Here’s a confession:

When I was young my mother would sing to me while I fell asleep. She had a few songs that were staple. Of these my favorite was a James Taylor song called Sweet Baby James. Especially, I loved to hear the last part of the song:

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway;

A song that they sing when they take to the sea;

A song that they sing about their home in the sky;

Baby you can believe it if it helps you to sleep;

But singing works just fine for me.

Goodnight you moonlight ladies;

Rock-a-bye sweet baby James;

Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose;

Won’t you let me go down in my dreams;

and Rock-a-Bye sweet baby James.

I had been feeling lately like a sick dog then. As on all fours, locked into an empty heave above my own puddle. Embarrassed and helpless and muscles strung tight. There was nobody on the streets that late. After the bars close and near Laurelhurst Park where the streetlights and the lights from the cool houses shade a pale green dream when you’re lonely.

I was walking in the middle of the street and singing this last part of Sweet Baby James. When I began to feel restless walking I would break into a sprint; pushing my body to move faster to the point where I thought I might lose control, forget a movement, topple over myself into the street. The feeling of teeth cracking against the asphalt was a palpable fantasy. My mouth would water and jaw clench.

At the edge of the park I stopped. I saw something unexpected and maybe rare.

Once I took some mushrooms with Harrison and he played Kid A for me and i realized how genius those guys were. Methodical. Afterward we took a walk through the golfcourse near his apartment. In my trip the grass had flattened and would blossom in patches of cubes, little ripple explosions into the third dimension. What I saw in Laurelhurst park was that feeling. The curiosity leading up to release. When a child squeezes a grasshopper and sees that brown liquid and wonders at it and so squeezes another. The smell of a woman.

It was long past curfew of course. A police truck drove through the park on patrol. When I got to the tree where the night had seemed plaque static I stood for a long time, humming in the shadows. Building up the courage was exhilarating in itself. Catching glances at the houses I wondered if any of the darkened windows were faces that could see me. I knew they couldn’t.

The rest of the park was lit up by the tall fluorescents but this tree was a darkness on the lawn. First I took my off my shirt and waited for a change. Then my shoes, pants, and then the rest of my clothing.

I stood naked and looked out at the park, the city surrounding. There were people, certainly, in their homes that stood naked like I was, but the night was on my body. I felt happy like I once had before.


Digital Americana: Midsummer Night Toons III

Recently I signed on for an internship with The Digital Americana, an iPad literary magazine. As you all know, I’m super down with the future so it seems like a great fit for me.

My first assignment was to cover Midsummer Night Toons III, an annual animation showcase obviously on it’s third year. Well the new DAM issue is out and my report on the event is located around the 30th ‘page’, or pixel spread, or whatever you want to call it. I know that most of you don’t have iPads, but I suggest that you get one so that you can read my awesome review.

Here’s an excerpt:

“By the time I got to Slate for the Midsummer Night Toons (MNT) III, an annual animation showcase now in its third year, the bar was already packed. To a casual bargoer, perhaps drawn in by the happy hour specials or the loud music and bright lights, the crowd would have seemed an odd stew of sweaty people caught in a shuffle of drinking minglers and those between drinks who were cramming around the bar in full effect. Lot’s of Threadless t-shirts and expensive eyeglasses belying the ultimate successes that a life of determined nerdery can accomplish. In one corner, opposite the foosball table, was a group of young men dressed all in black with their hair done up in wacky gelled shellackings, drawing anime characters in each other’s sketchbooks. Every time I turned around I’d catch a glimpse of some hair color I hadn’t seen since the 90’s (how bizarre). This was solidly the Comedy Central demographic. These people watch The Daily Show and post articles from the Onion onto their Facebook pages. These people watch Cartoon Network and Adult Swim with zeal.

It’s no wonder, either. Many of the animators in the lineup that night have done work for the most popular cartoons of the past five years, and the rookie talent, Zach Bellisimo—whose fourth year thesis project, Blenderstein, was the first toon up—might just create the next. I’d been given the name of one of the animators. A man who goes by Gary Doodles, popularly, and had agreed to help me get any interviews I might need. But there was no chance I’d find him in that place. The stew was teeming, there was no safe passage, and everybody already seemed pretty happy talking to their current companions. I had no hope that they’d take the time to steer me through the masses. I decided to step outside for a cigarette.”


If you do have an iPad, get a subscription to DAM. It’s cool.

“The new issue covers that sacred tradition that we revel in each year: the Great American Summer. Within this issue’s 114 pages you will find a history of graffiti in America and a look into MFA critiques (with an accompanying novel snippet from the author). You’re going to get a view of the darker side of Americana as we interview David Schmid and a modern view of classical music during a chat with Salon97. What about reflecting on the classic American roadtrip or what classics to read over the summer months? We’ve got that, too.” -DAM June ’11 Summer Issue.

Stay tuned for the next issue where I review a Fourth of July party that you really wish you had gone to.

Portland Guidebook. Skint Press.

A few friends and I went around Portland, OR, finding all the best stuff to do while spending little to no money. Then we wrote all about it. Everything from public restrooms to the famous food carts to the bars you actually want to go to…and the ones you really might not. Well anyway this was all for Skint Press who is releasing their first guidebook: Skint Portland, for the Frugal Vagabond, publish date June 25th 2011.

Even if you’re not a vagabond, this book is full of awesome information about the City of Roses. Everybody who lives in Portland, OR, should have a copy of this book. Not just because it’s an investment in future savings, or because it was written by your friends, but because every fourth page has a secret code that, when deciphered will reveal a map directing you to a mystical party that never ends located deep within the Shanghai Tunnels. Every guest at the party gets a gift bag filled with a billion dollars and a live kitten of a royal Egyptian breed once thought to be extinct.

But don’t take my word for it.

Excerpts from the book…

Cheerful Tortoise
1939 SW 6th Ave.
So what if you don’t like watching college sports on 612 televisions? So what if you can’t stand Muzak? So what if you like windows? Both the Cheerful Tortoise and its sister dive–the Cheerful Bullpen–offter two eggs, toast and hash browns for a dollar-ninety-nine all day, everyday. It’s not listed on the menu, but they have it: just ask.

International Rose Test Garden
400 SW Kingston Ave.
After screwing up royally with your girlfriend, do not go by yourself to the International Rose Test Garden to pick a bouquet out of the five hundred and fifty varities of roses. Doing so carries a hefty fine. Instead, bring her along for a quiet stroll through the garden’s seven thousand rosebushes and admire the amazing vistas while you explain to her that you don’t know who wrote her sister’s name on your dick, took a picture of it and sent it to her sister’s phone–but you did try to rub it off as fast as you could while thinking of her.