Thursday, December 07, 2006

No Dead Moon for you!

Well, this was a disappointing evening.

I went to Dante's tonight to see Portland's favorite punk band, Dead Moon. The legendary Dead Moon, that is. That would be the Dead Moon that sells out the biggest rooms in Belgium. And Germany. And France. And gets absolutely no credit here in the states, outside of Portland, anyway.

Dead Moon cancelled. Word on the (sorry...) blogosphere has it that "something bad happened on their European tour" and that they may be breaking up. This is an unconfirmed rumor, of course. It could just be that they need a break. That would stand to reason, as they usually do take some time off when they come back from overseas. And hey, they are in their fifties! They've been doing the punk rock thing since the days of the Kingsmen (interesting side note: Dead Moon's singer/guitarist Fred Cole actually owns the mono lathe on which the Kingsemen's "Louie, Louie" was mastered). But still, Dead Moon LIVE rock-n-roll, they don't cancel a show unless something is awry. I guess I should have known something was up when the doorman told me there was no cover.

Garage rockers Mora Tau filled in for them, and they were great. In fact, they were fantastic, definitely worth checking out again. But they weren't Dead Moon. I've put off seeing this band for too long, and I really hope the window hasn't closed! Let's all wish, as hard as we can, that the rumors aren't true!

Huzzah for Fractals!

Okay, now I'm just blogging because I'm bored. Sorry. Go back to whatever it is you were doing.

24 Hours on Marquam Hill

An interesting photo essay was recently put together chronicling a 24-hour period at my place of employment, OHSU. Somehow, I didn't make it into any of the photos. But it's still worth a look:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Burke's first week (and a half)

Well, it's been an exciting week for the new dog. Jodi and Lisa drove up from Creswell on Nov. 25 to check out the house and the yard, and having determined that it was an appropriate environment for Burke, went back to Creswell without him.

He warmed up to me within the first day or two, and got the lay of the house down pretty quickly. He's established a couple of safety zones, one being my bedroom, the other being the corner of the kitchen, in front of the door that leads to the basement. He also has the basement, where he hangs out when I'm at work, or out someplace where I can't take him. I've got his crate down there, and he spends a lot of his basement time in there, although I know he comes out of it at least every once in a while. He's getting used to the neighborhood as well, although sudden noises still send him into a panicked crouch. He's gradually getting desensitized to all of the random stimulation of being in an urban environment. The main challenge is going to be getting him comfortable with the back yard. For whatever reason, he really doesn't seem to like it out there, which will need to change, as the back yard is to be his toilet. He's house trained, and he's done his thing out back a few times now, so I know he's capable of it, it's just a matter of getting him to make that association, I guess. We'll keep working on it.

Burke hasn't shown any interest in fetch yet, and in general he doesn't seem to be very toy motivated. He does have a rawhide chew toy he seems to like, but that's about it. He's not much for tug-of-war, either. Basically, he works really hard at relaxing. He does, however, like to go on hikes. He's been in Forest Park a couple times, and I'm going to try to get out into the Gorge with him sometime this weekend. Hiking notwithstanding, he's definitely a mellow dog, not nearly as intense as Copilot (and Cope wasn't really that intense to begin with, not by border collie standards anyway). He'll be a bit of a project, as he's got some kinks to work out, but he has a great personality, and he'll be a great dog.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Quiet Power!

A couple of alternate titles to this blog might be: "Happy Birthday, Amy! Damn You!" or "Tonight I was rocked by Canadian rednecks!" But I think "Quiet Power!" says it best.

A buddy of mine went to see Flipper tonight at Dante's (Flipper, for those of you not familiar with them, are a San Francisco experimental noise/punk outfit from the 80s; they're one of those bands that are, as my friend John says, "referred to as 'seminal' in the press"), and honestly, I was tempted to go along. I also considered seeing New Model Army (another "seminal" 80s band, this time from England) at the Fez, which might very well have been a once in a lifetime show. But I turned both of those opportunities down to see Amy Millan (say "Mill-ANN") at the Doug Fir. Those of you who follow Canadian music will probably know her name from her work with Stars and Broken Social Scene. These days she's touring as a solo artist.

Now, many of you who know me here in Portland know that I've been bitching incessantly of late about the country/bluegrass curse that's befallen Stumptown over the past few years (thankfully, that curse is beginning to lift). Well, I have to say, tonight I saw that oft-mangled musical genre done right! Amy Millan made the Fir her own with her "anti-Tammy-Wynette" down home antics. "Kentuckified," the critics are saying about her. Now, I've never been to Kentucky, so I can't comment on that, but she's from Canada, I know that much, and I don't think there's a Kentucky up there... And at any rate, Slint and Love Jones were both from Kentcky, and there's really no comparison to either, so critics, I would say you need to fish around for a better word! Of course, I'm not a music critic myself, so I really don't know what else I can say about her other than that her voice is the perfect vehicle for her beautifully crafted songs, thin and plaintive at the right moments, fat and soaring the rest of the time. The band she's surrounded herself with back her up with equal parts subtlety and force, with the stand-outs being a lap steel player, a mandolinist (mandoliner?) and a multi-instrumentalist who switched from trombone to guitar to saw. Yes, the saw, more on that in a bit. You can check out her music at In doing so, you'll get the Amy Millan solo experience. Which is all well and good, but imagine those songs fleshed out by an astoundingly capable six-piece band, and you'll have a good idea of what we all experienced tonight at the Doug Fir.

I saw a couple of firsts at this show: One was a Thunderbird mandolin (I didn't know such a thing existed! This is of interest to me, as I play a Thunderbird bass). The other was a saw solo! Yes, that's right, the aforementioned multi-instrumentalist played a saw (just what it sounds like), with a bow, like a cello. Only it was a saw. Which of course we've all seen before on Hee Haw, but this guy soloed on the thing like he was Jimmy Page. Amazing!

And yes, it was Amy's birthday. Or rather tomorrow is. A few of us in the crowd tried to sing "Happy Birthday" to her at a couple points during the show, but she cut us off, determined not to be the center of attention (ironic, yes). If any of you happen to be at Amy's show in Eugene tomorrow night, don't let her wiggle out of it! And have fun, you will not be disappointed!