Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tweed Ride!

Oxford shirt, sweater vest, vintage tie, herringbone pants, argyle socks, cap with ear flaps, canvas jacket. This is how I attired myself for the Tweed Ride yesterday. It was a parade of biking woolens, ladies in hats, vintage bicycles, and deep Portland weirdness. We started out at Skidmore Fountain with about 200 riders and then went to the Overlook Park house for tea. Really good tea, with scones to go along. Lots of folks had wicker and leather bicycle baskets outfitted with picnic materials and I spotted a few proper bone china tea cups in the crowd, held atop bicycle, with pinkie up. Next we rode on to Laurelhurst Park where we had a fashion show complete with awards, as depicted below. I'm somewhere in the crowd...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh my god, Herman the Sturgeon!

There's a giant giant white Sturgeon that is over 70 yrs old at the Bonneville Dam fishery! You can look at it in an underground viewing area for free. This is the most fun you can have on a rainy day in Oregon. I hit this tourist spot on the way back from cabin camping up at the Government Mineral Springs Guard Station. Very interesting to stay in a place that is all lit with built-in propane gas lamps, dark even the the day because it is surrounded by deep, thick, mossy forest. We hiked up Bunker Hill, ran around in the woods for a few days and played Scattergories. I was not gotten by a trampling Roosevelt Elk or avalanche. I learned that the whistle punk is a novice lumberjack that is supposed to blow the whistle if something bad is about to happen. I learned how to split firewood with an axe. Rugged.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It isn't just because I saw Faye Dunaway at a vietnamese place last night, or that the Gossip played a secret show, or that it stopped raining in time for me to walk home. No, the number one reason I love Portland today is because I went to a one-of-a-kind mindblowing show at Holocene. It was a benefit of sorts for Tom Tom magazine, which is all about female drummers. Boy do they have a lot of great female drummers in Portland. The women performed in pairs and played songs they composed for the drums. And I brought my earplugs, which I usually forget but not tonight. There was a little bit of singing and a little bit of xylophone, but mostly the beat ruled the night. Rachel Blumberg (M.Ward, Norfolk & Western) with Julianna Bright (Golden Bears), Sara Lund (unwound, Hungry Ghost), Tara Jane O’neil, Janet Weiss, Emily Kingan (Lovers, The Haggard), Emily Baker, LKN with Terrica (Palo Verde), Lisa Schonberg of Explode into Colors, sts of The Haggard, Ashey Spungin (Purple Rhinestone Eagle) with Justine Valdez (Lozen) and the Brooklyn band Hot Box. I did not see all the acts. I saw a lot of them. The Rachel Blumberg/Juilanna Bright piece was especially and insanely beautiful.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thank You for Making Soul Night Special

I am a VIP. On Thursday night I did one of my all time favorite Portland things which is to go to Hole in my Soul night at Rotture. This week was special for two very bad ass reasons: 1) Ian Svenonius was the guest DJ. 2) The regular DJ and brilliant founder of Hole in my Soul Night, DJ Beyonda, called bullshit on the night fading into some plain old dance party scene where people don't get where she's coming from. She's spinning one of the greatest working collections of Sixties soul 45s on the west coast people! So she imposed a dress code and I was thrilled because that meant I got to wear a skinny little tie and a tie clip like a real mod. We walked right in like we owned the place. We didn't even have to pay! I wish this was the reception my cross dressing engendered in the rest of the world. Red carpets and guest list treatment suit me fine.

The dancing was great, the music was spectacular, and the crowd was lovely and dressed to kill. And when I saw DJ Beyonda I thanked her for taking the party back from the forces of the mundane and she gave me a VIP pass card that says Thank You For Making Soul Night Special. Its just about my most prized possession other than the little burnt hunk of the Waco Branch Davidian Compound that I keep on my dresser.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blanchet House

In the old town part of Portland, near the train station, there are about five square blocks that are frequently occupied by down-on-their-luck homeless adults. On a particular corner on Glisan Street, I am accustomed to seeing a queue of bundled up cold-looking people waiting in line. This saturday I found out that the line was for Blanchet House, a "hospitality house" as I was told, that serves three square meals a day to anyone looking for something to eat. A friend from a lawyer group that I'm in suggested that we go and volunteer and help serve a dinner shift. So that's what happened (and I took my mom). I think we turned out about 250 plates of bread, stew, salad, fruit and really good looking cookies donated by Zupans.

There's something very satisfying to me about feeding people, whether it be to friends out of my own kitchen, or strangers in someone else's kitchen. That the Blanchet House was serving pretty decent healthy fare made it all the nicer. Later that night, completely unrelated, I was treated to a great dinner in the home of a local french chef. He is the honest to goodness real thing, and even apprenticed in a Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant many years ago. Thank you karma. Everything was good, but the basque beans are what I'm still thinking about. In September, he threw a huge party at his restaurant in honor of the basque chile that goes in the recipe. As he explained, every fall in the small village of Espelette in the French Basque country, over 20,000 chile fanatics meet to celebrate the Piment d’Espelette. I politely asked the chef for seconds because the beans were so good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weekend of Winter Wonder

My mother is going to be here any minute, in town for a Mary Kay function, staying for the weekend. I had a massage today and tried to relax. I don't ever go get massages but I think I might be coming around.

I'm going to try and take my mom snowshoeing up on Mt. Hood. I learned to snowshoe recently. (Not like it is some major achievement or something. I mean, it is just walking. I know). Maybe we will see the abominable snowman. Which begs the question, at least for me, what the snowman did that is so abominable. Usery? Buggery? Playing peruvian flute music? Cheating at cards? According to this article, it is because the yeti smelled bad. Lesson learned.

The Old Graveyard - Karl Blau (I fixed the bunk link)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello 2010.

There's a whole lot of shakin going on in the house of Tex this holiday season and I have had nary a moment to catch my breath and be terribly reflective about passing a decade. Here's what I can say for sure: I didn't get a tattoo. I quit smoking. Music makes everything better. Good friends are really important. I'm vulnerable and imperfect. I'm mostly glad I spent the last 10 yrs busting ass at work so I can spend the next 10 years fine-tuning balance and stretching to wrest just a little more fun out of my week.

Look at Miss Ohio - Blind Pilot (Gillian Welch cover)

The Short Way Home - The Builders and the Butcher

My favorite popular culture moment of the aughts: