Middle-Aged Moshpit; Portlandia Morning

Part I:

Last night, homies Ransom, P and I ventured far into the night to see NoMeansNo at the Hawthorne Theater.  I've been a huge fan of NMN since I was 14 and I got their seminal "Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy?" on vinyl; I spent years trying to play bass like their stalwart leader Rob Wright, which is sort of like trying to play trumpet like Miles Davis.  Despite the heat and humidity in the stanky venue wreaking havoc with their equipment, the band itself was top-notch, delivering about 1.5 hours of blistering, dirgy (i.e. "like a dirge", not a misspelling of "dirty") punk.  Two notes on the show:
  1. Those guys have looked old since I first heard them.  They looked old on the album photo of their first album, put out in the early 80s.  They looked old the three times I saw them in the 1990s.  They still look old now, in 2013, but not really any older than they ever did.  It was WEIRD, you guys!
  2. More to the point, the show was 21 and over, and I expected it to just be a lot of old rockers like myself rocking.  That was indeed the case.  What I did not expect, however, was the presence of a full-on geriatric moshpit the whole time!  Big, sweaty dudes who happened to be in their 40s slamming into each other!  Minivan-age fellows crowd-surfing!  It was grampa punk at its purest!
Part II:

After getting home really late and getting a few hours of sleep, it was up for the big day-before-Plan C's 3rd birthday outing B and I had been planning.  We did the following things:
  1. Bought a bed frame from West Elm (high-end mall-pop blaring on the speakers included) to go with our new fancy latex mattress we bought last week.
  2. Got fancy donuts from the new fancy donuts joint Blue Star Donuts a few blocks away (I got a maple bacon one.)
  3. Did photobooth pictures in the lobby of the trendy-ass fancy Ace Hotel a few blocks away.
  4. Went to Powell's (which is just great, as always, not really "fancy", where I bought two more dragon-slaying paperbacks (a few blocks away.)
It was, in short, the most Portland yuppie/hipster morning conceivable.  We regret nothing. 


Dust Settling...Now What?

This has been a tough (school) year for me, but only as tough as one would expect: I am a first-year full-time instructor at a community college, and that entails a whole lot of work in preparing and teaching four classes per term.  I had to create two completely new-to-me courses from the ground up, including lectures, powerpoints, readings, and assignments.  I had to try to figure out how to pace myself delivering up to three 1 hour, 50 minute lectures a day (still working on the pacing thing.)  I'm also very carefully testing the waters of the inevitable office politics, although I'm incredibly lucky in that my colleagues are all great, smart, sympathetic people and there's no question I have less political bullshit to put up with than 90%+ of other teachers out there.

The thing is, though, I appear to be over the hump with the insanity; I have all four of my courses in reasonably good shape and I'm more-or-less on top of the material.  So...now what.  The weird and (possibly) interesting thing about teaching a specific set of classes is that you can fine-tune and modify as much as you want, but the time per lecture is always the same.  What I mean is that modification for the sake of modification would be pointless, and there is a high baby-out-with-bathwater chance if you were to just ditch a lecture topic in favor of a new one.  Likewise, since the students are new each term, novelty for the instructor ("Hey!  I am lecturing about Spain more than I used to!") just means a different narrative for the students, and one that isn't necessarily "better" than the old one.

Point is: I am still figuring this shit out.  Word.



Let me explain myself here:

Everyone who knows me even casually (e.g. the shuttle driver to campus, angry hobos I avoid, the friendly chap who built our fence, porch, and kitchen) knows that I love the rain.  My friends get annoyed with my references to it, and OMFG...poor B.  I've gone off about how it hasn't rained enough lately so many times in her presence that when I start in, she delivers a seriously-shut-up glare that could make Rush Limbaugh turn off his microphone.* 

I am feeling kind of nostalgic and emotional-in-a-good-way and it's raining right now and I want to say why I love it so much.  It's because rain for me is equivalent to life itself.  There's the obvious part - it makes everything grow, it provides for our species to keep on being a species for the time being, and so on.  There's also my subjective position and, I serpose, philosophical position, that I love Oregon because it's green here, because the rivers are huge, because most of the year you're stomping around in a sweater and a jacket (which makes everyone look cooler than they would in California crap), and ultimately because Oregon seethes with something like good "energy" in the hippie sense.  This place is defined by the rain, and I get worked-up when it doesn't rain enough because (A.) it makes me think about mortality**, and (B.) I fear more than anything Oregon losing its identity, losing its core.  There's no evidence that that's going to happen, it's just that this place is so precious to me that the idea of a de-Oregonized Oregon terrifies me.

So keep raining, sky.  Despite what everyone else says.

* This is a good idea, and I will start trying to come up with a way that B can deliver this glare to that particular pile of reheated shit.
** Honestly...lack of rain makes me think about being dead.  Welcome to my psyche.