Crown of Trinkets

Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Life is beautiful awards: 1) The presence of free libraries: they want to lend you books! Books, for your asking! I got three books today, including more cool Robert Walser! 2) Completely ridiculous Sega Dreamcast game "Space Channel 5"! The brightest, shiniest, most alive world I've seen in videogames, this game really made me happy. "Dedicated to people who love music, dance, and games," goes the dedication at the end, and that would be me, and that would be my late grandfather Cledis, and the whole thing makes me feel just goofy. 3) The new R4B (Rose For Bohdan?) album _Decoration Monster_, not available yet but blowing my mind all day today. Some wild tape-glurk explosions, a lot of personality, more opinions to come but it's impressive already.

Enjoy life more! Enjoy life more! Enjoy life more!

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Monday, March 25, 2002
The last couple weeks have seen me kind of crawling into my own navel, looking for ways to pass time, looking to establish a routine in the absence of any other sort of outwardly imposed routine. I have freedom: what have I done with it?

Well, not all that much: really, writing a lot of songs, taking walks, going on tour. Diddling around on the computer. Sadly, too much of the last one. But the first three have been more exciting. Today was a beautiful walk day; I unearthed my shorts, said hi to squirrels and birds, trotted down Belmont, looked up at solid blue sky, my legs as white as sheets. It was a fine time. Out of the blue Sean drove up on 39th, yelled "Jake!", which I still respond to, even though 90% of the time, it's someone saying "hey!" or "Dave!" or "snakes!" or some other monosyllabic utterance containing a tense front unrounded diphthong. But it was Sean. We bought a cymbal stand to replace the one I stupidly left in Berkeley (and for more information on that one, refer to the tour diary which I'll be posted fairly soon). So nice: the blue sky, the blue sky, the blue sky.

Today I spent some time cleaning my old Guild B-301 bass. This is the instrument I've had the longest (with the exception of my dad's Alvarez acoustic, which I've pretty much become the common-law owner of at this point) and it is always a joy to remove the grime that I've put on it. How old is this fingerboard grime? What live show did I accumulate this sweat at? Where did this ding in the neck come from? The body of this bass is almost as familiar as my own body, more familiar than some parts of my body (e.g. buttocks [and I only said that because I wanted to type "e.g. buttocks", yes, I know, how juvenile). I am typing this with the bass in my lap, calluses on my fingers, the familiar neck-heaviness of this instrument causing it to veer off to my left. It is a joy to feel my way around something so intimately known and yet so full of possibility, and here of course I need to insert some sort of comment about how this is like love, but I wouldn't really know about that, but I would know my way around a fake Motown bass line!

current joys: 1) Russian rye bread and Turkish figs from Ya Hala's grocery store (SE 80th and Stark); 2) Creepy Crawly Claw's wonderful knotted toy-piano-heavy aggro sounds, I like this a lot better than I ever thought I would, and judging by their live show it's only going to get better; 3) good tea; 4) removing clutter; 5) the bright sound of new bass strings; 6) getting tax refunds; 7) afternoons; 8) the fact that you are reading this!

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Monday, March 11, 2002
I am much happier now that I am unemployed! I think when the hammer fell (refer to previous entry for details) I had this feeling that, oh crap, it's time for tumult, but now things seem gentle, peaceful, restful. I feel far more confident, far less like I'm being led around by a nose-ring... Here are summaries of the last four days, because they were eventful:

FRIDAY: I do a lot of sleeping, or attempt to do so; as I lie in bed, I think of my old job and the insecure future and my heart beats so hard that I feel I'm going to flip over from the force of its pounding. But then life gets nice. I drink some Yunnan tea (from Upton Tea, their China Yunnan Golden Temple) and it is gorgeously rich; I sit in the forgotten sunbeams of my apartment in late winter, then mail some Tape Mountain orders at the post office. It is beautifully sunny and, to quote the Verlaines' "Joed Out", my head feels sweet again. I head down to the folks' place in Tualatin to eat dinner. We end up eating goat-cheesy pizza and drinking wine in West Linn (and I get the leftovers) and then we put on my old videotape of the Talking Heads, "Stop Making Sense", and my dad watches intently (he loves that video!) and my mom and I dance in the style of David Byrne and the two backup singers/dancers. It is frantic and little weiner-dog Fred steps among us as our feet move; so so fun. I sleep in the spare bed and rest well.

SATURDAY: The greatest party ever known to man happens: The DIY Fun-Fest! Sean and Angelo decided to have something like twelve bands in Sean/Lizzy/Jennifer's basement, and to call it a success would be an astounding understatement. The show starts at around 1 with Julianne Shepherd's piano-and-vocal stylings, which are actually not so bad--I was expecting huge screamy rock like when I saw her band Is This OK? but it ends up being very intimate, dank dim basement smell and light, people sitting in lotus-position on the concrete floor--lovely. Jeff London, Super XX Man, some other people do soft acoustic sets as well and that's nice; Peace Harbor played gorgeous piano-and-guitar slow pop songs. But the real highlights of the evening, in roughly chronological order: 1) Moral Crayfish is evolving from Dan's "look at my prepared guitar" phase to a phase that's more "look at Dan's prepared guitar and Jake's over-the-top Dead C-isms on the guitar and the intuitive interplay between Jake and Sean and Dan." I like it a lot and the audience seemed to enjoy it. 2) The Badger King's guitar/vocal/laptop dancey numbers were just what the party needed, and I found myself breakdancing like a lunatic--this without even being drunk! (and thank you to my dear little brother for subsidizing the keg!) 3) Bronwyn, the band that Sean does with friends Sarah and Richel, who play intricate bass/guitar/entwining vocals stuff that was rapturous; the fact that it was their first set ever made it feel like the stuff of legend. I look forward to hearing more from them. 4) Fake Fake, new Jeff from Minmae's main concern, was seriously enjoyable straightforward pop-rock; really nice. 5) Celesteville's set (boldface due to my huge ego) was the stuff of legend; both Sean and I were on fire and my amplifier sounded like it was on fire and the audience was flashing devil-signs at me and I was sweating and the basement was packed and I was bellowing like mad! I felt like I was mad! The set was only twelve minutes long but it felt like godhead and I'll release it as a 3" live CD-R, I think. (John Mulvey was kind enough to hold my Panasonic handheld...) 6) Wet Confetti hadn't really impressed me before, but in their 20-minute set they didn't have time to get too annoying, and besides, they really were rocking, and their vocals were prominent and good, and somehow it just started to click. Quite nice. 7) Minmae's set wasn't the best ever, but I felt very very good about my drumming (I got to play Mike from Wet Confetti's drum kit, which felt like driving a BMW or something, not that I would know what that's like...) and there was even a mosh-pit going! Wow!

I ended up crashing on their couch, completely spent but completely happy, beer bottles all around, rain sounds outside, nice.

SUNDAY: Recovered from party. Went over to Sean/Lizzy/Jennifer's house (henceforth the "Kelly House" after the street on which it is located) and played Scrabble, which I won but that's to be expected because none can defeat me except for that darn Jessica Sklar, my Scrabble Nemesis!!!!! (Hi to Jess if you're reading this.) We ended up discussing arcana from Jennifer's book collection until the wee hours, and she has some fun stuff--joke books from the 20's, CB-radio slang-dictionaries, plenty of fun. I went home and slept in my own bed.

MONDAY: Walked in the rain forever. Walked to Portland State and it looks like I don't have too many prerequisites left before I'm able to enter the graduate teacher education program--just a few classes I can take over the Internet from PCC... Not bad! I walked in the heavy rain and wind forever, forever, completely soaked, probably five miles of walking. It felt nice and I was spent, like I am now from typing! Oh, this unemployed life is not so bad, and I will find another job, one that does not drain my soul.

Oh life, you are so kind to me. This job development is something that I felt crushed by--but it's allowing me to uncurl, to regain my senses, to get out of the uncomfortable contorty torture chamber that I was in at that crappy job. Inadvertent triumph!

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Thursday, March 07, 2002
No more dissatisfied rants about my crappy Legacy job ever again: I was shown the door! A list of charges was levelled against me, most of them basically the result of me buckling under the enormous workload and poor management of the department, come on! But enough news, let's go to nature for a little explanation.

I walked to the bank in sun.
I walked back to work: oh, look, the clouds have opened up!
I walked into the closed-door office (stockyard-gate feel): the sun glowed eerie bright
on pink lipsticked-executive, lips moving, the sound, the sun, the sun,
the sun.

I paid for the bus again;
bathed in severe March sun; the clouds have opened up!
the ride down Burnside I won't soon see (life flashing before eyes): the sun was eerie bright
the sun glare off the river, water moving, bus sound, the sun, the sun,
the sun.

after-rain smell,
bright sun in skylights,
the sweet surety of sleeping in on Friday,
the 6:41 am snooze-bar tango I won't slowly repeat from bed to bureau,
underground rivers flowing in my gut, the sound, the sun, the sun,
the sun.

Funny story: Look at the archive page and you'll notice on the January 5th entry that I told myself and you-all: "If I'm still there in two months, please email me and remind me to wake up." And now, almost exactly two months afterwards (remember that February was a short month, a total of 61 days have elapsed): here I am, awake at last.

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Sunday, March 03, 2002
Oh boy! Another joint Minmae/Celesteville Update!

Last night Minmae played at "Shantytown State U.", this thing that Sam Red76 Gould and some other people set up on the campus of Reed; lots of found corrugated aluminum, 55-gallon drums blazing stinky bonfires, art workshops all week long, very interesting. There were people there that I knew and it was nice to leisurely set up under the fading night sky and the huge leafless trees in the quad. Michael from Mome Raths showed me this tubing-and-melodica contraption he had, and then we got into a long conversation about linguistics; it turns out he has the International Phonetic Alphabet tattooed on his chest, which I must say now eclipses Kelly Martin (formerly of the Four Skulls, I'm not sure what ever happened to her)'s tattoo of Krazy Kat on her ankle with the caption "S/He" as the coolest tattoo ever, if just for sheer audacity. Unbelievable.

We took forever to set up as DJ's blasted music through a guitar amplifier from a thrown-together corrugated-aluminum shack. It was slow, deliciously slow, and Colleen from Mome Raths was cooking jambalaya and veggie-kabobs on a tiny portable grill. So nice. The night sky faded and the light's color changed: red-and-yellow bonfire, student-union lighting, slide-projector cycling through slides of graffiti.

Minmae took the stage around 8 and I felt inspired. We started off with an ever-more-epic version of "Pebble Shoe" that lasted probably twelve minutes? I'm not sure; time stood still and I was lost in frenetic yet peaceful drumming. So graceful. I looked up while playing drums and the stars were filtering through the trees' branches, and I made lots of inter-song comments about the beauty of the night sky. People must have thought I was crazy. Maybe people already do. The show was nice and Reedies started showing up for the "Masq'erade Ball" next door, all adorned in increasingly bizarre costumes, lots of thrown-together chopper-bikes, silver lame', very accomplished costumers those Reed types. A very white-sounding funk band started soundchecking next door during our set, which actually sounded kind of good during "The Sound of One Hand Clapping." Sarah and Rochelle from Bronwyn (a newish band that Sean is drumming for and who sound intriguing) videotaped the set and would later videotape us in the middle of drunken early-Beatlesesque tomfoolery for some future music video; it should be pretty great and pretty embarrassing.

Then we finished and the next band was nowhere to be found, so I asked Sean, hey, do you want to play an impromptu Celesteville set? We did, 4 songs in the new pop flavor and attitude, me on astounding new-acquisition Guild S-60 guitar (my god is it nice! both sumptuous and scathing!) and Sean on unrehearsed but deeply known drums. Some people didn't leave, and that was appreciated.

The evening wound down and we headed back to Sean/Lizzy/Jennifer's house, where we ended up talking about all sorts of stuff, from "hot Carls" (yuk) to my love for bookish females to the way we were arranged; easy hexagons, pentagons; at one point segregated into three groups--boys, talking about music, in one corner; girls, talking about something else, in another; and then me, third-sexish, in another corner. We drove off to some intensely crappy party over underneath some freeway in Southwest and then I slowly, methodically, soberly, speed-limit-followingly dropped Dan, Angelo, Jennifer off at home. It was strangely delicious to fall asleep sober after an evening of revelry and wake smiling up to birds chirping this morning in bright Sunday sun.

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Saturday, March 02, 2002
(3/1/02, 9:21 am, at work)

This morning as I was walking from the Oversleepers' Bus Terminus at SW 18th
and Morrison, I ran into a gentleman who was swearing at a woman across the
street. He asked me if I had heard of the name of his bike (Specialized, of
course I have, though I tend to favor old Schwinns and Peugeots), asked me
where I worked, swore at me a few times, asked me to lift my messenger-bag
up so that it was straight, and then mentioned something about being so, so
horny. Wow! This is the first time I have been propositioned in the
greater Portland area, ever! I walked on to work, leaving my suitor behind.
Of course, it could have been a dream; that bus is a conduit to Slumberland,
emerging in the workday, spitting me out.

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