Nas and Christ Adore Portland Apparently...

Remember that promise I had made about posting every few days? Well, that was before I came down with an especially nasty case of the bird flu that I just can't seem to kick (I really need to stop sharing needles with my clients when I shoot up that good ol' black tar). The CDC has had me quarantined in my apartment, which has also been encased in a gigantic bubble to prevent a viral outbreak in the greater metropolitan area. Luckily, the Internet is still accessible in my plastic exile...I've spent the last few weeks either masturbating to boost my immune system or reading my new favorite blog, Jesus Christ's Blog. He really is a riot. Show him some love by reading a few posts...you won't regret it, and well he did die for your sins, so you owe him one.


The blog comes to you courtesy of one of our local free weekly papers, The Portland Mercury, a pulpy heap of trash I just absolutely can't get enough of.

Also of note, Nas/Nastradamus/Nasty Nas/God's Son/Nasir Jones/Mr. Fucking Illmatic/Etc. hooked up with the most talented Portland hip hop group, the Lifesavas. Along with Fishbone, they recorded this great track, a remix of "Dead Ones".

Crack an ear here:


The Lifesavas just dropped the new (and highly anticipated) album, Gutterfly, the soundtrack to an nonexistant blaxploitation film. I just picked it up and haven't had a chance to dig into it yet, but I'm very impressed with the little I've heard. These guys were signed to Quannum Records (Blackalicious' label) awhile back, and are set to blow the fuck up...


Baseball riddler

I posed this question to Old, and he was hard-pressed to find an answer:

"What is $150.00 well spent?"

Being the intellecual he is, Old insisted that he have time to think about this. He asked if he could call me back when he figured it out. Not wanting to agonize him with a trivial riddle, I gave him the answer.

"The MLB Extra Inning Package offered on Comcast."

Now, folks, with money well invested in quality entertainment, I can watch all (most) of the Giants games this baseball season. What's more, I can do it while sitting on my couch 600 miles from San Francisco, in a city that would not otherwise televise any baseball games. At the very least, it'll save me from buying beer everytime I would normally have gone to the Jolly Roger (good place, check it out on SE 12th just past SE Madison) to watch the games. Yay! Go Giants!


I thought it was summer

The sun re-introduced itself to me yesterday. Sometimes I forget that it exists. It led me across the Willamette, where the streets buzzed with street vendors, schemers, businessmen, and students. Pioneer Courthouse Square was my living room for the day. I watched other people watching other people. I enjoyed an iced mocha. I did a crossword puzzle.

When I got bored, I took the Max to the Skidmore Fountain and walked up to Kells. I got a table outside, where I sat with a pint of Guinness. Old and Kes met me there, and we took advantage of the happy hour dinner prices. We contemplated the benefits, as well as drawbacks, of living downtown, and if/when we'd consider such a move. While talking and eating, the guy at the table next to us played the flute. He sounded like one of those dolls (dying and on acid), where you pull the string and some obnoxious sound comes out of it. It was an interesting sound track to our evening. A beautiful evening it was, though.

We all lamented over the realization that the rain would be back tomorrow and that, indeed, it was not yet summer.


Going, going...back, back...to Cali, Cali

Actually, I've gone and returned at this point, but I thought I'd share some pics of my recent trip to Cali. I think I can, for the most part, say that I don't really miss California. Portland, and the Pacific Northwest in general, seems to fit alright with me. However, there are some things about home that I do miss; namely the magic and energy of San Francisco. As you can see on the left, there is something beautiful about the fog, the bustle, and size of the City. It has been called Baghdad by the Bay, as well as drawing comparisons to Paris. Either way, it is a city of extremes that captures both the good and bad of urban experiences. Beyond that, though, it is a city that has a storied history (as far as West Coast cities are considered) that includes cultural revolutions, a stable, yet always changing face, and the inspiration for many authors, poets, and movie producers. The picture above was taken from North Beach, where the Beat Generation gained much of its attention, as well as the arrival point for many Italian immigrants back in the day. Now it is at the crossroads of Chinatown, the financial district, the Italian community, and the Broadway strip, filled with its numerous strip clubs and swanky bars. The picture is looking toward downtown, with the TransAmerica Pyramid taking center stage.

Below are pictures that represent the constant change the City finds itself enduring. On the left are two buildings, dating back some 90+ years. While the financial district is littered with remnants of the rebuilding that took place after the 1906 Fire and Earthquake, more and more San Franciscans are finding whole neighborhoods transformed overnight with new skyscrapers and various redevelopment projects. The picture below and in the middle is of a tower that will be the tallest residential building west of Chicago (it won't be the tallest overall building in SF, but for comparison, it will be 100 feet taller than the largest skyscraper in Portland). I think there will be 15 more stories added to what you see there (only partial viewing, as the pic is taken from a roof top). To the right is Mission Bay, a brand new neighborhood that is replacing what used to be dilapidated warehouses, homeless encampments, and a train yard. It sits on the edge of the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, just across from where the Giants play (I've spent many days and nights at the park nestled in the corner there). Speaking of cultural revolutions, I spent a little time in the Haight, which still exhibits much of the counterculture the hippies drew attention to in the 60s and 70s. As you can see (pic on the left), it is still a place where you can buy pipes and bongs ("tobacco paraphernalia"). There is an abundance of rehab centers, drug clinics, and half-way houses in the neighborhood, so naturally, coupled with the head shops, it attracts a lot of transients and drugs much like it did in the 60s and 70s. Despite the abundance of drugs and street culture, it also attracts a lot of tourists and hipsters. The mix creates a funky vibe that fosters an open spirit, artistic expression, and a constant reminder of the neighborhood's past. The Haight is also home to one of my favorite record stores, Amoeba Records. Here, you'll find a lot of vinyl (not that I'm hip enough to still buy records), hard to find music, and a good support for local, independent, and underground artists.

It may seem like I just went home and did the tourist thing. Not quite. Yes, I did have my camera, but mostly I just soaked up the City's energy. I chilled on
Market Street (pictured to the left), where the business men of the financial district walk side by side with the homeless, tourists, drug dealers, chess players, hob-nobbers, and out of town shoppers, while trying not to get hit by a MUNI bus or crapped on by the millions of pigeons that make their home there.

More than that, though, I got a chance to see some old sights (including the old neighborhood in the Sunset pictured above and to the right), forget about my ulcer-inducing job, and visit with family. The kids, Julianne and Christian, on the left are my niece and nephew. They live in the North Bay, just outside of Petaluma. To the right are my cousins, Kyle and Darcy (we're on her roof).
As always, my dad and I got together for a few pints at our favorite pub, O'Reilly's. And as usually is the case, my dad had a few more pints than he probably needed. We were also lucky to find our friend, and owner of the pub, Myles there (interesting tidbit: Myles' brother went to school in Belfast with the owner of Kells). Myles (pictured with my dad) sat with us for a while, inviting his friend Bobby Lavery to join us as well. Bobby was visiting from Belfast, where he used to sit on the Board of Council as a representative for Sinn Fein. He shared a ton of stories with us and we all had good craic (a good time in Irish).
No trip would be complete without getting together with old friends. Mara and Matt are pictured on the left. Aren't they good Giants fans? They were nice enough to feed me, drink with me, and house me for a couple nights. We also got a good game of wiffle ball in.

The scums in the picture to the right are Tony and Ophir. Those two, along with
Matt (a different one...to my left, here, with the gorilla jaw) are my oldest friends...more like brothers. Doesn't Ophir (on the right) seem like a happy bloak? His smile and generous belly rubs are infectious.
Anyway, that about does it for my California trip. It wasn't as eventful as the length of this blog would indicate, but I did have a good time.


A Malenky Bit of Real Horrorshow News

While Jeff's been out of the Stump, getting into adventures with our old goblinators in Cali, I've been laying low, keeping my nose to the pulse of the world, absorbing these interesting little nuggets of truth, scandal, fruitless revenge, and awkward sex:

  • According to Anna Nicole Smith's official autopsy report, the overdosed former-sexpot's anus was "unremarkable." We can all sleep again, praise Bog.
  • The world's tallest man has been officially recognized, and quite surprising, he's a herdsman from Inner Mongolia. Bao Xishun was recorded at the disturbingly giantish height of 7 feet 9 inches...and after a nation-wide search for a bride (probably to eat her as most giants are prone to do), this overgrown beast selects a woman over two feet shorter than him (5 feet 6 inches). But visions of uncomfortable sex (or amazing standing blowjobs), shouldn't be what one takes away from this story. No...Bao should be immortalized in your mind as the savior of dolphins. You see, apparently the surgical procedures in the Liaoning province of China are a bit behind the times, as after two dolphins at a local aquarium ingested some deadly plastic chunkers, they called Bao Xishun in to handle business with his obscenely long arms after their own equipment failed at the task. That's right, the local government called in the nation's tallest man to reach into the gullet's of these mammal floaters with his rookers to scrub out some plastic nibblers. Giants rock!
  • Surprising to none, Newt "I'd Rather be Sucking Off Bao" Gingrich hates immigrants and poor people. At the National Federation of Republican Women, he proclaimed "We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto." Here's a campaign slogan that'll really get you into La Casa Blanca..."Rich Whitey Trash for the Xenophobic Salamander!" He's got my vote (for a quick tolchock to his grahzny gulliver).
  • To show you just how effective the global warming/protect the environment campaign has been on the general public, let's compare 2005's plastic bottle recycling rate of 23% with 1995's rate of 40%...speaks for itself, doesn't it? We talk, but are forgetting how to walk.
  • Pirates everywhere Arrrrrrred once the news reached them (via scabby parrots, I'm sure) that Edward Teach's ship was finally discovered. To the peg-less, visually intact, and sword-phobic, Teach is better known as muthafuckin' Blackbeard.
  • An enraged Alaskan moose attacked and destroyed an airborne helicopter full of observing tourists. Unfortunately, no humanoids were injured, and the moose was executed afterwards. Disgustingly Intrusive Manlings: 1, Righteous Rebels of Nature: 0.

Whah, whan...


Mutiny on the Bounty

I was going to title this, "Who was that Mexican dude? (as the character in question was a vital part of the story)," but thought it wasn't conservative enough. I could have also titled this, "What the fuck are those things crawling on your pants, Tony?" However, that might have been a little over the top. For now, I'm sticking with the seafaring, pirate theme. It works.

Here's what happened.

The day began at a luncheon my dad managed to get tickets to. He had three, so my buddy and fellow Giants fan, Matt, came as well. The luncheon was to celebrate the opening night of the Giants season (yes, I'm writing this while visiting the Yay). To celebrate, free food and beer was offered. To save money at the ballgame, which we had tickets to and was right after the luncheon, Matt and I took full advantage of the free refreshments. This allowed us to enter the park with a full stomach and a proper buzz. As we soon figured out, though, we didn't drink nearly enough, because the Giants have a seemingly horrible team this year and almost put 40,000 fans to sleep. The only redeeming part of the eventual loss was that Barry Bonds hit a home run, putting him one closer to Hank Aaron's record.

After the game, Matt went back to his home in Berkeley and I met up with a few friends at MoMos bar across the street. It was with this group of friends, as it always is, and at this point in time, that the momentum of the evening shifted. What was earlier a mellow day at the ballpark, cheering on the home team and enjoying some beer with my dad and a friend, was soon to become a reckless, yet eerily typical, night of debauchery on the San Francisco waterfront. Why the shift in momentum, you might ask? I'll blame it on Matt (a different Matt, also known as Mixle), Ophir (aka Tweet), and Anto (aka Tony, aka Dirty Toof). With the exception of my friend Gibby, these are my longest friends and the scums that I grew up with on H-Block. For some reason, the reuniting of this group always leads to long nights and interesting stories the following morning. This night would be no different.

We left the yuppies and overpriced drinks at MoMos and headed to a liquor store. After gathering our alcohol of choice, we decided to find a spot on the water to drink (I have been singing "On the Dock of the Bay" in my head for months now, so it was only fitting to find a dock somewhere). Because it was after hours, and not too many tourists were out, we decided to head down to the Wharf. Before the commencement of our drinking, I decided to pick up some In and Out Burger. After getting my food and rejoining my friends outside, I noticed we picked up an extra person. Tony and Ophir were chatting it up with this Mexican cat whom I thought they knew (as I'll later find out, this was not the case). He was offered a beer, and now our group was up to five.

We left In and Out and walked to the dock (if you've ever been to the City, think yelping seals and docked boats). While drinking on one of the docks, a security guard approached us, informing us that people sleep on the boats that were docked nearby and that we should take our party down the road. Noticing our disappointment, the security guard made a concession, stating that he knew the owners of the boat at the very end of the dock, and knew they weren't on it, thus we wouldn't be such a disruption down there. His point was that we could drink on the far end of the dock without disturbing anybody. In our minds, though, we interpreted this as: "hey, why don't you go hang out on my friend's boat...they're out of town...they won't mind." So that we did.

While on the boat, drinking our beers and reminiscing, we started talking about setting out to sea and how cool it would be to be pirates on the open waters (I just wanted to be a Goonie for a night, challenging Chester Copperpot for his riches). The guy who joined our group seemed very entertained by our shenanigans. I assumed, though, that if he knew Tony and Ophir, this wasn't so out of the ordinary for him. Anyway, while we're drinking and doing our pirate talk, Tony decides to pull up the anchor and untie the rope that latched us to the dock. Quickly realizing we're not the tough pirates we thought we were, everybody jumps ship, leaving Tony the demoralizing task of dropping the anchor and tying the boat back to the dock.

After a few more beers, and being chastised by Tony for not living up to our pirate talk, we decided to board another ship. We told ourselves that we were just going to lounge and have a drink, but we all knew in the back of our minds that Tony would make another attempt to set us a sail. As we all predicted, the anchor eventually was pulled up and Tony untied us. As Tony fully declared his role as captain of the ship, we decided a rebellion was in order and proceeded with a mutiny. As Tony tried to convince us to come back on the ship, the tide started to pull him from the dock. At the last moment, Tony realized he couldn't be a captain without shipmates, he decided to jump ship with us. However, he waited too long and was not in close reach of the ladder. In his feeble attempt to save himself, he reached for the ladder but fell into the Bay. While Tony is struggling for his life, trying not to be dissolved by the toxic pollutants in the Bay water, Mixle and that other guy start taking pictures with their cellphones. Apparently Tony's demise was more comical than it was life-threatening. Lucky for Tony, a big crab-trap floated by and he was able to use that to push himself up to the ladder. This allowed one of us to throw a hand down and pull him up.

Now on dock, and dripping with radioactive, neon-colored water, Matt looks at Tony's pants and realizes he picked something up while in the water. Matt takes a closer looks and says, "Tony, what's that crawling on your pants leg?"

Tony looks down, doesn't see anything, "What do you mean?"

"There's something crawling on your leg. In fact, there are a bunch of things crawling on your leg!"

Now we all start examining Tony's pants leg and see what Matt was talking about. Little mutant worms were squirming around, inching their way up his pants. These weren't the type of worms that you use as bait when you go fishing. These were X-Files, martian worms. They looked like the white, squiggly strands of puss you can squeeze out of the pores on your nose (it sounds gross, and I hope you all know what I'm talking about or I'll feel really embarrassed). Anyway, they were creepy and numerous...enough to freak Tony out (he's not the most tidy or hygienic person I know, either). So, Tony proceeds to take his pants off and throw them into the water.

We now realize that it's time to go. As we walk through Pier 39, heading back to the car and Tony in his boxers, our fifth companion says in a Mexican accent, "Hey, you want some churros?"

As it is very late, there aren't any stores open, and the guy doesn't appear to be carrying any churros, Tony questions, "Why would I want some churros?"

The guys says, "No, do you want some churros?"

Maybe it's because Tony is hard of hearing (or just really drunk), but everybody else clearly heard, "Do you want some shorts?" The guy was offering Tony something to wear so he didn't have to walk the streets in his underwear. After translating for Tony, we walk to the guy's car, where he pops his trunk and pulls out some shorts and a dry Bob Marley shirt. Tony puts the shorts on and changes his shirt. Tony thanks him and we head back to Matt's car, leaving the guy behind and essentially calling it a night. While in the car, though, on our way to Oakland, someone asks, "Who was that guy?" Surprised, I say, "What do you mean? Isn't he your friend, Ophir?"

Ophir tells me he didn't know who he was, and Tony confirms the same. Apparently he just struck up conversation with Tony and Ophir while I was getting a burger prior to our drinking, and because he was a cool enough cat, he was invited to have a few drinks with us. Now, Tony was wearing his shorts and this guy is going to tell his friends about the crazies he met last night on the Wharf.