True story: it’s like Florida out there right now. Hot and steamy. Poor me—I already dis-installed my window-AC unit for the winter. And how about the cats? They seem pretty bummed on their fur suits right now.
Another true story: last night, I left the stuffy bedroom and tried to sleep on the somewhat cooler couch. There I was spooning the cushions, when amidst my slumber I turned over—just like I do about a billion times per night in bed. However, I was not in bed. And so I fell like a sack’a potatoes to the floor, left elbow landing first, then the rest of the package, all 120 pounds of me. Not light as a feather. Heavyweight. The sound of it woke up Lance, who rushed into the living room to find me befuddled and in pain. How dumb.
Anyway, despite all this, I’m working through the long hours of the workday, tapping my feat, Neil Young’s Le Noise, is on the player, and it’s good. Just him on a stool with that old electric Gretsch guitar. Lots of feedback. A little bit rock, a little bit something else. It reminds me of the soundtrack he did for that Johnny Depp/Jim Jaramusch movie Dead Man. Intense, strange, smoldering.
Here, you can listen to it in its entirety at this link. According to NPR, “He only recorded [for Le Noise] on nights when there was a full moon.” Spooky.
Last Sunday eve I met Lance in northwest. The cloud cover was impressive, rain impending—and yet, over to Chapman High School we went to sit on the wet lawn under the big spruce tree and watch the Swifts fly. Have you heard about this? During late September, hundreds of tiny, sparrow-like birds roost in the massive ancient chimney. As dusk approaches, you get to watch as they swarm around in the cool evening air, feasting on invisible clouds of insects. The multitude swirls and swirls, then blasts apart into chaos, then snaps back into its funnel-like formation again. You can watch this spectacle for hours—it’s very Hitchcockian. And just before dark, in a grand crescendo, they all at once swoop into the chimney for the night.
If you’re lucky like we were, you’ll glimpse a wise old hawk barrel through and snatch a swift in its grizzled talons. You see, he’d been sitting there silently watching the whole time … waiting. He’ll escape with the thing shrieking inside his claws and then gorge himself on hot bloody bird parts. Sad, sort of, but part of the cycle of life, too.
This just in: The Ashley and Scott now live in Southern California. Crazy, right? I knew it was official when Scott changed his Facebook “location” to Huntington Beach. And it’ll be weird around here without them! No more “What r u doing 2night?” texts from Ashley of a Friday night. No more “You’re blowing it!” from Scott when I can’t go to the river due to work. No more cold shoulder from house cat Bo when I try to force-cuddle him. Portland’s gonna be sad and lonely, I’m telling you. But I’m happy to know that they’re down their in the sunshine, smiling, paddling around in that pool at their apartment complex.
They had a going away thingy the other night. We shredded Nike park, then took it to the Morrison Hotel, where the beer selection is so massive that everyone just looked confusedly at the menu and then ordered Hamm’s. Derek tried to rip off Scott’s T-shirt, Scott punched Derek in the mouth, you know, just a bunch of friends hanging out.
Anyway, we miss you guys!! Ashley, who’m'I supposed to go to the Polish Festival with?!
Lovejoy had a baby! Kidding. This lovely tiny creature called Francis belongs to Steve.
A “friendly” bout at the bar.
This is an artsy town. If you went to every art show in Portland, you’d barely have time to sleep or eat. Or drink a Pabst. I’m lucky if I make it to one every few months. But this latest exhibit at Nemo drew me in. A photography show by Chris Brunkhardt. He self-published a book, you see, full of snowboard photography and other photo journalism. Lovely stuff. It was “my era.” If you know what that means, well, then you know. If not … I dunno. But all these snapshots, an entire wall, literally—how fun to look through them all.
Jeffy. So young. Round cheeks and stuff. RIP.
Seaone—he’s a whole lot beardier now.
And a pretty picture of another person who’s passed on. Craig Kelly, Alaska. It’s nice, right?
Sweeping is good for you. It’s meditative. What these photos don’t show is the smell of woodsmoke from a brush pile out back—or how with every breath of wind, another curtain of leaves silently falls to the ground, ruining all the work you just did.
More Windell’s new stuff—hard edge for days.
Hello. Long time no talk. How are you? I’m fine. I’ve been listening to lots of O’Death and eating a honeycrisp apple every day. It is September, after all. Anyhoo, Melissa, that’s my older sister, came to visit this weekend—and can you believe I didn’t take a single photo? Instead I’ve included the above—one of her new paintings, which I find simultaneously relaxing and transcendent. Besides, I read something recently about how cameras are just a distraction from really seeing, experiencing, and remembering things. Weakens the camera in your brain, if you will. But I digress.
She arrived on a Friday and left on a Monday, giving us just over 48 hours to visit all four corners of this fair metropolis. And that we did.
Southeast: Produce Row for miraculous veggie eggs benedict.
Northeast: Together Gallery to “see some art.” Pinski was there gleefully shipping packages.
Northwest: Lunch at Elephants Delicatessen. Have you been? Lavendar soda, cold caprese sandwich—nuff said.
Southwest: The Saturday Market with Lady Coulon, which included a brief Alqueada Chris sighting.
And in between it all was much time spent on the couch drinking fermented grape beverage and talking about science and science fiction.
Tuesday evening, and a rainy one. The first real rain of fall, actually, and you know after this things won’t quite be the same. The sun will no doubt return, but you’ll want to soak it up on a warm rock somewhere instead of sneaking around in the shade and waiting for the light to fall. As I’ve said before, September is a good month by me. It’s calm. The cats sleep inside. My big sister comes to visit. The mornings are cool like a fresh glass of water.
“I lay on naked rock, sipping nectar that an hour earlier had been snow, and all around me the sun distilled voluptuous scents. A whiskered ground squirrel bounced onto a rock, froze, blurred, and was gone. Beyond shadow that still belonged to the night, a day’s incoming sunlight streamed across the rock reefs. Noon pressed down onto the Esplanade, hotter each day, more ponderously silent. Evening came, and a softer, richer silence.”
Photo via Discovery Channel.
My moms sent over a book, The Man Who Walked Through Time, by Colin Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon in the 60s, all alone, and then wrote about it. My mom read it 30 years ago. Now me. An interesting cycle. Anyway, a quiet, relaxing text with much lovely language describing the hugeness of geologic time, the nature of beauty in the wild, and such. Made me want to pack up a satchel and split straight for the desert.
It was late at night. I was staring at the computer. I was working. I was tired. Then I clicked on a link via McSweeney’s. And suddenly all was right again. Hungoverowls.tumblr.com is, simply put, a “website featuring photographs of owls who appear hungover.” Totally asinine, yes, and also quite random, yet hilarious in a way that only hungover owls would be. Head over there. I know you will LOL.
Although many are good, my favorite might be the August 23rd entry. August 16th is also quite fetching.