After his first viewing of A Clockwork Orange on Inauguration Day J20:
Feldspar: What Now? Pixel: Something classic, something funny Feldspar: Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Pixel: Try again. Feldspar: Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Pixel: Hmm, that’s new. Feldspar: It has Leprechauns and Banshees and Sean Connery when he was young. Singing. Pixel: Perfect.
Joined by Storm Large, Erika Moen and friends on her ‘The Art of Asking’ book tour, Palmer’s stop at the Wonder Ballroom featured heartfelt book readings, musical performances and humorous, insightful and delicious discussion. Photos by Chelsea Gaya
The wildly decorated people stood in the bleak cold, queued up in what could have been a fancy beggars breadline and looking as if the circus or the Comic Con had just let out for the night… but the show was just about to start.
The warm and eclectic crowd, smelling of musk, fur, incense and leather, pushed their way into the Wonder Ballroom on November 19—a gorgeous herd of afghan covered gypsies, finger-gloved and lip-pierced, wrapped in kimonos, wearing peacock feather fascinators. They were darkly clad, tribal-tattooed, bustiered, crow-black coiffed and mohawked. Some wore layers of tablecloth hiked up for skirts, some sported jackets fit for a white linen dinner. One girl, a bony bride in a skeleton sweatjacket, paraded past with a mass of cotton candy magenta-colored hair crowned by a headband of black flowers with a flowing, spidery veil. They came in pageboy and bowler hats armed with ukuleles. They were circus beauties and sideshow outcasts, a fanciful, freakish canvas of carnival color, and they were all here to see the woman who they were imitating in their costumed incarnations of her many looks. Miss Amanda Fucking Palmer.
“There are things you do
because they feel right
& they may make no sense
& they may make no money
& it may be the real reason we are here:
to love each other
& to eat each other’s cooking
& say it was good.”
::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: ::: :::
“I’ve been a bad yogi this week,” I mused sadly to Joe. Even talking about yoga to Lia in lieu of actually doing it got my muscles to tingle and miss it.
“Yeah, but sometimes forging new friendships takes the same kind of commitment,” he said to me.
I am consoled to think that at least I’ve been a good friend. or have been having a good time. I can also tell it’s been a full, week of good people, food and silliness when the fridge is full of tasty leftovers, there’s a bouquet of lilies on my living room table, there are a lot of dishes to do, there’s silver spray paint and glass beads in strange places, the laundry turns up stickers, candy wrappers and tiny plastic babies, I am pleasantly tired and I am editing photos of it all.
Sufjan Steven’s “The Henney Buggy Band” lyrics and melody occur to me in snippets.
“Oh life, with your colorful surprises
Eleanor, how you put one on disguises”
“Far in the morning light
We let the movies play
A weekend from the holiday
. . . Forget about yourself and all your plans”
This past Saturday a group of friends all dressed up as Villains attended the Alter Egos Power Struggle. It was pretty much a Heroes & Villains pub crawl all brought to you by Alter Egos Society and Drunken Rampage. And Benja said it best with:
“the event included games and prizes along a route through several downtown Portland bars. The games included initiation games (such as “save the kittens” for heroes and “steal candy from the babies” for villains), “You’ve Met Your Match” finding an Arch Nemesis speed dating style), and a dance-off between good and evil. A number of local businesses (bars and comic shops, etc.) and organizations (Stumptown Comics Foundation, etc.) supported the event as part of official Portland Comics Month.”
But for me to tell you about the evening from the streetside and onlooker POV – well, is to tell the story of running through the city, engaging in an en masse, public, costumed rubber band fight, taking over bars of every variety including strip and gay (Portland famous), community pole-dancing, swinging from the ceiling (on a literal swing suspended by chains) climbing elephant statues in the park, catching free prizes in the air like porn, latex whips, silver-studded leather chastity belts, oh – and comic books too. Sure. To give you ALL the details would read a bit Gonzo-esque so . . . “No. We can’t stop here. This is bat country.”
But there are some photos where my friends are harpies, mad scientists, robots, caped, cylcloptic evil overlords with interchangeable blue & red laser monocles with minions to match, judges dressed in cinched robes & a wrestling unitard, and futuristic underwater murderers of dolphins (it’s quite a backstory). A bit of “so long and thanks for tall the fish.” Dolphins are super smart and take over the world. See: Douglas Adams.
The next morning, Easter Sunday we threw a Pagan Potluck to celebrate Eostre, the goddess of spring fecundity, love and carnal pleasure. How appropriate. There was so much wonderful food! A big spiral-sliced ham I cooked with an orange-maple glaze and served with a side of “last nite’s costumed bar crawl hangover,” with a friendly diner smile. Quiche, potato salad, fruit salad of blood oranges and tangerines, quinoa, spinach salad with goat cheese, potato salad, deviled eggs, chocolate angel food cake, cherry cobbler, coconut balls and more mimosas and white wine than humanly necessary were consumed. Eventually it devolved into a game of Scattergories and Celebrity. Somehow, my dumb ass did NOT take pictures. I was off duty that nite, I suppose.
Last nite we gathered for a loose dinner party at Jeremy’s apartment themed “food on a stick.” The colorful spread ended up consisting of cheese & chocolate fondue with dippers of olive bread, meat, angel food cake, strawberries, apples, pears, sushi and skewered teriyaki chicken and beef, wine (hey, stemmed glasses are on sticks!) the comedic Pabst Blue Ribbon that Cooper brought up from the depths of the ice cooler, carried in on a large branch and hoisted into the room like catch of the day, and Benja’s contribution of candy with Chick-O-Stix. Surprisingly, no popsicles, perhaps a rather obvious choice. This in no way detracted from the rainbow of bountiful foodie goodness we enjoyed. (Once again, no photographic evidence!) Later, we all lay on collective couches in a food coma watching Val Kilmer in Real Genius. A good old fashioned 80’s “nerd saves the world” movie.
Tonite while drinking cold beer on our warm sunny patio talking to Lia & Cooper who were getting ready to depart for their stay at home happy couple date nite of dinner and cuddling, I was cheered as I received, fielded and answered text messages:
Tiffany: “If I get enough work done today i was thinking of going to the tulip festival tomorrow – interested? It’s going to be a beautiful day.”
Chelsea: “Thought I’d take advantage of the sun with a book and my dog. Ran into friends on the Beach. Dungeoness crab for dinner. Call ya when I’m headed back.”
Claire: “We went to the farmers market and now we are relaxing at a park in the SE. If you were at Stumptown I’d join you. Nap in park instead! We are going out for Pho if you are interested.”
And later from Lia: “We love you guys. Seriously. Like love love. U fixed my music collection! i owe you my life.”
Jeremyasked: “What time tomorrow?” in reference to the brunch we’re having on the deck at my house since the weather promises sunny and 74 degrees. i instructed, “Let’s call it a casual noon. Brunch in single digit #’s is called breakfast & is lame.” Claire is coming over to cook some spicy eggs, i’m gonna to fry up some bacon and make a stack of fluffy pancakes. hmm, i have no champagne for mimosas . . .
i smiled to myself a lot for a lot of little reasons today. Odin was hiding in the freshly washed bed sheets in an effort to stalk me. i realized that if i want to fall madly into bed with Joe tonite, the bed must be made, cat or no. There was a time when we got so distracted and caught up in each other, too busy making love that we could rarely be bothered to comb our hair or pack properly for a trip to the woods. The apple butter in the fridge reminded me of the camping trip where, because we were too busy “packing” we had forgotten a knife to cut and spread food, so we simply tore off hunks of bread and dipped it in pumpkin butter (no more apple butter to be had at the roadside stands that late in the afternoon.) How that nite, Joe and i flipped the script on the traditional camping roles: i built a fire and secured the goods from bears and he, my would-be-husband cooked a fabulous dinner of beans and onions and summer sausage. I thought of our long looks in the fire light, and the sound of a large skunk trundling through the brush into our campsite making my eyes go from lovestruck at half-mast to wide and panicked. “Animal. Biggish.” i whispered in a fearful assessment. And he laughed.
i washed the tablecloths from the Easter Pagan Potluck we threw last week and tossed in a few old throws. One of them, a bright blue with red stripes i didn’t recognize until turned the tag to read it:
British Airways. MADE IN ENGLAND. Airline use only. Please do not remove from aircraft.
And i smiled, thinking of Joe taking me to Rome after we got engaged.
“Hey, did i ask you to steal this blanket from the plane ride?” i prodded.
“Well, one of us stole it. It’s unclear who, “Joe smiled.
it’s in my lap right now as i type this in the office.
i am about to take some fruit down to thaw for brunch: a bag full of frozen mango & berries – something called “Mangolicious” from Trader Joe’s that i put with some Vanana (vanilla & banana flavoured yogurt) and some local Hanna’s honey in a cup. i am thinking fondly of myself & two dear friends in our pajamas eating apple pie for breakfast. In bed. Laughing. i am thinking of not waking up earlier than 11 am tomorrow. i am thinking the red & yellow tulips in bloom in my garden should suffice if i don’t make it out to the Wooden Shoe Tulip festival.
+ First thing, i started my day, pulled out of my garage and drove 20 feet before a doe stopped in front of my car on a quiet residential block, panicked, scrabbled on the pavement, then ran full-tilt boogie, leaping and sprinting down the street.
+ Went to a job interview in a posh place, and promptly made up my mind after meeting the head MFIC, that i would continue my search.
+ Went to a garden center, picked out two potted burgundy colored mums & vegetable seeds for Spring, then hauled two bags of soil to the trunk.
+ Ate a sub sandwich with salt and vinegar chips while sitting on the sunny deck in the backyard.
+ Completed a phone interview for a job at an established Oregon winery while pacing my garden.
+ Scheduled another interview with a wine shop for the following day.
+ Ran two loads of laundry and hand washed my “delicates.”
+ Joe and i went to Starbuck’s and got a pumpkin spice latte and a salted caramel hot chocolate. mmmm.
+ We then went to pick out carving pumpkins and Halloween candy in case we stay home, or to set out for the little monsters in a free for all grab-bowl. i’m sure we’ll have leftovers . . .
+ Had dinner with Joe at a “Carribean” place, courtesy of a 2 for 1 entrée coupon, with dishes from Ethiopia, Hawaii, Thailand, New Orleans and Jamaica. i settled on a crazy tropical drink and Kalua Pork – a Hawaiian slow-cooked, smoky shredded pork pile with grilled onions, sweet peppers, Tamarindo BBQ sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, tropical slaw and cornbread. speaking of leftovers, it’s about to become lunch.
+ Settled down in front of the computer to edit some photo projects, including a few from our recent hiking and “camping” trip out to Bend, Oregon.
+ Watched some quality Daily Show and Colbert Report with Joe & Odin.
+ Dug into the Halloween Candy and ate a Halloween orange colored Kit-Kat.
+ Settled down into bed with a good book and an even better husband.
“Shall I tell you something?” asked Pinocchio, who was beginning to
lose patience. “Of all the trades in the world, there is only one that
really suits me.”
“And what can that be?”
“That of eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, and wandering
around from morning till night.”
“Let me tell you, for your own good, Pinocchio,” said the
Talking Cricket in his calm voice, “that those who follow that
trade always end up in the hospital or in prison.”
~ The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
::: ::: ::: :::
“How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that
clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery!”
~ Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
::: ::: ::: :::
my life is full of wooden boys,
an onslaught of Pinocchios.
liars with long noses to hang
a hundred stories on.
heads on swivels, arms and legs
bendable, poseable into human
machinations of affection,
no strings attached.
“First the Medicine
and Then the Sugar,
Oh no no, first the sugar
and then I promise…”
and me, i want a real LIVE boy.
so tired of the paranoid android
who longs to feel emotion
but expresses it in private brevity:
the mechas simulating sex
with the orgas who can sleep
delving the deep underwater
dreams of The Blue Fairy.
a motherless creation is inevitably
monstrous, so please pardon yourself
for this intrusion in advance . . .
with blinded sight i might ask, why do
i attract the transitional and not the intact?
my modern day Prometheus,
if you love like a cadaver, cool and pale,
it will take more than four elements,
more than stealing fire from the gods to
set me alight. you teach me your alchemy
then snuff me, a red taper beneath
a black bowl if the beaker should boil over.
i will not piece together flesh nor hack
a branch from a tree and call it life.
i will make firewood of you, boy,
have the cat make sawdust of your feet.
love makes a wooden boy real,
kindness makes a monster human,
i will be your Pandora, but i will not be refused.
my dowry is this box, and the last of all gifts
in it, is my hope.
i just started 2 online courses to complete my (neverending) degree in Psychology. having lost two beloved pets last month and the subsequent emotional adjustment left me a little sapped. work has been wearing on me a little and i am STILL slightly sick . . .
but mostly just sick of not having enough time to just sit here
and pet the cats
and take pictures
and glue shit together
and get paid for it.
so to make myself feel more at ease (and to keep the cold at bay) – i fried up some pierogies filled with potatoes and cheese in butter and warmed up some drinking chocolate sent to me from the UK courtesy of a dearly missed friend, re-read a sympathy card for Miles from another missed friend in Detroit, also named Andrea, stared at my clown fish, the sweeping fan feeders and the little purple hairy ghost crab that inahbits the nano-reef i have in my office, snatched up both cats for a kiss and a cuddle, listened to some old Steeley Dan, wandered DA for some inspiration, slathered up in some lavender lotion and donned some soft pajama bottoms, which i should now waste your time/amuse you by describing:
these newly beloved pajama pants are cream colored with fuschia cats all over them. the cats have big heads, tiny bodies and a little curlique for a tail. they have hearts for eyes and interspersed in the places where cats do not reside, there are tiny chocolate, caramel, and fuschia colored hearts and the word “kitten” right side up and upside down all over in between the hearts. they sit low on the waist and have this really cool japanese, flare and overlapping fabric trimminng detail at the ankles. if i never have to get out of these pants that would be just fine with me.
soon now – i should find myself curled up with actual kittens pressed against my kitten pajamas, jacked into my iPod listening to Douglas Adams read his book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for the bazillionth time. (by the way, interestingly enough, if you simply type the word “hitchhiker” into GOOGLE, you get a whole lotta Adams.
i have a box of photos i intend to begin sorting through to and transferring them into 2 large leather books. there is everything from me coloring Easter eggs to my high school graduation and far beyond. i find something amusing in the photos that others take of me – in most of them, i am holding a wine glass.
Well, i suppose i will do what the HHGTTG says, “DON’T PANIC,” keep a towel handy, and drink plenty of fluids . . .
“The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. ”
and perhaps it is time to unwind with some stellar bevvies 🙂
in the meantime, i’ll be over at Marcy’s place in the afternoon, setting up a wireless network, which i’m sure will require at LEAST a bottle of wine.
in pre-emptive celebration, i will leave you with a funny bit about fine ladies gone out drinking . . .
Women’s 19 clues to calling it a night you know it’s time to go home when …
1. You have absolutely no idea where your shoes are.
2. You’ve just had to get someone to help you pull your pants up in the ladies room.
3. You suddenly decide you want to kick someone’s ass.
4. In your last trip to “pee” you realize you look more like Tammy Faye Baker than the goddess you were just four hours ago.
5. You drop your 3:00 a.m. burrito on the floor, pick it up and carry on eating.
6. You start crying.
7. There are less than three hours before you’re due to start work.
8. You’ve found a deeper side to the office nerd.
9. The man you’re flirting with used to be your 5th grade teacher.
10. The urge to take off articles of clothing, stand on a table and sing becomes strangely overwhelming.
11. You’ve forgotten where you live.
12. You’ve started to sound like Jessie Ventura from the cigarettes you’ve smoked, because (as you’ve mentioned like 10 times by now) you only smoke when you drink.
13. You yell at the bartender, who (you think) cheated you by giving you just tonic, but that’s just because you can no longer taste the gin or vodka.
14. You think you’re in bed, but your pillow feels strangely like pizza.
15. You start every conversation with a booming, “Don’t take this the wrong way but…”
16. You fail to notice that the toilet lid’s down when you sit on it.
17. Your sloppy hugs begin to resemble wrestling take-down moves.
18. You’re tired so you just sit on the floor (and why not!).
19. You show your friends that girls CAN pee standing up, if they really try.
i typically go to Barnes & Noble Booksellers, but happened by the mega 2-level Border’s Books & Music & Café & Dogwash and Small Business Loan Center & Foreign Dignitary Meet-n-Greet. Fuck that place is HUGE! Anyway, i walk down the winding hallway to the restroom seeing multiple red STOP Signs, asking me “Did you get your token?” and informing me to “Pick one up at the Information Desk.” Here i am, assuming they are talking about some Holiday giveaway or some Frequent Flyer Reader crap, until i get to the bathroom door and find a lock entry system. Requiring a TOKEN. Like a vending machine with a turn crank.
Now i have to wander back down the snaky hallway to find the Token Keepers that permit me the coveted entry to the Magical Border’s PissPot. i briskly approach the two men standing behind the café counter, both of them looking more like they could change your oil before they could make a decent latté. “Right,” i begin, “so i need a token to go potty, then.” They both nod and one of them palms me a gold coin, smaller than a dime. “Fabulous,” I breathe and turn on my heels, flipping my scarf theatrically as i depart back down the hall. i mean – what are they trying to prevent? Less wear and tear on the bathroom? A once over to assess whether or not you are a vagrant who wants to freshen up?
After this adventure, i picked up an audio CD copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, Diary: A Novel. i have heard part of this and found it so-far, a masterful re-invention of the horror novel. For those of you who are women, a waitress, and/or an artist/painter, perhaps caught in a dead end job or relationship, you may find some of the initial observations in this one, painfully astute. i ripped it and dropped it into my iPod for bedtime “reading.” This audio book is read by Martha Plimpton. You may remember her from such films as 200 Cigarettes, Pecker, Beautiful Girls, I Shot Andy Warhol, Parenthood, and our ever-beloved, The Goonies.
i was also amused on the way out the door to find a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hanging out in the travel section. Funny how Douglas Adams continues to be a daily reminder in my life . . . Some people have a great sense of humor, sticking a sci-fi fictional story about a faux-intergalactic travel guide right next to BELIZE.
Going to a store that big and thinking on the heels of travel, i have to admit – i am not particularly looking forward to the Holidays. i wildly applaud Wal-Mart’s slumping sales, and i could give a snot rocket less if K-Mart has acquired Sears in the weirdest merger of two of the worst throwback freak shows passing themselves off as department and low-cost retail stores. i don’t really want to buy presents, nor do I want them bought for me. what i’d really like is a wicked fucking snowstorm to just slow people right the hell down. And to just call all of my friends who i can’t be with on Christmas and New Year’s Eve and tell them i miss them and i care about them and ask them how they are doing and actually listen to a response from them beyond, “fine and you?”
Some of the magic seems to be missing out of the madness in the season. i do like the solstice, though i don’t care for winter sports. i rather like watching it from a warm spot behind the window glass, much like my cats. We all pray for a little red cardinal to light upon a snow drift so i can snap a photo and they can chatter away, wishing they could capture the bird differently.
When it comes to gift-giving, i am more of the random type. Not your birthday or our anniversary or the publicly, religiously sanctioned, Hallmark branded and invented spend-fests that govern the seasons and give us reasons to spin our GoodYear tires out of a snow bank and into whatever storefront our car happens to crash.
i don’t mean to be cynical – i believe giving is a fine idea. i think Santa is as fine a faerie tale as any. i think Jesus was pretty cool . . . “i love his work” as Hedwig (and his Angry inch) would say. i don’t think i am too old to experience the wonder that is Christmas in the way i did as a child – after all, as an adult i am still required the (token) equivalent of a hall pass to use the bathroom. i am just holding out for a good dinner, some good wine, maybe a new music CD, some good conversation, laughs & storytelling, that wicked snowstorm . . . and maybe a sparkly little miracle.
i have spent a lot of time in diminutive states this Summer. i have been smallish and pale and worried and heartbroken and dragged through frightening dreams.
i have been “burning branches of synaptic fire, surf(ed) the serotonin swells, while the dark heart is dawning, and cuts the wound that nothing quells” as one of my favorite songs goes . . .
i have begun things and ended them and reconsidered them and rebuilt them after tearing them down hair and skin and nail and bone. i took some teeth from them too because they scratched at the blades of my back, looking for the places where the wings protrude.
my delicate green luna caterpillars caught some strange withering illness and died before they slept in their own blankets. still – i have several coccoons from the others. strange, tattered, dark scraps of curled leaf and fur and silk. not much for photographing. not until they hatch in May.
i am coming around again. i have recovered something and have begun writing and taking pictures again.
but i’ve been down the rabbit hole and into the pool of tears, you see.
and i have also, been taking advice from caterpillars, as the story goes . . .
“Who are YOU?” said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that? ” said the Caterpillar sternly.“Explain yourself!”
“I can’t explain MYSELF, I’m afraid, sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself, you see.”
“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.
“I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,” Alice replied very politely, “for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.”
“It isn’t,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,” said Alice; “but when you have to turn into a chrysalis–you will some day, you know–and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?”
“Not a bit,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice; “all I know is, it would feel very queer to ME.”
“What size do you want to be?” it asked.
“Oh, I’m not particular as to size,” Alice hastily replied; “only one doesn’t like changing so often, you know.”
“I don’t know,” said the Caterpillar.
Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.
“Are you content now?” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,” said Alice: “three inches is such a wretched height to be.”
“It is a very good height indeed!” said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
“But I’m not used to it!” pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, `I wish the creatures wouldn’t be so easily offended!’
“You’ll get used to it in time,” said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.
I’m re-reading this again. it has much to say about love and survival of the human species, and is told through the eyes of a colony of cockroaches, if you can go with that Kafka-esque sentiment. it touches on literature, history, psychology, sexuality, biology. a dark erotic tale of the urban condition . . .
An excerpt from Numbers, the cockroach who grew up feeding on book paste between the pages of the bible:
“When I was released into the intimidating world of Homo Sapiens, it was their reactions to separation from their lovers that offered me first comfort. I would soon realize that man is only an eerie visitor to our ecosphere, like a jack-o-lantern on a windy night, frightening, but already flickering and certain to go out. The reason is simple: humans cannot adapt because they are not rewarded for diversifying their gene pool. Separation engenders not a sense of satisfaction at a job well done nor a heart-pounding anticipation of the next opportunity, but instead a black, debilitating insecurity. In fact, separation ignites human passions unmatched by those occasioned by consummation.”
And this excerpt talking about the concept of Thanatos, the death wish in humans:
“I’ve always thought so. Psychiatrists, neonatologists, transplant surgeons, social workers, Democrats – these humans are esteemed for maximizing the reproductive success of those who minimize the chance of survival of the species.”
Ao there is my recommendation for the day my dears:
DIVERSIFY—specialization is for insects . . .