Thursday, August 13, 2009

Any world that I am welcome to: Steely Dan/Eat Skull

Erika, the transsexual checker at Safeway on 29th is a fan of Steely Dan. We were buying a 12 pack of Budweiser to take over to H’s when she made reference to their song Any world that I am welcome to*. I said we were just listening to them last night. Erika looked at us in amazement, gave us both hi-fives with hands the size of bumbershoots practically smashing our palms on impact and then clutched De Campo’s bicep admiringly as we checked out.

We walked the block to H’s for the Eat skull pre-funk. Digging those dudes’ records (drummer’s a chick). Two recent long players — ‘Sick to Death’ and ‘Wild and Inside’ — are good. Anthems for living in garbage cans of which we all do figuratively or otherwise sometimes. At their show in this basement on 50th and Division the singer threw a piece of metal (distortion pedal?) at our heads, split the uprights between H and mine. Then he ripped some skateboards off the wall that were hanging on a string. Mean behaviour for a band who - at least according to the guy whose house it was - were super good friends with him.

Mosh mess ensued. De Campo armored herself with a projected elbow as bodies flew — tactics learned from her Arthouse dayz. Matt, a semi-pro bicyclist who works in financial, poured his first drink of Budweiser into his mouth and suddenly an acid-smacked kid in a backpack smacked his beer can against Matt's gums causing a finicky bloodletting. Matt also nearly lost his right thumb. Everyone agreed the music was solid. After-party at the corner bar was a hoot. Met the guitarist who gave me a little swoon-worthy cuddle.

The drive back to H's in Matt’s ‘74 BMW listening to Wilco’s latest was what dreams are made of.

*‘Any world that I am welcome to’ is one of those melancholy funk workouts that don’t need an explanation: ‘Any World that I am Welcome to is better than the one I call home.’

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday Gone

The Pittock mansion was visited by De Campo and I last Tuesday. There’s a 4 poster bed in one of the rooms that belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln’s family (she was Abe’s wife). Built in 1919 by this opportunist named Henry who came over on the Oregon Trail and ended up running the daily newspaper for half a century. It’s an impressive sandstone building that overlooks Portland with views of Mt Hood that happened to be a little hazy on this particular day.

We went and had a burger in the countryside at a tavern we like a lot after that. In the photo above, De Campo is getting ready to have some of their beer. After lunch, De Campo wanted to know what kind of trees those were bordering the beer garden and I honestly for the life of me couldn’t tell her, leaving a glaring gap in my local horticulture that needs to be rectified fast!

Like two killers on-the-lam we stayed on-the-move. There’s a lot of vendors at Tuesday night market in Hillsboro hocking their homemade jams and chilli sauces. Mom was looking for a marinade to bathe her salmon in and came across this spicy basil sample that made her gag! She had some of Campee’s wa-wa to make her feel better. I always like going to Tuesday Market because I often come away with some good gems at Main Street Books and acquisitions on this outing were first-rate: Richard Yates’ 'Easter Parade' (first edition) and Tobias Wolff’s 'Old School'.

We got to talking about dogs because there were dogs all over the place. Saw a German Shepherd walk by and Dad started to laugh and then couldn’t stop long enough to talk. Tears were forming in his eyes and we asked what was so funny because we were laughing too and we figured it would be a lot funnier if we knew why he was and he said that when he was a kid living in North Dakota him and his younger brother Dick would hang out at the local gas station in the middle of nowhere for fun with their pet German Shepherd and one time a car pulled up and the man got out and offered them five dollars for their dog and they accepted. Not only that, but that man was Robert Mitchum. Okay so I was joking about that, but my Dad did meet Bob Mitchum once at a tackle shop in Eastern Oregon.
Laurelhurst Tavern serves beer into big cups that you sit and drink while a movie unspools before your very eyes. And you don’t have to do anything else but sit there and drink them (unless you order a piece of pizza that you might sit and eat between slurps like we did). Sometimes the movies are even fun to watch! Happily this one was because it made us forget about how dark and impure tasting the beer was on our angelic livers!

‘Adventureland’ is the third coming-of-age film for actor Jesse Eisenberg following ‘Rodger Dodger’ and ‘Squid and the Whale’ and that makes it a bonafide trilogy.

It’s an output rivaling the Matthew Broderick of Biloxi Blues, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, War Games and that open-minded romantic comedy about Matt and the monkey. That's actually four not so great movies.

Nine Days

Been in the Motherland for nine whole days, not nine whole yards, just days. In Seaside now, or at least that’s where I am writing this, in a beach chair on a straw mat tucked into a sandy cove watching the shark-infested waters ripple and splash at low-tide. I’m wearing micro-fibre trunks and an antique tennis cardigan. The weather ain’t great, but occasionally the sun gets through the clouds and De Campo gets a sunburn. Two days ago a maimed porpoise washed up on the beach. Turns out the predator was a Great White. Police patrolling the beach yelling at people from a PA set up in their suburban to get out of the water even though these people are right at the shoreline. There’s no temptation to get in the water anyway since, like I said, the weather ain’t great. It’s meant to heat up on Saturday when my cousin Shari has a bbq.

My ankles turned into cankles on our brutal 26 hour transit (Melbourne > Sydney > Los Angeles > Seattle > Portland). “I’m going to ring our travel agent’s neck for flying us to hell and back!” I roared. “I booked the flights on-line,” De Campo replied.

The flight was long, the United staff rude and we were subjected to two rough landings. Came back from the bathroom once, this is after everyone had gone to sleep, passed a guy in an aisle seat reading an article on how to become an orgasm whisperer. Less subtle than an issue of Juggs, I suppose (if you were illiterate).

Met my parents, a pair of sun-pickled retirees, who were full of an arena size cheer. They gave us a Mexican wave (on the inside). My ankles were quite a grotesque vision, but it didn’t cause me any discomfort, only psychological. I thought they would turn gangrenous any moment (my ankles, not my parents).

Back at their place, I opened my suitcase to show my Dad the scotch I picked up duty-free and I could only find the cap from the cardboard tube. Someone must have unzipped my suitcase and stole it in Los Angeles (we had no choice but to put the booze in our luggage because liquids are no longer allowed as carry-on after that incident with the R.E.M. guitarist and all the yogurt). I spent the next hour sulking in the bedroom that was never mine because I never lived in this particular house; my parents moved here — down the road from the house I grew up in — after I moved to Australia. I had another look and it turned out it was there I just didn’t look hard enough the first time.

Had some the next day at a jolly-good get-together at my parents' house that H, Eliza and their son attended, plus some people that I am actually related to. Blood relatives they're called.