Who’s the Heckler?

This one’s for you, I reckon.

For everyone who isn’t you…here’s a lil pic for some backstory.

Now, I love people flipping me a dose of shit. It’s far easier for it to happen here – in the comfort of my own phone – than to trek all the way up to the Oregon Zoo and stand impatiently in front of the monkey exhibit. So, I’m smiling at what I assume is intended as good natured chop busting.

Still, since I don’t normally interact with someone with the handle Someone, I am curious about who Someone could be. Literally, anyone!

Naturally, last night around midnight when I saw this – alone in my bed while Mistress Myrtle stalked around the perimeter to plan her next attack – my mind was primed to go to a dark place. In doing a little – very little – slogging around the WordPress, I found that there’s no profile attached to this handle. Which is weird for WordPress.

It’s just like that time Sacha made a…Noooo. He wouldn’t…this isn’t his style…

So, I told him – this Someone person – that March was the next time I could go 30/30, took a Mellie and pulled a pillow over my face.

But after a restful night of sleep, a tasty smoothie for breakfast and otherwise wildly productive morning…I’m feeling creative. So I beta-read a quarter of a friend’s novel – my second run through – and still felt a little mojo percolating. I’d told myself that January was to wear me out on writing so I could set a goal of editing and formatting my own book in February before seeking out next steps in March.

Having any mojo left after January actually feels good!

Really good.

But I came out of it ready to work on what I’d written. I’ve made notes on what I want to do next and have a couple other pipeline ideas written down, too. I think this is what focus looks like for me.

Still, I want to post a few blog entries throughout this month, too. I’d committed to structuring my editing efforts into a Monday through Friday discipline, so perhaps I can blog on weekends?

We’ll see.

Both what I experienced last night at dinner and this morning on my way to coffee reinforced that I need to blog. Both occasions presented me with amusing “What could possibly go wrong?” anecdotes. Maybe they were more “This would only happen to me“, now that I think about it.

Obviously, I need to record those, either way…last night’s is too long for this particular post. My draft backlog is down to seven after January, so this seems like a perfect time to add one.

The Silver Fox and I made coffee plans for this morning before I left last night. As usual, it’s basically our usual plan, which is always as tentative as it is usual.

So, I confirmed this morning that I was up for it. In a rare turn of events, he wasn’t! That gave me an excuse to put on a hoodie and get back into bed with my smoothie and read more.

Fine.

After I showered and got myself ready for a dinner party at Little Buddy’s place this afternoon, I decided to strike out for some coffee anyway. I only had two “coffee dates” last week and figured I should start this week off strong.

The world doesn’t need an under caffeinated Xtopher…we’ve already got millennials.

Buh-dun-dunt…zing!

I dress for dinner, check the weather – we’re supposed to get snow tonight! – to make sure I choose an appropriate jacket and head out toward Nossa Familia.

I can handle 45 degrees in my mid-weight jacket. Tomorrow, though, I’ll finally have a chance to pull out my heavy jacket. Despite MomDonna’s protests that my go-to coat isn’t heavy enough for the weather, I don’t get out my heavy coat until the temps are in the 30s. I don’t want to pull my big down jacket out when it’s in the 40s, only to become truly miserable when the temps become inhospitable to human existence.

You gotta have a plan in this world, and that is mine.

I’m not kidding, that’s pretty much it in it’s entirety.

I know.

I get two blocks into my ten block coffee commute and it starts drizzling. Fine, it’s Portland. I look up and decide the clouds were just a little too heavy and decided to let off a little water weight.

Two blocks later, it’s hailing.

I debate ducking in to the RiteAid for an umbrella but still think that this is just a weird fluke. The clouds just don’t look rainy enough. Like, surely they don’t have anything more than this in them.

A block later, I’m ducking into a dry spot under the balcony of an apartment building.

It’s absolutely pissing.

I debate going home. Meanwhile, the troll in the back of my head is whispering “Caffeine” in a sing-songy voice.

I wait it out.

By the time I get to the next block, it has suddenly started pouring again and the hail has gotten larger. I’m right by my gym and I’m dripping wet.

I’ll be damned if I’m going in there!

I trudge on.

Quickly.

The rain stops as suddenly as it began two blocks away from Nossa. I give myself a good shake and mentally amend my usual iced latte order to a hottie as I enter the final stretch. Strangely, everyone passing by around me looks mysteriously not drenched.

Weird.

The good thing about a little downpour is that when I opened the door to Nossa, no line.

On the other hand…walking into the cafe, I’m all

Fortunately, I know my barista husband is in Antigua with the Nossa Familia familia on an annual educational excursion they award to employees. What I get today is just my back-up barista husband and some openly straight married guy.

So, I’m just sitting here sipping my hot latte and rocking the wet cat look I’m sporting.

Now, c’mon, Someone let me know who you are…as long as it’s not in some weird “better sleep with your lights on” way!

Who’s the Heckler?

Polar Express

This ain’t about some cute Christmas movie for kids.

It is more about the headlines from last week forecasting that 75% of the country would be experiencing below freezing temperatures this week due to polar vortex conditions.

Indeed, many parts of the country seem to be reaching temperatures that can freeze most alcohols solid. Thanks, Wind Chill.

Well. Sorry.

Also: west coast, best coast!

Netflix seems to have misunderstood the situation, given it’s most recent new release.

I’m guessing they don’t repeat their Bird Box launch numbers with this title. Just a hunch.

I had lunch with mom and dad today and even our waitress was tiffing on our unseasonably nice weather. I suggested it was an El Niño/Niña effect – whichever creates the warm weather versus six months of misery – and all four of us just kind of smiled contentedly and started out the window.

She snapped out of it after a few seconds, gave the view a last smile and went back to handing out warm-ups for the other diners.

Technically, it’s warm enough for my usual Spring outdoor activities…I was chastising myself for not breaking out the old bike this past weekend. Also thinking, “Maybe today…”

Then someone said it was supposed to rain tomorrow.

Such is life.

But I feel like I should at least acknowledge that this is our good fortune, so here I am! But, just so you know that I know your pain, here’s Portland two years ago:

And we are not equipped to handle weather like that, as much of the country is. It shuts up right down. Hell, 1/2″ of snow will shut us down here in PDX.

Luckily, this year…not a problem!

At least, yet…leave it to me to jinx it. Stay safe and warm, everyone!

Polar Express

What A Way To Go!

My stomach might explode.

If it does (it won’t) I just want it on record that too much of a good thing does not apply to food!

I made the ribolitta recipe that I came across this morning for dinner.

It was delish! Not bad for a vegetarian dish. I’m pretty sure this recipe could be converted to a full on vegan dish by removing the cheese and choosing a vegan bread.

But, why?!?

This dish has a mirepoix base – diced onion, 2 celery stalks and 3 carrots – sautéed in 3 tbsp of olive oil with 8 crushed cloves of garlic. Of course, I used more garlic…just a hint!

While the mirepoix softens, drain a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes – saving the liquid for later. Once the veggies reach your preferred softness, drop in the tomato solids and sauté them with the mirepoix for a couple of minutes. This caramelizes the natural sugars in the tomatoes.

As those sugars are heating up and getting tasty, drain a 14 oz can of cannelini beans. After a few minutes, drop the cannelini beans in and add the liquid from the tomatoes. Spice it up with some red pepper flakes. The recipe calls for 3/4 tsp, but I say go nuts. You know your preferences. Then add four cups of water and bring to a simmer.

You should also have a small hunk of parmesan cheese to grate over the top when serving. Cut the rind off that and just drop it in when you add the water.

You’ll never see it again…but you’ll taste it in every spoonful!

While that’s coming to temp, cut the leaves off of 2 bunches of dinosaur kale. You’re going to rip these into 2″ hunks and drop them into the soup in two batches. What I did was remove the spines from one bunch while my soup simmered, then added them in, letting them wilt while I prepared the second batch. I ripped those into 2″ segments and added them in once I finished them.

As that second batch was wilting, I got ready for my last steps. I cut a loaf of rustic bread in half and then ripped it into chunks while my oven preheated to 425.

When I finished ripping the bread up, I added about one-third of it to the soup and stirred it in. Then I ate a slice of bread while the oven finished pre-heating.

Once the bread had softened in the soup – about 5 minutes – and the oven was ready, I put the rest of the chunked bread on top of the soup and gave it a good drizzle of olive oil. Then I put it in the oven for 15 minutes with the lid off so the bread on top could really crust up. I checked it at 10 minutes and decided to leave it another 5.

While I waited on that, I was grating that parm and buttering half of the rest of my bread, about a quarter loaf. I figured that I’d save the other quarter for left overs.

You can see what this looked like when it came out of the oven up above. Here’s what it looked like plated and topped with cheese.

I had two bowls. That filled me to bursting.

Like I mentioned earlier, I read this in an email from Bon Appetit this morning. If you don’t subscribe…I recommend it.

Highly!

I took the magazine for about five years, maybe longer. Now that my subscription has lapsed, though, I still get emails such as the one this morning.

If you aren’t keen on paying for magazine subscriptions, keep an eye on the promotions Sur la Table runs. They usually do a B.A. give away twice a year. Well, it’s a “gift” with a $50-ish purchase. They might not do it any longer, though. Or maybe you’re just impatient. If so, a subscription is only $15…and well worth it, IMO.

Plus, you get a free tote. Hehe.

Can you believe I don’t get paid for that? I’m just making it easy for you! Honestly, it’s one of the funnest magazines I’ve read. I’d just flip through it for inspiration.

This was my first time making this dish. The only thing I did ahead was dice everything for my mirepoix. All of the other prep stuff I was able to complete between steps. Plus, there was time to wash the tools I used as I went, too.

I started this at 3 o’clock today and had sat down to some Twin Peaks at 4:20 with a beer and a piping hot bowl of soup.

Not pictured: a clean kitchen behind me!

I know the flavors in this dish will just get better as it sits, but you know me and leftovers! I’ve probably got three more servings like the one pictured above. Since it’s Italian, I bet I can muster up the enthusiasm to heat this up again and throw some cheese on it…although I’m not sure how the bread on top will work with refrigeration and reheating.

Still, if you have friends – or even one of those family thingies – just invite them over and kill the whole pot on one fell swoop.

Then it’s a party!

If you want the original article, with shopping list, here it is!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lay on the couch and digest…with another episode of Twin Peaks, of course!

What A Way To Go!

Feed Yourself

That’s a quote from the Silver Fox on our way back from coffee this morning.

I was serving him some OCD verbal vomit about my life, work, writing. He’d accidentally triggered me about 20 minutes earlier when we were grocery shopping. I had read a recipe for ribolitta while waking up this morning and when given the options, he’d decided what I should do.

I really want to try this recipe…but maybe I should make the Black Bean Goodness that I didn’t make last night.”

He decided on the ribolitta so after coffee, we went across Lovejoy to the Safeway for the incredibly simple ingredients. We both realized quickly that he would not benefit from his decision since the recipe has kale and he doesn’t.

Still, he stuck with me.

He stopped a few times at counters that interested him along the way. I left him behind because that’s what happens to me when he takes me to the Costco. It’s a lot easier to catch up-slash-find someone in a Safeway.

Just.

Saying.

Anyway, while I’m checking out, giving Sacha some gas points – if he’s still using the same rewards account we used when we were together – The Fox asked if we need lottery tickets.

I picked some up yesterday, so we’re fine.

Actually, we’d gone to buy them together and he bought them. But the point was, we had ’em.

“You know some trucker in New Jersey won Powerball?”

That was a ticket from a few weeks back. Or months? So we’re ok.

The Fox doesn’t like to play Powerball for less than $100 million. Any less than that and it’s just throwing money away, I suppose. Hehe.

I’d read the story of the trucker. Thinking of it now got me simmering. Halfway home, out it came. All over the Silver Fox.

The same thing had happened last Thursday night. But I just let it simmer in my head until Friday. That afternoon, I realized I was feeling completely weighed down by the pressure.

Thursday, I had wanted to go to the gym. Didn’t.

I was feeling like writing was a slog.

Two more days…then your January challenge ends.

Friday, I woke up with the same…congestion. Mental funkiness. Then I checked email.

I got a “Thanks, but…” from a position I was kind of excited about with Le Creuset. I’d had three interviews. It was a strange process. They seemed to go top backward instead of bottom up, like normal. Usually, for a Store Manager job, I’d expect to interview with the District Manager I’d report to, then if I was a go forward candidate I’d be passed up the chain for a corporate round robin interview.

With LC, I started with a director level, then a regional, then the DM and got spun out of the process there before the final round.

Well, that was a lot of effort for nothing…

I debated responding, but worried I’d come off as petty. That idea got tabled, and that decision became part of the mental funk.

By mid-afternoon, I didn’t think I could rally. Texts from The Fox about a party that was still FIVE HOURS away had me shrinking into the couch, further and further, until I just told him I didn’t think I could do it.

How am I becoming an introvert at this point in my life?!?

Yesterday morning, though, I’d woken up feeling good! It excited me. I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t feel neutral, either. Or even worse. I suggested to The Fox that we venture out for a Bing Mi before dropping in to the Big Legrowlski to say goodbye to one of the bartenders.

He’s going to teach English in South Korea.

The Fox was hip to the suggestion. Who wouldn’t be?

Mmm. So much, fuck yeah in these crepe sandwiches! We took our food from the food carts to the BL and had a beer – ok, I had two, Mr Reasonable had one – and ate while we chatted Joey up.

We were the only two customers in the joint. On my second beer (an 11.2% ABV called Notorious) I wondered aloud what was wrong with people.

It’s 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon. Why aren’t people out having beer?!?

Anyway, had they been, I’m sure I would have complained about that, too. By the time we left at 2:00, I was recharged. I went home and tapped out my final January Challenge blog and felt accomplished afterward.

I was jazzed.

It’s a wonder what harmlessly flirting with a straight bartender can do for the spirits.

We had gone from Big Legrowlski to Penzey’s Spices on the way home. It’s a whole two blocks out of our way, but they had a gift with purchase coupon for a chili spice I wanted.

In my post-writing high, I was contemplating making some Black Bean Goodness and adding in some of my new chili seasoning.

Filipina Fox to the rescue! She was at BL having a beer and wanted a sounding board to download the work she was doing for her start up fitness business.

I actually whined a little. Believe it or not, I didn’t want another beer. I was reluctant to drink any more and then do any knife work in the kitchen.

But I went and talked anyway. I’m pretty sure that everyone was low key surprised that I walked in and then out 30 minutes later without consuming anything…

Here’s the real surprise, after all that restraint, I still didn’t cook last night. I felt full.

Satisfied.

Fully satisfied.

I watched a movie and smoked half a joint that I’d been gifted a while back. When I pinched it out, I amused the absolute hell out of myself wondering if I should just pinch it out or also blow though it like I learned to do with cigars.

Joint…

Cigar…

Cigars seemed pretty durable comparatively. I decided not to risk it.

I’d hate to end up with a prolapsed joint.

Imagining that or a shower of ground weed flitting through my kitchen is what absolutely gave me the giggles. I put the joint away.

Probably just in time.

Now I’m a little peckish…

I’d been watching Veep on Amazon. I knew I shouldn’t be cooking, though. And that I didn’t have any snacky food. Looking at the clock I saw it was 9:45. Everything was closed.

Nice going, Hunter S. Thompson…

GoPuff to the rescue!

Twenty minutes later…

I realized I’m no good at ordering frozen pizza online. I thought I’d chosen a full sized za, but got a snack size. Not to worry, they threw in a lunch-sized bag of Fritos.

I can make this work…

I slept like a damn champ last night! Flash forward a couple hours and four espresso shots later and this well rested and over-caffeinated grumpopotamus was peppering The Fox with indecisiveness. He’d already enabled ribolitta even though I’d not made my Black Bean Goodness – can we agree that I’m short handing that as BBG going forward? – and now I was just dumping on him.

I need to find a friggin’ job!

Is it weird that I wanna write today?!?

The thing is, I’m choosing companies I want to work for, but by the time they tell me that they chose someone else, I don’t wanna work for them anymore.

Should I write? I need to finish my novel and just find a publisher. It would be best if someone would option my book. Takes care of the job thing, that does.

The Fox, walking next to me with the patience of Job, is just letting me wear myself out.

But I just want to write another novel now. I don’t want to edit, I don’t care if I get published…I just wanna keep writing!

“You need to feed yourself”, he chimes in when I finally take a breath. I hold up the bag of groceries I’m carrying suggestively.

“Your spirit”, he clarifies. I point him toward the post office so I can check my box.

We part, with me insisting he check out a three year old SNL clip that I found last night. Then I come home, unload my groceries and debate whether to just begin cooking immediately.

All because that trucker won our money!

Maybe I’ll start my taxes…

Feed Yourself

The Portland Challenge

Someone called me out the other day when I blithely mentioned Portland’s weirdness factor. As if to say that every town is weird or something.

Sure. I’ll grant that point.

But with Portland, it’s a matter of magnitude.

We, the weird People:

There’s a homeless guy in a wheelchair that I see from time to time boxing with a newspaper machine. And bitching it out…I think that one of them needs out of that relationship.

Last summer, I saw a fella walking down the street using his prosthetic leg as a cane. I’m pretty sure prosthetic limbs are easier to install than IKEA furniture is to build, but this guy wasn’t having that. Maybe it was uncomfortable to wear the prosthetic because of the heat. It’s not like a shoe, where when it’s hot you can wear sandals. This might have been his work around. Lest you get the idea that I was too polite to snap a pic, worry not…my camera phone reactions are just too slow.

But maybe I’m a little too polite…

We are (were) voted the kinkiest city in America back in 2017. 2016? I dunno, it’s been a while since I’ve heard mention of it in the press. I don’t think it’s like the census and only done once a decade, so I’m sure someone has given us a run for the title since then. A “Hold my beer” moment, if you will. Then again, it’s not like I’m seeing less kink/fetish-type behaviors. There’s still (way too many, IMO) open relationships…like every time I meet a nice guy. Don’t forget Naked Pool Night, either – more on that later. I really can’t tell if that’s a kink or just plain old weird. To me.

Our homeless population. Nothing to brag about, but they are a semi- community unto themselves: from supporting one another in little gab-fests to flat out fucking in parks to the weekly potluck in the middle of one of our swankiest neighborhoods…mine.

Depending on who’s statistics you use, there could be ~16k to a high of 25k homeless people in Portland. Again, depending on the source, that could be anywhere from 3-7% of the population. Wanna have your mind blown? Portland’s black population is 6.3%. Basically, our homeless population is either half of or slightly more than that of its black residents.

We’re 72% white here in Portland…maybe that’s how we ended up so damn kinky. Overcompensating.

If these homeless folks ever organized, they’d be one hell of a voting block. But keep that quiet. The sad reality of mental illness in the homeless community being the sad reality that it is could work against us and Portland doesn’t need its own homeless version of Trump. It would probably end up being the newspaper machine that I always see that wheelchair guy boxing…

With the weird Places:

Have you ever seen a grown man naked? Well, have ya?!?

Then you’ve clearly never had a beer at a Portland bar. I think being able to have a stripper within three feet of your drink is in the top five reasons Portland is weird. To be fair, there’s only two gay male strip clubs, although you’re bound to encounter randomly occurring go-go boys at some of the others. However, our straight strip clubs, well, it’s almost like 7-eleven can’t find a good corner location here. That’s how many strip bars we have. It hits pretty close to home, too. One of the Silver Fox’s neighbors owns several. I think it’s about five. That’s a lot of breast meat.

But, then again, the frequency in which one encounters random naked non-strippers is weirder to me than naked dancers. Call me crazy.

One of Portland’s more regrettable – wait…forgettable? Meh, take your pick – gay bars is The Eagle.

Eagle PDX? I forget. This bar used to be at the top of Vaseline Alley. I’m pretty sure it lost its lease, but whatever the cause, it shut down. Eventually, it relocated to North Portland…for no obvious good reason. During that transition, our Portland bar lost its affiliation with Eagle International and that’s why there’s name confusion.

Anyway, it’s a gay bar that caters to the leather community, so it draws its own clientele but also has drop-ins that one would call mainstream. I dunno…maybe there’s an occasional neighbor that walks in thinking, “Ooh, a beer!”, but I’m pretty sure that would be a one time (mis)adventure.

Especially if they wandered in on Naked Pool Night.

I know it’s on a Thursday, or possibly Thursdays. Not sure which, but the first time I found myself there for – no…on – Naked Pool Night, I quickly added “pool” to the list of activities that should not be done nude. It joined frisbee and volleyball, if you were wondering. Sorry, Roger!

And, finally, the weird Things:

How about the largest entry into the annual World Naked Bike Ride. Yup, right here in good old PDX! Our event has grown to over 10k participants. That’s a lot, even if you convert it to the metric system!

But our weirdness isn’t all about homeless folk and naked peeps. (See what I did there?)

We are the only city to host Red Bull’s Flugtag Festival three times. I’m not sure of the first year we hosted, but we also had them in 2015 and lastly in 2017.

Looks like kind of a big deal, right? That second pic is from 2017. Sadly, that will be our last time hosting. The crowd gathered on the river in small watercraft (ie: paddle boards, canoes and improvised floats) proved too frustrating to the captain of our local booze cruiser, The Portland Spirit. Tired of waiting, he proceeded to pilot his ship through the assembled flotilla. But he blew his horn several times before doing so. Apparently, our politeness at intersections does not extend to our waterways…

But what is it, you ask?

Well, it’s a party, don’t get me wrong. But it’s dressed up as a modern day soap box derby. The challenge is to create a self-propelled flying machine and then you’re judged on how far you get, but also flair!

Mostly, it’s an exercise in gravity.

But it’s ok…it’s held on the river, so as long as you can tread water, you’re ok. Probably.

Speaking of alternative transportation, it is a big part of our commuter culture. Sometimes, though, I feel like we are just going out of our way to be weird about alternative transportation. I love the mass transit, personally. I have been a bike commuter. But we just reached an agreement that will allow for a second, longer test of the e-scooter program that plagued most and thrilled a few last summer, too. So we have emerging alternatives. Far be it from us to rest on our laurels.

Then there’s this guy

There was a minute a couple years back where you could encounter those hover boards on our sidewalks…I don’t see them much any more. That leaves more room for skateboards, longboards and that motorized one wheeled version – I think that’s still considered a skateboard. But it is a toss up as to whether our skateboarders opt for the sidewalk or prefer a traffic lane. To me, it’s equally nerve wracking.

I’ll accept that we may have stolen Austin’s “Keep Austin Weird” slogan – see how I phrased that? I’ll accept it but I’m not guaranteeing it’s true…

That said, you’ve got to love how we made it our own.

Some of that success was just attracting specific groups of people that are collectively weird. I think our little slice of the west coast was a safe haven for any and all weirdos between LA and Seattle.

But then we’ve got our unique individuals that propel us further into the weirdness stratosphere than any group of people could.

…because your weirdness needs it’s own Facebook page. I know I’ve got a better pic of Brian Kidd – aka: The Unipiper – but you can’t beat the Keep Portland Weird mural in the background.

And our weird people do things! This is former two-term mayor Bud Clark.

Before becoming mayor, he owned the Goose Hollow Inn, a shitty little dive bar. Actually, he started the bar in 1967 in an area that would later be named after the bar itself. Prior to the bar opening, this neighborhood was just part of the SW quadrant of the city. Eventually, it grew up and became known as the Goose Hollow neighborhood.

But that’s not what he’s most famous for, in my opinion. He’s also this guy!

Plus, just about every time you put a microphone in front of him, his first words were whoop.

Whoop whoop!

That’s our mayor.

Speaking of mayors – and not that being gay is weird, but another of our former mayors is Sam Adams. He’s notable for being the first openly gay mayor in the 30 most populous cities in the country. Sadly, he’s also notable for the alleged sex scandal with an intern that was under 18. This prompted the joke:

Why is Portland a cool city to live in?

Because it’s the only city in the country where an 18 year old can get a Sam Adams.

Ba-dun-dun…tsss!

But we’re Portland, as long as you’re recycling, composting, raising urban chickens and not assuming anyone’s gender…you’re welcome to join us. After all, the Fonz can’t have all the fun!

The Portland Challenge

Is Kevin Costner Superdad?

Is there a Dad Prototype?

This is the question I’ve been kicking around for a while after seeing Kevin Costner in a few really well written dad roles. It came back into my consciousness after that Gillette commercial controversy last week.

Playing “the parent” is usually portrayed on-screen as a traumatic life event for actors. Well, insofar as women used to playing anywhere from the 20-something ingenue to the 30-something career woman trying to have it all to the 40-something good wife.

But after that, it’s a leap into playing the mother of an adult child. Traditionally presented as a “yikes” moment for the woman. And, sure…an actor in their 40s or 50s might very well make an argument that they are too young to play parent to a 20-something. It’s valid. Possible enough, though, in real life.

Except…this is Hollywood! It’s anything but real life. In this land, 20-somethings play high school students. The last thing we really want is to see our Young Adult characters leap from the novel to the big screen in an accurate depiction of a gangly, pencil-necked and acne stricken teen.

No, thank-you.

Let’s get some pulchritude and voluptuousness into these teenage characters! Body issues don’t always happen on their own, best if we give ’em a gentle little shove at the get go, right?

With that in mind, why wouldn’t there be an inversely applied standard to casting parents? Sure, a 45 year old can have a 25 year old child. That’s realistic enough…but maybe less common today than a 25 year old having a parent in their 50s since people weren’t getting married and starting families straight out of high school in the late part of the 20th century. But if we’re going to make high school kids feel bad about looking too young compared to their Hollywood counterparts, it seems only fair that we make their parents feel too old, right?

Hollywood, talk about Chosen Family.

Yet, oddly enough, the one person this doesn’t really negatively affect is the dad actor.

I first noticed this a couple years ago when I checked my own surprise at Kevin Costner showing up as the dad figure in Superman.

Well, Man of Steel.

The movie came out in 2013; making Henry Cavill a 30 year old Superman, Diane Lane his 48 year old mother and Kevin Costner a 58 year old adoptive father. Kinda makes my point right there.

But on a different level, you’ve got this 58 year old actor bringing his gravitas to a well written role, too. He takes the simple living, hard working aw-shucks character and makes him a tough but fair plain spoken dad that is faultless. I’m sure actual dads watching the film envied his ability to be tough and unemotional when dealing with his son, pushing him to his best self and then kind of grateful when he got killed off so they didn’t have to compare themselves to him in any sequels.

Great, he’s faultless and selfless!

Just remember, he only had to be this curmudgeonly hard ass for two hours – and everything was written out for him.

His character would be a tough act to follow, even though real dads pretty much work without a net. For 18 years or more versus 120 minutes.

But who else could have raised Superman?

Flash forward a couple years to Molly’s Game.

And me crying while watching him do dad-ing right for Jessica Chastain in that role.

This time around, though…he plays a flawed character. Sure, in his early scenes – coaching her to Olympic greatness – he’s a hard ass, treating her as a physical equal to her brothers and taking no excuses. Later, they clash over gender roles at the dinner table.

It’s a short role he plays, but it builds in a lot of challenges and inconsistencies to the father-daughter dynamic that go a long way toward shaping his adult daughter, who is the titular character.

Of course, their relationship eroded and eventually totally implodes when she discovers he’s cheated on her mother. They become estranged, but the movie does a good job of making him his daughter’s demon, not just for his flaws, but also for the frustrations she suffered in her Olympic pursuits.

It was really impressive writing. About a true story…so maybe they had a head start on the writing. Still, the vulnerability he showed in admitting his faults while also demonstrating that a decade or so later, when she needed him, he was still there and still knew his daughter better than she knew herself. How his own flaws strengthened him and allowed him to be quietly supportive of his daughter – even after she’d grown away from him and no longer needed him as a coach – and a character role model for his daughter…oof.

Heavy stuff.

But, really, played beautifully by this actor that made me jealous of how good a dad he was. And I don’t even have friggin’ kids! It’s one thing to dismiss a role like Superman’s dad as a fluke. Like I said, he only had to do it for 120 minutes and every word was written for him.

This role, though…it’s based on Molly Bloom’s actual dad. On top of that, it’s based off of the book that Molly Bloom wrote and how she perceived her relationship with her father.

Stepping into a role with that dynamic and crushing it…yeah, maybe that Kevin Costner is the dad everyone wants to be when they grow up.

Even me.

And maybe it’s characters like his that we need to aspire to in order to become both better men and fathers. Perhaps if those Covington Catholic boys had fathers as well written and acted as Kevin Costner’s dad roles, they could have walked away from controversy.

But no one is making that comparison. So we’re left with a razor blade commercial saying men need to be better and that behaviors we’ve allowed to be ok and dismissed in the past…weren’t, in fact, ok.

Thanks, Gillette.

Now, who is going to show us the way?

Is Kevin Costner Superdad?

Welcome (Back) to Crazytown

Does it seem like you were just here?

I feel that familiarity often.

Sometimes it’s fun…a cute guy that looks familiar. Caught off guard between the “did we?” and “shouldn’t we?” mindset.

Gay-ja vu.

Less fun is what I woke up to Monday morning and again, to a lesser degree, this morning.

Other times, it’s because of what I woke up to Monday morning. A less pleasant deja vu, to be sure.

But because waking up is tricky business, it’s not like I snapped my fingers and had an a-ha moment either time. No, that came later after I woke up from accidentally falling asleep again before getting out of bed.

Hey, I told ya…waking up is tricky.

This morning, I woke to an email the Silver Fox had sent about a Netflix documentary dropping next week about Ted Bundy. I’d forgotten that one of Bundy’s victims had been abducted right outside of The Fox’s dorm when he was at OSU.

Y’know, I like that we’re having to work for Oregon-ish murder stories.

Then I read the article he’d sent in a blithe ignorance that was miserably short. As I read, I remembered Sacha’s aunt, who had been a juror on the Westley Allan Dodd murder trial. As if being a juror in a spree murder trial wasn’t bad enough, she was further traumatized by the experience of knowing Dodd had chosen hanging as his form of execution, so she was literally charged with sending a man to the gallows.

Before I finished the article, I had a further thought on Oregon’s dearth of murder sprees.

And it seems like forever since we have had a family annihilator…

For the record, I think that’s a great thing. Sadly, as I was wracking my brain to remember the name of probably Oregon’s most infamous family annihilator, it hit me.

Oh, yeah. We had one Sunday night. Fuuuck.

That depressing realization linked me to Monday morning coffee with The Fox, when he asked if I’d heard about it.

Saw it. Didn’t read the story.

He told me that someone had killed his girlfriend, their infant child and his own parents near Woodburn. We somehow agreed that it was a shooting.

Pretty sure that he geolocated it as a Woodburn incident ahead of my job interview an hour later at the Woodburn Outlet Shops. Crafty.

We go back to sipping our cold brew and nosing deeper into our respective phone screens.

Until

“Oh, he used an axe!”, exclaimed The Fox.

Aaaaand, welcome back to Stabbytown!

I actually raised my arms in mock surprise at that revelation.

And there I was in bed this morning too depressed about these two too weird facts about my home.

– Portland is prone to expressing itself with sharp objects.

– Oregon’s suicidal population has a “tendency” to wipe out every genetic thing associated with them when they pass themselves away. Because suicide is for quitters. Our family annihilator tend to be of the mindset that they should clean up after themselves before they go.

Writing is so surprisingly therapeutic. I think I just figured out why I fell back asleep.

But the brain is a strange organ, though…once I remembered Sunday’s bloodbath, I just started ticking off annihilators in my mind.

Christian Longo, incidentally. That was the most famous of Oregon’s family annihilators, who killed his family in Lincoln City, OR back in ’01. Hrs in jail now, having fled the country after his crimes versus suicide or death by cop…like a real Oregonian, I guess. He was originally from…Michigan?

Anyway, it’s not like there was a huge gap between this past weekend’s axe hammer wielding Mark Gago and Longo. There was one last year, another from 2017 comes to mind and then I’m kind of happy to say I can’t place another until ’02 or ’03…a dubious pleasure. I worry there were plenty but I was just less attenuated to them because I was living in Seattle in that time frame.

While the Longo murders stick with me not just because of the sensational nature of the crime and the international pursuit. It also marks my awareness of the family annihilator phenomenon. That awareness was heightened because shortly after learning about the existence of these family killers, I learned that the PNW has the highest occurrence of them.

That made me sad. It hurt my hometown pride. I think the Pacific Northwest is amazing. I love living here and when I don’t live here, I’m proud to be from here.

Then there’s these clowns.

I don’t need these guys murking – made up word alert! – up my hometown pride.

Let’s keep the focus on our natural wonders.

Our secretly awesome weather.

The beer and wine!

The food!

Hell, even D.B. Cooper.

Or Twin Peaks’ good old Special Agent Dale Cooper!

As I was rallying myself with that list of what’s great about my homeland, it hit me.

These guys

And suddenly last Summer’s tragic standout came back to me.

The Hart Family.

They actually standout for a lot of different reasons. The annihilator (or annihilators) was a woman, not a man.

The family was headed by a lesbian couple.

The children were adopted.

And they were somewhat famous before the coastal California car crash that killed at least six of the eight in the family. As of a couple months after the crash, I knew that Devonte Hart and one of his adoptive siblings were still missing, but presumed dead.

Devonte stands out because he’s the kid from the hug heard round the world. At a post-Ferguson march here in Portland, Devonte had been spotted carrying this sign

What a classic Portland hipster outfit! It works on kids, they don’t overwork the irony.

This was the photo that kept him famous the first time for several months all over social media

I admit that I became immune to the details of the Hart Family Crash. The kids bodies that were recovered showed that they were drugged. At least one of the mothers was intoxicated.

What happened to the two kids that were not recovered? In the back of my mind, someone is screaming

Lost at sea, you idiot!

But the middle part of my brain is thinking he’s a modern D.B. Cooper…a crimeless and innocent version of our folkish hijacker.

The Hijacked Hipster.

I can get out of bed if I think of it that way…

Welcome (Back) to Crazytown