Brand Me

I've been playing around with new designs for my business card for waaaay too long now and I need to man up and just print something. Here are a bunch of designs I've been playing with. Let me know which ones you like.

Of course, you may not like any of them. Or perhaps you like parts of many. These are also things I would like to hear.

-Thank you for reading.


The gems of the weekend

Don't know what the hell I've been doing lately. Just sent off my first round of bills to clients. Getting paid will be nice. Not nearly enough, but nice.

I've had the chance to go through some of the stuff I picked up at Stumptown Comics Fest. The latest Brown Paper Bag was good stuff. I'm a big fan of Johnathan Hill's stuff. He's been posting pages from the graphic novel he's working on and I got a chance to see some of the actual art at the show. The man's working in a huge format. Like practically posterboard sized. I told him that when the book is published, he should be able to make an awesome gallery show of the originals.

Which reminds me AGAIN to plug this:

Another gem I found at the show was The Middle Man. It's illustrated by Les McClaine, whom I believe lives in Portland. I met him a month ago at a Gallery Show for his comic Jonny Crossbones. He's a retardedly talented artist. Dark Horse is actually going to publish Jonny Crossbones when he finishes it, but for now you can read a good deal online.

Halloweekend was so-so. My panda costume was a hit. I even ran into a few other (inferior) pandi at a huge party on Saturday night. All I have to say is that partying is hungry work.

Catherine and Dave also had excellent costumes. It was great because when I lost them, I could just go around asking if anybody had seen two crayons walk by.

Consider this a throw down for next Halloween. If you don't dress up, you get beat down. I'm already set on being another hoodie animal. Maybe a frog, because Dave though I looked like Mario in his Tanooki suit, and that would be the next logical progression.

-Thank you for reading.


Entirely too much to say.

First, there are introductions to be made.

This is Nudge. I inherited her from my sister. The timing was excellent because I was starting to haunt the Humane Society Web site looking at puppies I can't have and getting ready to settle on a rodent. Nudge has taken residence in the mud room, which still requires some re-arranging to prevent her from endulging her climbing tendencies. Seriously, I don't know how she's getting up on these stacks I made. I considered them quite insurmountable obelisks. But then I hear a rustling and come to find her atop Mt. Suitcase. The problem with rabbits is, while they can get up, the getting down doesn't factor into the ascent.

I've found she responds really well to me when I lie on the ground and just let her take her time to check me out. Somehow, it doesn't matter that she did the same thing yesterday. There isn't that much memory or trust yet. But slowly, she'll push my feet with her nose (which I how I named her) and then hop up on my chest. Yesterday, she actually came and licked my nose. If I wasn't in love already, I am now. Girls, take note: All it takes is a little nose-licking.

Another thing I've been remiss in mentioning is this:

I've been waiting for this for a year. It is wonderful. It makes me want to fall in love. It reads like memories. AND you have two incredible opportunities to meet the creators THIS WEEK! The Stumptown Comics Festival this Friday and Saturday and Floating World Comic's grand re-opening in Old Town for First Thursday. They'll actually be displaying some of the art from the book, which is beautiful x10. The first time I actually saw Joelle's work, I think I gasped a little bit. In my most critical moments, I'd say that I wish the book all looked like her best work. Her best stuff is in there, but not on every one of the 140+ pages. For her second printed work ever, her first being a short story in Dark Horse's Sexy Chix anthology, I'd imagine she was holding back a little in lieu of making sure deadlines were met. The book doesn't suffer for it at all. I guess, what I'm saying is, I think she's still going to keep wowing us with her subsequent works for a while.

Lastly, what the fuck is going on for Halloween?

-Thank you for reading.


A very strange few days

It seems important to get this down so I can make sense of it.

Thursday was First Thursday. There are two non-chronological differences between First Thursday and Last Thursday: First Thursday has more free booze and Last Thursday has more real people. I started the evening at Stumptown where my coffeeshop crush has art hanging this month. I really like her stuff. Great colors. It has a European feel to it. Most of the pieces were sold by the time I got there, which is great for her. If only the band wasn't so insanely loud. Seriously, that place is a concrete echo box.

I hit the usual galleries and didn't see anything else that impressed me as much. Well, not art anyway. There are more hot bikes to be seen on First Thursday than I can shake a stick at. I was particularly drooling over a Raleigh with bronze colored rims & hubs. At one point, I had that idea for Cub Scout, but ultimately it wasn't so practical.

My friends, whom I'd lost while roaming, gave me a call and I went to Tube - a place I generally don't like so much. However, the DJ was spinning the best soul and funk music I've heard since Sweet Jimmy T played my birthday and the place was a hopping dance bubble. Tube, for those of you who haven't been, is indeed very tube-like and cramped. So dancing there is an excellent way to meet drunk hipsters. Adopt one today!

Friday was the pub ride and I was really looking forward to it. The gloomy afternoon made me expect a small turnout, but as it happened the ride was crystal clear, just friggin' freezing. Bobby and his boyfriend Aaron were the only riders, but my friend Austin and some folks of his met us for a kick-off beer at Tugboat. At our next stop, ClarkLewis, I SWEAR TO GOD we were sitting behind Anne Hathaway. I haven't been able to prove it yet, but Aaron converted to my way of thinking after a good glance. While it would have been the smart thing to just ask, I am not that guy and Aaron, who is that guy, didn't man up in time.

I really like both Bobby and Aaron as individuals, but they make a great couple. I enjoy seeing Bobby happy and with someone who challenges and excites him. Now if only I could find one of those in girl-form for myself...

Friday ended at this tiny bar, Solo, which is underneath the Pearl Office Max. Weird, right? I ride past it all the time and have always been curious. It's a really neat spot and the cocktail waitress and I went to high school together. Always a nice surprise to bump into old acquaintances. I had a crush on her for a minute back in the day, so it was nice that she remembered me. You should check the bar out sometime, though I'd recommend an off-night so as to avoid what I assume is a crowd I wouldn't endorse.

Which leads me to Saturday.

Saturday Catherine had wrangled two simultaneous theme parties. Pac-Man Party and LEGO Party. What are the odds? LEGO Party was surprisingly enough, really about dorking out with LEGO. This guy Jay loves himself some toys. His walls are decorated with fancy action figures, still unopened, pinned to the walls. He'd made his own LEGO chess set, which was awesome. I tried to make a dragon, but ran out of time and blue pieces. It was a blue dragon. My friend Claire, who came out with us, put my dragon to shame with her Stegosaurus-ish monster.

Pac-Man party was mellow but in the basement of the house they had an honest-to-god Ms. Pac-Man machine and are in the process of building a projection theater. They've already got three tiers of actual theater seats and a purple curtain up on the walls yet no projector. Most people would go the other way around. But who am I to judge.

Oh yeah, Claire and I made a pit stop at Echo on MLK between the parties where I had the best dirty martini I've ever had. YAY!

To sum up, it's been a very long, tiring and fun three days. Huzzah for the weekend. If you like doing fun things like this, you should come to Lompoc Trivia Tuesday night at 7:30. It's triv-tastic.

-Thank you for reading.


'Tis the season to be drinking!

ALL you suckers in the Portland area who did not join me for LOMPOC TRIVIA TUESDAY are fat losers. Thanks to the scotch-fueled brainpower of Jamie S. Rich and the ability of my former co-worker Katie to be deployed as a hormone bomb on other teams we left for the evening one free pitcher of beer richer!

The evening got hairy for a moment when we artfully tried to discern what two liquid ingredients made up a "cement mixer" by ordering one from the bartender. When the opposing teams caught wise, they didn't take it too well. Ever the placator, I shared the information we gleaned (the server returned to tell us they were out of Bailey's) but we still couldn't figure out the missing second ingredient. Lime, as it turns out. Lemon was also acceptable, although no less gross.

What I'm trying to say is that GOOD TIMES WERE HAD. And you could be a part of them. The season is fresh and we've nowhere to go but down. I see T-shirts people. Or at least pins. Come next week at 7:30 and share your mind. I won't share the beer, though, until you've helped us win a pitcher.

In other booze news, you can also join Catherine and my Pub Ride on Friday. We're still open for suggestions as to where exactly we're going. We like to try and hit a bar in each of the four corners, but as you might expect from an evening with beer and bicycles, it can end up going most anywhere.

Lastly, and somewhat inter-related, I found this site the other day. It's an online directory of happy hours! I need this soooooo badly. We all need it. But first it needs our help. If you know of any cool happy hours, add them to the directory.

-Thank you for reading.


Name my contest, get $100

Well, it's not MY contest, per say. But I'm helping to promote it. Read the copy below. Spread the word. Get the word back to mason@notsaid.com


We’re organizing a contest for writers and photographers to celebrate the spirit of Alberta St. with their art. We want to preserve and present the edgy counter-culture that’s being threatened by an influx of yuppies. It’s time for the weird and wonderful citizens of Alberta to show the world how they want to be seen.

In that spirit, we’re asking you to name our contest. Here are the questions we’re asking ourselves: What is it about Alberta St. that makes it special? What is it that needs to be preserved as Portland continues to grow?

If that helps, great. If not, scrap it. We’re looking for stuff that’s short, sharp and slightly dangerous. But mostly, we’re looking for real emotion and attachment to the neighborhood.

Submissions must be in by 6 p.m. Sept. 25 (a.k.a. Monday). Reply to the e-mail above.
The winner gets 100 bucks.

And, whatever it ends up being called, be on the lookout for the contest. First prize for photography and writing will be $500 each!


What does it mean?

I'm working on a project and need some feedback as to how this concept comes across:


What does that mean to you? Let me know.

-Thanks for reading.


Reading is for suckers. Listening is for lovers.


Join me Thursday evening at 7pm to hear Jamie S. Rich read at 23rd Ave. Books. That's him in the pretty picture with our mutual friend Catherine (or Katie, as she is known in certain circles) and some neat light tracers that I don't know how I captured.

I will tell you that it is free and that it will be awesome. The rest of the details, and other Rich-related news, you can find on his blog: Confessions of a Pop Fan. If you do not come, we are no longer friends.

-Thank you for reading.


Getting on my Soapbox

It's not a good thing when you've already been drunk and are progressing toward hung-over by 8pm, but then, that's what Soapbox is about.

This was my third year in attendance at the derby, and probably my least favorite. Not that it wasn't fun, but as many reported The Man was cracking down this year. The sorest casualty was The Gauntlet, where after the winners have been decided, all remaining cars go down the hill at once. With competitive races limited to three cars suddenly bloating to 40+, it was the surefire way to see someone eat pavement. But some whinny bastard spectator decided to file a lawsuit last year when they were injured. BOO HOO! Let's run this down: People who enjoy hurdling themselves, brakeless, down hills in heavy vehicles, while DRUNK - and there's 40 of them... you think this is a SAFE environment?!? HELL NO! Just being a spectator at soapbox is to put your ass on the line. Take that lawyer money and invest it in a membership at Bally's so next time you can jump the fuck out of the way.


I found this pic of one of the fan favorites. I'm stealing it because the photographer is much better than me.

I also found a decent video of the day's events. These people have such fast turn around.

-Thank you for reading.

p.s. So, today is 9/11. It doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but I suppose it should be. I wouldn't feel so bad having a day of remembrance from it if the event wasn't so symbolic of a painful downturn in our society.


You wanna be starting something

I got a package yesterday - which I was instantly excited about, because it's always my roommate that gets all the good mail. But it turned out to just be copies of the Oregon City News and the Clackamas Review in which the story I wrote was published, on the bottom fold of the front page, no less.

A few weeks back, I mentioned meeting my high school journalism instructor. This story was the first fruit of that meeting. It was a relatively short profile on Reggie Houston, a local jazz vocalist and saxophonist. Really interesting fellow, actually. It was hard to pick a coherent line through the material I gathered in our three hour interview. I felt pretty rusty when I actually sat down to write it and wasn't sure how pleased I was with the result. But the editor and my ex-prof were happy. I just re-read it today and, you know what? I am too.

I had another ancient acquaintance meeting this week... with a childhood babysitter. He, now grown and married, works at nonbox advertising, a name strikingly similar to my own notsaid. He gave me some really good pointers on ways to approach this job search of mine and market myself. Apparently, in the ad world, you can just make stuff up and show it to people. It's just the creativity that really counts. Who'da thunk?

So, if you have any need for some creative marketing ideas and materials, now is the time to ask me. I've got the juices flowing. I've already set my mind to helping my friend Angel with her new Local Music Night at The Sapphire Hotel. I have a couple good ideas for that. And I'm working on a pitch for this physical therapy clinic which my Belize clients recommended me to.

Things = looking up, but ever so slightly.

I could still use that one chance to break through. Seriously, guys. What's the hold up? (smiles)

-Thank you for reading.


All I wanna do is...


The dam of my resolve broke this weekend and I went out and dropped some serious cash on components to build up the bicycle frame I've been sitting on since April. I wish I had a before picture, but trust me, it looked nothing like this:

I call her Cub Scout, or "Scout" for short. She's not perfect just yet. I need to find a yellow saddle. And I'm going to dig up my old scout uniform and maybe find a way to put some patches on her.

But even so, I am sooooo happy with her! She's half the weight of Sludge (my Raleigh bike), taller, more comfortable, more aggressively geared (that's a good thing)... She's pretty much everything I wanted, which is good because I made her.

I didn't have to do any of the hardest things regarding building a bike: Taking apart wheel hubs, building wheels, messing with out of date bottom brackets... But even so, I installed all the pieces, cut the cables and housings and fine tuned everything. I feel so accomplished. There were plenty of complications and fudges, I have the cuts all over my hands to prove it, but it's done and I'm riding it all over the place. Come ride with me!

-Thank you for reading.


Do dooo dododo

Went to see the much anticipated Menomena show last night at Doug Fir and I'm not ready to give it a glowing review. They played a good mix of new tunes and old favorites - including the fastest version of "Cough Coughing" I've ever heard. I'm listening to a couple of the tracks you can download on their MySpace, which I'm not sure if they will be on the album or if they're just throw aways. As reported in WW the band is pushing back the release a few months to perfect and fine tune the recordings.

I found similar elements in the new songs as in some of my favorite oldies. Similar chord progressions and riffs. But that's not bad. And I'm not in a position to judge them yet. But what got to me was the feeling of unease I was getting from the stage. They didn't feel unified. Justin (bass/sax) admitted at the get go that the band was nervous, but why? Portland hearts Menomena. We missed them. They should be comforted here. They should feel the freedom to go try new things and experiment without judgement. I know I have reserved mine.

The pleasant surprise of the evening was Nice Nice. Where Menomena felt a little disjointed, this duo was completely in sync. And that's what it takes to craft the rich, swelling loops that filled the room to the ceiling. I was honestly more impressed with the drummer, even though the guitarist/everythingelseist had to switch more instruments and fine tune his loops. The drummer had such a mastery of his instrument as well as incorporating an electronic sample pad with a variety of other sounds/tones. I want one.

-Thank you for reading.


Feast of Blog

I got to be an extra on the movie yesterday. Heading back today for more.

Honestly, it's not that big a deal. It was a big outdoor scene that needed a lot of people shuffling around in the background. Extras Only was practically begging for anybody to come down who could promise availability for these days as well as one next week.

But, still. I got to be in a movie!

The funny and frustrating thing on set is actually the other extras themselves. We are peasants. Pawns meant to be shuffled around at will repeating mundane tasks and walking predetermined paths to and fro. By our very being there, we know this. Yet, to bolster our small Portland egos against the Hollywoodism, we must poke fun. We must act entitled. We must say things like "Oh, well, you know this is my scene and you're blocking my light." We must feign complaint when a scene must be repeated even though we nailed our performances. For my part, I laid claim to an upshot weed between two slabs of sidewalk as my "mark" and took sophomoric joy in telling people to "get off my weed" or asking "where's my weed at?"

Not my strongest moment, but I was there for over 14 hours. Cut me some slack.

There are temporary bonds of friendship and convenience that happen, but they are more impactful than most such attachments because A) 14 hours and B) Most of the same people will be back the next day. I was stuck in a walking pack with two 19-year-old fellows who were fine for the first few hours, but their continual bickering and bantering found me trying to put more and more distance between us. Thankfully, I succeeded.

It was something of a surprise to me that there were not many attractive girls in the extra pool. Hollywood being as beauty obsessed as it is, I expected they would want even their backdrops to be pretty. That's how it is on The O.C. There were a few girls who were passingly attractive. You know the type: Nice form, decent hair. Enough to warrant a second glance - and probably a third and fourth. But the closer you scrutinize, the less the appeal. Too much makeup. Bad hair dye. Something in the posture that says "shallow personality" or "low self esteem" or "thinks too highly of herself" or "If I couldn't use my cell phone for an hour, I would just die. I'm adding a new category to these women: "I don't look like it, but I've got kids and a broken home."

TWO of the girls I met and chatted with had kids. One of them, to be specific, had FOUR kids. She is 30. With four kids. Jesus.

Four kids and I talked for a good while when I was reassigned to sit as a passenger in her car. The scene required cars in the background as well as people. The main action was for someone to be loaded from a field to a car, which then drives through a mass of people and cuts off other cars while getting back on the road. The lucky reward of my day was that the car I was positioned in happened to be right where the Star Car was cutting in traffic. So for the last two hours of my day, I had to "act" surprised as this Volvo come hurdling off the grass and nearly into my passenger door. I have no shame in admitting that didn't take much acting. Good stunt drivers these days.

And that really amazed me: The other two cars that were integral parts of this scene were taken over by other stunt drivers, and their actual owners turned into passengers. How they decided to let F.K. remain at the wheel... I don't know. But she performed admirably and I felt priviledged to put my life in her hands. I mean, she's already caring for four other ones. Must know what she's doing.

So, I figure that will be my best chance of having a passing second of celluloid go in my favor. When we all go see the movie, I will likely scream. God. Portland is going to go APEshit when this movie comes out. I mean, they've filmed at the Mississippi Fresh Pot, Hawthorne Lucky Lab, Reed College... it's a Portland wank fest.


-Thank you for reading.


Moving On

I'm done.

The DVD for St. George's Caye Lodge goes off for production tomorrow. The process has taken three times longer than I ever expected and been ten times harder, but I'm very proud of what I've made. And considering I went from not knowing anything about this field six months ago, I think I've done a hell of a job. The clients are thrilled and I need to get a glowing testimonial from them for Not Said.

So, now the big question is: What next?

I've been trying to get a hold of as many people I can in the media/advertising industry around town to pick their brains for advice and job leads. If you are one of these people, or know any of these people you can get a hold of me here. Likewise, if you would like to send me to your foreign resort to make a DVD, the same link applies.

Never hurts to ask.

Following other leads, I met my high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Spitaleri, for coffee this morning. Yes, high school. She tracked me down a few years ago when she started working for some of the community newspapers in the Portland suburbs wanting to put me on notice of some jobs. Today, I met with her and her editors about possibly freelancing in the near future. There are certainly more exciting things to do than community reporting, but those papers sell. By the percentages, I think they do better than The Oregonian. People will never get tired of following the ol' high school football team and reading about all the kids that got arrested that week for drunken stupidity. Seriously, my roommie's parents were just over the night and her mother was recounting the latest collars.

It's amazing to me, but still more amazing to most everyone else, that my high school teacher keeps me in her thoughts. I suppose that's the kind of impression you make when you're as big an ass as I am. One of my great regrets from high school was losing Mrs. Spit (as we called her) as my partner for Senior/Faculty bowling. I left campus without her permission during class - to go home for a snack or some other silliness - and the consequence of that action was she decided not to bowl with me. She almost cried, she was so upset by the principal of the thing. I was equally upset, but she made her point. It sucks that to do that, sometimes you have to hurt yourself. The roommie can tell you all about that these days.

In preparation for the meeting, I went through all my old clips to find a few worth taking to Kinkos. Man, I have written a lot of crap in my day. That anybody ever agreed to publish it... it just doesn't make sense. My first column in college was about doing my laundry for the first time. I was a freshman, sure, but still. The other point of looking through those clips was to gather some to use in my application for Willamette Week's Screen Editor position. And I swear, if I get it, I will make myself a scrapbook of journalistic atrocities to keep me from phoning it in like I used to in college. But getting that position will be like throwing a Hail Mary to Africa.

All in all, I'm relieved to be moving on. It's scary and exciting to have so many possibilities open. I've spent a lot of my 25 years trying to make things happen and fight upstream for things. But more and more I'm finding that just being open to opportunities, having the balls to seize them and committing to deliver on your promises can get you much farther. Friends have said they're jealous of my odd ability to just have weird things fall in my lap. And I suppose I'm finally ready to accept their jealousy rather than tell they they're wrong.

-Thank you for reading.


Read all about it

If you are able to read things printed in the English language, you should get your hands on this:

Spurred on by duty and admiration, I've read almost everything Mr. Rich has published. But The Everlasting is easily his best and most enjoyable work yet. I'm only about a third of the way through and am having a hard time pacing myself enough to enjoy the story rather than giving in to my "what happens next?!?" impulse to finish it in a caffine-fueled evening.

Not only has Mr. Rich produced a wonderful bit of modern fiction (much of which I'm sure is only a half-step away from reality) but he is giving away more of it free fuckin' gratis. Blurring the already hazy line, Lance Scott has stepped out of the novel and is miraculously updating an honest to goodness Livejournal page, which you may find here.

But wait, as they say... There's more.

The Everlasting shoots off from the same world as Love The Way You Love, which in turn ties in to Rich's first novel: Cut My Hair. It's a dense world where things play off themselves and reflect through different perspectives and times. I just read a chapter in The Everlasting that explains in more depth the first pages of LTWYL. Rich was even bold enough to drop mention of his novella I Was Someone Dead, and I'm curious to see how he ties up, which I assume will happen in his forthcoming third novel.

I'm resisting the urge to get too analytical about any of this because, honestly, these books are all really fun to read. They are fiction only in the sense that people with these names and exact histories do not exist. But they are grounded in the real world physically, culturally and - most importantly - emotionally. If you haven't gotten it by Chrismukkah, I'm making The Everlasting my yarmulke stuffer.

-Thank you for reading.


First learn balance, then learn fly

Bits of good and bad news have come across my desk lately. In the positive pile, The Roomie just landed a new job that sounds totally up her alley. But even if it was less than perfect, it would be better than the job she has progressively increased her bitch quotient about in the 2+ years I've known her.

In the bummer basket, I got an unfortunate piece of news from a close friend that does not warrant being repeated here or anywhere else for that matter. Let it just be said that I am doing my best to lighten his spirits.

I can sense the Summer of Mason coming to a close. I will be finishing the Belize Video likely within the week (finally). So what happens now? I'm very aware that financially it has allowed me to be very liberated this summer. But more so, it was a mental comfort. Whenever I was goofing off, I was thinking in my head: "It's ok, though, I'm working on The Video." While I have made certain small steps toward being able to continue in this line of work, there is a lot more that needs to be done before I can take it seriously. I've already had some very eye-opening meetings with some people on the professional level, and what these have made me realise is that I have a lot to learn before I can work at that level. There is a quality of product that I can deliver on my own, and that quality may suit many people's needs. But there is a very distinct line between that product and a professional product.

So, where I'm really setting my goals, in this regard, are to conect with some people that know more about it. I'd love to get a job working with a company to produce films/commercials/whathaveyou and fill in the gaps that I know nothing about. First, there is a completely different language spoken by these people. I was just sitting next to a few of them at Stumptown and I would have eavesdropped, had I been able to penetrate their jargon. But let me just say, if you know anyone...

I recently took a second look at the "novel" I started writing during national novel writing month last year, and you know, I kinda liked what I'd written. So I'm getting back into that, if only because it's fun. My whole approach was to just make it up as I go along until something starts to gel. And that's worked so far, but I know that the only things I enjoy reading have a sense of purpose, even when they seem completely random. My decision to read anything is putting faith in the author that I will be rewarded for following the path they have laid down. That I will be going somewhere. I would like to do the same for my fictitious readers.

And with that...

-Thank you for reading.


pimp my web

Finally, it's there. Here. Whatever.

Check out my web site! It's very orange. I like it. Do you like it? Let me know.

-Thank you for reading.



So, if you haven't gone to check out English, Baby! yet, this is what you're missing:

Mason: Alright, so I’ll fess up to this. I was watching Entertainment Tonight the other night and I heard that Britney and Kevin stayed in separate hotel rooms on their recent trip to Florida.

Amanda: Okay.

Mason: So there’s all this speculation now, maybe is the divorce coming on?

Amanda: But you know, they have been living in separate quarters...

Mason: What?

Amanda: ...in their own home.

Mason: No!

Amanda: Right.

Mason: Well, he maybe snores.

Amanda: Mmm, maybe.

Mason: He could be a log-sawer.

Amanda: But supposedly she’s on the main floor and he is in the basement.

Mason: [laughs]. In the basement!

Amanda: So, there’s that plus the separate hotels. So who knows?

Mason: Well, he’s always been a kept man. He’s always been a kept man, come on!

Amanda: [laughs].

Mason: I mean, there’s always been that thing. It’s like what does he do? He does nothing, he sits there and mooches off of Britney.

Amanda: Yes.

Mason: So, like, if she’s finally, you know, if the two brain cells that she has have, like, clicked, and she’s realized what he’s doing, you think she’s justified in kicking him out?

Now, imagine listening to that. Oh yeah.

-Thank you for reading.


Famous in seven continents

My first lesson on English, Baby! went up on Wednesday. Now you can learn English from the pro!

A full update of my California trip will be posted when it is over. For now, rest safe in the knowledge that Burgerville is better than In and Out.

-Thank you for reading.


King of the road

I have done what I thought impossible: Make a solo, continuous drive to Los Angeles.

It wasn't my intention. I gave myself two days to make the trek, figuring I would just stop when I was tired. But I wasn't getting tired. So I made myself little promises... and kept breaking them. "Let's at least get to Sacramento and then stop at the next quaint town." There are no quaint towns past Sacramento. "I'll drive until it gets dark." Well, but the time it was dark, there was only three hours left to go.

Back home, three hours driving would put me in Bend - which is, normally, in my mind "A Big Trip." However, when put in the perspective of having already driven 11 hours - three more seems less daunting. There is also the practical matter of spending money on a hotel room. My life is on a budget these days, and this trip is an extravagance. But need it be overly so? No. The final push came from my pride, which would not let me come so close to this achievement and fall short.

And so, just before 11:30 pm, I arrived at Russ' house in L.A.

There are two things without which I would not have been able to do this: My ipod and 2 liters of Coke. Blessed be. I listened to The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy on audio book - which killed a good six hours. The only way to drive solo is to pretend like you have someone else in the car.

More adventures to come.

-Thank you for reading.

King of the road

I have done what I thought impossible: Make a solo, continuous drive to Los Angeles.

It wasn't my intention. I gave myself two days to make the trek, figuring I would just stop when I was tired. But I wasn't getting tired. So I made myself little promises... and kept breaking them. "Let's at least get to Sacramento and then stop at the next quaint town." There are no quaint towns past Sacramento. "I'll drive until it gets dark." Well, but the time it was dark, there was only three hours left to go.

Back home, three hours driving would put me in Bend - which is, normally, in my mind "A Big Trip." However, when put in the perspective of having already driven 11 hours - three more seems less daunting. There is also the practical matter of spending money on a hotel room. My life is on a budget these days, and this trip is an extravagance. But need it be overly so? No. The final push came from my pride, which would not let me come so close to this achievement and fall short.

And so, just before 11:30 pm, I arrived at Russ' house in L.A.

There are two things without which I would not have been able to do this: My ipod and 2 liters of Coke. Blessed be. I listened to The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy on audio book - which killed a good six hours. The only way to drive solo is to pretend like you have someone else in the car.

More adventures to come.

-Thank you for reading.



I leave next Thursday for Los Angeles. I'm driving solo and stopping in the Bay Area on the way home to see family.

But when I look at this map, I wonder if maybe I'm a little crazy. And does it freak anybody else out that All I really have to do is get on I-5 for 14 hours? I mean, I drive that road almost daily. And if I just decided to keep going, I'd be in L.A. Strange.

-Thank you for reading.


A self portrait

I woke up at 5am today thanks to my inexplicable and pervasive allergies. I've been sneezing non stop since I got back from Belize. I think the humidity reset my allergy meter - flushed me out with it's sweet, moist embrace. And now my body must readjust to the various molds and pollens of my native land. Boo to that.

I've spent the time by getting in touch with my inner nerd by putting together a new external hard drive. I chose to go the economical way and DIY a regular old drive with an enclosure. It's not all that hard, and it saved me at least $50 - which will cover my haircut today.

I had a talk with Parrish not too long ago about wether or not I have any claim to h4x0r ski11z. What we determined is that there are many different tiers of hack and I fall in the "lower-middle class" area. I know where certain things can be downloaded. I will not hesitate to try and fix something myself - but my methods of fixing often end at turning everything on/off and unplugging/replugging cables. I have installed RAM. I like using keyboard shortcuts. I have looked at and changed a BIOS. I even changed out a broken power supply on my old PC tower - a particularly proud moment in my nerd-dom.

I cannot, however, do anything in DOS to save my life. If there is not a "set-up" assistant, I most likely will not be able to set it up. I do not solder things. I do not understand why or how the Internet truly works and continues to exist.

If I were to assign a number of stars to myself, rating my nerd-ability, I would say three of six. But a low three. Maybe two and half. I wish I had the gumption to photoshop a Yu-Gi-Oh card with Me on it, denoting my nerd rank.


I have agreed to be a part of the cast of characters at English, Baby. It's an ESL site for students wanting to learn conversational English. My job is to talk about predetermined topics and be recorded. No "work" is required on my part. Just talk naturally. It's very part-time, but I think it'll be fun. I'm really hoping to attain minor celebrity status in Asia - not that Asia is the only country where people seek to learn ESL, but its got the numbers on its side.

The Belize DVD Rough Draft has been completed. I'm very proud of the work, but it will need some reworking. Two things are certain: I've made tremendous progress since my last DVD and I've accomplished much more work in much less time. Both very good signs. But there's still a way to go before I would consider anything I'm doing "professional." Still, if anyone wants to see the fruits of my labor, let me know and I'll try to get you a copy.

-Thanks for reading.


More places to read my words

Some good friends of mine have started a site where you can read about bands and CDs and art and such. One of these things you can read was written by me. Yay!

You can see it here, although you will need to click on "The Tallest Building in the World."

Silly windows.

-Thank you for reading.


I believe they call it "The Big Time"

I've been busy at work on the video for The Lodge on St. George. The main editing is almost done - just tweaking a few things here and there. Also, I'm waiting for some of the professional photos that were commissioned. You can get a sneak peak of them here.

What's been really exciting, though, has been recording the music for the DVD. My friend Austin helped me out recording and editing five tracks. I suppose, for that kind of output, we didn't do a whole lot of work. I'd basically come in with a base melody that I wanted to play, we'd lay it down and then record a few "doodle" tracks and then pick out whatever worked from those. I'm really happy with the results and will probably end up getting some recording equiptment of my own so I don't have to bother Austin in the furture. Then again, he is trying to move all his equiptment up to his cabin - and a recording weekend getaway could be awesome, should it ever need to happen again.

I'm gearing up to road trip down to L.A. for the birthday celebration of a very old friend. I'm fixin' to stop in the bay area to see some family - either on the way down or on the way home. Not really sure. Is it terrible that I love not having anything solid going on right now? I'm waiting for the bubble to burst - and it will very shortly - but in the meantime, everything about life is awesome.

- Thank you for reading.


Has it really come to this?

Must I check every beer in my six pack?

I buy this beer

and I only get two Blue Paddles.

And the rest?

TRIPPEL!!! Blech.

-Thank you for reading.


I finally did something

The front page for my web site is up. Give me some feedback.


-Thank you for reading.


I call her "Doris"

Seriously, don't you wish you were in Belize right now?

-Thank you for reading.


I've been meaning to put this up for a month

This is the greatest birthday card ever given or received.

I opened this and did a little happy dance for my roommate to see.

Then I opened it and saw this...


Thank you for reading.

P.S. I leave for Belize tomorrow. While I think there will be internet there, I'm not planning on blogging of my adventures. The point of going is to chronical the whole thing, but I think I may keep it more private until it gets sorted out.


You'd better Belize it!

I'm not a Godly kind of man. I've got friends on that team and they've made it clear they'd love to have me. As it stands, they get me if Vegas gets smitten. I figured after New Orleans, I couldn't argue against a second den of inquity being struck by hard times. But I gotta say, after the bizzare coincidental events of my last few weeks, they may get me anyway.

Let's recap: I quit my job without having anything better to do. My girlfriend breaks up with me out of the blue (more or less). So what happens then? I get a free trip to Belize for two weeks.


Yeah. You may remember I was doing a video for a friend of my mother's who published this book. Well I did it and it's been very sucessful so far. Well, since that has happened, Teri and her husband have invested in a diving resort in Belize. Because that is the logical thing to do, of course.

And they figure I should make a video to promote the resort.

So they're taking me to Belize for two weeks.

Makes perfect sense, right? I may bring a copy of the Old Testament on my trip. I leave the 11th and I'll try and keep this blog updated with my adventures. The purpose of the whole trip is to document everything, so I don't think it'll be too much trouble.


Fucking nuts.

-Thank you for reading


Please update your records

I doubt there are many people who read this blog that don't know about a girl named Etta that has been in my life for more-or-less two months now, even though her name has never appeared here.

Suffice it to say that this is the first and last mention of her.

-Thank you for reading.


Ode to Jamie S. Rich

It's funny, because I was already planning on posting something silly about the fact that I haven't shaved in over a week - which is not in itself something I owe to Jamie S. Rich, but is coinciding with a recent post of his. But then I go and check his blog today and find this incredible link to a preview of his upcoming comic, "Love the Way You Love."

And it's really good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the style it's drawn in. Very cartoony. Jamie and I have talked briefly about it, and after seeing how well the art works with the storytelling I am a full convert. It will be part of my purchasing schedule even during my unemployment.

...which explains the beard. You see, whenever I suffer a break-up of sorts, I like to not shave for a good while. I don't like the feeling of a beard. I don't look good with a beard. Hell, I don't even grow a respectable beard. The hairs present are willing, but the numbers just aren't there. Anything after five days just looks silly.

I know all these things. And I go against my better judgement for one reason: The transference of the symbolic act of moving on to the a concret physical experience. It's like that part in "The Royal Tenenbaums", except with the Elliot Smith and wrist-slitting. Yeah...

We'll see how long the "beard" has to hold out.

-Thank you for reading.


A night to remember... (Birthday: Part II)

In case I haven't told you yet, my birthday was friggin' awesome.

After spending the afternoon generally resting and reveling in the calm before the storm, I began to get back in step with some balloon inflating. I completed the project before my sister and her boyfriend (who intended to help me) showed up - which was all for the best, because then we could make a hasty jaunt to the Rogue Pub where I could take advantage of my free yearly half yard of beer. Or so we thought.

Scott from Holocene called as we were stepping out the door and we were able to swing by to distribute the newly inflated balloons - which was a load off my mind. Seeing Holocene in the fluorescent light of day was odd. It looks smaller. And without the cover of mood, it is blatantly apparent how sparse the decor is. Truly a success in minimalism.

With floating bunches of lime green, mandarin orange and silver in place, we left for the Rogue. Time, at this point, was running out and I did not have the time to drink my half yard with the leisure that such a thing usually demands. Needless to say, I was sporting a healthy buzz when we arrived at Jakes for my Birthday Dinner With The Family.

I like seafood, and I like Jakes - but the real reason I chose this place was because I'd been told they carry 25-year-old scotch. I was told correctly. I am now of an opinion that 25-year-old scotch does not change in any but the subtlest ways in the 10 years that pass between it and a slightly more economical 15-year-old variety. But, lord, is it smooth. All flavor and no bite or burn. I will never ask my Dad how much our two glasses cost him, but they were worth it. For his part, Dad had bought me a bottle of 12-year single malt that he had researched and found to be The Good Stuff. It was, also, the finest bottle he could find at the one store he went to. I could say something about the occasion of a son turning 25 possibly being cause to go to more than one liquor store looking for scotch, but I am sure I will be more than happy with his choice. Thank you, Dad.

The dinner was the best family gathering in recent memory. Perhaps, actually, since my last family birthday two years ago. Maybe it is just when seen through the birthday high that the family comes across so pleasantly. But conversation was animated. Food was delicious. Togetherness was felt. I regret that my Uncle and clan chose not to attend, but I respect their reasons.

And then on to the party.

I arrived just before 8 as the band was finishing up sound check. The band. That I had at my birthday. It just sounds good to say that. My first guests were there moments after, and they were the unlikeliest of first-comers. A new friend, Aaron - who tends bar at the wonderful Renaissance cafe - was there +guest. Shortly after, Nestor - another friend who I rarely see - was the next invitee. That the first people to come were people apart from the inner circle of my friends is a great compliment to me and my party: It was a good sign.

All in all, I can account for at least 40 people (parents excluded) in attendance. I am almost certainly missing a few. There were many who I didn't expect and many I did expect that fell short. None of which mattered at the time - but let me just say to those who didn't make it: You missed a great party. That is not meant to shame. It is merely a fact. I was kept in drink (predominantly a gin concoction with cucumber that was cool and refreshing as well as intoxicating. Sweet Jimmy T Did me service and more than service by spinning records until the wee hours - and even stooping low at my request to play "Footloose" - which is the single greatest dance song of all time. I also cut some rug to "Love Pipe," by the Red Elvises, whose day has come and gone. I could say more about the evening, but it is not a recollection of numbers and informations that will stick with me. It is the simultaneous feeling of love and support and joy and pride and giving and receiving that I embodied all day.

And maybe that's why Monday was so terrible.

I was, miraculously, not hung over. It is a birthday miracle. I was, however, Very Tired. I was at work on time, but there was a cloud above my head all day. I was constantly taken with the need to get out of there, like it was sucking me dry of all the feelings laid out in the above paragraph. And so, I called the Boss and asked for a sit-down. As we were on the phone together, he being out as he so often is, I did not want to make any true decisions. Things like this are best done in person. But I did impress on him in plain words that I was unhappy in the position I've been put and needed concrete plans to be reinstated in the function for which I was hired. His response was non committal and defensive, stating that I would never truly not be in a sales position and if that is a problem for me it may be time for me to "move on." This is nothing I haven't thought of or expected. But it was finally real. I postponed any final judgments until we could arrange for a meeting Tuesday. These things are better done in person, after all.

When Tuesday came, I was wresting with the idea of whether to quit or endeavor to get fired. To me, being fired - or, rather, "let go" - would acknowledge for Rick's part that my purpose for being there had evaporated or never materialized and thank you very much, but we just don't need you. It would have made me feel right. I also thought about going on a tirade and telling Rick all the things that are wrong with him and his company. I wasn't sure what exactly I would do when we sat down.

Of course, we'll never know, because that didn't happen.

I went to his office, asked if he had time. He said no. I asked if I should wait. He said he would call me. I accepted this and went to lunch because I was hungry and it was my lunch. When I came back, he had left for the day on some errand or other. I fumed. It was another two hours until I simply called him and told him I was giving my notice. His response, and I will remember this exactly and always - though I don't know why - was: "Sorry things didn't work out for you, buddy." And what really gets me about that statement is the utter disposability with which he views me, and I suspect all the employees in his company. I knew it, but knowing and feeling are two different things.

So I have quit my job. I will put in two weeks to wrap up loose ends and hopefully make a smooth transition for the people I work closely with and have come to respect and care about. It's odd because almost nobody who leaves this company ever does things the respectable way. One day they just decide to stop coming in. And I don't blame them. It's a symptom of the crushing feeling one gets working there. You take all the pressure until finally you just snap. The snapping is a quick thing and once you have broken, there is no way to possibly phone two extra weeks. But I will do it, and it is my hope that in doing it people will know that I have no malice and was a good employee and deserved better than I got. That is my little smug hope.

What does all this mean? Likely that I will be blogging a lot more. That I will be taking some time to reflect. And, ultimately, that I need a new job. Anybody have any ideas?

-Thank you for reading.


Birthday: The beginning

12 hours into my birthday and all goes better than well. As per tradition, I officially began the day by dancing around to the Beatles' "Birthday." In past years, I've done nothing but listen to that song all day. There is a beautiful presence of mind to that song - filling a much needed space for annual tradition. Much like Queen's knack for knowing that sporting events through time were lacking an anthem such as "We Will Rock You" or "Another One Bites the Dust." Marketing genius.

My birthday has already reached outrageous heights at the J&M cafe, where I seemed to know everybody in the restaurant. Cari and Erin were both there with their families. And this fine fellow Andy, who used to stop by Vivace now and again was there with a friend. Writing it down only three names doesn't seem to convey the extraordinary coincidence of it all, but believe me when I say the impact was profound.

On noticing the words on my bright gold paper top hat proclaiming it was my birthday, the waitress brought out my breakfast with a candle stuck in the orange slice. Andy and his friend commenced to clap and sing me a shy round of Happy Birthday, while Russ and Etta lowered their heads in laughter and shame. I was beaming. I still am.

I fucking love my birthday.

-Thank you for reading.


The funny things that happen between people

I do not understand people.

I like to think that I do. That I attempt to do so is paramount. But I still don't get it.

So, Tuesday night I go to the bar. My bar. Well, it is less my bar now than it used to be. Still, I have ties there and generally feel welcome. This is due almost entirely to a friend of mine who tends bar and serves there. Shortly after we met, we tried our hand at dating. And when I say that it was a mistake, I simply mean that the chemistry was not there. Not the right chemistry, anyways, and it was with a fairly mutual agreement on that fact that we placed the boundaries of our relationship squarely around "friendship."

This is almost two years ago. Recently, I met her new beau and he seemed a decent fellow. He builds bicycles. I saw this as fortunate coincidence as I am in the planning stages of doing just that. Tra la la.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, he is "the jealous type."

I don't know if he knows that I ever smooched his lady. What I do know is that I have a level of physical comfort with her - the kind that comes (and is so enjoyable) when you know as a solid fact that there will be no romantic entrigue to follow. Where so many male/female relationships are burdened with the constant uneasiness of sex, the possibility of sex, the thought of sex, et al, it is a pleasure to have people you can be close to without any of the fuss. And this chap observed me acting as such on Tuesday night.

My actions are not wrong. This is something I am very firm on. I however will allow that some people like the lines to be drawn a bit tighter - and it is my place to respect that. If I'd known, I would have. Hypotheticals are not much help to me now. Because as it stands, he is in a jealous rage against me. As I left the bar that night and commented on the new bike he had built, he proceeded to cut all ties with my acquaintance.

And I'm the one who feels bad.

I feel bad for my friend, who has at this point been inconvenienced by my actions. I feel a void of connection with this fellow because of the potent irrationality of his thinking. And I feel the sinking feeling I get every time I know there is nothing I can do to make a situation better.

I am not telling this story to you for you to act as a judge on propriety - because I found myself behaving with a vaguely similar irrationality last night.

I went to get a coffee with another friend. And on entering the establishment, the barista was on the phone. No problem. I was a barista. I have a great respect for the service industry and do not expect its workforce to abandon their humanity when on the clock. But without having words... something about the way he was on the phone immediately pissed me off. And when he spoke, I was more enraged. For no reason, I was sure that this person was an asshole. Do some people just give off asshole? Without even speaking?

I was courteous and he continued to emit this ass-vibe. We sat in the back. I drank my coffee. I went in for a refil. I look about for cream - it is after 10 and my coffee is more dessert than anything else - and I look to him silently as if to say "Where is the cream?"

He is talking to some girl. I'm not sure if they are flirting and they are planning on making out when he gets off work, if she is a friend come to see him or merely a regular customer. So we look at one another, and before I speak he says, "We're closed, man." He is bobbing his head slowly while he says this. Maybe twice up and down through the phrase. And the tone, was that of the most vacant and false apologies backed with the attitude that I am somehow making his life miserable by not knowing this intuitively and leaving quietly.

I could have punched him in the face.

I know what it is like to have people keep you at a job past closing. I am all for being told that I would do better to leave, so these workers can end their shift and enjoy their work-free lives. But there are ways to be told such things. There are manners that must be observed. As I respect him, so too do I demand respect. And this man had none. I am sure he is the kind of man who does not care if a sexual partner is enjoying his or herself. As long as he's taken care of, what could possibly be amiss.

The reason this sticks with me is that I can't explain it. Again, I am not wrong. But as my bartender friend's boyfriend could not control his reaction to my behavior - likewise I could not control my reaction to this man. And it bothers me. Because I want to accept people for their differences and understand situations and emotions that are not my own. But even if I can do that - and it is no certain thing - what if other people can't. Do I have to sink to their level? And can I let it not bother me that there is nothing I can do?

Thank you for reading.




Bunnies and Birthdays

The decision has been made and Holocene has come out on top. That lands my party on my actual birthday: Sunday April, 16. Show up any time after 8 pm. Bring friends. Dance. Converse. Bring me presents... expensive ones.

I'm paying for 100 drinks and intend to give two drink tickets to the first 50 people who come wish me a happy birthday. That means actually coming up to me and saying the words. I'll make sure I'm easy to spot - likely by making my hat MUCH taller than everyone else's party topper. And I'll probably be loud and drunk after too long. That should be a dead giveaway.

I know having a party on Sunday is less than desirable. I hope you can overcome that mental hump and come enjoy the festivities anyway. It would mean the world to me. Because 25 years is far to short a time to have spent among such admirable hobbits...

-Thank you for reading


Operation: Kill Easter

From time to time, Easter has the great honor of falling on my birthday. And that might seem ok. You know, eggs, clucking bunnies...

But it's not.

See, Easter means something to people. Well, not people. Gentiles. And they RUIN my birthday with their church and their family and their hunting for boiled eggs. WELL NOT THIS YEAR!

On April 16, 2006 I will have managed to not die for 25 years. A quarter century. And I intend to make it a Big F'n Deal. But the question is: How?

Here's what I need
1. A place - I want this party to be more than my apartment, while ample, can contain. I'm thinking a venue that can contain between 50 and 100 people. I'm invisioning a loft-like space. Or a bar. Not paying would be awesome, but I don't see a way out of it.

2. A band - I want a band to play my birthday. And a DJ. The DJ I think I can swing. But band... don't know what kind of favors I can call in. I'm willing to pay something.

3. Booze - well, that's pretty self explanitory. But it does create the logistical problem of any minors attending... Do I know any young'uns anymore? Hmmm. Don't think so.

The only REAL issue left is the date. Do I throw the party Saturday night, with the impending Easter morning service? Or do I throw it Sunday night with the onset of work Monday morning, but the added bonus is I imagine Sunday evening will be easier to find a place. I am broadcasting all this for the simple reason that I need your loving guidance. Please post your suggestions.

Thank you for reading.


Lousy Smarch weather

It is snowing outside.

In March.

Not that anything will come of it, but at least it explains why I was so friggin cold last night.

Thank you for reading.


And the award for best moron in a lead role goes to...

I decided rather suddenly last week to have an Oscar party. Nothing fancy, just watching the Academy Awards with friends. Until this week I hadn't seen any of the best picture nominees and maybe only two other films nominated for anything whatsoever. I made time to watch "Capote" and "The Constant Gardner," which in retrospect were good picks.

But that's not what I'm driving at.

I had assumed the Oscars started at 8. Not so. They started at 5. I was working at 5. I, in fact, worked until 6:30. And I didn't give a second thought to my original assumption until right as I was leaving work and mentioned to someone, "Yeah, I'm having an Oscar party tonight."

"Aren't they on already?"

And my stomach dropped. So I raced home and turned on the Tivo to salvage the remains of my party. And that would have been OK. But no. Tivo was only scheduled to record three hours of Oscar. Just as the winner for Best Actress was about to be announced - literally, the words were coming out of the presenter's mouth - the Tivo stopped playing back.


I don't care about the speeches or the montage or the fashion. I care about missing Jon Stewart. The glimpse I got leads me to believe he was cool and witty - giving the show a new air of sophistication rather than pomp. Though that crap Jake Gyllenhaal had to read about "Epics" which was basically a plug for the public to keep seeing shows at movie theaters was CRAP. And did anybody else notice the "Speed" bus in said montage? You cannot put a clip from "Speed" in a montage with "Lawrence of Arabia." Thank G-d for ol' J.S. putting the spin on things by declaring they were now "out of montage clips."

It only remains to be seen how long he milks this on The Daily Show.

This is one other thing I'd like to mention: Mouse Guard. I was at the comic shop a few weeks ago to pick up some of my regulars and saw this on the new release shelf. I couldn't help picking it up and leafing through, and if you already don't understand why go back and look at that picture again. There is a mouse with a sword and cloak on it.

The story is engaging enough for the moment. It's the first issue of six, so it's really only hinting at things. But it's so beautifully drawn that I can't really stop looking at it. It reminds me of the "Serendipity" books I read as a kid. I still have and cherish a few of those volumes. In search of the Hoard-a-saurus was a favorite. And this one:

You can preview some of the pages here. Not that you need to go buy comics. I'm just saying give credit where it's due.

Thank you for reading.


Wedding Bells

Everybody loves a wedding.

At this point in my life, three of my friends have gotten married. That's no great number considering the slew of weddings my roommate gets invited to every year. But then, she is a year older than I and knows about 10,000 people. But to me, the small scale of my wedding visitations makes each one more distinct. The most recent was just last night as my friend Nora gave herself to a good man by the name of Nick. Their initials, first and last, remain the same even after the union.

I met Nora just a week into college. I was young and emboldened by new freedoms. Nora was sitting on a couch in the student union hunched over a notebook and buried in a large hoodie sweater. What truly caught my eye was her vibrant purple hair, with two streaks of blonde framing her face as it parted down the center. And in an act of unprecedented bravado, I went and complimented her on it. She was awkard, obviously not knowing what to do with me, but we talked and I gave her my phone number.

A week or so later, she called that number and asked if she could hitch a ride to Portland with me. I honestly don't remember if we talked before then, because I was indeed bound for Portland, and it seems odd that she would just think to ask me that randomly. Whatever the case, I obliged and we scheduled our trip accordingly.

The third memory I have of Nora is of her in my car and pulling this horrid, gray mass from her purse that looked like an apple-sized dustball. And she puts this thing up to her nose and she starts sniffing deeply from it, turning it slightly with each inhalation. This is weird. This is gross. It gets grosser when I find out what it is: the remnants of her childhood blanket which has not been washed in a good many years and which she sniffs for comfort. At this point, I abandoned my original intentions of hitting on Nora and though "Maybe she'd be better as a friend."

We became good friends, though odd friends. Sophomore year there was scarcely an afternoon that she didn't come to my apartment. But we never did much together. We have few defining moments. But, and this is very in keeping with my view of friendship, we just decided that we care about one another and are there when needed or wanted.

The wedding was beautiful. She wore a light green dress that she proudly told me was actually a bridesmaid's dress she got for $100. But it was Vera Wang, which apparently was the important part. That and the deal she got. Nick, a long time Hot Lips Pizza employee had the reception catered with pizza and beer in a small park facility that they rented for what I assume was a minimal fee. Nora traded her heels in for a pair of pink vans to dance the night away. Many friends played and sung songs, and I wish I would have been one of them. I had intended to play Belle & Sebastian's "Like Dylan in the Movies," which she put on a mix tape for me many years ago. I didn't and I'm sorry for it. I would have liked to have somehow marked the occasion. But really, my mark wasn't needed. It was a wonderful wedding.

Thank you for reading.


The world according to Miyagi

I have gained a new level of love for my friend Erin. She came over last night to watch a movie, which we were to pick from my collection - of which I am very proud. I was feeling open to about anything except blatant goofery - which is too bad because she hadn't seen "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and I am obliged to spread the gospel of Carell and Cowan. What I was really feeling like was "Brazil." Or maybe "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I think enough time has finally passed that I can watch that again and not feel the need to fall hopelessly in love.

But I also said in passing, "I could totally watch 'The Karate Kid Part II.'"

And Erin took me up on it.

Fuck yeah! Karate Kid is AWESOME. Anyone who says otherwise gets a crane kick to the nose. You "no can defense" that shit. The awe all boys who grew up in the '80s have with The Karate Kid is inexplicable. I mean, we're talking about a movie where an old dude takes a young boy under his wing and NOBODY even thought of horrid homosexual molestation. "Now, Daniel-san, I will teach you 'Pounding Dog Thrust' technique. Bend over."

The second film has always, to me, been as good as the first. It's a great evolution of the story and the characters, rather than just Daniel having more problems and getting in fights. Plus, it's filmed in Okinawa and they got to put in lots of pretty Japanese shots. And did I even mention how ripped Chozen is? I mean, his pecs like double the thickness of his torso!

But the best part of the whole trilogy (Yes. TRILOGY. Don't even bring up that Hilary Swank shit.) is the spew of wisdom from Mr. Miyagi. Is there some little pocket book, "The Quotable Miyagi"? A quick Googling says no. That is my million dollar idea for the day. Just need to clear it with Columbia. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to smash some blocks of ice.

Thank you for reading.


It might be dehydration...

For the better part of two years, I've been teaching my body to distill the water it needs from coffee and beer exlusively.

I do not think things are going well.

I keep seeing things from the corner of my eye and thinking for a half moment that they are really there - or are things that they are not. Eye corners are tricksey places, so this isn't too unusual. But I've been more affected by it. Last night at the Goodfoot (check out the awesome site redesign) I kept thinking this jacket on the floor next to my bar stool was a sleeping dog. And this morning, when I woke up, a fold of my blanket looked like a man's nose and mouth in profile.

Speaking of the Goodfoot, the lead singer of Sounds Like Fun was there to watch and I asked him about the song I was denied on his album (still good, though). He apologised and said they weren't able to get it on there, but it is called "Mr. Wonderful." I thought that was appropriate.

Thank you for reading.


The sweet sound of disappointment

I was at the Doug Fir on Sunday for the free CD release show of Sounds Like Fun. My being there was less about the band and more about being out. I go to concerts in waves, and I think I'm about to catch one right now. Still, the band was excellent good fun. A trio of gentlemen singing unabashedly happy songs in three part harmonies.

In contrast to the choral bliss of Sounds Like Fun, Dat'r was about pounding beats and blips with atonal vocal droning. I'm tempted to call them Portland's Crystal Method. It's not the right thing to say about them, but it'll do in a pinch. Dat'r is 2/3 of The Binary Dolls, a band I once lauded in a WW preview enough for them to quote me on press releases. I heart this band. I heart the solo work of Dolls frontman Nick Jaina. So it only follows that I love Dat'r. All three incarnations offer different pleasures. Dat'r offered the universal pleasure of ass shaking on Sunday night. To the pre-recorded loops and samples, they add live accents - most notably the emphatic symbol crashing of Paul Alcott. The bouyancy of his curly locks as he bounces about the stage with sticks and microphones is perhaps the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.

What this brings me to is the inevitable purchase of both bands CDs. And, as happens time and time again, I am let down by the music once contained in ones and zeros. In the complete reverse effect of what needed to happen, the rumbling urgency of Dat'r is overcome by the now comprehensible whining lyrics that were much better as complimetary melodies. And Sounds Like Fun's album washes out the power of the vocals. Live, I would have followed that voice like a Pied Piper to wherever it led me. And, of course, the one song that cemented my purchase of the album is not actually on it. Damn.

I've talked much with Russ about the value of local music VS the established cannon and rising stars. It's not a debate one of us feels need to be "right" about - which is rare for he and I - but rather oposite views. I cherish the local music for its intimacy and involvement. I love buying the CD that was silk screened by the hand that now plucks notes on the guitar and knowing my X dollars goes directly to his pocket. I love the little shows where no matter where you stand, you are within spitting distance of an empassioned vocalist. I love seeing these people at their day jobs or parties and telling them I appreciate their art. And so, for all this, I accept the inherent risks and disappointments. I make allowances. I give benefits of doubt. And I love it all.

Thank you for reading.


Oh, the pressure!

I've been out of the loop lately, which is largely because of this. But I was scrolling through Jamie S. Rich's posts the other day to find I made the cut of his "regular blog reads." Or maybe, it's just that I link to him... either way, as Jamie is one of my blog inpirators, I am now moved to action!

It's funny who you meet when you sell toilets for a living. I've sold them to one of the head designers for Adidas' hip "classics" line. I've returned a sink from radio/tv personality Lars Larson (who seemed a decent fellow). I've shook the hand of Bobby Kimball from Toto. And just yesterday I sold a some bathroom paraphernalia to a member of Portland darlings, The Decemberists. And, as we are gearing up to have another one of our infamous customer appreciation concerts with non other than "cold as ice" Foreigner, I planted the seed that one day we might have The Decemberists grace our in-house stage. We'll see. I could be the siphon that taps the hip young plumbing market of Portland.

In my non-plumbing hours, I've been working on a DVD for a recently published children's book called "Bird In Hand." It's a story about a day when the author and her husband found an injured hummingbird and nursed it back to health. The illustrations, also done by the author are really stunning and thanks in no small part to my Mom's wonderful networking efforts, the book has been getting noticed. They're carrying it at Borders, now. At least the one in Bridgeport Village. The project I'm working on is to be a video the author can use when giving presentations at schools. They hooked me up with an insane desktop computer that has more power that I possibly know what to do with. If I were the kind of person who played games on computers rather than consoles, I would probably have wet my pants by now.

My other little project - which will be largely neglected until I finish this video - is my very own Web site. I've purchased a domain name and made a few rough designs for a home page. My only prior experience doing Web anything (aside from this wonderfully simply blogging) is back in college where I made a couple HTML sites using just a text editor for a class. I have ambitions of lovely flash animations and sexy graphics, but when something eventually goes up, it will more likely than not look more like this.

Thank you for reading.


I am the seagull

This is so friggin weird.

Over the last month, I've been going to rehersals of ART's latest production: Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. My Mom purchased this package at auction where she and a friend (or son) could go see the process from start to finish of staging this brand new translation. For those who don't know, the play takes its name from a scene where the young male lead kills a gull for no reason and gives it to the girl he loves. Note to self: Girls don't like dead birds.

For me, this whole process has been fascinating and has reinvigorated me with the love of theater (re?) I had in high school. It's been a bigger help that I've befriended the director Jon Kretzu, who is a little nuts and a lot of fun.

What I'm building up to here is this: The play opened Friday night and I went to see it. And here, Sunday morning there is a dead seagull that has apparently just fallen out of the sky and landed in my work parking lot.


It's easy to forget how light birds must be. This gull looked so solid just lying there, almost like it was glued to the ground or weighed down as if all organs and muscles turn to lead in death. But when I picked it up (most companies don't like dead things in their parking lots. Discourages spending.) it was so light I dropped it out of shock. I obviously had my American Beauty moment taking pictures of it. Who am I to let that bizzare coincidence pass?

You know, this brings to mind an incident from last summer where I chanced upon a number of smaller bird corpses along Legacy Hospital in NW. There were four of them within a block, similarly dead with no sign as to why. Is this a bad sign for industrial air quality? I though bird flu was limited to the land dwelling avians, but perhaps... Let's not think of it.

Thank you for reading.



This is not the Nerf of my youth. Foam warfare has attained a perfect form in the N-Strike Maverick 6-shot pistol. These foam missles of doom fire far and true. The gun (amazingly void of too many tacky neon colors) feels like it will actually endure multiple aggressive exchanges where combatants pull violently on the cocking mechanism (hmmm... that sounded less perverted in my head). My only regret is that it doesn't have twelve shots, but then I suppose that's why you buy two, isn't it?

I was prompted to buy a dueling pair of these pistols after reading about them on my favorite comic. About a year ago, Katie and I bought two foam swords at Finnegans Toy Store and we fenced the entire way home - even on the Streetcar and while walking/running down NW 23rd. What can I say? We're total dorks. Remind me to show you a picture of our curio full of He-Man and Star Wars toys.

Anyway, just thought you'd want to know I can still have fun.

Thank you for reading.


Froo Years

There is something to be said for the power we all have to make something a big deal when we want to. New Years is becoming an occasion where I insist I be having insane amounts of fun. That doesn't necessarily mean a lot of planning or elaborate parties, it means having an attitude for adventure. I rang in 2006 with two good friends and two new good friends in San Francisco (where, incidentally, I left my heart and some puke on someone's bathroom). If you have not had the pleasure of S.F.'s company, I suggest you make a call. This was actually my first time staying IN the city and being able to spend a few days walking her streets and buroughs laid plain her charm. From the quaint smutteries around my hostel to the only good coffee shop I had time to chance upon off Haight (where they were playing "The Thermals" I might add) I could have just eaten up the beauty like clam chowder in a bread bowl - which I did as well.

There are few actual "moments" to relay from the trip and many of those are not fit for print. But it is no small thing to say that after three long days and nights together with the same four people did nothing but make me love them each more. Everyone had something to contribute to the group. From Dan's many Australian eccentricities and catch phrases to Russ' female escapades to my own drunken boorishness, it was good things all around.

Of all places, we rang in the new year in a Rogue pub. Yes, I went all the way to San Francisco to drink at a Rogue pub. Our evening had taken a downward turn and I was anxious to find something comfortable. And by comfortable, I mean dark. The power had somehow gone out in the afternoon (only at the Rogue, mind you) and was not able to be restored. So the waitressess carried around flashlights and poured insanely generous shots of liquor, as that and bottled beer was all they could sell. Yes, I went all the way to San Francisco to drink bottled Rogue beer. I am a very silly man.

I also had occasion to see my oldest friend on this earth. That is not to say he is my best friend, but I have literally known him since he sprang from the womb. Regardless of how different we become in this life, we will always share a bond worth having a few pints over. He lives in S.F. and does some manner of investing. He will be very rich and I basically keep his acquaintence in the hope that when I go broke he will lend me money.

We had ice cream at Ghirardelli, were this asian man could not have been more excited to bring us our enormous sundaes in success. Seriously, HE was more excited about them then we were. He's probably more excited about sundaes than three-year-olds and I think we ALL remember how fucking exciting a sundae bigger than your head was at the age of three. Later that night, I think we met his sister at the Chinese restaurant we ate at. Slightly less excited, but good fun. Good food too.

I think I will end by saying something to the fine fellows with whom I shared one of the best weekends of my life.

Russ: You're such a prick. And next time, aim for the toilet.
Dan: If there ever comes a time that you are NOT hungry, I will shoot myself. I miss you already
Ethan; I'm glad you are there to point out all that is important with your emotionless, robotic heart and finger.
Cara: A woman whose libido can keep up with four young men... your face should be on currency.

Thank you for reading.