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Summer outfit

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005
So, I am trying out this new template. It's not that I didn't love the pink - I DO! It is just that every now and then it is good to change things up. I think this template looks a little cleaner - the only thing I am not loving so far is that the text column seems even narrower, which is bad news for a blabbermouth like myself. We shall see.

Summer Shimmer Shamble

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
It is mix CD Time again! This was part 1 of 2 mixes I made last summer. Since it is summer again, it must be time to give them another listen! the idea/vibe for these mixes was that sort of heat-haze guitar shimmer sound and also that they were fun songs that made me smile, or somehow fit into my internal theories of summer. Anyway. Many of these songs came from mp3 blogs as last summer was when I got into them in a more substantial way.

1. La Discoteca - United States of Electronica -- so fun! It sounds like a party - the fun kind of party where everyone is having a good time, and not the lame kind of party where everyone is trying to be cool. I'm in the mood for celebration/ give it up we're on vacation!
2. Grazing in the Grass - Friends of Distinction This song = summer song perfection! Unfortunately, the file I have for this one has a couple of pops at the end. But the song is so great it doesn't even matter! And it's real, so real, so real, so real, so real/ can you dig it? / I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it. Can you dig it, baby?
3. Lull - Andrew Bird Oh, how I love this song! The music perfectly describes summer languor, and the lyrics describe that sort of in-between self-obsessed, transitional phase that we all end up in some time or another Being alone it can be quite romantic, like Jaques Cousteau underneath the Atlantic/ a fantastic voyage to parts unknown/ going to depths where the sun's never shone/ and I fascinate myself, sure I do, when I'm alone/ I'm rambling on rather self-consciously while I'm stirring these condiments into my tea/ and I think I'm so lame, I bet I think this song is about me/ don't I don't I don't I/ I'm in a lull
I think part of the appeal to me is also the part about being underneath the Atlantic. When I was a kid I could play in the ocean for HOURS (well, the gulf of Mexico) and I made up all of these elaborate stories about living underwater with the mer-people. anyway - I am sure it is just one of those songs that hits me just right and may not be for everyone.
4. Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple This was the first song I heard off of her new/not out album of the same name. I was hooked, immediately. I like the lyrics, because she acknowledges that sometimes things are hard and you have to keep on keeping on. if there was a better way to go then it would find me/ I can't help it the road just rolls out behind me/ be kind to me, or treat me mean/ I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine. I especially love the elaborate circusy arrangement. This song makes my heart glad. Summer makes my heart glad - it all makes sense, really.
5. Cut Your Hair - Pavement - ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh/ darlin' don't you go and cut your hair There are hitmen wearing muzzles, the second drummer drowned - it seems like Spinal Tap should be involved (all in the first 30 seconds). This song specifically addresses the Shamble portion of this mix. It is the perfect song to sing in the car with the stereo loud and the windows rolled down. Which I am sure I don't need to point out is one of the Inalienable Rights of Summer
6. Grass - XTC Sly and slinky song about the outdoors. AND it totally fits in this summer mix because a) cricket noises, and b) it was in the Summer section of Skylarking, which is a seasonal song cycle for all practical purposes. It is sung by the other guy (not Andy Partridge - although he does some fantastic harmonizing).
7. Fuga No.11 - Os Mutantes - this is in portuguese, but totally works for that summer-heat languid feeling. I could easily imagine being on a hammock reading a book and sipping a refreshing drink while Os Mutantes serenade me in the language of summer! I am so glad to know that brazilian psychedelic music can be the perfect remedy for what ails me. You never know when that kind of information will be useful.
8. Light & Day/Reach For The Sun - Polyphonic Spree - so a bunch of people ( I mean a lot - like over 20) get together in white choir robes and sing songs about sunshine. Yet, somehow, it is not cheesy like Up With People, it is wonderful. If I hear this song early on a sunny summer day, it just makes that day so much better. It's like magic.
9. Kiss Me With Your Mouth - Stephen "tin tin" Duffy - this song just reminds me of being a teenager in Florida, where every season is like summer! I also dig that it is basically a dance version of Song of Solomon.
10. Song Against Sex - Neutral Milk Hotel - Very fuzzy, very warbly, very surreal, very fantastico. VERY. It's like being plopped in the middle of someone else's dream.
11. Sssingle Bed - Samantha Fox - this song is so silly and fun. From the porn-soundtrack wacka wacka (what the hell makes that noise?) to the ooops I ran out of gas style lyrics: all I've got is a sssingle bed/ there ain't no room for your sweet head/ now ain't it a shame, you'll miss the last train/ ...I've got a one solitary, lonesome, single bed
12. You're No Good - Betty Everett - Woo! I was (sadly) only familiar with the Linda Ronstadt version prior to finding this on an mp3 blog. I mean no disrespect to Ms. Ronstadt (we share a July 15 b-day!), but this is SO MUCH BETTER! (full disclosure: I have not heard the LR version for at least 10 years) There are horns, handclaps, and Betty Everett tears it up. I believe her - she has the voice of authority.
13. She Will Have Her Way - Neil Finn This just seemed to fit, and I like Neil Finn, so there. This was Dana's theme song on Sports Night, which was an excellent series even if you hate sports.
14. La la Love You - Pixies All I'm saying pretty baby/ la la love you, don't mean maybe So fun - plus you can wolf-whistle along, if you are so inclined.
15. Grass Skirt - All Girl Summer Fun Band I believe the name of the song and the name of the band really speak for themselves, but I will add this little bit of lyric it's green and it's itchy, but I don't mind/ when it's swishing in the breeze, I feel so fine/ my bikini top is orange and red, I'm a coconut princess and I'm going to knock you dead/ in my grass skirt (grass skirt!)
16. One Two Cha Cha Cha- Usha Uthup & Chorus - this is completely crazy, but completely charming. It is a sitar-heavy dance lesson in doing the cha cha cha, with KC and the Sunshine Band references! What's not to love, for real? one two three kick/ hop two three kick/ cha cha cha! I think Rose Festival should use this song as their theme for next year. The floats would be more fun, I guarantee.
17. Wild Honey - U2 - Honey= Bees = Summer. Simple, really. I like the easy jingle jangle of this one - Bono doesn't sound like he's going to drop a lung, which is nice every now and then. did I know you, did I know you even then/ before the clocks kept time/ before the world was made
18. If We Can Land A Man On The... - Beulah - lovely crazy horns, piano, strings, what sounds like the thing you might tune a spaceship in with, and fuzzy something or another! yeah!
19. So Says I - The Shins I do love this song, but I might replace it with a different one from the same album if I were making it again. This has some nice cymbal action, and an awesome hooooo oooooooh ooooh ooooh oooh part. Actually, it fits just fine. (but seriously - Chutes Too Narrow is a great record! An embarrassment of riches!)
20. All The Way To Reno - R.E.M. this is off one of R.E.M's more recent records. I like it. It has a nice and languid pace with those extra-summer qualities of tambourine and something blooping in the background. Kind of a 60's hippie-light sound. you know who you are, you know who you are/ you're going to be a star
21. Little Eyes - Yo La Tengo - this song has the requisite shimmery sound I was looking for, and seemed the perfect one to close it out as it is a little longer and a little slower than the rest. Like some of the other songs on this mix, it sounds like being in the middle of a dream (of course they talk about sleeping and dreaming in the song, so it's not like I'm making a profound stretch here).


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Sunday, June 26, 2005
by Isabel Allende #19

This book is wonderful in the way that pirate swashbuckling wild-west stories are wonderful. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in any of those things. Yes, there are sword fights involving chandeliers, yes there are disguises, secret societies, gypsies, pilgrimages, magic, and a voodoo priestess (!!!)

Allende writes up this story of Zorro (the Fox) as if one was being told many years after the events in question happened. In fact, the narrator makes its presence felt at the end/beginning of each new segment. It took me a little doing to get used to it at first, accustomed as I am to lots of dialogue and Live In the NOW style storytelling - but once I got over my own hurdle (I don't think this is a problem for the book, because I think it is the perfect way for this sort of over the top story to be told) I enjoyed the book immensely.

The whole idea that she is writing this story is interesting to me - Allende is an acclaimed writer of original fiction - what is she doing writing a book for the people who hold the Zorro copyright? Whatever her reasoning (and I read an interview with her where she acknowledged that all her writer friends thought she was crazy) I am so glad! She has a lot of fun and weaves together a plausible and oh so entertaining story, but leaves plenty of space for other adventures. Be sure to look at her author illustration/photo on the back flap.

coming down from a dither

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Friday, June 24, 2005
It has been a while since I have updated with anything of substance (although I think the GROOVY letters are a thing of beauty). I keep starting, but not getting anywhere - perhaps the raccoon startled all coherence out of me, and it is just now beginning to return. (of course some would say that coherence was never present to begin with, but who cares about them?)

I have been thinking a lot lately about choices people make and don't make, about popular music, about the HBO series The Wire, about horoscopes, about great new links, and about how paper accumulates around me like leaves under a tree in the autumn. I am not going to talk about any of those things now, but probably soon (fair warning).

I have also been pondering my WIP - I've been working on it so long and am stalled. I think I may have come up with a way around my particular block, but I'll just have to try and see. I also have to accept that not only is it not always easy, it *mostly* isn't easy, and I just have to buckle down and do the work if I want to see it finished. And after further thinking, I've decided I do want to see it finished.
So, with that in mind here's my latest shame index (which is truly shameful as it is barely beyond the last one of these I did)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
16,130 / 60,000


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Friday, June 24, 2005

Ganother rO Meoxfam Ov from privateY

from here. Spelling/typing has never been so fun!

Delicate Green Weedy Wisps Against Light Blue

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005
This is but one of many treasures in hurleygurley's photo stream on flickr. Not only are the photos beautiful (and they are) but she has a facility with naming and descriptions as well. Check them out!

Just Words...

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Just Words...
Originally uploaded by Vee Vee.
this picture reminds me of Bush Gardens in Florida, although I am fairly certain they have no "jungle world." It also seemed appropriate on the day that I had to escort a young racoon (as big as my 12 lb cat, but not full-grown) out of my freaking living room (after it was in my upstairs bedroom!) He must have come in the door that the cats used. It is closed tonight. I've got no beef with raccoons as long as they stay in designated raccoon spaces (the outdoors) and out of my bedroom. It was something to see at 4:48 this morning - a racoon standing on his hind legs looking in my bookcases. Google tells me they are the smartest mammals in North America, so who knows. Maybe he needed something to read. In any case, it took me about 45 minutes of stern talking and banging a long stick around in the living room to get him out the door. I was tired and wired at the same time. I just kept thinking that I didn't want to scare him so much that he would bite me and give me rabies, but I also didn't want to make nice with him because I wanted him OUT OF THE HOUSE. I was also afraid that Louie (the cat) might try and take care of the problem with his claws, which could end ugly since Louie is 16 years old and weighs 5lbs. I haven't been this freaked out by an animal in the house since the time I found a possum in my shoe.

In other news, we just started watching season 1 of The Wire tonight. I put it on hold at the library a million years ago, and it just now came available. It is so good. It's going to be hard not to watch them all at once.

speaking of the uncategorizable

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Tonight I went to see Live Wire with Blondie. She had never been and expressed an interest a couple of weeks ago. I finished a freelance project today and it seemed like a good way to celebrate, so we went. Hooray! (although my Brezneyscope says I should stop getting so excited about things. Bah! I say!) It was a great, but what seemed particularly apt (and wonderful all on its own) after reading Last Letters From Hav was that the musical guest was the Vagabond Opera. Their website invites you to Let Vagabond Opera spirit you away to a world of Parisian tramps, Jewish weddings, gypsies, thieves and wandersom buskers. To which I say, hell yes! Vagabond Opera would be a totally suitable musical entertainment in Hav. I can easily see them singing I wish I were Marelene Dietrich in some underground Havian cabaret. Since tickets to Hav are so very expensive, I am very glad that they are Portland based.

Last Letters From Hav

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Monday, June 13, 2005
by Jan Morris #18

This will be hard to write up properly, so I will just have to write it up improperly and hope that I can give a little hint of what makes this book so compelling, yet at the same time so hard to read all in one go. It has taken me a long time to get through it. I will say that now that I'm finished with it (finally), I wish it were mine and not the library's so I could go back and dive in whenever I need to. I think it would read better to me now that I've been through it once, if that makes any sense.
Hav is a mythical city, but Jan Morris is a real travel writer. Hav is a fantastical city of the imagination, which seems just plausible enough to be an intriguing and beguiling city that one would think "If I'm ever in Turkey, I'll just swing by." (Hav is not in Turkey, but nearby.) It is a melange of eastern and european influence, with seemingly a little bit of everything you might think of thrown in. There is a map at the front of the book showing where Russian Town is in relation to, say, the Medina, or the floating casino, or the salt flats, or the House of the Chinese Master. Hav is a city in decline - it's not what it once was, but still holds secrets and pleasures for those who would go looking for them. Here is a quotation from a section in the book dealing with Havian night-life. I think it gives a flavor of the kind of book it is, plus the quality of Ms. Morris' writing. It is a long section, but worth reading, I think. She is talking to the novelist Armand Sauvignon, who came to Hav from France in the 20's.

"You seem to have lived merry old lives."
"In the early years, very merry. Things changed later, as the world changed. But when New Hav was really new we were intoxicated by it all. You must remember the Great War had not long ended, we were lucky to be alive at all, and here we were working together in this place almost as though our people had never been enemies."
We were strolling as we talked, in the arm of the evening among the straggly press of the boulevards, and their mingled smells of food, dirt, jasmine, and imperfectly refined gasoline. We had walked all through the Italian quarter, and down past the Schiller Fountain (in whose water ugly fat carp swam in the half-light -- "like submarines," said Sauvignon. "Don't you think so? yellow submarines") and we were in his own territory now, on the sidewalk opposite the Bristol. He took my arm. "You have half an hour?" he said. "Join me in an apertif--and a glimpse of the past."
We passed through the huge dark foyer, where an old porter rose to his feet as Sauvignon went by, and a clerk behind the reception desk, in opened-necked pale blue shirt and gold necklace, murmured a greeting; we passed the almost empty dining room, decorated with large now-brownish murals of Parisian life; and pushing open a brass-handled double door inlaid with figures of seahorses and mermaids, we entered the Bar 1924. It was absolutely packed. Every table was full, but an obliging waiter, recognizing my companion, squeezed a party of young Lebanese together and found room for us. The air was full of Turkish tobacco smoke; the waiter thrust before us a stained typewritten list of archaic cocktails -- Sledgehammers, Riproarers, Topper's Special, yes, Papa's Sting! Blaring above it all, deafeningly vigorous and brassy, there was jazz.
It was an elderly combo, which, spotting Sauvignon through the haze, dipped its instruments in welcome: a grizzled black trumpeter, a trombonist with rimless spectacles, a gentlemanly Chinese pianist, a graybeard playing bass and a middle-aged elf in a red shirt frenzied at the drums. They performed with a somewhat desperate enthusiasm, I thought, a repertoire of long ago. Sometimes somebody shouted a request --"Honeysuckle Rose!" "A-Train!" "Sentimental Journey!" The pianist had a small cup of coffee on his piano. The trumpeter occasionally groaned "yeah man...," but more in duty than in ecstasy. "Yellow Submarine!" called Sauvignon during a pause in the music, and as the trombonist broke into an approximate lyric - "Wealliveinayellersummerine"-- he raised his Manhattan toward me in toast. "To yesterday's youth," he said.

The Partly Cloudy Patriot

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Monday, June 13, 2005
by Sarah Vowell # 17

More Sarah Vowell goodness. This one is more discrete essays based loosely around the theme American-ness rather than one giant essay (which is what Assassination Vacation was more like). I have always been fascinated (in that American narcissist way) with what makes America different than, say, Scotland or Canada or China, so this was a treat.
I don't think I need to say much more than it is great, and it should be part of my permanent collection. Alas, the library wants it back. Recommended.

rose festival fireworks

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

rose festival fireworks
Originally uploaded by jensect.
I feel festive! Festive, and tired. so I will post these fireworks, and then go read until I fall asleep. More exciting updates as warranted.

Rock Show!

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Friday, June 10, 2005
What: OK Go concert
Where: The Aladdin Theater
When: Tuesday, June 7 2005
first, some stats:

number of acts: 3
average age of people in line: 16 (we'll say that the lady over 70 and the kid under 10 balance each other out)
hand stamp reads: You Are My Inspiration
time show began: 9pm (am I REALLY a fogey, or does this seem late to start a 3 act show on a tuesday night? Nevermind, I am a fogey.)
number of mohawks spotted: 3
number of fauxhawks spotted: 1
number of chuck taylor all stars spotted: countless!
number of faux chuck taylor all stars: all I noticed were mine, suddenly burning my feet with SHAME.
number of unflattering beards: at least 3. I know this is portland, people - but come ON.

First act: De Haviland They are local, and the guy who later appeared to be the lead singer brought the old lady (I say this with all respect! She was awesome!) a beer. Maybe she is his grandma, or maybe he just respects that senior citizens need to rock as well. OK. they get on stage -first song (no singing) is great. Sort of a psychedelic vibe, which I really dig despite not being huge with the hippie love. (although the hippie dance lady was really rocking out and having a great time. I hope she left because she met all of her hippie dancing requirements and not because some kids appeared to be making fun of her.) Second song - with vocals - OK, but not as good as the first. third song - just so bad. I think this must be where they are beginning the "anthemic" portion of their set. It continues to suck from here to the end. I applaud - I want to like them more than I do because I really was into it at the beginning and they're local. A couple of thoughts on where this went sideways: 1) you can NOT be rocking out sitting on your ass!!! * Lead singer in an ergonomic office chair in front of a keyboard does not inspire me to sing along, or throw my bra on stage, or do much besides people watch or check my purse for gum. The Coldplay guy even stands up sometimes. 2) you CANNOT be drinking coffee on stage! Or tea, or whatever. Starbucks sippy cups are NOT rock and roll, I'm sorry. You may have a long neck glass bottle filled with a beverage of your choosing, or water. That's it. Suck it up future rock star, and have your chai AFTER the show.

Second Act: Careen. They are also local, and had a huge contingent of fans. Way to go Jumping and Pointing Guy! You totally took over for the hippie dance lady. JPG was VERY into Careen, and I've got to say, he is on to something. I could totally see them playing the Crab Shanty or whatever that place is on the OC where Seth, Ryan, and the gang go to drink fancy juice, listen to music, indulge in the weekly massive misunderstanding, and get into fights. Woo! Double rock-star fashion points for the singer with his zipped up hoody worn under a suit jacket. Ditto, bass player. He wasn't wearing the hoody/suit combo, but managed his own shaggy-haired skinny-assed rock-dude look quite well.

Third and most wondrous act: OK Go. I am awarding them all standard and bonus points in the world for talent, energy, joie de vivre, mien, dance skills, and total acknowledgment that they were there to entertain (and did they ever!) They really give it ALL, even for a smallish crowd. There were synchronized guitar leaps, there was sweat, there was song after song of 3 minute pop-perfection, there were broken guitar strings, there was a dramatic recreation of a scene from Les Miz, and a special encore bonus. (it really was fantastic. and choreographed.)
As fantastic as this show was, I think it would have been even better if there were a couple hundred more people there. Then pdx could have done its part to meet up with what the band offered. The Old 97's show last October was a perfect example of the right venue, the right band, and the right crowd. I think we had two of those three things here - a few more people and the crowd energy would have been even higher. The venue was distressingly not-full. Why?? It is a total cliche by now to say "these guys should be huge," but it is true! How can some no-talent ass-clowns (I am reluctant to name names) be filling bigger venues and OK Go is not? I mean - it would be one thing if they just had clever lyrics, or one great song. I understand that some people don't like clever things - but they have clever lyrics, fantastic singalongability, great showmanship, sense of humor, etc. etc. etc, AND crazy Austin Powers-meets-barbershop quartet-rock star clothes. What is not to love, people? I mean, there really is something for everyone!

To sum up: Their new record comes out on August 30th. Buy it. I keep hoping that since this was kind of a fill-in date that they might come back to Portland again some time this summer.

*the irony of the ass-sitting is not lost on me. I was, in fact, one of the people who paid money to watch a rock show from a chair. The reason why is a long boring story that I will relate another time.

sunny lantern

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Friday, June 10, 2005

sunny lantern
Originally uploaded by la femme jen.
I love the color and the happiness of this picture. Maybe it will be a lucky picture and bring the sun back for the weekend.


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Tuesday, June 07, 2005
This is a placeholder for all of the things I intend to write. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, but at least this way I can keep track of what I thought I would write. In no particular order~

+ I am listening to an OK Go podcast right now and it is cracking me up. It is totally random, and hilarious. PLUS!!!! Bec and I are going to see them tomorrow night as they passed the 12 dollars or less cheap show rule. Woot! (tickets still available and only TEN DOLLARS (plus one dollar service charge). check out their blog, for lo, it makes me laugh.

+ Pre-Raphaelite exhibit on the last day at PAM. Awesome show - I did get to wondering what it would be like if these titian-haired pre-raph women were to stand up out of their paintings. they would be 20 feet tall! And maybe rampage around downtown for a while before finding rest beside Portlandia, or perhaps up at the rose garden where they could decoratively smell roses to their giant-heart's content. Also enjoyed the Chinese Mysterious Spirits, Strange Beasts exhibit.

+ Roadtrip! - In three short days - echo, pendleton, union, cove, le grande, island city (there's a misnomer, let me tell you!), elgin, joseph, hell's canyon, halfway, baker city, sumpter, granite, john day, dayville, pdx! and much much more. later.

+ shame index - beyond time for an update, but if it were timely, it wouldn't be shameful. Maybe I am setting myself up for failure and disappointment.

+ book list - I have a couple to add, but haven't yet.