Tweed and Gardens

cardigan, cigar
This past weekend seemed like a good one to be lazy, so I spent large parts of it not even leaving the apartment. Since moving to Portland, I've been keeping myself very busy, and I could tell I was a bit more tired than usual because I've sleeping in.

Yesterday, as I sat around the house, I pulled out an old project that I'd been too intimidated to tackle: a tweed jacket in need of alterations. I picked this jacket up at a thrift store for just $4 years ago, but the previous owner had one arm several inches shorter than the other. Wearing the jacket felt really strange. I'm not very practiced with needle-and-thread: most of the work I've done has been buttons, mending, and very minor things. Altering the sleeve length of a jacket seemed difficult. I had tried and failed before, but this time I succeeded. And just in time, because tweed season is almost gone. I'm ready for the warmer weather. My summer wardrobe is overflowing with awesomeness this year.

My other project was getting a start on the garden. My roommate has already had his seeds planted in those little peat pots for a couple of weeks, and I just got mine planted yesterday. This is going to be my first year gardening---or at least my first year gardening on my own. I'm not sure if I'm doing anything right. Luckily, plants want to grow, and I just want to help them. We'll see how it goes.

Portland Just Got Smaller

scorpig
Yesterday, I went for my first bike ride in the city. I still have the same bike I've had for a few years: a beautiful black Schwinn beach cruiser. It is not a fast bike. It has only one gear and weighs quite a bit. It's built to move slowly and is terrible to pedal up hills.

Riding a bike in the city was an intimidating idea. It's still a little intimidating, but yesterday proved that it's certainly not that difficult. And it's fast! I rode from Belmont to Powell, a distance of about two miles, and it didn't take forever. I'd forgotten that even my slow bike is far faster than walking. I anticipate much bike-assisted grocery shopping.

Last night I had a much-needed break from everything. I sat on my new (to me) couch, drank beer from Hopworks, ate potato chips, and watched old episodes of Doctor Who.

Busy Week Ends Later

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Spring Break!  These two words are wonderfully welcome to so many.  I too was a student once, though perhaps a rather poor one, and loved my Spring Break as much as any cog turning in the vast educational machine.  Now I am no longer formally a student, and instead have learned to love the Spring Breaks of others.  Yes, it has been a busy week in Portland, which is not surprisingly the chosen destination for many Oregonians looking for a few days out of town.  I have lost count of the visiting friends I've seen; I'll not try to enumerate them for fear of omitting somebody.  It has been quite fun.

Last night I went to my first Trail Blazers game to celebrate a friend's birthday.  It was entertaining and educational.  There was such a vast crowd in the Rose Garden, and the game itself seemed to be half-sport, half-show.  They stop the game for commercial breaks (for the viewers at home) and fire t-shirts into the crowd using a sort of textile howitzer.  Happily, I did not spill much of my $9 beer, and I found the price perplexing.  Widmer, Pyramid, Mactarnahans, and the usual suspects were represented.  I did have a great time, and I'd like to see another game.  But perhaps I'll hold out for the Timbers---basketball may not be my favorite sport.

Which is really too bad, because there's a basketball court in my apartment complex.

The birthday celebration made its way downtown, and after prying myself loose from the bacchanalia, I had a beer with a couple of the aforementioned visiting friends before heading home.  And that's where things got a little frustrating.  I made my way to the bus stop with at least ten or fifteen minutes to spare, and started waiting.  And waiting.  The bus stop filled with people, all anxious that they had not missed the last bus of the night.  But the bus never came.  The people started drifting away.

I befriended a couple who was also waiting, and the three of us agreed to share a cab.  We called three different taxi companies.  No cab came.  We called again.  Still no cab.  What was going on?

Finally, just as I was determined to walk home, the bus arrived.  It was nearly an hour late!  The bus driver apologized and explained that there were mechanical difficulties, and then expressed shock at how late he was.  How could he not know?  Well, it was a nice quiet ride home, at least, and I didn't have to walk.  I arrived home near 3AM.  Exhausted.

Portland Or Bust

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When we found out that we got the apartment in Portland, we were both very excited. But today I learned that we are moving in earlier than expected: tomorrow. It's just two days, but it's two very exciting days.

Tomorrow morning I'll be renting a U-Haul, and we will be working hard to make our way to our apartment in time to pick up the keys, pay our first month's rent, and all of that fun stuff. I should put "fun" in quotes. The moving process itself is never that fun, but luckily our belongings have been pared down so much that, if everything works out in my favor, they will not even fill the smallest available U-Haul truck.

We spent a fun New Year's weekend in Portland, tooling around the city and doing things like buying socks. The entire time, I wore my 12' Doctor Who-style scarf. The people of Portland are fascinating, though. They don't care if my scarf is longer than a TrailBlazer is tall: all they cared about was my moustache and my bowtie.

Oh Portland, your astute hirsute appreciation woos me. But do not think that your clever complements will keep me from my goal: Amsterdam, or bust.

Published in Ahiman

cardigan, cigar
Well, here's something pretty exciting: I'm in a book: Ahiman: A Review of Masonic Culture and Tradition. It's a yearly periodical focusing on esoteric and transformative Freemasonry, and I've got a piece on the Art of Memory published in this one. Also, the editor listed me as an editor on Amazon, so if you search for my name, it'll pop up.

Anyhow, many of you are not Freemasons and may not really care, but some of you are Masons, and I am certain you'll rush out to buy it. Right? Excellent!

Return, Updates, and Life part n+1

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It's been more than a year since I've had an update here, and far more since I've been a regular LJ user at all. But lately I have been wishing for a place to discuss what's been going on in life, and frankly have been perhaps a little jealous of Vera's new Wordpress blog. See, it's been a busy year. Here's a bit of a rundown on what I've been up to:

  • We lived in a 25 ft. 1975 Winnebago Itasca for over a year. Part of this time was in the backyard of the house that the bank took back, part in Central Point, and mostly in the yard of Vera's parents.
  • We spent four months in the jungles of Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast, near the quaint little village of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Lots of adventure ensued, including a great trip to Nicaragua, some delicious habañero peppers, and the theft of my MacBook.
  • I replaced my computer with a pink Dell laptop.
  • We just signed the lease for an apartment in southeast Portland. I think we are both incredibly excited about this move.

But here's the thing: if you have been listening to my rambles at all, you know that our plan was to stay six months in Costa Rica, live in Portland for just a few months, and then start a six-month stay in Europe beginning in April. This plan has changed. I don't know when we will get to have our long-term European stay, and it might be delayed for a few years as we try to rebuild our savings. Costa Rica was more expensive than I'd planned, especially once my computer got stolen and we decided to fly back to Oregon at the last minute.

So currently we are getting ready to move to Portland, then immediately head out on a trip to Santa Rosa so I can officiate at the wedding of a good friend of mine. I'm working on some more interesting projects as well.

Oh, and if you are getting married in the Portland area, consider my services, please. Mention this post and I'll give you a discount!

Black Saturday 2009!!!

judas
Hello, loyal readers!

It's time for our fourth annual Black Saturday celebration! This year, it will take place on April 11th at the Ashland Avenue house, as in years past. Bring your friends, bring something to drink, bring some food, and most importantly, bring your sense of humor. We'll begin at 7PM and go until Easter, at least.

This year we plan on having quite the event. Elly has been working hard to redecorate the house, so it actually looks pretty now. We might have belly dancing, live music, and of course some sort of destruction of Judas in effigy. If you only go to one party this year, make sure it's Black Saturday! If you only have one hangover this year, make sure it's on Easter morning! We hope to see you there!

What: Black Saturday 2009
When: April 11th, 7PM until sometime Easter Morning
Where: The Ashland Avenue House (you know the one, and if you don't, drop me a line and I'll give you the address!)

Writer's Block: In a Jam

cardigan, cigar

If you were in trouble or ran afoul of the law, which fictional detective or investigator—from tv, movies, or books—would you want to help you?

View 502 Answers

Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey, of course!  He always has the best claret.

Preserved Foods and Black Saturday Reminder

cardigan, cigar
Hello everybody!  It's been a very long time since I've written here, I know, but I wanted to brag about a couple of food projects that chardan  and I have been working on.  We just finished making a batch of sauerkraut, and now we've got a corned beef a-cornin' in the fridge.  I anticipate a great deal of deliciousness.

In other news, remember that Black Saturday is coming up on April 11th, and that there will be a big bash to commemorate it at my house over on Ashland Ave.  If you're out of the area, you should plan on attending.  It's always quite a blast, and this year should be the best ever!

Too many neckties!

cardigan, cigar
I routinely hit thrift stores and sort through their selection of neckties, picking out the choicest selections and sometimes the worst selections, all for myself.  It's such a wonderful way to get strange neckties for very low prices that I often forget that I have only a small amount of necktie storage.  I have space to hang about 48 ties (I put two bowties on a peg, so I probably have over 50 ties hung up), and today when I put all of my ties away, I still have a bunch sitting around.  I suppose I should cull them, pull out the ones with stains and try to clean them, and then maybe sell some ties on eBay or something.

Does anybody have any good advice on cleaning silk neckties?  Note that if the cleaning fails, I'll probably just chuck them.  The dirty ties are ones that I only wear during the cold parts of winter when I'm absolutely certain I won't be removing my waistcoat or sweater in the presence of those with delicate sensibilities.  I also have a number of ties that make mayyadah  cringe and howl in agony.  I'm not sure if I should keep those.

(I think I might do some thrift store shopping today, in fact, and get even more ties!)

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