Rapture Rhapsody

Though the situation in which this originally came up in discussion has since been lost to the fog of an old man's memory, I thought I'd share the eternally cheerful lyrics of a fundamentalist rapture tune that my father used to urge his Christian flock to sing. Anyone who knows my Pops now would be hard pressed to imagine him as a preacher man, but indeed he was...creepy aviator glasses that would have made David Koresh proud, creased/dog-eared/note-filled black leather Bible, Serpico-style bushy black beard, and the myriad other trappings of a crazed Sin-Saver. Sometimes for a good laugh, I picture him once again dressed up like this, frantically belting out this heart-warming song:

I Wish We'd all Been Ready

Life was filled with guns and war
and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready

Children died the day grew cold
a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed she hears a noise
and turns her head he's gone
I wish we'd all been ready

Two men walking up a hill one disappears and
one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

Life was filled with guns and war
and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready

Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind
The father spoke the demons dined
The Son has come and you've been left behind.

Almost makes me want to start going back to church to get my fear on.


Everyone needs a kiddie pool

With the longest day of the year just behind us, we are officially in summer. Although that just means Portlanders can now expect approximately 12 days of sun before the 10-month winter rains begin again, it is still time to rejoice. And what better way to celebrate than to risk skin cancer and soak in some Vitamin D (it cures colon cancer...I just read it in the paper).

On a recent weekend in which temperatures soared into the 90s for two full days (that takes care of 30% of our allotted sun for the year), Syd and I did our best to fully energize our solar plexes. It was a two-day adventure that resulted in 12th degree burns, near fatal traffic mishaps, and a lot of cursing (ironically, wishing the rain would just come back). I'll explain all of this in depth below.

Day one:
Syd and I went to Freddy's, where we realized all of our shopping dreams. We bought a cooler (for beer to dehydrate us, and water to rehydrate us), a whiffle ball and bat, a hacky sack, a tennis ball with accompanying velcro mitts, beach towels, and some snacks. After navigating through the hordes of people who also take great pleasure in shopping at Fred Meyer, we set off for Sauvie Island. For those not familiar with Sauvie Island, it is an oasis just outside the city. Indeed, it is an island, mostly inhabited by hippy farmers, but also home to some great country scenery, as well as small beaches. After getting lost in some farmland, Syd and I finally found a beach. We parked, sans permit (we wrote a note for the rangers, informing them we didn't know where to purchase them), and took our goods to the sandy shore. Because of the heat, and mostly due to my sweet, sensitive Irish skin, we were pretty diligent about applying sun screen...sort of. Somehow I managed to protect my back, shoulders, face, neck, and legs with lotion, but I forgot to apply sunscreen to my stomach, chest, feet, and the top of my hands. I didn't realize this was a problem, though, because Syd and I were too occupied playing catch with our velcro mitts and forming our own floater mob gang (simply done by getting enough people in the water on floaty devices...however, they must display certain carefree, gypsy-esque, and slight pirate qualities). By the time we got done picnicking, playing with our various novelties, doing a crossword, playing in the cold water (Syd discretely warmed the water with her pee...thanks, babe), and despising the growing crowds, I noticed a sharp pain on my hands, feet, and front torso. I also noticed a curious and alarming change in color on my skin. What's more, this new, red coloring on my skin had finger prints, marking where I had applied sunscreen to the rest of my body, but leaving a vulnerable void on the other half. Yes folks, I was burned. Syd managed to escape the sun's wrath because, for one, her pigment allows her to tan and, secondly, she was smart enough to put sunscreen all over her body. While our field trip to the Island of Sauvie was an enjoyable one, I'm still debating whether the weeks of snowing dead skin from my chest and stomach was worth it. Oh well....lesson learned.

Day two: After sufficiently frying my skin and over-energizing our solar plexes the day before, we needed a down day. Even though I was in extreme pain, and not able to completely stretch out my body for fear my skin would rip off, I still felt the need to enjoy the sun. That was before 11 am, though, when the heat was still fairly tolerable. By noon, we were at a loss for an escape route from the sun. Our apartment was bloody hot, and if we went outside, we would have melted; also, I could not handle going to a movie or the mall, despite the temptation of their air conditioners. After cursing the heat for an hour or so, and realizing we were close to getting so grumpy we would soon start kick-boxing each other, we had to do something. Gelatto sounded good and refreshing, so we took off to NE 28th Avenue and hit up Stecatto Gelatto. After devouring our faux-Itallian treats, we drove to a forested park, where we thought we'd be able to nap in the shade. However, even the 90 degree shade was untolerable, so, thanks to Syd's brilliant idea, we went to Fred Meyer to find what they had to offer for alternatives to heat stroke. Syd bought us a kiddie pool without any hesitation. In our immediate fulfillment, we didn't realize that this thing was too big to put in the back seat of her car, nor did we have any way of tying it down. So, as we lugged the hard plastic shell through the parking lot, we discussed what would be the best way to get it home. In our infinite wisdom, we figured we could just put the pool on top of the car, roll the windows down, and each grab a side to hold it down. And that's what we did. With the hard shell on top, now making the car look like a turtle, we drove up 39th Avenue to our street, barely making it home without causing some traffic snafu. Without delay, we placed the pool on the lawn behind our apartment complex, filled it up with water, grabbed a couple beers, and hopped in. And how joyous it was. It didn't matter that we looked liked a couple go-tards hanging out in a kiddie pool outside of an apartment complex, for we found refuge from the heat. I would seriously recommend you all go out and get one yourselves.

On both of these hot days, we were able to stay out late and enjoy the clear skies and cooler weather at night. To make ourselves look even nerdier, we camped outside the apartment complex at night and looked for UFOs. We didn't see any, but we did see bumbs scuffle by, as they collected bottles and cans from our dumpster. This was enough to take the party inside, ending our first weekend of summer fun.


Holding it Down in the Stump

My brother Dan (aka MC Roofless, one half of the world-renowned Weapons of Mic Destruction) rolled through the City of Roses a few weeks back, fresh off a trip to Seattletown, fiance Marie and friend Colleen in tow. It was Marie's first time in the Stump, so we had to hit the streets hard, embarking on a non-stop whirlwind tour of all the city has to offer...after thinking of all the shit we did and jotting down some infamous "Old's Notes" (keep an eye out for scanned copies in a future blog post), I realized only a literary genius or someone with untold hours of leisure time could squeeze a detailed and descriptive narrative out of this mess of an activity list. Instead, I'll simply reproduce the list below, in full, and add a few colorful bits of commentary wherever I deem necessary...

Their week in Bridgetown in no particular chronological order:

-Hotel Monaco...Colleen works for this chain of hotels and was able to put Dan and Marie up for mere pennies. Though not much time was spent here, we did appreciate the French/Arabic/Northwest vibe and the free wine/beer/martini/massage/canvas painting-filled happy hour. The owner of Voodoo Doughnuts was also on hand, setting up shop next to the booze, handing out freebies (There is a God!). Of course, we both grabbed a Bacon Maple bar, the equivalent of a complete breakfast in each bite. "I recommend a BM a day," he spake. We concur, good friend.

-Chin Yen...the best goddamn Chinese food in Portland. But really, the green tea is extra? Seriously? That's like paying for hot sauce at a taqueria; it just isn't done.

-Stumptown Coffee..."and on the eighth morning, the Lord figured he'd like the most delicious cup o' joe, and he created Stumptown." Genesis 1:29.

-Costello's Travel Cafe...euro vibe, good coffee, good enough.

-Kes and I found out we're having a boy. We've named him Jasper. He already hates us for it. Hey, it's better than Sue.

-Staccatto Gelatto...the tasty flavors of ice cream's cousin sure hit the spot on a very warm day, one of four we're likely to have all year.

-Columbia Gorge...we made a day out of this, motoring up into the hills on the old Colombia River Highway, stopping at the Crown Point overlook, Latourell (my personal favorite), Upper Horsetail and Multnomah Falls (second tallest in the States). We attempted to get arrested at the Bonneville Dam, and admired the whale-sized sturgeon guarding the fish hatchery.

-Stood by helplessly as Dan purchased a Bluetooth Cyborg Cochlear Implant for Marie. I now officially hate her and Dan for populating this earth with one more of those pieces of Mongoloid Machinery.

-Marinepolis Sushi Land...cheap sushi, cheap tempura, cheap sake, FREE green tea...Haaaaii!!!

-Citybikes...great bike repair/parts shop. Unfortunately, they don't sell bikes, losing out on a few hundred bucks from my wallet. Dan tried to become an apprentice mechanic, but they sneered at him to get the fuck out.

-Upper Playground...Frisco-based T-shirt shop/art gallery (did anyone see the wonderful Usugrow show?...it was off the chain-link fence). I recently purchased a mock Sesame Street shirt, that reps our local Couch (that's Cooch, for you's not knowin') Street, featuring the show's cast swigging Old E and smoking crack pipes. Got to be a role model for the baby boy, right?

-Crema...my favorite coffee joint, serving Stumptown and homemade nuggets of pure delight. The kalamata olive bread is not to be slept on.

-Pioneer Courthouse Square...checked out the Festival of Flowers. An interesting enough temporary addition to the city's living room.

-Laurelhurst Park...our very own mini-Central Park. Met up with my homie Robinson Crusoe the Raccoon. He looked so lonely, I just wanted to swim out to his island and rescue the poor little mammalian castaway.

-Kes took Dan to the Saturday Market, the Hollywood Farmer's Market, and a HOST housing fair (where we might be purchasing a house...maybe?) while I wasted away at work, taxiing monkeys around at ZooDooLand.

-Checked out the new "hydro park" in the Sabin neighborhood up the street...not worth the hike, but we were dizzy drunk and just happy to be moving. Unfortunately, our Speedo swimwear was completely unnecessary, as Raging Waters this was not. We did take a dip in the drinking fountain to cool off.

-The Italian Joint...waxed nostalgic about about our homeland while guzzling olive oil and hearty mountains of pasta. I love this place, but the prices are starting to get out of hand. Chalk it up to the rising cost of oil and food, I s'pose.

-Buffalo Exchange...bought a gently used suit for 20 bucks. No complaints.

-Multnomah County Library...discussed religion and philosophy with a trio of homeless heroin junkies while slurping Tom Kah Gai from my favorite Thai food cart. Obviously, my library is better than yours.

-Cellar Bar at Ringler's Annex...this French Resistance hideout/speakeasy is such a great place to drink McMenamin's shitty beer. At least Tony wasn't lurking about this time, smashing bathroom mirrors and acting all Armenian.

-Crystal Ballroom...I dragged the gang along to a fundraiser for music programs in Portland Public Schools. We were the only folks in the house over 18 (I'm not even going to elaborate on the irony of this). The initial acts (Typhoon, Shaky Hands, Y.A.C.H.T.) didn't win my companions over, but I managed to quell their budding rebellion and feel they enjoyed the second half of the show much better, nodding their wee little hip hop heads to the likes of State of Mind, Gray Matters, Sandpeople, and the unfuckwittable Blue Scholars. Is it just me or are these two cats the best act in the Northwest right now? Left right left/goes the pendulum...

-Powell's City of Books...this place is to bibliophiles what Mecca is to Muslims.

-Broadway Bar & Grill...I've been avoiding this place since it opened, believing it to be another yuppified den of over-priced food and drink on Broadway, and I can't say that I was far from the mark. The food was average and expensive, while the beer (organic, Old Market brew) was fairly hit or miss. However, we did order the sampler, and unsurprisingly, left the place feeling contentedly faded.

-Oregon Zoo...I was obligated to take them on a free tour of ZooDooLand. Unfortunately for Dan's-sake, there was nary a self-fellating critter to be seen. Next time, bud.

-Blue Nile...50lbs of Ethiopian food (an oxymoron right?) for $30. My kind of math. Not my kind of bowel movement, however.

-Ole Ole...best tacos in the Stump that don't come from a cart (that'd be the one on 122nd and Powell, in case you're wondering).

-Doug Fir Lounge...one of the best happy hours in the city, but a bit too hip (I'll put it this way...you'll feel guilty for not owning skinny pants and for showing up without prolific and "dangerous" neck tattoos) and much too crowded of late.

-Hollywood Burger Bar...the mother of all greasy spoons, this place has nothing but character going for it. Unfortunately, there was some gimpy children's parade and they were only doing a limited take-out menu. Next time, Dan.

-Voodoo Doughnut...hit up the SW original and the second location in NE. Same great fried dough, but not sure how their new "World HQ" is going to survive with almost no signage and very little visibility from Sandy Blvd. It was like the apocalypse when we visited. Empty school-desks in an empty room, our voices echoed in the dilapidated cavernous interior, and the only thing moving were the flies.

-Kennedy School...drank a pitcher of suds and for 3 bucks watched In Bruges, a surprisingly excellent film about midgets, dead kids, and Irish assassins. What's not to like?

-St. John's Twin Cinema...fulfilled what felt like 400 years of longing by finally witnessing a new Indiana Jones (and the Crystal Skull? Yuck.) film. Certainly ranks with the Temple of Doom in general crappiness, but this is our childhood, and damn it, we loved every second of it. Spoiler Alert: Watch for the aliens.

-Farm Cafe...the best burger in town, and it's a veggie burger. How very Portland.

-Ground Kontrol...while walking into this gamer's wet dream, we alternated between telling a British couple to "Feck off" and pissing our pants in the presence of one of the creepiest mental hospital escapees known to man. Swooping around like a bird, groaning profanities, and swinging a 12-foot rusty sword, this guy was ready to play some Qbert, but the doorman surprisingly blocked him from entering. We, on the other hand, stormed in, swilled Pabst, and beat The Simpsons on $2 worth of sweaty quarters.

-Of course, no trip to Portland is complete without a night at the Steel Bridge, where we inhaled a cheap six-pack of brewski and drifted away on the melodic tunage emanating from the infamous Boombox.

-Finally, somehow we also managed to squeeze in half a season of The Soprano's, a few hours of video games, a few test drives on my new hookah, and an awesome new art project that I'll be unveiling in a future post. Let's just say dragons and barbarians are involved.

Until next time, keep it soo fucking rell, Danny-boyo (& company, of course)...

Soap Moguls Back In This Mother Bee-Eye-Itch

Put your orders in, suckas. Oldie and I are again attacking the soap market. Fresh bars of lemongrass delight, with an added dash of crushed pear seed to exfoliate your gentle exoderms, are now available at the bargain price of $3.00 per bar (actually, I think Old and I set the price at 2 bucks, but my beautiful sales rep and wifey, Syd Vicious, hiked the price up to speed up our retirement). They're selling like hot cakes, so act quick ya'll.

You can email orders to stumptownsuds@gmail.com, or, since we've forgotten our log in and password for that account, you can leave a comment here with your requests.

Word to the mother.....


A Necessary Clarification

Coming home from work today, bone-weary and sleep-deprived from my sixth straight shift in ZooDooLand (and still have four more to go before a day off...groan), I finally managed to crack open the ol' email account. Not having checked the blog for several days, I was quite surprised to see that I had dozens of vitriolic messages, berating Jeff and I for going soft, for turning the blog into a poster child for the Cute Revolution, for even thinking about discussing such subjects as love and girlfriends and babies.

Please...let me apologize on behalf of both Jeff and myself for this extreme oversight. We'll try not to let it happen again. This blog will attempt to maintain its hard-earned street cred by once more bringing it to you dirty and drunk like you've come to expect.

Fear not, we're still the same folks who wouldn't hesitate to put a blind autistic retard in a headlock. In fact, by the time you read this, the invitations to Kes and I's long-anticipated Afterbirth BBQ will be en route via snail mail (look for them by the end of the week, with all the usual info such as location, date, time, and types of spices to bring to the Placenta Potluck). Yes, we roll like that.

Thanks for bearing with us during our hour of darkness.


In other news, a baby was born with a penis on its back. Makes you think twice about accepting when someone offers a piggyback ride or asks if you want to play horsey, doesn't it?


The Move

As I mentioned in my lengthy apology below, part of the reason I've been absent on this blog is because I recently moved and was without internet for a while. In the spirit of keeping the blog alive, as well as to keep our readers up to date on our lives, I thought I'd share "The Move."

Prior to moving, Syd and I had been living out of a room in an apartment I shared with another person. While the apartment was fairly nice, it didn't feel like ours, so we often confined ourselves to the 12x12 box upstairs, which quickly transformed into a big pile of clothes with a bed in the middle. After living like this for a few months, Syd and I made the decision to get our own place together.

After talking about it for a couple weeks, we finally got a list of vacant apartments and made an effort to view them. On our first day of looking, just before quitting due to being discouraged by what we had seen so far, we stumbled across a complex just off of Belmont. These apartments weren't on our "to see" list, but because it was listed in an apartment guide, and we were in the neighborhood, we figured it couldn't hurt to check them out. So instead of driving by, ready to go wallow in our sorrows at my roommates, we stopped and went to the manager's office. Unfortunately, nothing was available...or so we thought. The manager initially told us there were no vacant apartments, but after warming up to us and being infected by our cham, she decided to let us know about an apartment that could "possibly" be open upstairs. Apparently she didn't particularly like the prior applicants, so she showed us the apartment and urged us to fill out an application. We did, and within a couple hours, we were on the fast track.

Although the manager made it obvious she wanted us (actually, it was as if she hand-selected us), her aloof nature resulted in a somewhat delayed acceptance, as she forgot to push the application and call us back as soon as she had promised. After a few days of anxiously waiting (we even called once and it seemed like she didn't know who we were), Syd and I almost began to give up. Then...while we were at work, I got the call (we gave the lady Syd's number, so we both expected her to get the call). I walked on to the unit that Syd was working on and told her we had to take a drive. This was a surprise to Syd because, although she was just about to get off, I still had a few more hours left on my shift. She asked what I was talking about, and I told her we got the apartment. She lost it and pranced around the unit, doing a gypsy dance in front of her kids and coworkers. Apparently she was excited.

The deal was sealed, and Syd and I had our own place. I left work to sign papers and get a few essentials from my old apartment. However, because we were in the middle of our work week, and planning to go to San Francisco within the next week, we were unable to move much furniture into the place for a couple weeks. This, coupled with the fact we didn't have a big enough vehicle, we went without a bed for a while. So in the meantime, we camped in the living room on a pile of blankets. Although not the most comfortable, it was an kinda fun.

The apartment is located in a great part of town, not too far from restaurants, bars and shopping. But, despite being so close to the amenities, it is surprisingly quiet. We have a big courtyard that gets a lot of sun and has already been witness to some outdoor napping, a whiffle ball game and some kiddie-pool parties.

It took time, but we eventually started to make it home over the next couple months. We did a lot of price comparing at different stores (we loved City Liquidators, but "no fault Walt" just didn't have the right pieces of furniture) and eventually settled on furniture from IKEA, where we bought a desk (Syd put it together), couch, coffee table, bookshelf (actually, Syd bought this at Target), and one of the those shaded balls that you put a light bulb in and hang from the ceiling (yes, I know that's not the most articulate description, but what do you call them?). Now, after nearly three months in the apartment, we are finally feeling like it's home.

We recently had our first guests over for dinner (Syd made a bomb meal and was quite the wifey), and have also hung pictures on the wall. We even have dry erase boards to remind us of bills and chores to do (actually, we just write love notes and obscenities on them). And yes, we have internet (however, no cable...instead of watching TV, we play rummy and Jenga). Aside from having a nice space to live in, though, the experience has been great. A lot of people told us we should wait, fearing living together would be a burden to our relationship. However, it has turned out for the best...even better than I could have expected. Basically, I get to have a slumber party every night with the woman I love. It doesn't get much better than that.


The Ancient Potato Eaters Win

How appropriate.

The tied-winners of our most recent poll (asking what your 40 ounce malt liquor of choice is) run parallel with Jeff and I's cultural backgrounds. He's a leprechaun-faced, fuck-the-Brits, Once-obsessed, Mickey's-drinking Irish folker. I'm a rambling, geezer-toothed, shitty-diapered, wisdom-spitting Old English head. And apparently, our audience is split right down the middle, each giving props to their respective chilled bottles at a hefty 37% a piece.

-Tied at second with 12% of the vote each, we have our old standbys, Steel Reserve aka "211% Stronger" and St. "Crooked Letter" Ides. We've spent many a night together with these frothy dames.

-Unfortunately for the rest of our contestants, they each pulled in a whopping 0% of the thousands (or was that 8?) of votes received. The failures: "Hide from the Cops" Camo; Country Club, the Gentleman's Choice; Fake 40s (filled with watery swill, i.e. Coors); Some other equally tasty IQ depleter...not with this crowd; here we respect our elders and the wee-little peoples.

And what do our lucky winners receive? A trip to 40oz Heaven:


Final Push

Here it is, folks; our last concerted effort to revitalize the blog. Oldie and I have been seriously slacking for the last six months. I'm mostly to blame, as I've been without internet for the last few months, and prior to that was caught up in the beginning stages of being in love. Well, I now have internet and, while still being in love, am finding more time to catch up with my literary pursuits.

So, for our readers (if there are any more out there), we'd like to fill you in to our game plan. Oldie and I have given ourselves two months to prove to ourselves that we can re-capture our passion for blogging. If we can average about 10 posts per month through August (when Old has to start preparing for fatherhood), then we will continue with "Tales From the Stump." If we do not meet this goal, then our once revered blog will be no longer.

In the next two months, please visit the blog and leave as many comments as possible. This will let us know that people are indeed still reading our ramblings. Also, it will give you a chance to provide feedback in the way of suggestions, thus letting us know if we should continue and, if so, what kind of changes we should consider making.

Alright bombaclots, stay posted. We're back with a vengence...at least for the next two months. Keep it pimpish.....