Crown of Trinkets

Monday, September 24, 2001
I'm back from the Minmae tour and I'm sleepy! Why not check out the tour diary for more news than you'd ever want to know about the triumphs and tribulations of a rock band in a small pickup?
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Sunday, September 16, 2001
My Crazy Weekend Update!

Friday: I ride the bus to Dr. Yankee's office to get these growths removed from my legs. I'm kinda trembly on the way there; I've been known to be squeamish when facing needles, knives, other pointy objects. And I get kind of woozy when I have to wait. But the good doctor is understanding of my need to lie there with my arm over my eyes and my tongue occasionally sticking out. I feel a needle entering my skin. Time passes and I feel a little cold and a little pressure on my legs, but no pain: thank you Lidocaine! I am strong and I do not cry out or pass out. I smell the familiar smell of the back of the elbow on my sweatshirt (the blue zip-up one that I always wear; today it is a nice safety blanket). A while later I feel my skin being tugged at and that's the stitches. Then it is over and it wasn't so bad.

What was bad, of course, was the antibiotics he gave me, which made me puff up like a blimp. I looked like a tomato with eyeglasses. Oh, the discomfort. Fortunately I was able to sleep without my windpipe slamming shut; I stopped taking those evil things and I haven't suffered since.

Saturday: Minmae played at the Alberta Street Fair. We follow what may be the worst white-reggae band ever, all out-of-tune white-Rastafarian cliches repeated over and over again, clunky drumming, the same guitar solo played willy-nilly over every song. It is kind of entertaining; they are approaching "outsider" status because they are so bad. So they finish and take the good parts of the PA home and we are stuck without much. The microphone has been completely dismantled. The guy at the Star E Rose (who are hosting this and who are very gracious) says he'll fix it. We're not sure if he'll be able to, so we start off playing "The Future of Lint" without any sort of microphones. Sean is screaming, I'm screaming, Jeff is screaming. It is nice. Girls show up and watch. The Star E Rose guy comes back with the microphone. He says "I fixed it with surgical tape!" And in fact he did, and it held up for the whole show. Our small amplifiers meet up with the anemic homemade PA to present a weak, ineffectual sound that is still pretty okay. Dan and Jordan show up. During the beginning of "Do Not Pretend" I run around throwing my brushes at the cymbals from five-plus feet away. It's kind of out of control and juvenile but at least I'm entertained. We finish the set by completely "deconstructing" "Let Boredom Have The Dance"; Jeff starts screaming about his high school teacher and businesswomen and god knows what else; Sean and I switch instruments and I go into an Angus Young frenzy; I play the tom-tom out on the sidewalk to the street vendors. Later one of the street vendors tells us that she appreciated that. The Star E Rose makes us pesto sandwiches and everything is swell. I go home totally beat and, instead of doing anything worthwhile, play this muy estupido "Dungeons and Dragons" idiot quarter-sucker game on MAME for a couple hours. Hint to solo players planning to play this game instead of doing something worthwhile: The Dwarf is your best bet. The Elf totally sucks.

Sunday: I wake up and read online about this peace vigil taking place downtown. I take the bus to the South Park Blocks. The bus is abuzz with talk of "the march", and with tie-dye*; this is a good sign. (*Note: I don't really hate hippies, in violation of Punk Rock ordinance 435.4.5; often they are fellow-travellers, although I could do without the excessive body odor, the patchouli aesthetic, and of course the vast majority of the music [c.f. yesterday's white-reggae band].) Anyway, the park is completely jampacked with people of every conceivable counter-culture sort, and a few not-so-visibly-counter-cultural types, like myself, I guess. There are some speakers of a kind of religious order, which I don't mind in a time like this. This Native American type does some very impassioned ululating to the skies through a bullhorn and time stands still. We link hands without sarcasm or irony. We walk through the streets of downtown Portland past motorists half pissed and half bewildered; people are protesting this war? The procession goes on in near-silence for blocks and blocks. We do not have a permit but the cops appreciate the fact that we are cooperative about not stopping traffic, and they decide not to unleash any cop fury. I run into Dan Cohoon again when we return to the park; it's good to see a familiar voice here, and it is good to see Dan minus the sarcasm and music frenzy that he often uses; it is Earnest Dan and it is a rare and shining moment. More speakers, pigeons (doves) circle overhead and people applaud and whoop; the sky is clear and blue here above the sea of good people.

I take the bus over to Swagat where I'm going to meet Brian B. and Jen S. for masala dosas, and a guy on the bus says, do you know that you look exactly like Jim Bakker? I am dumbfounded. Actually, while looking for pictures of Mr. Bakker so I could compare our facial features (you make the call), I came across this article, in which Mr. Bakker basically repents for his "Prosperity Gospel" of years past. Wow!

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Friday, September 14, 2001
The last couple days have been marked, of course, by a certain horrible event: I was awakened from my groggy snooze-button KBOO-on-alarm-clock cycle, first by my mom, pretty much in tears, then Sean, awake at 7 am for probably the first time in years after his mom called him with similar news. Work was abuzz with radios and televisions and the whole place felt anesthetized, a damp black cloth laid over everything and people crawling underneath it. Nobody called the benefits hotline.

9/12: people started emerging a little; the soft-rock station that I was talking about earlier went back to playing its noxious blend of hits(interrupted with frequent news breaks);

9/13: more emergence: at the United Way meeting people talked about postponing the United Way drive "out of respect" which I think is a little shortsighted: why not promote life instead of paying moment-of-silence respect to the dead? Not that respect is bad or uncalled for, but why not light a candle instead of cursing the darkness? I think I will direct my United Way dollars to Mercy Corps, where my brother works, in addition to the Red Cross and other worthwhile organizations (here you can donate using Paypal*), because I think a lot of people living in countries ending in "Stan" are going to be needing some serious aid soon. (*Side note about Paypal: It and other slightly-to-wildly questionable organizations [here I'm primarily referring to spammers] are all putting on their virtue caps right now. It is nice that they are doing their part but they're still being evil the other 360 days out of the year; 365 if there isn't some sort of disaster. Grrr.)

Of course I've been doing a lot of thinking the last few days. Everyone has, or at least I hope so. Even the flag-on-SUV crowd (as depicted over and over on the local TV news, which I actually watched but I swear I'm trying to wean myself off it now). Even the crowd that's forwarding copies of "Americans" to me via email. My biggest thought: How empty "vengeance" is, how empty "retribution" is. So you kill a gazillion people in an endless effort to get to some possible instigator: what does that accomplish? Everyone is even angrier and more desperate and now there is blood on our hands and the air is boiling and steamy and people are chanting USA USA and what does it mean and what does it accomplish but I'm getting away from myself: vengeance is empty on the personal scale much less the national scale, violence begets more violence. Horrible. Nothing here is going to be solved with quick action: we are going to need to be very, very patient.

A couple links: Z Magazine has some good stuff; Noam Chomsky's comments, while brief, are perceptive. Common Dreams is good as well; it is interesting to watch the articles on that page unfold on the days since the incident.

Today at 10 I go to have my blood tested as part of last week's physical, and I get two lumps (one on the outside of each thigh) taken out. I'm wildly squeamish about the whole blood thing and the thought of getting my finger pricked by a lancet is terrifying, much less that in addition to getting needles full of Lidocaine stuck in my legs and then a scalpel digging stuff out and me getting stitches for the first time in my life (!), but it does seem pretty minor in comparison to everything else. Ordinarily this would be front-page news on Crown of Trinkets, you know.

And finally: Yes, Hal Lindsey (writer of a million books about the Apocalypse and the Rapture etc etc etc, unbelievably boring commentator on the Trinity Broadcasting Network; Brian B. gave me a book of his back in Brian's Young-Republican days when each of us was trying to out-Christianize the other, although I should point out that even in the middle of my most Lutheran period I was still very leftist) is saying yet again that this is the Beginning of the End. It is refreshing that, even in the face of horrible tragedy, some things remain unchanged and unchangeable.

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Monday, September 03, 2001
TechTV | Tualatin Debuts in the Mobile Market

I'm sure I'm the last person to hear about this, but why anyone would choose to name something "Tualatin" is beyond me. Especially some sort of new, snazzy microchip standard. I mean, it's nice that Intel is keeping it local, but a few arguments against it:

1) "Tualatin" is completely unpronounceable for non-natives (my informal research at Swarthmore showed about a third of people getting it right the first time, and these are brainiacs here!)
2) Tualatin the city is about as fast-paced as a slow, winding drive through endless cul-de-sacs and getting lost in a barkdust maze where all the houses look alike except some are from the 70's, some are from the 80's and some are from the 90's but they all have cedar-shake roofs and &&%()$!! I could have sworn that street led out to Boones Ferry! And then there are a bunch of kids playing basketball in the street and you have to wait for them and you have the noise and smell of the freeway which is not always as easily accessed as you might think and good luck trying to get out of Fred Meyer during the holiday season.
3) Tualatin the river? Slow, slow, slow.
4) Tualatin holds deep dark evil secrets. Sssh.
5) Perhaps "Gresham" was taken, "Aloha" sounded silly, "Troutdale" didn't quite fit the high-tech image, "Boring" is out for obvious reasons, "Camas" didn't have the right mouthfeel, "Lake Oswego" brought up images of sailboats and country-clubbin Republicans, "Beaverton" is laughable and they're saving "Hillsboro" for something secret-secret. But still.

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