Crown of Trinkets

Monday, July 22, 2002
Oh my gosh, how tired I am!

Kim Butcher Update! Kim and Junko and Erna were in town, and if you've never had a chance to experience the live Kim Butcher In Person experience, you are missing out. She is endlessly enthusiastic and she basically only shuts off when she is asleep. This, by the way, is very very exciting, but at the same time I was pretty tired when they took off. We went hiking, went to SCRAP, where I had to restrain her from buying up everything in the store, watched her make a million friends, a new one at every turn, prompting me and Junko and Erna to say "where's Kim?" about a million times. It was fun and when they finally left it was as if I had come down from some sort of methamphetamine rush. It was crazy!

Minmae and Bronwyn Update! Both bands played two consecutive nights, Saturday and Sunday, both nights with Wet Confetti, who are getting more interesting, especially when they take things down a notch, insert some melody in there. When Dan plays his Rhodes things are nice; the guitar makes it a little more standard-sounding, a little less melodic, which I don't like as much. But they're still fun to watch, if only for maniacal drummer Mike, who has poofier hair than Joanie even, way way out of control, as is his drumming. Anyway: Minmae's first show, at the kind of creepy Medicine Hat, which is run very much like a "business", which isn't so pleasant, did not start out in such a hot fashion; we completely screwed up "Policy Blues" and a couple others. But we accelerated, accelerated, until on "The Sound Of One Hand Clapping", Sean launched off into an extended soliloquy reminiscent of Jeff Fisher. Then Bronwyn played, and I played the flute, and jumped up and down; it was nice. But the better show and the better-attended show (by far) was last night's show at the Ash St. Saloon. Tons of people showed up, both bands played excellently (although Sean had to remind me not to be such a ham with the "energy bar" I was consuming behind the drum kit), and Richel did an impromptu version of her hit "Take It to the MAX", her ode to Portland's beautiful light-rail system, all the while wearing a fantastic Nintendo Power shirt. Wow. I came back home last night, so tired! so tired! but so happy!

Joanie and I went garage-saling on both Friday and Saturday--yes, she is hardcore--and we had lots of fun and acquired some fine new possessions. I bought a Nintendo with five fine ultra-common games (Super Mario Bros. 1 through 3, Zelda, Tetris) for $5, and this means I can sell my silly "top-loader" finally, which should net me $50 or so. Good value! Plus, let's admit it, the old square Nintendos are way cooler anyway. While we are on nerdy topics, I bought a bunch of mid-90's guitar magazines at a garage sale as well; boy oh boy am I geeking out! And we were tempted by some fine and sumptuous items at a garage sale a block from my house--a standalone CD recorder, plenty of velvety bachelor-pad furnishings (this guy was pretty much into the posh high-ceilinged lifestyle)--but I ended up just buying a microphone stand and a wonderful hooded sweatshirt, which Joanie thought was mine when I tried it on. No, I said, I'm thinking about buying it. Really? she said, and smiled, and how could I not buy it? This guy also had free swimming goggles and a free hip flask, which I will have to use in future Bronwyn performances.

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Thursday, July 18, 2002
Wow, over a week now since the last update! I can truthfully say that I have been busy.

Portland Zine Symposium Update! I had wanted to put together an issue of Bookish Hermit for the symposium--I was so pleased; I had a table, and Steve Anne Billis from luv(sic) were coming down, but I did not have any new "content" for the table--just the old Bookish Hermit, some copies of the split fiction that I gussied up for the show, and a few CD-R's (duplicated on "inferior media" since the folks at have taken over a month on my order and not responded to my emails; today they get a phone call). So I thought: well, I have the technology to create a zine at the table itself--so why not? I schlepped my ribbonless manual typewriter (Sears "Tutor" brand), my Print-O-Matic, and a zillion 3x5" index cards to the table, and there I was, typing stencils and getting ink all over the place. Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! went the Print-O-Matic; astonished throngs walked past the table, and there I was, completely lost in this old technology and the smudgy things I was making. So I did it! I was able to finish the zine (8 pages, 3x5 index cards) at the table itself, and I got to trade for tons of great stuff. So much talent out there, so much creativity! I got a copy of Alex Brainscan's new mimeozine, which came out slightly before mine. Her stuff is beautiful and she does great things with found/obsolete technology. Some sharp writing, too, and she made me a "mimeocore" button! There was plenty of great stuff from the Matte Magazine empire, including the impressive first issue of Matte, and a couple issues of Anne Elizabeth Moore's older zine This, one of which was done completely in Choose Your Own Adventure style, with much attention paid to the graphic quirks of the series, some fantastic plagiarism, some baffling pictures. I was entertained.

So much more! Orange magazine featured an amazing Consumer Reports-style review of 23 different orange sodas; this sort of obsessiveness is beautiful. Kirstin M.'s new Lightning Bug Zine is thoughtful and delicate, and touches on the geek/punk/activist/ascetic thing that fuels Tape Mountain's activities. The folks at Top Shelf were outstanding and gladly made favorable trades for their fine comics--Joanie and I have been laughingly referring to each other as "Pinky" and "Stinky" in reference to James Kochalka's Pinky and Stinky comic. So, so much more! I'll try to do some delving and summarizing soon.

The rest of the week? Uh, I forget. I think I was pretty sick. Oh yeah:

Bronwyn Update! I played my first set as a member of this fine ensemble (already-outdated website here), with me and the able Chris Calvert taking the place of the legendary Sean Broo(ks/x), and man was it great! We played in the sticky-hot but super-friendly Red and Black Cafe, surrounded as always by left-wing artwork and waitstaff, very pleasing. The first attempt at the first song wasn't so great--Sarah pulled out her guitar's strap-button--but we switched to familiar Danelectro guitars and the show went swimmingly. I got to play bass on stage for the first time in years (not counting the times when I played in church with my dad), got to play guitar hero, got to ham it up with Richel, and I got to play glockenspiel. There are pictures and I will scan them soon. There were happy faces in the audience. It was rocking. Last Day on Earth played, and they were pleasing and they had many friends, all of whom I thank for showing up; the Pre-Teens played, and they were full of energy and righteous zeal, and they were great and rocking; and S. Broox played acoustic guitar, and I'm coming to appreciate his acoustic side more and more and more. Sometimes I think it's better than the electric stuff, because minus my loud drums and Josh's thunder-bass, you get to appreciate Sean's voice, which is, to use the word one more time, pretty sumptuous.

Kim B. from Orange County and her friend Junko are here and we are having fantastic great times. Today we will go hiking or swimming or something! Now I should stop typing before my fingers fall off. More later.

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Sunday, July 07, 2002
Minmae Update! We played at the Meow Meow, which was stiflingly hot and I was developing a kind of icky cold and my bass drum pedal was about to fall apart and I was tired from hiking on Hamilton Mountain all day, but I persevered, many thanks to the oscillating fans placed by the drum riser, and many thanks to the steadfast fans (so clever!) placed in the audience, many thanks to endless (refilled) bottles of water, sturdy peasant stock, etc. etc. A good show in spite of everything, and the No-No's and the Quails were pretty rocking as well; check out the photos (courtesy of Josh's friend Jenny) here. Joanie took some as well (some on the stage!) and I look forward to seeing shots of Sean's gut from underneath.

So this "sick" stuff is making me kind of loony but I'd like to point out--before my ears and sinuses completely shut me off from smelling and hearing the outside world--that my life is good and Jordan's is even better: he just returned from Turkey, where he got to luxuriate on the fabulous Aegean coast; I'm pretty jealous but I'm glad he got a chance to go there. I can't wait to see the pictures! So anyway I'm going to take more zinc and vitamin C, and any suggestions for getting rid of this damn cold are very, very welcome.

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Friday, July 05, 2002
Good morning!

Last weekend was full of extraneous excitement as Alessandro from Best Kept Secret and Rob from Creepy Crawly Claw and his girlfriend Joanne all showed up. Oh, what great places we went! It's kind of odd that I don't tend to see a whole lot of Portland or of nature unless guests show up--but that's what makes having guests so wonderful. We went to the Portland Rose Test Gardens and gazed down at the city, went to Mt. Tabor and gazed down on the city from the other side, went to the Bar of the Gods, twice, Laurelhurst Park, the front porch of the Kelly House, all of the above. More excitingly:

Sunday: Ape Cave! Ape Cave!!!!! In a totally striking turn of events, I was wandering around the Western Hemisphere's favorite and longest lava tube not only with people other than Brian B. and my brother, but with two women! Is nothing sacred? Actually, Ape Cave is pretty sacred, lack of y chromosome or no, and Rob, Joanne, Joanie and I had enormous fun clambering over rocks, slime, puddles, through darkness, faint flashlights on my part and thank God above that Joanie is well-stocked with Mag-lites. It was weird to see how much of this trip I remembered from years and years ago--the signs on the road to the cave, the shape of the caverns, the smell, the feeling of rock against the bottom of my Chuck Taylors. Quite amazing. We bounded back from the upper entrance, above ground, and it was so so lovely to see light again; no matter how many times you go through that cave, the first glimpse you get of the skylight is going to be amazing. Wow.

Monday: Wahkeena Falls! I've been to this one before with Dan and Carolina, but this time I went with Rob and Joanne, who were a little more intrepid, not to say that Dan and Carolina weren't intrepid. We bounded up the hill, took in water smell and rushing sound and smell, grazed against columbines. Perdition Trail was closed, sadly! It was very very sweet to climb up the mossy glade as far as we wanted, get close to the overgrown and undervisited summit of Wahkeena Trail, feel giant leaves against our skin. Joanne dipped her feet in the water of the falls and I thought about doing that as well but I decided not to, since I hadn't brought a towel. Weak, I know. But next time I will remember.

I've been practicing with Bronwyn and boy! has it been great. I've finally broken out my long-caged bass "licks" and it's been a somewhat excessive good time. Actually, I'm not really all that excessive w.r.t. the bass lines, and Sarah and I have been exchanging good-natured jokes about "slap bass". It's always a joy to play with good-natured and talented musicians, and I'll be surprised if Bronwyn does not go far. The sound is H-O-T. In a fit of financial desperation, Dan sold me his Welson guitar (which, by the way, will shortly be the only mention of "Welson guitar" on Google--totally undocumented on the Web, amazingly) and it plays delightfully and sounds good and looks fabulous, even if it isn't so big on the staying-in-tune thing. Some new strings would help a lot. So I've been playing that with Bronwyn (Sarah and I are trading off on guitar and bass) and it is sounding wonderful as well; I feel twangy and trashy, which is a good way to feel.

July 4th Update!Yesterday, I went down to the folks' place for portobello-mushroom burgers and good company, and it was beautiful. Mary brought over her little puffball shih-tzu (named, of all names, Preston) and he and Fred the dachshund were rolling around and over each other and humping each other and barking for hours on end; at least it distracted them from the fireworks. We listened to Minmae's A Record About Us, which is wonderful and available on the aforementioned Best Kept Secret, and my dad compared Sean to Leonard Cohen, at least on the song "A Bid for the Future." I think Sean would like that. Then I drove back to Portland.

Joanie and I walked over to see the fireworks over the beautiful Willamette River, and it was so nice to be able to sit on the concrete embankment of the Eastbank Esplanade as opposed to the muddy sulfur-smell and Piccolo-Pete-crazed sound of the westside's festivities. We, and hundreds of other east-siders, sat peacefully, oohing and ahhing as the fireworks went off, and I must say that it was pretty nice not to be alone for once on July 4th. So many July 4th experiences have been so bittersweet for me, but this was just sweet. We sat there after everyone else had cleared out, watched the Hawthorne Bridge go up and down, watched a boat pass under the bridge; it honked and the bridge went down, and we walked back to my house in beautiful July darkness, punctuated by occasional smoke and fireworks. Kids were shooting Roman candles at each other on the concrete at Buckman school and we crossed the street to avoid getting hit. It is nice to know that kids will always be stupid, even if it is kind of sad to think that kids will always be stupid.

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