the tennis court of a Portland public park next year. For now, the Unicycle Bastards are their proxies. As a spectator, I found it very suspenseful to watch and see if the athletic, somewhat aggressive men on the court would hurt or maim any of the 12 year olds who were also playing. No one went to the emergency room while I was there.

Not to stop with the polo, I have also been seeing stuff around about unicycle mountain biking. Seriously. I am glad they wear helmets.

Bill Fox - Portland Town


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Off the wall

The Seattle boys took the train down and we simply wrung it out. Impromptu Michael Jackson dance party in the middle of Alberta St. with 200 people on Thursday night. A swing by the new restaurant Beaker and Flask in its sleek fancy space that looks like a cross between a chemistry classroom and an auto showroom, in the best possible way. We also went to a preview party for a new venue that will be opening soon called The Woods down in Sellwood. It is an old funeral home, with all the wallpaper and carpet that you would expect. The Portland Cello Project played a cover of Man in the Mirror and Loch Lomond put on the loveliest little set and I fell for them hard.

Loch Lomond - Blue Lead Fences

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Limiting the State

Maybe it is still sort of a free country. A little bit. The Supreme Court just ruled 8 to 1 that a school in Arizona violated a 13 y.o. girl's rights when it stripped searched her looking for ibuprofen. Gaw! I remember hearing about this case when it was originally argued and feeling queasy about the state of civil liberties. I am glad Redding won, and by a healthy margin. Guess which justice voted that the strip search was fine? Clarence Thomas. What is it about conservatives and authoritarianism? They claim to loathe big government but love a big truncheon. From his dissent:

By declaring the search unreasonable in this case, the majority has “‘surrender[ed] control of the American public school system to public school students’” by invalidating school policies that treat all drugs equally and by second-guessing swift disciplinary decisions made by school officials.

Read the full opinion here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jonathan Richman Bike Ride

How to describe this... Imagine a random assortment of people on bicycles congregating at a coffee shop at the designated hour of 6pm. The leader of the pack has a bmx sort of bike that is outfitted with a side car. That side car has a booming speaker (with surprisingly nice fidelity) connected to an ipod. That ipod plays Jonathan Richman songs. We follow the leader. We are about twenty strong. He takes us to locations that are synched with the songs. We go to the Cappuchino Bar, the Government Center, a lesbian bar, a mural that references the Velvet Underground, visit the ice cream man, stop for tacos, and ruminate on how everyday clothes are sexier than dressing up. And of course, Road Runner gets played more than once. I am not sure how many miles we went but it was a great way to have a big old crush on Portland.

This event was one of many many many that have been happening in Portland over the last week or so as part of Pedalpalooza. I have not had occasion to really hang out with the bike people so much, but now that i have a bike I get to and I will say this: they are goofy and know how to have a good time. One woman on our ride was able to dance quite credibly while riding. We stumbled into a park in SE that was full of gutterpunks playing kickball and acrobats practicing tumbling and the high wire. Everyone was checking out everyone elses freakbikes and comparing road rash. Everyone was sort of dirty. I liked it.

Jonathan Richman - That Summer Feeling

Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner


Fish 1, Tex 0.

Another fishing adventure commenced on Saturday morning. Still full from our late night ride-home-from-the-airport pit stop at The Potato Champion, buddy Greta and I headed out to Hood River. Fishing rods, tackle, joie de vivre. And although the fishing devolved into donations of lures and rigs into various streams and tributaries rather than the actual catching of fish, we had a nice time. We drove all the way out to Celilo and the back up into the mountains to Lost Lake. Quiet ponds with worms and bobbers is my kind of fishing. Not that it improved my showing.

Rupa and the April Fishes - Wishful Thinking

After that, we got home just in time to wash the bait off and get over to the spoken word/queer puppet show at In Other Words. My faith in queer girl artistic expression was renewed again. As it often is. Love my people. The evening ended with bocce ball on a porch. Only getting a weekend with my favorite rabble rousing adventure buddy was way too short.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is my new girlfriend. I haven't had a stuffed animal in many, many years and am suspicious of adults who do. Yet, I found Domo in a shop today and brought her home and I think we are going to be friends.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sweet new ride.

Polly in the house.

Oh, PJ. How I loved your show with John Parish and your little black dress and twisting performative wails. Thank you for playing Rope Bridge Crossing. Thank you for filling the ballroom with aging rock nuts that were so into it. I am sorry about the stuffed animals that people threw on the stage. I'm not sure what that was about.

Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen - PJ Harvey and John Parish

That Was My Veil - PJ Harvey

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot Hot Heat

I have been saving up because I wanted to give you a textured rundown of my recent journey to the homeland. I flew to Texas for the weekend to see the family and go to a cousin's wedding. I haven't been to Texas in the summer time in years and years. Here are some highlights:

-unbelievable hot Texas humidity (and amazing lightning storms). And the air conditioning there is so icy cold. People put a lot of ice in their gigantic tea glasses. With the weather, I was concerned about wearing a suit to the outdoor wedding. I ended up going through with it, though in my sister-in-law's flip-flops. The brown dress shoes I brought would have been my end. It was a very nice ceremony with a lot of love and a little Texas sass. I liked the part when the groom promised to defend my cousin "to the death."

-overheard a woman in the grocery lamenting about how her young son reacted when she told him about meeting Jesus in the afterlife. He was very disturbed about having angel wings and being able to fly. She reported on his hysterics about wanting to walk instead and being pretty worried about the whole heaven thing.

-ate tex mex at a restaurant near Six Flags over Texas where the frozen margarita machine was invented. The menu said it is now at the Smithsonian Institute.

-lunch at Neiman Marcus with my mother, just like we used to do when I was a teenager. They still give you a tiny mug of consomme at the beginning, serve the BEST most giant popovers with strawberry butter, and the midcentury modern furniture was the same. There is a Paloma Picasso statue by the bathroom. I touched a sweater that cost more than my car.

-my dad caught me up on the gossip from his church and the following words came out of his mouth: "The pastor relocated to someplace on the other side of Possum Kingdom." Yes, Virginia. There really is a place in Texas called Possum Kingdom.

-I also stayed at my dad's house which features more than one picture of him standing next to Troy Aikman holding a football.

-my brother took me to a pool party in Arlington which is where I would have wound up anyways if I had never left town. Nice burly tattooed men did cannonballs into the back yard swimming pool and got splashes all over the old weathered pine fencing that I so associate with my childhood. The grass was thick, coarse, and well trimmed. One of the women there told me about her horrifying experience in Oregon when a hippie person made her hike for four whole hours. We listened to Jane's Addiction and Blur and I was in a total time warp. My brother patiently explained that I was experiencing the metroplex at its very best. In a reverent tone he said, "This is the max."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Evil Plants.

There's an invasive species in my backyard. Because I don't drive so much to places where there are hardware stores, I haven't gotten around to buying a machete and poison to kill it dead. I so long for a machete. I have decided it is completely necessary. I had an internship on a ranch in South Texas when I was in college and I got to carry a machete around whenever I wanted. I did not realize how much I missed having one until a friend suggested that the machete would be a satisfying way to attempt to eradicate the Japanese Knot Weed here in Portland. It is creeping up the hill from beneath my back porch. I am also told that there is an invasive species hotline (!!!) that I can call about my need to machete the Japanese Knot Weed. I realize that Hattori Hanzo was from Okinawa, but perhaps if he made me a really great machete I would succeed in my crusade against the invasive Japanese vegetation.

The Chap - Surgery


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dance to the Radio

So here is a clip from the movie "Control" which I find pretty darn electrifying. In case you didn't see it on tv from Manchester in 1978, a dramatic re-creation:

So now I have a bit of a Joy Division fixation going. Which reminds me of my friend Gretchen Phillips, who always has a Joy Division fixation, such that one of her music projects is called "A Joy Division Cover Band." Gretchen has been super busy with the music lately. One of my favorite music/craft/art enterprises in Portland, Tender Loving Empire recently included her on a compilation called Friends and Friends of Friends.

Gretchen Phillips - Burning Inside

How cool is that? Its just before 7am on a Tuesday as I write this and listening to Gretchen's song along with a cup of coffee has left me pleasantly awake and optimistic about my day.

Now I am going to the jail to meet with a man about a catastrophe.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Did not see any fish up there.

I went on a gigantic 9 mile hike this afternoon to the top of Salmon Butte. Almost 3000 ft of elevation gain, yo. It was a cloudy day and so the vistas did not pan out, but as a huff and puff up a mountain, it was grand. There were barely any other people on the trail and I saw blooming rhododendrons, weird mushrooms, douglas firs scattered like matchsticks down the cliffs, and lots of pretty green moss. Walking along the ridgeline was so cool. I did not put the snow attachments on my walking sticks because I figured, hey, it is June and there won't be any snow. Wrong-o. When I got up really high, the trail was completely covered in deep snowbanks. I was able to find my way by following the dirty footprints of previous hikers. But then I thought, you know, if it rains I'm not going to be able to see these prints and I'll become one of those statistical morons you see in the news who loses the trail and gets stuck up in the forest. I had my pocket knife from when I was 12, some almonds, and an ipod with lots of Dengue Fever and James Brown, so I probably would have survived, but still. And speaking of which, I guess women don't get the same adrenaline pay-off that the boys do from this sort of shenanigan. I am now safely home but will likely be sore for days from the pounding descent. But it is okay because I'm pretty happy about getting all the way to the top. Queer mountaineer.

Busy Bee

72 hours in Oregon:

Exciting electrical storm right at 5pm. Tree branches in the streets.

Heard crashing percussive music coming from an alley and was pleasantly introduced to the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers.

Well of Loneliness at Fontanelle Gallery. They built one and put it in the middle of the room.

Dinner (which included a scotched quail egg) at Gilt.

Boarded plane for tiny airport in North Bend, Oregon so that I could go to the Shutter Creek Correctional Institution which is out in the middle of nowhere on the costal range overlooking the ocean. Had some professional stuff to do there which surprisingly gave me a fresh, more optimistic set of eyes about rehabilitation.

But it was rainy and gray so I scratched my plan to go hiking (or to rent an ATV and ride around in the sand dunes. NEXT TIME.) and managed to make an early flight back to Portland.

Saw a lot of people dressed like clowns walking through downtown back in Portland, probably having something to do with the Rose Festival, or perhaps it was more sinister.

Went running (?!), found Copper River salmon on sale, skipped the Rose Parade and cleaned my house, and then went to the Dolly Hoot night at Mission Theater, which featured a variety of great Portland musicians covering Dolly Parton.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Evening in June

It was a very nice evening to be hanging out in the back yard with my friends in St. Johns. Waterhose. Dogs. Old house. Nachos. Nice people. Pretty sunset. I live very close to downtown and it is a fine thing to get a tiny bit out of town and now I'm happy and unwound.

Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - The Man Who Played God (featuring Suzanne Vega)