If a bullet should enter my brain

In a previous post I mentioned how on my trip to San Francisco I took a stroll down Castro Street and unsuccessfully searched for the storefront that used to be Harvey Milk's camera shop. The current tenants of the space have made sure that won't happen again—they've commissioned a very visible commemorative mural inside the front window, inscribed with Milk's famously prescient line, "if a bullet should enter my brain, let the bullet destroy every closet door." More pictures and background at Towleroad.

And while I'm here, I'll recommend the 1984 film The Times of Harvey Milk (Ebert review, YouTube preview), which would be an excellent documentary even if the subject matter—the nascent gay movement in 1970's San Francisco, its charismatic figurehead, and his tragic assassination—weren't so compelling.

Hot springs, cold snow

My Thanksgiving plans fell through, and I was a little too distracted to worry about coming up with a plan B (it's been a bad week).
My friend Pete was in the same boat. Since we liked Breitenbush so much (see previous post) we decided to check out Bagby hot springs. It was a sunny day, so the snow was a surprise. I took pictures while Pete put chains on his van, stuck on a deserted US Forest Service road.

We never did find the place, thanks to some inaccurate directions I got from the internet. Lesson learned. By the time we figured out which road to take, it was getting too late, so we abandoned our mission.
On the way back we stopped in Estacada, but unfortunately the Safari Club was closed for the holiday. It's a run down bar/diner (now a Chinese restaurant) from the 70s that houses an amazing collection of taxidermied hunting trophies.

Back in the city, we drove around looking for a place to eat that was open. My attitude was, if you're not going to be eating a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving, you should just go for it and eat dinner somewhere really depressing, like a roach-infested Vietnamese mafia-operated fast food joint on Southeast 82nd. I couldn't make Pete see it my way, though, so I just went home and ate a sandwich by myself.
Later that night, the new Coen brothers movie No Country for Old Men, which stars Javier Bardem as a ruthless cold-blooded killer. Spoiler alert: lots of people die violently. Afterwards, a watery drink at the nearly empty Eagle dowtown.
How was your Thanksgiving?

Breitenbush Hot Springs

Nature is the unofficial state religion here in Oregon. I'm not a religious man, but this weekend I took a trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs. I'm tempted to convert.

More on my Flickr page.

Free font: Zalamander

This one has been available for a while now, but it's new to me so I'm posting the link. What sets Zalamander apart from the thousands of crappy free fonts to be found on the web is that it has a full character set (including complete punctuation, accented characters, diacritics, and even Cyrillic, in case you need to typeset some Russian), and a range of six weights. And it's well-crafted too — the letter shapes are lively with unexpected angles, but they fit together and don't seem arbitrary or wacky. Download the all caps version for free, but you'll have to pay for it if you want lower case.

Night view

Radio Cab garage, gas station open to the public 24 hours, NW 16th Avenue.

Unimaginative name

Pro bono

With so many Republican sex scandals lately, who can keep track of all of them? I recently found a website called republicansexoffenders.com where somebody has been trying to keep a list. I like the idea, but his web design really needed help. The title banner especially was so bad that it hurt my eyes. I was in the right semi-bored frame of mind to consider making a new graphic as an anonymous favor. A quick Google image search found the perfect picture:

...so of course I had to go with it. I made the new title banner graphic and sent it unsolicited. He was quite pleased and put it up right away. Check it out.

Update: Joe.My.God. posted a link to the site, and included my graphic.


Ian and Gabriel's kitchen.

A magic shop (not to be confused with a magick shop) at Pike Place market.

I was surprised to learn that this Richard Serra sculpture is fragile and delicate. With the price of steel going up lately, he must be scrimping on the cheap stuff to save money.

(click on pictures for bigger view)

Bullet points

  • I had a three-day weekend. So far I have managed to accomplish absolutely nothing productive. At this rate, I may as well cultivate a drug addiction -- it wouldn't make much of a difference.

  • Say hello to Bye and Bye, my new favorite neighborhood bar on 10th & Alberta (only a few blocks away from my house). Just opened last week in a nicely renovated mid-century building, cool art, big patio, attractive staff, but the vegan menu strangely lacks any shareable finger-food (except for $2 chips & salsa). C'mon, it's a bar, serve some french fries. I'm not so sure about southern style fake meat, but I'll go there to drink, not eat. Approximately 75% of the bikes I counted parked outside on "Portland's biggest bike rack" were fixies.

  • Maybe I'll have to take a trip to New York before the year's over -- I just read about the Richard Prince retrospective at the Guggenheim. I've been meaning to make a replica of one of his muscle car hood sculptures to hang out my wall. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I copied him, since he became famous after "re-photographing" other people's photographs as part of the 1980s Appropriation Art trend.

  • While browsing the Guggenheim website I found an announcement for the upcoming Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition. I need to pay more attention to the art world, because I'd never seen his spectacular work before. This is "Head On", an installation of 99 wolves crashing headfirst into a glass box:

    All I can say is, holy shit.

Sold out

Friday evening I saw Andrew Dickson deliver his presentation, "Sell Out", which was part of PICA's TBA:07 festival. Using PowerPoint slides and pacing back and forth with a microphone and huckster's mannerisms, he described "the 27 steps to selling out". I'm not sure what to say about his schtick -- not funny enough to be stand-up comedy, not scholarly enough to be a lecture, not over-the-top enough to be motivational speaker, almost but not quite critical enough to be satire. (Here's a good review, and a caustic review.) It was thought-provoking though, and entertaining, especially since I've known Andrew for years, back when he was a starving artist surviving on cheap burritos and maxing out his credit cards to make Good Grief, an endearingly corny coming-of-age/roadtrip feature-length film in which I played a small role (the shoot was great fun, although I'll admit I'm kind of glad my name is misspelled in the imdb.com credits). Now he's getting paid handsomely to write copy for death star ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, where his performance took place. Along with its main client Nike, W+K attracts more than its share of haters, but the interior of their building sure is nice, designed by Portland's highest-profile architecture firm Allied Works.

Later that night I came to Holocene just in time to see the end of Captain Ahab's set. Their music is a balance of dirty, smart, and stupid, with an emphasis on the stupid. But you gotta love that one half of the scruffy duo is solely responsible for dancing, sweating profusely, stripping down to a blue Speedo, and getting the crowd live (or molesting them, depending on your point of view). Punk rock for the age of laptop computer music.

photo swiped from Impose Magazine (click for more pics)

Headliners Yo! Majesty attracted a capacity crowd. I don't know if they're the only out lesbian hip-hop act around, but they're definitely the best. They were seriously good regardless of identity politics, and deserve to blow up huge.
Apparently continuing the night's theme of sweaty exposed skin, one of the Y!M MCs performed topless, which was probably intended as a confrontational move, but since we're kind of jaded around here, the audience was unfazed by the exposed boobs. Her stage presence was hard and butch, but in an odd moment at the end of the set, she got a little verklempt at the crowd's enthusiasm, almost like she had never seen so many happy white people dancing and cheering in one sold-out room before.

Beth Ditto of the Gossip interviews Yo! Majesty:


I went shopping for a bike yesterday. I have a rusty old J.C. Higgins 3-speed cruiser collecting dust in the garage, which I bought 10 years ago for $10 and a pitcher of PBR, but I haven't ridden it in a couple years. But since I'm going to participate in the Bike Commute Challenge like a good Portlander, I ought to have something a little more rideable.

Revolver had the type of bike I was looking for, and the non-snobby bike-hipster punk salesman set me up with one to take for a test spin. I immediately learned that despite what you may have heard, you can forget how to ride a bike. Or at least how to mount one. I crashed on the sidewalk outside of the store, and got laughed at by a carload of gangsta thugs.
The dudes in the shop must have seen me, but were polite and didn't say anything about it when I returned after a quick ride around the block. I bought the bike and rode it home without incident. It's nice.

Maybe someone can tell me if this coincidence is significant: the guys at the bike shop were listening to a post-metal band called Isis. Later that evening I crossed paths on the sidewalk with a woman walking her pit bull, which ran up to sniff my leg (the dog, not the lady). The woman scolded, "Isis, no!". Maybe the ancient Egyptian goddess of magic and life is trying to tell me something? Regardless, I downloaded some tracks from Isis, the band, which I am listening to right now. I like their heavy crushing songs better than their arty ambient songs.

I'm going to go ride my bike now.

New job

A lucky set of circumstances converged in my life, and in ten days I will start working at a new job. I won't be getting paid much more than I am now, but that's OK because the location (I can ride a bike to work), hours (not too early-bird), décor (modernist), and buzzwords (sustainable, LEED-certified, etc.) are much better. This is what my new office looks like:

Well, sort of -- there are models in beige sitting on the the tables. (link)

In Which I Tediously Recount the Details of My Recent Vacation

I woke up at 5:00 A.M. on Thursday, and after riding in a cab, a jet, several motorized walkways and escalators, a little tram, and a BART train, I checked into my hotel at 4th & Market in San Francisco by 10:30. Snacked on a coconut fruit cake from a Chinatown bakery on Grant while on my way to William Stout Architectural Books. I was a little overwhelmed by their selection, and their store was so crammed that browsing was a little difficult, but I decided on a few items to purchase, including a monograph on Koolhaas/OMA's amazing Seattle Public Library. Since I was in the neighborhood, I checked out City Lights bookstore, which is a historically interesting landmark if you're interested in the beat movement (I was really into Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg during my late adolescent phase), but otherwise just a pretty good bookstore. Hey, I live a few miles away from Powell's, probably the best bookstore in the English-speaking world, so it's kind of hard to impress me.
Outside the store, a horrifying brochure documenting the abuses of the Chinese government against the Falun Gong movement blew in the wind and landed on my feet, so I felt compelled to read it while waiting for Roy to pick me up in his VW Beetle. Months earlier we had e-flirted and talked on the phone while he was working in Portland, but never met until now. We ate burritos at a taquería on 19th & Mission while entertained by busking musicians. Roy had a meeting and a houseguest to attend to so he dropped me off in the Castro, where I picked up a copy of the latest issue of BUTT (NSFW), and noticed that many of the men in the neighborhood attempt to look like porn stars, to varying degrees of success. It's a strange little parallel universe -- with a barber shop, a Walgreen's, a natural food store, a Korean-staffed manicure joint -- but everyone is gay (except for the straight tourist couples nervously clutching each others' hands). I did some window shopping, failed to find the historical plaque marking the location of Harvey Milk's camera store, hopped on the Muni train back to my hotel, and took a nap.
Later that evening, back to the Mission to check out Truck, a low-key little gay bar on Folsom with a good DJ, cheeky blue-collar inspired decor, and a tasty sausage sandwich. After walking under overpasses and stepping over sidewalk squatters, I arrived at my next stop, the Eagle, where a band of young men born in the 80s were playing a loud pastiche of rock styles from the late 60s (I suppose it's a good thing that kids these days still appreciate Blue Cheer, MC5, and Black Sabbath). Although I wanted to move on to my next stop (Tubesteak Connection at a hole-in-the-wall Tenderloin tranny bar called Aunt Charlie's) it was still a little early for that, so I killed some time sipping on another bourbon & soda while text-messaging my friends. And then a tall handsome bearish dude walked in solo and caught my eye. I'm normally too shy to cruise at bars, but we struck up a conversation about music that was soon drowned out by the next band of retro rockers. So instead of shouting in each others' ears, we got frisky in the middle of the audience full of straight kids who came to watch the bands, not the floor show. I'm sure some of them were thinking, "get a room!" We went back to my room. I'll have to check out Aunt Charlie's next time I'm in town.
Next morning, killing time shopping at Marshall's while waiting for my parents to come pick me up, I traded flirty smiles with another tall handsome bearish dude. Cruising in San Francisco is too easy. No time to follow through though -- it was time to head down to Monterey for my aunt and uncle's anniversary party/family reunion. It was my first time in Monterey, which is a nice and posh little tourist town. We had a fancy banquet dinner at a trés bourgeois hotel, where I was somewhat underdressed.
Family was nice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium was more memorable. Jellyfish are beautiful; sunfish are bizarre. Cannery Row was saturated with otter-related kitsch, which made me chuckle but I wasn't about to explain to my mom why. Speaking of otters, take a look at the cutest YouTube animals ever.
The rest of my trip was pretty boring. Let me just say I'm glad I don't live in the Salinas Valley.

When Hårald met Søren

The Portland Ikea store opened a few days ago. This, of course, was inevitable:

Container ship wrecks

Photo gallery of shipping disasters. Huge stacks of toppled shipping containers, ships on fire.

Link from boingboing.net

Swell maps

Geoffrey Manaugh over at BLDGBLOG has a post on "fossil rivers" -- the geological evidence left behind when the Mississippi has changed its course over time, leaving behind natural levees and curly dead-ends. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made maps documenting the phenomenon, which are visually stunning in an unintentionally abstract-expressionist sort of way.

You can see very high-res scans of the maps on Geoffrey's Flickr page. I'm going to download this one and get a poster-sized print made to hang on my wall.

Free Font: FF Good

Fontshop periodically makes some of their fonts available for free download. Right now you can pick up a copy of FF Good in the Wide Light version. Nothing too exciting here, but it's got some nice qualities of a 19th-century grotesque (similar to Bureau Grot) combined with the straight sides on round characters (like you see in Trade Gothic Condensed or DIN Scrift) that give it an industrial feel. The complete family includes more weights and widths than you could shake a stick at, but unfortunately no italics.

Power Clean

My housemate bought this face cleaner, and while showering this morning I couldn't help but stare at the package and notice how the copywriter missed no opportunity to remind me of how manly the product is.

  1. "Men's Expert": this product has been approved by the technocratic authority.

  2. "ADS Active Defense System": acronyms are manly, like NASCAR or NBA. So are words like "active," "defense," (go D!) and "system".

  3. "Power Clean" is a weightlifting exercise.

  4. Shine? Too pretty. Smooth? Too metro. Ah, I got it: "Anti-dullness". Sounds vigilant.

  5. "Menthol": because mint is for Tic-Tacs and mojitos. Menthol sort of rhymes with ethanol, which is the active ingredient in Jack Daniels. And don't black dudes smoke Newports?

M.I.A. "Boyz"

New video for M.I.A. has hypercolor 80s-style computer animation and insane outfits; "also, we have dance moves for 8,000 years."

In other news, the London 2012 Olympics animated logo causes seizures and will be out of style by the year 2012.

Father's Day Found

In anticipation of Father's Day, here's a letter I found outside a mediocre Thai restaraurant on Venice Boulevard (a few doors down from the Jurassic Museum of Technology) in Culver City, California on May 12:

5/1/07 1:00 Pm

Hey M----- What's Up

I'm sittin in an Irish pub drinking a pint of beer and I want to write you this letter.

It's a little slow at work today and I wanted to write you a letter for a while now so I couldn't think of a better place.

Well it breaks my heart to see you locked up. I hope that you want to change and take control of your life soon.

In this letter I'm going to tell you the real fuck the candy-coated shit. It serves no one

I think you need to find out what you want to do for a job — career, and do it. Maybe you want to be a plumber learn how to do it and fuckin do it. Plumber is only an example. Maybe you want to paint or do stereos or carpet, or tint windows, anything, but you need to pick something and pick it quick and start making some money.

I wish I had your life if I could switch my life for yours I would of done it a long time ago. My point is You have a great opportunity and a great life ahead of you.

Sometimes I wish I would have joined the Marines or Army just for two years. See the world and have that discipline in my life.

Sometimes I think you should join the "Peace Corps" its a group that helps the poorest countries in the world they pay for everything if you give them time. I don't know if they pay you or not, but God sure does. You get to see the world and see how other people live.

When I was in Honduras people gave me attention just because I was American. I mean pretty woman. I said what the fuck am I getting married for. Just Kidding. I was just playind soccer in the street with the kids and aot of people came out of their houses and watched me. It was fun.

A--- & O--- are pretty good all they want to do is skateboard and thats fine with me because I like them being outside excercising, using creativity and hopefully building confidence. I know some of the guys their are up to shit. But I told A n O if I see or catch them smokin weed or cigarettes or beer I will beat their asses.

You are going to go through different points in your life you need to want to get to the next stage and be different than you are know.

I will always be your Dad but know its time for me to be your best friend. I want to see you do something in another country. I guarantee you will never regret it. Trust me and your life will change.

If you don't change and keep doing what your doing you will spend alot of time in jail or die.

My dream is to see you happy and a productive person in this world, and I want to see you travel the world.

I love you M-----. Ive got to run let me know if you want to change your life when your out.


Digging through old photos

This is my friend Kelly, 2003.

A wet T-shirt. I don't know why this picture came out green.
wet T-shirt

One more.

I used to take a lot more photos back when I was working at a photo lab. This weekend I've been uploading lots of my old scans to my Flickr page.