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have to do any of the hardest things regarding building a bike: Taking apart wheel hubs, building wheels, messing with out of date bottom brackets...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.