2007-07-31

spin me 'round...

spin me 'round again
it's all I want -
to feel the wonder of the world
overwhelming
swirling
surrounding

it makes me feel whole
included
a piece in an enormous puzzle
the totality of which
I could never imagine

without which I would have
so much less meaning
which without me
would not be complete

CocoRosie

If any of you haven't heard of the music group CocoRosie, you should go here and listen. They are wonderful.

2007-07-29

handmade bazaar!

today is the day for handmade bazaar! if any of you are in Portland, come see us at:

AudioCinema
226 SE Madison Street
Portland, Oregon 97214

and if you're not in Portland, or you can't make it, think good thoughts for us :)

2007-07-26

whee!

another reason we are lucky here in Portland... this just opened yesterday!

the beginning after the end - stars

oh the blood and the treasure and the losing it all
the time that we wasted and the place where we fall
will we wake in the morning and know what it was for,
up in our bedroom after the war?

2007-07-23

Recipe: Surviving the Sunny/Hot/Humid Day Blues

So, prompted by both the heat and humidity in Portland lately and the forecasted raising temperatures in the near future, my own aversion to such weather, as well as this - I've created a recipe for those of us who would prefer cloudy grey and rain to beating sun any day. Enjoy :)


click image for larger view

2007-07-22

a day in the life...

today we woke up late, made some more pendant necklaces for the upcoming Handmade Bazaar, at which Trina and Theresa will be selling, then we drove down to the NW Park Blocks for the street fair accompanying the re-opening of the Museum of Contemporary Craft. We ran into our friend Sarah there, and made a date to play with resin this week, and then we went home.

for dinner we made pizza using Trader Joe's $1 pre-made pizza dough, and we brushed the crust with olive oil, then baked it for just a couple minutes, then put goat cheese spread all over the crust, then chopped garlic, dried oregano, salt, pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts, slices of dried chorizo sausage, spinach and fresh basil from our garden, drizzled a bit more olive oil, and baked the rest of the way.

we watched a few episodes of Dr. Who while we ate, and then our friend/neighbor Theresa invited us over for strawberry pie with whipped cream that she made.

now we are sitting in our room with the air conditioning on, waiting for lundry to be done, because it was way too gross and muggy today.

now hopefully our backs will recover from bending over a too-low table for hours making pendants. we shall see :)

happy week everyone!

2007-07-21

i love our kitties...



2007-07-19

loveliness.... part 2

I forgot, in my excitement, to mention that the lovely record player/radio cabinet in my previous blog post was an early birthday present from this wonderful person:















That is, my beautiful wife Patrina. She is amazing, and I am so lucky to know her, much less to get to be her husband. I hope that I can be half the blessing to her that she is to me.

Here's to love.... *clink!*

2007-07-15

little bit of loveliness...

so, I got an early birthday present this year, and here it is :)















Yes, I know, it's pretty much the most beautiful thing ever. It's a maybe 1930's or 1940's record player and radio cabinet. We also got a large stack of records with it, including Johnny Cash: Walk the Line. I'm so happy! Here's me enjoying it :)

2007-07-12

beautiful...

tonight in Portland we had thunder and lightning! i had just gone to water the veggie garden, and Jeremy and Tiffany were already out there watering, and as we were standing there talking, we started to see some lightning flashes and heard thunder...

I was going to bring the hose back and water our flower garden, so the three of us walked back towards our section of the apartments, and it started to rain just a tiny bit... I ran inside to get Trina and Jeremy and Tiffany went over and sat on their porch.

I found Trina (who was in the basement doing laundry), and we went out over to Jeremy and Tiffany's porch, and a bunch of other neighbors came out, including Theresa (Trina's partner in crafty crime) and then Trina's sister came out because she heard the thunder.

After a little bit it started pouring down rain, and they were huge drops of rain, big fat ones, and we were all standing in the rain, and it felt SOOOOO good after the last few days being in the high 90's and even breaking 100.

Then we all just sat on the porch and watched the rain and the lightning, and we clapped as huge bursts of lightning lit up the sky and each others' faces, to be followed by the sharp crashes and deep rumblings. We all exclaimed how much better this was than fireworks. It was so wonderful, and felt so good... it was a perfect unexpected evening.

2007-07-10

about art versus consumerism

so, a review I read about a music album got me thinking about this topic recently... here's a few thoughts...

the point of debate was about whether an artist's primary responsibility was to make the art which they felt they needed to make or which expressed themselves, or whether their primary responsibility is to make art that people like (in other words, to focus on the likes and dislikes of their audience primarily).

here are my thoughts - if an artist starts making art with the focus being what their audience will like or not like, they are only feeding consumerism. their creations become things which they hope will make them money or popularity or notoriety rather than things which express who they are...

I may be overly idealistic, but it seems to me that the purpose of art - of real art - is to express something of the person who is making it, something about them internally, their views or beliefs, a particular mood or feeling, something about how they see the world, whatever it may be. I don't think I would be exaggerating to say that the best art (and maybe even all the good art) that I've seen/heard/read/interacted with is that kind of art. The art that I relate to most is not art which was made primarily with my interests in mind, but was made from the artist's heart. If you start making art whose primary purpose is to be well-accepted by as many people as possible, you lose the you in your art - it becomes impersonal. This is what pop music is.

now, that's not to say that those artists who created something from their hearts gave no thought to whether people would like what they were creating, or gave no thought to whether it would sell, or anything like that. the question though is of primary motivation - and that being the need to express yourself and to be known.

I think it's back to the same basic issue - that if you are doing anything for a reason other than the thing itself, it will lose its meaning. if you make coffee in order to make money, the coffee will lose its meaning to you. if you give to the poor in order to gain notoriety, the giving to the poor will lose its meaning to you. if you create art so that other people will like it, so that it will sell, so that it will bring you fame, the art will lose its meaning to you. it's just the way we work as humans, or at least, in my observation this is how it seems to me.

Both in coffee and in art (or anything else), if it happens that you lose the plot, the resulting art or coffee (or anything else) can be pretty bad, and you can see evidence of that all over the place.

Ok, I think that's about all I have to say... feel free to leave your own thoughts on this if you'd like :)

2007-07-09

ah, the cloudy skies...

the cloudy skies I woke up to this morning made me very, very happy...

in honor of the day, one of my favorite Sylvia Plath poems, and a picture:

BLACK ROOK IN RAINY WEATHER

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

2007-07-07

good day...

It was such a nice day, I spent most of it working on music (see previous post), watered the garden, drove to drop off a rent check over on NE Broadway, and then opened up the windows, laid on the couch with a soft, cool breeze coming in the windows, and listened to Amiina.

Trina and her sister Carmen are starting on the bag they are making for Carmen, and then we are going to go to New Seasons and get some carrots and cherry tomatoes and some kind of asian sesame dressing and make a salad from the lettuce and spinach in our garden.

Yeah, good day.

new songs...

I think I'm finished with this song finally... it's not very long, but I like it.










This song I don't think is quite finished yet, but thought I'd share it anyway...








2007-07-06

good monsters - jars of clay

Looking around the internet, there isn't much discussion of what this song is about in detail - and I find it quite intriguing, so I thought I might try to promote some discussion on the topic. I'll post the lyrics, then my thoughts about them. Feel free to follow up with thoughts of your own.



All the good monsters open their eyes,
To see the wasteland where the home fires rise,
And the people shouting why, why, why...

Do you know what you are?
Do you know what you are?

All of the giants wake from their sleep,
And roll outside of safety's keep,
And the pain makes them feel so alive

Do you know what you are?
Do you know what you are?

And we are bored of all the things we know

Do you know what you are?
Do you know what you are?

Not all monsters are bad, but the ones who are good
Never do what they could, never do what they could

All the good monsters rattle their chains,
And dance around the open flames,
And they make a lot of empty noise.

While all of the bright eyes turn away,
As if there wasn't anything to say,
About the justice and the mystery.

Do you know what you are?
Do you know what you are?

And we are bored of all the things we know
And we are forms of everything we love, we love.

If good won't show it's ugly face,
Evil won't you take your place
Nothing ever changes,
Nothing ever changes...
By itself.

Yeah....yeah...aaah

We are bored of all the things we know
Do you know what you are?
'Cause we are, we are so in love with ourselves
And we are forms of all the things we love.



Let's start with the phrase "Not all monsters are bad, but the ones who are good never do what they could, never do what they could", because I think the term "good monsters" is pretty pivotal to the meaning of the song.

It seems like in this song, they are referring to good monsters as people who have the potential to act and to do something, to change things - but they either have their eyes closed and therefore have no idea what's going on, or they choose to do nothing productive. I think it also is an allusion to the fact that we all have the potential for great good and great harm inside us.

The first stanza seems to be referring to people (good monsters) opening their eyes and realizing there is chaos going on around them.

The second seems to be referring to those of them who choose to act and do something about that chaos, to move outside of their own safety and comfort, and as a result, they experience pain (because when you move outside of your comfort, when you take risks, when you become involved in others' lives, you do experience pain). This may also be alluding to people who happen to be put outside their comfort zone by circumstances.

And then the question - do you realize in what ways you are one of those people who is causing harm by your ignorance or inaction?

I'm not exactly sure what they mean by the statement "And we are bored of all the things we know" - but here's my guess... we have a tendency to intellectualize everything, to the point that it all becomes theoretical... and all this theorizing numbs us into boredom and inaction. It requires something at the heart level to push us into action.

I think the rattling chains bit is about us putting on a big show and making a lot of noise so that people notice us, yet we aren't really actually doing anything useful, we're just trying to appear so to appease our consciences. (I.E. a lot of celebrity charity, people just throwing money at things that don't at all take into account the needs of the people they are supposed to be helping, people who feel that the only thing anyone needs is for their system of belief to be broken down and replaced by the one they espouse)

Those with bright eyes being those who are the victims of abuse, genocide, hunger, disease, poverty (could be someone in Africa, could be your neighbor) - who could use the time and resources we could give if we actually cared to do so - who realize that we are just making useless noise, and turn away defeated because those who put on a show of hope and justice really had nothing to say about it.

"And we are forms of everything we love" - this one I think is pointing at the fact that there is a lot of light and darkness in every person - that we have natural instinct to love both good and evil and we become what we love - so while on one hand, I might find myself very involved in helping the poor in my community, I might also find myself involved in harming a lot of people because of my addictions.

"If good won't show it's ugly face, evil won't you take your place..." - this stanza I'm not exactly sure about... my best guess is that since nothing changes by itself, it's a cry for evil to prompt some change in people, if good won't show it's ugly face... this is again a bit of the tension between the good and evil in us - saying that good has an ugly face... my best guess is that it's a hope that if we won't step in and change things on our own initiative, that evil would prove to be a catalyst for us to do so.

Please let me know if you have any other takes on any of this, I'm always interested in alternate interpretations - I certainly don't think mine is the only possible one. Cheers!

big news! :)

My wife Trina and a good friend of ours, Theresa, have started a business called Doormouse Designs, and they now have an online store up at http://doormouse.etsy.com. There are only a few items there now, but there will be more showing up soon. Anyway, feel free to go look and buy stuff! :)

2007-07-03

song for the asking - simon & garfunkel

Here is my song for the asking
Ask me and I will play
So sweetly, I'll make you smile

This is my tune for the taking
Take it, dont turn away
I've been waiting all my life

Thinking it over, I've been sad
Thinking it over, I'd be more than glad
To change my ways for the asking

Ask me and I will play
All the love that I hold inside

2007-07-01

independence day...

In thinking about independence day coming up, I'm finding myself a bit hesitant to celebrate America's freedom, when it has been used so poorly. I know I'm probably overly idealistic, and I know that other countries have their problems too, but the U.S. has such a huge role, influence and responsibility internationally that it has seemed to either ignore historically (and currently), or else has viewed its role as the dad who needs to show the rest of the world the right way to do everything. We have rarely been there to help when it was actually needed (and in the ways that would have actually been helpful), we are largely not willing to give our resources to those who actually need them because they struggle just to get basic necessities for life, while we drive around hummers and consume like nothing will ever run out. We have used our freedom to cage the rest of the world by pushing the lines of human rights and dignity and we believe that our freedom over-rides the freedom of anyone who might impinge on it. We grasp at our own freedom as if it was the very thing that gave us life. I know this is a very human thing, and it's not only America where it happens, but we have so many resources and such influence to back up our freedom, that we find it easy to bludgeon anyone or anything for the sake of preserving it.

And so, I feel a little hesitant to celebrate that.

What I guess I can celebrate, is that at least for now, I can still write that on my blog without fearing for my safety.

I would rather just celebrate life.

today's walk...

interesting things from today's walk around portland...

  • The linden trees are starting to bloom, I love them.
  • I saw one squirrel watching another squirrel who was standing perfectly still on his back legs.
  • I heard a lady in her back yard laughing hysterically at something.
  • Despite it being rather warm, it wasn't so warm it was horribly uncomfortable - just warm enough to remind me that I was thankful that it wasn't warmer :)
that's about all for today. hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.