I arrived in Portland a few weeks ago after spending some time visiting a friend in Seattle, hoping to find a good place to ’settle down’ for five or six months before I head south. I drove through the center of town, eventually finding myself parked outside a coffee shop called jackman joe, and headed inside for a cup and some advice on where to park the rv without having to pay. Within fifteen minutes I walked out with caffeinated beverage in hand, well informed on where to park and how to get there, and with a gig lined up there for later in the evening. This kind of luck seems to me to bode well for the city of roses. I easily found a couple of neighborhoods with desirable rv parking locations: flat, easy access in and out, closely located next to parks and drinking establishments, and no pay-to-park. I explored and got a little better acquainted with my new ‘neighborhoods’ while trying to find a steady place to stay. Some of the more interesting activities include a street fair to help benefit the computer recycling program freegeek. I hung out there for a couple of days and helped with some work. It’s a lot like a similar organization I used to work with in Athens, GA called freeITathens, except on a much bigger scale. The folks at House Of Dolls helped me to mend a rip in the ass of my pants and showed me how to put a patch on some overalls. I played a show outside on the HOTTEST day of the year at the Portland Coffee House on 25th and Belmont, where the only people in the audience were the poor souls who obviously didn’t have air conditioning or a ride to the river. Thanks to everyone who managed to make it out in those sorts of adverse conditions. And I spent a lot of time reading way too many free comics than should be allowed at floating world comics. I alternated between my new homes while patiently awaiting a response to my craigslist ad seeking a mutually beneficial relationship with an empty building.
I finally did get a response, and after waiting around for a week or so I finally ended up in probably the last flophouse in Portland. I had gotten the rv parked in the driveway for a few days before actually getting the key, and from the outside the place looks great! It’s a huge old house, over fifty rooms, with a great big porch and in a real thumping neighborhood. I’ve counted 5 starbucks so far in a four block radius, and rumour has it they are going to build an Apple store just a couple blocks away. So here I am, I’ve got this huge house to myself, on one of ritzier streets in Portland, and I’m just amazed at the luck that I’m experiencing. Just six months ago I was living in an old goat barn on a two acre farm in the middle of nowhere, struggling to make the $209 a month mortgage payments, and now I’m living in the largest house on the street in one of the hippest place in town, all the while paying nothing AND having my utilities covered on top of it. Send all future correspondence to my new address: Easy Street.
I had been out real late in the evening celebrating the night before the former caretaker came by at eight in the morning to bring me the keys and show me around. Although I was hungover and a little slow to consciousness, it didn’t take much to realize that, as Mr. Heinlein used to say, “TANSTAAFL”. The place was a shithole. And when I say shithole, I mean a shithole: there were several rooms were I found feces on the floor. Rotting food everywhere, trash in piles and piles, a room (although well closed off) with a healthy population of indigenous flies, paint peeling off almost every place imaginable, and of course the closed off room with a steady stream of hot water running that (supposedly) couldn’t be shut off, where when you walk into it it feels like a wet sauna but breathes like black mold. Just disgusting. And on top of that, a large part of the caretaker job is to make sure that no one breaks in and makes the place any worse. “My best advice to you”, he said “is to get a crowbar”. Whatever. I was able to refrain from puking my guts and went back to the relative safety and comfort of the rv to go to sleep. I walked through the place later that day, and later again, and each time it became a little more manageable, a little less creepy. Or maybe I’m just getting creepier. The girls next to me had to search to find an old picture of me on the web to pass around their myspace pages as the creepy guy who lives next door. I’m like the next fucking David Hasselhoff!
A dumpster was brought in and it looks like the flophouse just might be livable, although I am still sleeping in the rv. Other than a couple of run ins with some unsavory characters, all seems to be going well. I’ve solved the gush of hot water problem, and found a room with nice acoustics that I have cleaned up for working in. I’ve had some trouble putting pics on here the way I’d like them in the past, so I’ll just give you a link to my flickr page. A couple of artists are should be coming by soon for photo shoots, so hopefully I’ll be able to post some better pictures, as I am just an amateur photographer.
Now as for music:
I hopefully have someone in Portland who will be remixing the last podcast so I can actually release it and be proud of it. If that falls through, we can just think of it as the ‘lost episode’. You can still get it if you have the google random mp3 module and it shows up there (you could always just hit refresh till it comes up).
I’m playing at the SE Portland Relay For Life (follow link for directions) on Friday, August 11th from 7:45 to 8:45 pm. This show will be a reworked version of the Life Is But A Wheel show. Seems like it would be strangly fitting for the event.
Then on Friday, August 25, I’ll be playing at a newish bar called The Waypost (3120 N. Williams). I’m thinking I’ll probably have 4 to 5 new songs ready to be played for this show, so it should be one to catch.
The new songs will hopefully be recorded and released within a month and a half.