15 July 2016

[liff] The 2 Cat Crew, 9 Months On

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Back in October, 2015, we had spots under the salary cap to fill, and The Wife™ found three adorable little guys … two black brothers and one gray brother-from-another-mother.

Ricky, Ralph, and Mason. Or, as they were quickly dubbed, the 2 Cat Crew Feat. Grand Master Mason. Mason was 9 weeks old, Ricky and Ralph were a bit older - about 5 months.

Ricky had the traditional, non-exotic cat lines, and a shiny yet wooly coat. Ralph had the hint of the Oriental, and a a coat with a preternatural sleekness … and the wiliness of a coiled steel spring. Mason had a short, wooly coat an the handsomest face I've seen on a cat in a while.

Well, it's 9 months on. They've all graduated from kittenhood to young adulthood, and have just gotten more devastatingly handsome. Here's Ralph and Mason …


And, of course, Ricky:


Ralph has become a healthy, slender, but fully packed cat-shaped muscle. He's always on the watch. Ricky has cobbied out and is a chubby, shiny-coated chill-out dude. And Mason? Still squirrelly, but adorable.

And they know that a cat's place is on the bed, when the people are curled up in it.
 

14 July 2016

[PDX] There's A Hip Name For Portland East of I-205, or, We're Doomed, Midlanders

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Come to Outer East Portland, says I to acquaintances. We have dive bars!.

Would it be that I were not so blithe then, this news wouldn't intimidate me so, now.

A few years back, I figured I'd be a bit puckish and poke fun at Willamette Week's then-worldly-yet-parochial "Best of Portland". 2008, it was. You can read it here: http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2008/07/pdxmedia-wws-best-of-portland-if-you.html. Oh, I was in rare form. Amongst the witty observations I made then:
WW adds to the disrespect; you see, as far as the "Best of Portland"goes, the wittily-named "districts" that the publication uses to give character to town only go as far east as I-205. That's right, Midlanders, take it on the chin again; as far as WW goes, you aren't really cool enough to even be in Portland. Even though you are in Portland – at least out as far as 164th Avenue north of Stark, and 174th Avenue south of it.
In green: Outer East Portlandia, hereinafter
known as the Region of Thud.
Well, in the time since 2008, Portland became Portlandia, rents zoomed up eight million percent, and a fear and loathing about how Portland's growing and what kind of people will be entitled to the right to be Portlandian has grown and flowered to levels we couldn't even envision then … hell, in 2008, a person making minimum wage could still afford an apartment in the grottier sections of inner SE. Those grottier sections of inner SE are largely gone now; condominium design bordering on the brutalist now dominate the stretch of Division west of SE 52nd Avenue, and what were once vices confined to the tonier parts of town have now become habits. And the people whose fortunes are meaner than that have slowly been priced out and have moved east … to Outer East Portland, David Douglasland, Parkrose, these areas that still have some of the feeling that most of Portland east of the Willamette had before 2008.

The area I live in … trans I-205 … has become the most ethnically and economically diverse of the city.  It's also fairly populous: statistics posit that approximately 21% of Portland's estimated 2016 population of about 609,000 live between the freeway and Gresham. That's about 130,000 people, and if that were a city of its own (an approach which has been explored more than once) it would be larger than Gresham but smaller than Salem … Oregon's 4th largest city.

So, a couple of weeks back, I held in my hands the issue of Willamette Week that finally turned its attention to my side of town. And I had a sick feeling over it. Because it was one of those bits of reporting that delighted in how authentic, interesting, and funky a previously-unregarded area was. Two attractive young people featured as the iconic explorers from the west side of the freeway, hip, young and ready for any urban adventure.

The reportage is sobering, studded by such verbiage as:
The long-maligned 80ish blocks between I-205 and Gresham are home to many, many strip malls, but the area may also be beginning its own renaissance—think of it as our Oakland.
Think of it as our Oakland.

Oakland is across the bay from San Francisco, as you geography students will remember, and we all know what happened in San Fran, don't we?

I don't see any of this ending well.

And that hip, new nickname for an area of Portland people west of 82nd used to think of a Gresham? What the kids today call us? Well, we have a variety of names for our area of town: the David Douglas community, Midland, some Democrats, inspired by Jefferson Smith, call us Bedrock. But none of those names obtain amongst the fashionable, no, … they call us …

The Numbers.

The name makes little obvious sense. I remember first seeing the coinage on Facebook in the group Damn Portlanders about two months ago. Someone mentioned that the lived on Division, out in the numbers. I didn't know what that meant then, but I do now, but the inspiration for the rubric defies sense to a degree. We have as many named streets as numbered streets, and we have about as many numbered streets as other areas of town. It's like some fashionable-person cabal threw darts at a board with words on, got numbers and said "yeah, that's enigmatic enough. That's what we'll call it". For Outer East Portland, it's like getting the Black Spot: we're next. The first wave, the slummers, have already trickled out this way. The WW spread features a well meaning paragraph promising insights, reading:
East Portland is the future. It's younger, it's more diverse, and it's about to become a lot more central to what we talk about when we talk about Portland. Here's your primer.
Naturally 'your primer' to the future turns out to be a list of what to go see, do, and eat, and where to have a good time. So much for insight.

They may call my area of town … which had many fine names but they couldn't leave well enough alone … The Numbers, but I'll be thinking of it as the Region of Thud. Discordians will know what I mean. The sense of attendant doom is similar.

My own acidic view of those days, which has unexpectedly presented me with a petard upon which I've rather hung my younger (and current) self, possesses this penultimate note:
Indeed. Certainly there must be a similarly-witty name for this area east of I-205, where, apparently, Willamette Week reporters fear to tread.
Well, not only do they no longer fear to tread out here, they've answered my sarcasm with the utmost of ironies; a sincere and fashionable rebranding. Vanity of vanities. And to the rest of my Midlander bretheren I have only this to add:

Buckle up, Midlanders. It's gonna be a rough ride.

They've seen us.

They certainly have our Numbers.

13 July 2016

[W69] Westercon 69 Memories: Jim Hardison and Fish Wielder

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Fish Wielder is scarcely a month out from release. You can get your preorder on at Amazon, of course. And Jim was at the W69 dealer's room bazaar, doin' the hard promotional work.

He's a very dapper person, convention-wise. On the day we were there, he was dressed thusly:


… and the look of open happiness you see there, trust me, is real. With Jim what you see is what you get.

And what else did we see that day? Free coloring sheets. Free customized Bradfast-emblazoned M&M's. Free stckers, temp tats, character cards.  Free ton'o'Fish Wielder stuff. The mug? You had to do just one thing to get one; see the Fish Wielder book trailers on line and come back and tell him you like them.

His countenance is one I've come to know amongst the creators I've so far been privileged to know. The good ones, the ones doing good things you don't want to miss, that are going to not only entertain you but uplift you a little, are generous in spirit. And that, Jim certainly is.

Because generous friendship is, also, as Brad and Thoral would tell you:


Yes, free.

Now, like I said, Jim … or, should I say, J.R.R.R. Hardison (you can tell it's quality fantasy by the multiplicity of R's in the name, accept no substitutes) is a generous fellow and a lot of fun to chat with. He let me chatter on about creating and engaged me on the subject, suggesting that the stream of consciousness would be something good to write about myself.

Alongside Jim was Herb Apon, artist and creator of the exterior look of Fish Wielder; he did the drawing above as well as a great many of them which adorned the booth, and the character cards I've shown off earlier. He was doing what any good artist does while we visited … constantly drawing. He's kind a genius and a whiz, and a lot of the drawings he did, as well as some of the other giveaway stuff and thoughts on W69 attendance are related by Jim on his Book Wielder Diary in this entry here:

http://fishwielder.blogspot.com/2016/07/saturday-july-9th-2016-westercon-m-and.html

The Wife™ got another Brad temp tat and a QR Code sticker, and stuck it on the back of her blouse, and whenever someone asked her "Did you know you have a sticker on your back?" she'd say "Yes, why don't you scan the QR code and see where it goes?"

I'm looking forward to Fish Wielder I and I really want to see Jim succeed with this. It's going to be good and he's going to be big.

12 July 2016

[art] This Was The 2016 Clallam Bay Comicon That Was

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A report from Donna Barr, the founding mother:

http://donnabarr.blogspot.com/2016/07/2016-clallam-bay-comicon-con-report.html

The Clallam Bay Comicon, like many microcons similar, and some larger events like Linework NW, Artists' Alley Comic Con (which is coming up next month) and Fanaticon, fills the void left by the media-event megacons. They're all about the creator and the fan meeting and enjoying each others' company, and selling a bit and making a bit of fun and reputation. They're so scalable that literally anyone can create and stage one.

The only reason we've not visited Clallam Bay is because it's just too far for us to economically stretch at the moment. But we do have Jake Richmond and the Pooles at Spritely Bean, and they'll keep us excited until such time as we can finally make our way north.

Until that time, I give you Donna's show.

[design] Multnomah County Library's New Logo

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If you were asked what the logo of the Multnomah County Library was, up until now, you'd be hard-pressed to come up with one.

It was more of a wordmark, really, a designed arrangement of the name. After the Library 'went public' in 1990 (by the passage of a tax base measure which spelled the end of the private "Library Assocation of Portland … before which the LAP's seal was its logo) the word mark appeared alongside Multnomah County's stylzied "M" logo (seen right). During and for a time after the Library's sesquicentennial year (2014), the library logo featured a base of a large black block with the number 150 reversed-out of it.

This month, that all changes. The new, up-to-date Multnomah County Library logo, which should see our beloved library well into the next 150 years, has debuted, and here it is:


Of course,  we're prone to like anything MultCoLib does, but this is a winner. The type is current and seems to have that classic sort of feel to it that should prove to withstand the test of time. The abstract symbol, which recapitulates the abstract approach of and seems to share a similar palette with the County's logo, is shaped in an abstracted "L" (which can be made more than one way by tracing along the edges of the shapes) and can be viewed as a an open book, an open laptop computer … really, whatever you want to see there.

I see an open door inviting me to go down a passage, myself.

The new logo is expected to help coordinate a unified graphic approach to all County Library publications, which is another good thing a logo can do … become a linchpin, iconically providing a  pivoti upon which a holistic graphic theme can revolve. The logo won't become widespread immediately, as the Library plans to exhaust its stock of stationery with the old logos on it and phase in the new look.

The library's page on its logo's history and new look can be found hither: https://multcolib.org/blog/20160705/about-new-library-logo.

We think it well done. 

[liff] The May Day Faerie Circle in Peninsula Park V: How To Be Totally In Love

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On May the 1st, 2016, in Peninsula Park, in Portland, Oregon, a group of blithe spirits were called together to do something daft and absurd and fun and happy and welcome in spring. You might call this peak Portland, but I call it liberating. This is the fifth of several posts, several because there were so very many pictures.

There was this couple there that I could not take my eyes off of.

I think of them as "The Two". This is them:


They seemed to be romance perfectely embodied. This couple had a magnetism to them, as though what they shared was so universal you shared it too, just to be in their general vicinity. Old lovers could look at them and smile in realization and remembrance; lonesome people could look at them and feel hope for what they hope for.

The world just seemed to be set up with a perfect place for them, and they fit in that  place, hand-in-glove, every move perfect, every countenance, beatific.


There's no printed guide on how to be perfectly in love with your partner, and I don't think one could be written in any human language, but in the wordless language of the heart, it's all there.

You just have to study the scene until the light happens.

11 July 2016

[liff] The May Day Faerie Circle in Peninsula Park IV: Summer Candid, Summer Not

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On May the 1st, 2016, in Peninsula Park, in Portland, Oregon, a group of blithe spirits were called together to do something daft and absurd and fun and happy and welcome in spring. You might call this peak Portland, but I call it liberating. This is the fourth of several posts, several because there were so very many pictures. 

This pictures in this post could be filed in a place where you would go if you wanted to remind yourself how to dance like nobody was watching, except everyone was watching, except everyone was cool, so cut loose, life is short, &c, &c.

I really went for the candid, unposed. That is the sort of thing that speaks to me the loudest, but there are some photos that you just have to have a pose for.

For instance.



We had a couple of the Sisters of Perpetual Indugence there. You know Y'lluria's idea had wings when these tender ministers show up.


Meanwhile, a few others of the blithe spirits sunned themselves in the slightly-unseasonably warm weather. The young lady on the far right in the photo above deserves notice; she was a unicorn, and I'm down with that, because Portland needs more unicorns. She was truly a lovely woman, and I should have taken more pictures of her.

The sheer ease and niftyness of the atmosphere is palpable.

This next faerie was charming because of the rag-tag mien. It's as though she stepped out of the forest:



Whereas this one was charming because she was all Mardi Gras and ebullience, an explosion of color:


And, of course, hippies of all ages.


The complexity of this young lady's wings (I believe the older woman next to her was her mother or guardian) would have gotten a 'best wings in show', if there were awards for that being given:


The young lady un-self-consciously dancing in the below for her friends was charming beyond surly words, of course.


And it goes perfectly with the look of happy abandon on this young lady, also dancing as though little else mattered.


And Mom may have been distracted … but the little girl there certainly had the photographers number.


About the other thing this brings to mind is an aphorism I recently saw electronically:

If you're having trouble dancing like nobody sees you, just look at a toddler. They do it, and there isn't even any music.
A little wild abandon never hurts.

09 July 2016

[liff] On The Subject of Superstars

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I've been reading a great deal about Andy Warhol and the way he lived his life. I must say, still, even though I can recognize what a great infusion of new ideas (or at least aggressively current ones for the time) he brought to popular art at the time, a great deal of his work doesn't reach me.

His life, though … that's another thing. He lived his life like it was one big artwork. I find it endlessly fascinating. Since I keep diary, I remember the big cultural bomb that The Andy Warhol Diaries were. It was so very fashionable, as an actor or actress or public figure, to find yourself mentioned in them. And fact was, or at least I have read, was that he started the diary as a way to keep track of daily expenses after he got in some financial legal trouble. Or at least that's what I heard, but it makes sense. Somehow everything he did just got big and bombastic and outlandish.

I've also been learning about Warhol's Superstars, that coterie of actors, artists, and performers he kept about him when he was at his biggest and brightest. As I understand it, if you came to work for him and worked in one of his film or figured in his artwork, he'd call you a Superstar, and then promote you. Some of them became famous, some notorious. All of them seem to be remembered.

Now, Andy seemed to have a fairly cynical view of the idea of fame, but I was thinking, what if we all figured out who our own superstars were, and promoted them? I mean, we aren't Andy Warhol (I think sometimes not even he was), but that doesn't mean we can't support, as best as we can, those people around us who color our individual worlds. What would it be like if we all really started pulling for each other? We all fancy that we do, but sometimes, I wonder … two people I know are either homeless and jobless or on the edge of it. I promote them via Facebook because it's what I can do right now, but I do it.

Ever since there's been a social media, I've shared neat people and things by them that make me happy without hesitation. Because that's what I do, because I'm happy when my friends win.

I see superstars in my own life. If only you could view the world with my eyes.

08 July 2016

[liff] The May Day Faerie Circle in Peninsula Park III: The Live Soundtrack

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On May the 1st, 2016, in Peninsula Park, in Portland, Oregon, a group of blithe spirits were called together to do something daft and absurd and fun and happy and welcome in spring. You might call this peak Portland, but I call it liberating. This is the third of several posts, several because there were so very many pictures. 

Like any great festival, the May Day Faerie Circle had live music.


All of it improvised. This was a cosmic jam session with the accent on easy. Everyone had their instrument and everyone was enjoying the flow.


Gaea unplugged, you might call it. There was also freestyle percussion:


… and something that I think of, in retrospect, as Sunny Oregon Breakdown … mandolin, harp, and handpan.

[W69] Westercon 69 Memories: Alexander James Adams, The Changeling Bard

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This is the third time I've tried to craft an opening for some sort of meaningful narrative about Alexander James Adams. And I'm abashed to say that I can't come up with anything that doesn't sound a little lame. Anyone reading this can maybe relate: here you have someone who has been kind of a grace background note in a life full of ups and downs, and as a musician one enjoys, has occasionally provided the soundtrack; you feel they are a friend though they have friends beyond a simple count; the trajectory of their life has features of the seeker, the traveler, the shaman … especially that of the burden assumed by someone who has no choice than to travel a road upon which the toll is beyond any simple calculation.

Alec, to be banal and glib and essential about it, contains multitudes. And to explore this properly, I've not yet the narrative chops to do as of yet; they require a much more mature writer. It's as though I can't mention one thing without wanting to mention something else simultaneously. So my words tend to fail.

Suffice it to say, then, that if you see him as just a damned good and talented and passionate musician, that's just a starting point, but a good one.  For more than twenty years that I've known of him, he's been making folk music that's not only fun, but listenable, accessable and memorable. I've been a fan of the famous Martin Mull bon mot "I remember the great folk music scare of the 60's … that shit almost caught on" for  a while, but eventually someone comes along who puts a crack in ones' cynicism, and for me, Alec was that person. During the 90's, as Heather Alexander, he put out music that drew from a common folk experience but still had a unique signature to it. There is, and was, nothing quite like a Heather Alexander performance. She ruled the roost monthly for a number of years during that decade at a pub called R.P. McMurphy's, which used to be at The Academy in Vancouver, and we attended every performance we could most enthusiastically. And from that reputation and appeal sprang such things as the musical group Uffington Horse and the inspiration for the character Juniper MacKenzie in S.M. Sterling's Emberverse and the collaboration with author Steven Barnes which graced the world with Insh'allah, the musical companion to Barnes's alternate-history novel Lion's Blood. The power of Alec to inspire, wherever and however he goes, must not be taken lightly.

It was, if I recall correctly (and I may not) a performance at an OryCon a very long time ago that got us on board the Alec bandwagon to begin with. Ever since, a SFF Con in Portland that we can actually get to go to isn't really complete without seeing him there, and, since he was Westercon 69 Flik GOH, why, this was a thing of perfection. He was to play more than once; on Friday night, there was a request time, and he did quite a few favorites, including his signature "March of Cambreadth", which, it has been demonstrated and was performed with a significant degree of puckish humor that night, maps hilariously to "Turkey in the Straw".

You should have been there. Seriously.

This is Alec in the W69 dealer's room, the next day:


He didn't have any physical stock to sell, but he did have several download codes for his recordings on Bandcamp and The Wife™ bought two of them to help round out her collection. It was then, as we chatted with him, I once again noticed something; that warm outflow of emotion that is almost empathic and very compelling, the kind of humanity that leaves a lasting impression that he's glad he got to talk to you. 

There is no such thing as a wasted moment with Alec. I don't think it's possible. He has a warm, easy, Zen-like way about him that is positively affirming to everyone who gets touched by it, and, along the way, he got a picture with my favorite hippie chick. You can't go wrong.


The Sunday performance was an hour's worth of song and wit, and I'll always remember it because of the first song, a song which showed Alec able to sing in both his and Heather's voices, flawlessly. Once again, words fail … but it made me feel at once older and younger, and brought the years of listening to great music from a genuinely great personality into a sort of full-circle, remembering the past fondly while reveling in the moment of the present.

Alec is one of those people you think about and you say to yourself You know, they should be much more famous than they are. But, in arriving in the present, Alec seems to be as comfortable in his skin and his art as he ever has been. It's like he's in full blossom now. He goes where the wind blows, and has made the most of his chances in the years since Alec has fully spread his wings, and you look up there and see him, and things just seem possible somehow.

Anyone who can make life in Oklahoma worth living has got to have some sort of magic about 'em.

OhandbeforeIforget … up above I picted the QR code for Alec's Patreon presence. It kind of sucked because light reflections. But a lot of you know what Patreon is, and for those who don't, it's a different kind of crowdfunding where you give a little something each month, like being a patron, and the artist or creator kicks you back some exclusive content. In Alec's case, it's a new original video or song each month, and you can get on board for as little as one dollar  a month. So, such a deal, yes? You'll find it all at https://www.patreon.com/AlexanderJamesAdams.

One. Dollar. A. Month.  $12 a year for the happy.

06 July 2016

[W69] Westercon 69 Memories: Ferdowsi, Scalzi, and Stross, Unlimited

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Authors are gods to me. This, then, is a miniature pantheon:


On the left, JPL's "Mohawk Guy", Bobak Ferdowsi. In the middle, John Scalzi, and on the right, Charles Stross.

The panel was called Intellectual Free-for-all, and it lived up to that. They chatted about exoplanets, orbital mechanics, and Brexit. It was sardonically delightful to hear Stross ruefully observe that the first thing he does each morning (he's a Briton, in case you didn't know) is find out who's running the country today.

He lives in Britain, and he can't tell some days, so don't feel bad, fellow Americans, if you can't figure it out either.


There were barely cheap seats by the time we got there but it was worth it.

My attention was divided. I was writing some other observations in my diary at the time. I mean, at least I can say I was writing in the same room as John Scalzi and Charlie Stross. Technically, that makes me one of them.

Well, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. 

[liff] The May Day Faerie Circle in Peninsula Park II: Y'lluria, The Faerie In Charge

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On May the 1st, 2016, in Peninsula Park, in Portland, Oregon, a group of blithe spirits were called together to do something daft and absurd and fun and happy and welcome in spring. You might call this peak Portland, but I call it liberating. This is the second of several posts, several because there were so very many pictures. 

Every group of seekers needs a guru, a leader, a teacher of some sort. There are many sorts of those. Some teachers are stern, demanding obedience and obeisance, others have a more gentle way of directing and guiding. It was the second type this group had in the inimitable Y'llura Watersong.

If you watched the news during the last heat wave, you saw her. April 20th, KGW's equally-inimitable Matt Zaffino had the interview-of-a-lifetime when he met her and her friend Una at Salmon Street Springs. This was not long before I would have the pleasure of her society.

Today, she was resplendent in blue and white, flowing skirts and pooka shells, and pure graciousness.


She was patient, encouraging, totally enabling, and kind throughout. And a ball of energy it was hard to keep up with. I'm no mind reader, but I'm sure she figured she'd get some like-minds together. I'll bet she was flattered and surprised by the final group … There were at least 100 people in that circle by the height of the ritual, and some had come from an hour-or-two's drive just to take part.


The moment that captured her splendidness is this next picture here. The young lady in foreground right is a young lady of special needs, for whom there was a small problem that was a big problem for her. The look of patience and human care on Y'lluria's face says a great deal about her generosity of spirit and character. To be totally there for that young girl is the story the face tells, and if I have no other memory of ever crossing paths with her, this would be the icon for it. 


There are some blithe souls that take the time to try to make the space near them one of kindness, in hopes that would spread out and go viral.

Y'lluria is one of those souls.

05 July 2016

[W69] Westercon 69 Memories: The View From The Hotel

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Westercon 69 just concluded here in Portland. I was there for some of that there thing, and I have some photos. Many more memories, and the photos, of course, help.

The event was at Portland's Doubletree Lloyd Center Hotel. It's a 15-story building and they loved putting the hospitality suite at the top there. This made getting there as much of a adventure as being there.

From the distant peak of Mount Hood through the glass of the elevator …


… to a gorgeous deeply-red-inflected sunset over the Lloyd District …


… to an incomparably unforgettable view of downtown Portland as the light fades.


Portland is the most photogenic city in the world.

[liff] The May Day Faerie Circle in Peninsula Park I: The Circle

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On May the 1st, 2016, in Peninsula Park, in Portland, Oregon, a group of blithe spirits were called together to do something daft and absurd and fun and happy and welcome in spring. You might call this peak Portland, but I call it liberating. This is the first of several posts, several because there were so very many pictures. 

There comes the time in every serious person's life when one must do something delightfully absurd and extremely fun and wonderful. Like welcoming spring in at a Faerie Circle.

Being different in Portland is, of course, something we do to a fare-thee-well. But life is a terribly serious place these days. So very much to be in dreadful expectation of. And there are good ways to unhinge ones' self. This … this is something I recommend. Because you can't be good to the world if you can't be good to yourself, and being here is being good to yourself.

They let me be good to myself. They let me be the camera who witnessed. And this is what I saw.


From the slow gathering and assembly …


… Friends and assistants gathered, and learnt the the parts they were to play. Most of us had never met or known each other, but the ground rules were clear for anyone with eyes to see: Roll with it. Be good to each other. Trust in each other; you'll know what to do when the time comes.
 

It was ritual, but it was fun. 


It's hard not to be somewhat grandiloquent when remembering the day. If you wanted to show your faerie self, go ahead; whatever yourself was, you were welcome.


A splendid human to lead us through the motions was all that we needed. The rest was provided by whatever we had to bring.


All that was left for us was to open like a flower … and roll with it.


 


I fancied I'd gone there as a reporter. I'd let the memory mellow, because I'd really wanted to be an observer. the pictures are a story; the faces tell of a certain bliss; I'll let them speak for themselves.


All on a temperate, sunny Oregon day in May. 

In the year 2016.

04 July 2016

[SJKPDX] My Own Westercon 69 Triumph … New Portland Skyline On The Title Page.

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If you've not yet heard, Westercon 69 is now wrapping up here in Portland. The 69th edition of Westercon, a movable Science Fiction/Fantasy convention which is to Western NorthAm what the Worldcon is SFF in general, was one of the most well-attended in years, with over 1700 members; this puts it in the major leagues. With GoH's like Scalzi and Stross, Bobak Ferdowsi, a bard like Alexander James Adams, and our own local David D. Levine, and set in Portland, how could have been anything other than a success? But the success exceeded expectations.

I even had my own high point. Chosen to grace the table'o'contents, there at the bottom, is my newest Portland Skyline photo. Peep it:


So, my name and an image I made get to grace the same page with some pretty heavy hitters. I also got, as it will be recalled, to collaborate on the divising of that nifty logo, so I got that workin' for me, which is nice (thank you, Meredith!). 

20 June 2016

[pdx_liff] Powell's City of Books On The Afternoon Of Pride Weekend

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Sunday evening was, as usual, church for us, and by church, I mean hanging out Powells City of Books drinking coffee (well, iced tea that day ... it's been warming up) and looking through books we will either purchase or bookmark for future acquisition, and watching the world go by on 11th and West Burnside.

W Burnside looking east toward Oak
Of course, it's been Pride Weekend here in Portland, and it was wild, a good time had by all. We didn't go ourselves, not only did we have a sort of a mixed-up weekend, but the last thing our LGBTQ friends need is a cis het culture vulturing it. It's their space. I respect this.

But there was a lot of people thronging Powell's, as is the case whenever there's a big event in town. A lot of beautiful, beautiful people, and I think the beauty was probably multiplied by it being Pride. After all, what else can happen when you have an entire day dedicated to stepping aside and concentrating on remaking ones'-self into a person who lives and lets other people live?

Oh, I'm not talking about queer people. They seem pretty cool about themselves already. I'm talking about us straights who still have a little evolution to do. I'm working on mine. Are you working on yours?

So, this year's Pride is symbolized and sanctified by this picture. I was in the coffee room waiting on The Wife™ to catch up to me when I saw this person. Absolutely loved the countenance. Very beautiful and artistic. And so I requested permission to pict, and she gracefully granted.


Most beatific. Glad to be here.

Completing the tableau, the prettiest ugly car you ever saw, a classic VW Karmann Ghia, or what happened when VW decided to design a sports car. When I was a kid, I thought they were pretty ugly. Now, I have the attitude best encompassed by the person who described the actor Richard Boone, back during the Paladin days, which I paraphrase here:

The car is so ugly, it's beautiful.


The picture is blurred because my camera decided to be a brat and focus on the plate glass rather than the object in the street. The passenger was thrilled to be lensed, though. That much was apparent from the look on her face.

If you drive a classic VW, people are going to look. Know that going in, Homo sapiens volkswageniensis.