I'm speaking of it in the past tense, but I'm actually waiting for it to happen.
How can a nominally self-employed, gig-hungry critter like myself spend so much time sitting at her computer and so little of it actually accomplishing anything?
Today I'm having a fun adventure called "Fighting with the Content Management System." I'm a writer, dammit, not a CMSer... and my creaky old HTML skills are showing their age & infirmity.
In happier news, I got an $800 check from CK Media this week. Yay! Three and three-quarters* more of those and we will be GOL.DEN.
And in other happy news, Jim and I have a "date" this evening; we're going to a creative professionals networking event downtown. Free hors d'oeuvres and cheap wine for all, huzzah! I was really hoping to have some sort of functional web site URL and/or business card-like substance to pass out at this meeting, but no such luck. I have frittered away far too much of my time and it's just not happening.
Also: BrickFest was awesome. Hundreds of adult Lego fans get together for a weekend, build build build, then open up the Convention Center to display their creations to an adoring public. We liked. (All photos by James Newman.)
Look, it's Lego Portland!
Back up and take a look to figure out this mosaic...
A street scene
These modernist apartment buildings were like the coolest Lego constructions ever...
...except for maybe this suspension bridge (complete with river & boats underneath)...
Strolling down Alberta Street in a mini-blizzard. We're smiling because we love snow.
The ice storm left a beautiful glaze all over the tree in front of our house.
The gate into Portland's Chinatown. Notice car-shaped snow blob.
It's still frozen solid today, but no more snow is falling... maybe tomorrow. And for the first time in a long time, I am thoroughly thankful for the @#$! Land Rover (on which we had to drop $475 for a new U-joint and drive shaft last week). It purrs through the snow and over the ice with all the merry surefootedness of a mountain goat. Hooray for four-wheel-drive and bunwarmer seats!
Jim: "You haven't posted anything since December tenth!" Me: "I haven't had anything to say." Jim: "That's not true." Me: (thinking) Oh, but it is.
Happy winter! We are celebrating by being buried under 8" of lovely fluffy white snow, capped with a nice chunky layer of ice. Whee! Pics to follow, mayhap.
Also: happy birthday, yesterday, to my beloved Herm; and happy birthday, five days ago, to my beloved Dad. Birthdays bustin' out all over!
Also also: I made a Thing with my Bind-it-All. And am looking forward to making more. Would love to post pics or a description, but the person or persons for whom this Thing is intended happens to read this blog...
Also also also: my beloved brother is in the hizzouse, and my parents are making the long and snowy and somewhat treacherous drive up from California today for proper Christmestivus celebrations. Cross fingers for them?
So I want to design cute holiday cards for other people and maybe make it so we can have a wee bit of a Christmas this year.
But in order to do so, I need some good sample photos. And while Jim does a fine job of documenting Portland's assortment of bars, heavily graffitied walls, scowling children and suchlike, his main body of work is perhaps not exactly suited to the average cheery photo card:
So, ah, you see the problem we have here.
(Seriously, though, he's perfectly capable of taking nice-looking pictures of people. He just doesn't usually seem to feel inclined to do so unless there's a deadline and a paycheck attached.)
I think it hit close to 100 here today and it's supposed to top out at 105 tomorrow. Wah. It's hoooot. I want a cold shower and some iced teee-ea. Wow, from my wussified response you'd never know I grew up in the
Central Valley (home of ten-day hundred-plus temperature streaks),
This evening, I've brought Jim's laptop down from our attic office (where it's currently at 102 according to our lovely portable weather station thingy) and created a satellite office on the dining room table, complete with labelmaker, external hard drive and gigantic box of fresh Uni-Ball pens. Oh, and an enormous box fan that hums like a helicopter engine. Ah, comfort restored!
Anyway... here's another political video for ya. But at least this one's funny.
Tuesday afternoon, we packed up the giant orange suitcase and the two crammed-full-of-books backpacks and the large stuffed cheetah (Schwarz) and the small stuffed jaguar?/leopard? (D.C.) and the seven-year-old blond kid and the nine-year-old brunet kid into the Land Rover and headed to the airport. And at about 6:03, roughly 13 minutes past the scheduled takeoff time, our boys lifted off... up, up and away for a week and a half in Colorado with Jim's parents.
That night was OK. We went to Ground Kontrol and played video games with our friends Howard and Suzanne. (Ground Kontrol is great... most of the video games are either vintage, e.g., Ms. Pac-Man and the thoroughly inexplicable Tempest, or hyper-violent; those are the only kinds I like.) It was Rock Band night, and Howard and Jim, performing as "Tri-X," nailed a Boston song (I can't remember which one it was; all Boston songs sound alike to me). I drank two Mike's Hard Lemonades (shut up and stop laughing), felt courageous and dragged Howard, Jim and some random drummer-type guy on stage to perform "Debaser." High point: a crowd of people I didn't know shouting "I am un CHIEN! ANDALUSIAN!" along with me. Then I was embarrassed and we left.
We went to Kelly's Olympian (best, and possibly noisiest, bar in Portland). We went to City Grill's late-night happy hour and ate delicious spring rolls and seared tombo tuna. Howard and Suzanne went home and Jim and I went and played Scrabble at Billy Ray's. A fine time was had by all.
And since then, it's been way.too.freakin.quiet.
No lengthy monologues on the merits of various WWI aircraft. No bickering over LEGOs. No one to eat dinner with. No one to play cards with. No one to read me "Little Bear" or to beg for just one more chapter of Redwall.
Today, I was out of bed by quarter 'til 8 (early enough, when you consider I was up 'til 2:30 again). Jim had a day-long photo shoot and was gone half an hour later. I cleaned up our bedroom. I washed the dining room table, which stays much cleaner when no one is smearing yogurt and cereal detritus over it every morning. I took out the recycling and scrubbed out the garbage can. I made dinner (our Used Meat steak is happily braising away in the Crock-Pot). I washed two loads of laundry. I did a bunch of work stuff, re-tidied my already fairly tidy desk area and caught up on some friends' blogs. And all that was over an hour ago and I've done nothing worthwhile since.
It is too quiet. I can't concentrate.
But I'm a good daughter-in-law for sharing my little crazymakers regardless of the negative impact their absence has on my sanity, right? Right?
Oh, and here's the real Pixies performing the real "Debaser."
So here's the shirt I made for the spelling bee (which I did not win... I messed up on "alopecia," which I know perfectly well how to spell IRL. Do you think it had something to do with the glass of wine clutched in my hand?). I think it scaled down pretty well from a size T (for tent-like).
You can't really tell from this picture, but the ribbon I used to lace up the sides has a fetching pattern of bees on it. Bees! Get it?
One of my fellow competitors, the thoroughly awesome geologist Maggie, announced her intention to go get some of this ribbon for herself.
Also, we (especially Jim and Rhys) had fun posing the little Lego stormtrooper minifig Rhys had brought along. I think this guy's a natural... can America's Next Top Model be far behind?
Lego Man has lost his helmet. Could it have fallen into this glass of wine?
Despondent at his failure to keep proper tabs on his equipment, Lego Man decides to end it all. But you can tell by the look on his face that he's just messing with you. This is like the stunt every dimbulb metalhead high school kid pulls on his recently-ex-girlfriend at some point.
First of all: wow. I am overwhelmed. Seriously. Everyone who commented on my post about trying to encourage Rhys to read; everyone from the fabulous Orsig list who wended (?) his or her way over here to read more of the saga; everyone who e-mailed me your encouragement and your experiences: thank you so, so, so much. I appreciate your help more than you know.
And I will respond to you individually--I still have lots more questions, so if you offered (Kit), you're going to get hammered. By my questions, not by alcoholic drinks. You may want to get hammered (by alcoholic drinks) by the time I'm done pestering you... but you don't really need my permission for that, do you?
Also, a Note to Self: never write a post that's going to elicit oodles of feedback-warranting feedback when you're in the throes of a day-job deadline. Sheesh.
And now, a few brief interludes from conversations with my kids.
These occurred yesterday, when the weather was so deliciously perfect (temp in the low seventies, cloudless sky, slight breeze) that we just couldn't stand to be inside and so hopped on the Max (Papa needed the car for work) and headed downtown to splash about at the Jameson Square fountain. We also visited Powell's, twice--one trip to the great Mecca of All Things Literary, and a first-ever (for the kids) foray into Powell's Technical Books, where Fisher discovered a great big shelf full of aviation manuals and then stumbled across a book called "Principles of Combustion." ("Calvin needs this book," was our verdict. Also, I discovered that I don't know quite enough chemistry to read equations such as ΔcHm⦵ (C15H10O7·H2O, s) = −(5 937.99 ± 2.99) kJ · mol−1out loud to the kids. Blame my flawed education.
Scenario 1: We were in the throes of a heated discussion about zombies. Zombies are one of our favorite topics of conversation, trailing perhaps only cats (omnipresent) and World War I aircraft (aargh). I mentioned to the boys that if there were a sudden zombie attack at that moment, our friends Suzanne and Howard have an apartment only a few blocks from Jameson Square and we could head over there and take the elevator up and be safe.
Rhys: "Zombies don't know how to ride elevators?"
Me: "Well, they can't really reason at all, so they couldn't understand how to get into the elevator and push the right button and get to the floor where people were hiding. I suppose they could stumble into the elevator and flail around and accidentally push the button to go up, though."
Fisher: "It would be funny if a zombie got into the elevator and pushed the button, but instead of a button for a floor or the B button for the basement they pushed the CD button."
Fisher: "You know... for Certain Death. And it takes you down to underneath the basement, and then it's all full of sharp spikes and stuff."
Rhys: "That wouldn't kill zombies, though, Fisher, unless the spike went right through their head."
Me: (thinking a Certain Death button should be stock equipment on every elevator)
Scenario 2: We begin crossing Flanders Street.
Fisher: "Flanders. Hey..."
Me: (thinking a Simpsons reference is sure to follow... our forays around Portland are punctuated by exclamations like "Hey! Lovejoy! Reverend Lovejoy!" or "Is Mr. Burns named after Burnside?")
Fisher: "That was the name of a battlefield in World War I."
Me: "It sure was. And did you know there's a famous poem written about it, called 'In Flanders Fields?' "
In fact, it sort of looks like these folks (three of whom are apparently members of the Matching Douchebag Hat Society) are in line at the low-income medical clinic waiting to get their gonorrhea test results back. And they're watching the most recent patient doing the walk of shame back toward the parking lot, thinking to themselves, "This is sort of an embarrassing place to be, but at least I can get this whole mess cleared up with a brief course of antibiotics."
You'd never know they were actually at Holocene, a club in Portland that puts on pretty good shows a fair number of nights per week, watching Strangers Die Every Day, a string trio/rock band with a beautiful godspeed you! black emperor-ish vibe and an amazing stage presence, would you?
So listen. I love Portland. I love living here; I love the restaurants, the bridges, the live music every-freakin-where you go, the fascinating fashion combinations and so on. But this is a thing I've noticed since the first show we went to here, and it bugs the hell out of me every time:
If you are too cool to enjoy yourself at a show, you are too cool to be there at all. And so you should probably stay home.
Jim and I went to Someday Lounge on Saturday night to see a trifecta of bands: Bodhi, Eternal Tapestry (yes! it is the goofiest name ever for a band!) and Modey Lemon. All the bands were good; we went because we'd heard fine things about Bodhi, but everyone ended up putting on a pretty swell show. Eternal Tapestry was the biggest surprise of the night: their guitarist, who was a very unassuming-looking and rather nerdish fellow, ended up shredding in major Guitar Hero hip-thrusting axe-slamming guitar-strap-snapping style. And Modey Lemon (straight outta Pittsburgh!), all three of whose members looked remarkably like refugees from Stillwater (the band in Almost Famous, if you don't want to look it up) freakin rocked. They were amazing--heavy and solo-ey without being jammy or noodley (both of which traits are the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned... I don't want to feel like I've accidentally wandered into a Phish concert, for god's sake).
So there's all this fine music happening on stage in a fine venue (Someday Lounge is beautifully nicely laid out for a small club). And Jim and I are having a fine time... you know, a little head-bobbing, a little toe-tapping, nothing egregious. (Nobody loves the solo hippie dancer who seems to show up at every free show on the planet, twirling and waving her arms about like a sad little Deadhead kelp strand.)
And pretty much everybody else in the place is standing there, arms crossed, super-blase cranky expressions on their chin-pubed faces, as chock-full of enthusiasm as a box of All-Bran. Smiling is uncool, you know, as is clapping or, heaven forbid, shaking your booty a little bit.
I can't even imagine how disheartening it must be for a band to be putting their hearts into a show (especially those bands who have to schlep their own gear... gee whiz), rocking too hard for just one hand, and then to look down and see a bunch of po-faced knuckleheads standing there concentrating on maintaining the Facade of Eternal Hipness.
Seriously, people, if you can't just stay home and suffer your angst in private, can you at least get away from the front of the stage so
those of us who are actually there to enjoy ourselves can get a better
Portland, get over yourselves! Have fun or get out!
1. Get my feature outlined today and written by the end of the day on Thursday. 2. Get my photo column outlined today and written by the end of the day tomorrow. 3. Go through submissions for my techniques column by the end of the day Monday. Collaborate with April on submissions, get them finalized by the end of the day Wednesday and get the copy written by the end of the day Friday. 4. Get 1000 words written on The Book every day between now and July 16. 5. Have the Best Anniversary Ever on Tuesday. Jim says he's already planned an evening full of stimulating surprises and exciting allsortsathings. Including dinner at a place he will not yet name, but which I'm kinda hoping might be Clarklewis. Or Park Kitchen. Or, y'know, whatever. 6. Have a thoroughly amazing, guilt-free, 100% metal time at the Mastodon show Thursday night. (Oh yes. I am going to see Mastodon. The awesomeness is palpable, even if I am going all by myself.)
Here's their video for "Blood and Thunder" for you to enjoy...
And here's a compilation of Gooooooooals. (Sorry about the Linkin Park.)