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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Canada!

So Vancouver was lovely.  I have a handful of pictures, but be forewarned: they’re all Will’s, and Will doesn’t like taking pictures very much.

This, by the way, is the view from our hotel room.  Since we didn’t really know where to go, a good portion of our time was spent standing on the balcony and gazing out in wonder.

This last one is probably my favorite.  Vancouver is a pulsing cosmopolitain city… with coyotes roaming its public beaches and owls swooping down to capture you in the city parks: the gap between New York and Yosimite bridged a mere thirty minutes north of the border.  Interestingly, what you should do to avoid owl attack is almost identical to what the signs say you should do to prevent a coyote from mauling you.  In case of a tandem assault, you’re totally covered. 

What you cannot see in that picture from our hotel room is the 24-hour pharmacy.  In PDX, everything that’s not a bar closes at 9 pm, but up there all the shops and cafes are open till midnight or beyond.   I liked that about Vancouver.  Even though I go to bed at like 9:45 (right after Matlock’s over I’ve taken out my dentures), it’s comforting to know the rest of the city’s still up and going that late.  It feels like a truer city for that.

But so getting back to our own, less true city: The Grotto.  Have you guys been?  If not, will you go with me?  I ended up wandering down there yesterday afternoon, and it’s beautiful.  And you’d think all the Catholic imagery would make it weird for secular visitors, but all of it’s so lovingly created and technically well-done that it’s easy to get into regardless of your feelings torward religion.  It’s also only $3.50 (the Japanese Garden is more than twice that), and is staffed by real live habit-wearing nuns.  Definitely worth the trip, but it’d be better if I had someone to go with me.

I’m still on an early 90’s Country kick, so music this week is Toby Keith.  Judge me not; this song is pretty. 

I’m packing tonight.  About 20 minutes ago I look down at the books I’m taking for the train ride, and it abruptly hits me that the three authors I’ve put in my bag are David Sedaris, Oscar Wilde, and Edmund White.

Accompanying this realization, a vision: I’m sitting on the train, weighing all of 37 pounds, sporting a polo shirt (white with red stripes, oh yeah), munching on a rice cake (I like the kind with flaxseed), with a stack of books by three of the most major faggot writers in all of the English language at my litte faggot side. 

Aghast, I throw a(n already read) copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the suitcase.  Because those AmTrak people are going to think I’m a walking sterotype over my dead 37-pound body.

The Last Pictures My Poor, Waterlogged Camera Ever Took

So this is the Gorge.  Most of these (where it’s misty and awesome) were taken on the Western Edge, near Troutdale.  The last one (where it’s sunny and awesome) is further East, close to Hood River. 

This building is situated at the edge of a bluff near Multnomah Falls.  It apparently used to be a rest stop on the Columbia River Highway — a rest stop with marble floors and stained glass windows and a killer view.  I had to step outside and count to ten to keep from hyperventilating when I found this out. 

It is unbelievably cool to know that there are people out there who feel the same way as I do about the glorious instituion they call interstate travel.  All it needs to make it perfect is a 24-hour diner with a smoking section. 

I’ve been looking at real estate in Hood River all week.  It looks like, if I save up for a couple years, I could probably afford to make the payments a one acre lot with a manufactured home and a decent view.  Not that I would actually ever do this, but it’s important for my fantasy life that I’ve determined I could do it.  Strangely enough, my imagination demands that I be pragmatic about stuff like this. 

I’ve lately been YouTubing a bunch of the music I listened to when I was six.  That was right after my parents split, and on the nights we were at my dad’s house, I always went to sleep with CMT blaring on the TV.  (When I was 7, I graduated to Nick at Nite, and never looked back). 

I didn’t realize that I missed Brooks and Dunn, but it turns out I really, really did.  So do you: see if this doesn’t make you yearn for 1993. (YouTube wouldn’t let me embed this.  Sorry.)  Dunn really has one of the best voices in contemporary country music, and Brooks defies aesthetic norms by looking handsome with that pubic brick of a mustache.  Also, because I have to Wikipedia everything: they apparently live down the street from each other in Nashville.  Cool that they’ve stayed that close after all this time.

This Post’s Former Title Was About 10 Words Too Long. And not very funny.

ONE. I thought forgetting a pen in my pants when I did laundry was the worst possible luck I could have, washing-machine wise, until yesterday.  Yesterday, I got some serious perspective on the issue.  Yesterday, I discovered that I had left my DIGITAL FREAKING CAMERA in my pants.  Like the fucking absent-minded champ that I am.

Mercifully, the memory card is unharmed. So that’s 600 (in focus, more or less!) memories I still have access to — including the pictures from the Gorge excursion with my mom, which I’ll be posting later in the week. 

TWO. On that note, I would just like to take a moment to declare that the Gorge is by far the best thing I have encountered in this state so far.  Previous visitors, we’re gonna have to have do-overs; you missed the main attraction.  The giant rock at the beach is nice and everything, but it’s no Hood River.  I apologize for my failure to be a better host.  If only I had known what we were missing.  I would offer to help cover the cost of your plane tickets, but I now have a digital camera to save up for in addition to massive oral surgery and the wood to build a private Vicodin Cellar.

THREE. But so yeah, my mom’s visit turned out really well.  She turned 54 while she was here, and I think it’s the best birthday she’s had in a while.  I learned a lot about how much energy and planning it takes to entertain someone for three days when my dad and Pat came to visit last year, and this time I was much better prepared: I had a rough itinerary with a back-up plan for every day she was here. 

And my mom (as I’d surmised) was much more taken with the Portland vibe than my dad and Pat were.  She was amazed by how easily everything grows here.  She almost wept when I brought her to the Rose Garden.  She actually walked through and smelled every single different variety, all the while giving me a well-versed commentary on the different qualities people emphasize when breeding them.  We discovered a rose named after Reba McEntire.  Now every time I see roses around town, I have to stop and examine them.  I miss you, mom. 

FOUR. Major gratitude goes out to Erin, who sent me one of the most perfect (if extremely belated) birthday presents I have ever recieved last week.  This guy writes like a less self-indulgent, more literary Chuck Klosterman, and he has better taste in music to boot.  Mega cool, Erin.  As soon as it’s built, you’re invited to come tour the Vicodin Cellar and sample some of the vintages. 

FIVE. I’m going to Vancouver next week.  Sadly, there will be no pictures.  It’s probably for the best, anyway.  I mean, did you really wanna see me and Will having staid conversations in assorted Canadian Thai restaurants?  Or me and Will not getting any play in various Canadian bars? 

Of course you do — sure as I’m a raging narcissist.   That’s why I’m getting a new camera as soon as I possibly can.