Did y’all notice the rain’s back? It’s okay. It’s only February. It’s only water. Last week’s epic global-warming weather, though, or the February fakeout, or whatever it was, got me thinking about this one camping trip last summer and how I want to go back to there. Soon. As soon as possible, really.
The spot’s at the beach up on a little hillside—a hideaway from such things as people and wind. To the west: the Pacific ocean and then Japan.
It’s where we staggered up a dune and watched the sun disappear. It’s where I tucked my tent into this magnificent tree grove and then popped my air mattress on a branch. It’s where we abandoned the fire to roam the beach in the dark, discovering how bioluminescent algae made our steps glow in the wet sand. It’s where I kicked the dog out of the tent due to mouth breathing and he never even wandered off—just lay there on guard all night as dictated by the primal purpose of his species and breed. It’s where, the next morning, we woke up thirsty and hungover—but then pooled the rest of our water to make everyone a cup of coffee.
Sloans: A dive bar on Northeast Russell. Old Portland magic. Cheap drinks, grandma’s-house decor, rad rock-and-roll pedigree. They let our buds’ bands play right there in the dining room! I hope it doesn’t get bought out and replaced by a new Portland hipster bar with antlers and edison lights everywhere.
The Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway: Hilarious post-apocalyptic existentialism. I’m not a rabid sci-fi nerd, but Nick Harkaway’s my guy.
The first 5-7 seconds after you wake up in the morning: Before you tip toe off to the shower—before you even have a single thought. Before you remember about your life, all the ways you blew it and all the ways you made magic happen, all the things to look forward to and all the things to dread, all the fears, all the worries, all the wild happinesses. Before all that shit, when your mind’s all empty like a newborn babe.
A concrete backyard miniramp: Fuck a lawn, anyway.
For Valentine’s Day, a pair of lovely visitors from the Bay Area. A clutch distraction from such things as heart-shaped balloons.
Like Leonard says, “Let’s not talk of love and chains and things we can’t untie.”
And so Tricia and Cairo swooped in just as I was devising an escapist’s strategy to the Feb 14 holiday. They bought me flowers. They drank morning tea at my kitchen table, making the whole scene look decidedly cute. They surveyed waterfalls and caught sweeping wilderness views with me. They joined me for tacos. They drove when I’d drank too much.
The sun was out the entire time and the dog was happier than he’d been in weeks. Truth: Spring is coming, and rad functional couples like T and C really do exist. Ain’t life grand?!
Dancing isn’t a super-coveted activity for me, and I don’t worship at the altar of Prince like some. But, if I must dance, it shall be to Prince. This is how I really feel.
So naturally, when I get invited to a birthday party where a Prince cover band is playing (not just any Prince cover band—the best Prince cover band in the WORLD) I always go. And I dance.
Such was the occasion on Saturday night. A crowded dance floor. Neon spotlights reflecting our neon hearts. A lot of touching. Prince, as you know, is very sexual. Now, try to imagine my surprise when the band played “Nothing Compares 2 U.” A Prince cover band covering a Sinead O’Connor song? Fucking meta! Thought I. But as a fellow to my left told me , Prince wrote that song. It’s a Prince song! I apologize for my tardiness on this matter. The world is, was, and always will be a baffling place to me.
I’m almost 100% positive that nothing good ever happened in February. The days are generally bleak and the ground smells rotten. You’re all stir crazy—ready for something new but you don’t know what. Fuck, I mean February—what’s this month even FOR??!!
I guess it’s a month for planning, and for planting seeds. Figurative seeds—but literal ones, too. Which is what I did a bit of this weekend. The planning and planting of the following: lettuce (spring mix), herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, arugula), kale, tomatoes (yellow pear, red cherry, red beefsteak heirloom), pattypan yellow squash, sugar snap peas, and cucumbers.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m interested in getting to the beginning of things. How much closer to the beginning of food (which is the stuff of life, yes?) can you get than this?
Lefty’s medical woes: First, his claw tore off. Blood everywhere. Whimpering. Eyes like deep pools of sadness. I mean it’s the equivalent of someone extracting your fingernail with a pair of pliers! Anyway, after a week of limping, he eventually convalesced. Once better, though, the guy immediately pulled a hammy playing wild-style with his brother. Benched for another two days. Life just sux sometimes, huh?
Arose somewhat late on Tuesday after working all weekend and did things I liked. Such as scaling a goddamn mountain.
Hiking’s kind of weird, isn’t it? Just walking. But it’s nice.
Anyway, Hamilton Mountain. The trail was very steep, winding through dark, quiet woods that may have been haunted, cutting across barren meadows that fell steeply into thin air. I overheated and then froze in the crazy wind. But the view. The frickin view!
To the East: Idaho and a veil of rain. To the West: silver river waters rolling straight into the sea. You get a sense of perspective up there, comprehending how glaciers carved out all of the valleys and that the looming cliffs really do wear the stains of the ages. As I’ve said elsewhere, catching a view like this can be, if you let it, kinda cosmic—the sort of thing us non-“devout” folks do to appreciate the mysteries of the universe. And so on.
Foggy-Night Quiet: Spectral stillness is the secret known only to people out 2 a.m. when the streets are empty and the fog has cloaked everything, causing the traffic lights to hover inside halos of vapor.
Leeks: Leeks didn’t used to be part of my repertoire. I think I thought they were some kind of potato? Anyway, they’re pretty magic. The savory edge of an onion, but more rich and buttery. Cut one up, sauté it, and throw it in anything—that is, if you like delicious.
2-Day Dirty Hair: It’s a basic equation. The day you wash your hair: regrettably poofy—it can’t be helped. The next day: acceptable but still unruly. The 3rd day: just right.
Peaky Blinders: An epic turn-of-the-century Brit gangster drama on the BBC (also streaming on Netflix tho!). Everything is perfect: The music (Nick Cave/PJ Harvey/Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys), the direction of photography (elegant Old-World gothic), the casting, et cetera. From a female perspective, getting to look at a bunch of bad asses (including but not limited to Tom Hardy) with cool haircuts and accents—I ain’t mad at it.
I got all high stakes last week and gambled a couple important evening hours on some important rock shows—Red Fang, Danava, and White Glove, specifically. All these bands are from my town, and all of them are comprised by one or more of my pals.
There was waiting in line outside in the cold, there was pushing through crowds, there was much getting breathed on. Turns out none of these things are all that bad.
Red Fang rocked transcendent like always. I experienced a rare (and prized!) Christopher J. Coyle sighting, as well as loud-as-fuck guitars. No earplugs. No nothing. You just let it wash over you in its natural, blistering state.
Danava was all hair, denim, and hot licks. The very thing for a glum Thursday when you coulda easily ended up in a downward spiral of Peaky Blinders.
White Glove, I mean it’s White Glove! They write songs about Rick McCrank! You go see ’em when you want to laugh and dance around in the front row.