Log in

No photos. You're welcome.

Tuesday mornings, the street I live on gets service: recycling, trash (every two weeks), glass (when we need to put it out, which is every few weeks), and compost/yard debris. Our trash and yard debris bins were emptied earlier, and an hour ago I went out to bring them back to the backyard.

The debris bin was noisy. I opened it and FLIES FLIES SO MANY FLIES MAYBE ALL THE FLIES

There was a swarm. From what I briefly saw, the swarm was flying in formation. No kidding, I threw the lid closed, jumped back and yelled a highly undignified "whuhhhh-UHH-uh" at the sight. I'm sure I looked amusing.

I took back the trash bin, then returned and took a longer look at the bin. Were any of the buzzing creatures also stinging creatures? I saw that they weren't. I rolled the bin up the driveway, left it on this side of the backyard fence, then opened it again. I'm giving the flies the chance to go somewhere else before I return the bin to storage. Whether they leave is up to them.

Were I really ruthless, I could've left it closed and hoped that the flies would, eventually, DIE DIE ALL DIE still in there. But even though dead flies can be composted, it didn't seem sporting to do that. Flies have their role in the Circle of LifeTM, and my being skeeved out by them doesn't change that. This is also true of house centipedes; I haaaaaate the look of house centipedes, but they do a needed job. (I'm glad I like spiders! Makes me more likely to let them do their job.)

Soon I'll close the bin and bring it in. Carefully.

There was a basement. Now there's not.

Portland had a bar called Sewickly's. It's gone now. So is the diner, Sewickly's Addition, that was next to it in the same building. Briefly, the bar was called Sewick's Lounge, an attempt to make it seem classier. I went to the bar a time or two, and to the diner a time or two; plus I know a lot of Portlanders who went to it far more. One time, Tonya Harding supposedly jumped behind its bar and started making drinks. It was that kind of place. It also had the nickname Sewickity's, even though it obviously wasn't spelled like that.

As that link says (unless it's far in the future when you read this and the link's dead), Sewickly's closed early in 2016 to make way for a new mixed-use building. It's since been knocked down. I've seen some of the demolition's progress. This afternoon I was out and about on buses, the last one being the # 14 back to where I live, and I rode it past what used to look like this:

...and is now rubble. With a hole, under where Sewickly's Addition, the diner part, used to be. And on the north side of that hole, I saw the outline of the stairs that used to go down from the kitchen area to that basement. Ghost stairs. Ghost stairs for a ghost basement.

I never went down there. Of course, neither did most of Portland.


One of the cliché-iest clichés in movie trailers lately is having a slowed-down, ominous-sounding pop song play over the images. It's meant to sound ominous and portentous — This song you recognize isn't the way you remember, it's shifted to be scarier, maybe the film will be scary, too — but one of these days, if it hasn't already, on some film trailer it's going to seem ridiculous.

I first wanted some movie to score its trailer with a slowed-down, ominous version of this:

Or heck, maybe just the original song, as Napoleon XIV sang it in 1966. The amazing thing is, it might just work.

But that idea made me think of this idea: now I wish someone in the late Sixties had done a whole film, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World-style, based on this song! It would have an easy tagline: "Things Got Worse."

Naps are victory

Mom has told me that she never truly appreciated naps until she was in college. I get that. Sometimes when you're a kid, naps are things your parents make you do — often because they may be able to tell better than you can that you need the rest, but as a kid you aren't going to feel that they know better. But once you're an adult, and have more choice in the matter, it can be niiiiice. Can be.

At some point in my adulthood, though, I started having trouble napping. It'd be like my body is going Wait, no, we're not completely exhausted so we're not gonna rest now, let's wait, we have stuff to do, we have at least reading we can be doing while we're lying down, we can think about things even though we can't do anything about those things for now, really we should be up and doing stuff and and and...

It's like I monologue myself out of sleep.

Today was like that. My big job today was a grocery run, three pretty heavy bags plus a couple of boxes of soda I'd carried home from the nearest Fred Meyer; that had been an exertion. I ate a good-sized lunch, really it's probably going to count as dinner too, so my body had digestion to do which it can do while napping, and I had a chance to nap and it's a quiet afternoon and I'm by myself so lie down, it's a good time to nap...

I think I napped, I think. I did, at least, rest. But winding down to nap seemed to take longer than it really should have. But. Nap. Enough of one. Yes.
Pez Kill
by Christopher Walsh, 7/10/2017-7/20/2017

The Pez dispensers start to march.
They rock from side to side, to gain
Momentum, crossing counters (hup!)
Or leaning ’gainst each other, thanks
To strength in numbers: look out! Pez
Dispensers go to war, dispens-
-ing little bullets under their
High heads, their sweet-taste crunch replaced
With flying metal death. Don't eat
What shoots from them! And watch for them
To use their springs to add some bounce
To their attack. Momentum kills!
It can, at least, kill you, not them.
(They're plastic, stiff, you understand:
They never were alive.) You must
Prepare for molded Yodas who
Went dark and joined the Vaders, Smurfs,
And Marios, all underfoot
And sharp as Legos. They will cut
To cause you pain then shoot to kill,
While bouncing off the floor plus your
Ripped body (ripped with holes (from bul-
-lets, yo)) in eerie silence from
Your foes. But you can scream. Just take
Them down with knives that slice their springs
In two, and *SPROING*: they're gone. The war
Is done. Until you step onOUCH.


Out-Of-Context Theater.

"Can Canadians be Time Lords?"

A place, gone

Also on my mind last week, adding to the weirdness of that week: on Thursday morning, the six-unit apartment building where Big-Ass Sandwiches was located for a year burned. The worst damage is on the second floor and in the attic; the cause was likely an electrical problem. I've heard, but haven't had it confirmed, that the building is a total loss and will be torn down.

Means that over a dozen people (19, I'd heard) are out of a home. I'm being selfish in thinking of the place from my perspective: I just ate there a lot, for the year that Big-Ass Sandwiches was a brick-and-mortar. But it was an important place for me. It was a really important place for my friends who opened their restaurant. And it was an even more important place for the people who were living there.

And it might not be there anymore, after this.


Thank you, Jon Bois, for "17776."

Am I capable of writing something that hits the way 17776 by Jon Bois hits?

Can I affect people in any similar way? Can I imagine a journey like that? Can I play with form the way Bois and his editors did to tell this story in multiple ways: words, images, video, music, and more?

Without saying anything about the content of 17776, I can say the story reminded me of outside-the-box strips by xkcd, especially its epic "Time." And yes, I mean "epic."

17776 is challenging, sprawling, and transformative. I wanted to note that. And to imagine how someone could build on that.

I love football, but this is worth it even for those who don't really know or follow football.


Good days, in a row

"Bad week?" my friend Riona asked me over the phone.

"Weird week," I replied.

I said that Thursday night. Without getting into details, the past week had been a little frustrating, odd, and "off." By Thursday night, as I was walking around in my neighborhood, I was feeling a little worn own by that. That's when Riona called me. I turned down going to a Friday night event with her; I wanted and needed some time by myself.

Luckily and happily, I've been getting that. Got out yesterday (Friday) and today, treating myself in cheap ways — Friday was cheap pizza from the SE Foster Rd. Little Caesar's, today was the fun Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at a second-run theater and a Slurpee on my way home — getting good long walks done, and simply enjoying how Portland looks.

I'm feeling better. I hope, as always, to feel more consistently good.

A hope, a want, a desire.

There are assholes.

There are jerks.

There are maddening people doing ugliness in the world. People making others sad. People hurting others.

That's been on my mind. I'm aware of some of the ugliness, of some of the problems, of some of the hurt. And it reminds me, as I work through my issues, try to solve my problems, try to improve my situation and others' situations, that, no matter what:

I do not want the assholes to win.

Defying physics for fun

I once rolled up a hill.

That took some doing.

Some comfortable evening back when I was a high school student, I was at a gathering in the front yard of a house on the same street in Oakton, Va as my family's place. This house was at Bree Hill Rd.'s north end, and sat lower than the road. Lots of families were in the grassy yard, including kids, mainly on the lowest part of the yard. I decided to clown around for one of those kids:

I pretended to lose my balance, swirling around my arms and wavering back and forth. I fell onto the grass, then...using my arms to push, I rolled partway up the slope, all the time yelling in mock-horror "Oh no!" and "Help me!"

The kid laughed. At least some adults were amused, too.

It didn't look perfect — I mean, it only would've looked perfect if it looked like reversed footage of me rolling down, and that's physically impossible — but my roll made that kid laugh.

I once rolled up a hill.

That took some doing.

It was worth it.
I've slowly been listening to Pink Floyd. Album by album, from their start, hearing how much of the band's inherent Floyd-ness was there from the beginning and also hearing how the band evolved. Years ago I'd bought a used CD of their original album from 1967, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn — a reference to The Wind in the Willows, which I didn't know until last year when I read that — and I've had a smattering of other Floyd albums in my collection*. At the encouragement of Scott Dally, a deep and longtime Pink Floyd fan, I started this listen. To really listen.

Today I've been listening for the first time to 1970's Atom Heart Mother. Before that, I'd found 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets on YouTube, because my library didn't have a copy; I feel weird about listening to it this way (assuaging my guilt by letting the ads play all the way through, at least) so eventually I'll buy it. One end goal is to get more Floyd. As well as to "get" more Floyd, understand the band better.

I honestly liked 1969's double album Ummagumma, even though my first reaction was This seems less like an album and more like a dare. Spacey even by Floyd standards, with an instrumental track titled "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" (really), and with the longest songs released by Floyd up to that time — Scott told me specifically that one track was 24 minutes long — Ummagumma isn't background music. Some Floyd is, but not that. You pay attention...and wait, letting the weirdness wash over you. As it does, it gets tuneful frequently, and sometimes lovely, as Pink Floyd music always eventually does.

Atom Heart Mother's another "long track" album — five tracks, the title track taking up an entire LP side — but in a way I can probably absorb better as an experience now that I've heard Ummagumma. I was struck by Dave Gilmour's vocal performance of "Fat Old Sun": he seemed to be slightly, at least slightly, channeling a gentle John Lennon with that song. Not what I was expecting. Maybe I'm hearing things. Hearing more things than are actually on the album, I mean. I'm also amused that the final song includes sounds of making and eating breakfast.

Eventually I'll give another go to 1972's Dark Side of the Moon, justly and hugely famous but almost hindered by its success: I'm so familiar with so many of its songs as singles, divorced from the experience of the album, that the time 10 or so years ago that I finally first listened to it as an album, it didn't click for me nearly as well as I'd hoped. But I'm an album person at heart, appreciating the program that an album can provide.

(To cite a non-Pink Floyd example of this, I really didn't "get" The Beatles' White Album when I heard several songs out of order on the radio. Portland's KINK.fm played it on an "album shuffle" weekend that way, probably in 2002 or '03, and the songs seemed disjointed and a little annoying. In 2004 I bought my own copy of the album, and then I got it. Albums can have power.)

When this listening project ends, I'll have more Pink Floyd. Always feeling like I'm catching up on what's good.

* Piper, Wish You Were Here, The Wall (my most recent Floyd purchase, right before I started this listening project), and The Final Cut.



So I am up to stuff:

Making sure to get out.

Walking around and, at times, bussing around.

Sitting up and taking nourishment.

Wearing hats and sunblock more often, because summer.

Keeping in touch with people.


It hasn't made for interesting blogging, lately. But I'm here.

Internally-rhymed doggerel

I wanted to write a lighter poem. I also wanted to rhyme. Thus...

* * * *

Here! Leer at the sphere near the sheer pier!
No mere, insincere auctioneer would jeer at or smear what we hear
From the sphere. An engineer would revere its hemispherical veneer
— It appears to cohere, and, thus, it endears to the eye and the ear: they adhere
So that flaws disappear, to any overseer
(Whether pamphleteer, buccaneer, or cashier).
You may start cavalier, but peer at the sphere
Long enough, and — oh dear! — you've been there
A year.

— Christopher Walsh, 7/2/2017

There. I feel better.


The one thing I did right

Adventures in Sleeping:

I like sleep. I often sleep well. (It was a mark of how stressful my construction company job was that I often didn't sleep well during it; I tended to wake up nearly an hour before I'd set my alarm time, which was a pain). So, I should've slept well last night. Should've. I certainly felt tired. Tired enough that I thought Maybe I'll rest a bit before I take care of brushing my teeth and changing and...

I woke up in the 5 o'clock hour, on top of bed, in my street clothes, mouth unwashed, and dawn light through the clouds outside: I'd left the curtain open and the window open a crack. I never do any of this. At least not by design. I don't like to sleep right next to an open window; and beds are DESIGNED WITH BLANKETS TO USE. Maybe me still being fully dressed helped me keep warm enough and comfortable (enough) to sleep deeply and dream, but, not the way I'd want to sleep.

I stirred enough to get the window and the curtain closed, get out of at least my shorts, get under cover and try again. I've been taking it really easy today; low-impact is nice, thank you very much.

The one thing I did right was that I'd turned off my light. I've accidentally fallen asleep with the night stand light on enough times to know that I don't get really deep sleep when that light is mere feet from my head. So I dreamed: wandering a futuristic city that I knew was sometimes completely submerged (though during my dream), including an apartment complex with room plans so open it took me a minute to realize I'd walked into not a wider part of a hall, but an apartment that belonged to someone else. Also there was a knockoff version of Deadpool running around in this town, but I'm even less clear what his story was.

Sleep better tonight. Yeah, I PROBABLY WILL.


Poem: "Elsewhere"

by Christopher Walsh, 6/4/2017-6/30/2017

How would I react to New Orleans?
How would I react to Chicago?
Missoula, Montana? Denver? Salt Lake?
How would I feel when I finally go
To place after place I haven't yet been
— Miami, Columbus, Yosemite, Perth,
Coeur d'Alene, Banff, Leeds, Alabama —
I know there's most certainly never a dearth
Of not-yet-seen places in my life, and yours
So when will I see some? How will they inspire
My thoughts and my mood, experiencing
Environs, I hope, where I'll find I admire
Their differences, and their subtleties
In what is done there, and in how they're alike?
(There's more that's in common than we might say
When comparing/contrasting the places we hike.)
Comfortable there? Do we feel eased?
We on edge? Mis-placed? Does a town feel "off"?
The energy there may fit perfectly
Or cause you to drain: your mood falls to trough.

I felt comfort in Boston. Visited
Twice, ’98 and ’08, first time on
A search to sort out unsettled feelings.
I was there 'cause of loss. A best friend, gone
A year by then: I hadn't fully dealt
With that. I had a chance to do so.
I traveled to Virginia: saw people close
To him. Then Boston: others whom I owed
Face-to-face, in-person time. I needed
Connection. I felt lucky I felt this,
Connected to a new-to-me place, too.
Did not get all the way to feeling bliss,
Not yet, but: a chance to build towards, perhaps,
Bliss. After that, I could see myself there
As more than Visitor. ’08, again,
Suggested Boston as one more place where
I'd find comfort. Many other cities,
I should only visit. That's enough for
New York: its energy amazes; still,
It is a city I couldn't afford,
Financially or psychologically.
New York, were I there too long, would run me
Ragged, run me over, wear me out —
Unless I budget time, not quite shun the
Huge power of New York: instead, a dose.
That's it. That's true of San Francisco, too:
It's special and worth visiting, unique,
Dramatic; it has a draw, to go to
And see. But not a place to build my life.
To feed it, yes: to add experience,
Experiences, flavor, surprises,
With then a chance to take that home: we sense
We should connect more times in those locales
That speak to us more deeply. That, we hope,
Allow us to apply the flavor from
The visited to a "home base." We cope
Or thrive (at least get by) there. And, I know,
My comfort fits in Portland. Has for years,
I know it's not the only place I'd fit
But fit, I do: this is a truth, sincere.

How will I react to other new towns?
How will I react when I visit?
Which cities won't work, which I would bounce off of,
And which will connect, so exquisite?
Exciting, the thought of further good places
I could temporarily be
With chances to fall for a place's good graces
To make me a new devotee.


As I like to, and try to, remind myself:

It's not all about me.

It's not all about me.

It's, not, all, about, me.

(I almost made something about myself, realized I was doing that, and told it to one specific friend instead. And I acknowledged that yes, in that moment and that message, I was making it about me. But then, at least, I stopped.)

Anyway. It's not all about me.

And it's not all about you.

Last week is past. This week is now.

One hundred-plus degrees. Both Saturday and Sunday.

We got through the weekend. Before that, we got through the week. Sometimes it was a challenge. Last week I often felt (say it with me) off; I tried when I could to take it easy and be gentle with myself. I seemed to be getting enough sleep; I don't think that was my issue. But from the week's start, I felt off. I chose the later of two days Mom had suggested for her visit to see me, because I didn't feel up for having company last Monday, for instance. (We visited Thursday. And last night Mom and Dad stopped by briefly on their way back from a family gathering here in town.) Wednesday, as I sometimes do, I paid the Belmont Goats a visit. Took pictures. Here are my most recent shots. Visiting the goats can help. So did spending several hours Friday at Beulahland, then riding around for a while (up to Lloyd Center Mall for a change of venue) because one of the servers at Beulah passed along an all-day TriMet bus pass someone no longer needed. I didn't have to be limited to my usual 2 1/2-hour bus pass!

Having survived the week, I then survived a hot weekend: 100° on Saturday and 101° on Sunday. Hydration, hats and shade were my frequent companions those days. I still got out; I didn't want to be a shut-in. On Saturday I got over to Beaverton, visited a handful of friends, and went with one of them to a Hillsboro screening of Wonder Woman. My second screening; my friend's first. She was mixed on the film; I still liked it a lot. I appreciate the film's earnestness, which is never undercut by its humor, thank goodness. I'm so glad this film exists, and is doing so well. (FYI: I have no interest in the fifth live-action Transformers film. None.) Friends,crankily, and s good film over the weekend. Good.

Welcome to this week.

Beulahland hosts Out-Of-Context Theater.

"That's why you don't combine race tracks and skate parks."

"No, but you probably just invented a new sport."