PDX Weather…

Life in the PNW is low-key glorious.  We don’t want word getting out and even more people moving here to experience it.  They always bring their hometown tarnish with them and it harshes our mellow just a bit.

Let ‘em scratch their heads in confusion about life here:

Rain.

Without umbrellas.

Great food.

That comes from a truck on the street.

Great coffee.

That’s intimidatingly simple to order.

Beer swilling liberal haven.

Filled with inexplicably fit folk…

Being smart and right burns a lot of calories, m’kay?

Let ‘em think all that crap about us. As long as they stay there and don’t move here.

Come get a taste of the wonder, but be careful how you time your visit.

You can get a great hike in our in the gorge or cascades.

Or

You can watch horrified like the rest of us as our beautiful landscape burns at the hands of some punk.

You can enjoy our tasty brewed treats – caffeinating or intoxicating.

Or

You can question reality – and how strong that beer was – when you (think you?) see one of these characters.

Two of those are undeniably real, the other is a secret.  Not sure whether any of them are actually a reason to stop drinking or a better reason to start.

Again, it’s about timing in the PNW.

Just when you think you know all the potential traps to avoid when planning your exotic getaway to weird Portland, Orygun, you go to your travel agent and say something like, “Um, like we wanna go” – just assuming you’re from the San Fernando Valley for some reason – “for a weekend during Spring Break.  All the locals will be gone, but it’s not as touristy bad as summer will be.” only to find yourself wondering why your Travel Agent is giving you this face.

It’s because you can’t outsmart us.

Don’t.

Even.

Try.

It’s a little known fact that our summers here are simply glorious.

God’s Country.

Lit by the longest, most sunshiny days you can imagine.

An even less known fact is springtime in Portland.  Every year I wait for it.  It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does…it’s amazing!

It’s been on my radar since early this week, when people were talking about snow this coming Saturday – aka: tomorrow, at this point.

I have to check myself when I start to expect it, because you never know it’s coming.

Wrap your mind around this:  all four seasons in one day.

It almost happened yesterday.

I woke up and tried to plan my day’s attire.  Really, the mystery here is what type of outerwear I’m putting over my jeans and tee shirt.  It was 32 degrees.

Winter.

I’d gone in on my usual day off, but ended up arriving a few minutes later than expected.  I’d taken a later train than planned when I’d returned to my condo for an umbrella after hitting the street and discovering rain with drops the size of my head.

Aaaah, Spring.

And, yes.  We locals do use umbrellas.  We aren’t idiots, like the transplant that started that rumor.

I left work and decided that I deserved a margarita.

The Silver Fox joined me for my second and when we left, proving margaritas are a cure for what ails ya – working on my Saturday, in this case, it was sunny and golden bright out.

Summer.

For two blocks.

Then it was sunny and raining out.  It kept getting brighter and the rain got harder.  People were laughing and smiling as they strode the sidewalks of Old Town in the surprise – and gorgeously lit – shower.

“Sunshine drops!”, I yelled out, giddy over the prospect of hitting the weather lottery.

This is why people think we don’t use umbrellas.  You’re out and about and get caught be a sudden shower.  Others might step into a doorway and wait it out, Portlanders relish it and carry on about their business.

I went home and surprised Myrtle doing something she wasn’t supposed to do – sitting in one of my dresser drawers that for sure wasn’t open when I left.

But I was only home to grab a growler so I could get provisions for the evening and hole up for the finale: snow.

I went to the Big Legrowlski to fill up and chatted for a sample or two with one of my favorite Pearl District peeps as she filled my growler with a lusciously light triple IPA.  

As I was leaving: hail.

So close.

I woke up this morning to a reminder from Apple and Mother Nature:

PDX Weather…

Birthday: Food

My birthday was a week ago.

There may be (there is) a cake and fork situation in my refrigerator.  Only just barely, now, though…

But that cake is just the icing on a fantastic birthday celebration.

This is my big landmark birthday and it fell on a weekend.  The perfect recipe for breaking those diet resolutions I never bothered to make.

So.

Much.

Food.

Plus a secret gold star that I survived…but might be too big a shock for people who know me to survive.

The food started on Saturday with a solid four dozen peanut butter cookies that a couple of my co-workers made.  They were taking up too much desk space so I pared them down by a good half dozen in the first half hour.  

A full third were gone by day’s end.

At which point, I had to run out to get ready for my surprise party.

God bless The Silver Fox, but when Little Buddy called dibs for Saturday night, I knew something was brewing.  For his part, he kept the bond of trust, never admitting there was a jig, up with which to be.

And I threw out some doozy theories in the week leading up to the big day.  Seriously, I had the whole thing being filmed by any surviving Zapruder.

Little Buddy had told me she was inviting The Fox, who then made his apologies in advance for missing the get together because he had tickets to a play with Sallory.

“Like you won’t be changing those plans!”, I taunted.

I went on through the week with scenarios like, “The big surprise will be when I show up and announce that I’m only 40”.  

The Fox invited me to join he and Sallory at the hotel bar next door – he and I are…regulars – and kept changing the time.  I teased him with accusatory questions like, “How long does Little Buddy need to sneak in and decorate my place?!?”

It’s not that big and there’s nowhere really to hide.  But if that was the plan…I’m fortunate to have folks who would be bothered to go out of their way  for me.

He insisted that wasn’t the case, but when he had casually suggested the day before that we stop and get his Key Buddy key made for my new place…well, c’mon.  You don’t have to be an Olympic caliber conclusion jumper to arrive at the too easily drawn…conclusion.

All my scenarios be damned, though.

I show up at Tanner Creek Tavern and it’s just The Fox and Sallory.

We have a beer, they ordered food because somehow they hadn’t changed their tickets. There is only one opening night!  Even at The Armory.

I’ve been wrong a lot in my life, so I rallied pretty easily.  Plus, Sallory had brought me a present!

Presents: that which I secretly love but publicly play it cool.

This was still a nice upgrade from last year, though, when The Fox had bothered to be out of the country for my birthday.  I just love busting his chops.  He could light me on fire and he’d still be the best friend I’ve ever known.

This year, Rib and his new boyfriend had taken a page out of The Fox’s birthday playbook and gone to watch the Australian Open live, which inconveniently occurs around my birthday.

So, there we are, us three.  Beer and wine raised to toast the eve.  I’m happy to have them for even a little while.

And while I’m enjoying a simple moment with dear friends, I find myself following four eyes across the bar, focused on black balloons parading from the door and headed in our general direction,

Ok, that one I did not see coming.

Little Buddy.

2.0.

Breitbarb.

The good and getting better friend…he really will need a blog name at some point.

All parading toward our table.

Well, that can’t be a coincidence.

Wires having been crossed, I was expelled from the bar and left to cool my heels in the hotel lobby so our table could be staged with all the required fiftieth birthday party accoutrements.

You know, I’m lucky to have people I love in my life who also tolerate me.  Less surprising to me, but perhaps me alone, is that there’s a bar in my life that doesn’t mind setting aside a table for my friends to mark my pickled ass’ birthday.

On a damned Saturday.

In downtown Portland.

On the Onesie Pub Crawl weekend.

Whatever.  I was here first.

When I returned from my lobby exile, the Filipina Fox and her husband had joined the birthday melee.  So had a new instant friend that I’d met at LB’s and 2.0’s wedding last summer (more on that in a later blog, promise) and her younger, better looking and more Asian blooded version of my doppelgänger boyfriend.  Little Buddy had rallied quite a bar busting group for this lil surprise shindig.  

I was pleased.

So, Little Buddy had made this cake.

It was glorious, but also a shituation, as I learned.

She had been aiming to do a cake-homage to both my Star Trek fandom and my Red Shirt Diaries blog theme.  The red fondant hadn’t cooperated and she’d scratched it and taken it back to the drawing board for a slam dunk of subtlety that bumped the overt Enterprise shaped 30th birthday cake to second place in the Best Ever Cake category,

Sorry, not sorry, Sacha.

It was a Tribble Cake.

I mean, I ate a bunch of those tribbles and a healthy slice of cake.

And a second beer, duh.

Happy as I was, I learned that this party was portable.  There was a table waiting for us at Nostrana.

It’s a tres she-she Italian restaurant that I’d never been to.  I’ve eaten several times at the Pearl District sibling restaurant, but that’s just a front for $50 pizza.  Nostrana is a mother lode restaurant.

We ate the pants off that place.

Remember, I was full from beer and cake.  

Let that stop me, I did not.

2.0 started us off with a charcuterie plate that featured typical sliced cheeses and cured meats as well as a few terrine options and fucking lengua.

Yeah, that’s beef tongue.

It.

Is.

So.

Good.

Little Buddy corralled the Som for some wine.

We were also downing bread like Dr Atkins was heading our way in slo-mo with a scale.

Then.

Then…the pasta main course.

The plan had been to take my Michael Douglas ass out to a bar after dinner but the trifecta of the Onesie Bar Crawl, 2.0 comfort considerations (in a gay bar) and my grumpy old man refusal to pay cover to be ignored in a bar landed us back at my place drinking The Fox’s wine.

It was perfect.

But the weekend wasn’t yet done with my belly.

Sunday morning was brunch with The Fox. No doubt penance for not canceling his opening night plans the night before.

No.

Check that…obviously he shouldn’t have made those plans in the first place.

Obviously!

I mean… he knows how extra I pretend to not be.  It’s like we had never even met.

But a one on one brunch with my NSLP – Non Sexual Life Partner – was beautiful.  What a delightful way to usher in day one of my 50th.

It’s surreal to type that.

Post brunch plans included a pre-family dinner nap…and I kind of needed it.  One big meal left in my weekend and I was already ready for my food coma.

We were eight for dinner.  I definitely didn’t get too hungry for dinner with eight.  But I nearly ate my weight with those eight.  If only our table had been at 8:00, that could have been a seizure inducing alliteration.

Alas, my family all traveled the 20-30 miles into town to join me at the newest Pok Pok. This is a Portland “It” restaurant from years past.  I’d never been, so they had opened a new place “ten” blocks from my place to tempt me.  I’ve been meaning to get there for months since they opened.

This was the perfect excuse.

I think we split nine entrees between the eight of us.  They recommend an entree for two people to share, so we were a little over that ratio given our census.  But best safe versus sorry, right?  Plus, I think I forgot a few in my tally.

Here’s my gold star moment:

My whole life, I’ve been a picky eater.  My list of “No’s” for food looks – and probably is – longer than any single person’s list of disqualifies for potential mates.

And yet, I don’t starve.

Because in my years I have learned to think of others, I made sure that our order included the mushroom salad for my mother, who may have single-handedly in life made mushroom farming a viable vocation.  

Seriously.  She loses it for mushrooms.

One of my favorite mom/son bonding stories is of our family table growing up.  At our pre-Chuck family dinner table on La Cour, I had a side of our six top table to myself.  My sporty siblings sat across from me and I sat next to my mother on my side of the table, obvious gay son dinner table placement, right?

Me being the petsnickety culinarian and my mother making her food budget pennies scream to feed her Galby Five, there were a lot of what I would call lesser filler ingredients.

Onions.

The Peppers Bell.

Mushrooms.

My awesome mom would sit next to me and eat these Xtopher-only deemed lesser ingredients off my plate.  Right out of their individual and separate piles I’d created for each at the perimeter of my plate.

Talk about a Niles Crane worthy OCD moment.

Talk about symbiosis!

Obviously, I stipulated that this Xtopher anathema of a mushroom salad be placed at the end of the table nearest Mom-Donna, furthest from me.  You know that bitch mushroom salad ended up getting passed to everyone and ended up at my corner.

It was my personal hell.

Me, being both a newly minted legitimately grumpy old man and a dick, I quietly engaged in the dinner table conversation with my family while quietly – and for attention only – eating off the mushroom salad plate.

No,

One.

Noticed.

Goddamnit.

I even casually and without irony said things like, “I think there are mushrooms in this” and yet…nothing.

I’d only had a glass of wine and a complimentary glass of champers at Thelonious Wines before dinner and a cocktail with, so I wasn’t even buzzed when I made the decision to choke down some mushroom salad, defiantly.

And no one noticed.

So I went home and ate some of Little Buddy’s bday cake…planting a fork in it for future and what turned out to be frequent use!

I’m still full a week later.

And that’s my birthday.

Of course, with so many people I hold dear in my life turning out to celebrate, my grinchy old heart might just be so full that it’s pushing down on my stomach, making me feel that I’ve over eaten.  

Toss up, eh?

For your amusement, the song Pandora barfed out as I’m wrapping this up was Knocking On Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan…you can’t make this shit up.  It’s my life!

Birthday: Food

Dating Into Oblivion, ep1

Well, this little endeavor is off to a great start.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I am so far.

To recap: my goal is to throw $20 at a date once a month and see what happens.

What could possibly go wrong?

It’s like I threw a party and no one came.

Don’t read too much into that last word.

And here’s the deal, I could see throwing a party and maybe no one shows up.

Once.

But today was the 4th time it’s happened.  Technically, the 3rd and 4th time.  That’s how quickly my faith collapsed inward, I scheduled two dates in one afternoon.

But it wasn’t always so grim.

It started off much worse.

My first attempt crept on me.  I went into a bar after seeing a movie one afternoon early this month.  

The bartender hit on me.

Flattering.  It wasn’t the first time, either, and it was appreciated.  But I didn’t dwell on the prior instance and just enjoyed the moment.  He went to the bother of finding me on the Facebook Messenger later that night…we aren’t friends on the Facebook, so I decided to be impressed by the minimal effort that required.

I really do have the bar set low.  Like, ground level.  It’s left me quite dumbstruck how hard guys make clearing a low bar look.

So, me and the bartender are talking about meeting up and I mention how interested I’d been in dating him since the first time I met him.

He goes silent-er.  Instead of multiple daily messages, it’s a response every other day and he’s steered clear of actually committing to a date/time.  Reading between the lines, I dial it back and say that if he’s looking for casual, it’s not really my thing but I’d give it a second thought with him.

Then it hits me.

“Oh my GOD.  You’re still MARRIED, aren’t you?!?”

The first time I met him, I’d been sitting at the bar at Hobo’s talking to Everybody’s Uncle Dave.  His group walks in and he tracks me as he walks by and bee lines it for the bathroom.  As is my usual lot in life, his friends pick the barstools immediately next to mine on this 40 foot long bar.

When he comes out of the can, instead of sitting on the other side of his friends, he hops into my lap.

He’s significantly attractive, so I cannot care.  He gives me his number quick and says we should get together.  

As I’m listening, it becomes obvious that this is his Stag Party and he’s getting friggin’ married.

Picture me standing up, him sliding onto his adorable butt on the ground and me leaving, because I think that’s what actually happened.

So, the second time around was about as elegant…he never replied.

Shake it off, Galby.

The second attempt moved from real life to something less analog, but still kinda quaint in the age of apps.  I’ve kept one asocial media website profile active for the last forever.

I was on said site and sent off a few smiles.  I keep it light, usually.  Im an older guy hitting on younger guys, if they don’t want to engage, I take the hint.

A nice looking guy bothered to strike up a conversation.  His profile had several private pics, which he kept locked.  I appreciated this, since if it’s meant to be something I see, it’ll be in person.  So many of these gay-tards (Chrisism) think they have no value past their sexual use that I usually know what someone’s junk looks like before I know their name…if I ever even get to know their name.

We talked for about ten days, discussing getting together and setting a date to meet.

This being my life, he cancelled because he got a job interview.  Priorities.  I get it.

Suddenly, his pics are unlocked.

I explain that I don’t want nor do I expect to see them and why.  Then he says he feels bad…but doesn’t lock them.

Several days go by.

I don’t visit the site often, but get an email every day that I have mail waiting.

Finally, I log in to make sure I didn’t miss something.

No mail.

And his pics are still open.  Since it looks like he’s never going to talk to me again – so dramatic – I take a look to see if his 28 year old physique matches his cute mug.

MY EYES!

It’s like the very reason I don’t have boudoir pics.  On a guy that has about 40% less reason to excuse said reason.

Why?!?  No, not “why?”  I think I’m actually jealous that this guy is so comfortable in his skin to have these pics.

My mind is fairly boggled.

But, I do never hear from him again.

Attempts three and four happened concurrently.  It wasn’t anything impressive or typically Portland, like a couple trying to date me.  These two opportunities simply presented about the same time.

Me, being old and prone to confusion, asked them both out on the same day, today…which happens to be my Saturday.

Attempt three is someone who responded to a personal ad I placed.  Talk about old school.  He replied, included a face pic and a couple unsolicited and unexpected but not unwelcome – see above – body pics.  It’s ok, technically, since his name was in his email address.

He seemed nice and charming and genuine.  We set up a date to meet – today – which happens to be both our day off.  His only day off since he works full time and is a student.

Shut up, he’s 38.

My red flags are two:

He works nights, I work days.  We might only have one day per week to get to know each other.  

My second hesitation was that he’s from Mexico.

Hey, it can be a turn on and red flag at the same time!

My concern is that with English being his second language and so much of my persona being…snarkiness, a lot can get lost in translation,

I was impressed that he followed up to confirm this morning at 8:30.  I had an acupuncture appointment at 8:15, but replied at 9:30 when I got out.  

“Just give me a when and a where and I’m there”, I say.

At one o’clock, I’m still waiting.

I go scrolling through the Craigslist, killing time.  Also, maybe I need to be looking for February’s no-show.

I mean, date.

I click on an af that sounds up my alley.

There’s a few pics I recognize.

“Looking for today”…posted seven hours ago.

I’m having trouble getting my mind around someone who places this ad, emails me to confirm our date an hour later and then goes silent on me.

Obviously, he’s getting laid.

Only possible conclusion, right?  Setting aside my conviction that if he’s got…well, nevermind.  The point is, I call him on it.

He responds within minutes.

Full stop.  I’ve waited about four hours for you to give me a when and a where and when I tell you, “I get it, it’s your only day off for the week.  Take care of business” you suddenly have all the time in the world to respond?

Unfortunately, he chose to respond with, “You know how flakey gay guys are.  But I really want to see you!”

Yes, I do know how flakey gay guys are.  And I am not able to reconcile how four hours goes by without you picking a fucking time and coffee house while seven minutes elapsed between my j’accuse moment to his sudden reply.

Which brings us to my 4th attempt. 

This is a cute kid that I didn’t meet a couple of years ago when I moved back to town. 

I don’t drive + he lives in Vantucky = we never met.

But, we were already connected on the Facebook and when I joined the instagram last year, he was a suggested follow.  So, now there’s that.

Which is where I got into trouble.

But before that, last year, he got into a wreck that left him laid up for quite a while.  Long enough that he lost his entry level job at a quick serve restaurant and I’d been following his job search via status updates for a while.

I’m always – literally, if you know someone looking in Portland, OR let me know – hiring, so since we didn’t date I felt absolutely no awkwardness about extending an opportunity his way.

He

Never

Availed

Himself

Oh, well.

I thought about following up, but do I really want an employee I had to chase down to apply working for me?

No.

No, I don’t.

Some of the ones that voluntarily applied are enough of a probl…challenge.

So, I let it lie.

Then last week, we got into a DM on the Instagram that ended in him giving me his number.

We move to text and go at it like teenagers for a few days.  I can tell he’s no conversationalist, but get the vibe that he wants me to ask him out.

I do.

Thursday evening, about 6 or 7?

Sure.

I check in last night with a text, a 24 hour confirmation and hear nothing.

That was 22 hours ago and I don’t know if my thoughts are along the “Fucking millennials” or “Fucking fags” line.

Still…fucking something.

I do know that after a couple of years of not knowing him in real life, I feel as if I know what he wants or needs better than hizownself does.

He’s a Lost Boy.  That doesn’t make him a bad person, just lost.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But with potential in both directions, depending on whether he pulls his head out of his ass sooner, later or never.

I can say that my prior inclination to “raise” – for lack of a better word – a younger gay into a man is…not gone, but certainly sublimated.  I think it’s the job of a partner to help their SO become a better and better version of themselves.  I’m just aware that not every cute guy I come across with his act lying in shambles around his ankles isn’t automatically a perfect fit for me.

That’s a good realization.

There you have it. Episode 1 of Dating Into Oblivion.  Meanwhile, I’ve saved $80.  I’ve also enjoyed two and a half beers at Big Legrowlski while tapping this out.

And flirted with a probably straight guy over sci-if books.  So there’s that.

In theory, I’m quite an attractive option.

In reality…50 (minus 80-ish hours) and single, people.

Dating Into Oblivion, ep1

The Galby Effect

“What bar do you frequent?”

This was the question I was asked on Facebook Messenger by a friend coming to town next week as we talked about getting together.

Innocuous enough…for a normal person.

Awkwardly, my preferred watering hole – the neighborhood feeling but still gay – Fox & Hounds sold earlier this summer in a transaction that surprised everyone.  Even the former owner’s employees.

I was kinda irked, since I’d proposed buying the place a couple of years ago and was shot down because the owner had no interest in selling.

But, because I’m not a rash or hysterical person, I continued to go there once a week or so for a drink on my way home from work.

What?  

Fine.  

I’m not saying I’m rash or hysterical…we can agree to disagree.  However, a conveniently located beer on the way home from work trumps a lot of petty differences.

I was more irked that this new owner was making pretty sudden and drastic changes for someone who claimed that everything was going to stay the same.

I didn’t even balk that she was not-so-subtly turning the place straight.  Or trying.  But when she lost the bar’s lottery privileges, it was over.  If no one is going to talk to me while I imbibe – please, don’t – then I want to play some video lottery.

For no reason, clearly.   I mean, how could lottery be more fun than people?!?

Since then, I’ve been hanging out at either my neighborhood wine shop/bar (Thelonius Wines) or taproom (Big Legrowlski) and not really missing gay bars.  

Because:  don’t talk to me.

Yeah, I’m weird.

But having to cop to an absence of alignment with a local gay bar to my visiting friend, I was forced to acknowledge that The Galby Effect was once again rearing its awkward head.

I last noticed it during the early days of the Big Legrowlski.  I’d go and there’d be a respectable number of patrons for a new business.  Y’know, a few peppered here or there…nothing too crowded.  Sometimes I’d find myself alone when I walked in, but others would trickle in behind me soon enough.

No biggie.

But once the bar started to take off with a pretty regular business, 2-3 people lined up at any given point…that’s when I noticed it.

I’d walk in and do my normal Xtopher-esque entrance, nothing too Kramer-ish, and people were too busy helping other customers to give me anything other than a brief wave or smile.  Not even both!  Strictly one or the other.

Then I’d get my beer, find my seat and take a few sips, only to discover when looking up five minutes later that I was suddenly the only patron left.

It’s like Bar Rapture.

I’m the St Patrick of boozehounds.  Yeah, yeah…the whole snake thing is a bourbon legend.

It happened time and again, too.

Time of day, day of week…no variables mattered.  I could go in at 9 on a Friday and ten minutes later, pffft.  

Empty.

“What, they’re all going to the same show?” I’d ask, incredulous.

Getting a <palms up> from the bartender in response.

Anyway, I thought that I’d somehow shaken the curse of driving a bar’s business into the ground.  Certainly, my lack of affiliation as a regular with and local gay bar can be blamed on the new owner…but taking a broader view, I think The Galby Effect can be blamed for the sudden and unexplained decision to sell.  

My only “proof”, if you will:  I’ll wander into the former owner’s other bar once a month or so and when he’s there, he just looks guilty.  Obviously, he knows he’s a turncoat to the community and can’t explain what in the world came over him, so he just sits there awkwardly thinking, “Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me” on repeat until I walk away.

Hey, buddy…it’s ok.  I understand.

The Galby Effect.

The Galby Effect

Pronation 

This is not a political post.

Not that today wasn’t a notable day in politics, most so that the Army Corps of Engineers and President Obama have refused to issue a permit to build the Dakota Access Pipeline on tribal lands.  Good job!  Now, if they can move those awesome protesters to 1600 Penn and stop that Trump-shit from moving into the White House…

Sorry, Facebook followers, you had to see that material recycled.

Anyway, the DAPL defeat was a bright spot in a frustrating day.  Not that I want to admit that, I’m afraid it moves me closer to training my brain to think the job I love is frustrating…let’s say it was an overwhelming day at work.  I think people who have been there through the recent frustrating era – anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, depending on whom you ask…and I believe them all! – are starting to trust me to help them to a better work life.

But that comes with its own price:  everyone wants to talk to me about “the problem”.

The number of times I heard “We can’t do that” or “That won’t work” or “The problem is”…seriously, I heard that last one thirteen times today in just one conversation.  Pretty sure I missed a few of the early ones, too.  At least people are changing the way they express their frustrations, “We can’t do that” and “That won’t work” were most of what I heard last week.  I’ll take the change in expression as a positive sign that people are starting to identify the problem and that the next thought expressions or incarnation will be to present ideas that could be potential solutions!

Ok, I’m excited again.

Blogging is so therapeutic!

So is dancing.

Mind you, when I got home – after the Silver Fox left, he had to let me in since I left the house without my keys this morning – I suggested to Myrtle that we have a dance party.  She went and hid in her kitty tunnel.img_1609

Well, I never.

…should dance in public.

Everyone is a critic.

So, there I was, in my socks and ready to bust out some Risky Business moves – I was wearing pants – and Myrtle shut me down.

Clearly, the situation called for wine.

While I am sitting there, leaning against the counter, I see that my socks are off center?  Out of alignment?  What you have to understand about me is that when I dress, I may prefer jeans and a tee shirt, but if clothes are supposed to be worn a certain way, I endeavor to do so.  The other day at work, I missed a belt loop on my slacks and it bugged me all day.  Those particular pants have so damned many loops!  Missing one did not affect wear one iota, but each time I passed a men’s room, I considered ducking in to adjust my belt.  Too busy, though.

Anyway.  The socks.  I took a pic.

I felt I needed to leave that full sized so that you can really see how the grey on top rolled into the center of my stride as I walked my day away at work.  Only 6.7 miles, it was a light day compared to my normal 7-8 miles at work; but most of that was pushing, pulling or guiding a pallet jack or a rolling rack or a cart of merchandise for the 5 News and Gift shops I manage at Portland International Airport.

Obviously, I’m a crazy person.  Who notices that their socks rolled inward when they take off their shoes?  For one, me.  But if your feet felt like mine, you might notice, too.  This got me thinking back to an insane blog idea that I had over the summer while watching people walk by The Big Legrowlski as I sipped (gulped) a delightful beer with the Silver Fox on the sidewalk.

I have a fair amount of free time when I’m with the Fox while he does things that he doesn’t like me calling him out on in my blog.  But he knows.  Anyway, there I am, idly watching passersby and amusing myself with how differently people walk.

Gaits are a crazy thing.

Closely followed by posture, let me tell you.  Oh, and I can!  As a tall person, I’m a lifelong sympathetic sloucher…that’s done nothing for my posture, to be sure.

Which ought to explain the title of this blog post.  Pronation is the natural tendency of the foot to roll inward when you walk.  It’s also called eversion, but that’s a shitty blog title.

Of course, everything has its equal and opposite in our universe, so when I’m watching people walking by – and I’m still attenuated to this, months later – I’m also seeing people walking on the outside edge of their foot.

Supination.

There’s also the pigeon toed walkers.

Folks with the splayed gait, toes drastically pointed away from center.  Truth be told, people who walk like this always bugged me the most.  In my observation, these pedestrians also tend to be the ones who walk with their shoulders shifted back behind their hips.  It’s a mess to witness.  But that whole shoulder following the hips saunter just always seems slow.

And I walk fast, baby.  I used to tell my employees that keeping up with me was on their reviews.

Because, I’m kinda passive-aggressive.  Kind of a dick.  Whatever, I got shit to do.  Keep up or get out.  I set the pace in my stores…and that whole saunter I described above just has this inescapable stoner vibe to it.

glacialNot to say that all shoulders trailing walkers are stoners.  Just like all shoulders back walkers aren’t splay footed.  That’s how crazy I am.  I gave this topic that much thought.  And still do, I watch people walk around at work all day long.  But travelers get their own special designations, it’s a list I’m still compiling, but if you read me often then you’ve already heard me talk about the people I call “icebergs”.  I’m thinking about tweaking that designation to “glaciers”, but that feels so Miranda Priestly.

I guess the good news here – if there has to be just one highlight – is that the Fox did eventually finish his texting…oops.  I did it again.  But then we got to finish our beer and carry on our chatting.  Just two old dudes, hanging out on the urban porch.

Oooh, that’s a good name for a neighborhood bar.  Must remember.

Pronation 

Music:  LIVE

This isn’t a bad way to end the “summer” concert season.

I’m sitting at my local watering hole after watching the third stern talking to that Hillary has given The Donald this election cycle and – somehow – they have managed to go from debate viewing to live music in about 20 minutes.

I’m ok with this.

That 20 minutes was just about long enough for me to reflect on a pretty light series of concerts this past summer.  Not dating anyone can tend to stall one’s live music ventures.

Or misadventures in the case of my summer of ’16.

Here’s the rundown:

Temper Trap was good…aside from that basic white girl throwing up three feet from me.  I hadn’t been to the Wonder Ballroom since seeing Feist there in what could have been the last century.  An old grade school pal and too infrequent coffee buddy of mine put the place back on my radar earlier this year when describing the experience of taking her daughter and her friends out to an all ages show there.  Badaboom-badabing, I’m cruising their calendar and come across this Aussie band that I’ve only ever kind of heard of.  I knew one song.

I bought two tickets.

I wasn’t sure if I was being optimistic about finding a date or if I was secretly preparing to indulge my grumpy old man-ness by insulating myself from people who were lacking about three decades too little life experience to safely get too close to me.

It occurred to me later that I sure hoped it was the former because in a General Admission venue, protecting two “seats” could prove challenging.

It was the latter.  A fact that really stung once the poster child for birth control emptied her stomach next to me.

I think by the time I left the Echo and the Bunnymen concert at the Crystal Ballroom a couple of months later I was beginning to realize that it wasn’t the near-unknown or nostalgic bands from my childhood (who refused to play their classics instead of stuff released within the last 10 years, incidentally) that really had me feeling I had squandered the summer’s live music opportunities.  It was the fact that I had squandered the summer’s live music opportunities.  Usually, I can be counted on to randomly pop into a show that I happen by.  And you just know how good that show is gonna be if you can buy a ticket at the box office while the opening band is still playing.  But sometimes you find a real sleeper that you enjoy.

That hadn’t happened this summer.

Mostly because I was still grinding my nose at the Zeeb and that had me working Friday and Saturday nights until 11:00 or later.

And I was insisting to myself that that was ok.

No.

But in addition to missing random opportunities, I had also missed some of my favorite bands that had rolled through town this summer in pretty rare appearances.

Tears for Fears.

Morrissey.  (Sorry, LB…)

Cashed Out, a Johnny Cash cover band.

Willie Nelson.  Yes, I would have loved seeing that old codger!

Countless opportunities to see Life During Wartime, a Talking Heads cover band.

Pink Martini.

So, I’m not sure what my mindset was when I walked into Echo…but I know I had an agenda:  Hear them perform my favorites.  End of agenda.  Ironically, I had tried to get tickets earlier and couldn’t and then the week before the concert there were magically tickets available.

I should have taken notice of that little harbinger.

I get there late, and the place is deserted.  The Little Buddy and her 2.0 are at the front between the stage and the bar.  How can this be bad?

Except.

There’s about a football field worth of empty space between the doors and the minimal crowd.

But the opening band hadn’t begun yet, so maybe people were making a legit date night of it and were having dinner beforehand.  And then the opening band began.

I really – sincerely – wish that they hadn’t done that.

I try not to criticize people who do things that I absolutely cannot do.  Performing live is one of those things I cannot do.  This is not to be confused with people who sing Karaoke.  I openly enjoy their shortcomings.  Because I could do the same and wisely choose not to.  You’re welcome.

I will say that this band – Coastal Fish or something – played every song like their plane was going down and they just wanted one more jam together before the end.  But they didn’t seem to be playing together.  They were all jamming and none of their efforts really seemed to be in concert with one another’s.

So, it was kind of painful.

Almost as painful as the VIP section that was directly in front of where we were standing.

And had two people in it.

No, wait…another couple just barely showed up during the opening band’s set.  While the Coastal Fish ignored one another on stage, I got to watch these two couples do the same in the VIP area.  They literally stood about as far from one another as possible.  It was awkward.

But then Echo et al took the stage and…nothing up there really changed.

Ian McCulloch pretty much phoned it in.  I think he really just showed up for the barstool full of cocktails at the back of the stage, which he called a Crystal Ballroom minion up to refill during their set.  He was openly smoking a cigarette on stage.  Once they finally got around to performing Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, I got on my Dancing Horse and left early.

I heard the next day that LB and 2.0 had pretty much done the same.  I had lingered in Lola’s – which is one floor below the main stage – and watched another song on screen, so they may have actually paroled themselves before I left the building.

So, that was it.  2016 was looking like a live music let down for old Xtopher.

Until last night.

There I was, deflecting The Silver Fox’s invitation to The Big Legrowlski to watch the debate.  I wasn’t sure they were airing this one, since I was sure that they had live music scheduled to start at 8:00.  His Foxiness reminded me that the debate only lasted 90 minutes, but I was not sold on the reality of the transition from politics to live music within such a tight window.

Now, I know they can do it.

Plus, he had – in classic Fox style – double booked himself and was going to be leaving early to watch a Portland Timbers match at their stadium up the road.  But after a few grumpy texts and a couple of hours to cool off, his Fox-timism won me over and I joined him there just before the debate.

Is it frightening or funny when the debates are more outrageously bizarre than the Saturday Night Live sketches about them?

I’m going with scary…

But, now it was showtime!

Since I had been abandoned by The Fox, I decided to stick around and see what my little taphouse turned bro-bar could do with live music.img_1533

My advice?  If you have a chance to see John Hull live, do it.  If you don’t, go to his SoundCloud and give him a listen.  Totally worth it.  If you like the same type of music I do.

Which is the best music, after all.

After his first couple of songs, I had a run-in with my own trademark awkwardness when he introduced himself and…oops, I mistook “Any John Hull fans out there?” for “Any John Holmes fans out there?”, which was quite the non-sequitur and caused my head to snap up from my phone in a not-too-subtle manner.

I think he noticed.  I was sitting at the front table.

After his first couple of songs – his own – he performed a couple of covers:

Jason Mraz with some Bob Marley mixed in to incredible effect.  Gotta love an acoustic mash up.

Sting – Roxanne.  Which he really made his own.

For some reason, he decided to ask the crowd if there were any requests.  All three of us.  But he wasn’t talking to his girlfriend, who was sitting at the other front row table.  He was talking to the woman in the back of the room, who occasionally had the bar manager and owner sitting with her.  I had been invited to that table, but passed, because E.O.G. and also, a friend of the bar from the bakery across the street had dropped off a box of their day olds and I was busy resisting that temptation.  I think we all know how that would work out for me if I was within arm’s reach of those poor pastries.  Anyway, Back Of The Room gal choked on coming up with a request, so I suggested some Tracy Chapman.

One great acoustic performer covering another seemed like a legit request.

He didn’t know any titles off the top of his head but gamely told me to suggest one and maybe he could make his way through it.  This is where he met my trademark awkwardness when I inadvertently insulted him by requesting…Give Me One Reason To Stay Here.

Oops.

I think he noticed.

 

Instead he played a Death Cab for Cutie song – I Will Follow You Into The Dark – and proceeded to give us PNW slobs an education in Death Cab trivia.  Ok, one thing a San Diego boy might want to remember is that while, yes…Death Cab is also “kind of” known as Postal Service, they are from Bellingham, WA and we probably already knew that both bands shared a frontman but were in fact different bands.

But the cover was still solid…what this guy might have lacked in trivia accuracy, he more than made up for in just being a guy you want to sit and listen to for a beer or two.

Abdicating music selection to the crowd for another attempt at a random pick, he got Sweet Caroline as a cover suggestion…which I thought was pretty mean.  Not everyone can trot out a Neil Diamond.  Not even the cover bands that I’ve seen can deliver consistently.  Damn if this guy didn’t end up bringing it home.  Even getting the crowd – which had grown to double digits at this point – involved in the sing a long component of the performance.

I know that won’t be my last live show of 2016 – not with the holidays coming up! – but not a bad way to transition out of summer shows and get me excited for what the rest of fall and winter have to offer.

Then I can gear up for 2017 and hopefully put a little intent behind my music experiences and get my live show mojo back!

I feel tempted to go back and capitalize all of the seasons like good grammar dictates they should be, but then I’d be proof reading my work and that would degrade my stream of consciousness style…but I just want you all to know that I thought about it.

Love and pizza, yo!

Music:  LIVE

Sheila E Would Be Jealous Of My Glamorous Life

I woke up on my couch at 6:00 this morning.

My couch is 60″ end-to-end, I am 75″ head to toe.  Yet there I was, flat on my back, feet and lower legs dangling over the edge of the little guy.  Let that mental image settle in.

Oh, and I had my glasses on.  Apparently, I fell asleep reading TV.

Yes, my lower back, which had been hurting in recent days, felt great.  Not that I would recommend risking this treatment if your back is sore.

I stripped off my clothes and glasses and successfully attempted a few more winks.  Go ahead and just let your mental image flash forward to me sitting here typing in my white undershirt and batik printed boxer briefs.  Glasses restored to their perch.

Hot, right?

Let’s all just assume – for now – that I was pretty relaxed last night.

Now, let me dash that assumption to hell and back, but thanks for playing along.

The Silver Fox sent me a text yesterday inquiring about my interview earlier in the afternoon.  I told him it was fine, but I didn’t feel like texting all the gory details and suggested a quick drink at the Big Legrowlski while I did the debrief.

It all began that innocently.

Then it turned into one of those nights where nothing happened, but it ended up being a perfect evening.

Before we even got a block into our walk, his ex – Casey Alder – had texted him, suggesting a drink.  Hey, great minds think alike; great livers drink alike.  Chrisism.  So, we’re about half a beer ahead of him and both manage to sensibly decline his offer of a refill.  Then the conversation starts flowing as we all catch up.  It had been way too long since the three of us had hung out together.  I went to grab a refill to ensure the booze-to-word ratio was appropriately maintained.

It’s measured in ounces.  However, it’s not a static metric…you could say it’s fluid.

Sometimes I play drinking games by myself.  Even with other people around.

We had a really good conversation.  Three beers each, then Casey had to beat feet and it was just the Fox and I again.

That didn’t last long…Diezel had inquired as to the goings on of my evening and turned up to re-round out our little klatch.  Good timing on his part, since the Fox had began his responsible rumblings about getting home to dinner.  I had fixated on pizza.  Not even the fact that my budget strongly suggested a frozen pizza was in the offing could deter my taste buds.

Diet over.  As if the beer wasn’t a dead giveaway.

Somehow, I tricked the Fox into ordering a pizza.  To the bar.  Beer and Xtopher can be very persuasive.

Also:  permissive.

Also-also:  you know he wanted pizza.

So, there we are, eating pizza.  Drinking beer.  Being guys.  I’m not going to try and convince you that there weren’t more beers involved…after all, the ratio!  But, Diezel is a responsible drinker and resides in a geographically undesirable location relative to the Big Legrowlski, so he was driving whereas the Fox and I were walking.  I would guess that there were only two beers relevant to this chapter of the evening.

Sensing the pattern here?  Ok, there’s no pattern, it’s just another little drinking game that I amused myself with.  <—  That’s some terrible English.

Casey:  3 drinks

Diezel:  2 drinks

Solo nightcap?  That just had to be 1 drink.  The pattern must be maintained.

So, I went home and drank a bottle of wine.

Shush.  I wasn’t alone, Myrtle was with me.  Myrtle is always with me, either physically or I have the physical reminders of her.


Plus, it was over the next four hours.  I know this because I watched four episodes of Z Nation, *falling asleep* midway through the fifth.

Ooh, a fifth…see?  My one-drink nightcap could have been worse.  The blog is named atleastihaveafrigginglass…you had to assume there would be drinking.

Thank you Netflix.

Actually, I blame the Fox…he’s supposed to be the responsible one.

Sheila E Would Be Jealous Of My Glamorous Life