Tuesday Night Stuff

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On a Tuesday night of no particular import, we all went to The Know to watch former pro skater Todd Congelliere play in his latest band, The Underground Railroad to Candyland.

It takes so little, sometimes, to make everyone happy. All the friends. A warm night. A crowded room. Poppy punk played pretty loud.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally I felt transported back to the ’90s … in a good way. Crowd surfing and college rock and complete and utter living in the moment.

All I’m saying is, you shoulda been there.

 

Late Days

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“Evidently it is not bleak times but the intimation of bleak times ahead that makes a man’s spirit sag. There is no word in the language for end-of-summer sadness, but the human spirit has a word for it and picks up the first sound of its approach.”—E.B. White

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Favorites 8.11.14

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Full moons in the daylight: What’s cooler than an August “super moon” on a black summer night? That same moon, hung in a sky of pale blue. Ethereal and whatnot.

A cool shower and a nap: On a Sunday afternoon, after laboring in the blazing heat, it’s the only thing to do. A Control-Alt-Delete for your heat stroke.

Foam rolling anything: Bought one of these for working the kinks out of my calves, but it’s also proved useful in massaging the hurt from my back/neck/hips/thighs. As an aged skateboarder, you just can’t not have one.

Neil Young, “Out On The Weekend”: An easy pace, a Dylan reference, a lovely sense of longing—this song is worth your time.

A Skatepark Is Born

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This one time I stopped everything in my life and built an indoor skatepark. This was way back in 2011, when I was young and starry eyed. If you know me, then you already know this happened—it’s not like it’s some breaking news. Still, time marches on, and you forget.

But! I paddled back into memory lane this week—looking through old photos and recollecting all about what a fun, tough, weird time that was.

(The above clip constitutes one of the only videos I’ve ever made in my life—disclaimers, and whatnot.)

Now, the reason for my remembrances: My dearest friend Tricia asked me to tell a few stories for Steller, this new, Instagram-y style iPhone app she works for.

For peeps of the creative disposition, Steller is hecka cool. Like Instagram, you can post photos and follow people and, importantly, you can “like” shit. But unlike Instagram, it’s all about story telling—not just snapshots. It’s like crafting a little zine each time you post. So fun!

Anyhoo, see below for my Commonwealth post. You can turn the pages by swiping, just like with those newfangled magazine apps.

Lifestyle Adjustment

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There’s no such thing as how things should be—there’s just how thing’s are.

I read that recently. It’s true.

This morning I was thinking … it’s cool how when you have a dog, you’re forced into securing a life that has plentiful helpings of outdoors and physical activity, of simplicity, of kinda semi regular schedules involving not staying out til 4 a.m. (and then sleeping through the fresh morning when dog walks are best due to the cool air and clouds of just-open blossom scent).

In other words, Lefty—who’s both my dog and my dawg—makes me live a good life. Oddly, it’s not something I might do (or have done in the past) for myself. It’s easier to do something for someone else …

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Stretching our hammies.

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Look, I don’t want to go to the river every weekend … but I HAVE to. Because of THIS FACE.

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Camping trips, wilderness meanderings, and pondering the void with my bud.

July 31st

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In regards to July, it happened.

I did work. I did skate. I did swim. I did spend the night sleeping under a dome of stars. Well, inside a tent, under the stars. But that night we took off the rainfly because of the heat, you could peer straight out into the black above.

I wasn’t very sad very often, and I didn’t think too seriously about too much.

Mainly, I tried to water my garden enough and apply enough sunscreen.

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Rock And Roll Weekend

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Let the record show that I watched real humans play live music twice this weekend (!!!).

See, I’m riding out a dull phase where I’m just not that INTO music, like, as a component to life. Does that ever happen to you?

But! Watching (and listening to) a few guys sitting in a Portland living room making warm, sparkling sounds come out of keyboards and simple acoustic guitars … I don’t know—something alchemical happened. I get it again. I wanna to listen.

What happened was, Friday night, Tim Rutili of Califone fame played in the parlor of a grand old craftsman house near Mississippi Street. The home of friends. Friends of friends, really. It was a nice, human way to hear music—un-curated, you know? Chickens in the yard. Beer in a cooler in the kitchen. The sounds washed naturally over the fireplace and wound easily through the built-in columns to find me there in the corner.

The very next night, I found myself in the dark and heat of a punk house basement watching our buddies’ band Donkey Lips play (see above!). Guitar shredding. Ravaging of drums. Rampant shirtlessness. Glee.

So, two shows, two ends of the spectrum—both weird and lovely, neither registering anywhere on the big-venue boring-ometer. It’s a solid weekend, yeah? Yeah.

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Painted Hills Mega Post

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We spent last weekend in the wild-lands of East/Central Oregon, splashing in and out of swimming holes on the John Day River, scouting sun-baked fossil beds, and, in general, filling our hearts with fun.

Let’s go there for a minute.

Hot and bright by day. A chorus of cricket song at night. Not a single bar of cell-phone reception (vacay-ing in the wilderness shouldn’t be tampered with by outside-world contact anyway).

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We whipped through round, caramel-colored hills to get there, but on a dirt road a few miles outside camp, plans changed. Plumes of smoke, coloring the air blue. Wild-land fire fighters biding time inside diesel trucks. Helicopters hauling big troughs of water. Mobilization.

We turned and retreated through a blackened landscape and chased the fading light west—later to find a new, downriver campsite by chance, in the dark. Nevertheless, it was a special place.

What I took away from the trip: the image of delicate leaf tendrils pressed into ancient fossil stone, the freedom and quiet of being the only tent in sight, and the strange way it felt to get woken up at night by the haunting sound of coyote howl. I wonder what Lefty thought, curled up out there in the dirt in front of our tent?

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A panting dog, and the Painted Hills in the hot wind—exuding deep geologic mysteries.

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Reelin’ em in, tossing em back.

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Stone-cold fossil hunters.

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Parched earths of the Precambrian.

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Later grams.

Favorites 7.21.14

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Zoo-bombing on a summer’s eve: For non-Portlanders, this means bombing the hill by the Portland zoo on a skateboard. An adventure—train rides; steep, turny roads; peering in the lit windows of mansions; feet numb from rattling over pavement; salmon-pink sunset skies off in the distance. You end with, like, 1000-times more energy than you start with.

No cell service: Without service, your telephone becomes a dead object lodged in the car cup holder. Leave it there. Do non-phone related living. Enjoy how enjoyable this is.

Smoked paprika: Maybe someday I’ll tell you all about a newfangled food allergy that has me consulting with witch doctors and terrified to eat anything delicious (as part of an elimination thingy, I’m currently off Cholula and other red-pepper-related deliciousness :(   ) … But for now, I’ll just say this: Smoked paprika! On everything! Believe.

In Sunlight and in Shadow, by Mark Helprin: Long have I waited to recommend a 700-page work of contemporary fiction to you. The wait is over. Check it—a war story and a love story set in 1940s New York City; all about honor, passion, the magic of the city, and the inherent brutality that binds us humans together. Wow, right?

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My (Short) Life As A Skate Coach

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As mentioned elsewhere, I helped coach a session of Commonwealth skate camp. This was the week after the 4th of July, AKA last week, AKA the “hot week.” I was on the fence about doing it. I’m no skate coach—never claimed to be! But this was special, an all-girls camp week, and those little ladies needed me.

Young girls are mysterious. Fun and funny. Their theories on the world, what they deem to be cool, and the strange hierarchies they develop within hours of meeting each other. I hope I hyped some of them up. Made some sort of impact—even if miniscule. Probs not, but one can hope.

Anyway, I was ruggedly sore and tired by the end of the week—leathered, if you will. But it felt great to come home dead tired at the end of the night, to have been out sweating and doing in the deepness of summer, rather than peering into my computer in the midst of air conditioning.

Plus, it made me fall in love with skating all-damn day again, a love affair that can get you into trouble when you’re a freelancer with a procrastination streak but one that nevertheless shouldn’t be neglected.