Sunday, February 18, 2007

Year of the Fire Pig

Today Maree and I particiapted in the celebration of the Chinese New Year. All through the previous week we consulted on how to get our home and our minds prepared for the coming year, a year that is marked by prosperity, happiness, and surprises. Following tradition, we did not cook any meals at home, and instead we walked down to the Cricket Cafe for breakfast. Following breakfast, we walked over to an import store on Hawthorne called The Monkey King to watch a Lion Dance be performed. We ended up running into a friend of Maree's whose boyfriend was one of the dancers. The dance team was there to perform a dance that would bless the store with good fortune and prosperity in the coming year, and involved a lion climbing a tall pole to unroll
a scroll, devouring a head of lettuce dangled from the end of a pole, and setting off a long string of fireworks. It was most impressive and drew a crown of onlookers. After the performance, Maree and I did some shopping in the store and picked up some items for the house that were heavily discounted. Our biggest score was a ceramic statue of Quan Yin that had a couple broken fingers that was over 80% off! The broken fingers, save for the tip of one finger, were in the box with the statue and I glued them back on with some epoxy. It looks awesome! We ended the night with some take-out from a Chinese restaurant close by. Dee-licious!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Drawn Aside, Reveal Propeller

What a crazy show! Le Bloody Hummus Haus was a really awesome Portland experience: an all ages crowd, homebrewed beer for the of-age crowd, in a house dedicated to hosting local acts twice a month for free. The first band, Reverse Dotty and the Candy Cane Shivs, were a group of five 18-19 years olds playing dancy euro trash beats overlayed by synth, guitar, yelly angst, and I believe a violin got in there somewhere. Next up were Swim, Swam, Swum, a three-piece with a strong following. They put on a great set that had the crowd fired up and rocking out. Point Juncture had the last slot, playing out for the first time with Andy Combs in the place of Jesse, who is going on hiatus for a while, though hopefully to return. Andy pulled off Jesse's parts admirably, considering the crash course he has been on learning his parts. Their set was just at its peak when the police showed up and shut the party down, so we all got left hanging and wanting more. There were a few tense moments when the owner/lessee of the house, who was quite hammered, demanded relentlessly that PJWA play one more song, consequences be damned. Maree came and saved the day when she intervened and told him that there was a situation developing upstairs that he needed to take care of or else the police were going to get nasty. In the end, we just kicked it with the band for a while in the basement until the police felt they acheived their goal and left the property. I'm not surprised the cops showed up as the show was advertised in the Mercury and drew a large crowd that nearly filled the backyard with boistrous revelers between sets. Once able to look past the anticlimactic end to the evening, I'd say it was a great show. House parties are so much more fun than going to a venue, so cozy.

In Lieu of Video.....Audio!

Friday, February 16, 2007

House Show Tonight, House Show Tonight! (in the style of The Fixx)

Maree and I are going out tonight to see Point Juncture, Wa play a house party up in NoPo. Wo oh, wo oh oh oh oh oh oh oh...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Bloom

My Japanese Paper Tree (Edgeworthia papyrifera) is starting to bloom! Seeing the flower buds maturing on most of its limbs gives me high hopes that it is recovering well from the transplant last June. These plants resent transplanting and mine showed considerably less growth this year versus the last. It's an odd looking specimen, but it's blooms smell so wonderful. Here's a link to last years post about it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What was true then...

The following quote was taken from the introduction to the Atlas of Oregon, Second Edition. It was originally published in 1940 in the preface of OREGON, End of the Trail, by the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration. The author is anonymous. It sums up my feelings about Oregon quite well and inspired me to change the name of my blog.

"It is not only the native son of pioneers who feels this affection for the land. The newcomer at first may smile at the attitude of Oregonians towards their scenery and their climate. But soon he will refer to Mt. Hood as "our mountain" --significantly, not as "The Mountain," as Seattlites speak of Mt. Rainier. Soon he will try to purchase a home-site from which he can view it. And before a year of life in Oregon has passed, the sheer splendor of peaks and pines, the joy of shouting trout-filled mountain streams, the satisfying quiet of Douglas firs, the beauty of roses that bloom at Christmas, the vista of rolling wooded hills and meadows always lush and green, the scenic climax of a fiery sun sinking into earth's most majestic ocean--all will have become a part of his daily happiness, undefined and unrecognized in his consciousness, but something so vital that he can never again do without it. And he will even, as do the natives, find merit in the long winter of dismal skies and warm but chilling rains, calling himself a "webfoot" and stoutly proclaiming he likes it--when all the while he means that he considers it poor sportsmanship to complain, since he knows that this is the annual tax he pays for eternal verdure, for trees and grass and ferns and ivy and hydrangeas and holly, and for the priviledge of appreciating by contrast the short bright rainless summer cooled by the softest yet most invigorating northerly winds.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Still non-Smokin'

For those who don't know, and I think most do at this point, it bears noting publically and in writing that I quit smoking as of Decmeber 28th. I took the patch for four days, and on the fifth, which was New Year's Day, I was so hungover I couldn't even think of putting one on and that was it. Nothing since. I've detoxed the nicotine out of my system at this point and have had no problems with cravings. I am surprised that it went this smoothly. I talked to a gentleman last night that told me that he stopped for ten years, only to resume for another eight. That is a disheartening prospect, but I have hope for myself and know that what I am doing in the now is benefitting myself. Plus I can smell all kinds of stuff again that would otherwise slip by my weakend olfactory ability :)

Elk Rock at the Bishop's Close

I tagged along with Maree, her sister Liz, and her fiancee Justin to Portland's spectacular winter garden at Elk Rock. Orginally the thirteen acres were owned by a wealthy Portland businessman and his pro-golfer wife. After their passing, their property was willed to the Episcopal Church with a mandate that the grounds be left open to the public, and an endowment set up to cover the upkeep. Currently the home, built in 1914, is home to the offices of the archdiocese. We were there to take engagement photograps for Liz and Justin. While Maree posed and coached them, I flitted off to take pictures of flowers, smell the many fragrant blooms on trees, and take in the view.