Driving at sunset. To be out moving through the landscaping at at time of night when you might otherwise be bound—couch-bound, restaurant-bound, bar-bound et cetera. Here, amidst the softy, glowy light, the music sounds better, and hope is renewed.
THIS episode of Snap Judgement. Two first-person tales that I’m still thinking about. Life and death. Star-shaped acid tabs. Ghosts, parachutes and marshmallow skies. Let ’em rip and let me know what ya think.
Tapenade. Bagels. Bowtie pasta. Put it on anything. Have I told you about my love of olives and other briny fruits of the warm, sun-washed lands?
Big West Linn with buds. If you live and skate in Portland, then you know that West Linn park was returned to its almost former glory with some patching and fresh coping. I hadn’t been out there since back in the day, which is to say back when we all skated there a lot because it was new and legendary and there were so few other places, besides. These days, I keep it to skating “small stuff.” However, we went to West Linn on Sunday and I had an amazing time. There on old familiar ground, the memories the and muscle memory returned. I took it easy. Cruised. Pumped walls and peered up at the coping. Thanks world. Thanks skateboarding. You’re just what I need sometimes.
The Girl With All The Gifts: We live in a Netflixian world. Books struggle, reading is second order. So the fact that I’m telling you to read this book—in the face of overwhelming odds against the practice of reading—well, that’s serious, and you should take it seriously. Although suspense is at a premium here, I don’t think I’m ruining anything by saying that this is a post-apocalyptic story of the zombie persuasion. And although the world does not lack for post-apocalyptic zombie stories, this one, I promise you, is different. Anthropologically speaking, it brings a fresh perspective. It’s exciting, and inarguably interesting. It will get your thinking juices flowing. Note: there is a Girl With All The Gifts movie—but read the book, do, because the movie isn’t nearly as rich, as fraught or as scary. Here’s to books!
Fortitude: A crazy television show on Amazon Prime. I say crazy, because after every episode, I find myself saying, “That was crazy!” The kind of bad-dreams crazy where you watch two episodes, and then you have to put on Planet Earth to give your brain a break before bed. Murder. Intrigue. Evil. Science. Death. Vodka. Ice. Polar bears … Just some of the ground covered here. It’s great. Give it a go.
The Red Turtle: An animated short film about a man shipwrecked on an island. It’s beautiful.I watched it once, but I’d like to see it again. I suspect there’s much more there than meets the eye here. Like, maybe, the secret of life?
20th Century Women: Maybe my favorite Mike Mills movie. A perfect depiction of a slice of history, of a “family” in 1979 San Diego and all the complex, strange, wonderful stuff of being alive (including, but not limited to, punk and skateboarding). Being uniquely in my late 30s (you might call it the “middle” of life), I feel like I can empathize with a lot of different ages right now. I can, for example, vividly recall what it was like to enter the impossible landscape that one must traverse from being a teenager into adult hood. And yet, at the same time, I can absolutely imagine what it will be like in the not-so-distant-future to turn, say, 55. This movie does the exact same thing, artfully.
Lucinda Williams, “Passionate Kisses”: “Is it too much to ask I want a comfortable bed that won’t hurt my back?” A perfect opening line. I love Lucinda and this, the sweetest theme song for crazy liberated women everywhere (i.e. me!).
The Puppy Growing Up: The puppy (did I ever tell you about my new puppy?) is getting bigger, yes, but thank the heavens, his brain is also growing. There’s the young lad below, at left, all of 5 months old, next to Chelsea’s adult-sized Igby. I can’t say we’ve shared any moments of spiritual communion yet, Piney and me. I’m still teaching him to not step in his own pee. But I can’t wait for a time, very soon, when he’s all grown up and can be my emotional support animal—instead of me being his …
I Am Not Your Negro. Watch this movie. Show it to your kids. Heck, show it to your pets. Yes, it’s that important. I am in awe of James Baldwin as a thinker. What an amazing mind. And when you get to realizing, as he suggests, that the whole of Western Civilization was built (thru colonization/slavery/warfare) on a model of white power that we’re still living in, it’s like, what the F do we do now?!
Artichoke heart wings. Procured a plate of these from Century Bar the other night. Of all the things that you could deep fry and dip in a sauce instead of chicken wings, I’m gonna argue here that artichoke hearts are among the best. Full of tang/flavor, and yet light and easy on the stomach in their way. A triumph for vegetable-arians everywhere!
Recovery. After our life-giving “winter ordeal,” we spent all of last week recovering. Their were sneezing fits and other symptoms of the common cold. And there was absolutely no energy to be had anywhere until Friday or so. Earlier in the week, from the moment I got up, it was a stone-cold countdown until I could come home and sit on the couch. Also, Piney got fixed and snoozed off his surgery meds with the rest of the laid-out household.
Mini ramping revival: Years from now, we’ll tell tales about this winter. The “crazy winter of ’17″! Right now, though, we’re livin’ it, and I am not understating things by saying this is the least amount I have ever skated in any season, ever. But that’s okay. We have to live in time and the realities of our world. It was awfully nice, though, last week, to session the garage mini again—sustained by friends and beers—and feel warm, and, heck, feel happy.
Durango’s ashes: Over the weekend, a few of us hiked a very long way into Mt. Hood National Forest. We kept climbing the steep switchbacks until we broke free from the trees and found what we were looking for—a bold, rocky precipice. Here, several months ago, we’d come with Durango—my wonderful first-pup-after-Lefty.And here, we scattered his ashes. When Lefty died, we buried him in the garden and I can still feel him there. I don’t know where Durango is—I can’t feel him anywhere. Maybe he wasn’t even with us long enough to linger. Still, scattering his ashes made me happy. Watching that dust fly away wild on the wind. Earth dust, to become, at some point, start dust, I hope?
Moonlight: I don’t know if the trailer does this movie justice. It makes it seem overly serious, misses the tender moments of light. However, I didn’t go see Moonlight (the early show on a winter evening of no particular import) because of the trailer. I went because I heard it was good—nay, great, and had the Oscar noms to prove it, and also because I listened to an interview with the film’s creators and found their perspective compelling. LONG STORY SHORT, I loved this movie. See it—even if you think it might look depressing. Like all real-world stories, with sadness, there is redemption.
For snow days. For ice storms. For cabin fever. For life on weather hold. For cold nights with the furnace on blast … Here are 2 good movies that’ll get ya thinking.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story. A crazy story about a crazy story. What is art? Does it matter who the artist is? Was it all a hoax? Is hoax even the right word? For me, this drama says more about “us”—a society hungry for celebrity—than it does about a middle-age woman channeling a teenage boy to write books.
Midnight Special. A sci-fi that doesn’t feel like sci-fi. Such a subtle movie. What’s it really about? You have to use your brain, figure things out for yourself, make the connections and be rewarded.
Road trips over airports. I’m elated to be driving to Colorado for Christmas instead of flying there. It’s a long drive. But think about the airport! The airport, during the holidays. There’s a complex equation that sums up time spent vs. worth. For plane travel, you have to factor in bag-check lines, security lines, boarding lines, weather delays, lines to get coffee, lines to buy expensive, poorly tasting snacks, lines for the bathroom, lines for baggage claim, lines for the airport bus. Ugh. This year, though, we shall allocate between 17 & 18 hours to: podcasts, Leonard Cohen tunes, conversation, and driving through the snowy world being masters of our own destiny.
Kite Hill Cream Cheese: Made, not of milk, but of almonds. Typically, I turn my head at fake cream cheese. It usually tastes off. Is it the emulsifiers? I dunno. But not this delicate, artisanal stuff. It’s rich and supple, saturated with the perfume of green meadows and soft-petaled flowers. Spread on toast, it has the power to save the world I’m pretty sure.
The puppy in the morning time. If you have a dog, then you know that they are inarguably at their cutest first thing in the morning. Spunky. Snuggly. Happy to meet the new day. Now take a puppy and times that by about 1 million.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople: Taika Waititi always kills it. This film is mad and rambling. It’s so warm. So clever. And gah, Sam Neill! Anyway, I strongly advise you to watch the movie and feel good.
The pup not being a baby puppy anymore. Seemingly overnight, but really over the span of 5 weeks, Durango hath transformed from a shy little fur piglet into a lanky teenager with too-big ears and paws. His fear of road noise? Gone, and he now walks along on the leash just fine. A V-like-1000 engine Fedex truck revved past us as loud as could be, and he didn’t even care. Just looked the other way and sniffed the wind. Battles, won! But new struggles arise daily. We are currently fighting the Battle Of The Couch. I will keep you posted on the latest developments from this disputed territory.
Thursday happened. Thanksgiving came and went, and all it meant to me was a four-day weekend (yay!). In observance, I promptly turned my brain off. Besides that though, I never have much planned for these eating holidays. For starters, I’m just whatever about Thanksgiving food. As a bonafide non-carnivore, I haven’t chomped on turkey in years. And I’m risking work-place discrimination here to proclaim that my aversion to mashed potatoes persists. Still! My lovely friends came over, and the kitchen filled up with people, and a lot laughter happened, much of it at the puppy, who boinged around in a fugue state—completely high on the smells of the feast.
Captain Fantastic. A film worth your time. Despite watching the entire thing, I never did figure out what “type” of movie this is. I like that—a refusal to be predictable. Plus, peep out those clips of Portland!
Today, I’m having a Leonard Cohen day kinda, shuffling my feet under my desk and letting his ole tattered ribbon of tune take me where it may.
I remember the first time I heard a Leonard Cohen song, on a road trip into the High Sierras with one miss Annie Fast. She had that compilation I’m Your Fan, all of our favorite indie bands doing cool Cohen covers. The Pixies playing “I Can’t Forget“—well I never do forget how good it is. Anyway, this moment, on this trip, was a tiny pinhole turning point. When I got home, I started unraveling his discography like a thread—like you did back then, buying records, one by one until you had a big stack. His songs are like paintings, they capture the light. The more I listened, the more I got the witchy sense that this old gypsy poet was my spirit guide. More accurately, I (a lost and lonesome little girl)—well I wished he was my spirit guide.
Here’s to Leonard. To Mr. Cohen. What an amazing mind. Thank you for always illuminating the biggest mysteries, which are really just the simplest mysteries—the ones we’re faced with every single day.
8 a.m. rain with the sun out: The act of being outside in your sweats with a hot cup of coffee on the kind of morning that will disappear forever—as all mornings do—should always be occasioned by an ominous purple cloud, a freak shaft of sun, and a resplendent shimmering rainbow off in the nearby distance. Right???
Cooking along with old-timey music on the radio: Soundtrack-wise, I’m gonna argue here that the sound of sizzling onions and a half-glass-of-wine buzz click in naturally with something warm and crackly, say Django Reinhardt or, like, Sam Cooke?
Charley Countryman: Currently streaming on Netflix. A fairytale, if such a thing can exist amidst the hardcore Romanian mafia. Which, hey why not?