Crown of Trinkets

Sunday, November 25, 2001
I got back from Iowa last week; my diary of the funeral and surrounding experiences can be found here.

So we are settling into the winter feeling here at Tape Mountain (despite the fact that I am wearing the beyond-incongruous neon-green loud-summer Deathbomb Arc shirt under my argyle sweater. The cubbyhole where I am typing this is kind of cold and my fingers are even less nimble than usual, very very nice. Last night Sean and I practiced, and get this: Celesteville live is slowing down! Becoming more coherent and less passionately goofy! Becoming more "real"! I am not sure if reality is better than some hyperactive fantasy, but believe you me it will be fiery on stage--it's just that the fire might be more controlled, more useful, than some thrashing conflagration.

Minmae is looking up as well; it looks like we have a new bass player. Jeff from Minmae decided that he didn't want to be known as "Jeff from Minmae" and so he is working on Amateur Action, his intensely private solo thing, which no-one has ever heard, which is intriguing, but farewell to mysterious Jeff. We practiced with Sarah and it looks like she will do just fine. Anyone who likes the Mountain Goats is okay by me, and her sensibilities aren't far from the Minmae Sound. Keep an eye open.

Jordan, Sean, Geneva, and I watched "America's Most Violent And Ludicrous Police Chases Featuring Shirtless Crack-Smoking Men" last night, amazingly not on Fox, but it might as well have been. If you have not watched this program (the title is actually "World's Wildest Police Chases" or something like that; look for it when you are drunk on a Saturday night and it will probably show up, though none of us was actually drunk and 3/4 of us were teetotaling), I would recommend that you do so, just so you can make fun of its wonderful cliched taglines at the resolution of every chase, the horrendous overblown cadence of the announcer, the shirtless crack-smoking men. Actually, it is kind of sad. If you are alone and depressed on a Saturday night, it will make you even more depressed.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2001
My grandpa died this morning, so I'm going back to Humboldt, Iowa tomorrow morning for the funeral. He'd been suffering for a while, but it is still very, very weird to imagine a world in which Cledis Anderson is not stoically and heroically hanging on. He was a good man and a man of very few words. More will be posted here when I get back.
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Monday, November 12, 2001
Tonight my main activities were 1) reading John Porcellino's fine comic book ("graphic novel" if you will) Perfect Example and listening to the Bruces' fine and neglected album Hialeah Pink. Both are very simple in presentation but very complex in atmosphere and mood, and both of them, more importantly, conjure up images of some time in the past, some time that was both dreadful and resounding with potential for the future. Perfect Example is one of my favorite evocations ever of that time right after high school, right before college, shiftless, listening to a lot of Husker Du. And it works, oh it works, the little details are just right even if the perspective drawing is very, very questionable (I like that). And Hialeah Pink, for me, evokes the first few months of my time in California very effectively--the purity of the early morning (4 am) fog creeping over the hills, untainted by that which would make it smog, sweet and dark and silent outside on the UC-Irvine campus; I didn't know a damn thing about what was going to hit me but I was very excited about it; everything was new and fresh, just like this record, in which everything is new and fresh. I think this last winter was like that, also; where I was on the cusp of something great and something vast and something fresh. Now it is time to expand on that promise.
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Sunday, November 11, 2001
Tecmo Super Bowl Update! The Indianapolis Colts, led by courageous quarterback Jeff George, along with a lot of other slow, untalented nobodies, recently defeated the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers in the 28th Super Bowl, mainly due to my zealous scrambling for a consistent gain of 5 yards. Over and over again, tiresome but rewarding, sort of like washing the dishes, speaking of which, I've been playing far too much Tecmo Super Bowl and doing far too little dishwashing. Hopefully this amazing Super Bowl triumph will mean that I will have clean dishes again. Of course, here I'm writing about washing the dishes instead of actually doing anything about it...

This weekend was one of those boy-I'm-tired weekends, lots of sleeping, lots of unnecessary eating. I've been eating an average of two to three garbanzo-bean spread sandwiches a day; that recipe makes a LOT of garbanzo-bean spread, and it's tasty stuff. Not all that filling, but tasty and healthy. On Friday I walked down through beautiful windy-autumn-leaf Ladd's Addition to a show at "Mizpah", aka a room in the old deconsecrated Mizpah Baptist Church, where I saw the Jack Wright trio honk their way to bliss. Actually, it was far less screechy than I had anticipated; Jack (the saxophonist) and the trumpeter, whose name I forget, were very very into small, quiet sounds, subtle gestures and timbres, as opposed to big look-how-loud-I-can-get honk-and-racket sounds. The bass guitarist who was playing with them seemed a little out of his league timbrally; all he did was rock his volume pedal back and forth and play a lot of fast notes--but it could have been worse, and anyway the bass guitar is a hard instrument to play non-melodically. There aren't that many timbres available to you unless you start playing in a distinctly non-traditional manner. Which, to his credit, this guy was, I guess. In any case, it is always wonderful to hear the slightest motions of a musician translated into music. You could have heard a fly crawling around the bell of Mr. Wright's saxophone; it was reverent and it was transcendent.

Saadet (Saadat?) Turkoz sang next. I mentioned her in my journal back in March or so and she was just as good this time, even better because she was in a beautiful reverent space instead of the make-out-and-chatter room that the It's A Beautiful Pizza basement was last time I saw her. Intense folk singing, a massive, expressive voice, then some improvisations with an unfortunately over-pedal-happy guitarist (who was still pretty okay); sometimes she veered into overt Yokoisms but it was still pretty great. Definitely a performer to check out next chance you get.

Yesterday I took a little trip down to Tigard because I wanted cheap junk food from the Grocery Outlet. I got some but I think the junk-food thing is growing old. It just makes me feel icky, the direct opposite of how a garbanzo-bean-spread-sandwich-and-kale meal makes me feel. So I think this will be it for my trips to that place for a while. I did, however, stop at the Value Village, which coincidentally was having a half-off sale. Tigard has always been good to me thrift-shop-wise; I think only the most intrepid Portland hipsters make it out to the outer suburbs, and those types are looking for the wild vintage dresses or jackets. Those types are not looking for the humble narrow-wale earth-tone corduroy pants that I am looking for, and which I found two pairs of, in addition to a nice plaid shirt. Interestingly, the shoppers in Value Village have changed since I was going to it back in my first couple years of college or so; nowadays it seems like there are more Spanish speakers than English speakers in the aisles. This isn't bad; it's just weird to uncover things like that in whitey-white Portland.

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Friday, November 09, 2001
Recommended: Obtain copy of The New Laurel's Kitchen, somewhat earthy/passe/crunchy vegetarian cookbook. Buy onions, parsley, dried garbanzos, etc. soak the garbanzos, make "Garbanzo Bean Spread". Refrigerate garbanzo bean spread overnight. Acquire Hood's Home Is Where It Hurts (Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys may actually be better). Play music loudly and eat a sandwich made out of the garbanzo bean spread, tomatoes, and whole-wheat bread in a sun-drenched living room. Go off to the post office. Life is so, so good.
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On what is probably the last sunny day for six months, I am sitting here tweaking the Tape Mountain website. What a screwball I am! I should be out climbing mountains! Well, maybe I will, after I get these CD's in the mail. It is nice to see more envelopes in my mailbox these days and more Paypal flashing across my computer screen. I never really expected when I started Tape Mountain that anyone would ever pay attention to it or visit it, but it's turned into a wonderful little hobby. It hasn't gotten too big yet, which is nice, but it's not the endless-waiting-for-an-order-to-filter-in days of last winter, back in Tualatin, either, which is also nice. Do not forget: There is a person here, waiting for your order, and when it arrives (by mail, especially), it makes him very, very happy. Do not forget.

WEB GEEK UPDATE! I finally decided to ditch the horrible bloated website-authoring program I was using before (Netscape 6, though it's not half as hippopotomonstro as Word, god forbid I should ever see its meta-tags on my screen again) and now I'm using Arachnophilia, which requires a little more effort but is much, much better: when I was using those "WYSIWYG" programs I felt like a blindfolded man in a spacesuit trying to read a map on the bottom of the ocean. Now things are clean and in control, and if things get screwy, I can fix them. Plus, it is free (okay, "CareWare"--it is good that they have a manifesto). Now I just need to learn how to drive stick-shift (if I don't end up getting rid of my car first) and, yeah, go out and climb a mountain on sunny days, and I will be set, set, set.

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Saturday, November 03, 2001

I tried to buy non-leather shoes for work, but for some reason the shops downtown assume that everyone who wants to wear non-leather shoes is either a punk-rocker or a hippie or a Payless Shoe Stores customer. The sparkly-jeans-wearing saleswoman at Johnny Sole described the two shoes they had as "combat-ish". At least I got a good word out of the experience. And $140? Sometimes I wish I had a trust fund. Get this: I was seriously considering the Birkenstocks, because they were comfortable and relatively cheap and they did not weigh twenty pounds each. There is basically no way that I can meet all my following criteria: work in an office, not wear leather products, not look like a commando, avoid horrible foot-sweat and squeaky low-quality shoe sound, and maintain my punk-rock point total. Arrrrrrrrrrrr---

On the bus home a tall, slender woman with long, slender fingers was sitting in front of me, eating Chicken McNuggets out of a bag, a small container of what I believe was honey-mustard sauce in long, slender fingers. We crossed the bridge; I read some more of my book. I looked up from the book and a gray-haired man was sitting next to the woman, going on and on about the Carl's Jr. "Six Dollar Burger". He went on and on and on and she got off the bus. As she walked toward the front door, the man went on and on about "it's half the quality of the restaurant burger, but you pay more than half" but then he finally realized she was leaving.

As I walked home, I paused next to the Victorian house that the current residents are painting tangerine-color. A fat squirrel was climbing straight down a telephone pole, none of that windy-twirly squirrel motion that one usually expects. The squirrel paused before s/he reached an anarchy-symbol graffito, then descended. I walked on.

I got home and there were two Tape Mountain orders, my first personal check ever and it was made out to Jacob Anderson, not Tape Mountain. I am proud! Now I want an order by carrier-pigeon.

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