Crown of Trinkets

Friday, May 31, 2002
Fireworks In Context Update! Last night Sean and I were walking back from Vincente's, where we'd eaten slices of cheese pizza, and we were having a conversation about how, my god, it's been almost two years since I've been in love with anyone, but then it came around to how cool it was that we'd been making music together for a year and a half, almost two years, and how cool Portland was, and how cool it was to be surrounded by like-minded friends, when the fireworks went off over Waterfront Park. We could see them over Col. Summers Park, and it was as though the fireworks were saying, Jake and Sean, Portland loves you back.

Then tonight I was relaxing in front of my computer, listening to an illicitly acquired advance copy of Sonik Yooth's new one _Murray St._ and I was closing my eyes in total bliss at the godly Pharoah Sanders-esque squall at the end of "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style", it just kept escalating and my eyes were closed, and what was that I heard at the end? Fireworks! It was completely beautiful. I walked out to 17th and Morrison and watched the fireworks explode across the river. Everyone else in town was out and about on foot and on bicycle and in old Saabs, watching the fireworks, very friendly-like, people were putting their arms on their lovers' shoulders, dogs were peeing on rose bushes, it was definitely time for the Rose Festival.

I was walking around putting up yard-sale signs this afternoon and a cute semi-nerdish girl with frizzy hair and eyeglasses asked about the sale. I told her about it and she said she would be there. I feel like Dan Cohoon--a cute girl that I don't know made contact with me! I'm not particularly giddy or hopeful, but hey, it was kind of nice to feel a little bit of awakening in my little sleepy heart, if not my sleepier loins.

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Saturday, May 25, 2002
Garage Sale Update! The alarm clock woke me up this morning with KBOO bluegrass sounds and I was ready to go garage-saling. The first few sales I hit absolutely sucked:

#1: A weight bench, a lamp, some books in languages I don't speak, and a few pint glasses all scattered around sparsely around an apartment parking lot. Oh it was depressing.

#2: I walked down to another one which was a fair way away from that one that had been advertised in the paper. It was not there.

#3: A bunch of Tool shirts and CD's, some snowboarding equipment, and some random college textbooks.

So I walked on to garage sale #4, which thankfully was fantastic, yielding a bunch of musical equipment, including a wah pedal, a fascinating little guitar amplifier with a tuner built in, and (big score) an original Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, all for a total of $20. The Big Muff is a little ugly (he'd duct-taped it together because the screws were missing) but it sounds like Satan is guiding my hand when I play through it: Riff City. It is as if I had bought a cursed effects pedal! But what a fascinating curse!

Also there, interestingly enough, was a copy of Big Star's #1 Record/Radio City CD. Over toast and grapefruit this morning I had just hummed "You Get What You Deserve" (and feel free to psychoanalyze that all you want) and there it was, at the same garage sale, beckoning. Oh goodness there's a cowbell on "In The Street". Oh goodness. Also purchased was a copy of Tracey Thorn's Marine Girls-era A Distant Shore, a buck apiece. Hooray for garage sale season and good garage sale vendors! I think Brian and Jen and I are going to have a garage sale next week, which is good, because it will allow me to clear out Skypad so I have more space to rock out with the new Big Muff, grimacing and riffing, oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah.

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Friday, May 24, 2002
Celesteville Update! Sweat and asparagus! We just got finished playing another grueling but beautiful set on KBOO-FM that was not dissimilar to the one captured on Purest Blue Light but this one was in a major key (C major, that chord for the entire 45 minutes no less!) and featured Sean singing more and it was sweaty and ridiculous and it was about asparagus in Iowa. Asparagus is beautiful; do not wait for its season to pass!. Hostess Jennifer Robin was as gracious as ever and the possibility exists that we may perform with her at some point in the future, which is very exciting.

For some reason I really crave doughnuts right now. I haven't craved doughnuts in so long!

Boy am I tired! I'm getting better and better about being coherent after a show--I think cardiovascular fitness may have something to do with it--more Snappercise, please!--but I'm still completely tuckered right now, and sleep will be good. Tomorrow I go estate saling! Oh, the sweet unemployed life...

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002
New discoveries of the week:

1) "Snappercise"--i.e. doing silly aerobics to the beat of famed New Zealand drone-masters Snapper. I was rocking out and sweating in Skypad with the sounds of "Buddy" and "Death and Weirdness in the Surfing Zone" blaring through my computer-amplifier combination and it was great. For a little arm workout--well, I don't own any weights, but I do own several wah-wah pedals, so I did some Wahercise, with a Cry Baby in each hand. The one with all of the screws connected and the grip-tread surface on it was better than the older one I have with no grip-surface and only one screw holding things together...

2) Cribbage! Chris Piuma of Flim and Sad Penguin Records invited me over for a scanning-of-bookshelves-and-cribbage party, and I have to admit that cribbage is far more fun than I thought it would be--for some reason I had this idea that cribbage would not be fun, since cribbage boards have a somewhat dated design that reminds me of not-exactly-intense-strategy games such as Trouble, Sorry, and Parcheesi (feel free to correct me if any of these involve intense strategy, by the way) and since cribbage boards are available everywhere garage sales and swap meets are held, cheaply. But it is fun. Admittedly, the logic of the Raunchy Young Lepers still holds water--"why play cribbage when your wife has tittage"--but failing tittage, cribbage will do just fine. Or perhaps the Raunchy Young Lepers could have investigated the possibility of enjoying both. Anyway.

3) Looks like Minmae may be turning into a three-piece again; new prospective bassist Josh took the bull by the horns and actually learned our songs, playing them understatedly and consistently, throwing some flourishes in there; I liked it. Plus it looks like he's not going to be pressured by his other band commitments like the previous two Jeffs (refer to the tour diaries if you have any questions about which Jeffs I'm referring to). Nice! We will practice this evening under rain-sounding skylights and play on Saturday, hopefully as a trio. It will be nice to have a bassist to fill things out--sometimes I feel like two-piece Minmae is kind of like a ferret trapped in a pillowcase, all feral and musky, just a lot of high frequencies. Perhaps we will bloom into a bear. (note mixed metaphors--I am proud of them)

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Friday, May 17, 2002
Deeply pleasurable things:

1) Badminton. I bought a couple badminton racquets at the thrift stores of Tigard, OR the other day and I've been playing solo-badminton in the Kelly House's back yard, over and over again. I love to hear the doing of shuttlecock against racquet (mine says "Thunder") and the birdie floating up in a magnificent arc (parabola?) in the blue sky.

2) The Interactive Fiction archives, in particular the work of Adam Cadre. (Photopia and Shrapnel have been the bedtime stories I've contended with over the last two evenings: both downloadable from or Baf's Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive. Both beautiful.

3) Long walks at dusk are still deeply pleasurable and still very important; I took one today over to Kelly House, which is nice, because the walk from SE 18th and Washington to SE 39th and Kelly allows me many, many possible walks through the grid-system that is Southeast Portland. I always try to follow the most beautiful street that leads toward my destination--if there's a choice between a newer, treeless development going south and a luscious tree-crazy street going west, well, you know which one I will choose. I also avoid traffic if at all possible (which also means I avoid record stores, convenience stores, etc., which is good); I think I am allergic to something in gasoline. It would be interesting to write a program in BASIC which follows the streets of Southeast Portland following my paths. I wonder if it would keep ending up at that house with the palm tree at somewhere around SE 22nd and Stephens? It seems like every time I walk back from Kelly House at night, I end up staring at this palm tree, bright and vertical and out of place in misty Portland night sky. Hmm.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Holy moley, everyone drop what they are doing right away and listen to Bernie Worrell's (?) synth-bass line on Parliament's "Flash Light"! Oh my gosh!
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There was saliva dripping down my left hand from the vigorous slide-whistle solo I had just squealed through--it was a solo that sounded like a rabbit biting a sparrow--and my damn computer crashed! Oh how unwise I was--I always forget to stop playback before selecting track effects on n-track, the multitrack-recording software I use. So I restarted the PC and I went down to check the mail. There was a fat (but not so fat) envelope from the Oregon Employment Dep't in the mailbox, and as all former college applicants know, any change in the thickness of an envelope signifies something. I tore into it, and the following magic words appeared: Benefits are allowed. Yes, our hero is officially on unemployment, which can only be a good thing. Not that I'm going to slow down the job search, but, well, I can be more selective about who I apply to now. Not that I wasn't before!

Right after I yelped out my joy expression, there was a knock on the door--and it was our mustachioed, sunglassed postman with a box for me. It was the Choose Your Own Adventure books that my friend Karen in California sent me! Oh my lord, there are a lot of books in there, and they are making me very happy. I can't get enough of those things.

Before that: I woke up and played tennis with former Nebraskan Cris (friend of Chris Fischer of Unread Records) and that was fun until the rain started coming down. After that Jordan bought me some Lebanese food; it is always good to have a midday hummus break with your brother.

Hooray for unemployment! Hooray for unemployment!

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Monday, May 13, 2002
I'm listening to the new Bronwyn album (okay, the demo for the new Bronwyn album, which some wise label, rich in foresight, will see fit to release) and it's pretty fantastic; it goes down smoothly but kind of nubbily, with a pungent flavor, like if someone made some polenta with the turnip greens I picked from my folks' garden yesterday, on Mother's Day, when I went down to Tualatin and played tennis with my brother and wrestled with Fred the lithe little dachshund, my mother was just fine, the previous day I had been to Toilet-Town as well, to pick up a grill (that my dad had found at a condominium site he was working at!) and it worked just fine cooking up corn and squid and so forth at the Bar-B-Q at the Kelly House, where I played badminton for hours and talked and talked as the sun went down, in the perfect someday-I-will-look-back-at-this-and-exclaim-"Youth!" moment I played badminton with racquet in one hand and 40-fl.-oz. container of Pabst in the other hand, maintained a pretty good volley with Scott, who was holding a wineglass full of same liquid, a couple spills but it was a lot of fun and the sun went down, and earlier this week I recorded a version of this Norwegian folk song "Bendik og Arolilja" that I can't come up with a good segue for, and that's where I'll stop.

Most valuable player: Fred the dachshund!!!! Apparently this naughty little weiner dog ate 8 oz. of chocolate truffles that Mary I. had given my dad (as my dad put it, that would be like one of us humans eating 7 pounds of chocolate, rich chocolate at that!) and he was twitching around like a meth freak the rest of the evening and vomiting on the light-brown carpet. References to "hot fudge sundaes" were made. Those who would argue that "chocolate is poison for dogs", though, would be surprised to hear that the little wriggly fellow is still among the ranks of the living. MVP!

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Friday, May 03, 2002
I think I've said more words over emails than I have in person this week. That's probably not that unusual but I've felt antisocial. Okay, that's not unusual either.

The jobless thing is kind of taking a toll on me; I feel weird whenever I buy groceries and I know that I can't do anything fun with my sizable tax refund. On the other hand, I do get to sit around all day and listen to luv(sic) tapes and Au Pairs records, which is something that is a lot more fun than spending an hour's worth of work's pay to buy a nice dinner someplace, maybe, probably. I'm looking at a job that I will probably apply for today--problem is, the money is terrible, even though it's a cool company. Could I work for a pittance if I really, really liked the company? The sad thing is, even this "pittance" is more than I made last year... I guess that's not so bad. Once the austerity plan gets into your heart it doesn't really go anywhere... It would be truly weird to suddenly jump into a jet-set lifestyle right now.

Although I feel weird whenever I buy groceries, the need in this house for toilet paper, trash bags, and kale is acute. So I will venture out into the world!

I finished reading Geraldine Ferraro's autobiography Ferraro: My Story and while it's not the most gripping or florid prose in the universe, it's pretty fascinating--it seems like the overall tone of the book is "we nominated a female Italian Catholic for the vice-presidency and this is the dirty tricks the Republicans played in order to humiliate my family and sidetrack our campaign but I feel we ran a noble campaign nevertheless", but that doesn't really capture the joy of her cool snotty attacks on George H.W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Anyway, I stayed up late the other night reading that and even though I knew the outcome (Minnesota and D.C. would be the only states Mondale/Ferraro would pick up) it was still a page-turner.

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