Tuesday, July 31, 2007

let's hear it for pulp fiction!

Monday, July 30, 2007

the antidote

Two things cured my post-Potter depression: 1.) keeping busy, and 2.) reading an EVEN BETTER BOOK.

What's this?? An EVEN BETTER BOOK than HARRY POTTER?? What is this heresy?!?

But first, let me tell you about the keeping busy. You'll have to hang in and wait for the book... Here's my weekend in chronological order, with numbered bullets because I like those:

1.) Friday morning SK and I cycled over to Gravy on Mississippi for breakfast. Oh my god, I love that place so much. I ate my favorite on the menu, the Bacato scramble. Bacon, eggs, green onions, tomatoes and CREAM CHEESE. *Sigh* So good.

2.) Friday evening I went over to my friend Leo's birthday bbq. It was a joint party with another friend of hers (a straight man) and, consequently, it was full of STRAIGHT PEOPLE and CHILDREN. I felt a little dizzy looking around at all the skorts, but the kids were sorta cool, all off in a corner of the enormous yard, playing in an awesome wooden fort. One mystery guest at the party was this tiny little grey kitten that kept popping up when you least expected. She'd suddenly dash out from under a bush, spring into the middle of a circle of chairs, and stand there looking around until someone, inevitably, grabbed her b/c she was SO CUTE and you just couldn't resist, then she would squirm away and vanish under a piece of furniture. That was pretty special.

3.) Saturday morning, SK and I got up early and packed up the (borrowed) car and headed off for a camping excursion. We drove south towards Mt. Hood and ended up on a very sweet little hike which led us up to Pansy Lake. Aptly named, Pansy Lake is small and VERY shallow. From the ridge above, as you hike down in, you can see the bottom at all points and it looks no more than two feet deep at it's deepest. But the hike in was gorgeous and even though it wasn't swimmable, we still had a nice time sitting on the edge and eating our sandwiches.

We were joined by a mother with her 2-year-old daughter, who were camping there and wanted to check out the lake. Mom started pulling off the daughter's clothes so she could get in the water, and then, much to my surprise, she started pulling off her own as well. I glanced up at one point and saw the mom, suddenly topless, swinging the daughter up onto her hip and walking, gorgeous, out into the shallow, muddy water. I love women and I love it when women are free to be naked without the creepy, omnipresent leer of men. In fact, there were hardly any men at all up at Pansy Lake. Maybe they find the name off-putting...?

In addition to naked people, we saw an osprey dive into the lake and grab a duck! We didn't realize it had grabbed a duck until the thing it grabbed had wriggled loose and landed with a big splash and a very cranky "QUAAAACK" back in the water. Sure enough, there was a little brown duck, shaking itself off and looking indignant. Furthermore, we saw a colony of very cute little salamanders by a log in the lake, dozens of them all swarming around in different directions. The little girl wanted to catch one and I think the dad, who surfaced at some point, was going to help her after they ate lunch. I hope they managed it. That little girl was cute.

After Pansy Lake, we drove down toward Detroit and ended up randomly grabbing a campsite just South of Breitenbush Hot Springs. We weren't in the market for a hot-springs adventure, we just wanted a nice, quiet campsite near a river, and that's exactly what we got. There was no easy river access where we were, but the site was lovely and we had a nice time exploring and setting up camp. At dusk, we had a sweet little fire then we went to bed in my BRAND NEW AWESOME TENT and it was GREAT. :-)

4.) Sunday we got up, packed up camp, ate a breakfast of fresh fruit and then headed off in the direction of the coast. It was quite a long drive, but we made it eventually. SK had an appointment in Yachats at 3:30 and we got there in plenty of time to climb to the lookout at Cape Perpetua, which was gorgeous.

I sat on a rock outcropping very similar to the one in this photo and looked down at the steep drop below me. I love heights. Nothing pleases me more than to get myself right on the edge of something very high up and then to just sit there, soaking it all in. The only bummer is when there are other people ambling around on the paths, behind the safety fences where you're supposed to be. Your little meditative moment becomes performance art as they notice you in the act of something that looks crazy and suicidal. But mostly it's ok and they leave you alone.

After Cape Perpetua, we went into town and SK dropped me at the Landmark Restaurant and Lounge for clam chowder while she went to her half-hour appointment. Back when I was with CB, I spent quite a bit of time on the Lounge side of this old, seaside building, drinking and playing cards and watching the seals play in the bay. This was my first trip to the restaurant side of the building and it was nice enough. The Landmark has THE BEST clam chowder on the coast. I promise you, I have eaten a lot of clam chowder on the coast, and theirs is really the best. Just trust me.

Before I knew it, SK was back and we were in the car, pointed towards Portland. Big thanks go to SK for doing all the driving. Our borrowed car is a stick, and I can't drive a stick, so she was stuck in the driver's seat. Sorry honey. Maybe someday I'll learn again.

5.) Back in Portland, I had a quick shower and ran off to yet *another* birthday bbq party for yet another leo. What's up with these leos in my life? There's too many of them. Anyway, the leo in question this time was Dree, the youngster from my work on whom I have a tiny crush. I hadn't managed to get any birthday presents or cards or anything, I just showed up with a sixer of red-stripe (my summer party beer, apparently, I've brought it to more parties than I can count so far) and walked in to a house filled with the smell of pot. Wow. In the kitchen, I found Dree and that's about the most I saw of her all night. I put the beer away and wandered out to the back porch where I watched a group of young-ish men trying to start a fire in a stone pit, and talked a few minutes to Dree's mom who joined me there, eating vanilla ice-cream off a paper plate. She told me the details of the summer of Dree's birth (cool and sometimes rainy, a nice reprieve in the 9th month of pregnancy, then it got warm again in August, after Dree was born). The mom was nice, then she disappeared back into the pot-shrouded house and I found a seat in the yard and sat quietly for some time. Conversations were quiet and heavy, for some reason. Maybe everybody was high. I left after an hour, I didn't even say goodbye to anybody, just snuck out the front door like the scorpion I am and that was that.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the book that is even better than Harry Potter: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Oh my god, that book was so good. I started it on Friday and stayed up late last night finishing it. SO GOOD. If you don't know, The Road is set in a post-apocolyptic America and follows a father and young son as they struggle to survive, always moving, always walking down "the road." I hadn't read any Cormac McCarthy before, but now I'm inspired to read everything. His style is so spare and powerful and poetic. Plus he uses the best words! His vocabulary is enviable and I found myself reading during the trip and wishing I was near my computer so I could look things up.

So, the perfect antidote for post potter depression is a book that is ACTUALLY GOOD. Because, in the end, Harry Potter is just a bunch of adequately rendered genre fiction intended for kids. And ultimately, real literature blows it out of the water. (Sorry Harry, you know I still love you.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

post potter depression

It's over. I finished it. The last book in the Harry Potter series. I started it last weekend, and I swear I could've devoured it in one sitting, but I didn't want it to be over so I only let myself read it in short spurts. Still, it only lasted a week. And now...


I'm just a little deflated. It was good. Oh, it was really good. But what do I do now that it's OVER?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

tuesday fantasy girlfriend! a day late and a dollar short!

I really tried to do Tuesday fantasy girlfriend on Tuesday this week. I sat down with my computer in my lap and racked my brain for interesting, attractive women and -- big shock -- nothing came. So I did a google search for "lesbian icon," hoping I'd find a list of lesbians to help remind me who my options were. I ended up spending fifteen minutes taking some British "who's your lesbian icon" survey only to find out my lesbian icon was somebody I'd never even heard of before. Then I stumbled upon a top fifteen butches from the big screen list on After Ellen, which I hoped would spark my fantasy girlfriend imagination, but no. That list was bullshit. I don't even want to talk about it.

So I scrapped it and went to work having posted nothing. But then, last night as I lay drifting off to sleep, the perfect choice came to me. Ally Sheedy.

Like many lesbians of my generation, I always thought Ally Sheedy was just a brat pack actress with nothing much to recommend her besides her role in The Breakfast Club. What a great movie and what a great character.

But of course it was High Art that really put Ally on the lesbian map.

I remember thinking, after watching it for the first time, "Wow. Ally Sheedy. Who knew?" Who knew she could be SO HOT?? Who knew she could play such a great heroin-chic lesbian? This woman, who played opposite a ROBOT in a romantic comedy once (see: Short Circuit... or rather, don't see it...), had transformed into a super-hot hotty!

But, alas, she is ONLY a super-hot hotty in the context of High Art. My google image search resulted in MANY very unflattering photos of our Ally. Oh well. She was hot enough in High Art to make up for all the Short Circuits in the world... but just barely...

Monday, July 23, 2007

shopping spree!

You may not realize this, but I am tight with my money. Sure, I'll spend money here and there on food and beer (I'll even offer to buy yours if I feel like it), but when it comes to spending money on STUFF, I hardly ever do it. Consequently, there's a lot of stuff I want that I don't have. For example, camping equipment. I haven't even had a SLEEPING BAG since I was in high school. Which means I've been borrowing other people's crappy equipment whenever I've gone camping, and that's lame.

But guess what. Those days are over. One of the unanticipated benefits of hooking up with this troupe of kayaking lesbians are the connections I have gained in the world of retail sporting goods. This weekend, I (along with all the other X-factor kayakers) received a "friends and family" pass to a phenomenal REI sale from a kayaker I barely even met. Twenty-five percent off purchases of $200 or more. What an awesome deal.

SK and I went to REI Saturday afternoon, a full 24 hours before the sale began, to scope the place out and decide what to get. It was dizzying, the access to so much cool gear. I had to keep reminding myself that the stuff wasn't going to be FREE, it was just going to be discounted. But my wishlist got longer and longer. Any worry that we might not reach the $200 threshold quickly vanished.

The sale itself ran from 6pm to 9pm Sunday night and the store was closed to anyone who didn't have a pass. SK and I descended on the store like swift and determined warriors, sweeping through like lightening and grabbing the things we'd already selected. We bumped into the kayakers who were all milling around and buying little things, like spray on sunscreen for kayaks (wtf??), and SK got to meet adventure girl, and all was well.

When the dust finally settled, I walked out of that store with:

1.) An REI brand half-dome, two-person tent. (It has metallic orange poles!)
2.) A lightweight, down filled sleeping bag. (It has stars on the inside!)
3.) A Kelty frame pack. (It has pockets! And a detachable fanny pack! And what the fuck am I going to do with a fanny pack??)
4.) An REI brand self-inflating thermarest-type pad. (It's soft!)
5.) The cheapest PFD (that's personal flotation device for you non-kayakers, AKA: life vest) I could find, since all the other women wear them and I haven't had one and have had to borrow adventure girl's. (It's red! And bulky!)

That's all. Grand total, with discount: $441. Wow.


I'm not rich, but I do have some money socked away and this was a good investment. Between mine and SK's purchases, our 25% discount amounted to a savings of over $200. And that's a lot of money. And this equipment will be with me for a LONG TIME.

So, of course, SK and I are going camping next week! AWESOME!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

the drama that is my life

I am trying a very weird experiment with my personal life and I feel it is my responsibility to share the results of this experiment with the world (ie: whomever is reading this blog). Here's the latest installment: I got dumped by adventure girl.

I knew it would happen, she'd been warning me about her boundaries since basically day one and I'd been studiously pushing those boundaries, all the while reminding her that my pushing of her boundaries should not be taken as any kind of aquiescence to having, or even thinking about having, a "relationship."

However, as clear as I thought I was being, I still had a niggling little suspicion that she was still getting emotionally involved. And I was right. After kayaking last Sunday, back at her house where the final barrier was breached (if you know what I mean...), I knew things might be weird. SK came back on Tuesday, and my contact with adventure girl dropped to record low levels.

Then yesterday I got the call. SK and I were just getting back from a wish-list trip to REI (more on that later), and I sat in the car on the phone while SK went in and started making dinner, which was very lovely of her. Meanwhile, adventure girl asked me lots of questions, seemed a little hurt by my frank answers, and then declared that this thing we've been doing must end.

I hung in, I held my ground, I apologized for my insensitivities, etc, etc, but at some point I just wanted to say, "Ok, look. Can I still use your kayak for the camping trip in two weeks? Can we still share a tent and be pals? Because I don't really care about processing all this emotional shit with you, I just want to get off the phone and go eat dinner." Maybe I'm becoming a man...

Anyway, I called her this morning and we went to breakfast and it was good. I expected her (dangerous little scorpio that she is) to stew on it all through the night and then to have herself all worked up into a nice, frothy anger by today, but not so. She seemed pretty ok. She did admit that her feelings were hurt when she realized I didn't really have feelings for her (HELLO, haven't I been warning you about that all along?) but otherwise, it was ok. We ate breakfast, went to a kayak store to return a loaner paddle together, and now I'm home, none the worse for wear.

And the good news: I still get to go on the camping trip and we're still pals. I'm not kicked out of the kayak club! Yay! Because that's really all that matters to me at this point.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

guess what the mailman just dropped off...


See y'all in a few days...


You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.
However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

you want reviews? i got reviews.

Two big events occurred for me yesterday: I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and I finished reading Valencia. Wanna know what I thought? Ok, here you go.

Valencia gets three out of five stars. This is not a novel, it's basically a diary of Michelle Tea's life during one long, sexy and druggy year in the Mission district of San Francisco. It's told in a frenetic, "oh-my-god-I-have-to-tell-you-about-my-crazy-weekend!!!" voice, and at first I kept up. I gave myself to that frenetic pace and let it pull me along. But at some point I realized all the rushing was getting us nowhere. Each chapter is about a new girl Michelle is fucking (or wanting to fuck, or trying to stop fucking) and nothing seems to tie together and none of it seems to really matter.

Not to give it too much credit, but it reminds me of Kerouac's On the Road just a little. His is also basically a diary of a crazy time, full of sex and drugs. But there was a depth in his story, a cosmic, mystical tilt to all his adventures, at least in his own eyes, and I never stopped in the midst of yet another chapter on driving across the country and thought "what's the value of reading this?" The value was always self-evident. Not so with Valencia.

But read it anyway. It can be interesting to learn about her grungy, punky life, her bad outfits, her bizarre and often bad sex. If I'd read this book ten years ago, when I was much more impressionable, it might've actually had an impact (no doubt a bad one) on my development. But don't look for a narrative structure or momentum or characters you can care about it. Its all just a disconnected blur, like sitting in a doorway, slightly stoned, and watching the traffic pass by before you. It can be entertaining, but you'll get bored with it eventually and then, when it's all over, you'll forget what you saw and move on.

Sadly, I don't have much better news about Harry Potter. Again, three out of five stars. I love the books (LOVE THEM) and I will always enjoy watching them come to life on the screen because the actors, kids and grown-ups alike, are all so fantastic. Except Daniel Radcliffe who is a dorky little strip of cardboard (sorry Roro). But the books are just too good, too dense and complicated to translate well into movies sometimes.

That's especially true with Order of the Phoenix which is the longest (isn't it?) of the series so far. It is/was also the darkest and it introduced a ton of new characters. The movie tries too hard to cram in too many bits of this story and it all ends up feeling choppy and rushed. I went with SK, who isn't a big fan of the movies and hasn't read any of the books (I know, sacrilege), and it helped to have her perspective. The movie didn't explain itself very well to someone who didn't already know the story inside and out, which is a bad sign.

And for those of us who DO know the story inside and out (and who love every minute of it) this movie didn't give us much to feel good about. There's a lot of cranky Harry and not nearly enough Ron and Hermione or anybody else I want to see. And speaking of what I want to see, what happened to that phase in the movies when all the boys had long, shaggy hair? That was really cute! What's up with this dorky short hair?? At least Hermione is still cute as ever... with her flaring nostrils and her arching eyebrows... and her flowing curls...

Sorry, where was I? Oh! Here are the shallow things I liked: Luna Lovegood is really precious. And Gary Oldman (as Sirius Black) is HOT, with the best facial hair configuration ever. And. Well. That's about it. Sorry Harry Potter. You kinda disappointed me.

But it still gets three stars instead of two because... well because it's Harry Potter, for christsakes! It can't *completely* suck.

Friday, July 20, 2007

catchin up

Wow. SK's been here since Tuesday night and so far, knock wood, it's been really fun. :-) I think she and I should write a book about how to love and break up and keep loving. Because I think what we're doing is really amazing and everybody should have a crack at it.

And now I have to go eat lunch and get ready to go SEE HARRY POTTER FINALLY!!!!!!! In anticipation of the final Harry Potter book which is, as we speak, wrapped in cardboard and sitting in a UPS truck somewhere, driving slowly but surely in the direction of my house!!! Yay!!!

Nothing to complain about here except the weather. Which is crap. But who cares?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

hey, guess what!

SK's back! And even though we sorta broke up, we're still having lots of fun! And it's really nice to have her back! And I'll write more later! Ok! Bye!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

but that was MY idea!!!

I thought *I* was the first to come up with the idea to make whips out of rubber from old bike tires. I did it back in '01 when I first moved to town. But NOOOOOOOOOO, Michelle Tea beat me to it. There it is on page 89 of Valencia, "And we couldn't smack each other or play around with the recycled bicycle tire whip..." Published in 2000, goddammit. She beat me out by one year.

Oh well.

tuesday fantasy girlfriend: a poet!

I guess I've been living under a rock because I hadn't heard of Eileen Myles until yesterday. I was flying through my new book choice, Valencia, and saw her name, looked it up, and lo-and-behold I've finally found this hot, underground-famous, post-punk, dyke-poet who got her start doing spoken word at CBGBs in NYC and was friends with Alan Ginsberg, among others. Nice.

Trust me when I say, this was the best picture I was able to capture on Google images. There's a great Robert Mapplethorpe portrait out there of her, but it's magically protected and won't show up on my blog when I try to steal it. Oh well. And the other two more available photos of her happen to make her look a lot like my drunk ex-wife, so those were out.

But I'm not making her fantasy girlfriend cuz she's hot (though, in my opinion, she's got this ruggedly androgynous charm that's pretty hot)... so now, for your reading pleasure, here's a sample of her work. Enjoy:


Everything's equal now. Blue leash blue bike
blue socks covering my ankles today
what about my friend -- I never wear socks
for a week or two she lived in the streets &
it was such an illumination. What's this human
addiction to light. One morning I dreamt about
homelessness, joked about it. Life reduced
or expanded to getting doggie her very
next can. Dog's inexcusable addiction to
eating. At the bottom of the sea, David said,
the fishies are inexcusably addicted to light.
Same day I and my dog were left on the street.
No home, no keys, streams of pouring grey
rain. Now what is this grey, in relationship
to blue. Ask some painter is it less light
or is it what. What kind of hat should
I have worn yesterday in my crisis.
The dog's blue leash was gone. My feet reaching
over the bounds of the sidewalks, its curbs
and waves, pavement splashing up
hard and grey. Where did I see that man?
Someplace so human they even had one of them.
In a dark blue teeshirt, laughing. There is nothing
to my anecdote, my predicament, my color
crisis. There is nothing but blue & grey.
A glint hits the golden key, and it's a bad one
not the original and I kept turning and turning
there were copies everywhere in the neighborhood
that's what I am trying to say. I simply walked
and the apologies kept coming streaming in
and I said I simply walked and the tree
turned, no the key and the bottom of the sea
is flooded with light, we just get used to it
the deeper and deeper we go and the harder
it is to turn the key and eventually we
go and it is very very dark
we just get used to the light
but the blues and the greys and the feelings
of lostness, it's like home, it's like family.

Monday, July 16, 2007

details of my second adolescence

Or maybe it's my third. I guess it depends what you're counting.

Anyway, I'm behaving like a restless teenager these days, with boundless curiosity and energy to burn. Too bad I'm not a teenager and I *don't* really have much energy to burn. And, I mean, eventually all this is going to catch up with me, isn't it? We'll see. Otherwise, here it is. Enjoy.

Friday Night:

Party at a coworker's house. Fortunately, I spent the whole day laying low, hanging out, enjoying my patio, reading my godawful book. I'm not even really sure what possessed me to go to this party b/c the woman who threw it (we'll call her Elvira) kinda makes me nervous.

But I went anyway, b/c maybe I'm curious about being made nervous. Who knows. Took a sixer of Red Stripe, added it to a fridge already bursting with beer, and spent about two hours talking to a pin-ball nerd about conquering games. It was actually more fun than it sounds. Then Dree showed up.

Dree is another coworker. Dree's the one who invited me to come along while she was tattooed. Dree is a youngster, a very young youngster. And Dree is really cute. So Dree showed up and even though she hasn't until recently been on my radar AT ALL, suddenly there she was with these sparkly eyes looking at me in this particularly sparkly way (not out from under the perpetual scowl she wears at work) and I thought 'hmm... this is interesting.' And it was.

We ended up out on the back balcony with all the people smoking weed and tobacco and talking shit. I climbed over the edge of the balcony and hung myself out over the abyss of the backyard, just enjoying the pull of gravity, the night air, the kinetic energy, the people all behind me talking and laughing, Elvira begging me to come back over to the safe side of the balcony. Then Dree climbed out too.

The rest is sort of a pleasant blur and I will slide over the details and just say that Friday night slowly rolled into Saturday morning and it wasn't till nearly Saturday afternoon that I found my way home.


I hadn't had much sleep and I dragged myself into my house around 11-ish Saturday morning, exhausted and mildly dizzy. Took a two hour nap, woke at 2pm and crawled onto Skype to see if SK was around. She's coming back soon and our Skype-times are coming to a close (are now, in fact, over). Passed the rest of the afternoon in an epic, two-hour-and-eight-minute skype conversation with SK, after which Adventure Girl called on my cell and asked if I wanted to hang out.

I had plans already to meet old-Mog (check out the early archives if you're interested) and another queer-law-school friend for drinks. But what the heck, I told Adventure Girl that I could squeeze her in for some happy hour pinball at my favorite bar, Billy Rays. Why not? Why worry about my exhaustion or the fact that I was already planning to go kayaking with Adventure Girl the next morning, early? Why behave like a grown up?

So by six I was pumping quarters into Medieval Madness and drinking red beer (great hangover cure, btw, tomato juice in light beer -- don't make that face! It's good!) and joking around with Adventure Girl. As much as I'm loathe to admit it, I'm a tiny bit of a Portland-hipster-snob-wannabe. Just a tiny bit. And Adventure Girl is technically too much of a mainstream-jock to be seen w/ me in the scrungy-slacker bar I love so much. But whatever.

After we did our worst damage to Medieval Madness (the best pinball game ever), we headed off for mac and cheese under the Morrison bridge at the Montage. The Montage is another one of those Portland institutions that's gotten too cool for it's own good. It was filled to the gills with people who looked like tourists bussed in from Beaverton and Salem. I felt like I sometimes felt in New Orleans, in dark, mysterious, candle-lit, voodoo rooms filled with ball-capped, white-t-shirted, socks-and-sandals tourists, chewing gum and looking around at everything, waiting for entertainment. Yuck.

But the mac and cheese was good. In fact, I have a tin-foil swan full of the leftovers in my fridge right at this moment. I should go eat them.

After Montage I spent a few minutes pushing Adventure Girls boundaries and then headed off, slightly late, to meet my other friends at the Nest. The Nest used to be Joe's Place, an old Alberta St. dive back when Alberta used to be poor and black and full of gang activity. They only sold forties in brown bags at the bar and it was known to be a Dangerous Place.

Well now that Alberta's been safely gentrified, it's still a slightly trashy dive, but they have more than forties at the bar, the clientelle is mostly white (but not entirely, which is refreshing), and it no longer seems like a knife fight waiting to happen. Oh, and there's a great patio-space out back. A great patio space with horse-shoes and not enough tables for all the tons of hipsters trying to pack in. We got into full on turf wars with a table full of dykes who thought we'd stolen their chairs. We sent Mog as our ambassador of peace to negotiate with the bleach-blonde, crew-cutted uber-dyke who was holding our chairs hostage. I don't know what Mog said, but she got our chairs back and declared that the two tables were now friends. Nice work.

The patio was fun for awhile but, inexplicably, at 11:15, one of the bar's proprieters (happy to say he was black, so at least *all* the black business owners on Alberta haven't been gentrified away) came out and told us the patio would be closing in ten minutes. Wha??? The packed patio, teeming with people who'd never actually fit into the bar itself, who'd probably just leave and stop spending their money rather than try and cram themselves inside. Why would you ever want to run off half your cleintelle when the night was still so young?

It was not for me to contemplate. I left. Hit the pillow and was out before midnight.


Alarm at 6:45am. SIX FORTY FIVE A M!!! That's so early! But I desperately needed a shower and some food before heading off to kayak for only the second time in my life. Adventure Girl bought herself a brand new kayak this week, so I was able to use her old one for free. Sweet!

And speaking of 'yaks, I got carsick on the way to Sauvie Island (long story about why, but you would too if you'd been in my position), and once we stopped at the designated meeting place, I had to wander over to the bushes next to the general store and unload the contents of my stomach. Nice.

I was fine once I was on the water in the short, sporty, bright green kayak that all the other kayak-dykes call "sweet pea." They all have long, sleek kayaks that slice gracefully through the water like magic. They used to razz Adventure Girl about Sweet Pea, but now she's got a long, sleek kayak too (red, which they're all calling "hot tamale") and so now they get to razz *me* for Sweet Pea. Which is fine.

We paddled, literally, for hours and I thought my arms would probably fall off, but I kept up. I had a really interesting conversation, as we slowly paddled along, with one of the women, about her son who died of cancer at twenty and my brother who died (basically) also from cancer at twenty. There we were, paddling slowly up the Willamette, talking about the intimacy and mystery of death. It was really incredible.

Eventually we stopped on a sandbar to rest and eat lunch. While we sat among some fragrant weeds (we debated: mint? thyme? something...) I looked up and saw the sweet, curious, white face of a hereford cow peeking around the corner of a trail on our island. She stood and looked at us for a long while, then, having decided we were probably harmless, she cautiously made her way to the edge of the water and drank, right there at the end of our long line of kayaks. Someone jumped up and snapped a picture and I can't wait to see it. Ten shiny, colorful kayaks all in a row, then a fat, black cow dipping her white face into the water at the end. Sweet.

After 'yaking, we all drove over to a brew pub in the NW and had hamburgers and beers and I was still feeling a little crappy, but the beer and the food actually helped a little. It was nice to sit at the table with these really great women. I'm by far the youngest, younger than the next youngest by seven years. They're all old dykes with long stories, kids, exes, joys and complications. And they're all really warm and sweet and funny and I'm really thankful to be able to hang out with them, benefit from their kayak wisdom and just enjoy their collective company.

Pretty soon, after all the beers and hamburgers were gone, we disbanded. One by one, a car with kayaks on the roof pulled out of the parking lot, all heading in different directions. I went back to Adventure Girl's house for the last adventure of all. No details on that one either, it's too complicated, but it was mostly fun. I got home at 11:30, Skyped SK for the last time, and crashed.

That was my weekend. Action packed. Exhausting. Over.

follow up

After War and Peace, I decided to go in the opposite direction... as far in the opposite direction as possible. Short. Sexy. Lesbionic. Whew, this will be quick and dirty... just how I like it. (Ha-ha.)

Speaking of which, stay tuned for a recap of my very exhausting, very fun weekend. :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

so. done.

I finally finshed reading War and Peace yesterday. After nearly three full months. Damn that book is long. And the last hundred pages is just epilogue. And the last forty pages is all dry philosophizing. I was committed, but near the end I just wanted somebody to shoot me and put me out of my misery. Jesus.

But now it's over. And now my book choices are totally overwhelming. What easy, short book should I read first?? I can hardly stand my abundance of options!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

the adventures keep rolling in

Imagine my surprise when Adventure Girl showed up to my work at midnight last night, ON THE MOTORCYCLE, intending to take me on a night ride. Night rides (on warm nights) are AWESOME. Imagine my surprise when we rolled past Union Jack's, a strip-club for the alterna/punk/goth crowd, and she said "Hey, let's check that out!."

And that's how I started out at work and ended up watching pole dancers last night. I didn't get home till 3am. And I'm TIRED. Wonder what's going to happen today...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

i am not a pedophile

I swear I'm not, but I'm getting excited about the release of the latest Harry Potter movie and the LAST(!!!!!) Harry Potter book and, in my swell of Harry Potter enthusiasm, I feel compelled to share with you my most favorite fantasy FUTURE girlfriend. FUTURE. As in: keep an eye on this one, she'll be a GREAT fantasy girlfriend when she's finally all grown up. Which will be next year. Not too far away...

Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger. So cute. So young. So FUTURE FANTASY GIRLFRIEND.

according to my mom, my chances are much higher...

There's a 28% Chance You've Been Abducted By Aliens

Even though you have a few alien abduction signs, you're almost certainly in the clear.
However, if aliens ever do come to your neck of the woods... they'll probably be coming for you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

oh yeah. tuesday fantasy girlfriend.

Ani Difranco.

This choice speaks for itself.

guess what i did today!!!

Ok. No. I didn't get a tattoo, but I did go with my friend while *she* got one. And I was jealous. Boy was I jealous. By the way, this isn't a picture of my friend getting tattooed, this is just some random and cool picture of somebody else getting tattooed.

You know, summer time is tattoo time as far as I'm concerned. It's 100 degrees outside today and, call me crazy, but I'm itchin' for an inkin'. I managed to restrain myself in the shop today. The hot, tranny tattooist had a couple free hours due to a last minute cancellation. I was THIS close to hitting him up for a slot after my friend, but I kept myself in check. I made that mistake once before and I won't make it again.

But I *would* like some more work... one of these days...

in a heartbeat

Check this out! This guy in Oregon just flew 193 miles in his lawn chair, lifted into the air by a bunch of helium balloons. Amazing. This isn't a picture of the guy in Oregon, this is just a random picture from google images. Doesn't that look like fun? I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

soundtrack (we *can* rebuild him)

I'm sure every one of us has a time in our past that stands out as the BEST time. A particular time that, from this far-removed vantage point, seems perfect. During that time you were happiest, most free, most loved, most held, most met, most excited, most whatever. Nothing in the present day can compare to that best time.

My best time was the summer between high school and college. I have written about this time before, but I'll quickly recap: I spent the whole summer hanging out with my "band" the Spinning Jennies, mostly not playing music, mostly just fucking around and enjoying our temporary, carefree, freedom. I was in the throes of unrequieted crush-love-lust for Jodi, Jodi was dating Paul, Donor and Paul were best friends, Donor and I were best friends, everybody was in love with each other in different ways and we had a lot of fun.

Somewhere along the way that summer, Paul made us a mix tape and it became the soundtrack for the rest of our time together. Whether we were laying out under the stars in the field next to Donor's house or driving to the beach for the weekend together, we were listening to this tape. We called it "The Stoned Tape," I think for obvious reasons. I loved this tape.

Last night, inspired by South Carolina Girl's post about Melissa Etheridge, I started digging through my old box of tapes to find the few remaining M.E. tapes I still have. But before I could find Melissa, I ran across the stoned tape. Wow.

So I played it (in fact, I'm playing it again right now) and what a blast from the past! It transports me back into a different world. I was so young back then, summer of '93, 18 years old, so young. I had so many *feelings*! Everything was so exciting and either blissful or devastating depending on the moment. All the possibility, the newness of pot, the comraderie around music, my deep attachment to Jode. Fuck, what an intense time.

This isn't the first time I've listened to the stoned tape in all these years. I dig it out every few years and listen again, but I've lately been worried that the tape will give out eventually and I'll lose this precious little artifact and my palpable link to a long distant version of myself. Last night I got the brilliant idea to write down all the songs and all the artists as the tape played so that I can use iTunes to try and reconstruct the stoned tape digitally. That way, it will never be lost!

So, for your own personal edification, I will share with you the entire contents of the stoned tape, reconstructed to the best of my ability. There are a couple artists and song titles I'm not sure of, those will require some research. (*denotes a guess at a song title) But for now, here's what I've got:

1.) The The -- Save Me
2.) REM -- Everybody Hurts
3.) The Cure -- Pictures of You
4.) Morrissey -- Seasick Yet Still Docked
5.) REM -- Night Swimming
6.) Concrete Blonde -- Everybody Knows
7.) The Pixies -- Wave of Mutilation
8.) Smiths -- Last Night I Dreampt That Somebody Loved Me
9.) Smiths -- I Won't Share You
10.) Janes Addiction -- Summertime Rolls
11.) The The -- True Happiness This Way Lies
12.) The The -- Love Is Stronger Than Death
13.) Radiohead -- Been Thinking About You
14.) Morrissey -- Will Never Marry
15.) The Pixies -- Where Is My Mind
16.) Peter Gabriel -- In Your Eyes
17.) REM -- You Are The Everything
18.) School of Fish -- Euphoria
19.) U2 -- Surrender*
20.) REM -- Wendell Gee
21.) Smiths/Morrissey -- ??
22.) Cranberries -- ??

Sucks that there are a few songs I have no clue about. I'll have to do lyrics searches and see if I can track them down. And I think all these Smiths/Morriessey songs are probably just Morrissey, but I included the Smiths just in case. Who knows. Paul must've really liked Morrissy, he's on here a lot. Damned Morrissey, but his music is particularly suited to a "stoned" tape. I'd like a little more Jane's Addiction, but that's just me.

** Post Script: Thanks to comments from Shelley and Witchtrivets, the list has been updated with better information. Thanks guys. :-)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

the inevitable snags

This thing that I'm trying to do is difficult. This casual dating thing. This non-monogamy thing. This "alone" thing. It's fine for me, but gets complicated for others. I've been hanging out with this chick, we'll call her Adventure Girl. She's the one with the kayak and the motorcycle. She's the one dragging me around on adventures.

Last night we went up the street for a drink and, in the dark, deserted back end of the bar, sitting on a couch looking out into the night through an open garage door at the opposite end of the room, she gave me the "boundaries" talk. Already we're having the boundaries talk? And we've barely just begun to hang out.

She had good points. I don't want a relationship and she doesn't want something open. As I listened, I felt the full weight of the potential selfishness of my position. Inside I was groaning, thinking "Come on Adventure Girl, lighten up! This is fun and new and not serious in any way." That's what I get for trying to adventure with a Scorpio. Too serious. Too much.

We'll keep hanging out, me and Adventure Girl, but the lines are drawn and that's that. I'm glad she's taking care of herself. And as for me... back to the ol' drawing board, I guess.

war and peace... and lesbians?

"From that day there sprang up between Princess Marya and Natasha one of those tender and passionate friendships which can only exist between women. They were continually kissing each other and saying tender things to one another, and they spent the greater part of their time together. If one went away, the other was uneasy and hastened to join her. They felt more harmony together with each other than apart, each with herself. There sprang between them a feeling stronger than friendship; that was the feeling of life being only possible in each other's company."

From pg. 1231 of The Modern Library Classics edition (Constance Garnett's translation) of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

this is not supposed to be happening

I have a summer cold! I hate summer colds!! Until this morning, I was in denial. I had a mild headache all day Thursday, I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and last night around 6 I started sneezing and my nose ran like a faucet for the rest of the night. Yet I kept telling myself it was just allergies. Now, however, I am willing to admit that I'm sick. And it sucks.

Having a cold in winter makes sense. I'm actually *happy* to have a cold in winter sometimes, because the cold forces me to slow down, go inside, take really good care of myself, etc. It's like being forced to take a snuggly vacation. I know how to take care of my winter colds. But in summer I don't *want* to slow down! I don't want to bundle up and drink hot tea and lay in bed all day! I don't want a snuggly vacation!! I want to cycle to coffeeshop! I want to play in the sun! I want to go out with my friends and drink beer and play pinball! It's not fair!

*Sigh* Oh well. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and lay low for awhile. :-( Sucks.

Friday, July 06, 2007

independence day

I wish I could've brought you all along with me on my mini-independence day adventure, because I will not be able to describe how cool it was. As usual, I was working on the fourth, so my options were pretty limited. However, I managed to do the one thing I've wanted most to do all these years and had never managed to swing: I climbed on top of our building to watch the fireworks.

It was awesome. First of all, I love climbing on top of our building. This activity is strictly forbidden and very risky. To do it, you have to use the fire-escape which means you have to step out over a railing on the third floor and then climb a ladder on the outside of the building up onto the roof. I love heights and I'm not worried about falling. I AM worried about other clients down below seeing me as I become very visible on that ladder and either 1.) tattling on me, or 2.) deciding to try it themselves. Actually, the second one is all I'm really worried about. If they get the idea to climb onto the roof by themselves, that's one thing. But if they get the idea from me, and then (god forbid) they fall (or jump) I would feel really shitty for a really long time.

So, there are the drawbacks to getting on the roof. However, the benefits of getting on the roof are MANY. It's AWESOME up there. You can see all the cool, old buildings in Old Town, the west hills, and all the bridges. It's gorgeous in the daytime and it's gorgeous at night. It's also solitary and peaceful. You're sure not likely to run into anybody else up there. Except for the big plastic owl. I'm not sure how he got up there, but I suspect my friend Hoot did it a long time ago.

Anyway, fireworks from the roof of our building was the coolest thing I've done for the fourth in a LONG TIME. I basically had a 360 degree panoramic view of fireworks displays all over the city. I could even see the display from Fort Vancouver! I stood up there (right on the edge, where I could get a better view) for 45 minutes and it was so, so cool. See? I can't even begin to describe how cool it was.

The only way it could've been cooler would be if I could've jumped off and soared all over the city like superman. Which reminds me, riding on a motorcycle is like flying. I always suspected it would be, but I never knew for sure. You dip and soar and slice through the air. I loved it. And I know I loved it b/c I could see the reflection of my shit-eating-grin in the back of the driver's helmet the whole time. If I wondered how I was enjoying it, I could just look straight ahead and there I was, a big round head with a big huge grin, the whole time. Yay. :-)

Life is suddenly full of these strange, exciting adventures. I feel really fortunate.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

adventure-town usa!

Ok, for some of you, this will not seem like such a big adventure. For example, for those of you (like SK) who have not only ridden motorcycles, but who have owned their very own motorcyles, this might actually seem yawn-worthy. But for me, who has secretly longed for and lusted after the motorcycle experience for years upon years, this was an awesome adventure. I just spent the last hour being ridden around Skyline Drive on the back of a gorgeous blue Triumph. And the best part? My helmet had blue flames painted all over it. THAT. WAS. FUN.

More later.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

put those chopsticks DOWN

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

i like older chicks

Welcome to another (late) edition of fantasy girlfriend. For some reason, as I scanned my libidinous memory today, trolling around for the perfect fantasy girlfriend, one woman sprang immediately to mind: Sigourney Weaver. But not just regular old Sigourney Weaver, I was thinking about her character from Alien: Ellen Ripley, the total, alien-fighting badass.

I looked for a good picture of her bald from whichever installment of Alien/s that took place on the penal-colony planet where everyone had shaved heads, but I couldn't find one. She did look pretty hot bald. Oh lord did she. But, if you want a hot picture, I offer you this:

This picture actually makes my heart beat a little faster and my breath get a little shallow. This picture is hot for *so* many reasons. Dear lord. (And it's about time somebody choked Winona Ryder...)

And that's why Ellen Ripley, I mean, Sigourney Weaver is today's FANTASY GIRLFRIEND!

Monday, July 02, 2007

the original meme

Stole this meme from SK who theorizes that it is the original meme: also known as The Proust Questionnaire, these questions were apparently asked to Marcel Proust when he was a boy and again when he was an adult. I guess Vanity Fair runs on their back page a Proust Questionnaire feature every month and so, here it is. The original meme. Enjoy.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The lowest depth of misery in my own life would be feeling like I've fucked up somehow and irreperably damaged my life. All the potential big regrets: moving so far away from family, choosing the wrong educational path, not managing my finances better, etc. Regret = misery in my opinion. Regret = a big black hole you can't crawl out of and where you know you'll die alone. The lowest depth of misery in the world is torture, starvation, watching your loved ones die. So... my version more or less pales in comparison.

Where would you like to live?

For now, I'm happy right here in Portland. If I had unlimited resources, I'd like to try living in Europe for awhile and also, possibly, somewhere tropical. I haven't travelled well enough to know where exactly.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

No regrets, no panic. Lots of love and freedom. Also, a nice long summer with blue skies and warm sun. And lots of water. And trees. And dogs.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

I'm not entirely sure I understand the question. But, here we go. I'm most indulgent to my own negativity. I let myself spin on that a little too much. I'm working on it.

Who are your favorite heroes/heroines of fiction?

Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. And, of course, Scout Finch too, for different reasons.

Who are your favorite characters in history?

Hmmm. Jane Addams, she was the original social worker. The Sufferagettes and the Second Wave feminists (despite some of the white, middle-class values that followed them) Eleanor Roosevelt.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?

What's "real life?"

Your favorite painter?

I don't know my painters. I like Van Gogh. I like Matisse. I love Georgia O'Keeffe, but mostly for *her* and less for her work.

Your favorite musician?

Too hard to quanitfy.

The quality you most admire in a man?

Admire? Frankly, a really nice moustache.

The quality you most admire in a woman?

Independence, intelligence, radical-thinking, creativity.

Your favorite virtue?

What's a virtue?

Your favorite occupation?

To occupy my time? Reading. To earn money? I have no idea.

Who would you have liked to be?

Nobody else but me. But if I couldn't have been me, I would like to have been Henry Miller.

Your most marked characteristic?

Sarcasm, wit, vocabulary.

What do you most value in your friends?

Reliability. Depth.

What is your principle defect?

Negativity. A deep feeling that I'm not welcome anywhere.

What is your favorite occupation?

Objection, your honor. Asked and answered.

What is your dream of happiness?

Peace and the freedom to move between worlds.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?

To lose love, to regret your actions, to hurt people.

What would you like to be?

A changer, a creator of Big Things.

In what country would you like to live?

I'm happy right here for now.

What is your favorite color?

All shades of blue leaning to purple.

What is your favorite flower?

Crocus. First to come up here in spring, they make me really happy.

What is your favorite bird?

Hummingbirds are incredible and magical. Crows are also pretty magical. Both.

Who are your favorite prose writers?

Hemingway and Dostoevsky for the classics. Harper Lee as the one-hit-wonder. And Jack Keroac, Henry Miller and Philip Roth as the ones that rev me up most.

Who are your favorite poets?

Hands down Adrienne Rich, for whom this blog is named, absolutely favorite. I also love Sharon Olds, Rainer Maria Rilke, Whitman, Blake, Alan Ginsberg, Maxine Kumin and Pablo Neruda.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Anyone who lives outside the mainstream. Change-makers, freedom fighters, radical lovers, artists.

What is it you most dislike?

Willful ignorance.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?


How would you like to die?

Lucidly. In nature.

What is your present state of mind?

Peacefully happy (sun outside, birds chirping, summer bliss).

What is your motto?
Live Free or Die Hard. Just kidding. :-) I have two, a major and a minor, and I've had them since high school. The major one sounds negative and nihilistic, but it's not. It's "Expect Nothing." I won't bother to explain it's more subtle value, you should meditate on it like a koan. The minor one is self-explanatory and comes from a Kurt Vonnegut book, probably Cat's Cradle. It is "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god." And that's why I went kayaking Saturday.

The end.

And guess what, my friends, this time I'm TAGGING people. SK, you're off the hook cuz you've done it already. I'm tagging: South Carolina Girl, Zuhn, witchtrivets, Heather and Melinda. Roro is optional. I look forward to reading the results of your soul-searching ladies.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

somebody went on an adventure!

** This is not a picture of me. This is a random picture from Google Images.

Usually, I am a lazy slug. While I enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, I'm usually too lame to actually plan, organize, and put into motion any of these activities. Have I mentioned I'm also poor? You know, relatively speaking. I'm middle class American poor, ie: I own a car and rent a sweet apartment but can't afford fancy toys.

Anyway, I recently started going to breakfast with a bunch of random lesbians from Craigslist. I think I mentioned that in my Pride post. Well, I met this one chick at breakfast who invited me to go night-kayaking in honor of the super-ginormous full moon last night.

Night kayaking?

At first I was skeptical, for so many reasons. Number one: I'd never kayaked before and I worried that my spaghetti arms wouldn't be able to handle it. Number two: I wasn't excited about committing to such a big event that would be so totally out of my control. I can always hop in my car (or onto a bus) and go home if I'm hanging out in town and get sick of it. Not so when you've been driven out to some town in Southwest Washington by some chick you hardly know.

But then I realized I was being ridiculous and I called her back and said "count me in!" (or something to that effect...) She called ahead and reserved a kayak for me at the rental place and away we went. IT WAS SO FUN! I love being on the water anyway and I especially loved the feeling of moving the boat along so fast with the simplest strokes of the oar. I also loved the workout! I'll never have to lift weights again if I start kayaking. And of course there was the gorgeous outdoors! We started out in a tributary then ended up in the Columbia River. It was so cool.

There were actually three groups of people involved, a group of lesbians who kayak together, a group of gay men called "Out Kayaking" and a group (of hapless heteros) arranged by the rental place. The plan was to kayak way far down to a sandbar, then to get out and chill for awhile till the sun went down, then to get in and paddle back with the big, fat moon on the horizon. It all worked out except the timing with the moon. The rental people even brought sandwiches and grapes for us to eat! So sweet, those rental people.

Paddling in the daylight was pretty cool, but paddling in the dark was AWESOME. I can't even really explain what was so cool about it, it just was. Cool. Really, really cool. The moon made a dim appearance just as we were rounding the bend back to the dock, but it was still gorgous and really superfluous to the experience which was incredible even w/o the moon.

After we were all back on shore and loaded up, we headed up the street to this loud dive bar in the bustling little rural metropolis of Richland, Washington. I have never seen so many super-butch men dancing with so many ugly women in my life. It was sweet! And there was an ancient garage band playing classic rock (people in the crowd yelled "Free Bird" I swear, but, to the band's credit, the didn't play it). We drank our beers in plastic cups and made the chit chat and then we dispersed. I loved every minute of it and if I had a place to put it, I'd take money out of savings and go buy a kayak TODAY. That's how fun it was.