major life changes underway. they have affected my work schedule, and as such, we needed more hands on deck at the clinic. dr anne hired a young college grad in her waiting year before med school to come and run the front desk since i wont be around to do it all the time anymore.

we’ve been training since tuesday. within about 20 minutes, i knew this was someone i could work with. she’s sharp and funny, witty and laid back. ideal traits in a coworker, if i do say so. catherine is the bees knees, if you ask me.

so wednesday morning we get right back to training. we are elbow deep in learning how to schedule an appointment when a client comes through the front door…

“how much for the lenses?”

what i noticed first, was how unequivocally fucking CRANKY this guy was. obviously he had been hard done by (at least to his mind) and he was going to make someone pay for it. trying to communicate with someone who is angry in advance is never a treat, when you add to that the clear case of English not being a first language. well. it’s pretty much my favorite thing.

after sussing out that he wanted:

a) to bitch about Sears (and who doesn’t, really)

b) attempt to haggle with me over the cost of his lenses

c) have me reassure him that the hideously trendy bvulgari frames he had in hand were “hot”

i was willing to play along. one does this frequently in sales, as it turns out. and then. right in the midst of our haggling, bitching, reassuring session, he turns to catherine, gives her a long up & down look, and says huskily

“i like you.”

i am instantly defensive. i use my most scolding tone to say,

“yes, she’s lovely, isnt she?”i hope this will dissuade him from further comment. vainly.

he agrees with me, then goes yet further

“i like the boobies.” gesturing helpfully in case we missed his meaning amidst the morass that was his accent. he then turns to me. “what with your belly? why are you so skinny? do you take the skinny pills? my wife she takes the skinny pills. she’s still fat, but now she also fucking crazy. she get them from the tv.”

i am so taken aback by this turn of the conversation (not least because he didn’t say anything about MY boobies, which are in fact prodigious) that i rather fumblingly answer “no, i go to the gym 3 times a week” rather than a more customary response like “go fuck yourself you fat dickless assmonkey.”

this seems to be the extent of his need to sexually harass us for the moment, and so he returns to discussing the cost of “the lenses” suffering from a little social whiplash, but still attempting to focus on my job, i gamely finish making a quote. he then asserts that he has to go and get some money, but that he will be back shortly to pay for “the lenses”

after he clumps out catherine and i look at each other a little tiny bit in shock. what. the. fuck.

as we are discussing the bizarre sexual advances of the world’s crankiest walk-in, linda, our lead optician comes out and happens to overhear our conversation as do our other coworkers and dr bill.  after we relay the whole story linda firmly states that we are going to send him away when he returns. that we do not want his business and we never have to tolerate that kind of treatment from anyone. ever. dr bill heartily agrees.

flash forward 1/2 an hour. Catherine and i are once again focusing on training, when in walks grumpypants mchorndog. catherine and i become even MORE engrossed in our task while Linda comes forward to say to him with the most careful courtesy

“sir, i’m afraid we wont be able to help you fill your prescription, here are your frames.”

and this is when all hells break loose.

he immediately begins shouting at linda, lacey, catherine, and i in random, ill-formed bursts of insult and expletive.

“are you okay?” tapping his head “what the fuck is the problem? are you seriously okay?”

linda continues in a very calm voice to explain that we cannot make his glasses for him and we would appreciate if he left the clinic. he goes on shouting at her and everyone in the line of fire, until dr bill comes around the corner to intervene

“it is totally inappropriate for you to talk to my staff this way. we do not want your business. you need to leave the clinic”

this creates a whole new burst of incomprehensible invective.

“get the fuck out of my face! the fuck is wrong with you!? get the fuck off my face!” and then, mercifully, he leaves.

as we all sit there, vaguely stunned by the vehemence of his response, we are utterly dismayed to see that he has simply made a loop from his car and is coming back toward us. linda steps forward and throws the bolt on the door to keep him from coming back inside. he then proceeds to stand on the other side of the glass screaming and gesticulating for a full minute before he gives up and storms back to his car.

about a minute later the phone rings. i lift the receiver and identify myself only to hear the accented ranting commence all over again. i felt no compunction whatever hanging up with gusto.

lacey points out there seems to be some kind of second day curse. on her own second day a young miscreant attacked someone at the ATM 2 doors down from the clinic and snatched her purse. right before our plate glass windows we saw several bystanders grab the kid and proceed to deliver upon his ass a well-deserved beat down til the cops arrived. another employee of ours was jumped by an ex after her second day of work. the only thing that happened on my second day of work was that i turned 30. we all agree that sex trumps violence in terms of excitement, so catherine wins this particular horse race.

and so i turn to her and say,

“welcome to the clinic! way to go getting sexually harassed! what’s say we go to the strip club to celebrate?”

she readily agrees. i knew i liked this girl.

and so off we go to jiggles.

jiggles is, for many reasons, about my favorite strip club. it isn’t for everyone, i will happily concede, but for what i prefer in a club, it simply can’t be beat.

variety! i am a fickle beast. i like novelty in my life, and this is Jiggles’ strongest suit. every shape, size, color, and flavor of girl can be found in this place at some time or another. and if you sit still long enough, you’ll get to see them all. there are 3 stages, and the rotation is one song & gone. the last thing i want to do is have to stare at the same naked girl for more than 2 1/2 minutes at a time. if i like the look of someone, i know she’ll be back in a little bit to cover one of the other stages.

lap dance anyone? some clubs really don’t encourage this as the primary draw of their establishment. some places really want you to sit at the rack and tip, others want you to hang back and buy the dancers drinks. at jiggles, they provide all the means for the best lap dances i have ever had in this whole town. from the high backed and perchable chairs in which the dances are administered, to the floor to ceiling mirrors arrayed behind the dancers; all the details of the setting are perfect. as such, the girls who specialize in lap dancing tend to like to work there. frankly, it’s where the money is, and the women who work there have learned to hone their craft.

but, there’s no BOOZE!! this is true, but as everyone who knows anything already knows, the drinks you get at a typical strip club are overpriced and craptastic. i personally do not believe my well G&T should cost $8.50 and taste like gnawing on a juniper bush. i don’t really need to drink to have a good time, and even if i did, i know how to carry a fucking flask and so should you.

my hopes for a wednesday night were fairly modest. we got there at about 8:30 which is prime time to see the end of the early shift and then welcome the late shift at 9. plus also the cover jumps from $10 to $15 once 9pm rolls past.

i did see some ladies i was sort of stunned were up to the challenge. one dancer made me worry about what pole tricks would do to her arthritis. another that the lopsidedness of her breasts (at least they were real…) would induce some kind of limp if they were left unfettered too much longer.

then there was some speculation about who picked the songs for each dancer. it seemed a little too trite that the latina picked Santana, the black woman Barry White. but to amuse myself i decided we should try to guess what the dancer about to mount the stage was going to look like based on the song selection.

“ok… Gun’s n’ Roses. i’m voting for a buck toothed Liv Tyler type”

(dead on)

“Lifehouse? really?? um. methed out bleach blonde?”

(fail. fairly robust sandy brunette)

“Al Green. its the lopsided lady again.”


then the late shift came on. after this there was less laughing, and more drooling. friend jason looked meaningfully across the table at catherine, who was a charmingly apparent newbie in the strip club scene and says

“do you need a lap dance?”

i turn to her and await her answer expectantly. she demurs and says she hasnt come prepared to spend the money on a dance. i assure her that if that is her only reticence, it is easily remedied.

“jason, you’ll sponsor catherine to have her very first lap dance, wont you?”

of course he will.

and she had a candidate even sooner than we could possibly have imagined. not necessarily someone she chose, so much as someone who chose her. this dancer was the most aggressive persistent piece of ass i have ever met. with leg warmers. usually a dancer will ask you if you would like a dance, take you at your word, maybe chat for just a bit, and then wander away. not this girl. no way.

leg warmers came by the table no less than a dozen times over the course of the 2 hours we were there. catherine had started looking around for someone to administer her lap dance and even had one sort of picked out, but she came back to say goodbye with her clothes on, so the search began again. meanwhile ms. persistent panties simply would not go away. she escalated her approach over the course of the evening to sneaking up behind catherine, once without her top on and rubbing up against her. she at one point asked if she could see catherine”s breasts (it was a good day, popularity wise, for her boobs) and finally, worn down, catherine agreed to get a dance from this eager and determined lass.

and holy mother of god, she got the works.

at one point i looked over to see the topless dancer rotating at the waist with her bare breasts pressed firmly against either side of catherine’s face. catherine is clearly a little overwhelmed by this experience, and is trying to politely avert her head from the treatment. to no result.

however, she came away from her experience in excellent humor. and there are not enough points to give for how many points this earned her. the boys were deeply impressed with her being so very game. and so was i.

frankly i think this should be the routine on EVERYONE’S second day on the job.

courage is at an ebb. but the sky was aflame tonight as i made my way home. the sherbert colors in the vault bright with promise.

that expectations might be abandoned, truths thought known will be recognized as nothing more than hopeful hunches. roles redrawn, wisdom reexamined. all things taken on faith to be viewed with new skepticism, while things previously accepted only with tactile proof, now embraced without the evidence of the senses.

and perhaps in the interstices there is room for contentment, though i have yet to sense it there.

the light in the sky makes it easier to believe.

this disease causes me to vastly overestimate my physical capacities. i think i am stronger and have far more stamina than turns out to be the case. this disease is made worse by the application of things like red bull, or more pertinently here, 5 hour energy (which i bought a case of at costco today WOOT!!) this fine Sunday, my disease manifested itself in the following way: first i went to the gym for an hour and a 1/2 and then decided to go on a 40 mile bike ride. full on.

i live at the top of Sylvan hill and since i value my life, i will not attempt to ride either up or down it. so i took my trusty trek and loaded onto the max. i started my ride at the pioneer place mall and rode all the way out to where the pavement ends on the springwater trail. this is somewhere past the 20 mile marker. this seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do before i left my house.

by the time i’d wheeled thru gresham i needed a snack FUCKING HARD. having left the house without any food wasn’t so smart, i’ll admit, but i’m pretty sure the 1/4 pound of ham & cheese hot pockets and 1/2 a bag of chili cheese fritos wasn’t necessarily the brainiest thing i have ever done either. there was some protest from the abdominal region. especially after i climbed back aboard the trek just a few short minutes thereafter. abruptly i felt the need for a little break RIGHT NOW DAMMIT. my belly felt the 50 or so crunches i had subjected it to that morning were enough of an insult without the addition of enough nitrates to kill a small camel. i decided that the bench by the trailside looked like a lovely place to take a wee siesta.

my view from the bench was quite lovely actually…

after i’d rested a bit i hopped back on the bike. turns out i was only a couple hundred yards from the end of the pavement at this point. the trek has super skinny tires, off road is out of the question. i was fairly sure my ride back was gonna be brutal, so i was quite happy to make my little u-turn and start heading west.

coming back i felt like every part of my body was protesting at the treatment i had subjected it to. knees, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, wrists. ugh. i had vivid fantasies about how my couch was going to feel once i got to sit on it. i needed a break, but every bench i encountered seemed to be occupied by people who seemed like semi-permanent residents. like, they had auxilary furniture surrounding the benches. i was smelly, sore, and, i’ll admit, am not overly fond of trail-dwelling hobos even under the best of circumstances, so i did not feel like sharing my bench with anyone else. or asking them to share theirs, as the case may be.

after about 13 miles, i found an unoccupied bench and sank down upon it with the gratitude i usually reserve for the toilet after a 45 minute car ride and frantic dash indoors.

i am MUCH happier to be sitting down than i appear

i am MUCH happier to be sitting down than i appear

i was counting the miles in single digits and for this, i was fuckin overjoyed. the sun was starting to wester, and all i wanted in life was a soft place to put my ass. the max station began to seem like a source of satisfaction and pleasure i had previously only known in the beds of certain lovers i have had.  godDAMN i have never been so happy to make use of public transportation. ever.

back up the hill home. carried the bike up two more flights of stairs. then, oh, then. my home. my couch. thankyoubabyjesus. i have rarely been too freaking tired to stand still under the shower, but by god, i was at first.

i guess i’m proud of myself, though i feel like a dumbass for thinking that 40 miles would be a cakeride. i imagine my hubris will be punished. i expect to feel like i got beat with sticks by this time tomorrow.

pray for me…

and yet, sometimes, it happens.

ah, my very most favorite affectation

just, hahahaha

just, hahahaha

Middle Cyclone Neko Case 2008, Epitaph















there is no other musician i love and respect more than Neko Case. her aesthetic, her sense of language and melody, her vocals rich and passionate. i drove 1500 miles all by myself this summer to go see her play in Reno as a part of an odyssey of self-discovery and challenge. being exposed to her music has changed me as a songwriter and a person.

and it may well be that i suffer the bias of the blinkered by love.

i first came to know her work by being taken to a show she performed at the Crystal Ballroom some years back. the boy i was in love with in those days knows a thing or two about music (this is sort of like saying the ocean can be damp at times, but i digress) and i had come to trust his judgment on my behalf in terms of what i might enjoy. before i left the show i had scampered over to the merch table and bought the CD she was touring to promote, and i have been a devotee since.
however, it was not love at first listen with this record. she didn’t stray significantly from her style, themes, or tone, but for some reason i found this album much less approachable than Fox Confessor. over the weeks that i’ve had it, i’ve come like it more and more and am ultimately very positive about this effort.

with her customary wit and tenderness there are moments in this record that simply shimmer. from the title track “Middle Cyclone”a winsome and spare track with words to make the jaw ache:

say someone made a fool of me; well i can show ’em how it’s done

can’t give up actin’ tough, it’s all that i’m made of…

i still can’t tell precisely what “Prison Girls” is meant to be about, but the refrain i love your long shadows, and your gunpowder eyes draws me in every time i hear it.

from “Vengence is Sleeping”

i’m not the man you thought i was…

you’re the one that i still miss, yes you’re the one that i still miss, and the truth is that it comes as no surprise

by far my favorite track on this album has to be “The Pharohs” whose opening line hooked me the first time i heard in under the desert sky back in August…

we were married in the mirrored hall when i was sixteen, you spoke the words ‘i love girls in white leather jackets’ it was good enough for love, it was good enough for me

and the line which anchors this whole album for me…

you said i was your new blue baby, and you were right…

overall i’d say this is a satisfying offering. for those who are already fans, it delivers everything fans expect; solid melody, haunting lyrics, dynamic vocals and a passion unique to Neko. not to mention lots of references to birdies…

this was a random “snatch off the endcap at the library” book. i have very spotty luck with this approach. this time, however, i was most pleasantly gratified by the results of my choice.

an engaging blend of strange elements, this novel is amusing and poignant, visually interesting and a tactile treat. i am a great sucker for the heft of a book in the hand, and this one was a winner. the pages are heavy with a sensuous weave. the typeface is not only pleasing to the eye, but has a voice of its own within the tale. moreover text, type, form, and content are all characters in this strange and moving tale. i found myself utterly absorbed and completely entertained.

nominally the first person narrative of an ad-man circa 1960 (Mad Men: The Zeitgeist) it is also social and literary criticism and a work of art. one that is utterly self-conscious, but no less artful for that.

an easy read that was wholly rewarding.


i admit to being one of the least well-traveled people i know. leaving aside the fact that i have never left the country (no, not even to canada) there are a ton of places even closer by that i’ve never seen: Crater Lake, The Oregon Caves, Klamath Falls…

and until just a few years ago, i’d never been to Bend either. i think waiting so long into my adulthood resulted in a weird cosmic payback from the mountain; because despite my deep passion for skiing, the first 6 or 7 times i went to Bend for the purpose, something came up to keep me from being able to hit the slopes.

i was pretty sure i was screwed this time too. weather had been less than ideal, my recent illness hadn’t left me feeling especially hale either, and so i was mostly resigned to missing out again. but…

then, TBIL stood over my lower bunk in the early morning hours and sort of bounced up and down on his feet asking me if i was ready. the pressure came not only from this quarter either; both his child and mine had been primed for a day on the mountain for months, and while i could have chosen to kick it in the lodge while they hit the hill, i decided to defy my blurk and do some crusing nevertheless.


in all, i think it was the right call. watching hodie face plant about 4 dozen times was a little harsh, but seeing her get in a hard crouch and cruise was joyous. following the offspring of TBIL as she boarded capably down BLUE RUNS on her FIRST DAY OUT was stunning, and well worth seeing.

for my part i hit one or two runs nice and hard apart from tooling around with the kids. the snow was perfect, and the slopes were novel. i do the vast majority of my skiing on Hood and though i love going, none of the resorts have much mystery left for me after a decade of hitting them all.

so, exhausted but gratified, we trundled home. curse, broken.

well, after Halloween anyway…

and not because i am a patriot. cause, well, i’m not.  i mean, i like it here in the states and everything, but i would in no way call myself super enthused about the birth of various presidential types. except that it affords a wide avariety of people i quite enjoy to congregate in a small resort town and party their asses off. hoo-fucking-ray

i am only in my second iteration of what has apparently been going on for about 12 years now, but this is a weekend i have been looking forward to for months. folks i love doing things i adore in a place that tends to foster experiences i cherish. who could ask for better?

AAAAAAAAAAAND this year, i’m taking hodie. which is a Big Deal. i haven’t been inclined to think she was ready for these kind of grownup-intensive trips in the past, but the grace, intelligence, and perception of my child has been breathtaking of late, and i felt that not only would she behave herself, she would be a credit to me, and an entertaining contribution to the overall social swirl at play. a child rasied very much in the presence of adults, i think she’ll enjoy herself too. she’s already beaten me at quarters… now she can take someone else on. someone who presents more of a challenge than her motor-skill deficient mother. at first i thought we’d work as a team; she’d toss and i’d do the shots, but on these meds i’m not allowed to drink, so she’s just going to have to do her own shots*.

we have many plans i am excited about. some astrophotography courtesy of friends David & Lyza, football/frisbee in the snow, games galore, a dance party (this child knows how to shake it), a go-round on the surfing machine, and a day on the slopes are all in the offing.  there is a fair amount of squealing and hopping going on in the house. she is rolling her eyes at me alot as a result.

i am so proud of this girl. humbled by her sweetness and wit. i take very little credit for this, but i most pleased to be privy to the truth of it.

*i’m kidding about the shots.

i do not really actually believe in physics. i mean, i assume that, like religion, since so many people seem to adhere to it, that there must be some level of cosmic underlying truth there despite my inability to see or understand it even in the face of multiple classes and tutors*.

and yet, even with my utter inability to grasp even the most fundamental concepts related to physics, i DO listen to a LOT of NPR**and as a result of this, i have heard quite a bit recently about the Large Hadron Collider and what the scientists there are hoping to achieve and discover. also about the sort of ridiculous but impossible to entirely dismiss crackpot theories about what might happen when and if the LHC actually manages to accomplish what it was created for. Namely, to collide some protons and see what happens. or something.***

all of that has led some people to make some fairly amusing LHC related humor based on the idea that it might:

  • accidentally ‘splode the universe when a WHOLE NOTHER UNIVERSE gets created
  • spontaneously manifest a little baby black hole into which we are all gonna get sucked
  • reach BACK IN TIME and meddle with its OWN ability to succeed. also maybe change election results
  • absolve humanity of the need to continue existing, thereby justifying all sorts of outrageous behavior
  • result in some crackpot scientists/religious types getting way more media attention than they deserve****

and yet, though i barely understand any of this, i have still had a few good laughs on the subject. maybe you will too.


and if by some chance you are interested in a legitimate explaination of what the LHC is really about you can go HERE and read something written by some very nice and no doubt erudite Britisher on the subject.

*i fault my monocular condition for this. i had a neurologist tell me it was no wonder i couldn’t understand physics since i completely lack depth perception and thus am a spatial-reasoning-retard.

** my friend david finds my intimate familiarity with the OPB radio line-up a source of some amusement. he will frequently turn to me at random moments and say “what’s on NPR right now?” or conversely “what will be on at 7pm on sunday?” and chuckle slightly when i am pretty much always able to immediately respond.

***member? not so much with the science here.

**** that one, it happened.

I say damn. i say GOD DAMN. its true.

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