who's the ECL?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Am So Pissed Off

I forgot to tell you in the last post:

I am so pissed off right now.

Last night at the show of our friend's band--what's their name?--at the Doug Fir, this guy shows up wearing a Harry and the Potters T shirt. And so I catch his attention to say to him, "NICE SHIRT!"

And he grins and tells me that the band signed the shirt, and I ask him, "HAVE YOU SEEN THEM PLAY?"

To which he replies, "YEAH LAST WEEK."

And I exclaim, "THEY WERE IN TOWN LAST WEEK????????"

"Yeah," he says to me, slightly smug because he knew and I didn't, "THEY PLAYED AT THE ACME AND THEN AT THIS BOOKSTORE ON KILLINGSWORTH."

Me: "DAMMIT!!!!!!!!"

I am SO bummed I missed them when they came to town. You should spend some time perusing their website and reading their tour journals because they are ridiculously silly. I mean, reeedikkuloussss.

Odds and Ends

  • Watch this, monkeys.

  • So The Stooges (plus one) were back at the Doug Fir last night to see a friend's band. Before the show we had some food, and were surrounded by the biggest gay men fest ever. And they were hot. So Joelf took some pictures; this is the best one:

  • I am so glad it isn't freaking hot anymore. We saw this posted on the door of a diner in SE last Monday (sorry so dark, but worth posting anyway):

  • We learned that there isn't much to do in the OC (that's Oregon City) on a Wednesday night. We tried the observatory at Clackamas Community College--closed. We tried to go to this place Charlotte calls the Tattoo Bar--closed. Then we tried to go to this blues club--open and chock full of bikers, kinda not our crowd. Then we drove around and around trying to find the McMenamin's, which we finally did. Inside there was a slightly inebriated dude mouthing off to his friend about politics, in that way that says, "hey, all I know is what I hear on Fox News, but that's good enough for me!" We ordered some grub and eavesdropped on the dude, and then became unusually distracted by this:
    Can you say understaffed?

  • Have you been to the Bridgeport Mall thingy place? If you have, and you've been to Disneyland in recent years and seen the mall they built down there, you'll realise that you are in the same place. The Same Place. And to top it off, on Saturdays the Bridgeport mall blares Radio Disney through its speaker system so that everywhere you walk, Disney.
    Oregon has its own happiest place (to consume) on Earth!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An Ode To The Three Stooges

These were taken in April 2006 in the course of one night.

That extra hand is Cookie.

I don't know why I am clutching my bag like that.

Obviously, we were the most entertaining people in the restaurant, and considering we were at the Doug Fir, that's saying something.

After four hours at the DF, we decided to move over to Dot's Cavernous Lounge With Creepy Paintings And SE Hipsters.

We all tried to be squinty eyed

Then we all tried to be round eyed.

Six hours of continuous drinking and laughing and you would look like this too.

I love them peoples.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adventure of the Three Stooges, er, Caballeros, or, Art Is Dangerous

One of my bestest friends is in town this week.

Yesterday, The Three Stooges--me, Joelf, and Cookie--I started calling us The Three Stooges only because we are a little crazy when we get together. Cookie and Joelf weren't so down with that name for us, came up with some other stupid ideas, and we eventually settled on The Three Caballeros, which I think isn't as accurate as The Three Stooges.

Yestarday, The Three Stooges spent the day looking fabulous around the Portland metro area. Or at least, that is what we had planned on doing. Until Cookie was attacked by a piece of art.

We were at breakfast, in this nice little place downtown on 3rd, and there were all these huge mobiles hanging from the high celings in the restauarnt. Lots of color, big pieces, neat. We were seated at a table under one such mobile. We get our coffee, earl grey tea, water, mimosas. Our meals were ordered. We were starting to settle in, ready for food, enjoying our crazy assed conversation (everything that involves the three of us is crazy assed).

Like, when a huge mobile comes crashing down on our table. THAT, my friends, is crazy assed.

It turns out that the big mobile, made of CERAMIC and IRON, was hung from the ceiling with STRING. That snapped. And fell on our table.

Luckily, it mostly fell on the side of the table that no one was sitting at, and aside from glancing off of Cookie's shoulder, we were all okay.

We got a free breakfast (which was pretty good--not excellent), pieces of shattered ceramic mobile as a memento, a serious shot of adrenaline to wake us up, and Cookie got a welt and some shoulder pain.

It only got better as the day progressed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

There She Goes

off on a new adventure

I attended a great wedding on Saturday, and since we were up in the arboretum with great big tall trees, the heat wasn't so oppressive and unbearable.

I just love this shot; she's off to go see what awaits her around the bend. You can almost imagine the red cape and basket of goodies for her ailing grandma.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Since I'm Too Serious

I seem to be addicted to writing non-funny posts these days. So as a public service announcement, I suggest you follow the link below, because--

--goddammit. She is funny.

The Bruni Digest, Monday July 17th. Go read, go read!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Welcome To The World, Little One

I attended a birth overnight. The baby was born around 3:45 am.

The little one had a hard time breathing. She swallowed an inordinate amount of amniotic fluid and needed to be whisked off to the nursery for oxygen and further testing.

The mom, brave and courageous and strong, labored beautifully. I mean, I cannot stress that enough. She was a goddess, channeling an amount of power and energy beyond comprehension. She was a woman in labor.

After about an hour of baby in nursery, the pediatrician came in to say that although baby was pinking up really well and gettng vigorous, the x-rays showed babe's lungs to have a lot of fluid, such that she was given a diagnosis of pneumonia.

No good reason was offered for the why of it, and I'm not really expecting one. Labor is chaos, pure and simple. Chaos has no rules, no safe places; every minute is a wild card that needs neither logic nor precedence to permit the next moment's happenings.

The docs then mumbled something about baby's possible distress during the descent, because she only pushed for an hour before giving birth. And yes, it is common for babies to inhale a little fluid if they get stressed out in the process. So, sure, that explanation makes sense. It was the way that they sort of, slightly, pointed a finger at mom and said "your labor was too fast for your little one." And I wanted to say to them, because I caught that little pointed finger, and I'm a caretaker, and I'm her doula and its my job, "hey! You are the ones who encouraged her to do the long, holding the breath, kind of pushes because you said it would makes things faster!"

But I didn't. Its not my job to pick fights.

But I wonder about that. If she was left to do her own short grunty pushes, would that have made a difference? Baby's descent would have been slower, which might have been better, or it might have been worse. Too long in the canal and a baby can stress out. Too long in the canal and it can get life-threatening. But too fast a birth can and will freak a baby out. So...what's the middle ground here? What is normal? When is it great to go slow and when is it great to work a little harder?

This just brings me around to one of the great medical fallacies that I keep encountering: One Way Will Work For Everybody. The Magic Bullet mythology.

If every birth is chaos, how can there be set rules that work 100% of the time? When will the medical establishment finally be encouraged to use their intuition, trust in their patients, keep listening to the fetal heart tones and if everything is great, well then, shut up, sit back, and let the process happen!

Sorry. Got a little fired up.

So, my heart and prayers go out to the little family that I walked up to the gate of parenthood with early this morning. May baby claim her own body, may the parents claim their transition into parenthood, and may all of them heal, mend, bond, and fall in love.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The ECL Is All Business

I've noticed that all my posts have been so serious lately and so I am consciously trying to write about something a little more...light. That will seem punny in a few short minutes.

I decided to spend my lovely Sunday going to the mall and returning some things I bought a few days ago. Actually, I wanted to do an exchange--maybe get the skirt in a different color, return the top and get some more lacy underthings, because a girl always needs more lacy underthings.

As I entered the parking structure and noticed the already circling sharks looking for the one parking spot closest to the door, I knew I made a big mistake. What was I doing, I thought to myself, as I entered the fray and began to scan for parking. Today is Sunday, I reaffrimed as I circled for the third time. I should come to the mall during the week, I told myself as a little hyundai beat me to the empty fissure passing as a parking spot.

And I circled my way out of the parking structure and very happily drove back to my sleeping pains-in-the-asses (aka cats) in the backyard. On the way home I reflected on the conversation I had with Mary regarding clothes shopping and the quest to look business-respectable without breaking the bank, or your sense of self.

When I was in high school I ran with the Wearers-Of-Black crowd. My head was partly shaved, the rest of my hair was mostly uncombed and purple, I wore at least four necklaces at once, rings on almost every finger, black boots, and I had, without exaggeration, the BEST collection of tights this side of the Atlantic. I know that because I got most of my tights on the Haight in SF and they were mostly from England designers. So there were probably girls (or possibly boys) on the other side of the Atlantic with a tights collection that would put mine to shame, but in Los Altos, the Bay Area, and the West Coast as a whole (excluding Southern Calilfornia, because they don't count anyway), I was Queen of the Cool Tights.

goth, sweet goth

Yeah, that's me sitting on the gravestone in my cool trenchcoat with my cool little band buttons and my cool friend who got sent to St Francis, the catholic private high school, because her parents wanted to protect her from all the drugs at the public school. Incidentally, she did WAY more drugs than I ever did, and she's the one who got me into the Santa Clara party circuit and got me stoned for the first time in my life. So whatever.

I know the photo is pretty shitty becasue I scanned it from the original and that never comes out good, but if you look closely at my blackest self you may notice that I am wearing one of my cool tights. They were printed with paisleys on this grey background, such that people thought my legs were tattooed. I mean, I saw girls buy tights that were black with these shitty paisleys stamped on them with what looked like puffy paint, but these, these were Mary Quant, high quality, British-made tights and I WAS COOL.

So there I am wearing black on the outside because black was how I felt on the inside (does that mean that paisley was how I felt on the inside, too?), sitting on some poor dead person's grave hanging with a couple of friends--did I mention that it is the middle of the night and we had to climb over the cemetery gate? I mean, how goth can you get. Yeah!

I was always pissed off when people, namely adults, wrote me off as a loser just because I looked the way I did. They assumed I was another kid wasting my life; squandering it on drugs, alchohol, and S&M sex with some dude who dyed his hair and painted his fingernails black who stole from the Goodwill.

Okay, yeah, that sterotype held true, in one way or another, for the majority of my friends in the Freak Klub, but not so with me (well, I was no angel, but I wasn't squandering anything). I was a student in AP English and AP US History, I had 3 years of German under my belt, and I was on the varsity field hockey team. When adults looked at me they didn't see a girl who passed most of her classes exceptionally well for never studying, they saw a Problem Child.

Do you see a discipline case or your future midwife?
ps: The Cure rocked my world.

Anyway, as life progressed for little Freak me (who had to endure the stupid neighbor two years older than me who liked to scream, "YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!! PUNK RAAAAWWWWWK!!!!!!" at me from her bedroom every time she saw me--but as I heard her blaring "Raspberry Beret" by Prince all summer long I knew she was a poser and I could hold her in complete comtempt) and I moved up to Salem, OR to go Willamette University and be THE ONLY person on the campus whose wardrobe was 95% black, I began to mellow out.

For me, being a Freak was fun and satisfying because I belonged to an exclusive and slightly intimidaing clique, and we looked out for each other and I truly loved my friends. We were all a little too weird and creative and wild to be friends with anybody else, and we readily accepted into our ranks all those who felt the same, regardless of their attachment to black clothing and big boots. There were some people whom we excluded even though they wore black and professed a liking for Ministry. It was the wild and crazy about people that we loved, the exterior wasn't as important (although I confess, it did help).

So today, 17 years later, I still struggle with people's first impression of me because I have this ring embedded in my lip and I look like I am barely 21. I know every time I go for a doula interview I need to be impeccable in my appearance and manners because I am swimming against The Tide Of Body Piercings And A Young Looking Face. It still pisses me off when people judge me by my cover, and don't even give me a chance to show them who I truly am inside. I understand that habitually we will make snap judgements, I do it too, but I generally allow a person a chance to show me who they really are. As powerful as first impressions are, they can also be so terribly limiting.

And that just makes me want to go lie on a gravestone somewhere, listen to Bauhaus, and wait for that tragically romantic moment when I get bit by the vampire who happens to be the love of my life so that we can live undead and unhappily ever after. And chase down all those stupid people who drove me to my tragic end.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An Open Apology To Grandmother Spider

Okay, maybe I was pretty harsh on Grandmother Spider a couple of weeks ago.

i'm sorry.

It struck me a couple days after that post that I was declaring war on a representation of the sacred feminine. That war was something I did when I was a little girl, and especially when puberty attacked. I hated my body and what it was doing. I felt so out of control, ugly, yucky and dirty and gross.

I never really felt all that great inside of my own skin as a kid anyway--I was always teased for being too fat which I readily accepted as true. Which makes me crazy, now, when I look back at pictures of me in the 5th grade and I WASN'T FAT, people, I WAS A KID. I so desperately wanted to be Beautiful, so that I could be accepted and loved and listened to and included.

And then, puberty hit. And my hair (on my head) got all frizzy and out of control, I had braces and a neck gear (that is the ultimate punishment--a neck gear), I was growing body parts I never had, I got hairy, and this monthly thing. Which happened to me before the sex ed movies, and I had no idea why I was bleeding, and why it wouldn't stop, and what was wrong with me, and why can't I be normal? When my mother confronted me with my dirty laundry I cried, which at age 11 I already vowed never to do, I cried because I was so scared and I cried because I was so ashamed of my own fucked up body that hated me, and I cried because I was displaying my vulnerability to someone who judged me, and I hated myself and I hated myself and I hated myself.

It has taken me a long time to get to a place where I don't hate myself, where I find value and beauty in myself as a person, and especially as a woman.

And it has taken me an even longer time to understand that my being a woman doesn't have to be defined by the imaginary family that I don't have yet, and the imaginary husband that I don't have yet, and that I am not failing as a woman because I am 33 and unmarried and childless.

This was supposed to be a post about Grandmother Spider, and her wonderful medicine that holds all of us together, and how key symbols of the sacred feminine have been perverted to scary, nasty, and evil things, but I guess this post is about me, coming to terms with my own Grandmother Spiderness, my own snake woman, my own roaring ocean.

And this post is about the Adult me mourning for the loss of innocence of the Child me, which happened earlier than it should have, and inevitable as it was, that it should have happened at all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pirates With Candy

I didn't make it to see the Pirate movie this weekend, but not for lack of trying. By the time Brains and I made it to the theater yesterday, the cheap show was all sold out, and we know enough about the movie to know it isn't worth paying $8.50 to see.

So we saw Strangers With Candy instead. And it was ridiculous, stupid, hilarious, and just what the doctor ordered. And it has Steven Colbert in it as the "science" teacher.

Its playing at Cinema 21 here in Portland until the 13th of July, and if you like stupid funny, you will like this.

That is all for now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Skeletons At Sea

I just read this on Pajiba (rhymes with vagina):
This weekend introduces probably the one flick this summer that absolutely, positively cannot fail: Booty Call 2: A Pirate’s Ode to Keira Knightley’s Concavity, which — as I understand — is to follow Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he attempts to convince Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) of the life-saving virtues of a treasured substance known mysteriously as “food.”

Which goes really well with this fugging of Keira Knightly at the opening of the Pirate movie.

What is it with the girls who are literally skin and bones? Why would they think they look good? Why would anybody think that looks good? And its not that I'm envious of these skeletons, I'm concerned for their health.

I wish they would be concerned about their health, too.

First Impressions

Tonight in the class that I learned we were having two days ago, we got to do a little walk down memory lane. Bascially, our teacher wanted us to talk about our impressions of the person immediately to the left of us when we first met, and how we thought they had changed since then. Mind you, we've all known each other for at least seven years.

And what people said about me? "The same, only deeper."

Which is great and cool in many ways, but me being who I am, I would have liked a long(er) discourse on how I've changed.

"The same, only deeper" implies one of two things: 1. I was already expressing who I am at my core, pretty much. 2. I'm still not very close to expressing who I am at my core.

Later, our teacher gave us her first impressions of each of us, and how she's seen us grow. And she said about me: "I saw a scared little girl who was very afraid. With some really old issues."

With some really old issues.

Like, past life old? Or just deep seated since I was a youngin' old? Like what are we talking about here?

I do have some deep seated issues, that I really wasn't that aware of. It's stuff that needs to be addressed, and I finally think I am ready to do it. I have to say, I am pretty good at processing through stuff if I'm ready for it. I've had a lot of practice.

Anger is the emotion that I feel the most. Only because right before I get angry, I'm either hurt, disappointed, let down, sad, worried, broken...and so to protect myself I get angry. And then I often lash out a little bit, especially if there is a person whose words or behavior triggered those feelings, and that person is still trying to interact with me.

The degree to how much I lash out has decreased quite a bit over the years, which I am grateful for. But there are still times, when I feel backed into a corner, I'll hiss and spit like a pissed off badger. Not good times.

Last night I realised that maybe part of the reason why I barely feel the real emotion before jumping straight into anger/protect mode is because anger was the only emotion in my growing up home that seemed to get attention and respect. All those other emotions, at least it seemed to me, got ignored or not treated well or something. But anger, everybody paid attention to anger. Anger was power. Anger was how you respond to stuff. People listened to you when you were angry.

Isn't that sad, that as a very sensitive little girl I learned that people paid attention to my anger, not my grief? And isn't it more sad to think that's probably how it was for both of my parents, too? How far back in our families does that pattern go? How many generations of pent-up grief am I carrying around on my back--how many of my ancestors are whispering, "don't cry, don't be weak, get angry, get them back--it worked for me."

Well, let me tell you, ancestors. This anger thing doesn't work for me at all. And I bet you, it didn't really work for you either. Stop whispering that stuff in my ear, stop pressing on my heart like that. I am going to deal with my own issues around anger and protection, and I urge you all to do the same. Because I won't be carrying your issues around for you anymore. I love you, but if we're going to have a relationship here, it's got to be more equal. Mkay?


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Popsicle Day

image from Barry's Farm

For the 4th, which is my least favorite holiday because I associate it with stupid drunk people blowing up or burning down shit, my roommate and I decided to throw a little party in our tiny backyard. Actually, we don't really have a backyard, we have an afterthought of a side yard.

I protested for weeks about throwing a 4th of July party because I wasn't interested in stressing out about the event and worrying about enough food, enough drink, is everyone happy. Then last Monday, the freakin hottest day this year so far, I finally relented. Maybe it was the extreme heat melting my brain, I don't know. But all of a sudden the words, "we could have a popsicle party," flew out my mouth and directly into the super-excitement part of my roommate's brain. And so it was.

We warned people to eat dinner first, and asked everyone to bring a box of popsicles.

And oh, the boxes of popsicles that came.

First off, for the sake of the supremely anal, we technically had a "frozen novelty" party, but that sounds like crap whereas "popsicle party" has a nice lively little zing to it.

We had fudgesicles, creamsicles, rocket pops, fruit bars, super limey bars, drumsticks, butterfinger bars, tofutti bars, these cool spirally bars made out of something that resembled the stuff you get out of a push-up, raspberry sorbet with a vanilla frozen yogurt filling, hagen dazs bars, rocky road bars, and these decadent little dove bites that were ice cream encased in some serious chocolate. I saw people who had sworn off sugar dive deep into that dove box; I am telling you they were more evil than the ECL.

People really got into the popsicle thing: I would look over and they would be kneeling in front of the cooler, digging around inside looking for something new to try. When the drumsticks arrived, I almost had the box emptied by the time I made it to the cooler. Most guests had at least 3 popsicles, many had 5 or 6!

We worked real hard the last couple of days, but in a completely un-stressed out way, to clean up and set up the afterthought of a side yard and it looks so great and comfortable, and inviting and cozy. Who knew an afterthought of a side yard could be so great? Somebody even said it was better than a real backyard because we have a lot of privacy--mostly because people don't even notice the break in the hedges that leads down to our gate. Our very own secret garden!

So hats off to my roommate and me, for throwing a really fun, but non-stressful, decadent popsicle party. And a loud round of applause for all of our friends who came, box in hand, with a large appetite for popsicles and fun.

I hope your day was just as pleasurable...maybe not so loaded with sugar.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Nerd Alert

Okay, ahem. I am about to reveal something about myself in such a public way, I am asking you all to please be nice to me and not tease me too much.

I found this really great blog and I wanted to share it with you, for maybe some of you are as nerdy as I am.

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

O yeah, you heard me right. Its the diary/blog of Darth Vader, written during the period of his life that corresponds to Episodes IV-VI. Its smart, its nerdy, and its really funny. And I'll prove it to you:

Excerpts from The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

  • I will say this for being a tyrannical dark overlord: you get great service at restaurants.

  • [Palpatine says]"The strings of the Force grow taut, and soon we shall play a tune upon them, Lord Vader. It will be a dirge for the rebellion that will initiate the second age of this New Order."
    Man, that guy loves the sound of his own voice! Luckily no one can see me roll my eyes behind this masque.

  • Big day. Storming the rebel ice fortress.
    Took a nap first so I would be peppy.

  • Due to Ozzel's bungling we arrived too late, and the lion's share of the rebel terrorists had already escaped. I could feel the presence of my son, but he was not at the base. The good news is that as I came into the rebel landing bay I saw the renegade Han Solo escorting the traitor Leia Organa aboard the same Corellian freighter that we captured them in last year. And do you know who else was with them? C-3P0!
    Talk about a blast from the past!
    The tendrils of the Force swam around them, and as the troopers positioned their cannons I closed my eyes. In the darkness behind my eyelids I could see the diaphanous fingers of the Force dance around their spirits as they fled, lazy loops of bifurcating destiny falling behind them like smoke.

  • Darth Vader and the stinking, rotten, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

  • Do you ever have one of those days where you find yourself asking, "Hey, I know I'm bad, but what did I do to deserve this?"

  • Meanwhile, the search for the elusive Millennium Falcon in the asteroid field has yielded no results. The whole affair has put me in a sour mood. Can you tell?
    Forget it. I am going to return to the bridge to shatter asteroids with my mind. I find it soothing, and the officers really get a kick out it.

  • Okay, I admit it. I cut off the kid's hand. Everything went downhill after that.

  • "This will be a day long remembered," I said.
    ...Which is pretty much when the Millennium Falcon escaped to hyperspace.
    I sighed. Why me?
    I was even too dispirited to crush Admiral Piett's trachea.
    Now I am in my hyperbaric chamber, listening to music (Rotan's Sonata for Holotyne) and trying to get a grip on things. Betrayed by a mimbo, surrounded by incompetence, my soul in knots; lost Skywalker, lost Organa, sold Solo...
    The Emperor is going to barf when I tell him.

  • Shape up or sputter to the floor unconscious -- that's my motto.