24 June 2009

The People in Your Neighborhood

One of the best things about living in a city like Portland for almost your whole life is that there are people all over the city that become part of your living community, just by virtue of the fact that they too live and work in the city. There are many places I can go and see the same faces that I've seen there for years--some of the booksellers at Powell's (especially Hawthorne, but downtown too). Barisitas like super hot Corey (that's big M to you, Qwanty) who works at Stumptown, but worked at Common Grounds for years. DJs--especially the kind who spin 80s tunes and favor velvet pants. Bartenders like Kip and BLT. Or regulars like the guys at BOG (including the artist otherwise known as Justin, of the painting of the girl with tiny hands).

One of my favorite neighborhood people, though, is Ivy. Ivy works at Arvey's Office supplies on Grand. I have long preferred to service my considerable office supply habit at Arvey's rather than at one of the huge suburban chain stores, and Ivy is one of the big reasons. She's very cool--always smiling, always sporting some arty jewelry, always quick with the small talk, or compliments, or catalogs for special orders. She has been at the front register at Arvey's ever since I started going there, which was not long after I started driving. To me, she's a one-woman institution.

Today I stopped in to pick up some of the black pens I like and I got into her line to check out. She mentioned, as she was ringing up my purchase, that she was retiring at the end of this week. She's going to devote herself to relaxing and making art. This is awesome for Ivy, because I'm sure that she totally deserves to spend time doing something that makes her really happy. This is much less awesome for Ivy's longtime customers, for whom shopping at Arvey's is not going to be quite the same anymore.

09 June 2009

"Did you see THAT?"

Lest someone should beat me to it---

On Friday night, Mikey J. encouraged me to see The Hangover with him. The motivation, for me, was not the film, which I was not AT ALL interested in. Rather, it was the opportunity of spending time with Mike, and the very real possibility that I could talk him into a drink or two after. My expectations actually sank when we got into the theatre, where we were surrounded by 110 guys in their 20s and 30s, all of whom clearly failed out of college because they were more committed to their frat houses than their relatively undemanding state school course schedules. But Mike said to stick it out. He said that this was JUST the audience we wanted to see this film with. He told me, with glee, that THIS was going to be a really funny movie.

Oh boy, was he right.

Now, before I talk about this movie, I want to make it clear that my conscience will not allow me to actually recommend this film to anyone. Instead, I can only tell you my experience of it. Make of this what you will:

I have only one other time ever had the feeling I had when I walked out of the theatre after this film. Remember Sin City? When I left that film, I felt shell shocked. I had been completely assaulted by violence. I couldn't tell you why that film seemed overwhelming violent to me (although I have a few ideas, which I would tell you over a beer, if you asked). But I remember feeling exhausted after it, and like I could NEVER see another film with any violence ever again.

I never could have thought that I could be equally assaulted by comedy. But I was. In this film.

There was a point in the film (and I won't tell you what that point was, so as to avoid any spoilers), when I started laughing uncontrollably and didn't stop until at least 5 minutes into the next scene. I thought I was going to be sick. It wasn't so much that the scene itself was so funny--it was more that so much horrible, horrible comedy had been heaped upon me up to that point that I lost it. And by "it" I mean both reason and control.

Don't get me wrong. I was completely offended. Particularly by one scene that actually involves a baby and physical humor. (You know, the lowest form of humor--Marx Bros humor. Where you watch someone get hurt and then laugh. But A BABY gets hurt. A BABY, people.) I did not laugh at his. I was shocked and amazed.

And yet.

I don't know.

It was still funny. Funnier than anything else I can remember. Funny, people.

To add insult to injury, this film actually has sort of a smart narrative structure, and a particularly pleasing gimmick ending--an ending, which, by the way, had me wondering what a film has to do these days to be given an X rating. Because, friends, this is not your parents' R-rated movie. (Thanks to you, Kevin Smith, for taking on the MPAA--twice--and helping to almost single-handedly assure that male full frontal will be de rigueur in dude comedies for the foreseeable future.)

I know that this is not a very detailed discussion, but I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone. Should anyone choose to see this film. Which I'm not recommending. But if you do, call me. We'll compare notes.

05 June 2009

Update on My Viewing Practices

Last night, when I couldn't do anything, due to the fact that I am having some fairly major allergy-related breathing problems, I watched a few more episodes of The Wire. Since several of you seem interested, here are some thoughts (keep in mind that I am watching the second half of the second season:*

1. Ziggy and the duck. That is just sort of horrible and depressing.

2. I am noticing the soundrack more this season than in the first. I especially love the use of the Pogues in that scene where McNulty is doing some drunk driving. Terrific. It might have been in the same episode with Prez listening to Johnny Cash. (For the record, Prez is one of my favorite characters.)

3. Speaking of the Nult: I don't know that I think that the guy (and by "the guy" I mean the actor, but I ALSO mean the character) is that hot, but he consistently has very hot-looking sex. With lots of different women. The show does a good job of choreographing sex in general.

4. Brother Mouzone scares the bejeezus out of me. I find it particularly impressive that he makes his henchmen carry his books for him. THAT is evil genius.

*If'n you are not interested, or don't care about The Wire feel free to skip this posting.

01 June 2009

Lazy Posting

Facebook is stupid, and these quizzes are stupid, but I've not been very good about adding content, so I'm going to be lazy and self-indulgent and provide you with all kinds of unnecessary information about me. (Someone I know just posted this on his facebook page, and I actually learned a lot about him.)

1) Are your parents married or divorced?

As most of you know, Bruce and the Kare-Bear (otherwise known as "grammie and pal") are an institution.

2) Are you a vegetarian?
Yes. But I eat fish.

3) Do you believe in Heaven?
I have a very hard time "believing" in things I can't see. But I often think that other people might be right in thinking that it exists.

4) Have you ever come close to dying?
No. I avoid all risk, at all costs, all the time.

5) What jewelry do you wear?
A claddagh ring that I bought in Ireland in 1998. A variety of necklaces, most of time. I have a big collection of bracelets, mostly very cheap. I have 2 holes in each ear, but I wear earrings rarely.

6) Favorite time of day?

Sundown. Best light of the day.

7) Do you eat the stems of broccoli?

Peeled, sliced and steamed (lightly) with florets. A little tiny bit of butter and a lot of lemon.

8) Do you wear makeup?
Ha! No. This is how I maintain a good complexion.

9) Ever have plastic surgery?

Also no.

10) Do you color your hair?
I only have once. It was black. But like with so many other things, it was waaaay too much upkeep for me.

11) What do you wear to bed?
It actually varies widely. But usually whatever is closest to bed.

12) Have you ever done anything illegal?
Violate copyright. Otherwise, nothing I can think of. I am very law-abiding.

13) Can you roll your tongue?
Yes. But both my parents claim that they can't, which I believe is not genetically possible. Oh wait. Is this roll your tongue or fold it? I can fold it.

14) Do you tweeze your eyebrows?
Um. Yes. You would know if I didn't.

15) What kind of sneakers?

Nikes. They are the only ones that fit right. Do Converse count as sneakers? If so, I wear a lot of those.

16) Do you believe in Abortions?

This is a stupid question. They exist. This is not a matter of belief.

17) What is your hair color?
Mousy brown.

18) Future child's name?
I have tons of names I like. But the front runners are Maxwell for a boy, and Harlowe (nicknamed "Lolly" or "Lo") for a girl. I also like boy names that are last-names-as-first names, and the names of the Roman empresses--particularly Octavia and Livia.

19) Do you snore?
I make all kinds of noises while I sleep. I moan a lot. It is very embarrassing.

20) If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?
London is my favorite place to visit. But right now I'm most interested in Spain.

21) Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
Um. I'm not going to say never.

22) If you won the lottery?
I don't know. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about things that are not likely to happen.

23) Gold or silver?


24) Hamburger or hot dog?

25) If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?


26) City, beach or country?

Why choose?

27) What was the last thing you touched?

Also stupid. Clearly the keyboard.

28) Where did you eat last?
Chocolate cat cookies from Trader Joes, in bed.

29) When's the last time you cried?

I don't remember. Sometime in the last week, I'm sure. Not many weeks go by when I don't cry.

30) Do you read blogs?
Oh, this makes me look so lame, since I write one. But mostly no.

31) Would you ever go out dressed like the opposite sex?
I was a lumberjack for Halloween when I was 8.

32) Ever been involved with the police?
Ugh. What does this mean? I talked to a police officer recently because I witnessed a crash. But I don't break laws and I have never dated anyone in law enforcement.

33) What's your favorite shampoo, conditioner and soap?

Shampoo: Shampure from Aveda (the cult of Aveda is strong). I don't tend to use conditioner, it makes my hair too oily. I like Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap and the soap for guys made by Burt's Bees. (In general I am a sucker for "product.")

34) Do you talk in your sleep?

I have been known to.

35) Ocean or pool?

Pool. But I just love being in the water, generally.

36) What's your favorite song at the moment?

"Every Me Every You" Placebo

37) What is your favorite color(s)?

Black. Since I was little.

39) Ever met anyone famous?


40) Do you feel that you've had a truly successful life?
This is not the time for that sort of introspection.

41) Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?

Twirl on my fork. But I think spaghetti is a pain in the ass. I prefer shaped pasta.

42) Ricki Lake or Oprah?

As many of you know, I believe Oprah might be the anti-Christ come to earth.

43) Basketball or Football?

To watch? To play? To date? This question is way to vague.

44) How long do your showers last?

10 minutes? Or maybe 8.

45) Automatic or do you drive a stick?

I can't drive a stick. My dad tried to teach me. It didn't go well.

46) Cake or ice cream?


47) Are you self-conscious?
Everyone is about something, right? For me, only about very specific things.

48) Have you ever drank so much you threw up?

Only once because of volume.

49) Have you ever given money to a tramp?

Who wrote this? Tramp? A loose woman? Or a guy who rides the rails. No. No to both.

50) Have you been in love?


51) Where do you wish you were?
The chalet.

52) Are you wearing socks?
No. It is hot out.

53) Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?


54) Can you tango?

I could if someone taught me to. I pick up dances easily, usually.

55) Last gift you received?

Oh! This is fun! My dad bought me a new stapler because I was complaining about it here on the Make-Ready.

56) Last sport you played?
Sport? Like with other people? No.

57) Things you spend a lot of money on?

Coffee. Office supplies.

58) Where do you live?
Well, right now, not in my house. No one lives there, and that is sad.

59) Where were you born?

In Portland. I'm a native.

60) Last wedding attended?

Gosh, I actually don't remember.

61) Favorite Drink?
Right now--vodka soda with extra lime. Or Blue Moon. Or Pinot Gris. But I like lots and lots of other drinks. It always goes in cycles. I get really into one thing and drink it all the time. This winter it was the hot toddy. But that was because I was so sick for so long.

62) What'd you do last weekend?

Saw friends from out of town (yay Felisa! yay Leah!), made party food, graded research papers.

63) Most hated food(s)?

Onions and anything onion tasting.

64) What's your least fav chore?
Slopping the pigs. No, seriously, does one have "chores" when one is an adult?

65) Can you sing?

I have a good voice for singing to children. And when he is being sweet to me, I have a friend who tells me I have a good voice. He even recently did it in front of other people.

66) Last person you instant messaged?
I don't instant message. But I do text. Today I texted Jane, Rachael, and the lady Audrey, who is going to Disneyland tomorrow for her mom's birthday.

67) Last place you went on holiday?
Portland. (When I wasn't living here.)

68) Favorite regular drink?
I like drinking more than eating. So, almost anything. Juice, bubbly water, milk, coffee, tea, chai. I don't tend to drink a lot of soda. I think that V-8 is disgusting. I don't drink blood.

69) Current crush?
I only have very, very old crushes. The most current is already almost 2 years old.