Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm At The Beach. Hold All My Calls.

So Drew worked yesterday. Long night with a carload of teens who managed to get themselves killed and/or maimed by rolling their car on a straight stretch.

Normally, after a night spent scraping people off the pavement or putting their candles out through the roof, he would come home in the morning and nap a couple hours so he didn't have to spend the remainder of the day in a dream state.

But today was the start of my birthday beach weekend. So he had to come home, shower up and drive me and the dogs the two hours to the beach through heavy traffic until we hit Lincoln City where the heavy traffic met with Kite Festival traffic, creating a Perfect Storm of Impatient Through-Traffic Meets Frustrated Kite-Festival Traffic Looking For Street Parking. But then, once he got here, he went to the store to pick up wine and breakfast (and a little something in a bakery box), then went to the pizza place up the road to pick up dinner so we could eat dinner on our deck overlooking the beach.

Soon after dinner he fell onto the bed unconscious without lifting his feet up off the floor.

That's the kind of selfless servitude I have to put up with on my birthday weekend. I'm going to tough it out here for another couple of days.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Killin Season

It was a long winter, but a relatively mild one, which means my freckles are now fighting for space with mosquito bites. And its June; the mosquitoes haven't even had that much time to have skeeter-breeding orgies in Drew's old tires yet.

The county's mosquito control team (which has apparently purchased a second-hand meter-maid scooter to use as a patrol vehicle) has been out driving around the area, wondering what to do.

The grass in the park was treated this morning with something poisony smelling. I guess its for the best, with the soccer kids and all the flea-bitten mutts piddling about (with any luck, it's just the mutts doing the piddling).

I hope its not too earth-killing.

But as the dogs and I walked and piddled this morning (again, the parties of the first part are the only ones indulging in the party of the second part), we saw a dragonfly lying in the smelly grass, its nearly-there wings wrongly still.

There must be a better way.

Coming Soon: On the Road with Large-Legged Men

How's this for a reality show: four bike racers and two bike wizards take a road trip in a borrowed RV from Colorado Springs to Portland for a weekend of track racing and debauchery. Will they make it in time? Will they win any races? Will the owner of the RV recognize it upon its return?

Stay tuned in July for further episodes. AVC is July 18 - 20. Write it down.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pictures that are More Interesting than the Gardening Action that has been Swallowing My Days

I'll be down here if you need me to eat anything for you. Just so you know.

Synchronized sleeping.

Sloppy sleeping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summing Up

I sent some hand-me-down books to Dean and Jenny last week. I felt funny just popping them in the mail without some sort of reason why I was handing over such an eclectic grouping, but there was really no reason for that, other than my own desperate and futile attempts at reading everything NPR tells me to read.

So instead I ripped off another idea I heard somewhere on NPR. The guest was Larry Smith who had compiled a book entitled Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure.

I was intrigued by the idea and spent some quality dog-walking time contemplating my own six-word memoir:

Not sure I got that right.


Not looking forward to the epilogue.


Always thought I was someone else.

I co-opted the idea to create six-word book reports for the package, in an attempt to make sense of the selection:

Gilead by Marilyn Robinson:

Seniors having children;
Not so wise

A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body by Lauren Weedman (in the same package? I know!)

Lauren has issues for your enjoyment.

Smile When You're Lying by Chuck Thompson

Travel magazines are phony. Who knew?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (my favorite in this group):

Autistic kid;
Dumb parents;
Dead dog

What is the What by Dave Eggers

Starving children in Darfur;
Peckish now?

What are you reading? Sum it up!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Should a Wild Thing Be Tamed?

Here are some Grooming Day before and after pictures. I've always brushed out Scotty's hair myself, which kept him from matting, but didn't win him any beauty awards.

This isn't a really fair "before" picture, because it was taken on a really wet day, but it's too awesome not to use.

My back hurt for three days after the last bathing and brushing marathon, so I decided to hire it done, just like the city dogs do. He hated it, felt completely violated, and needed some "me time" before he was back to his wacky self. But isn't he pretty?

Yes, the bow is off by now.

And his coat is silkier than I know how to make it. We'll see how long it lasts...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Upside: It's Not Flooding Here

So my afternoon went like this:

  1. Drain and clean last year's mystery poison from yard sprayer thingy.
  2. Realize the sprayer thingy is missing a nozzle thingy.
  3. Against all odds, find nozzle thingy in the garage.
  4. Mix new batch of bug killer juice.
  5. Realize that the nozzle was removed from the sprayer thingy because it doesn't work.
  6. Try to clean the nozzle out with a needle.
  7. Scream when a bug comes out of the nozzle when I least expect it.
  8. Put the nozzle back on and retry.
  9. Say f**k it, take the nonworking nozzle off, and spray the grape vines full force with the hose end of the sprayer.
  10. Make a godawful mess, including milky bug death juice dripping down 150 square feet of sunroom glass.
  11. Realize that the yard sprayer has been leaking all over my pants.
  12. Throw yard sprayer away.
  13. Find bucket, rags and squeegee.
  14. Prepare a bucket full of glass cleaner formula.
  15. Clean 150 square feet of sunroom glass.
  16. Open a sunroom window to get to a screened area that needs cleaning.
  17. Break the window mechanism so that (a) the window can't stay open and (b) can't close.
  18. Scare dogs with loud cursing.
  19. Try to fix window mechanism that defies the laws of physics.
  20. Confirm physics law by breaking window mechanism.
  21. Concede.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Oh, and One More Thing

You know those white outline stickers you can get for the back window of your minivan, shaped like a soccer ball or a rip-off of a copyrighted cartoon figure doing something rude?

You can get one shaped like bagpipes.

And you didn't think bagpipes had a shape. Well, like octopi, they do if you place them in one, I guess.

I know because Tyge has one on his truck.

Three Dollar Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma

My problem with movies like this is I forget not to think.

This story revolves around a hair-brained scheme to escort Russell Crowe, obviously the West's Most Dangerous and Slippery Prisoner, via horse-back, very slowly, including nights of camping against picturesque rocks, through Indian- and Gang-infested territory. In spite of the fact that they had two dozen very lawful and self-defensible reasons to kill him along the way.

Our comments during the movie went something like this:

"Kill him!"

"Kill him now!"

"How about now?"

"Did I miss the part in the movie where they explained how their bullets have a defect that makes them shoot backwards when used against stagecoach robbers?"

On the plus side, the director managed to fit in several unlikely explosions, which help to soothe masculine souls and allow them to forgive ridiculous plots. Two I especially liked for their fishiness: a stagecoach-based man shoots a riding man's saddle-mounted gunpowder pouch, causing both him and his horsey to kaboom; and later a man, whilst fleeing on horseback, tosses a bundle of dynamite into the air and his horseback-fleeing buddy shoots the dynamite, thus causing it to kaboom.

There are so few plausible reasons to fit explosions into westerns. I'm glad these guys went the extra mile to find perfectly reasonable explosion opportunities.

Well done, lads.

My judgment: three Junior Mints boxes out of five.

Friday, June 06, 2008

In Which No One Falls Over the Railing to their Death at the Crystal Ballroom

...but one lady came close, which was the highlight of my evening (barring Thomas Lauderdale's Brenda Vaccaro moment, but more on that later).

Becca and Brian, our favorite World Traveling Sellwood Nesters, invited us to check out Pink Martini at a (typically) fundraising appearance at the Crystal Ballroom. Although I would have been happy standing on the dance floor/moshing space (until I realized I had not grown since breakfast and was stuck staring at everyone's back again), Drew is a sitting kind of person, so we headed for the balcony like meerkats after scorpions. Unfortunately, Drew was not alone in his concert sitting idea, and we were summarily trampled by approximately 200 gray-headed, Coldwater Creek-wearing baby she-boomers on a mission to the 100 or so balcony seats.

Drew is constantly surprised at the rudeness of people - those who push past him to get the good seats, or monopolize the only salesperson, or (gaa!) block grocery aisles with their cart all akimbo while staring at the mayonnaise. I agree that they are obnoxious doofs and individual harbingers of our civilization's doom, but I am no longer surprised.

Luckily, Brian, being skinny and wiry, was able to shoot between the gaps in the crowd and snag us some primo seats in the second balcony row.

One little roundish gray-haired lady was not so fast up the stairs, but went trolling for leftover seats with a verve normally only seen at wrestling matches. Once she spotted one in the front row, she vaulted over a row of seats, nearly overshooting the railing in her enthusiasm and plunging to her death (although she might have been able to grab onto the nearby pink-and-blue curlicued chandelier at the last minute and hang from it like a circus performer, only more colorfully dressed). These are the times when my cell phone is safely tucked away, instead of in my hands in the picture-taking position.

Where was I?

Pink Martini. They sang songs in Spanish, Portuguese, whatever Peruvians speak, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and pidgin Russian. Thomas Lauderdale is so adorable that you can almost forgive him for being smarter than you. He is part Giant Music Brian, part Just Jack, part Liberace, and part elf.
And China Forbes is a talent to match - a plushy, technically accomplished voice and the ability to fit it around any kind of music the band picks up (like shiny objects).

And you just don't see percussion sections like this any more. And never with percussionists with names like Martin Zarzar. Yes, Zarzar. And he's not even a martial arts expert. As far as I know.

Since we couldn't understand most of the words, I kept Drew entertained by playing the "which one" game:

Which would you rather play: tambourine or that drum you wear like a messenger bag?

Which would you rather play: tambourine or the tin cans filled with beans that you shake?

Which would you rather play: Shaky thing or the gourd with the chain mail on it?

This is sort of like the chain-mail gourd, but obviously with cheaper chain mail. I understand it's called a shekere.

We wanted the gourd with the chain mail. Or the bongos. But everybody wants to be the bongo player. Why don't I have a set of bongos? This is a glaring oversight on my part.

The other highlight of the evening was Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes switching parts on an audience favorite, Hang on Little Tomato. It probably seemed like a better idea at dinner before the performance, but it was worth it to watch Lauderdale suddenly realize that he had forgotten the words and struggle to get back in the game, a performance he termed his "Brenda Vaccaro" moment. No, I don't know why, except that Vaccaro was famous for her smoky voice, and of course, her appearances on Battle of the Network Stars.

Bottom Line: I need bongos and Thomas Lauderdale is my new favorite munchkin. And that includes Dunkin Donuts products.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In Which I Consign Myself to Hell

A texting conversation between Dean and me last week after the exile from the Olympic Training Center (due to a group of misguided protesters) was lifted:

Dean: Got back to the gym today and did personal bests in every lift! 790 lb leg press! Woo!

Piglet: Wha? Release pent up energy much?

Dean: Maybe a day off was in order. Strength coach wants to see 1000 by September.

Dean: Did it 4 times in front of a packed tour too.

Piglet: Nice. I hear Pat Robertson has an energy drink that you might want to look into for that 1000 goal.

Dean: Ha, forgot about that. Fueled by Jesus!

Piglet: Maybe it has actual bits of Jesus in it...wait that sounds too much like Catholic communion...have I gone too far with this?

Dean: Its got bits of real panther in it... so you know its good.

It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

All the PBR at the Rubicon Headquarters? Turns out that they were just in on the ground floor of a hipster trend. As per usual. This from a Salon article by Laura Miller (pointed out to me by MeMo).

"Buying In" is an often startling tour of this new cultural terrain, taking
in such iconic products as Hello Kitty, Timberland, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Red
Bull, as well as Scion, a line of Toyotas that I, apparently, am too uncool to
have known about before. Some of these brands, like Timberland and Pabst (or
PBR, as the hipsters call it), were established, if small-time, entities before
certain consumer subcultures adopted them. The hip-hop world took a liking to a
line of boots that had been created for construction workers by a New England
family company. Bike messengers in the Pacific Northwest made a Milwaukee beer
the brew of choice in the indie-rock scene. In both cases, the manufacturers of
those products were disconcerted by their new customers. What they understood to
be the cultural meaning of their products -- footwear for working men, and cheap
suds for the 45-to-65-year-old Midwestern set -- had been redefined by complete

This, Walker observes dryly, is what marketing managers mean when they
talk of the need to "collaborate" with consumers. The CEO of Timberland became
briefly notorious in hip-hop circles for seeming not to welcome the change in
his customer base. (They've since patched things up and you can now buy pink
versions of the classic work boots.) PBR was more sure-footed: The brewer
carefully cultivated its image among the indie crowd by taking great care not to
cultivate its image: no ads on local radio, no celebrity endorsements (despite
nibbles from Kid Rock) and certainly no TV. PBR's divisional marketing manager,
cribbing tactics from Naomi Klein's anti-corporate manifesto, "No Logo" (full of
"many good marketing ideas," he told Walker!), worked to make PBR "always look
and act the underdog." He was so successful at retaining the brand's cachet (or
anti-cachet) that one 28-year-old Oregonian whom Walker interviewed had a
foot-square Pabst logo tattooed onto his back. "Pabst is part of my subculture,"
the kid told the writer, pointing to the absence of Pabst advertising as
evidence that "they're not insulting you."

It's not only cheap and nearly drinkable, it's trendy too! Who (over 40) knew?