Y’all wantin’ sweet tea?

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I am back from a tour of textile mills in beautiful Greensboro, NC, and am really happy to have something to eat besides salad and potatoes. One night I did make my friend Jeff go to the local vegetarian place with me and it was lovely.

My spidey-sense started tingling on the way to dinner when we saw a vintage clothing store and people playing Hacky-Sack, because I could tell we were in “my” part of town, that is, near a college campus. We saw some fellas kicking back with drinks on the roof of their house, apparently because the porch couch was too stinky to sit on any longer.

The trip made me oddly nostalgic for my Texas origins, although in general I am glad to not live in the South, where “atheist” is commonly read as “Satanist.” Same thing with “Feminist” and “Lesbian.” However, my secret Texan skills came in handy when translating North Carolinian to Oregonian and back.

Cracks in the floor were filled with broken needles and stuff from knitting machines.

I met a nice young man from Belfast who is interning with a local yarn manufacturer, and who wore a green rubber bracelet to show his support for the search for a cure for Irishness. I hope they succeed. Please, Jesus?

Flying home, I sat next to a young man reading Bowhunter magazine.

Fare thee well, Greensboro! I’ll miss the Cheerwine and sweet tea!

Postscript: The very kind tour guide sent me a twelve-pack of Cheerwine to help with the pain! I laughed, I thought I’d die. I have never recieved a gift based on my blog before, and I am going to have to be more careful about what I ask for.

Bug Revenge

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It is a fact, well documented by me, that if you ride a bicycle with any kind of regularity, May is the month in which you will eat a bug. It may not be the first or last time that year, but during the month of May, you will definitely find yourself with a bitter, dusty bug in your mouth. I decided that this year I would avoid my own curse, but they are very persistent. They flicker around you and buzz “you’ve got to breathe sometime.” This time, for the sake of variation, I got one in my eye, and I think it’s possible that it was worse.

1000 Years of Popular Music

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Richard Thompson and his immovable hat did his 1000 Years of Popular Music show at Portland’s Aladdin Theatre last night, moving through from the first known round (the extremely timely Sumer is Icumen in) to Britney’s pre-Federline hit, “Oops- I did it again.” You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen a 57 year old folkie doing Britney moves. The show hit all the high points for me, because it was like going to a rock show and a music history lecture at the same time. Also, attending a show with The Human Fly’s target demographic lets a thirtysomething and her husband, who still has quite a bit of his own hair, feel like the new hotness, as opposed to attending an Editors show, which lets us know that we look and dance like Jabba the Hutt.

The Boomers went crazy at his Beatles cover, and Beloved Spouse enjoyed his Easybeats and Henry Purcell.

I’d rather hear Richard talk about music than hear almost anyone talk about anything, and I’d rather hear Richard play guitar than anyone else do it. Also, as the Wikipedia article points out, the whole show was born out of RT responding to a Playboy request for 10 Best Songs of the Millenium as a total and utter smart-ass, which I relate to and admire.

Clydesdale Marathoner

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I ran a half marathon in San Francisco last November. I was beaten by a guy dressed as a Jack-o-Lantern, someone dressed as a cow, a speed-walker with a Polaroid of his deceased dog pinned to his sleeve, and many, many children, but I finished and did not die. Speed is not what I bring to the sport of distance running. I bring endurance and the willingness to suffer. Since I have not killed myself yet, I am currently training for the Portland Marathon. I am looking for a chick or two to train with, so write if you want to run ten minute miles with me.

When I was visiting with Fez Marie Whatley in NYC, I did mention that if you train for and complete a marathon, you are guaranteed not to have a heart attack for the following year. That is to say, no one ever has completed training and a marathon and had a heart attack in the next 12 months. The downside is that this does not include people who have heart attacks in training or during the race. Fez did not seem overly impressed by my factoid, and visibly shuddered.

I have read a book on marathoning by Hal Higdon, and I have learned many things. One of them is that large people who train for marathons are called “Clydesdales.” It is impressive that after completing a hundred marathons, Hal still has the energy to reach out and hurt my feelings.

Gothic Lolita Theory, 1st Semester

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I have an unreasonable interest in the Japanese cosplay subculture.

It’s not age or culturally appropriate, but whether the tiny Japanese girls are dressed as little maids, little vampires, Victorian baby dolls, or just some sort of doll that’s been employed as a maid but is for some reason dead, it makes me smile….I had to stop buying the Gothic Lolita bibles after the fifteenth, because I ran out of three-foot tall bookshelf space. I like watching trends run through Lolita-land in Harajuku. One Summer, inexplicably, everyone had a bloody eyepatch, like all the dolls had a fight over the cutest coffin-shaped handbag.

I made a Lolita dress for myself for Halloween two years ago, and I am still waiting for an event where a six-foot tall Western lolita might be appropriate.

Last year, I wanted to do Strawberry Switchblade with my extremely easy-going spouse. I don’t think there’s another hetero male in the world that would agree to dressing as half of a defunct Scottish girl-group, and don’t think I don’t know I’m lucky. Here’s my initial sketch and a reference picture-

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Strawberry Switchblade

Strawberry Switchblade were an adorable pop duo who had a hit with “Since Yesterday”, and later a minor ripple with a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” They were best friends who later split up messily, and the tiny one, Rose McDowall, went on to work with Death in June, Coil, Current 93, Nurse with Wound and Psychic TV, and has thus developed a certain amount of street cred. I think that Jill is driving a cab in Glasgow.

Here’s how our costumes turned out:

While I was doing my Strawberry research, I noticed that there were a lot of photos of Strawberry Switchblade touring Japan in the early 1980’s, and then <“http://www.strawberryswitchblade.net/” offered up this nifty pic of an early Visual Kei group, Velvet Eden, that used to dress as Strawberry Switchblade, and who also covered their songs. Half the group, a drag artist named Dada, is also involved with/models for Lolita clothes label Arachnophobia. Which brings us to the question: was anyone dressing like a doll who was not first into Strawberry Switchblade?

What does it all mean? Did Strawberry Switchblade invent Gothic Lolita?


Bulldog Vs. Roomba

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If anyone hasn’t seen this brief film documenting the difficult relationship that our Frenchie girl had with the little robot that cleans your floors, here it is. Eventually, Hazel killed that Roomba by jumping on it until the battery wiring broke, and I discovered the power of the extended warranty when the robot company had no desire to discuss repair. Broken robot was replaced by a functioning robot that Hazel and Chico have hammered out an uneasy peace with, which is good, ‘cos I can’t sweep anymore. Not now that I know a robot wants to do it.

Texas’ Weirdest

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Raise your hand if you’re going to see Jandek at the Hollywood Theatre on Thursday…I’m really excited about attending his first West Coast performance.

Spooky music? You think you like spooky music? You ain’t heard spooky music until you’ve heard a six foot blonde moaning to a discordant guitar (*not* Nico). He’s self-pressed some 40-odd records, most of them mentioning suicide, european jewels, and/or janitors.

Anyway, Marilyn Manson can kiss my ass.

Jandek was great- there was a lot of Jazz/Skronk flavored “jamming” with local hero Sam Coomes and a drummer named Emil Amos. He did ask the audience that if they wanted to leave, to please do so between songs, so there was this herding phenomena when songs ended after ten or fifteen minutes.

He was everything I thought that a middle-aged outsider musician could be, and more. He sang about love, depression, and the speed at which his friend Eddie the Wino can down a bottle of Wild Irish Rose. He helped me solve a lot of problems I have when trying to sing and play guitar at the same time. His solution is: when he is singing,the guitar hangs limply around his neck. When he is done singing, he plays his guitar some more.br /The Jandek-loving masses wandered out of the theatre in a daze two hours later. I really did feel hypnotized. The non-Jandek loving 10% left the theatre during the first hour, stupefying the fans. He was totally un-charismatic, but in a hilarious way. No chitchat, very little acknowledgement of the audience. At the end he got a standing O (mostly in stunned amazement) while he packed up his own guitar and got his lyrics sheet and walked out the door.
For a weirdo ex-Texan, seeing Jandek perform ever was a little like seeing the tooth fairy.