Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Change of Scenery

Greetings, loyal readers!

(Well, I mean, you'd have to pretty damn loyal at this point, wouldn't you? Especially considering that I haven't posted a dribble to this site in almost two years -- although the spambots certainly seem to have been busy. Anyway...)

This is a courtesy message designed to direct traffic towards my latest endeavor on the internet, another blog, which promises to track my fluctuating fortunes as I try to break into the world of comics using only a crowbar, a brush pen, and my own desperate desire for creative expression. In its warm and welcome embrace you may enjoy weekly sketches, updates on my self-published series, Baggywrinkles, and tales from my adventures in the Portland comics scene.

So hie yourselves over to...

It'll be worth it -- I promise!

Ever yours,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Brief Re/Nightcap


The Election of 2008, which we have all participated in, which embodies our future, which has, at last, given us hope at the end of a long, dark tea-time of the soul period in the history of America, is over. It was momentous, unbelievable, touching, and inspiring. If I could pick any part of history to truly be a part of, this would have to be it.

Lucky for me, then, that I got to stand, packed shoulder to shoulder with my fellow students, watching the results come in, until the final tumultuous cry of joy went up and the champagne corks blew and the arms flew round the shoulders.

Yet it wasn't until the crowd celebrating Obama's victory, both in Chicago and Vollum Lecture Hall on Reed College Campus in Portland, Oregon, began the now-infamous chant of "Yes We Can" that I felt tears in my eyes. I broke down. I wept like a baby -- crying, laughing, not being able to tell which was which.

There, at last, after so many years of cynicism and outrage and the inability to be proud of my country and my heritage, I felt as if I belonged. No more the dismissive wave of the hand and the closing remark: "I don't talk about politics. They disgust me." Or the need to leave the room -- or worse, the country -- when the President came on television to discuss the state of the nation. Here was the America I had wished I could come home to from my travels. The America I dreamed would be welcomed and respected by the world. The America I carry in my back pocket as a passport -- the one I no longer want to shred in favor of my other, more Continentally-flavoured option.

This was the America I had almost stopped believing existed, since the moment I became old enough to glean even vaguely what was happening in the governing of our country, it was already too late. In these last eight years I've grown a great deal emotionally, mentally, and physically (though my current goal of 5'7" remains 1/4" distant -- and the gap doesn't seem to be closing), but through all those years I've felt a disconnect between my indentity and my ideals. The world does need change. The world needs inspiration. The world needs action. Action driven by honesty and a desire for solutions. We are no longer in an age of desperate measures. We are capable of working together to create an America which ceases to flail madly and lash out with violence and turmoil when trouble rears its ugly head. We are in good hands. Our own.

With all this in mind, we jubilantly embraced and laughed together in Vollum, before seeking out further revelry. Being a college of a rather liberal and Democratic persuasion, Reed believes that any event of import, certainly this most astonishing and miraculous of elections, may only truly, justly be celebrated by two means: dancing and nudity.

It is therefore hardly surprising that following President-Elect Obama's acceptance speech, we flooded boisterously to the Student Union, with its enormous couch see-saw and glorious vaulted ceiling, shed our garments, and danced as if the stars had floated down to say hello. As if we would never have another opportunity like this. Another night so glorious. And maybe that's true. There were lights and fog and preposterously amazing music and, most importantly of all, a community of people who were absolutely over the moon. Such joy is infectious -- and even now, exhausted, hoarse, blistered, bruised, and rather unprepared for a day of classes tomorrow, I am bursting with great pleasure and hope.

I hope you've all celebrated in your own ways -- quiet or loud -- and I want to say "thank you," because you have all brought this country the leader it needs. And though he embodies the policies we believe in, it is also important to remember that we, the people, elected him. The responsibility of change is in our hands too. Remember kindness. Remember patience. Change doesn't have to build continents from scratch. Most days, it's more than enough to offer a smile and a hug, or a story, or a helping hand. Start small. I promise you the day will come when we move mountains.

Rest well, America of my dreams. Tomorrow is a new, beautiful day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Fellow Americans...

You already know what I'm going to say -- so just get out there and do it already. Those of us who have placed our votes in "early" hands will be living vicariously through you tomorrow.

On a vaguely connected note, if you ever have the chance to see The Capitol Steps perform live, please, please go. They're hilarious.

For the international readership of this publication: We're trying, ladies and gentlemen. Really. Wish us luck.

We may now commence with the holding of the breath.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Relay

Roundabout the start of term, there were a great many Orientation Week t-shirts on display bearing the slogan "Reed College: It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Now, I'm sure the designers of this shirt had the best intentions, but it came off a little daunting. Yes to the journey, not the destination. Yes to the process, not the result. But a marathon? Are people going to be dumping bottles of water over my head as I emerge from my finals? Is my diet going to consist entirely of salt packets and goop-in-a-tube? Will I be forced to wear poncy neon shorts? I certainly hope not.

However, if we were to run with this metaphor a little longer, replacing marathon with "relay race," we could say that I've just reached my first hand-off point. Trouble being, I've failed to hand anything over. I have, instead, inadvertently set my shorts alight with the torch, then thrown it into the nearby Olympic swimming pool and started to dance the macarena.

Those of you who have taken AP English will doubtless be able to analyze this most righteous of metaphors and discover that I am, in fact, talking about Fall Break. Reed students are given a week at the end of October to cavort and gambol after midterms. This is a wise choice, and it feels like it couldn't have come at a better time. Although I'm settled and happy here, I miss my cats. I miss Ojai. I miss my family and my books and my preposterous mess of a room. And oranges. Oregon has a lot of stuff going for it, but jeez-oh-man they cannot fucking grow oranges. Yeesh.

Anyway. My one and only midterm has come and gone, and now I shoulder my trusty backpack once more and set off in search of the airport. They tell me it's big. I should be able to spot it without too much trouble.

Those of you around at home, stand by. Those of you elsewhere, keep doing whatever it is you're doing that makes you all so lovely/awesome/witty/literary/tall/short/artistic/multilingual/nude. Anyone else: DANCE!

That is all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life and Times of a Statiophiliac

As many of you may already be aware, I have a problem. It's the sort of condition that generally plagues me in public, alarming those in my immediate vicinity, and has, to my knowledge, no known cure. If I'm lucky, it manifests itself in the form of lurking -- perhaps with a bit of cooing, mumbling, and caressing thrown in. If unlucky, it leaves me slavering shamelessly in front of shop windows, begging passers-by for change and screaming about binding glue and ink tone.

I am, in short, a Statiophiliac.

Perhaps you've known these people in your time. An aunt who keeps postage stamps in her hair, an old classmate who spends just a little too much time in the library on Friday nights. These people have needs. These needs have a language. But whatever you call it -- stamping, Decoupage, literary ephemering, print-making, fountain penning, ink dunking, book sniffing -- the cause is the same. All these people are consumed with a burning obsession. A burning, papery obsession. They can do nothing to break away.

It is by this lighthearted discussion that I mean to introduce the topic for today -- namely, my completely willingness to do absolutely anything for journals, pens, stamps, envelopes, paper, and sealing wax. So naturally, when I found out that one of blogs I read, which caters specifically to this kind of audience (Or that subset thereof consisting of people dedicating their lives to the search for a cheaper Moleskine alternative), was staging a competition for which the prize was THREE FREE PICCADILLY NOTEBOOKS, I knew my carefully-constructed defenses were all in vain.

Here, then, is my entry for said contest, which really only needs to consist of a link to the blog in question. However, I thought I might take the opportunity to simultaneously educate you all a little about how the other half lives. Because your ignorance leaves us waking up beside some strange college-ruled, spiral-bound abomination on Monday morning who may not even fall under the prestigious heading of "stationary" -- despite its claims to the contrary after all that Mod Podge sealant the night before.

The site in question, which deals with the endless search for the perfect "Black Notebook" can be found here. And while I'm about it, Notebookism publishes some great reviews along the same lines. For notebooks in the field, check out Write In My Journal and the 1000 Journals Project. And finally, for those who need inspiration of a more postal nature, the Letter Writer's Alliance provides you with convenient links and reviews to the most titilating new postage-based joys the web can provide. Oh! While you're at it, the site's founders run the indomitable 16 Sparrows stationary press. And what's more...

I'm sure you all get the point. Now get out of here. I've got books to fondle.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All Your Tuna Are Belong To Us

We found a cat. The cat likes us. We like the cat.

If all goes according to plan, she will never go away ever again.

Molly, our fearless leader, found her hanging around the amphitheater and managed to coax her back to the dorm, where we rewarded her with a full pouch of tuna. Short work was made of this offering, and soon she stopped being quite so skittish and decided that she liked us enough to hang around and be petted for a while.

However, since Jasper the Rabbit lives in the common room where this delicious bundle of felinity was sleeping, we needed to remove her, so she's here. In bed. In my bed. There is a cat in my bed. Purring with the force of a two stroke diesel engine. It's pure and utter bliss.

I've left my window open in case she feels the need to leave me, but with the strategic acquisition of more tuna, I may just be able to keep her. Here's hoping.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Things Your Mother Would Probably Approve Of (Tentative Part Three in a Potentially Ongoing and Evolving Series)

Words which, when pluralized, end in -oxes. Foxes, boxes, equinoxes, etc.

Which brings us nicely to the weather in Portland at the moment, which has shifted sharply from warm and muggy to torrentially deluged. I personally find this a very acceptable way to usher in the delicious months of Autumn (starting tomorrow at 3:40 pm), and have celebrated by brewing a really magnificent cup of tea and settling down in bed to read countless pages of Greek lyric poetry.

My muscles are sufficiently annoyed with me for playing a vicious game of Ultimate Frisbee yesterday, not to mention learning to dance some basic Argentine Tango last night, so I've attained my required standard of exertion (and then some) for the weekend. Now is the time for curling up and studying.

Bless you Reed for successfully matching meteorology with academics.