It is tuesday and portland simmers outside my windows thrown wide and tempting in the sluggish breeze that slinks out of the trees and lifts a lazy brow to peek inside my twilight dimming apartment. the whish whish whish of the celing fan lifts the ears of the unsuspecting air and scoops it inside and up into its quick turned arms, gives the air a swift smack on the butt, then sends it about the room and off though the kitchen window. There is a sliver of wind that rides down on the sassafrass and marmalade sunset, wavering, cool and inept, like a half breath trying to blow out the pilot light that keeps this town on the long, slow, burn. I am weary like the heavy headed rohdodendrens plush and pouting their fat lipped pink faces from the dark green shoulders that hunch and wedge in every front yard and park walk here in the northwest quadrant of Portland, city of bridges and bicycles. I have been to the washington park zoo and it has some good exhibits. The big pride of this zoo is the Elephants. The 35 year old Packy was the first elepant born in the Western Hemisphere in 50 years way back in the early 60s (as good as the 50s) and from that day forward he has been the focal point of the Zoo and father of many westen hemisphereian aisian elephant progeny. Belle the mother of Packy was also a zoo favourite and the leader of the female elephants who passed on her mothering skills to many wives of packy and other males who have traded in and out of the Zoo. Sadly the last days of belle have been heavy on the minds and newspages of this fair (mostly white and very pale) city. A while back belle developed a fugus betwixt her toes and had to have surgery to remove a portion of her toe. (ick) and then not too much longer the fungus came back and the rest of the toe had to go (double ick) This left Belle sporting a dashing blue and iron chain sandal of the most Industrial fashion. the walls of the enclosure were taped over with wide swaths of butcher paper engraved in vibrant crayon and insipid well wishes. Belle was portrayed to stuggle valiantly and anthopomorphised animals tend to do for the benifit of small children. I saw her before the end and she just seemed irritable and stiff. but you would be to if you were enclosed in a room only 4 times your size and lived in 30 to 40 degree weather for 3 months. Sadly Belle has died (she was 46 or so) and as one of my radical vegan contacts would say. "She should not have been in captivity in the first place, what they do not tell you is that the fungus comes from the cracked and damaged skin developed over years of standing on cement in your own urine and other lovely bactiera ridden items." Vegan man is in jail right now for tresspassing and resisting arrest and several other charges accrued from protesting a furriers on fur free friday several months back. He is one of those people that you always see at the market or in Kinko's every several months but never call or make plans with. To meet him is a treat, a trip, a peek into a world only lived by few. He has no job and is living from sofa to sofa with various other activists and long-time friends from high school and Karate school. The last time i saw him was at Kinko's up on 23rd (yeah you know where that is) and we talked about his latest travels to a freedom ranch where previously captive animals are allowed to roam free over acres and acres of land laid out undisturbed and lightly traced around with a fence more for the protection of the animals (often impared from experimentation or farm labor) than to limit them. He lived there mucking out stalls in the early morning and mending fences in the hot afternoon. the travel was cut short due to the ever elusive money wich one morning sliped out of his bed and never called back. he came back to the land of salmon and mountains and was settling his backpack into the sofa of some friends when one day he noticed that he had an extra testicle. This would have been a cash cow for a more pornographically minded person but forsaking his turn as the new meat man for wonder videos Vegan man went to the local clinic and said unto the over skilled peace corps worker "What is this i see before me?" It was no dagger. It was the cugel of cancer lurking like someone behind an arras. The diagnosis was not the kindest cut of all. It was a dozen trips to the radiation chamber and not all the oils in arabia could cleanse his soiled... well you know. So under the knife to lose the pound of flesh and then some touch up treatments to kill the lurking cells. Those dark, corrupted, crippled cells that wadered amongst the moors. The good news is that all is well and works just fine. (this was told to me, i have no first hand experience, we were in kinko's after all) The bad new is that radioligists and doctors do take visa so now he is five g's in the hole and has no friends, romans or countrymen to lend him some lyra. (which is soft now anyway so get thee to italy and score some great bargains) and if that was not a big enough bummer the radiation has comprimised all of the enamel on his teeth so now there are little grey squggles of cavities on almost half of all his teeth. But the converstation with Veganman is aways upbeat and vibrant. He is electric with his latest cause and vision of a better world. He lives not for his own comfort but so that other people can come into a better world (in is veiw.) His parting comment on the upcoming arraignment and sentencing was that at least in jail there is dental care so he can have the cavities filled and the bridgework done. He does not want to go to jail. He has a few scars and not so pleasant memories of police and inmates who do not see his vision of the world as a practical let alone noble cause. Unfortunately there are those who see him as a nucaince and encourage the poor treatment of him in the grip of the law. But he survives and lives to liberate another day. Someday at the Fred Meyers (which has recently merged with Smiths a Pharmacy/Drug store from Utah) or perhaps at the Kinko's or maybe just on the street under the fat blue sky. Maybe someday that is how i will meet you my little ones. But will you or i know it. a thought for later. I seem to have forgotten to tell you about the zoo. distracted easily am i by the gilded flutter of memorie and errant ideas. The zoo lists and turns like an old drunk snake in the sun and leads in no clear direction. This makes the zoo seem bigger than it really is because you are constantly backtracking and recrossing areas. They have done a fair job of creating themed exhibits but have been of two minds in this. there are the animal Exhibits: Bears, Monkeys, Big Cats, Penguins, Elephants. then there are the country Exhibits: Africa, North America. These are very separate and while done in a bits of information placques here and there it is awkward to see mandrills in the monkey house and then go several exhibits away and see the African Animals. The most awkward is the bear exhibit being on the other side of the zoo from the North American Exhibit where the Grizzly bears have a very large and much nicer exhibit than any of their bear cousins. The black bears have the least comfortable exhibit it seems for it is small and the bear has thin patches of hair but it does have grass where as the brown bear exhibit is all cement. The sunbears and and spectacled bears are also in cement enclosures but they have big dead logs for climbing plowed deep into the pink beige mound that is there land. The monkeys have a much better deal. there is an indoor and an outdoor area for them. Well most of them. and the indoor area has lots of ropes hung from the industrial yellow walls while the outdoor area has short grasses and high vaulted wire grid walls. there are Mandrills and Lemurs and othere leaping frantic types i can not remember. The Chimpanzees have a lovely enclosure that i have never seen them venture out to. they were indoors the two times i went to the zoo, grooming and stareing back at the mobs. they love their chimpanzees almost as much as there elephants. Each Chimpanzee has had thier portrait lovingly airbrushed on glass with an individual and enhancing mood color glowing around them. there is a brief discription of the beloved and their traits and special notation of thier facial features that make them different from the rest. If this is too much for you there is is back wall which serves as a gallery for many types of bad art that has animals as thier prime focus. There was an insipid tempra series of Noahs Ark the last time i was there. the best part of the series was the incorporation of Jesus on the cross in the last two panels as part of the timbers of the Ark. Yes the quirky world of anachronisim which is always forgiven in artistic interpertation. fourtunately the "art" was donated by the artist so no one was foolish enough to shell out any greenbacks. The Aviary is cozy and inclosed in glass to assure its tropical temperature all year round. There are not many speices of birds inside but the closeness of their flight path makes the lush area come alive. it is a nice place to sit and rest in the zoo. There is also a bat enclosure which is pretty awsome but the trick is to stoop and look up onto the ceiling where the bats are roosting for they rarely fly during the day. They are mostly fruit bats which are durnial so they are awake but mostly active at sunrise and sunset. and there are the infamous NAKED MOLE RATS!!! they can chew through concrete so the encloseure is made of a special polyresin that resists their gnawing little jaws. they are not pretty. but not every creature can be nominated to People magizines 50 most attractive animals list. The lamprey is highly endangered here in the pacific north west but it is not a candidate to be a beenie baby so it is not getting the PR spin needed to get people to pony up the cash and keep it squirming its way up the columbia. Such is the fate of the visually impared in this bright and speedy media land of america. maybe if they all had breast implants and hair plugs they could be the next media darlings. look out paula barbiarie and pamela lee anderson. the zoo has the traditional lions and tiger. there are giraffes (retuculated which is rather standard) and Zebras (mountain which are more endangered but i prefer greveys) and hippos. The North American section has wolves and musk oxen (not in the same enclosure.) and there is a better view of the Grizzlies from the walk way behind the enclosure than from the information plastered front. the saddest thing in north america is the snow owl exhibit for they are in a short sloped enclosure that gives them no room to fly and little room to hop about. Some of this zoo is so great and then you turn the coner and wonder what the hell are they thinking. but that is typical of portland where they have just put into effect a money saveing action of taking out all the trash cans from the public parks so they do not have to pay out the 1,000,000 a year in garbage collection. this requires all the people who enter the park to remove thier own trash. this is an odd concept to be because there is already trash a meare 3 feet away from the trash cans as it is and now they are removing the trash cans. this is not a wise idea. but just last year the city found 1,000,000 dollars to build soccer fields for several middle schools which amusingly enough may not get to use them now that mesure 47 (the cap on property tax the only sourse of income for the city as there is no sales tax) passed and there is the speculation that heavy cuts will be made in schools extra curricular activites and sports. oh the genius that surrounds us all. well there is always more to say but it is late and i cannot say it as my eyelids are commanding me to sleep. i will try to write to you this weekend my little ones and tell you all about cosmic bowling. (it is interesting but not that interesting)
the wonder that is portland continues to swirl and pitch around me and sometimes i pay attention. (never more than a dollar as no one should pay too much for attention. if you are wondering why attention does not garner the 4.75 minimum wage well that is just because attention is always foreign, coming from outside of oneself, and therefore the trade rates, as we will mention again soon, and the general capitalist explotiation of all that is not us, take that as a word or initials it is all the same, leaves the acceptable miniumum wage rather flexible and why pay a lot for something that is poorly put together, does not last long and can be found at a competitive rate in the store across the street. one must always have an agressive financial strategy you know. ) todays tale from behind the tall blue walls that house the design firm is short and rooted deep in the historic epic style of yore. (no it isn't) briefly some background. the backdrop: 20 foot deep blue walls that break up at two angles to create corridors back to the design areas. there are several paintings of thick and bright colors that cling to the walls the way an errant red argyle sock clings to the back of a navy trouser leg helping to break up the monotony of a wide expanse of a solid color. (this ofcouse would depend on the size of your trousers.) one of them is a playful grouping of dogs in various positions and not natural colors called "Hot Diggity, Dog Diggity" and is a peppy and cheerful swathe of canvas (the blue spaniel with red spots is a particular favourite for visitors but i like the orange great danes) the other which was commisioned for a display for "windows of life" an AIDS benift project, is an enormous square of bold colors in rather jaggedy blocks and splotches (some even look like odd pieces of swiss cheese) which have superimposed upon them thick line drawings which are rather impressionistic. the major impression is influenced by the huge center sillhoutte in black and blue of a three foot high erect penis with sac. Several smaller outlines have a similar shape in different arrangments but the idea is most definatly there. it is called "portculis" every female client over 45 loves this painting. now you know the props, lets place the charaters in this tale. The charaters: the secretary is typing away. her short darkened copper bob swinging and rapid fingers tapping away. the Office manager is in her glass cube half behind the huge penis painting. (also known to the designers as the dick print.) and i the receptioneur shuffling papers and waiting for the phone to ring. (after all that is my job) The action: (and two new charaters) with the opening of the front door in step a trim young pair from the far and away land of Canada (oh canada you too will be mentioned later). Our neighbours to the north swept down on the wings of spring to sell a new and exciting system of duct heating. they made thier not so formal introductions and request for an audiance with the DESIGNER then waited as all must when dropping in unexpectedly. in that interem of toe tapping and fingernail examining the boy, for he could not have been more than 20 even in Canadian years, said to me "did you paint that?" and pointed dead center of the silhouette. had i been in top form the response would have been, "it is a self portrait". the true line as delivered was "no". It is difficult to be witty all the time. and it seemed to be the day for embarassing the receptioneur as later in the day there was a phone call from Oregon Stone Center and there is a standard way that i answer the phone "thank you for calling THE DESIGN FIRM, how may i help you?" and most people say "may i speak to so and so" or "is whatshername there?" this one said. "You can talk to me all night." Yikes!! I said "Unfortuneatly i only work until five, so which designer are you looking for?" well the designer she sought was out so i had to take a message. the message was in two parts, part one: She needed a detail sheet for the table edge currently under production, part two: the gals at Oregon Stone Center all agree that i have the best voice of all the receptionists in Portland. (that they know of) Yikes again!! I said i would try to stay at my job for as long as i could. Now it is one thing to have an ok voice for answering the phone but it is another thing when unknown women use it as a reason to do some harmless flirting. To be fair there are others who think i sound like a machine or that i should be working in a morturary. Mostly they are men. the majority of people just think it is very calming. however it is only a phone voice. in real life i sound just like anyone else. there is a full moon tonight so that might have someting to do with all this crazyness. and then there is the crazyness at home. you see there is some film company outside my window right now shooting some movie called Zero Effect. I will describe the scene to you. it involves lots of ambulances and fire trucks. even a big hook and ladder! it is a little boys dream come true of flashing lights and wailing sirens and grumbling engines as the vehicles just sit parked and only one ambulance pulls in for dramatic effect. there are lots of people exiting the building. Boys basketball team in purple and yellow, upolstered body building types and slender aerobic types, one very tattooed type and about 8 children types (well they are children but they are only acting) at this very moment there is a splicing box and recording box on a trolly under the window and a long yellow boom arm "made by CINERENT" and camera right next to our living room window. the film box says "Panavision panaflex" the boom man is useing bright orange earplugs wich clash with his dark olive shirt. this angle of the film will show you precicely what i am seeing when you see it in the movie. odd huh. What i am seeing is lots of the aformentioned actors evacuating the building across the way and lots of paramedic types and fireman types arriving in suitable vehicles then jostling off and entering the building. The flashing red lights are flaring my shadow on the wall behind the computer. one profile, one dead on twiching like an epileptics eye in red and white. the sirens rise and fade as do the "Rollllling" and "Alllll Clear" calls of the men without bullhorns. the woman with the bullhorn calls out the "Ok, lets go." and "Don't run out into the street, we've got lots of emergency vehicles moving in the street." and "And background and bit" and "Here we go again we're rolling" and they exit and enter and exit an enter up and down the front steps and past the thick stone pillars and the rapid lights fillibrate into the living room and the sirens call in breif and repeated nasal sighs. the trees remain unaffected by the hustle and bustle around them. they stand tall and flutter thier leaves like the fans of blushing ladies in the presence of suave and ficticious men. they will never be swayed by thier new found stardom. no low rolled eyes or half turned wrist ready to sign an autograph or shun and adamant fan. the honesty and integrety of the dark plum purpled trees is refreshing. They have been and will continue to be their same solid selves after the filming is done. near the stairs there are large medallions with the intials CDPC in a cross shape stenciled onto them. The words encircling them are Downtown Portland Community Center. Just a quick note. this is not downtown. This is the Northwest district. Downtown is in the Southwest mostly and is noted for the "fareless square" boundries. All buses from the river to the freeway and from Burnside to the 405 are free, when they pass that line then it is 1.05, 1.35 if you are going to zone 3. there is a bus that runs down everett and it must be detourted because the street is blocked off from all traffic. the sun is slinking away as night comes to claim its place and with that the time is done for the filming. the bulllhorn crackles again and it is the wrap speech. "this is very complicated. one of the most complicated shots i've ever done it went well thank you very much." this is from the woman who was incharge out here. I doubt she is the prime director Jake Kasdan who is listed in the note that was left on the apartment complex door. (the complex is called THE MORDAUNT) Here is the note that they left on the door of the apartment complex.
May 16, 1997
so write them a love letter. or protest in front of their offices or wait until the film comes out and see the Christian Scientist Church across the street from the apartment in all of its cinematic glory. yesterday they were filming mostly indoor scenes and at all of the window were huge klieg lights beaming the faux sunlinght through the diamond patterned glass. I sat in the window (the side ones open and are tall with wide frames perfect for perching) and watched the evacuation excitement over and over. People would walk by and ask what happened. It did look like some emergency with all the parked firetrucks and ambulances but the tall sprouted silver lamps gave that away. well to me anyway whose eyes were trained by the eternally celuloid Los Angeles. the most amusing moment of yesterday was that several of the fireman types were frustrated during their brief breaks by not being able to sit down on the steps or bumpers of the firetrucks because of the slope of the street. they would sit and the grimey yellow uniform pants would slide on the metal. also the fat yellow tic tacs of air tanks on their backs made it hard to sit on narrow spaces with something behind them. There is also a wagon circle of innocuous white vans and trailers, which any Angeleno knows house the props and actors and filming gear but most portlandians just wonder why there is no logo to tell them what it is, around Couch (pronounced to rhyme with Skooch and is bordered on Glisan which is pronounced like Gleason just a few of the linguistic irritants i must endure here in the Pathetic NorthWest) and in the center of couch park a wide canvas pavilion where they must have their morning foucs meetings. rumors of Tom Selleck being sighted in the park abound at the design firm but not one of the actors mention in the note above were to be seen from the angle of the living room window. Maybe they were the doing the interior shots. speaking of the aformentioned note notice how bill pullman was not mentioned for his stellar work in Mr. Wrong. and Ben Stiller and Ryan O'Neal need not to be referenced. this film is also to be "of the same quality as "Mr. Holland's Opus" and will be one Portland can be proud of." What "My Own Private Idaho" wasn't a high quality film Portland could be proud of? Also i do not remember "Mr. Holland's Opus" being a romantic comedy/mystery. I could be wrong since i only saw the last 20 minutes on cable really late at night. There are apartments, where one of the interior designers lives, over on 21st, by Coffee Time where I sometimes hang out to write, that were supposed to be an exterior in that film but I did not see them. oh well then there is this bit: "The exterior filming will tie up most of the front of Everett, so we encourage you to avoid this area on Thursday if possible (walking and/or driving). The posting of the streets is necessary for the picture and transportation purposes, so please utilize areas outside of the posted areas. We appreciate your cooperation." Well kiddie winkies i hate to tell you but there is only one door in or out of the complex. fortunatly they film crew was pretty mellow about leaving the building so i never felt trapped. otherwise there would be some rather ugly things flying out of the living room window everytime they shouted Rolling. ofcourse this heartfelt cheese is supposed to quell any thoughts of disruption from those who do not like filmmakers in there little town. The director, Jake Kasdan was in Portland over a year ago, and fell in love with it. (So why doesn't he marry it) He actually wrote the story for Portland and would like to showcase Portland. (so they will be tying up traffic all over town) Yes Showcase Portland, a city who just two days ago had a storie in the Snoragonain about the C-Word (Canada, see i told you i would get back to that) taking all the filming out of the pacific northwest because of the lower canadian money to american money ratio (see i told you i would get back to that) and the eager professional crews that are just falling out of the trees up there. (also the lack of litter and people have that set like quality that filmakers crave) Yes, Portland and the Pacific Northwest needs to have a big win in the film community so they can revive the filmland fantasies that Gus Van Saint left them with so long ago when he was the darling of the media and would not film anywhere but his native land of Salmon and Sasquach. So who knows this may be the next big place but i do not think so. Well really i just hope not. one of the things i wanted to leave in L.A. were the media people. and in the hands of these unexperienced portlandians the casual shun and occasional flake out of the Hollywood types could be just one more obnoxious cold attitude problem that breaks the myth that people are friendlier here. They aren't. Especially if they are from Oregon. The people here that i have been able to say hello to or strike up a conversation with just on the street or at a cafe or in the market (which i did all the time in L.A.) are usually not from oregon. Oddly it is alot like what has happened at Disneyland over the past few years. the Theory is that Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth and everyone is having a grand time. Well to a point that is true but i remember when people used to wave at anyone from the train that circles the park or from line to people on a ride and it was just a way of being part of the fun and sharing your good times with everyone. the last time i went to the Park no one really waved much, even to people they knew. everyone seemed so intent on enjoing every last screaming fun packed minute that they rushed blind from line to line and waited with such (goddamnhurriupnow) intensity that they were not having the casual hey there ho there how are you kind of day that i remember. People from all over travel to this mouse mecca and just pack in every grin stretching eye brightening happy happy moment until they are bloated and uncomforatable and find the other people more of a nuciance than a treasure. Just a second to smile or wave or some kind gesture to let other people know that you are having a great time and you hope they are too. Really, how often to you have the chance to be in an environment where everyone is sharing a childhood dream from all over. People are from all 50 different states and you have the chance to say howdy and get a brief insight to what it is like to live in kansas from a resident who is waiting in line to wisk around the matterhorn of so many childrens fantasies. Just a moment of interest in someone else to let them know that no matter what when you are at Disneyland everything is mellow and people are good and life isn't always tense and rushed and indifferent. The Emplyoees are Ambassadors to the world in the way they behave and how they look. some people are not going to meet that many americans when they take that once in a life time trip to Disneyland so the employee is the only impression they are going to have of americans. And in the same respect the guests are also Ambassadors to eachother. When i go to Disneyland i do not want to regret the crowding i want to relish the vast selection of people and ideas all packed into the happiest place on earth. If you are truly happy why be rude to otheres. and yet it happens. and while portland never claimed to be the happiest place on earth there is still the myth that people here are friendlier than those in big cities like L.A. and N.Y. and while i cannot speak for N.Y. I cannot say that people here are any friendlier and this is sad because it would be a step to a better world if people were nicer in general. another step would be if people dressed better. Jeans and tee-shirts are for working in dirt or other jobs that require high endurance material. (like mining and roping cattle) Driving your car and sitting on your ass are not activities that wear out clothes very quickly. People eat more politely when wearing nice clothes, no body wants to spill on a good shirt or trim slacks. When you are dressed well you are more likely to maintain better posture and not be so ready with a foul word or quick middle finger. (and if you do use them you at least look nice while being rude so the other person may not dismiss your not so well spoken opinion instantly) when you have dignity you are not so apt to try to remove or damage it in others. A more fashionable, less casual world is a definate step to a better world. (spelling, well, that is open to debate.) Just the other day there was a rotwieller/german shepard mix sitting with its master (a burly dog needs a master) at Coffee Time yesterday (I had to leave, the filming was getting to me. It is only interesting for so long and then it is just tedious) who seems to agree with me that cleanliness and good fashion sense are important. One of the rambling grey and filthy homless things that shamble dim eyed and long bearded behind its shopping cart and slowly stopped and mumbled the mantra of all homless things in the ninties. "spare any change" to every customer sitting at the outdoor tables where smoking is still allowed (and while smokers are not popular there are much more popular than those who do not work or bathe so should they be forced to endure the vagants when the non-smokers can huddle in safty inside where only the boldest dare to spange) Unfortunatly the Rotwieller/german Shepard did not have any spare change and was rather disturbed for being asked, more unfortunately it only snapped at its hand. I only have one word, Jugular, alas it was not so. The dogs master restrained it but every one there would have testified that it was self-defence on the dogs part. if your sense of smell was that highly attuned wouldn't you want to protect yourself? So with the support of the animal kingdom and Jean Paul Gautier i think my first plank in my Presidential campain is pretty firm. Now to find a campain manager. Sorry there is no Cosmic bowl storie today but it is getting late and that was a while a go. I went out to bowl with two cousins of mine and bowled three strikes in a row! it is called a turkey. that is the big news. there is a lack of atmospheric description. sorry. I am not feeling quite so prosaic these days. it happens. and now it is time to go. big love to you all my little ones.
Cloudy and fussy like a small child battling fatigue and interest in the same eye portland rummbles under the muggy sky. the power had a small tantrum today at work and stormed out of the office for a few hours. It is hard to type on the company machines all pale plastic green lights and humming electrons when the electrons won't humm and the lights won't glow. The attempt to phone the Power company was not eventful since the phones went tone deaf. They did send out a scout to find a telephone somewhere in the great unconditioned air out there but they had to seek for many block before a phone both powered and available could be found. Disturbing. Or maybe they just lied and went out to get some ice cream. I could not type, file or answer phones. the day fell on its face and lay quiet in the dirt. perhaps we should have told scary stories but none were conjured up. Some people went out. Some people stayed in. All people were stricken with doldrums. (Some made nice music, most said ouch) The power seemed to have absconded with all the personal energy as well. An electric cat-burgler of the soul. the power crackled back a few hours later spritely and spry and beligerantly unnaware of the pothole it had made in the day. by then no one was happy to see it for work had been set aside, unattended and forgotten. That makes work grumpy and uncooporative as it hunches itself in a corner and refuses to move when asked nicely, sternly or in your most demanding screaming with frustration voice. neglected work is glorrpy, like a fat toad made of bricks and glowers that you do not want to move and it does not want to move but you both know that it must move and in that the struggle begins. Our desks are covered in toads and it is all the powers fault! but the power does not care. It is silent and forgettful. if you ask it where it went it will not tell you. and because you need it and it is there for you now it is grudgingly forgiven. It knows that soon you will forget that it left you. the power has already forgotten and just hmmmmmss along in your light bulbs and computer boards and monitor screens printers and telephones and facimile machines and photocopiers and electric typewriters and coffeemakers. the power just is and with it you can do many things, without it you must do different things but who really does? i read in the LA times (an article by Dean E. Murphy published in section A on May 19th, sent to me by people in LA) that there is an artist, Zbigniew Libera, who makes images of concentraton camps out of Legos. a very interesting article and worth a look-see if you are able to access that page in your local library (or if you are in LA, in someone else's recycling bin.) what have you done with Legos latley? I bought a prirate and crocodile mini-set in december last year and donated it to toys for tots. I remember that they are fun to build with but not so fun to step on and you should never never never put them in the garbage disposal. this is just a short hello because life is good but it is not fabulous. much much better than bad and this is a good thing.
July is on the verge of sweltering. just a layer more of humidity and the air shifts from the sensation of walking into dewy spiderwebs to getting smacked with a wet towel. Summer is basking and slowly rolling over with no intention of making room for autumn. the belly of july is tomorrow then it is down to the toes which touch the crown of August. lethargy is the marrow of my bones these days and my fingers have held my mind in silence. yesterday was a bit of an outing so we will tell you about it. Somewhere outside of Camus, Washington where just about everyone is a stranger there lives David Deal. His wife and children live there also but i have a dreadful memorie for names. It is shameful because they are all lovely in more than a kindly way. perhaps it was their radiance that seared their names from my mind. perhaps. David Deal is an artist who is assisted by his family in making these wonderful raku bowls and vessels. some are 4 feet tall. this is especially impressive when you realize that there is not one harnessed electon within a half mile of thier home and studio. they live without conventional electricity so these smooth bodies of clay are all hand thrown on a kickwheel. They are glazed by daylight or the light of butane laterns. The kilns are handmade and just big enough for the largest of pieces. and how does one remove a 4 foot fired raku jar from the throat of a kiln billowing 2 foot licks of sizzling oxygen for the last step of packing straw and green boughs around it in an oil barrel? By Hand. Shielded in an asbestos suit (a recent improvment over the original many layers of clothes which were just patted out when they caught on fire) a face mask (wich for effect today was wreathed in sparklers) and very thick gloves he just reaches into the inferno, which ignites the sparklers in a hot second, and pulls out the jar which now is a luminous orange akin to lava, molten steel and other fun things one does not tend to hug, and clutches it to his chest to turn around and then set it into the ancient oil drum which he proceeds to pack with straw and evergreen branches while occasionally patting out the fire that springs up on one of the fingers of his gloves or on a particularly burnt patch of his asbestos suit. A couple of hours later after a potluck dinner brought by all the Gallery employees who have come up to see how these pots they sell are made and some dessert and a lot of socializing the 4 ft vessel is lifted into the fadeing sunlight and glints a silver iodized moon at the awstruck eyes. It is the color of blood clots and emperors cloaks. it is shaded like smoke over a late purple sunset and it is engraved with the images of two herons flying past a silver full moon on its round shoulders. He does make smaller pieces and even wall tiles but they are merely beautiful in the shadow of the magnificent tall jars. it was lots of fun to see how these pieces are made and to chat with all sorts of people in the art world. this was my exciting sunday and while there is more i could say the lethargy is my master today and weakens my language. I go now and perhaps for a long while.
Oregon lays green and undulating along the cement backbrace that defines the spine of commerce from here to there and back again. at some point the 45th paralell lays an embracing arm. there is a sign that marks this place and mentions that you are now equidistant from the Equator and the North Pole. The inbetween of above and around. Between Santa Claus and the Hottentotts. and in a blink it is passed and you are still on your way. On this trail of smooth white stones that one leaves in the woods to find their way from the cottage to the city. From Seattle to San Francisco. from Portland to Eugene. Salem sits staunch in the center of this trip. Round and White and crowned with a golden pioneer the capital straddles a garden path like a wolf wondering if it should lie down and sleep or step forward and sniff. It does not growl it does not attack for it is week from the leg trap that has snapped its jaws on the bleeding right leg, but it has been there so long that the wolf ignores the pain. What does not kill it makes it apathetic. Why pay attention to pain and suffering and the wimpering behind you when there is so much to see ahead of you even though you can not go there. Dream that you are the Alpha Male and shoulder that mantle of delusion, Delusions of average, and stand in the place were you are for in time the world will come to you. but what will it see. leaving salem begins the neverending cavalcade of Vist Albany signs along the roadside some in oversized posters that proclaim the charms of "Historic" Albany or "Friendly" Albany, some that are just hyped up "gas food lodging" signs, some made of scavanged wood and hand written paint that should have been done on cardboard and held up by homless folk screaming "Pleaaaaaasse, please, please, vist Albany." What is really in Albany and why is it so desparate to be seen? I do not know for that is not where the greyhound bus goes. This bus goes right into the Heart of Eugene and that is all the small town excitement i need. Eugene. the town of free movies (for me), Hippies that were born in the late 70's, Hippies who lived in the 60's but sold out to become lawyers and stockbrokers. real estate and lumber barons who hoard all the money and the new class of electronics factory and information workers who have just moved in to replace the money pillar that lumber has been but is no more. and there is the university which is a little universe unto itself. I love Eugene, I hate Eugene. It is like the little match girl by Hans Christian Anderson. How. well let me tell you a little convuluted story about Eugene's big Riot. SHOCK, HORROR, FEAR!!!!!!!!! there was a riot in Eugene! and in portland i never heard one word about it. so i asked what was it all about. Well it seems that there is this undeveloped lot over on jefferson and 8th or somewhere overthere. the facts are missing but the storie is correct much like most news in the pacific northwest. perhaps america. there were about 40 trees over 100 years old, which is odd concidering how central to downtown this area is. across the street from these trees is a building that used to be a large department store, i can never remember which one. A department store that never needed its own parking lot across the street therefore leaving the trees to grow. Two years ago Eugene Begged Symantec to settle down and bring some jobs to the area as the lumber industry was slowing down and the people were losing jobs, money, heart and all the little things that make life bearable in the middle of nowhere. So figureing that 4,000 unemployed loggers can be retrained on there own money to take the 800 jobs that a computer software company could bring in the city of Eugene thought this was a great idea. In there begging and grovling they promised Symnantec a parking structure nearby. now there are 3 major parking structures within 3 blocks of Symantec and funny but the Bus mall where every stinking bus in Eugene travels to and from all day every day of the week and much more often during the 9 to 5 times just happens to be one block away. ONE. But this was not good enough for Symantec. so for two years they nagged and nagged about when will the get their parking structure. and ofcourse in a town of ex-hippies and nevou hippies and never gave up hippies and just some environmentally minded people. (there are miles of bike lanes in this burg and dozens of Organic food stores.) they would have to pick the big undevloped lot across the street full of old trees. Now this was not a Park and would not have been a good location for one, but it could have been one. Not financially productive ofcourse in a city that can barely support its own library and is struggling to pay for public schools so you know that a park is not on the money making list. But a parking structure could be as you have to pay 3.50 to park there. Apartments would also have been an option. but in thoses cases as in many others the trees would have gotten in the way because they were not tidy perimiter trees that you could build around. they were natural fall as they may trees that have no time for the wants of land developers. and who do you think the Eugenians elected to be mayor recently. A previous coucil member who begged symantec to show up and who has ties to the real estate world. so what do you think his opinion of trees is. they make excellent 2 x 4s and good matches. Now the city council like all good towns did have public hearings to find out how the people of Eugene felt about the trees in the undeveloped lot. and like all wise cities they had this meeting a 10 am on a wednesday with limited announcements posted on the bulliten board at city hall. Ofcourse everyone in town can make a meeting in the middle of the week in the middle of the day cause no one works in Eugene for it is econimically repressed from the lack of parking garages in downtown. So the motion to tear down the trees and splat out a hulking cement block was passed quickly and quietly but somehow the date that the trees were to be removed became public knowledge. HMMMMM. So Every long-haired unwashed ganja head jumped on there bicycles and pulled out their bike locks and chainded themselves to the trees. some 30 feet up in the trees. Now i may not know about all of the actions of this nature but i have never heard of this behavior saving one damn tree. In a world where 14 year old boys beat stranges to death just to see what it would be like these people belive that there existance as humans will stop the capitalist machines. How much must you smoke to live in that kind of a delusion? Now there have been instances where they have delayed progress and cost people lots of money in this form of non-agressive protest but the trees were inevitably removed. In Eugene there is not enough money to waste waiting for Niel "Rainbow Warrior" Johnson to get is fat ass out of a tree. so the police were told by the Mayor (this is my understanding of the story and should not be taken for fact) to take care of the situation. I hear he was spoted just a short distance away orchestrating all of this on his cell phone. So the "peace Officers" as my aunt used to call them, pepper spayed the shit out of them. and then lightly tapped them with batons over and over and over. the co-protesters who were not tied down felt compeled to tap back. this i suppose is the riot part of this story. and nothing burned down for nothing was set on fire. no one died for no one was beaten that much or shot. no windows were broken for there were no windows to break as symantec was across the street and the city hall was at least three grueling block away. there is some word that the police are mostly recruited from larger cities and as napolean from animal farm knew if you want to quell the citizens you must bring in the big dogs. preferably dogs that did not grow up with the people they must beat. I hear the fire department was ordered to remove the people in the tops of the trees which put the firemen in a police type position which made them very unhappy and they are persuing some legal action. this could also be a ploy to get more money out of the city as there is a lack of funding for the fire department as well. This 5 hour altercation was dubbed a riot which had me laughing and crying all weekend. Laughing because this was no riot it was an altercation, but i suppose in a small town one can not use too many syllables when speaking or the people will not know what you are saying. and i was crying because both side handled it so poorly. The only peaceful way to have saved those trees would have been to purchase the land and no matter how long those hippies spanged infront of the Circle K or macramed hemp neclaces and bracelets they never would have garnered enough quarters to buy the land from the city who were not interested in selling. If you relize that peaceful protesting is inneffectual in this ever increasingly violent society (and how i wish it was not becoming more violent for it even affects my thinking and i am not happy with that) and you feel the mayor is a real detriment to the city then in a town this small i am certian you can find his home and firebomb it. then there will be a more riot like atmosphere. if they are going to call it a RIOT, riot. rioters are oppressed people in extreamly unfair conditions who break into a temporary violent insanity. no one in eugene is oppressed they, are beaten. If you want to see people who should be rioting then see Brassed OFF. it is English and intense and makes you just want to takes some guns to england and start shooting people. Well, this is what i mean by the violence in the media affecting my thoughts. I would never really attempt to kill someone. I do not belive in taking away somthing i cannot replace. But i get frustrated with the people as do we all. So why is Eugene like the little match girl. Well it is controlled by adults who do not care if it is barefoot and dirty in the snow as long as they get there coppers from the matches it sells. there is a innocence and charm about eugene that the filthy beggary side of it hides from the quick to pass by eye. and in its desparate hours it wastes the matches to look in to the pretty flame and see the better world that it deludes itself into beliveing it can achive. And someday it will be dead in the snow on the day before christmas unless it gets its shit together and realizes that yes it is important to build and it is important to have trees and you must have an educated population to figure out were the balance is. Importing University students and then trapping them there in poverty does not constitute building an educated society. and most of them move to Portalnd anyway. I did see lots of people in Eugene that i do care about and was very happy to see them. I saw My Best Friends Wedding and for free it was fun. I was glad to go and sad to go. and that is Eugene to me. The more i visit the more i realize that i am becomeing more of a storie than a person. many of the people i knew have moved away and there are new people who work with the people i know so when i hang out at the bijou more people seem to have heard of me that know me. mythic is not the right word. niether is ethereal. but it seems that there is a ghost of me lingering in the ears of some people in eugene and them when i am there it still floats away from me leaving me to be a wholly different person and never mergeing with who i have been. Several people asked me if i was always this tall. could it have been that i too was beaten by Eugene and lived a shorter life? Or like things that are mythic i become bigger as the years pass. and fainter. someday i will be an untold tale and lay invisible in the dust of old letters and forgetful minds. days beyond that i will be gone. and when the sun explodes thousands of years from now so will we all. here in portland i am back at the design firm and the owner has made a new discovery. Wizard Air Neutralizer! it does not cover up oder it somehow removes the unpleasant fragance and leave a muttering and sweet scent behind. I say this because like muttering is to the ear an indistinct sound not meant to be heard but most definately in the corners of your ears and rumbling up your memory tring to find matching sounds to make sense of these un-words this "Air Neutralizer" leaves a faint fragrance like lemons and new cars and mint from clean pillows, that good chemical smell that you cannot pin down but is not offensive; annoying in its unfamiliarity and indestinctiveness but not a nostril scruncher. It mutters in your nose, pretending to be unsmelt but it is and you can not define it. It is used here at the design firm to neutralize the lingering unpleasantness of previous bodily functions for we all know that to reveal to others that you have bodily functions is to declare your human foibles which reminds them that they to are human suffering from the same flaws of which the ultimate failing is death and to remind people of their own mortaility is unsufferably rude. So while there are lavatories on the premises they are supposedly never used and only mentioned when asked for. This is a modicum of my life in portland. The everyday stuff is much like yours only here. I have started to volunteer on the weekends at the library to read stories to children. I did this in Eugene for a while at the Book Bin on saturdays. It is great to see children devouring every word with there ever opening eyes and laughter and grins. the secret i will tell you is that i do love everyone quite a bit. but when the dissapoint me with their choices to not use their fabulous brains (and every brain is fabulous) i become a little angry. oh well i am the only one who can live my life and they are the only ones who can live thiers. Big love upon you all my little ones.