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.