Nuggety Notes

Just thought I'd catch up on a few tidbitters whilst I waste away the day at work, waiting for a client who is 99.873% likely to not show up. So let's get mo' crazy than the chest hair poking out of my supervisor's sweatshirt (yes, this is his daily attire...no wonder I have a hard time motivating at the office).

-Checked out a few new restaurants over the past few weeks.

1) Esparza's: Think Johnny Cash eating undercooked rattlesnake enchiladas while listening to Calexico and staring down that fuckin' mean lookin' Jackalope across the room. I'll have to come back here for a drink, but I'll pass on the overpriced menu next time around.

2) Taqueria Nueve: The name doesn't mean shit en espanol, verdad? Another overpriced spot, but with exquisitely prepared and deliciously tasty wild boar tacos. Mo' noisy than a Shaker gathering inside of a 747 turbine engine, so plan to forgo any and all conversation with your companion.

3) Halibuts: The only fish and chips spot I've ever been able to order halibut cheeks at. These little heaven chunks are simply fried bliss. Unfortunately, the waitress overcharged my card, so I'd rather eat fried shit than frequent this place again. Alas, those cheeks were so damn good...

4) Got Pho?: Unfortunately named, and my first experience with pho (pronounced "phuh"), which is basically Vietnamese beef broth w/ noodles. I'm sure it's good stuff, but after mistaking those serrano chiles for jalapenos and putting a handful in my broth, I experienced nothing but flaming hell and damnation for the next two hours. Seriously. My eyes cried, my cheeks pored sweat, and my nose bled. Kes and Annie almost called an ambulance, I looked so pale. I can't wait to go back. Nothing says LSD like a cup of pho, I was that high on capisin.

-Continuing on my emotional journey to hippy-esque enlightenment, Kes and I recently took up a yoga class at the gym. Aside from feeling like an awkward stork, I had a seriously difficult time concentrating on transforming myself into Downward Dog, Rising Beetle, Grazing Elk, Voltron, and Optimus Prime...you see, they had this crazy tripped out music playing softly in the background that repeated the phrase "Hari Krishna" to the tune of Jingle Bells. What the fuck is wrong with these hipped-out hippies? Holy Ganesh, these dudes are crazy.

-I've had visitors in town something like 14 out of the last 18 days, and frankly I'm exhausted. I love you all, but I need a break. Please. At least I got to take people to see Borat a few more times, and subject them to the extended and unending naked wrestling scene. Those grimaces and winces are capital C classic. Thank you Azamat Bagatov, you and your ahnoos are my heroes.

-Portland police are rapidly becoming known for their blatant racism and brutality towards the mentally ill (scientifically speaking, retards). A few months back, they liquidized a man's (James P. Chasse Jr.) ribcage and used his head as a football for looking "suspicious"...not only did he have schizophrenia, but he died soon after being taken into custody without receiving any medical treatment. More recently, a 15-year old African American autistic youth (Sir Millage...how cool is that name?) was walking down NW Broadway, wearing nothing but his shorts, and failing to comply with police commands to stop and talk with them. So like any good Officer of the Peace, the coppers Tasered him 11 times, savaged him with seven strokes from their dick-substitutes, I mean teenie weenie compensators, I mean batons...then Tasered him some more before finally taking him into custody. The official police response to a recent protest: "You can't just let a guy walking down the street in the middle of the night go and get hit by a car." That speaks for itself, obviously.


Wreck your body, free your soul...

Here's a novel idea...pursue fun and happiness by destroying your liver, weakening your immune system, depriving yourself of sleep, and willingly freezing your nuts off in hypothermia-inducing waters. Brilliant, right? Not only do I have a weird, twisted definition of fun, but, oddly enough, so do 10 of my friends and coworkers.

Here's how it went down. About a month ago, while sitting at a bar, planning a mellow camping trip on the coast to celebrate Bobby's birthday, a few coworkers and I decided to rent a house for a weekend instead. This could have been a stroke of genius, or it could have spelled our doom. Only the future would tell. At the time, though, a house with beds, toilets and a refrigerator was much more appealing. Little did we know what possibilities it would open up for us.

As Bobby's birthday approached, the excitement grew; people planned meals, picked out music and movies to bring, dusted off old board games, and bought their drinks of choice. As the excitement grew, though, so did my cold. Yes, just before we left, I came down with a nasty cold. It was enough for me to cancel, thus avoiding forseen debauchary and resting at home. That would have been the wise decision. But, upon the sagely advice of Bobby, I decided to be sick at the beach and "get my rest there." Yeah, right.

So, Thursday morning I thoroughly hydrated myself, loaded up on sudafed, acquainted myself with Airborne (some miracle-working, immune system booster), and loaded all my stuff into Maggie's car. She, Stacey and I then met up with Gretchens, Bobby, Nate and Lacey. In two vehicles, we caravaned to the coast. Before reaching our coastal oasis, Nate convinced us all how wonderful and awe inspiring the cheese-making process can be, so we stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory. It was there, as if forshadowing the weekend wonder to come, I was given the splendid, self-guided tour. I saw just how complicated, yet eerily simple, the making of cheese can be. Also, I learned what a curd is and tasted "squeeky" cheese.

Now we were only 10 minutes from the town of Rockaway, the same town that would soon be host to three days of beligerence and revelry (as well as a Tsunami scare) from a handful of otherwise "civil" and "proper" social workers. Uh huh.

It took us a while to find the house on Pacific Avenue, despite the fact Rockaway only has three streets. It just so happens that the three streets are S. Pacific (now known as Spacific street), N. Pacific, and plain ol' Pacific. Once there, we quickly unpacked, familiarized ourselves with the place, and then headed out to the beach. Bobby, Stacey, and Maggie hiked along the coast and found a tank (which I later discovered was an abnormally large piece of drift wood) in combat training. It was so big and agile, when they pointed it out, Gretchen and I could see it moving from a mile a way. Apparently, it was strategically located to protect us from the Tsunami that was scheduled to hit at 10:30 that night (sure am glad my tax money is going to anti-Tsunami defense missiles).

After acquainting ourselves with the beach, the real hurt began. Two plus days of drinking, sleep deprivation, and fighting over whose IPod songs to play. Joy! The first night was highlighted, first, by an awesome Korean dinner (Bulgoge, or something like that), cooked by Nate and Bobby. Second, as some propelled themselves headfirst into their bottles quicker than others, there was an apparent NCI training in our living room. That's non-violent (sort of) crisis intervention, for those not in the know. This consisted of CCPs, TCPs, EFPs, and room seclusions (I know, only some readers will understand this). Third, as people sought to hide from the chaos taking place in the house, our first bonfire was constructed. This fire would have done the Boy Scouts proud, as we managed to start a fire with wet wood, no kindling, and only cardboard beer containers. While enjoying our fiery fete, some began playing frisbee with Nate's battery-operated, illuminated disc. It was then that we heard the air-raid siren echo along the coast. We all came to the realization that a tsunami was surely coming and that the aforementioned tank-in-training was to be our only savior. Actually, we just continued to drink, play frisbee and somehow manage to stay up until 3:45 in the morning.

That took us to the next day. And of course, day two also had it's highlights...namely a four hour epic battle of Risk, The Game of Global Domination. Yes, oldschoolers, we brought Risk to our weekend retreat. This game, though, was accompanied by bloody maries and multiple giggle-snorts from Gretchens, as well as a repeated salivary assault that saw pieces of celery, olive, and tomato juice project from Gretchens mouth on to anything that was within 3 feet of the table. In the end, Bobby, and his communist ways, took over the world, sweeping through North America, down to Central America, and accross into Africa.

After our World War II reenactment, we decided to have our own Normandy invasion on the beach. However, this D-Day invasion saw casualties in the form of frostbitten legs and feet, shrunken testies the size of beebees, and brain freezes. Yes, we stripped to our skivvies, proclaimed our man-ness, and ran (more like a delicate tip-toeing) into the freezing ocean. It didn't take long to conquer Normandy, however, as we were quickly back on the beach trying to recesitate our man parts.

When we finally got the blood flowing through our bodies, we attempted to teach Gretchens the wonderful game of "three man." The rules of 3 man are pretty simple: roll dice and, based on the number rolled, someone has to drink. The more your rolls make someone drink, you can add rules to the game. Some of the better rules created were: 1) no looking at the person you are talking to, 2) any sentance spoken must be said in the form of a question, 3) whenever you say "the" you have to bite your toe, and 4) whenever you curse, you must use oil pastels to draw on a framed canvass brought by Gretchens. The game was a bit frenetic, but all good fun.

As more people began to arrive at the house, we decided to make another bonfire and cook the shish kabobs that Mark made. So, we headed back down to the beach and saw a repeat of the first night, minus the tsunami, but with more people. When midnight hit, and it was officially Bobby's birthday, we broke out a pinata for him to go to town on. This was no ordinary pinata, though. This was a homemade replication of George Bush's head, kindly and artistically created by Gretchens and Nate. Also, as we soon discovered once Bobby cracked George's head, it was filled with candy, tiny plastic penis', bible history playing cards, and miniature liquor bottles.

As the night wore on, and the symptoms of my cold began catching up with me, I decided to call it a night at about 1 AM. Upon waking the next morning, I learned that I missed out on mime dancing, more NCI training (poor Colin woke up with a three inch long rug burn on his forehead), and karaoke while I slept. I was a little disappointed to miss out on the action, but at this point was more looking forward to going home and recupperating. And that's just what we did, leaving Rockaway as a mere memory on the beach.


Apocolyptic snow, Portland style

It seems as if Portlanders have never seen snow. The city gets a light dusting, and everything shuts down: schools, work, even the newspaper delivery (which made me miss my nightly crossword and Blazers recap, damnit!). Seriously, Tuesday saw a couple inches of snow stick to the ground and all you hear on the news is, "Winter Storm Watch, 2007," or "Rare Snow Paralyzes State." Come on, do you think the poor midwesterners or New Englanders close up shop for three months out of the year? No!

To be honest, I shouldn't be making fun, as I'm not very accustomed to the snow either (I think San Francisco gets snow once every 10 years, or something like that...the North Bay maybe gets it once every 5 years). I'll admit, driving on ice isn't very comforting, nor is waking up at six in the morning when the temperature is in the 20s and you have to scrape the ice off of your windshield. However, there are some perks.

To take advantage of the "state-paralyzing snow," I drove up to my parents' place in Amboy to play in the snow. There, I decided to make a new friend...his name was Frosty. Yes, I made a good old fashioned snowman...my first, sort of (I built one with the kids at my job the day before, but they did most of the work...and it was quickly destroyed due to their angry and aggressive impulses). It was actually kind of fun. Mike helped me lift the gigantic mid-section with his tractor, and Pork helped me decorate the face. And, to represent my beloved SF Giants, I adorned him properly in sporting attire, declaring my supreme fandom in a perfectly nerdy and obsessive manner.

Go Giants....Go 2007 Winter Storm!


Organics To You

Oh, my Goddess, I've become a crunchy hippy.

Kes and I, in the interest of eating more organic fruits and vegetables (and to become one with the Light, obviously), have signed up with Organics to You. For $25.00 every two weeks, we get a box full of the little peace-loving goodies delivered right to our doorstep. The items change every week (depending on such complexities as the season, and the world's balance of karma), and are aquired locally from organic farmers (who, I'm sure, lovingly hummed Grateful Dead tunes to the grub whilst harvesting).

A sampling of this week's scrumptous vittles:
Gala Apples
Navel Oranges
Green Peppers
Parsnips (not sure what the fuck to do with these things)
Red Potatoes
Red Leaf Lettuce (bred specifically for us Commies)

Check out the cosmic intro:
I feel closer to Vishnu than ever before, Krishna.

Let us meditate.

Welcome to Mind Control...

Well, actually it's got nothing to do with mind control. What it has everything to do with is the completion of a database detailing the personal information of every single individual living in the United States of America, and possibly the world.

Yes, I'm crazy, and yes I lose sleep over these things...

I receive a lot of junkmail, a product of my younger days when I'd sign up for anything with an address line on it in the hopes of getting more mail...not sure why, but that's irrelevant to the matter at hand. Recently, due to the fact that junkmail is more irritating than a fat child in "Princess" bootyshorts, and my recently becoming more environmentally aware (I'd rather not receive it than have to recycle it), I decided to submit several "opt-out" requests to various marketing companies around the country to stave off the landslide of credit card offers and promo-catalogues for Metamucil products (seriously). You'd think that it would be as simple as providing the advertisers with your name and address, and bam, you're off the list.


You must first call in to the marketing company's automated "opt-out" system and provide them with very detailed personal information. I gave them my name, address, previous address, phone number, social security number, driver's license number, date of birth, marital status, and employer information. "They" now had all my personal tidbits, along with an extensive voice recording, more than enough to capture the gamut of my individualized vocal inflections in order to accurately recreate my voice if deemed necessary. If you don't believe this to be possible, peep this shit out:
After all my data was collected, an automated message played, informing me that a confirmation letter would be sent to me within a week, and that it should be returned immediately upon arrival to guarantee that my name would be removed from their mailing list. The letter was received, I read over the simple form, wrote down a few requested bits of info about myself, signed the bottom, folded the letter up, popped it into an envelope, and licked it shut. Then I got to thinking about why they needed this process to be so complicated, why they needed so much personal data...not only did they they have the above mentioned personal specifics from the phone call, but now, with this "confirmation letter" they would be receiving an example of my handwriting, my signature, and my fingerprints, all along with a nice dollop of saliva for DNA purposes...that shit does last, and can be accessed at a later date:
In other words, they've got a nice little collage of Oldie, all given voluntarily, to be utilized for possibly nefarious purposes, or sold to outside parties, such as the government. My identity could be stolen, I could be framed for any crime, I could one day bump into my clone...none possibilities I'd like to realize, so I passed, throwing the "opt-out" envelope into the shredder. Better to get some junkmail than to give the State another string on which to pull this particular puppet...I'm on to you fuckers.

Sorry to expose you to my special brand of crazy...now on with our regular programming.


poetic nights

When first visiting Portland, one may find, on the surface, a town mostly inhabited by crunchy/hippy/health freaks and yuppie emo kids. While the city prides itself on being progressive and diverse, one must seek out the supposed diversity, because it isn't always easy to find. It is hard to find a music venue that doesn't mostly host emo and indie rock bands, as well as old-timey mountain jam bands.

I have no problem with these genres, but the scene gets old. It seems like the only other alternative is to go to some club downtown and immerse yourself in frat boy/sorority girl culture, surrounding yourself with guys in neatly pressed collared shirts, and girls with fake tans and short skirts. That's why last Thursday, when my friend Iese invited me to see him perform at Ohm, Oldie and I jumped on the opportunity to see some live spoken word/slam poetry and hip hop/neo soul/jazz fusion.

The club, Ohm, is tucked away in a dark corner of Old Town near the Skidmore fountain. The setting was part Southside Chicago jazz club, part beatnick San Francisco. It was a place where someone donning a slick black suit and fadora hat could sit next to someone in Adidas and a Roca Wear hoodie. On Thursdays, the club hosts poetic nights, a chance for local poets, emcees, and musicians to speak their souls to a fairly diverse crowd of 25-35 year olds. On this particular night, there was an artist rapping an ode to Tupac to a slowed down, jazzy rendition of the "To Live and Die in LA" beat; there was a woman singing neo-soul accapella, sounding as good as the likes of Jill Scott or India Arie; there were poets talking about love and war; there was even an artist, named Hussein, painting next to the stage while others performed. And then, there was Iese, also known as Seattle.

Iese was the only artist to perform without a mic. The impact of his lyrics, as well as his energy and the forcefullness of his voice, more than compensated for the lack of amplifier assistance. It was, of course, by his choice that a mic was not used. The way he saw it, only those that wanted to hear him should have to. He spoke of hip hop culture, revolution, and our repressive, corporate society. For those that were listening, he took the spotlight and shut the place down. For those that weren't listening, they missed an opportunity to be inspired. To hear some of Iese's (Seattle) work, you can check his myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/seattlethekejonamazadithe



One of the joys of living in a new city (especially a big one) is dining at new restaurants. This especially holds true for someone like me, whose life tends to revolve around food. Thus far, Portland has provided many a tasty (and affordable) places to spend my money on food.

As of late, Old, Kesia, and I have been on the breakfast circuit. The following two restaurants/cafes rank as my favorite breakfast joints: Junior's Cafe (SE 12th Ave and SE Market St.) and Beaterville (on Killingsworth in North Portland).

Junior's is a small, 1950's-style diner. The coffee is excellent, they have the best scrambles (including those without eggs for weirdos like Old), it is a mellow environment, and the waitresses know us (as evidenced by them reminding us everytime that we can't pay with credit card, and that we should know by now). It is not extraordinary, but it is down-home, a bit funky, and has a good selection of egg (or potato) scrambles. Try the Greek scramble if you like feta.

Beaterville is a new one to the list. Oldie and I just went there on Saturday. Like Junior's, it is pretty small and has an odd, back to the future feel to it. However, Beaterville has much more character, as the walls are adorned in old hubcaps from cars, rearview mirrors, and exhaust pipes. Whereas I thought "beater" had to do with eggs, it actually refers to old broken down cars. What's more, the outside tables (which protrude from the walls) are made of old car hoods and their bumbers. The menu is pretty good too. Peep it when you get a chance.

Side note: if you are hungover and crave a greasy breakfast in a less than pretentious setting, the Burger Barn is the place to be. Cheap greasy and just as good as any expensive breakfast joint. Watch out for the two old mob bosses that run the place. They're more like the Odd Couple than real mafiosos, but it's fun to pretend.


Can't sleep

This is rubbish (that's "crap" for those who don't speak British). What I'm referring to is my inability to fall asleep on most work nights. My work week runs from Sunday through Wednesday, 7am to 5pm. Because of the early mornings, I try to go to bed between 10 and 11, with the hopes of getting 7-8 hours of sleep. However, as is becoming customary, I can not fall asleep until well after my 11 bedtime. Saturday evenings are the worst, as I begin to dread the coming week and anticipate all the horrible things to come.

Due to confidentiality issues (no, I'm not a spy for the CIA), I can't name the place that I work or give any specific details about what I do. But, I can say this: I do leave work most days with a new bruise and/or cut somewhere on my body. The clients that I work with hear voices, can't always control their bowels, kick holes in walls when they get mad, and assault people when they become overly anxious. By some serious stroke of luck, I was given the job to keep these people (in a group setting) safe and create a therapeutic environment for them. Yay!

Now, a year later, and multiple injuries and verbal lashings incurred, I am at the same job and unable to sleep at night because of it. I have tried various ways to combat this problem: I tried going to bed even earlier and reading, but this just stimulates my mind too much; I've tried drinking, but I don't want my mom to think I'm an alcoholic; I've tried meditating, but it's just like trying to sleep in a sitting position; I've even tried writing blogs, but it just keeps me up longer (I knew I shouldn't have started this).

I'm at a serious loss. For real, it's starting to bug the poop out of me. The obvious answer is to quit, I know. Finding another job is the main challenge to that option, though. Being an adult sucks in that sense; you just can't up and leave a job. In the meantime, I guess I'll just bitch and whine, while playing the lotto. Oh, and if anybody has a job offer....