Saturday, November 14, 2009

Like Lazarus, Mrchair rises from the dead...

This blog now lives here. Call your mom, change your bookmarks. Thanks blogger, I'll never forget my roots.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Shower Curtain

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Demise of the Other Cat

My dad won this movie poster of No Country For Old Men at a charity auction in Scottsdale. He asked if I wanted it and I said sure. I came home from a trip and there it was, professionally framed and elaborately packed. It was too big for any of my walls so I put it in my kitchen, leaning up against the refrigerator.


I planned to eventually put it on a wall, at least once I moved to a bigger place. But in the meantime, Knives developed a relationship with her own reflection in the glass. She would roll around on her back coyly, and paw at it. It was very sad, but kind of sweet. So we let the charade continue. We called it "The Other Cat."


Then last week I was washing dishes, and it sounded vaguely as if a very large and heavy sheet of glass had shattered in the kitchen. Knives was nowhere to be seen, but indeed that is what had happened. Jamie and I just kind of stared at it and each other, stunned.


I lifted the frame carefully, and nearly all of the glass had fallen out, leaving a rectangle outline of broken glass. It fell evenly on top of the cat's food dish, which shattered it radially into long spears of glass pointing to the cat bowl.


We carefully put all of the shards into a brown paper bag. Some of them were about two feet long. It was a very quiet, eerie process, like playing Pick Up Sticks with long, jagged blades.


The frame still had some big pieces of glass wedged into the border, and I had to pry the most menacing pieces out.


Knives hid for a while under the couch. She came out eventually, with a much smaller, narrower window to the land of the Other Cat. The next night she was playing with a bottle cap in the kitchen, and slid across the floor, limbs flailing. She plowed into the base of the frame and it came crashing down, again. She escaped before it landed on her, and went back into hiding. I moved the frame into my closet.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The City of Driveways!

We flew to Portland for a week to go to Mary's wedding and have a visit. It was about a year since I moved away. We landed and picked up a rental car Sunday night, and drove to North Portland, where we were staying for the first few nights. About a few minutes after we got to town, Sam and Laura showed up at the house, rosy cheeked from a Memorial Day BBQ at Roland's down the street. We walked to Mississippi Pizza and caught up over beers that are only available in Portland. Uncannily familiar. Here are some pictures from the trip.

Waterfront Park. Flew out of Denver in pouring rain, landed in Portland in sunny, warm weather. A little too hot on this day, actually.


A little trip to the Gorge to experience the general soft and squishiness of everything in the Northwest, even the rocks.




For the first few nights in town, we stayed with Sam, Cale and Kaila, in their house in North Portland. They have a cute little place just off Mississippi and Shaver. A really great spot in a neighborhood I always wanted to live. Many other people wanted to live there too, as it had grown significantly since I left. An anti-hipster graffiti campaign had erupted on the walls of new buildings and renovations. "Hipster go home." "No more hipsters." My favorite entry "Only white hipster MILFs welcome."

We stayed on a futon in the living room, and the three of them were incredibly welcoming. It was great to see everyone again. Especially these two fuzzballs, Tnanu and Salton. Tnanu is the little scrawny orange cat, who has taken to exploring the neighborhood, only so far as the surrounding bushes. Salton is the Lab, who looks more like a sea lion than a dog. They were our roommates, and Jamie fell in love.


As did they.


Cannon Beach. We rented a car for half of the trip and made a drive out to coast. The mandatory trip to Tillamook. The Oregon Coast, of fine sand and strong winds. Cold water and spooky views unparalleled. "It's so dramatic here," Jamie said.


I made this sandcastle for her.


The ceremony was held in a courtroom in Vancouver, WA. Not the most unlikely place to wed, but it's up there. Phil's dad is a family law judge, so he married them in his chamber. I was a witness. Phil's family is Mormon, and there were so many children that if you were looking out just at the benches, you might mistake it for a preschool class.

In all sincerity, it was a great ceremony. It was very simple, with little ego or fluff, making it that much more emotional and honest. I've been to roughly 1,200 weddings, and this was one of only a handful that misted me up.


Reception was at a Portland park. Lots of donuts, because Mary insisted on them for her special day. The turnout was overwhelmingly Phil's family, they being so fruitful and multiple. But a handful of Mary's friends drank beer antisocially in the corner table.


Talasen and Chad have a little monkey now. Talasen wears the baby well, probably because she already dresses a little like a '50s housewife. Also, it's almost impossible to call the mother of an infant, "T bag."


We spent the rest of the vacation hanging out in town. Jamie found us a great deal at the Benson, which is a gorgeous historic hotel downtown. Highlights included black silky robes, and the cable. We mostly walked around, saw the sights, patronized bookstores and bars and bought world-class coffee. But maybe my favorite night was sitting on a futon in north Portland, with a big dog and cat, playing Super Mario Bros. 2 and drinking cheap beer. That setup could happen anywhere I guess, but it's just a little better in Portland.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

There are 6.8 billion people in the world. In the history of the world, an estimated 106 billion people have lived.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Blog now unlocked

Apologies to anyone who attempted to view the blog since the weekend, but got a password prompt. The widget for my Twitter feed was locking the blog. Everything is once again free, free, free for all to read!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It all started with Lady Gaga


Friday, April 17, 2009

Once again, too cold to go outside.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

A bunch of songs, guided by frustration and bad timing

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Little baby fun mixes

Swede was a big fan of this website Muxtape, which was a pretty cool way to stream a handful of songs. But they ran into some trouble with an industry thats having a hard time accepting change that has happened long ago. Enter 8Tracks. Basically the same, but a few more bells and whistles. Here's the first one I made Sunday, when it was, in fact, too cold to go outside.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stay Positive

I've rounded year one of my time in Denver, CO. Admittedly, I've been a little sour on the place. I was in DC recently for work, and catching up with my friend Jerry and his GF Marjorie. They'd been toying with the idea of moving out here, and seemed surprised that I was lukewarm on the city. It occurred to me that I maybe I haven't been giving Denver a fair shake. It is an undeniably nice place to live. My problems with living here largely boil down to the fact that it's kind of one-dimensional, and people really only live here because they like skiing. But honestly, one year is only enough time to get your apartment furniture set up the way you like it, and pick out a few favorite places around town.

So I'll take this one-year mark as a way to catalog exactly what my Denver existence, present and future, has going for it:

1. Gabor's. A wise man once said that all you really need in a home is good bar and a good coffee shop within walking distance. Well I got good old Garbo's. Many a night I've spent with Danni and the big red booths and the free jukebox. If only they didn't have all that shit on the walls. It's like a TGI Friday's. Dammit, positive. I love G'bos. My home away from home.
2. The New Argonaut. The original Args was a beauty of a liquor store, and it had that welcoming smell of stale booze. Like opening a bar the morning after a big night. But when the new crown jewel of Colfax opened up in November, oh boy, it was a whole new world. Two stories, two walls of cold cases. Every beer and wine you could want.

3.The Denver Library. I'm not going to compare it to Multnomah County's library, I'm really not. The Denver central library is a fine public establishment. Decent internet ordering service, good-looking building. But best of all, it's heavily used. Nothing like seeing a good crowd in a library on a Saturday afternoon.
4. St. Mark's Coffee, but only when the cool girl is working. Most of the people who work at St. Mark's, let's face it, are assholes. But when that one great representative of the best coffee shop in city is on duty, the coffee is affordable and the smiles are free. She plays great music, she's talkative but not nosy. It's a lottery to walk into that place, you might not get a table, you might get a big fuck you from the barista. But on the right day, it's perfect, and there's nowhere I'd rather type away the day.
5. The Thin Man. St. Mark's swarthy brother. The lighting, the beautiful staff and clientele, the infused vodkas, the beer selection. There's not a damn thing wrong with this bar, except the fact that some nights it's a little too popular.
6. Hi-Dive. This is a new discovery, I'm embarrassed to say. One look at their calendar, and it's clear this is nexus of cool in an otherwise jam band and juggalo town. In April, we're going to see Mirah, Clem Snide and maybe Laura Gibson w/ Damien Jurado.
7. The sky:


8. Tattered Cover. Wood floors, good coffee, readings, and maybe the nicest staff in any bookstore.
9. And finally, it kills me to even type this as a positive aspect of Denver. But here it is: Colfax Avenue. It's filthy, teeming with malnourished, drug addicts. Storefronts with cracked windows and dried vomit on the stoops. Is it hell on earth? Little bit. But Colfax is the exact opposite of all the stuff that's lame about Denver. Denver at its worst is an over-polished, new money, Escalade-driving, tinted sunglasses-wearing Cheesecake Factory. Colfax likes to chuck eggs at that city and then go to the nearest bar to celebrate with beer from a dirty glass.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New Mix

The following link takes you to a free download of a mix I made. It's a weird little bunch of songs that's don't make any sense together. Some old, some new. Stuff I've been listening to. Here it is.

1. Losing My Edge, LCD Soundsystem
2. Dance, Dance, Dance, Lykke Li
3. Summertime Clothes, Animal Collective
4. Let the Beat Build, Lil Wayne
5. Set It Off, Girl Talk
6. Time to Pretend, MGMT
7. Nothing Ever Happened, Deerhunter
8. Pushover, The Long Winters
9. Secret Meeting, The National
10. Empty Hearted Town, Warren Zevon
11. With All My Heart, Clem Snide
12. One Red Thread, Blind Pilot
13. The Ice Is Getting Thinner, Death Cab For Cutie
14. Dirty Keys, Darla Farmer
15. No One Moves and No One Bows, Irregular Instrument
16. Blood Bank, Bon Iver
17. Desperados Under the Eaves, Warren Zevon

Swede just wrote a really cool post about making mixes. He adores making them and getting them from friends. It's a fun little hobby. Lots of people do it, draw entertainment and comfort from it. I think we all privately think we've made masterpieces.

For about two or three years, I made mix CDs on a regimented timeline. I took the idea from Cameron Crowe, who said it made a good diary, better than anything you could write down. I did it religiously, one mix every two months. Ten songs from each month. Each one would start with some sort of media clip or non-song track, and in the middle was another such track separating the two months. I'd name each one based on time period, and design liner art, keep them in jewel cases.

I have a Taurean urge to collect, catalog and make lists. In one stretch of unemployment, I made a database of every album I had, that could be cross-referenced by Artist, Album, Release Date and Period of Life. I don't know if this level of compulsion is healthy, but you can imagine how much making the mix CDs soothed it.

I stopped it eventually, mostly when digital listening overtook CDs. When you can put your entire collection on a block about the size of a deck of cards, mix CDs seem clumsy. But also, when iPods took over, listening became harder to track by time period. It was like the floodgates opened up, and a stack of disks turned into a sea of tracks. I still make playlists and swap them over file sharing sites. But there's something archaic and cute about my little stack of jewel cases from that time in my life. It's most definitely a diary from my mid-20s, a chaotic and vivid time.

I'm glad I did it. Some of them are embarrassingly bad. Peppered with emo, and agro stuff from time living in suburban Phoenix. But some of them are, well I gotta say, some of them are masterpieces.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy New Year

In late February. Dammit. Also known as, several pictures of Jamie with Shelley's dog, Abby.

A pack of us traveled an epic distance, including two buses, to get to a New Year's Eve party. Then we got drunk (er). Then we listened to Kanye West and shot bits of paper with trace residues of gunpowder across the apartment. There were masks. There were snacks. There were inappropriate verbal exchanges. It was a New Years Party.


The aforementioned pictures of Jamie with the dog. Look at her bliss. It's almost that of a cult member or a Chinese girl at a Michael Jackson concert.



I also fed this dog its weight in tortilla chips. She would do anything for those chips. ANYTHING. I was playing music on a laptop for part of the night. At one point I looked at the playlist that had been pre-created, and there was nothing but Kanye West. I said, "Hey, there's nothing but Kanye West on this playlist." "What's wrong with Kanye West?" "Nothing but it's literally ALL Kanye West." "Oh, don't exaggerate." And then I realized I had a filter on the playlist for Kanye West. Heh.


Wes was in charge of the party favors, of which there were hats, masks and popper thingys. It was funny, he was militantly protecting them from people tapping in too soon.

Dance for your chips Abbey. Dance.


Champagne cocktails spewed from their carafe into our glasses, draining into our insides like water down a bathtub drain.




Graveyard of the low-level pyrotechnics.


Somehow, this picture just sums up 90 percent of New Years Eve experiences, I imagine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Guest interview on Rabbit Updates

My friend Lisa has a blog of her own, called "Rabbit Updates." I've become quite a fan. It has three things going for it (well, more than three I guess, but for the sake of my plug, we'll say three):

1 Lisa is a graphic designer for that catalog guy, you know the one from Seinfeld, so it's pretty cool looking.
2 There are videos.
3 There are rabbits.

I did a short interview for the blog, to help her solve a mystery of devoured rugs in her house. Check it on out, and enjoy ... Rabbit Updates!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Christmas in Massachusetts

Where they have beaches, but they are frozen.


If this blog were a house, it would the one on the block that leaves its Christmas lights up into March, while a jack-o-lantern gets soft on the porch. But anyway, here are some pictures from Christmas. I went back East to spend the holiday with Jamie's family. I had wonderful time, although sometimes intense. Most of the trip we spent on the couch, drinking Midas Touch Golden Elixir and watching cable, a golden elixir of its own.

Jamie and her mom are on the beach (actually it's in New Hampshire). This is a little coastal town, or "shore" as they call it, where we got a tray full of amazing fried seafood and crunched through frozen sand to the Atlantic.





We spent Christmas Eve shopping. For Christmas. In the rain. I went out with Jamie and her brother in their mom's car. It was a nice chance to have Josh tell some great stories about their youth and more eccentric family members. And I got to see the joy of New Hampshire strip malls:


We walked to the car after getting bagels and coffee, and the remote entry wasn't working. And then the key wouldn't open the door. "Shit. The battery must be dead and the ignition key must not open the doors." So Jamie called her mom and told her, "No Mom, I'm telling you that the key doesn't open the door. No we tried. Do you have another key somewhere?" Then Josh walked over to try again, and walked back. "Wrong car."


This is Christmas Eve night at her aunt's and uncle's house. Jamie has many aunts, and I met many of them. A table heaped with food, lots of wine and rum. I talked about unions with Jamie's dad and uncle and Josh. We watched cable.


And Christmas morning. I had heard rumblings of what kind of gifts I would get from Jamie's mom. She's been known to stuff stockings with sunscreen, mechanical pencils, decorative socks, etc. But I must say, I made out like a bandit. A metal water bottle, gloves, scarf and hat, a scented candle, and a tiny bottle of anti-bacterial fluid. All in all, her family was so kind to me.


Christmas night we spent at another aunt's and uncle's house, this one rather large, and a large gathering. A keg in the basement, which was just barely not distracting enough for Jamie's dad to wrangle up all of the kids for a group picture. It was all he wanted for Christmas and he got it. It was a Christmas miracle. And then all the kids went back into the basement and got shitfaced, Christmas-style.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Phone IM with Mary, while at the library Sunday

Mary: Phill's a loyal reader of yours.
Me: Oh that's good
He should join Twitter
That's my answer to everything

Mary: Tate, I have an earache, what should I do?
Me: Clean the shit out of your ears.
Mary: say, "get on twitter."
because that's your answer to everything

duh

Me: Oh haha
I really missed my cue

Mary: yeah, god
Have you ever seen Titus?

Me: Get on Twitter!
Mary: Much better

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Things I like to do while drinking on the couch late at night

I like to sit on the couch and have some drinks. In my adult years, I've developed a series of routine activities that soothe various compulsions and obsessions. I do them as often as possible, as late into the night as I practically can. Here they are:
  1. Blog. Exhibit A:
  2. Download music. I do this the most when poor. Whenever I'm bored or lacking in money for activities, I find myself reading and downloading compulsively. We've officially reached the point in media where anyone can have anything he or she wants, any time. That's tough to resist when you have high speed internet and some time on your hands.
  3. Watch comic book movies on DVD. Commonly Batman Returns/Begins, Hellboy, Spider-Man 2. The rare, perennial treat, The Crow.
  4. Watch television on the Internet. This is a fairly new one. Its constant availability makes for a beautiful 2-5 a.m. occupation.
  5. Google stuff. You know, like Monchichi or Captain Nintendo.
  6. Listen to Jamie search for dogs on adoption websites. Also a new one. I'm always pretty amazed at how she can be equally enthusiastic about every single one. If the dog has a bandana on, forget about it. The other night, she found a litter of Border Collies up for adoption. Their names were Plum, Banana, Pineapple, Barack and Orange.
  7. Buy clothes on the Internet. My favorite website for this is www.cheapestees.com. Nothing high fashion, mostly t-shirts, hoodies, etc. And there's nothing like getting a fun package of Hanes basics that you don't remember ordering.
  8. Watch Battlestar Galactica (e.g., now)
  9. Subscribe to magazines. This one peaked in about 2002, when I had just moved to Portland and didn't have a lot of friends, but did have a new computer and great windows for reading glossy print. I think at one point I had, I want to say, nine magazine subscriptions -- Harper's, Rolling Stone, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, etc. Then I moved and a lot of them lapsed. The flame has reignited, though, as my first issue of Wired should show any day now. Google cheap magazines, I dare you.
  10. Download computer applications. Now and then I'll wake up, with the telltale zip file on the the desktop. Could be a twitter app, a new email. Who knows. Chances are, I'll scrap it later.
  11. Reorganize the Netflix Queue. Wake up, open up the computer, and behold, 350 DVDs in the Queue. #1 in the list: Weird Science. #2: St. Elmo's Fire. #3: Sixteen Candles. #4: Ultimate Avengers The Animated Movie, Part 2.
  12. Watch movie trailers on IMDB. I'll watch them all. Watchmen, 2012, The stupid-ass Spirit. Transformers 2, GI Joe.
  13. And finally, the DVD culmination of it all. Stay up late enough. Drink enough cheap beers. Read enough back episodes of webcomics. And it's always going to end up with me, Angelina, Jonny Lee Miller and the 1995 soft-cyberpunk masterpiece, Hackers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I moved my lamp to the other side of the apartment

[Waving] Thanks for filling in for me Mom! No problem son! Try not to write about drinking so much! Can't make any promises, but okay!

[End scene.]

I can't get this one type of beer out of my head lately. It's haunting me. It's a limited release beer and has been in stock at Argonaut lately. To give credit, Jamie introduced me to it over Christmas as her favorite beer. It is called ... Midas Touch Golden Elixir. If you clicked the link, skip this. If not, it's based roughly on a drink excavated from an ancient tomb, a blend of wine, beer and mead. So it has barley, grapes, honey and saffron. Yeah, saffron. It's like the most expensive substance by weight on the planet. It's the pistil of a flower that must be hand-picked by enslaved brown people.

Dogfish Head makes some incredible beers. They're leading the gourmet beer charge from the commanding state of Delaware. Midas Touch is so good, that I have a hard time not spending the $13 for four bottles of beer. As Jamie puts it, "It tastes like 300 calories and saffron."

###

If you've not noticed the ticking column to the right, Twitter pretty much rules my life. But not rules in a bad sort of way, like a heroin addiction. More like a helpful new type of cigarette. It's like another IM, or email, or blog or whatever. One of those things that doesn't replace normal activity, just overlays it. A new venue for chatting, following people of note, watching headlines from off the beaten path. Or it's just another silly internet thing that I stop doing in a few months.

###

I've been feeding Knives her cod liver oil regularly. It seemed to help a little, but then she started hacking again recently. So two nights ago, we were watching TV and she started making a guttural heaving, deeper and truer than the usual hack. She coughed up a hairball about the size of a plum. I was so proud of her.

###

I'm wrapping up this book Spook Country, by William Gibson. I read the cyberspace books when I was younger, and The Gernsback Continuum is one of my favorite short stories, that when I read it in high school really drew me to short fiction. Spook Country is full of the same dazzling prose, loaded with images that mushroom in your mind before you can turn the page. Right down to the green sneakers of his paranoid performance artist. Gibson always seems about a day and half beyond the current ideas. Hundreds of mini-essays, Santerian gods, text-message wiretapping, Cuban organized crime.

It takes place closer to reality than the old VR will rule the world novels. "It's the place we all have landed, few by choice. The place where we are learning to live." While Neuromancer had me wondering in the '90s whether Gibson's world could someday be real, Spook Country has me wondering if it already is.

###

The other day we were in Jamie's car, and I had my phone playing music on the stereo through an auxiliary jack. She was in the bank and I noticed that when I touched the screen, it made a weird whine. But only the screen and only when it was lit up. Jamie got back in the car and I said, "Hey look at this." Whreeeeeeee normal whreeeeeeeee normal.

"Isn't that weird?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"It only happens when I touch the screen. Isn't that interesting?"
"Yeah, I guess it's kind of interesting."
"You never pay any attention to my interests."

###

Two nights ago, to allow better reading after dark, I moved my lamp from one side of the room to the next. It helped, so I left it there for now. Now it's kind of like I have a whole new apartment. All I want to do is sit on the couch under the new lamplight and do various activities. Read, watch TV, whatever. It's better now.

In the spirit of The Moving of the Lamp, I have changed the blog layout. Nothing too big, just a tweak here and there. Moving a couple things around.

###

Friday, January 23, 2009

Guest blogger ... My Mom!

So my mom CC'd me on a letter she sent to the paper she's had delivered since I was a kid, and that I reported for a few years ago. She fancies herself a journalist in her own right, or at least an active participant in the fourth estate. Mom has always written LTE's, and called reporters to volunteer herself as a source for articles, or recommend story ideas. The Tribune laid off 40 percent of its staff, ended home delivery and cut publication to four days a week recently.

So anyway, the day after Google pulled the plug on its print ad project, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune filed bankruptcy, and there's a general sense of death rattle in print media, I thought this a tender, personal illustration of why it's so fucking sad (and yes, she writes emails in green):

RE: A sad day

This is the last day that I will get up in the morning, walk out to my driveway and pick up my morning paper. Coffee is already brewing, preparing for my little piece of calm and quiet before my day begins. I sit down to read my Tribune. I catch up on the world, the city, the weather, how my teams did. Check out places to go, what's on TV tonight,laugh at the comics and columnists and opinions (sometimes the serious ones) and always check the ads for deals.

There are some days when I do not have this luxury in the morning, but there it is on my coffee table. I pick it up periodically during the day, especially when my 18 year old is watching reruns of Pokemon.
Then there are always those doctor appointments. I am not a patient "waiter" but my trusty Trib is always in the back seat to fill the time when I need it.

I work in front of a computer everyday. Just not the same feeling to read the paper sitting in front of it too.
I've never subscribed to the Republic and never will. I will drive or walk to the corner to get my copy of the Trib every Wed, Fri, Sat and Sunday.

I will really miss mornings like this. I hope my delivery person was offered another job. I hate to think of so many people being without work.

Just wanted you to know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Path to the Presidency