Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Portland Graffiti Task Force Rules!

I was out watering my garden last night and heard some commotion coming from down the street by the railroad bridge down the street. Since things happen there all the time I figured I'd go check it out and see what was going on. I walked down the street in time to see two undercover police cars pulled up and officers putting two teenage boys in handcuffs. I looked over and saw fresh and really crappy tagging covering the entire side of the metal building by the tracks that has been hit pretty bad lately. They were busting the kids whose crew the task force had been tracking around the area. They happened to get a tip from one of my neighbors and were able to catch these 14 year olds in the act.

The officers were very professional, and handled the situation really well. I saw the guy pictured above talking to one of the kids, and heard him explain how stupid this was for them to do, and they were going to be punished. He never raised his voice or yelled, but he definitely was getting his point across.

After they got the kids in the cars I asked Officer Matt some questions about the taggers. He said they were tracking quite a few crews and were using tips to bust these guys who ranged in age from 12 to 30. They were keeping busy this summer and trying to get the word out that they were going to be punished for what they were doing. Officer Matt was really cool, and even gave me his number in case I had more questions or noticed other tagging going up. I guess they keep records of the various tags, and can tell which ones are gang related, which is kind of scary. There's definitely a difference between some of the really good graffiti that I've seen over by the train tracks, and the stupid taggers who are basically just pissing on people's walls. They usually tag over the good stuff, which sucks.

It was nice to know that there are some really good police out there and that they are trying to crack down on the growing problem, which seems to be hitting SE pretty bad.

Monday, August 27, 2007

SCRAP Iron Artist Competition

Saturday I went to the SCRAP Iron Artist competition over in North Portland. I had planned on going to the Adult Soapbox Derby up on Mt. Tabor beforehand, but realized I would have to hoof it to the top of the hill in four inch heels to get the pictures I wanted. I decided to skip that and headed over to the SCRAP event directly. It had just started when I got there, so there was plenty of time to hang out and have a beer before taking photos. The teams really did a great job of getting into the competition with loads of costumes, heckling, and a sense of humor regarding the whole thing. They had tents set up, and bleachers out in the sun for those who were being spectators. The only sucky thing was the beer garden was stuck behind the bleachers, so it was hard to see what was going on if you wanted to have a beer. I loved the Tchotke girls walking around with cigarette girl type carriers selling handmade odds and ends of stuff. I bought a decopaged Altoids container with a plastic baby and lace inside, and a couple of buttons.
I spent most of the time wandering around and checking out what people were up to. I don't know how crowded the event has been in the past, but this year they had a really good turnout. I'm sure it helped that the weather was super nice and not too hot. After the competition, and I couldn't hear who the winning team was, there was a drum corps playing out in the street. They were awesome. I always get goosebumps. People were out dancing in the street and having a blast. Overall it was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people get excited about the event. I think I might need to join a team next year. I think it would be a blast.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Getting The Right Picture

I'm fairly new to photography, having waited until digital cameras became affordable before even trying it. I'm very ADD, so I want instant gratification when I take a photo. I also want to have the option of eliminating the bad shots instead of paying for the development of a roll of film and finding out I got one decent shot out of the bunch, which is usually the case.

I'm always trying to find opportunities that will provide good subjects. One of my favorite things about Portland is that there is always something interesting to photograph. I like to take "walkabouts" at various times of the year and bring my camera with me in case I run across something interesting.

The picture above isn't mine but it's been a huge influence on my subject matter. It completely captures the essence of who these people were at one point in their lives. I have no idea where I found this, it was years ago, so my apologies to whoever posted the original image.

This picture I did take, and it really captures his personality. My friend G works graveyard shift on the weekends, so afterwork drinks are usually around 8:30am if I meet up with him. We were at Holmans, and sat next to this guy who's name was Dustin. He was a little loaded but really interesting and fun to talk to. Holmans is one of those places where if you hit it right you can meet some interesting people who aren't the posers that show up after 12:00pm and take over the place.

If you've been there you know exactly what I mean.

One thing I like about photography as a medium is you are always going to get better at it. You don't have a small window of opportunity to excel and then you're past your prime. I also like the fact that you're recording pieces of your life. It's cool to look at photos and be able to say, "that's right I was there." My brain gets so overloaded at times that it seems like pieces of it are being written over and potentially lost at some point, so it's nice to have visual post-its I can pull up when I feel like it.

I started posting stuff to my Flickr sight a while back. Part of it was to have an easy place for people to access what I've done. The other probably more selfish reason is to see what people are interested in. This picture has had the most hits of any of the others. I don't know if it's because of the subject, or if it's a good picture. I would tend to think it's the subject. The party I went to had a lot of people in costumes, and I took a ton of pictures, but most of them came out blurry. I think it was a combination of too many cocktails and four inch heels on grass that probably hindered my ability to get a decent shot, but I'm glad I managed to get this one right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Tattoo

When I go through major changes in my life I like to get a tattoo to remind me that I've made it through something really challenging and survived in one piece. My ex husband left me about two and a half years ago after being together 11 years. He "met someone" in Las Vegas on a company thing for Wild Oats, and came back and told me he was through with me. He split, cancelled my health insurance and car insurance and left me paying all the bills for two people. The good thing is I met G about four days later. We were both at a pretty messed up point in our lives, and we were sort of like survivors of a shipwreck clinging to bits of floatsome trying to survive.

Well, we are both back on our feet and are probably stronger because of the trauma. He's got his kids pretty much full time, and a house and chickens. He and his kids got me addicted to Invader Zim, especially GIR, so I figured this tattoo would remind me of where I was and where I am now.

And the ex, his new "girlfriend" dumped him after a month, he's been living in various roommate situations that haven't seemed to pan out so well, and he managed to drink away and have repossed the stupid mustang that he paid double for and that only had three car payments left. So it goes to show you that karma will kick you in the ass sometimes.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Family Get Together at Eagle Crest

Last week was our annual family get-together that we do every summer. We usually have about 30-40 people each year, and we've been everywhere from Fort Warden up in Port Townsend, to Long Beach Washington, and Sun River in Bend. This year we stayed at some nice condos at the Eagle Crest Golf Resort. The weather was fantastic by the time my son and I actually made it over there.

My son Nik has recently started driving down to Portland from Poulsbo, and it's been sort of hit or miss sometimes. The first time he came down he ended up on the Westside which wasn't good because I live on the Eastside. I was waiting for him to show up with my friend G. and was starting to freak out. He was totally lost and we were talking to him on the cell phone and trying to figure out where the hell he was. We were driving around Portland trying to follow Nik's clues and basically hitting deadends. He didn't realize he was on the wrong side of the river even though he's been down to Portland many times. G. finally told him to pull over, go find a land mark, and wait for us. Nik gets out of the car, takes a look around and tells us that there is a brick building for rent. That's our landmark. We finally figured out that he was over by Portland State and had him follow us back over the Marquam bridge to get him over to my place. I was a complete wreck that day. We didn't make it to the retreat that year because Nik didn't want to have to drive the three hours to Redmond.

So this year Nik makes it down to Portland fine, and we're planning on taking his car to Eagle Crest near Redmond. We run errands, get everything packed up in his car, and make it from 16th to 82nd avenue and then his car overheats. The meter totally goes into the red, and so we pull over to figure out what's going on. Of course the weather decides to be kind and it starts pouring. We lift up the hood and see coolant all over his car engine. It's also totally overflowing from the jug or whatever it is that you call the thing where the coolant lives. So Nik grabs a towel and starts wicking it out. We let the car cool down and get back in and take a right on 82nd and onto Powell. We figured it would be a straight shot, and would be able to limp back to my place and grab my car.

No such luck, we end up pulling into a Bridgestone service center. Nik goes in and they tell him they can do a stress test in about 30-40 minutes, but he'll have to hang out there. So I catch the bus down to my place, go get my car, go get lunch for us because now it's about 2:00pm. I get over to the place, and after waiting for them to do the test they tell us that we need to replace two hoses and it will cost $28.00 per hose and for them to fix it would be $300.00 including an oil change and a flush. Nik loses it at this point, so I tell the guy to give us the info on the parts and we limp back to my place. Nik is now pissed off not only about the car, but about the fact that we can't take off right away because we're hitting traffic hour on Friday, and we're going to have to wait a while to take off. We can't stay at my place because they've started tearing the bathroom apart being that I told them we'd be out of town over the weekend.

After trying to figure out what to do, and Nik getting more pissed off by the minute I call G. and ask if we can come over and time ourselves out at his place for a while. Being the incredibly generous and understanding person that he is he lets us hang out while he's finishing his nap and getting ready for work. We hang out for a couple hours until traffic dies down a little and then head out.

Traffic had not died down and it took forever to get even to Sandy, but we made it over the pass and into Redmond at about 10:00pm. In the meantime I'm freaking out because I can't get ahold of my mom to let her know what's going on. Finally my brother calls on his cell phone and I can relay that we're way behind. By the time I hit Redmond I'm exhausted and stressed out. Just as we get ready to turn right off the main drag within 10 minutes of our destination a cop pulls me over and tells me that my tags are expired, even though I still have a couple days to go on them. He lets me go, and we head out. We finally make it to the condo in pitch black with my brother waving a flashlight to signal where to go. I had a lot of glasses of wine that night to calm down.

The next day was much better. The boys played Magic, and my mom, my sister, and my brother's girlfriend went into Bend and hit our favorite bead store, a farmer's market, and had lunch at McMenamins. It was gorgeous and clear and not too hot. Later we cooked dinner for 30 people, and had one of the nicest evenings with our family that we've had in a long time. Everyone was on their good behavior, including me, and all the kids were playing frisbee while the grownups played giant Jenga. It was really nice to see everyone so happy and having fun together. It made it worth the trip to be a part of the experience, and I do have to say that Nik pulled through insisting that we still go.

The trip back wasn't too bad, and Nik found that he could get the parts he needed for $22.00 total and have my brother put them in for free, so it worked out just fine. I don't know if there's some sort of moral hidden in the experience and how we dealt with things, but Nik and I have learned that when we're stressed we seem to make things worse with each other and that we have to time ourselves out and not talk to each other for a while. Other than that it's nice to know that he's willing to fight to get to our destination because it means that much to be with the family. That's pretty cool. For some reason I kind of like my kid even if he drives me to tear my hair out every now and then.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Haunting Time Again!

The summer is here and it's time again to start getting ready for the Fright Town haunted house. Saturday we did a corpse making workshop to get started. Tom Johnson from Fright FX had us
all over to create corpses for the house. You start with a medical grade skeleton, which by the way is pretty damn heavy. After reinforcing the bits that want to fall off you hang it up and start covering it with spray adhesive, saran wrap, and latex. You would think it would be easy, but we spent at least five hours working on these things, and they still need more latex, paint, batting, hair, etc. The drying time is pretty long because the latex has the consistency of mayonaise and takes forever, especially if you've put it on thick which you kind of have to do to get the right texture.

The trickiest part was learning that you need to put the plastic on in multiple layers, before adding the latex. You would think that's just logical, but we didn't realize how much saran and adhesive you have to use to get the correct shape. It's not as easy as it sounds, being as the saran is sticky, and you are sticky with all the spraying and stuff. We used a ton of latex as well, so you end up sticky and smelling like a rubber band. It's cool though.

Sunday we went over to Glowing Greens, a black light indoor putt putt place that will be opening soon downtown over by Pioneer Courthouse Square. Raymond the owner formerly of 13th Door Haunted House is making the coolest place in Portland that's open to kids and adults. The course is full of 3D props, and will also include some animatronic characters. The most awesome part of the whole thing it that everything is set up to be viewed by black light. We went over to help paint, and construct some of the set pieces. I helped paint a shack by the graveyard. Painting for black light is interesting because you pretty much are painting in the dark under black light. Once you apply the paint it pops out at you. The color of the paint under normal light is completely different under the black light. It's a bit of a challenge but the results are awesome. I'm going back next week to help do some more painting. They have a good crew but a lot of work ahead of them. Their website is if you want to see what they're doing. This will be the perfect place to have those hard tween birthday parties. You'll be able to rent the entire course, and have pizza with your golf.

Back to the haunted house, once we get done with these corpses we have a bunch of other props to build, and we also have to figure out the rooms, and the makeup/costumes and props we need for each one. I think this year is going to kick butt. I'm not going to give away any secrets, otherwise I will be drawn and quartered, but we're working on some interesting ideas right now, and these guys really know what they're doing. Tom's one of the original crew from Scream at the Beach, our evil nemisis. Last year we gave them a run for their money, and these year we're bringing in secret weapons. If you can't tell, haunting is a little competitive.

Here's what the end results will potentially look like on the bodies. The finished texture is really gross and sticky. It looks like dried human skin. Yummm.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Hidden Hand

With President Dan Bernstine leaving Portland State it made me reminisce about working in the President's office back when I was employed in University Relations . Theoretically I worked for the Development Office which was housed in the same space, but I ended up helping out with the President's staff on tech stuff and other odds and ends of things. I was very fortunate to work with Dan, as he preferred to be called, and have the opportunity to see someone in action who quietly made things happen at PSU, and successfully completed a $150 million dollar capital campaign.

One of the interesting aspects of working there, especially at the reception desk, was dealing with some of the plain crazy people who would come in and want to meet with the president for a variety of reasons. One guy came in and sat and talked to his invisible friend for at least half an hour while he waited for a non-existant appointment. We also had a lot of people come in who wanted us to publish their "manuscripts" which included handwritten rants and carefully typed conspiracy theories.

Our favorite guy came in quite a few times. His name was Phillip and he had a head shaped like a potato. His "manuscript" that he'd been working on for years was called "The Hidden Hand." The title came from a 1942's B-movie, but had absolutely nothing to do with the content. It had a lot to do with christian homeless shelters, churchs, Satan's Pets, and Janet Beldon's Face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (his punctuation). There were a lot of comments about 20' tall bears, especially polar bears, attacking at a church and various other places where polar bears hang out, like the lobby of an apartment building. He had a lot of biblical quotes, and mentions of demons, satan, the saviour, etc. He originally started out typing this 45 page tome and then I think got frustrated after the fifth page and started writing in freehand. You could tell his mood by how sporatic and crazed the writing would get in certain sections.

Alex was our receptionist at the time, and whenever a good piece would come in she would make a copy for me to check out. Our favorite part of Phillip's manuscript was when he listed "Satan's Pets!!" This was a list of demons and their earthly equivalents. Some of the examples are: Demon of the Clam (Clamato Juice); Demon of the Pig, Hog, Swine (Salisbury Steak, Bologna); Demon of the Tuna (Sandwiches); Demon of the Rabbit (Easter Bunny). I think you get the idea.
The entire 45 pages are sort of a freeform rant, conspiracy theory, and obsession with Janet Beldon's Face!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would almost like to publish it because there is some great material buried under all the crazy talk. I think Satan's Pets would be an awesome name for a band. I've hung onto a copy of it for the past eight years as a source of inspiration when I'm looking for examples of words thrown together that might make sense if you were coming from that twisted point of logic.

Anyway, Dan will be missed at PSU but I'm sure he isn't going to miss some of the oddballs he no longer will have to deal with at the Law School Admissions Council in Pennsylvania where he's moving to. I'll just make sure to warn him about potential polar bears hanging out in the lobby.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Watching The Fireworks From The Bridge

Friday was the beginning of the Rose Festival, and my usual tradition is going up to the train bridge across from my apartment with a couple of beers and my camera and snapping pictures. It's a great view because you can see all of downtown Portland with the fireworks in the foreground. Usually it's packed to the point of feeling the bridge move whenever someone else comes up to sit down. This year it was pretty sparse for some reason, which was fine by me because it's kind of high up, and the thought of the bridge breaking and dropping us down onto the traintracks is somewhat scary. I have a thing about heights anyway, and it's taken me a while to where I can walk up the three flights of stairs and not freak out when I hit the top. Here's a view from the top of the stairs at dusk looking into the city. The fence is kind of a pain to deal with, but I try to incorporate it into the frame sometimes.
This year I was hoping to focus on the people watching the fireworks. The three people in the photo at the top of the page were from out of town, and it was cool to hear how excited they were to be viewing the fireworks from their vantage point.

A couple of years ago I was able to get some really good pictures including this one that came out sort of heart shaped for some reason. Those are the real colors too. It was a little bit cloudy so they were able to show up better against the sky then they do when it's clear out. I have many fond memories of watching the fireworks in Portland, including the first month I moved here from Seattle after some pretty bad experiences that happened in that messed up town. My aunt, uncle, cousins, and my son who was five at the time all brought a cooler, and blankets down to the rock bank by OMSI and sat and watched the Blues Festival fireworks close up. That was the first time I had a chance to see them so close. My son Nik was old enough to appreciate them even though we had to wait forever so it was dark enough for them to get started.
I may have to bribe someone with a view from the Westside so I can get a different perspective for the July works this year. I used to be able to sit on the roof of my old apartment and see both the Portland fireworks and the Vancouver ones. Oh well. Hmm, maybe someone with a boat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

County Fair

My friend Kirsten and I went to the Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park over the weekend because I totally needed to get my fix for Elephant Ears, and barn animals. We ended up parking outside of Oaks Park because traffic was insane. I didn't realize Multnomah County had a fair, so I was curious if it was going to be super hokey which I was kind of hoping for.

Our first good indication was this sign that read "Weiner Dog Contest Vender Parking and Rabbit Exhibitors." We headed over to the rabbits who were in the process of being judged. I had never seen so many varities of rabbit in one location. I don't think you can tell by the picture, but this guy was huge. He looked like he easily weighed 20 pounds or so. There was a very nice lady that noticed us taking pictures and offered to pose her bunny for us on a special bunny posing lecturn type thing. He looked alot like Groucho Marx. We hoped she did well in her category because you could tell she really liked her wabbits.

Next we headed over to actual fair itself. It was awesome. There was crap for sale all over the place, and the fair was packed. I am a huge people watcher, so I was happy to see all the people who I normally wouldn't run into in Portland. There was nary a hipster in site, except for a few uber-dorks like myself that love this type of thing. Here are a couple of my favorites. I was so happy to see a mullet, and these three women reminded me of the three muses, fair style.

There were a ton of great exhibits, including a petting zoo that smelled awful, a pen full of the cutest piglets and their gigantic mom, and Humphrey's Farmyard Fun where I got to make a Dirt Baby for free. It's basically a chia pet made with a nylon, compost mix, and grass seeds. You put the "tail" in a jar of water and eventually the baby will grow hair.

We went over to the main pavillion where they had all the items out for judging. There were flowers, jams and jellies, produce, and my favorite, the cowboy boot decorating contest. Here are some of the entries. I was impressed by the variety, and what people considered "decorating." One of my favorite entries for the flower arranging category was
a gorgeous arrangement with a football theme. I would show the picture but I had my camera on the wrong setting and it came out blurry. It had to be the most hideous thing I've ever seen, with a
football field as the focal point, and the flowers arranged as the goalposts.

We skipped the rides because they were kind of pricey, but we did manage to scam an Elephant Ear because their system was kind of wack and totally unorganized. Kirsten used the $5.00 we saved to buy a purple inflatable alien. She was very proud of it. We watched the balloon guy do his thing, and listened to a horrible singer mangle classic country tunes. After I while I was getting on overload, so we headed out and checked out the Oaks Park graveyard where they store old ride components that were put out to pasture.

Overall it was exactly what I had hoped for, and the nice thing was not having to drive for an hour and fight traffic to get my fair fix. This is Kirsten and her alien. You can check out her photos using the lensbaby lense at her website

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where's Your Real Art?!

I was sitting at the Scoreboard on Division Friday night after work, grabbing a quick drink. The Scoreboard is kind of a divey place with lots of sports stuff and all that, but the barstaff are really nice, and they pour a good drink. They also let me watch the Munsters and the Adams Family on TV Land Saturday mornings. My friend G. and I like to sit and bullshit with the bartenders on Sunday mornings and watch Arms Akimbo Theater, otherwise known as Bonanza.

Anyway, I had my sketchbook with me, to keep myself occupied. I usually carry it with me when I'm out on my own. It keeps me out of trouble, and I seem to get some of my better ideas when I'm sketching at the bar. I was happily sketching away on a fountain I'm going to be sculpting for Elshoff Manor at the Fright Town haunted house. It's kind of a vampire skull thingy. It's going to have lights in the eyes, and fog coming out of it's mouth. I didn't realize that this was going to put me in a position to be attacked by three people because of a few pencil scratches on paper.

The first person who wanted to see what I was working on came and sat down next to me. She's seen my gore stuff in the past, so I was thinking "okay, I'll let her take a look" and showed her my sketch and explained what it was for. She said, "oh that's interesting but when are you going to bring in your real art?" Apparently, "Real Art" is the Native American designs, rainbows, and flowers that she paints on vinyl. She basically told me I was throwing my talent away.

The next person was a guy I've chatted with in the past. He's some sort of corporate whore artist who paints murals in commercial buildings. He took it upon himself to tell me that I was wasting my time, and talent, and should be doing "Real Art."

The last guy was some old drunk at My Father's Place (big surprise) who told me I was evil and a witch because of my sketch.

With all this negative b.s. I was totally thrown off balance. Who comes up to someone sketching and tells them that they are throwing their talent away? I don't know if they just don't have anything better to do, and I was just a sitting duck, or somehow they thought they were doing me some huge favor. I must be getting better at my sketching to cause this much of a commotion. I do this kind of art because it's fun, and it's what I'm best at. We had 11,000 people come through the haunted house last year, at $20 a pop, just to be scared by some of the stuff I did. Maybe my art critics don't realize that someone actually creates all the stuff that literally makes people poop their pants. I guess we're all a bunch of circus freaks, with the mentality of 14 year olds, but we really have fun doing it.

I guess my point to all this is to shut the hell up. I'm not asking for your approval, and this is my "Real Art." Not that I'm anywhere near the talent of people like Francis Bacon, or Hieronymous Bosch, but if you take a look at the content of their paintings it's pretty damn scary and morbid. I guess it's all really just a matter of perspective. I think part of why I do what I do is to get a reaction, so it looks like I am succeeding at my goal. Yay me! At least my photos are pretty.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Alternative Funeral Options

I know this sounds a little bit on the gruesome side, but I just ran across a new 100% environmentally friendly coffin sold by a company called Ecopods. They are made out of 100% recycled paper, and the design was inspired from the shape of a seed pod, and the shape of Egyptian coffins. They come in red, green, blue and gold leaf, and have the option of silk-screened designs on the lid. It seems like a perfect fit for us granola eating, recycling happy, environmentally active Northwesterners.

The pods were designed by Hazel Selina who worked for years as a mid-wife helping people bring new life onto the planet. As she began to age and saw her family grow older her attention turned to death. A close friend she was caring for was dying, and that started her thinking about funerals and coffins in particular.

I know my parents have been dealing with aging family and friends reaching this point, and it's not a fun thing to think about. There is a growing trend among people who were the pioneers in leaving a light footprint on the earth through recycling, natural foods, and green practices, to start looking at alternatives when it comes to the end of their lives. The flower children of the sixties are now becoming the caretakers of the 00's, and the baby boomers are starting to face the reality of their own mortality.

As a result, this demographic is taking a more active role in deciding how they want their lives and deaths celebrated when it's time to go. There is a growing trend for party planners specializing in funerals, or as they like to call it "life events." It makes sense. There are as many details that go into planning a funeral, or wake, or whatever type of service one chooses to have, as there are in planning a wedding. One guy in Massachusetts who drove an ice cream truck all his life, had an ice cream truck at his gravesite serving the mourners. People have had marching bands, Native American Rituals, and recently one woman chose to be mummified so her spirit could get used to the adjustment before she was reincarnated. Many people are choosing to be cremated, or buried in alternative sites such as wooded areas where a tree is planted next to their grave as a marker.

The Ecopods are only available in the UK, but it seems like some smart entrepreneur in the Northwest might want to jump on this and create their own product in the states. I think they're a cool idea. Her website is

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bartender on Bartender Action

I was over at Aztec Willies in NE Portland a couple of Saturdays ago getting some blood money from my ex-husband. We have been going there for over 11 years, and it's sort of a neutral ground for us, so it seemed a safe place to meet. Our friend K. bartends there, and is a very good, very friendly, very efficient bartender. She knows how to pour a drink, and can keep the flow going when she's swamped.

It's an eastside bar, and during the day is a mix of old and young, multi-cultured, single, married, divorced, coupled people. It's usually a mellow place to hang out. They have salsa on the weekends, so the crowd radically shifts, but for the most part it's a hang out for the regulars after work.

On this particular Saturday people were starting hard-core by 2:00pm. There was a five-top of ex-biker babes slamming margaritas, some sad writer in the corner drinking jaeger shots with Papbst backs, and a group of overmetrosexualized men, and their Pussy Cat Dolls wannabe friend sitting at the bar being complete shits. They were sending their drinks back, telling K. they weren't strong enough, being rude to the mostly hispanic staff trying to help K. get set up, and just being complete twunts. I was trying to figure out what the deal was, and then in overhearing their conversation found out they were all bartenders from the westside. Their kind usually don't make it over to the eastside establishments.

There has been on ongoing discussion in a couple of the Portland blogs about tipping and treating service industry people with a modicum of respect. What I don't understand is bartenders going to other people's bars and acting like assholes to the barstaff. It's pretty much a given if you complain about your drinks not being strong enough they are just going to get weaker. If you grab the barback who barely speaks english, and tell him to "fix my drink, this one isn't good enough" while the bartender is in back getting ice, he'll do it, but he'll also tell the bartender in spanish exactly what you did. You would think these people would know this and act accordingly.

I don't know if they are frustrated with having to serve the bitchy westside women who get drunk on two appletinis, or whatever the latest trendy drink is, and then go skin surfing in their Manolo Blahnik's once they're out the door. It also may be a heightened sense of self-worth when these women sit and flirt with them, or their husbands flirt with them in a desperate attempt to see if all the botox, facelifts, bulimia, hairplugs, etc. are achieving the desired effect.

This is not a common occurance. The Portland service community is very supportive, and normally bartenders are going to be some of the better tippers, and treat their fellow bartenders with the respect they deserve. For some reason it just seems that a small group of self-involved jerks seem to choose Aztec. I can't tell if it's because it's sort of an upscale bar that doesn't take itself too seriously, or that it's just on the eastside of town. I've seen the same type of person knock over an ashtray, breaking it and spilling cigarette butts all over the floor, and tell the bartender they need to stop what they're doing and clean up the mess. I've seen them bring an almost completely empty giant margarita to the bar and inform the bartender that there wasn't enough alcohol in the drink and they want a refund. It's truly appaling. I have had to mouth off to some of these idiots because the bartenders can't say or do anything about it.

My whole point is treat your fellow bartenders with some respect. If you are a customer, and you're sitting watching any of this type of behavior, call them on it. So what if they give you a dirty look or tell you to mind your own business. I can tell you that the majority of these people are not regulars, and the bartender is not going to be upset if they lose this person's business. You might even get a free shot out of the deal from the other customers who are just trying to enjoy themselves and don't want to put up with a bunch of bratty behavior. Also, just because someone kisses your ass trying to get free drinks or your phone number you aren't a god or a goddess, you are a bartender, so show some respect to your brethren.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm Expanding My Horizons

I broke down and set up a MySpace account with my portfolio, and links to my oddball friends. The address is You have to have an account to tap into the pictures.

I've also started blogging on Metroblogging Portland so I can instantly receive insults when I post items. I'm actually trying to be mellow on my posts, but now the gauntlet has been thrown down. I'm Kai.

Hurl some insults or smarmy comments my way if you find something that strikes a nerve.

Hey and to the person who reviewed my blog, that's not me in the hat. My beard is much more grown in.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Time is a Relative Thing

I love Portland dearly, and feel very fortunate to have the amazing group of friends, acquaintances, associates, and family I have in this lovely city.

However, the concept of time seems to have different rules in this town. I know there is "Island Time" in Jamaica, and "Down-Time" when you're vacationing, but I haven't come up with a really good definition of what I call "Portland Time."

If someone says they are going to meet you at 9:00pm, this can translate into 9:20pm if you have specific plans, 10:00pm - 10:30pm if they are coming over to just "hang out", and even later depending on what they do for a living.

There are variables to this equation. If you are waiting on a musician who is coming over "after practice" at 9:00pm, add two, three or four hours to the time they will actually call or text you to see if you're still up for getting together. If they text or call and tell you they have to go "meet up with some friends", or "go run an errand" then you may as well forget it. You're fucked.

The same applies if you are waiting for a friend to hook you up with some treats. If you have plans for the evening, and are waiting on them to call or show up, the equation is: "how messed up are they?" + "how desperate are you?" + "how well do you know this person?" = when they call and/or show up.

If your friend is going through some problems with their ex, and says they really need to talk with you, but are going to just stop by and pick up a few things from the ex's place, you will not be seeing them that evening. They will be having make-up sex.

If you get a phone call from your ex at 2:30am or 3:00am, and they just happened to break up with the person they left you for and they really need to talk to you if you're awake, and they still love you and it was such a big mistake, and they'll be over soon. It will be about 10 minutes. They are either just around the block, or in a cab on their way over after the bars have closed and they've been kicked out.

If they have turned into your own personal stalker it will be 2 minutes. That is if you are stupid enough to answer their call/text after the 20th time in one night. They have been hiding in the bushes all night or sitting across the street with binoculars to see whether or not you are seeing that person they always knew you secretly liked and wouldn't admit to.

The hardest phrase to define time-wise is "I'll call you" or "I'll check out your website and e-mail you." This is basically a brush-off. Not always, but usually yes, it is. It can come as a result of hitting the bar after you hit that other bar and had so much fun with your friends, but you are too drunk and the bartender won't serve you, so if you go to another bar across town they won't be able to tell how wasted you are, and you think you're doing great because you just beat all these guys at pool, and you think you are fabulous, and you give out your business card and tell them to check out your "MySpasch Page", wait, no, my blogspace, wait, here I'll write it down, where's my damn pen, ow, I just hit my head. And then proceed to walk home after falling in a puddle on the way out. They won't call or e-mail you. They will wake-up in the morning and either: figure out that you won't even remember who they are the next day, so why bother; are actually whoring around on their girlfriend and don't want to be caught trying to follow-through with someone; or figured out that you are a complete circus freak and won't even acknowledge that they met you in the first place if they happen to run into you in public.

So far this is what I've learned. I know there's more variations on the theme, especially when the relationship becomes more complex with the person giving you a time. I've learned that "ish" is probably the best you'll get with a close friend, brother or sister. "Where have you been, I've been calling your cell number and you aren't responding? YES it's only been five minutes but I was sure that something happened to you on the way over. What do you mean you're out of cell minutes? How could you be out of cell minutes? Didn't I just give you a top-up card for Christmas? I don't care if it's March." is what you'll hear from your mom if you are more than two minutes late to "just meet for coffee or something while we're in town."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Consciousness Revolution Didn't Work

I was reading on Boing Boing the other day that my generation is known as the Consciousness Revolution. It's kind of catchy, but I think at some point we may have given up the fight. The reason I say this is the experience I had last week at the Aladdin. My friend G and I went to see David Lindley on Friday night, and unexpectedly ended up walking out early.

The opening act was a random phup on stage by himself, playing an acoustic guitar. He played, and played, and talked and then played some more, and then talked. We started to feel like the victims in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when they were forced to listen to the Vogon poem, "Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning." He sucked bigtime. When song after song, and bad stories kept coming, we got a little restless and started making fun of him. Even with a few beers in us I didn't think we were being all that loud. During one of his monologues he abruptly stopped and said "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't talk about me", indicating that there were other people equally as bored, but closer to the stage. We felt like we were being chastised like little kids who couldn't sit still in church.

The audience was mostly white-haired ponytails, hemp clothing, and comfortable shoes. I used to go to a lot of bluegrass shows with my parents when I was younger, so I assumed that everyone was in their 50's and 60's. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. What threw me off was waiting in line for beers, and these two guys behind me were talking about their ex-girlfriends, and how hard it was going out with someone in their 20's. I was kind of surprised and asked them by chance how old they were. They said 60 and 61. I said "Wow, you guys look great for your age!", kind of shocked that they could manage to snag someone so young at 60, without having major money. They said, "That's not our age, that's when we were born." Oops.

During the show no-one showed much expression, politely clapping after each song, and acting like a bunch of barely animated corpses. As I looked around it dawned on me that these people where my age. I hadn't recognized them out of their natural element blocking the aisles at New Treasons. This was the same generation of people who used to dance barefoot on broken glass, drink until they fell down, and throw empty beer cans at the singers if they sucked. When did my generation turn into a bunch of boring snobs who eat regular brownies and drink water at a show, looking and acting like Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch's "lover" characters from SNL?

Between a lackluster performance from David, and an audience that was starting to get on my nerves, I ended up waiting out the end of the show at the bar. I wanted to let G enjoy the rest of it without me bitching. After a short time he ended up joining me. We couldn't tell if David was just getting older, or if the audience's lack of enthusiasm was hurting his performance. We felt bad because we had both seen him back when he was playing with El Rayo-X and he kicked ass!

We were a little disappointed, and I am hoping this was just an anomaly and not an indication of what everyone my age is turning into. I am looking forward to this summer full of eighties bands reuniting and holding fabulous concerts at the fairgrounds. I'm expecting to see a lot of mullets and extremely drunken behavior.

Here are the people who attended the show that night.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Let's Ride Bikes!!!

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ADHD, Wait, What Am I Writing About?

There is only one joke I can tell without screwing it up.

How many ADHD kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Hey, do you want to go ride bikes?

The whole concept of ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, is a fairly new diagnosis. I haven't taken an abnormal psychology class for a while, so I don't know if they have added a new category to the DSM (sort of a Chilton's manual for personality disorders). I have come to the realization that I am adult ADHD, as are some of my family members, my more productive friends, and my son.

I don't consider it a bad thing. You learn how to deal with the distractions, and hopefully find a line of work that lets you do a lot of multi-tasking. It's one thing we are very good at.

When I was growing up ADHD didn't exist. Kids just had "a lot of energy" and were "fidgety." I was one of those kids. My mom and Grandma, both of whom are very sweet people, finally broke down and bought a leash for me when I was little, because I kept running away from them at the department store and hiding in the clothes racks. It was a nice leash. It sort of looked like the top part of lederhosen. I had to buy a hand leash for my son, because he thought it was a really fun to go run out into traffic when we were walking down the street.

You eventually grow out of some of the compulsive behaviors, that is, unless you are drinking. This can be a very bad thing, acting as a form of a sodium penthanol in my system. I have gotten into more trouble for opening my damn mouth when I shouldn't have. Games like Trivial Pursuit are really hard, because if I know the answer I want to yell it out. I got kicked out of the room one time because I wasn't playing but my friends were, and I wouldn't shut up.

I knew a few Psych majors in college. They always took it upon themselves to come up with their own diagnosis for my behaviour. It was pretty impressive, what with their four or five classes worth of psych, that I had to take as well because of my major. I noticed that most of the people who were Psychology majors, were fairly screwed up. It seemed like they needed the knowledge they gained at school, to use as a weapon during arguments. My friend Kim, used to do an experiment at school that he liked to call "Social Chili." He wasn't a Psych major, he just liked to #*!% with people's heads. He would take a group of incredibly insecure social climbers, throw in some distrust, rumors, complete fabrications, and intrigue, stir the pot, and watch what happened. He used it on me once, and I can tell you it wasn't fun. I managed to get back at him though,so we're on good terms now.

Since I am ADHD I'm going to use it as an excuse to go off topic for a second, and tell you about the really crazy Psych major I met my first year of college.

We never knew her name so we just called her Sybil. She was a fairly big girl, nothing unusual in that, but she had an imaginary friend. In the cafeteria she would sit next to her "friend" and have long, in-depth conversations. They would talk to each other while they walked to classes, and she always made sure there was a seat for her friend in the class.

I was on the bus one day going back to campus from downtown, and this girl made the bus driver hold this bus until her "friend" caught up. The very patient bus driver held the doors open for at least two minutes. When her "friend" finally got on the bus, the crazy girl sat down, unwrapped the biggest Hershey bar I have ever seen, and started chowing down on it, making really loud "YUM" noises the entire ride back to campus.

One of my friends was an RA at Sybil's dorm, and I guess when she left at the end of the year she decided to smear poo all over the entire dorm room as a going away present. For some reason we never saw her again on campus after that.

I guess my point is that there are far worse things then having the attention span of a gnat, constantly interrupting people, and being completely incapable of sitting through an entire DVD at home without getting up at least four or five times.

This has absolutely nothing to do with living by the train tracks, which is exactly why I'm telling you about the ADHD thing. Hey, do you want to go ride bikes?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Classic Adams Family

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Monsters are My Mac n' Cheese

When I was growing up I had to move a lot because of my dad's job. He was an aeronautical engineer, and we had to move every two years. I started out in Sacramento, and moved all over the U.S. As a result I had to start a new school every couple of years, and was always the "new girl" in class. I preferred that label to, "Pee Smelling Girl" or "The Girl Who Eats Paste." It took me forever to learn how to tell time, because my new school had already covered the subject by the time I got there. I think I was in fourth grade before I understood that quarter-after wasn't twenty-five minutes.

My dad was a huge sci-fi, horror fan, and my mom always worried about her little girl preferring Frankenstein instead of Barbie. (I had a Barbie doll but I shaved her hair off). He had a twisted sense of humor, and I remember when I was little he would hand-decorate Easter eggs with Dracula and Teenage Werewolf faces for me to find.

My parents divorced when I was eight, and my mom, myself, and my two brothers moved up to Portland from San Diego. Most of my extended family was in Portland, where my mom grew up, so we had a huge support system with grandparents, a great grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins. The house we moved into was a large three story, built in the early 1900's. It was kind of creepy, but that wasn't a bad thing. I have to say I was really lucky because my Grandma supported my horror addiction, and would take us on trips to the used bookstore, Longfellow's on Division, to pick up Tales From the Crypt and old Mad paperback books.

The neighbors across the street took us under their wing, and made us feel welcome. They had like a million kids, and were more than happy to take on three more. The smell of Creepy Crawler goo always permeated the air. After school we would go over to their house and watch Batman, The Munsters, and The Adams Family. We all knew Batman was crap, but it was fun to heckle.

Halloween in Portland seemed like something magical to me. I know it sounds corny, but growing up in Southern Californial we didn't have seasons, and there were a lot of kids being kidnapped and hurt, so we had to trick or treat during the day. It sucked. It was so amazing to come to a place where there were huge, old trees lining the streets, with the wind blowing the orange leaves everywhere. There were kids wandering the streets, at night, without parents having to shepherd them. I felt sorry for the teenagers that had to haul us around, but I'm pretty sure they got a percentage of our candy take.

During the summer we were shipped off to my Dad's house in San Diego for a couple of weeks or a month. My dad had re-married by then, so we would spend the time with his new wife, Rita, an ex-stripper from Texas, and her three kids, all of whom had different daddies. We were sort of like the Brady Bunch, but I was the only girl, and I was Jan. My mom wasn't thrilled, but she felt is was necessary.

One of the highlights of our summer visits was being able to spend time with my dad watching horror movies, and science fiction shows. I remember watching the original Night of the Living Dead with everyone, which gave birth to my ongoing Zombie anxiety dreams growing up. Saturday afternoons we would watch "Seymour Presents." It was just like Elvira, but no boobs. One movie was so low budget they couldn't afford the entire eyeball covered costumes for everyone, so only the three people in the front row of the invading alien team got to wear the full costume. The guys in the back were stuck with half-eyeball, half-black tights. It was classic.

My stepbrothers, who were older and wiser, pointed out that my dad was usually pretty much wasted while we were watching the shows. He always kept a mini-fridge full of Budweiser next to the couch, which he would would work through during the afternoon. This didn't seem odd at the time. Drinking in California in the early 70's was "glamorous", and you could bring your kids into the bar with you while you drank. However, one afternoon my dad decided to tune the station by moving the entire 300 lb., 70's TV console, as opposed to adjusting the bunny ears. Maybe a little extreme, but we were having fun, and hey, I'll take my quality time where I can get it.

Passing on the tradition (not the beer fridge part), my son grew up with horror and sci-fi. He was addicted to Ghostbusters when it came on video. All I can say is thank God it wasn't Barney. I probably haven't been the best mom as far as his viewing habits. I didn't think he was paying attention to what his dad and I were watching when he was three, until we went to Tower Video to rent a movie, and he yells out, "I want to see the exploding babe, boob movie mom!" This of course being the movie Frankenhooker. Who knew?

He's 18 now, and lives up with his dad in the Puget Sound (better schools and acres of forests). When he comes down to visit, rainy Saturdays are horror movie or TV show marathons. We trade back and forth, and I have to agree to be open-minded about some of his picks, and vice-versa. I thought Slither kicked ass, especially since the lead was Nathan Fillion, from Firefly, his favorite series. He wasn't as impressed.

Our routine is, get up, check the weather, don't shower, grab all the blankets and pillows off the beds, make a camp on the couch, put out bowls of stuff to eat, and stuff to drink, and we're good for the day. Of course this is after a sensible breakfast, and doing flash cards for an hour to prep him for the LSAT test. Not.

Friday, February 9, 2007

I must not be in Jerusalem because the TV is on and I don't owe you twenty bucks. - Brian G.

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Haunted House Resident

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Gore Geeks in the Slaughterhouse

One of the stranger places I've lived was in an apartment, built inside a haunted house, built inside an abandoned slaughterhouse, down by the Kingdome in Seattle. My boyfriend at the time, who was raising about 30 rats in his apartment for said house, had convinced me to help work on the Variety Club sponsored haunted house, and I became addicted.

The crew of fifteen uber-goregeeks (myself included), lived and breathed the haunted house. The daily routine was, go to work, go to the haunted house, stay up all night building/painting sets and making creatures, go to sleep for two hours, rinse and repeat. The building itself took up an entire city block,so this thing was huge. We were the wild boys with power tools and implements of art destruction with no "adult" supervision. We made cool stuff like an animatronic skeleton that was fully articulated, creatures that dropped from the ceiling and popped out of hidden places, zombies, ghosts, dark mazes, a graveyard, and all the usual stuff that scares the crap out of people.

After the show run was over in October, we took a break for a few months, then started all over again in the spring. At some point in this mid-eighties tweaked environment,we decided it would be a really good idea to build a secret apartment in the haunted house, where we could live rent and utility free for a few months. We thought we were being really "edgy" 80's style, moving into this totally crappy industrial area, way before loft spaces were even considered trendy in Seattle. It was dangerous, dirty, and probably not the best place for us to set up shop. Meh.

We built the apartment and equipped it with a hidden door behind a false bookshelf, a loft bed, futon couch, space heaters, bookshelves, tables, a hot plate, and tanks for the rats. To get to the bathroom you had to go out the other secret entrance, run down the hall, and hope you weren't spotted by the homeless people who would get into the building every once and a while. We even had a shower with at least one minutes worth of hot water.

It was a ton of fun, and turned out to be a regular refuge for friends going through rough times. Couch surfers included: a friend who had just been kicked out of his apartment by his wife; my brother who had been kicked out of our parent's house for reasons I'd prefer not to get into; and the occasional person who had partied too hard and was way too wasted to go home. On one occasion the rats managed to get out of their cages, and looking for someplace warm, swarmed all over one of the unfortunate passed out people on the couch. If you ever get the opportunity to see someone wake up from a drug/alcohol induced stupor to find themselves completely covered with rats, I would highly recommend it.

After the show was over the boyfriend and I stayed in the apartment for a while. It was fine until late November when the snow started coming through the holes in the broken windows. Taking a one-minute shower in a room with snow slowly piling up on the floor had started to lose its' charm. At that point our relationship was beginning to tank, so we called it good, packed up all our stuff, said goodbye to the ghosts, and went our separate ways.

In the 90's they tore down the slaughterhouse to make room for a freeway off-ramp, and later blew up the Kingdome to build a new stadium. The only thing left from the haunted house era were the train tracks. We used to sit out on the loading bay at night, smoking cigarettes and watching the trains go by the house and the Kingdome, but I don't think we really appreciated what a unique moment in time we were experiencing.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bus O' Trusters

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06/06/06 Night

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06/06/06 All Hail Satan!

One advantage to living by the train tracks is the ongoing flow of entertainment afforded by our beautiful location.

When I first moved to Portland I found a place over in NE, just off of Sandy. Back in that time (and I swear to God if I hear one more person say "back in the day" I will be forced to rip off their arm and beat them over the head with it), Sandy was where a gentleman would go to find a companian for an hour or so. Prostitute central. Even Vera decided that maybe there were a few too many hookers, and declared that they were no longer wanted in the area. This was back when E.J.'s was still around, and Chin Yen's, Holmans, and the Hungry Tiger were the only real restaurants on 28th.

My entertainment at the apartment complex was walking up to the cars parked out front, where the girls were servicing their clients. I would walk up with a clipboard, and bang on the window with a bike light, shining it inside the car. With the light in their eyes they couldn't tell if I was a cop or what. It was fun seeing the girl's heads pop up and the guy try to zip himself back up. I would then give them my speech about getting the hell out of my fupping neighborhood before I started sending their license numbers to the cops patrolling the area. It was a pretty common occurence, and it wasn't unusual to find used condoms, and syringes strewn all over the street. Awesome when you have a five-year-old living with you in the apartment.

So now that I am in a way classier part of town, the new entertainment can range from: watching a guy hopped up on a speedball, walking on the train tracks and alternating between screaming obscentities and making chicken noises, taking bets to see if the cops would show up to take him away before an Amtrak turned him into mush on the tracks; to the people who showed up for 06/06/06 day to give their thanks to Satan.

It was about ten at night during a weekday, so silly person that I am I thought I'd get ready to go to bed, having to work the next day and all.

I hear fireworks going off, nothing unusal. Only it starts getting louder. I throw on my shoes and a coat and go outside to check out what's going on. There are people on bikes, some in costume, starting to congregate around the walkway by the bridge. I recognize some of the frankenbikes from the Chunk 666 group.

After a good size crowd gathers, someone sets up a cooler, pulls out a boombox blasting appropriate satan-worshipping music, and the major roman candle, pabst-drinking festivities begin. I would guess at this point there are about 30-40 people hanging out. Some people are running for winner of the Darwin awards by climbing up onto the fencing covering the bridge about 20 feet up, and dancing. Most the people were just sort of hanging out and seeing if anyone recognized how cool they were.

At this point I realize that they aren't going anywhere soon. I can either call the cops (boring), or go grab my camera and tripod and take some pictures. It seems like people assume no one lives in the area, even though there are houses all over the damn place. I have become the cranky person who goes out at midnight during the week, and yells at the assholes to stop smashing the beer bottles and get the hell out of our neighborhood before I kick their asses. I'm usually doing this in a bathrobe with my floppy slippers on, waving a broken wine bottle over my head. So far it's just been kids who get embarrassed and skulk away. Luckily I have neighbors for reinforcements.

So I grab my camera, steal a beer, and hang out taking pictures. The sparks against the corrugated metal were amazing. Unfortunately nobody fell to their death off the fencing.

Eventually things wind down, meaning they ran out of beer, and they pack up their stuff and leave. It probably was partially due to the cops coming around the corner. It turned out that someone got tired of the whole thing and called the cops. Apparently it's not okay to stand around drinking beer in a public place and lighting off illegal roman candles, even if you are by the train tracks.

I'm looking forward to the next impromptu celebration of his holy horniness.

Barely Pranksters

So a couple of years ago a converted schoolbus full of Merry Prankster wannabees from the East Coast parks across the street from my apartment. Figuring that it's Portland and all, I'm sure they assumed it was okay to camp out in a semi-industrial area during the summer.

I think they are still assigning the Tom Wolfe book "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" to all the trustafarian kids back East. It's either that or there is a network through Reed College that transcends the usual avenues offered through the the Internet.

So these very sweet, dirty and overpriviledged kids set up their camp on the sidewalk, with old cardboard boxes, strips of brightly colored cloth, Tibetan prayer flags, tinfoil, etc. Sort of a poorman's SE Portland version of Burning Man. They were in good company because we usually also have a merry band of the extremely underpriviledged who set up their camp under the walkway bridge running over the train tracks. They of course don't have the same innate joie de vivre, "kooky" sense of decorating style as the traveling buskers, so their camp is decorated with old couches, shopping carts, and stolen bikes with the attached child trailers full of old socks, garbage, bottles and hub caps. Wait, I take that back, they also used old cardboard boxes and tinfoil.

After setting up camp, the Bus O' Trusters ask to use our hose out in the front yard, so they can take a shower. They also ask where the closest place is to go busk. They needed to earn some money to fill up on their supply of lentils (Yay Neal!!) and get more gas so they can head down to the Mothership in Eugene. We suggested trying Hawthorne, but in hindsight realized that might not be the best place to start out because they really wouldn't stand out all that much.

After unsuccessfully trying the Hawthorne gig, we suggested heading over to NE Broadway, by Peet's coffee shop, because they don't really get all that many "buskers" over it that area. Basically people will shove money your way so you will just leave them in peace to enjoy their non-fat, half-decaf, one-pump caramel lattes, and let them resume their conversation about the latest trends in teaching their yuppie larvae sign language at the age of 8 months.

To digress, that stretch of Broadway has not always been the lovely melange of boutique restaurants and boutique boutiques that it is now. When I first moved to Portland about 15 years ago it wasn't quite as pretty. We would be sitting at the picnic tables in front of the Tec having a cold one, and would be witness to the parade of not so rich people wandering over from the Plaid after picking up a forty-ouncer (after having craftily rolled the bag into a makeshift handle), and asking for change. One time this crazy guy carrying a box full of bones of an unkown origin, managed to run back and forth through traffic, screaming at people, without being hit or arrested. Some other idiot driving on the same street, hit the curb, ended up driving on the sidewalk, and took out a few picnic tables and a street sign. They didn't get hurt.

Unfortunately, due to gentrification and the neighborhood cleaning itself up, that sort of thing is rare now.

To get back on topic, in case you aren't familar with the term "busking" it usually means people doing a loosely translated version of street performance/entertainment for money. The Bus O' Trusts version consisted of wearing really bad costumes (cut-off khaki Gap pants with suspenders, costumes from when they took ballet as children, and smeared makeup) and doing some juggling and singing. They showed me their act, and I felt kind of bad because it looked like a really bad performance of "Godspell", but with a smaller cast.

After a couple of days schlepping all over Portland, I think the reality of their situation was starting to sink in. This isn't the mythical hippie town that they were lead to believe. The legend of the Green Tortoise, peace, love and happiness, and pot growing freely in every SE garden wasn't all that it was made out to be.

I kind of felt sorry for them, because it sucks when you have missed out on an era where the freedom to roam and find yourself, do massive amounts of drugs, and pretty much sleep with whomever and/or whatever you wanted to was "OK." I'm not saying that doesn't still happen, it's just not as rebellious as it used to be.

The combination of high 90's summer temperatures, living in a converted school bus with no airconditioning surrounded by concrete, corrugated metal siding, gravel, broken glass, no shade and no bathroom finally took its' toll. I let the girls go through my left-over bead projects so they could make trinkets to help support their busking efforts. They took one last hose shower, and filled up their water supplies for the trip south.

As they pulled away, slightly dented, but not beaten up, I wished them well, and hoped they would remember these past days, especially when they finally gave up and used the one-way plane ticket back to their parent's house.