this is portland winter

January 11, 2013

I am listening to a song that makes me feel like I am sitting in a coffee shop in L.A. and the sun is shining and there are impossibly beautiful and tan people standing around me, wearing t-shirts and flip flops and sunglasses, and they tare sipping on drinks with lots of foam and skim milk. And maybe they just came from eating the best Chinese food. Or the best Korean food. Or the best taco. Or the watched the sun set or rise at the beach. I’m so there. For a at least a few minutes. And it’s strange, because L.A. is strange and I don’t love it, but its nice to be there in my mind right now. Because the reality is I’m sitting on the floor in my bedroom, right beside my space heater, and it’s dark outside and I’m wearing my thick ass sweater and silk long underwear under my jeans and I didn’t see the sun set because it set behind the clouds and it kind of rained on me on my bike ride home and my hands got so cold even though I have good gloves and glove liners. I have been talking with various people about gloves a lot. It does not seem like me — to have this conversation over and over. But this is Portland. And this  is Portland winter. And people like to connect about gear and even people who don’t connect about gear like to give advice. And lately, everyone keeps asking if I rode today “in this,” meaning in this rain or in this rain and wind or in this cold. Today it was all three. Wind gust rocked the tram from side to side as it traveled up the hill, and I watched fat rain drops turn to snow flakes. It was like another world up on the hill. Even though the snow did not stick around, it was kind of beautiful. Which is one of the tricks to living in Portland during this time of year.  Noticing the beautiful stuff. And getting outside.

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a little let down

September 25, 2012

Was I really in NYC just yesterday? I almost have to pinch myself to see if that was true. (A funny aside; I initially typed “punch myself”). Already, I think the trip was too short, which makes it feel kinda dreamy. It is impossible to look out at my back yard this morning or at the street in front and imagine just 24 hours ago there was honking and hustle and bike delivery guys and a sea of yellow cabs and miles of wide boulevards lined with big ass buildings and tons of fabulous and interesting looking people. I love the combination of energy and solitude I feel in NYC; if that combo makes any sense to you we are alike. Oh goodness, I wasn’t prepared to feel wistful already.

And even with a touch of melancholy, my mind is already starting to tick off immediate and future to do lists: tend to the garden, do my laundry, grocery shop, listen to music, go to the bank, get ink for the printer, do another run of my chap book, change the litter boxes, pet the cats, go through the stack of crap on my desk, start purging – books, clothes, crap in my basement, lift weights, prep my rain gear, figure out if I can go to Chicago in October, clean the house . . . Is there always so much to do?  The busyness keeps me from writing and playing music, which are really my heart and soul, as cliche and dramatic as that sounds and as I think about just saying that, I realize it really may not even be entirely true, as there is some heart and soul stuff in other creative work and in cooking and spending time with people I am close to. I can’t believe I am even talking about heart and soul stuff. But I keep saying I want to open up.

So now what? Be a little sad and miss NYC and M, who I’ve known since I was 14. Be excited about things happening this week. I think, I will be both. Embrace the whole fucking thing. At this very second the Ghost in You by the Psychedelic Furs is playing and even though I don’t associate that song with a particular time in my life, it seems like I should and it feels fitting for how I am feeling right now.

I do have the best housemate in the world though, picking me up at 1am this morning and leaving some delicious food in the fridge for me to eat today. In short, Remy, you fucking rock and I am glad you moved in.



May 15, 2012

The weather gods have smiled on Portland this month. Seriously. I can’t think of the last time there’s been this much sunshine and temperatures in the 80s and 90s in May in Portland. I’ve been wearing shorts and flip flops and working in my yard and planting stuff in my garden and sitting outside on a blanket and riding my bike at night. Which is one of my all time favorite things. I had the best night time bike ride last night. Perfect temperature. Hardly any car traffic. And about 40 blocks of downhill coasting. It was such a deeply pleasurable thing.

There seems to be a 1000 things going on in my life. Lots of minutia, like picking up cat food and going to the bank, sandwiched in between big, sometimes, huge events, like RU moving to SF and having a friend move in my house. I can’t even keep track of the number of to do lists I’ve created in the last month. Things to pack for traveling to LA or Indiana, things to tell my boss while I’m out of the office, things to pack for RU, things to plant in the garden, things to talk about with my new housemate, things to get from Walgreens or New Seasons, people to call, people to email, people I want to try and see while I’m home or while I’m here. It goes on and on.

I don’t think the level of busyness will lessen until after my birthday. Because it’s a milestone birthday and there will be whole new round of things to do and people to touch base with and business like that so I can make it the all around low-key, big deal that I want it to be. And you should come celebrate with me – that’s the big deal part. Seeing people I know and have so much affection for.

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July 2, 2011

And so summer. Finally.



gays + dads + long ass days

June 24, 2011

I meant to post this on Sunday or Monday, but the week has gotten away from me as far as writing. But I’m saying that right off the the bat here to give some context to what I say later about Father’s day.

The internet says that the sunset today was at 9:03pm, but I don’t know how the internet defines sunset, because it was still light out at 9:30. I’m guessing it must be something about where the sun is on the horizon line. Maybe I’ve been confusing sunset with sun down. Anyway, these long days are amazing, even when it’s cloudy. Looking out the window tonight, I was thinking that’s what’s gotten me through this spring, focusing on the long hours of daylight. Even when it’s raining or chilly, it is light out for along time.

I went with some friends up to Mt Tabor on solstice. We were too late to actually watch the sunset, but we did see a beautiful dusk. Lots of people had the same idea. It’s a great view. There was even some drumming, which was kind of annoying, but I appreciated the sincerity of it. I got quite a few mosquito bites when we were up there, which I can’t stop scratching now. I’m one of those people who seems to attract mosquitoes. It’s a bummer. I’m also one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap and who can smell asparagus in pee. I read the articles in these links and I think we’re kind of like perti dishes with arms and legs and brains and stuff.

Father’s day always occurs during Portland’s gay pride, which I suppose adds something special to both events. While I’ve celebrated Pride ever since I moved out here, give or take a few MIA’s due to out of town guests, I can’t think of the last time I celebrated father’s day, at least not in regard to my own Dad. Sometimes that makes me a little sad, but this year I found a lot of joy in thinking about all the great Dads I know, whom I’m going to try to name here (although inevitably I’ll miss someone and I apologize in advance for that). So here goes – the ‘great dad’ shout out: David, Ned, Bart, Jim R, Jim A, Jim D, Jim P, Jim L, Phil, Mark, Jason, Don, Chris B, Chris C, Chris H, Mack, Ray, Todd, Jeremy, Scott, Clint, Joe, Greg, Rick, Mark, John, Jamie, Erik, Toby, Sean, Brian, Daniel R and Daniel G. Plus, an extra special shout to a few fellas who were fatherly to me, (in the best possible way) – my uncles Bob and Richard and my friend, Bob Richards. And last but not least, a heartfelt ‘you’re the best’ to my closest friend’s dad, Ted, who stood up for me when I was getting outted at camp and some mean-ass petty shit was going down around me.

I imagine there are lots of gay dads and dads of gays who come to one of the Pride events. I marched with OHSU in the big parade on Sunday and a couple dads, who are fellow workers, brought their sons with them.  That is one thing that’s changed since I came out – how family friendly being gay is and how much Pride reflects that. The decadence of Pride has been turned way down, which frankly makes it less fun to watch, but that’s progress for you.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of all the things that have and haven’t changed about being gay over the 30 years I’ve been out. For instance the rainbow as a gay symbol has persisted, but not the pink triangle or the labrys. And lesbians don’t seem to wear lavender anymore either. Bears and drag queens are still around and going strong. Gym queens and drag kings arrived on the scene sometime in late 80’s or early 90’s and they are here to stay. Butches and femmes made a comeback after being ostracized back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. More people are coming out in high school than they were 30 years ago. And more folks are transitioning from female to male or male to female. Queer nation kinda came and went but queerness stayed around. Whew, I had much more enthusiasm for this exercise when I first started. I think I’ll come back to it another post.



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the first day of summer 2011

June 5, 2011

Yesterday was the first real day of summer we’ve had. It was sunny and in the 80s and it seemed like everyone was outside. People were wearing flip flops and sandals and tank tops and shorts and sleeveless dresses and little skirts and cut up t-shirts and sunglasses. Kids were running around in their swimsuits and turning the hose on each other. People were smiling. They were talking about whether or not they had on enough sun screen. They were riding their bikes and rolling down the windows of their cars. They were mowing their yards and pulling weeds and they said hi when we walked by them.

RU and I rode our bikes to Colonel Summers park, which was filled with clusters of people on blankets laid out in the sun. Lots of guys had their shirts off. Lots of gals were wearing bikinis or at least bikini tops. People were eating and drinking and reading and sleeping and throwing things for their dogs to chase down and bring back. Someone had a grill. Someone else was hitting a tennis ball against the practice wall. A couple guys were throwing a frisbee. There was a pickup game of Chicago style softball,which was fun to watch. A few of the players really hit the crap out of the ball.

RU and I rode our bikes to Pok Pok and got a table outside. The food was sooo good. We rode home and I watered the vegetables. We slept with the windows open and under only one cover and instead of two.

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no one theme

March 1, 2011

Rain in all it’s glorious self. Today has been a quintessential end of the winter rainy day – kind of cold, kind of windy and really wet. It doesn’t pour here. Or at least it doesn’t pour very often or for very long, but the way it streams down is relentless. I’m hoping my gear dries out enough overnight, so I can brave it all and get soaked again tomorrow.

I had a conversation with some friends not too long ago about rainy Junes out here in Portland, which are the bane of my existence. There was some disagreement in how wet the last 3 Junes were; we all remembered it a little differently. And I realized later when I was thinking about the conversation that some of us were talking about the factual aspect of rain – how many days and how many inches of rain we got and some of us, mostly me, were talking about the experiential aspect of the rain – what it feels like when it rains more than a couple days in a row in June. But at the time we all thought we were talking about the same thing.

James Franco sucked at hosting the Academy Awards last night. It was like it was beneath him to actually preform. I didn’t see hardly any of the movies that were nominated in most of the categories, but I still can’t help myself from watching the spectacle of the celebrity. It’s like a special televised addition of People Magazine.

I’m trying to read Anna Karenina. RU said it take about 60 pages to get into it. I’m at about page 50 or so and am having trouble tracking the characters, in large past, because I’ve read a little here and a little there. I think I need a 50 or 100 page day to successfully become immersed. Also, I’m finding I need to adjust something in my brain to better take in and enjoy Tolstoy’s writing, which seems so dense. And it seems to take it’s time.

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when all else fails talk about the weather

February 25, 2011

It  snowed this morning. Maybe an inch total. By 2pm it almost all melted and then it snowed again. There were flurries, big fat flakes, and I thought, now here comes the real snow storm. But that only lasted for about a half hour, forty-five minutes tops, and now it’s mostly gone, save for piecemeal blankets covering some front yards and patches that sit on top of whatever cars have been parked in the same spot all day. Not much of a storm, although I hear it’s supposed to get icy and cold later tonight. Poor daffodils, trilliums, and fairy bells. Things have already started blooming here and this late snow might be a killer to those first hints of spring.

A day of Pandora tuned to the Radiohead mix. Pretty good stuff, although predictably melancholy. Don’t know why it took me forever to figure out how to hook up the laptop to the stereo, but no use beating myself up for missing the obvious.

I’ve been reading a bunch about queercore. Did queercore happen in Indiana? Or did I just miss it? Maybe I was a boring homo. Gosh, that would suck. I did know some Sally’s Dream people, though, and in retrospect they seemed kind of like a queercore-ish kinda band?

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air born

December 3, 2010

ru in air

Originally uploaded by proteanme

Last Saturday RU and I walked from our house to downtown and then up and over to northwest, which is a pretty good distance, at least the route we took. I bet it was over 6 miles. We checked out a few art shows that were still pulling in folks on their last weekend. We took the bus home. Waiting at the stop I tried to get shots or RU jumping and I think this is her in mid-air.

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hawthorne at dusk

December 1, 2010

tall hawthorne

Originally uploaded by proteanme

Last week when it was too cold for me to ride my bike, I took the bus to work and walked home. Dusk comes pretty early up here just a little north of the 45th parallel. The sky was turning from day to night as I made my way over the Hawthorne bridge. It was clear so out; I couldn’t take my eyes off all those shades of blue. It was probably around 4:30 when I shot this. By the time I got to the other side it was pretty much dark.

Lately, I’ve been shooting most of my photos with my camera phone. I love the constraint. No fuss. No muss. Just shoot. Either it turns out or it doesn’t.

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