Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hanging w Dirk

My brother Dirk likes it when we're hanging out and I start diligently scribbling away in my notepad. He's always striving to do something worthy of record. I was over at his place the other morning making notes – something about Thomas Berger, who on one hand is an awesome genius, yet on the other, is his syrupy slapstick too addictive in large doses? (No). For all his finesse there's also a latent maleness that overwhelms (everything about his style is too much, even the nuances). So anyway I'm transcribing these ordinary thoughts just moments after Dirk had stumbled into the room and overturned a cup of coffee on his tank top and shorts and all over the carpet. He handed me a couple rashers of perfectly cooked bacon he kept in his spare hand and went to the kitchen to get a rag.

When he came back into the room he saw me munching on the bacon and scribbling away and immediately thought I was documenting his blunders. He acknowledged me as one does an asshole.“You writing about this?” I told him I wasn't but he seemed far from reassured. My brother thinks I will do anything to discredit his person.

Dirk recommended Year One and it was a good Mel Brooks-style comedy full of all kinds of good performances. I'd happily sit through that again. I'd also sit through Blue Oyster Cult again and I would probably have to because I almost got my ass kicked for standing.

We were at their show on Friday night at Chinook winds, a casino retreat on the coast and stood up when they busted out a blazing Burnin' for You. I was bopping along there when something hit me What felt like ice. It happens again and I see a gray-haired doofus, quite tall, in a tie-dye t-shirt straighten up and yell at my face for blocking the view. I yell back at him for not being polite about it and then I call him a human embarrassment. Security came over and after several heated exchanges, we get away.

For some ungodly reason Foghat headlined and they royally sucked. Best thing about Foghat was their well-stocked merch desk. Dirk was less than impressed. “Hats should just say Fog. They're already a HAT!” He was right of course.

We ate brekkie at Sambo's the next morning. Their portions are much too large for mere mortals. Exiting the restaurant, there's an amputee in a fluro vest directing cars but the cars aren't paying attention. The lot doesn't seem full enough to require it.. How was everything, he asked Dirk and Dirk screamed “what do they expect me to eat 4 pigs in a blanket!” and the amputee replied “hey you go to pig n pancake up the road, they don't give you enough!”

A discussion regarding the immensity of those servings continued on the way home. My view: “If Sambo started serving smaller portions there'd be protesters outside boycotting them until they reinstated the number of pigs in a blanket from three to four.”

Dirk took me to a pig roast/kegger later that day at his neighbor's house way up in the hills on this brilliant wilderness acreage with ponds and shifting elevations and dense foliage and giant trees. It was full of real woodsmen-like eccentrics. They regaled me with near-mythological tales of Northwest anti-heroes from the 70s. I hung on to their words riveted. Denis Johnson would have been tumescent.

The next morning we watched Touch of Evil. I had forgotten how devastating Quinlan's relationship to Pete Menzies' was and by the end of it I was in tears that I had to hide from Dirk or else he think his little bro a big pussy.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Leonard Michaels could take his short stories anywhere he wanted and he did, and he never needed to buy them a chocolate finger afterwards although that probably would have been nice. The New Yorkers populating his stories observe hilarious pretensions, smoke cigars and wear nice jackets. I may do one of those things very well. They are self-loathing sartorialists, which is great because it's a phase I went through the other day momentarily when all of a sudden I found myself in the chinos section at Ross-Dress-for-Less and a pair of delectable CK slacks were opening their pantlegs for me (snagged the last pair too).

Michaels' characters go to orgiastic parties where ecstasy and death are interchangeable. I probably wouldn't go to a party where ecstasy and death was interchangeable, nor would that description pique my interest; in fact I would go so far as to say that is the most unflattering description I have ever heard, but having said all that and knowing what I now know, I would go to a party where ecstasy and death were interchangeable in order to read a book where ecstasy and death were interchangeable at parties.

Given the sophisticated milieu Michaels is mining, I find it refreshing the number of times people puke in his stories. Also the heart attacks are the most accurately described I've encountered in contemporary America. But to be honest, as besotted as I am with Mr. Michaels, I can't help but feel that I would be a little letdown if he was Al Pacino's size.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Me, Tim, Mac & Cheese, H & Matt and Malkmus at Ariel Pink

Nine dollar mac and cheese at Doug Fir Lounge with unlimited bread for $9.95. Beer cost barely anything but seeing that Tim had some in his Jeep down a side street we got in there and finished them. H joined us. I was meant to put Tim's sunglasses in there and I believe I did, but I couldn't find them the next day. We sat in there listening to a break-up song by Ween called I don't want it from the album Quebec featuring a spine-tingling psychedelic guitar solo from Dean. Tim then told me he's divorcing his wife. My phone rang, it was my future housemate in Flagstaff calling to tell me that the woman we were going to share a house with has reneged on the deal. This really threw me off center. I pounded the seat and cursed (two days later my future housemate would find his own place, stranding me like Brisbane did the Saints).

Back inside the Doug Fir, we found Matt Neff who was pissed we hadn't called him. I said we got our wires crossed and told him twice in the space of three minutes that I lost the Flagstaff house and then caught myself repeating myself. Frazzled. Popped outside. H came out and said, "Malkmus is in there with his wife sitting on the left!” I went in there to see if I could find them, but I was looking on the right.

Opening acts didn't move me one iota.

Ordered a whisky at the bar and saw Malkmus and his wife walking by, so I lunged and got his shoulder. I was so drunk probably didn't leave the best impression. Introduced him to Tim, who hi-fived him. Kept all of my charm on reserve until after they left. I kept asking him if Pavement were touring Arizona and refused to take no for an answer.

Pink's Haunted Graffiti electrified our ear canals with pleasure. I saw Malkmus smiling at the band next to H. He had a foodstain on his shoulder – I figured his kids must have did that.

Hungry afterwards, Tim and I went to Galaxy for karaoke and delicious Chinese appetizers presented in a three-tiered platter. We waited an hour to sing Spandau Ballett, then left. Woke up on the floor of his place. He got up and said what's that smell? I said I smell it too, it's really disgusting. He went to the kitchen and came back. “I've been slow-roasting hot dogs all night!” One had jumped from the pan and made it halfway up the carpeted stairs, before petering out. We both sat there trying to figure out what this lone sausage's ultimate objective was.

Actual performance discussed here

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hillsboro market

Went with my parents to the Hillsboro market after riding my bike to Freddy's through a heatwave for the new New Yorker - the one with the twenty best fictioners under 40 inside. Freddy's didn't have it, but I did notice that if you go on-line you can read grueling stuff about each of them on how they got to be where they are today. Lots of uncertainty and mental anguish. Personally I'll be surprised if one or two make it to 40.

Market was cool on hot pavement. I kind of regret not buying the dolmados the charmless Mediterranean dude was hocking, but as I said he lacked charm. Had two razeberry beers. They were good, but would not have wanted a third. Watched my mother try a newfangled health concoction and then shrug grimly like she was Alan Partridge. The vendor's perma-grin chagrined which has been a problem with toothy vendors ever since the Hillsboro market started up again.

Standing next to cousin Kenny's bbq stall was the husband of my sister-in-law's bride's maid, Liz. Bill played in the Fender benders who played at my college graduation. Bill recommended Kenny's, particularly the brisket burrito. “He's Liz's ex,” he added. I was staggered. “What, Liz once married her cousin!”

Beer and burrito made up for the disappoint of the old book shop being taken over by new owners. I had to ask where the literature section was and the girl says these here are the classics. I said so what these are all the old dead guys and she says John Steinbeck's still alive and I said Steinbeck's been dead for thirty years!

Ran into Norm and Dorothy outside. Norm has the distinction of being my high school counselor and marrying my Mom's sister Dolores. Together they had two children, Shari and Jody. When Dolores left Norm, she married Derald. Norm married Dorothy and they had a Jody themselves giving Norm two Jody's. Norm and Dorothy's Jody wasn't there that day, as opposed to the last Hillsboro Market when she was. Norm and dolores' Jody on the other hand I have never seen there, which doesn't mean she doesn't attend just that my Hillsboro Market appearances have been infrequent. Norm and Dorothy also had a son named Mark who suggested me and him get a place together around the time Jody married a hunter in their parent's backyard. That never eventuated. Derald and Dolores didn't have any kids, but Derald once caddied for Glen Campbell in Palm Springs.

Sandy and Kenny (not cousin kenny, but Kenny who ran a local tire shop for a number of years in Hillsboro before letting the son who looks just like him take over ) were also there with their antique cars and standard poodles. A haggard looking lady licking cotton candy rather extremely let the big poodle lick the extraneous bits off her face. I brought this to my Mom's attention before we went to the car because Dad was feeling grumpy.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Serious time for an interesting man

Walker Percy's Mentalist Prose

“Not in a thousand years could I explain it to Uncle Jules, but it is no small thing for me to make a trip, travel hundreds of miles across the country by night to a strange place and come out where there is a different smell in the air and people have a different way of sticking themselves into the world. It is a small thing to him, but not me...

“Me, it is my fortune and misfortune to know how the spirit presence of a strange place can enrich a man or rob a man, but never leave him alone, how if a man travels lightly to a hundred strange cities and cares nothing for the risks he takes, he may find himself No one and Nowhere.”

- The Moviegoer (1961)

title of this post borrowed from The Cannanes's utterly undetestable Beautiful Name (words D. Nichols)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sock it to me

8pm yesterday met Matt Neff at Rom Toms for pilsner. I needed the one they call Bayern to vacate the space in my head that was occupied with school hassle: measles vaccinations, tuition fees, classes being dropped and then reinstated, international money transfers; these all had to be dealt with handily and overcome. Hell I even went to my parents' bank and urgently opened a couple of accounts. The bank manager, an energetic Latino, probably thought I was gay.

I'm listening to the Bob Quine VU Tapes. It's 75 degrees Fahrenheit and I'm outside as per the silver Jews' song. I'm of the opinion that presently there's nothing else that matters musically than these shitty sounding Quine tapes, particularly these savory sister Rays that are easily the length of a wildlife documentary and considerably more animalistic.

After Rom Toms, I put my crumpler in Matt's bimmer and we walked to East End, a punk club on a street corner a few blocks east of the waterfront where all kinds of industrial shit goes down. Matt handed me a two dollar German lager in a tall boy can, the Wipers came on the jukebox and we went and sat down at the table where Mikey and Danny Young of Eddy Current suppression Ring were sitting. Mikey said “you look familiar did we see you in Seattle last night?” I repeated to Mikey and Danny the same thing I said to Matt. Last time I saw you (at Billboard in December), I threw my back out. Visits to the masseuse, the physio and finally the osteopath over the next three months cost me a lot. Mikey bought me a beer, I bought their CD, had the band sign it and after a real good set from local punks, Blood Beach, they tore the roof off the place. Back at Matt's place we had a real good cry to side one of derek and the dominos.

Hey twenty six minutes into this twenty eight minute Sister Ray and I'm getting a little bored with it. Wait it just picked up again. Oh yeahhh. Sock it to me Lou!