Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Farkles Family Reunion

tonight i pack for the family reunion. i'll be in tahoe enjoying the company of my dad's side of the family from wednesday night until sunday. they're quite the eclectic mix of religious/social/moral beliefs, so at the least it should be interesting to eaves drop on random conversations. brody has (bravely) agreed to come along. mike filtz and his family are, coincidentally, going to be there at the same time. if all goes well, hilarity will ensue.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Smell a Rat

it smells mildly of dead rat by my desk. my subsequent displeasure is compounded by the fact that most of my coworkers lack a quality sense of smell, and think i am making it up. thus, nothing is being done. i already tore apart my area looking for the moldering culprit (more likely a mouse, actually), but to no avail. so the odor remains. gross.

while we're on the subject of rats, i was surprised to see this on the cover of the *other* portland weekly paper, the willmette week:

apparently, the photographer (riding by on a boat, equipped with a telephoto lens) has declared my friends vanj (background), brian (left), and corey (center) to be the poster children of river rat-dom. now granted, to the untrained eye, one may think they fit the stereotype – but these are no gresham hillbillies out to drunkenly hit on teenage girls and idiotically jump off of bridges head-first into the shallow waters of the sandy river. if one only takes the time to look closely (much like one of those "what's different about this picture" comparisons in highlights magazine), it is easy to observe the subtle contradictions.

1) they are drinking sparks (admittedly un-classy, but in a self-consciously hip way – unlike, say, smirnoff ice, or bartles and james).
2) brian is sticking out his belly to create the semblance of beer gut (being a bike-riding militant vegan who works on an organic farm, he is lacking in this department).
3) corey is trying not to laugh through his defiant facial expression. (although it would appear that he does, quite literally, possess a red neck.)
4) brian is wearing vanj's pink short-shorts under his pants (not exactly standard garb for a testosterone-drenched, redneck youth).
5) vanj is not a teenage girl... and doesn't drink, although i guess said photographer couldn't have known either of those things just by looking.
6) corey's board shorts are the epitome of chic, mature swim wear.

did you notice the ironic tone of that last one? that's what they're going for here. ironic tastelessness. and may i say, they wear it well. another thing of which the photographer failed to take note was that whole law about asking one's permission to print one's photo on the cover of a widely distributed newspaper. who's lacking in social graces now, big shot?? vanj has decided to sue immediately, seeking restitution in the form of 400 ham tubes and a lifetime supply of soynog. good luck finding soynog in the middle of summer, bucko!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Multiple Potentials

recent developments have made me realize that the trip i hoped to take to recife, brazil (to visit my fabulous cousin caedmonstia) in february may not be able to happen. aside from the lingering fact that said cuz may not be able to hold onto her visa until then, there is now the problem of super high airfare prices (a ticket to recife currently goes for about $3000), caused by the projected leap in gas prices, in turn caused by the worsening turmoil in the middle east (namely israel bombing the hell out of lebanon). thus, i am saddened by these developments for many reasons.

but enough about being bummed. i am beginning to brainstorm some options for other, more plausible, epic journeys. i still plan to take about ten days off of work in february, and i want to make the most of my vacation, somehow, even if recife proves to be out of reach. it will be during the last stretch of a long, cold, dreary portland winter, so i want to go somewhere i can get a sunburn to flaunt in front of my pasty-faced friends when i get home. here are some ideas i've come up with, trying to keep in mind that gas prices could make driving hard on the budget as well:

• backpacking trip (maybe a train ride there?)
• epic (for me) biking journey (ditto on the train)
• camping (in mexico, maybe?)
• motorcycle trip (hey - this is brainstorming, anything goes)
• going to a tanning booth every day for ten days and coming home to crank up the heater to 85 degrees so i can don my bikini and sit in a wading pool in the living room and sip mai tais while watching the second season of "lost."
• buying a donkey and riding it around to visit everyone in california.

ok, i can probably rule that last one out. i hear even donkeys run on gas in california. but seriously, i wanted to ask if anyone has done any of these things, or has any advice about trying to do any of these things, or has any better ideas about what i should do on my vacation. i know it's not happening for a while, but if i do decide to do something that requires some major planning ahead (training on my bike, getting a motorcycle license, etc), i want to be prepared.

speaking of sunburns, it's supposed to be 105 degrees in portland this sunday. wtf?? didn't us fresnans move here to get away from that ridiculousness? so... who wants to go to the river? i've got floatation devices, if you wanna help pitch in for gas. (le sigh.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Happy Stuff

apparently no one liked my last post (i was told it was depressing old news), so here are some pictures that are happy old news instead. back to the subject of... ME. and MY BIRTHDAY. which happened THREE MONTHS AGO. so there.

this is johnny punchclock. they played songs in my dining room. they were fabulous. and they sang about happy things like alcoholism and heartbreak. also pictured is the back of vanj. she has a helluva back.

someone was so excited about the band that they etchaskethed their name. nice.

here are ruth and will at my birthday party. ruth and will are my housemates. i am happy they are my housemates. they are happy people. sometimes ruth tells you not to worry about trivial things, because in the end, you are going to die alone. she helps put things in perspective like that.

...and this is a puppy shopping for bones. it has nothing to do with my birthday, but it is happy. because, you know, puppies like shopping.

and they lived happily ever after.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Feeling Testy

i don't get it.

how does *not* giving money to public education make public education better? wasn't the whole problem that public education wasn't getting enough money? aren't teachers terribly underpaid, and resources outdated? aren't schools crowded? that's how i remember it, and i went to a well-funded high school. it won all kinds of "best-test-takers-ever" awards, and we were still out hocking candy bars door to door to pay for field trips and band uniforms. maybe that's why i hear stories about members of the military being stranded in some highly volatile war zone without proper body armor. maybe, even though all these public funds are being diverted toward the war, and the prez keeps asking for a bigger budget, maybe they've been giving the army personnel standardized tests on scantron sheets, and their scores just aren't measuring up. maybe the federal government thinks that having to hold a few desert bake sales in order to buy those bullets they're running out of will teach them not to take their oval-coloring-inning duties so lightly. just like, maybe those inner-city teachers in LA should quit worrying so much about their students getting stabbed on the playground or being sent to school without the means to eat lunch. they should quit worrying about the lack of art and music programs, or any after school activities that might inspire kids to do great things with their lives, and maybe even get interested in their educations. they should concentrate, instead, on teaching their students the importance of using only a number 2 pencil. i know my standardized test-taking skills have served me well throughout the years. i use them every day. when my coworker asks me where we should go for lunch, and lists off several choices, i say "choice B"... and i am always right.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Food for Thought

while making art in college, i harbored a strong affinity for the concept of sculpture. it is so open. so undefined. what i'm saying is, when someone tells you they're a painter or a photographer your brain immediately pictures what that means. you know what a painting looks like. no matter how big or small, sloppy or precise, all paintings fit into a basic general description. your brain has no trouble wrapping itself around the concept of a painting. same for a photograph. but a sculpture... sculpture could be *anything.* all that defines it is its three-dimentionality, and even that line can be blurred at times. any "thing" you decide should exist, you make it - and it is art. and it can really EXIST, too. it is not necessarily just a representation (although it can be, if you want). a urinal turned on its back? art. a dead shark in a tank of formaldehyde? art. a four story chia pet dog? little breathing machines under a blanket that look like cute things sleeping? a box of matches on which there are written instructions to use the matches it contains to burn all the art you can, and then use the last one to burn the matchbox itself? art! not that it is guaranteed to be good art, but it is art nonetheless. the sky is the limit, as they say. this was a very freeing idea for a 19-year-old who was already feeling stifled by the words "Cliche" and "Imitation" – two words frequently wielded (like cruel samurai swords of doom) by art class TAs. the breezy concept of sculpture made breaking out of the box much more intuitive.

why am i writing about this now, you ask? because i concluded today (while chowing down on vanj's mouth-watering french toast and slurping contentedly on a mix of orange juice and sparkling cider... at half past noon), that brunch is the equivalent of sculpture in the meal spectrum. now stay with me. the basic definition of brunch is "a meal which acts as both breakfast and lunch." but through my experience, even that line can be blurred. you can serve anything you want! everything you want, in fact. you want a burrito and a pancake and a peanut butter and banana sandwich and some chili fried with eggs and a yogurt parfait? brunch! you can drink anything you want, too. juice, coffee, soda, water, beer, mixed cocktails... brunch says go for it! and you can start eating at seven in the morning or three in the afternoon. i say, as long as it's the first official meal of the day, it fits in the definition. and that doesn't even have to be true for everyone at the table! brunch is an event. it is recognized by everyone as a reason to rejoice, if not - dare i say it - a raison d'etre. it is the meal outside of the box. it is the only good reason to get up on a sunday... but if you sleep in, don't worry! brunch is waiting!

brunch, i salute you.