25 April 2009

The Moves

In honor of Qwanty's triumphant return to PDX, and in honor of Friday night, we (myself, Qwanty, her Brain Scientist, and Mikey (of the J variety) went to Shut Up and Dance, after drinks in the Cellar at Ringler's Annex. Shut up and Dance is terrific, because it is like attending a high school dance, with the following improvements: 1) alcohol, 2) no one to drag you into the hallway to cry about the fact that the boy of the week is not dancing with her (seriously, I spent three-quarters of my high school dance time consoling other girls in the hallway. The other forth was split equally between slow dancing with Chris Buzo or Jason Birch, and dancing in a circle with my girlfriends to Erasure, New Order, or Tone Loc--the music that I wouldn't miss for any crying chick in the hallway), 3) no chaperones.

Once again, while dancing to Blonde, Berlin and Cyndi Lauper, I thought about the fact that all of my moves are modified versions of things I have seen Molly Ringwald do to music in film. Seriously. If it hadn't been so packed on the dance floor, I would have done the full out leg kick dance from The Breakfast Club. The only time I don't sort of dance like Molly Ringwald is when I'm dancing to "Sweet Child of Mine", when I'm doing a modified version of the Axl Rose side-to-side slither.

It's not a great scene, but is is awful fun.

21 April 2009

Why not?

After all, it IS Jimmy's birthday. This way we can all celebrate it together:

Shout outs:

. . . to the Blazers, who, thankfully, took care of business tonight.

. . . to my brother Ryan, or Jimmy, or Rimmy (whichever you prefer) for making it to 33 and celebrating by fishing, snowboarding, kiteboarding, mountain biking, and skateboarding. All in one day. (J-Bro dubbed today "Jimmy's very extreme day") He also did it all wearing a Breakin' tee.

. . . to the interwebs for providing me with this recipe, which, halved, cooked in a loaf pan and topped with chocolate ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream, made a very serviceable birthday cake for said brother.

. . . to Jim Rome for making me laugh out loud by talking about KG's bench antics. Seriously, that is some funny shit.

. . .to Qwanty for bringing the Brain Scientist and her sweet self to PDX tomorrow. Here's to our old haunts and to reconnecting with people we haven't seen in a long time. And to Black Butte Porter and Grilled Cheese Deluxe and DJ Greg. It's going to be super fun to have you here, K-dot!

20 April 2009

Rite of Passage

On Saturday morning my 4-year-old niece left a message on my phone, but I couldn't quite make out its purpose. I tried calling back and didn't get her.

As it turns out, it wasn't necessary because later that afternoon she burst into the house yelling, "Auntie K, Auntie K! Come here! Auntie K!" When I walked into the room she excitedly kicked her leg up as far it would go so she could show off her new pink Converse. It is her first pair. She was all anxious to tell me about them, because she knows that I have several pair myself (6 currently, although 3 are still in Tejas--including my own pink ones). Even more terrifically awesome, she was wearing Hello Kitty socks with her pink Cons.

I couldn't be more proud.

(Sadly, in addition to great fashion sense, Ells and I also have in common giant, giant feet. These were a size 9, which, if you know kids' shoes at all, is a fairly remarkable size for a just-turned-4-year-old girl to wear.)

19 April 2009

Losing It

Portland thinks she's Austin this week. It was in the upper 70s today, and will be tomorrow as well. I have my bedroom windows wide open in hopes that it will cool down enough so I can sleep, and the frogs are really active tonight, which means that I'll have to eventually close the window so that I can block out some of their amorous noises. I finally saw one, and it wasn't even 2 inches long, which makes the gigantic noise they make all the more strange.

This is an unseasonable reminder that summer is just a few months away, and as I listened to the sounds of people doing yard work, and kids playing outside today, it suddenly remembered the 4th of July. I don't mean that I had a memory of a particular 4th of July. I mean, I remembered that such a thing exists. I had completely forgotten all about it.

That's a weird thing to totally forget about.

16 April 2009

Listening in the Sweet Spot

So, yesterday I was driving to the 'Couve for work and the Red Hot Chili Pepper's song "Scar Tissue" came on the radio. I have this weird thing about that band. There is something about the sound--and I think that it is the interplay between Anthony Kiedis's voice and Flea's bass--in particular I think it is the fact that they are both so melodic. Which is not a weird thing to say about someone's voice, but maybe is a weird thing to say about bass lines. Anyway, my point is this. Listening to the song, I started thinking about the musical sweet spot.

I assume that everyone has one. But perhaps you call it something else. Let me illustrate: one of my best guy friends in high school (I won't out him, but Qwanty can probably guess) had this thing about being touched on his neck. He had a very immediate and rather pronounced response to being touched there. (Although I'm not sure how exactly it manifested itself, and I don't think I want to think about it much.) But he would literally jump up and thunder, "DON'T TOUCH ME THERE! YOU KNOW NOT TO TOUCH ME THERE!" when someone did it. Bear in mind that, in those days, I was often in situations that necessitated me sitting behind him (on bleachers at football or basketball games, in the backseat of the car while he was driving), and I did know better than to touch him there, but it was just so tempting . . . Anyway, it was a sweet spot.

Or, if another illustration is needed: you might think about when you scratch an itch exactly at its origin. You have that sense of relief and pleasure all at once. It's a sweet spot.

There is certain music that scratches the itch, or hits the sweet spot, aurally. These are sounds that sort of cause a wave of pleasure (and get your mind out of the gutter--this is not a sexual kind of pleasure. It is altogether different.) and a sort of feeling of goodwill. It's music that sounds like it is perfectly scratching some invisible itch in your ear--an itch you didn't even know you had.

I get this same feeling when I hear:

Any of Jeff Buckley's recordings

Post-Soundgarden Chris Cornell

When Michael Stipe sings backing vocals (like on the Indigo Girls's "Kid Fears" or "Tried to be True" or on the live recording of "Love is All Around" from REM's Unplugged episode)

Ditto for Natalie Merchant (as on "Way Over Yonder . . . " from the first Mermaid Ave. album)

Also, Thom Yorke (on PJ Harvey's "The Mess We're In"--a song I absolutely LOVE, or on some Bjork tracks)

There are basically two categories here. The first is guys who have voices like "pissed off angels" (Kiedis, Cornell, Buckley).* They all have sort of gorgeous and smooth voices with an edge. The other category is made up of people who have voices that I tend to find a little too much when they are singing lead, but absolutely perfect in very small doses.

*I can't take credit for the "voice of a pissed off angel" thing. This actually comes from some guy who has a Clockhammer fan site and used that phrase to describe Byron's voice. I actually don't know if I agree with it being applied to the Byronic Hero--although it's hard to say, since I never heard him sing live.

06 April 2009

Anxious Dreaming

You know that super common dream? The one in which your teeth fall out, or crumble in your mouth, or suddenly become crooked? "Experts" interpret that dream (which occurs across cultures) as either being about a sense of powerlessness (assuming that teeth are a symbol of power) or about some sort of public embarrassment or shame. I have the teeth crumbling dream rather often, and, to me, it just seems similar to all of the other anxiety dreams I have. (Because, in terms of dreams I tend to remember, there are only 2 categories: anxiety dreams and wish fulfillment dreams.)

Anyway, the other night I had a dream which I thought seemed like a variation on the tooth dream. I was driving my car and I very lightly bumped something--like maybe the branches of a tree. I then got out of the car to check the hood, and I noticed that this very slight contact had taken off a bunch of paint. I reached down to touch it and paint started flaking off into my hand--although it wasn't really flaking, because the paint seemed very thick, and almost wet. So it sort of came off in clumps.

The feeling was exactly the same feeling I have in the tooth dream though--that things around me are disintegrating, or decaying. I feel an overwhelming things-will-never-be-right-again feeling.