Archive for January, 2010

Punklandia

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2010 by Cristina

 
That’s exactly what I was just asking myself when Bar-guy handed me this lovely zine!  My friend said she got invited by some bassist to see his show so with my YES experiment in mind, I headed to North Portland to keep her company and check out the scene.  As soon as I walked in, I realized everyone was dressed WAY differently than my bead-embroidered shirt with Picasso-esque birds all over it.  The dress code seemed to be hard-core jacket with button flair, skin-tight pants and fistfuls of PBR. She was running late so I chilled at the bar trying not to make faces when the screamy-time-music got too screamy.  The annoying gentleman next to me kept trying to make conversation with self-induced-laughter joke attempts that I thwarted until he got the point. After a few minutes of initial cringing, I actually started to enjoy some of the songs — surprise! My friend arrived, we listened to more rocking out and danced as she laughed at my slight discomfort with the vibe.  I had a hard time trying to keep a straight face as the guy dancing next to me was visibly making himself stumbly-dizzy by thrashing his head around to the point of needing to catch his balance by grasping the pillar next to him. Dude, chill out before you give yourself whiplash and fall over. It was all fun and games until I nearly got in a fight with an obliterated old old-school guy who was saying rude things to someone in our group. As soon as I opened my big mouth to tell him to not be rude, I realized that his missing front tooth and crazy accent put him in a special category. “Who the fuck are yooou?!?” he said to me with his head cocked threateningly.  Oh boy.  I soothed things over, asked about his Irish-sounding accent, and was subsequently schooled on this musical culture that apparently has a lingo of its own.  Lesson #457 learned: while initially abrasive, both the music and the people of Punklandia are nicer than they seem.  While I won’t be returning for any of these advertised pub activities, I wouldn’t completely rule out going to see upcoming bands with names like Here Comes a Big Black Cloud, Tiny Knives, or Fuck Mountain.

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Mindf**k

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2010 by Cristina

This literary criticism stuff I’m doing “for work” is fun until someone gets hurt. And my brain might get hurt soon if I don’t take frequent breaks from the mindfuck that is the short story I have to analyze this week. The Continuity of Parks by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar is two pages of strangeness that’s making my head spin. In photo form, the surrealist story goes something like this:
 
Hmmm, extremely entertaining and unsettling at the same time. Possibly the coolest stop-motion video I’ve ever seen, MUTO painted on the streets of Buenos Aires by artist Blu, features some of the same nesting-doll, story-within-a-story craziness. 
 
As disturbing as this stuff seems when I have to read/see it ad nauseam, it definitely fills my heart with glee that humans have this thing called creativity. If only I could harness some of that and start producing something myself, now that would be something.

I heart aminals

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2010 by Cristina

After eating too many vegan-chorizo tacos, I started getting a little delusional and forgetting what animals were. My friends and I had a great post-brunch conversation that included a discussion about whether ladybugs had hearts (don’t ask how we got to that point). My BS degree in physiology apparently didn’t prepare me for such questions later in life, so Google had to fill in the educational gap. Search engine predictions are so fun:

If the interweb masses don’t know if ladybugs can fly, then I’m allowed to not know that they have hearts… so yeah, it turns out they do indeed since they’re ANIMALS! Who knew? Six hours and some glasses of whiskey-cider later, the animals-with-or-without-hearts topic came up again: this time regarding jellyfish. I wouldn’t be a huge nerd if I didn’t spend my hangover time wisely looking up the answer. While they don’t actually have hearts, Swedish scientist Dan Nilsson comically explains that some species “are fantastic creatures with 24 eyes, four parallel brains and 60 arseholes.” Wow, thank you, friends and drunkenness for putting me down the path that allowed me to arrive at that fact.

Ink paper hands

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 by Cristina

The art of letter-writing needs a mini-revival in my life. The worlds of digital friendship and blogging and Facebook commenting and gChat are suffocating the magic of letter-writing (obviously, I’m participating in this as I write this ridiculous blog). Josh Keyes, a superb painter who recently moved to Portland and has a new show in NYC, speculates about the future of the postal scene: 

Honestly, I will flip my shit if I ever go outside and see roaming hyenas. So… since I love writing and I love people, I’m going to try to practice this fading art by writing to people: by hand. I will write letters to everyone who sends me an address. If you want a touchable, keepable, readable thing in your hands, give me your address and you won’t be disappointed. It’ll put a smile on your face in a way that a Facebook poke or a gChat “booopoo” can never do. Wish me luck not getting mauled by hyenas on my way to put your letter into the mouth of the giant blue bullfrog, as Kurt Vonnegut called ’em. See you on paper!

Say YES!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2010 by Cristina

A great Elliott Smith song and the title of a social experiment I did last summer in NYC. For seven days, I decided to say YES to every single proposition (yeah, like in that movie but better). I’d been putting more effort into work than social good times, so I was curious to see what would happen if I flipped that pattern for a week. I didn’t tell my friends I was doing this, so they wouldn’t take advantage of it and try to sabotage my life. One person actually guessed that I was up to something when he offered me a cigarette and I accepted: he slowly took it away from me asking, “Are you just saying yes to everything?!?” Mmm-hmm! Overall, I sacrificed a lot of sleep but I had a really great time and met some fabulous people.  I learned a very important lesson: it’s better to say yes to social rather than to work stuff, and pays off in a more fulfilling way. The lesson became even more apparent a week later when I was laid off from my job. Since then, I’ve been much more liberal with accepting invitations, reminding myself that mustering up the energy to do more things is usually a great idea. This week has been particularly busy and I’ve enjoyed every second of the late-night bar hangouts, concerts, museum, tea-time adventures! Now I’m off to eat some cupcakes at a friend’s house… YESSS!
 

Artlaw

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 by Cristina

Confession: I abide by the law only insofar as it makes sense to me. If there’s some rule with which I disagree, then I don’t consider it a rule… in this category fall things such as jaywalking, speeding, sloth, gluttony, drugs, border crossing, prostitution, trespassing, drinking, graffiti, etc. Now that I’ve stated my disclaimer, I’m just gonna say that I’ve begun planning my first (and probably only) graffiti project. I’d like to share two of the best street art images I’ve seen the last few months (not counting that Deitch-commissioned stuff). The first was a color-music-action explosion in Toronto’s Kensington Market:
 
The second is something that left my friend and I speechless as we were walking around the Mission in San Francisco. It was a really intricate mural on wooden siding that incorporated all sorts of power lines and gutters into the image in the coolest ways imaginable. I took this mediocre photo at dusk so just go there and experience the awesomeness for yourself:

Since I lack the artistic skills to create something this amazing, I’ll stick to something very simple and cross my fingers that I don’t get stopped by law-enforcement. Otherwise, I’ll have to explain to them that disclaimer about how I’m not really breaking any of my rules. I might need an intrepid friend with an Intrepid (or some other getaway car) to help me execute this.

Joy. Jump for it!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2010 by Cristina

My parents are afflicted with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by decades of communist paranoia. The outward symptoms are workaholism in my mom and curmudgeonry in my dad. This December, I discovered a way to temporarily relieve these symptoms! Hooray! The treatment goes something like this: take them to the beach in Mexico, bring camera, force them to participate in a jumping photo shoot. After a few attempts at that elusive aerial shot, they’re all smiles and all thoughts of ration lines and border crossings and family separation melt away into laughing-induced stomach cramps:
 
I was actually shocked at how willing both of them were to participate in this holistic treatment. My mom even entertained my cartwheel ideas:

I’m so glad I could share this little bit of mexican-beach-jumping morphine with them.