Monday, December 15, 2008

Charlie Beyer-

An ubiquitous NE Portland street, 35th, not 35th place which looks exactly the same. Modest strings of Christmas lights adorn each house, installed in accordance with seasonal conformity. A young couple grudgingly enters a house to their mid management boss’s boring slide show while looking wistfully at the Dude Ranch across the street. There, also with a miserable string of lights, but accompanied by the thumping of 20 decibel base, whirling light show effects, and the street penetrating laughter of the joyous inside. The cake walkers.

Cake walkers must dance and leap between squares on the floor, anticipating the halt of music that will determine their culinary destiny. Suddenly, the pulsating rhythm stops, the condensed masses freeze in contorted mid dance, blinking myopically at the descriptive sticker at their feet. Zardot’s Bride; lier; Bush’s bathroom; Derrato; and other unintelligible phrases greet their eye. The illuminated Liz barks to loudly in the microphone… “Who is standing on “The meaning of dialectic materialism is the re-distribution of wealth to the proletariat” ?? . “Hey .. That’s me” Happily rings out Nate. “A winner” she cries “ You are the choosing recipient of the one ton spice cake, the SeeSee Man Mistake cake, or the pedestrian candy bar. Yea!!”

Nate.. scratching as always when in thought, magnanimously chooses the candy bar, allowing the packed assembled the opportunity win the greater masterpieces. With a yell heard across the street in yawning sandstone arch slides, the thump, thump, thump resumes in a frenzied electron cloud of flailing arms legs and leaping torsos. The twisting turning lights mingle in the masses as though all are trapped in a kaleidoscope. Now some wags begin hopping from square to square, the rest joining the vertical dimension, a booming bounce that turns the whole house into a drum. I think, as the resident structural engineer, that the trampoline resonance will soon exceed the breaking strength of the floor and we will all soon be in a pile of 9-11 rubble in Dan’s basement room. I leap my highest to assist this eventuality. The music stops. Falling from the sky, I am on two squares. Does this mean I have two cake chances?

“Who is on “Red and black bullshit”? “It is I. It is I!” cries a gentle voice in the assembled. She chooses the 25 seed all organic zucchini dough-gob Baggett. Enough with the lard-sugar layout. Many are secretly jealous of this choice and sneak off to the kitchen to beg her for a corner of leathery crust. The pummeling music resumes, now to geographically auction off the miscellaneous baking’s, the rutabaga rolls and dropped cupcakes.

The ritual “cake walk” eventually concludes with frosting fingers. Now it’s on to karaoke’. Books of 10 thousand songs has been circulating beneath concentrating brows seeking their tune. A dude all in red, professionally belts out a kick ass hip hop song and the dance floor fills without the carrot of carrot cake. Dan becomes a Bing Crosby. It’s “White Christmas” due to a mix up of disks, but being a sport he says “Fuck it, fuckit, just play it, I’ll sing it”. A noble croon it was, melting our hearts in Christmas commercialism. Kori sings a love song, embarrassing everyone’s mirror neurons. The lovelies Sarah, Jill and Liz, trio twenty chick-songs with two microphones, pulling the unsuspecting into mid-floor dance.

A gust of cold air washes across the floor and a dozen unknown dark people slip along the walls. Like lost shadows they work themselves into the kitchen corners and eddies of activity. Knee length black jackets, hoods and watch caps, Rasputin beards, I fear uninvited bangers have invaded. I steel myself to confrontation intervention. But wrong I am. These are wandering Karaoke junkies, alerted by some iphone pheromone, congeal conspiratorially at this address of the Dude Ranch. Without warning, the microphones are scooped up and the howling of country rock songs are belted into the air, Black jack boots thromping the floor. Long after the cake table has disintegrated into a mass of crumbs and cupcake wrappers, there is a dueling dynamic between the bombastic black robe blasters and the twirling trio of multicolored women. “Like a Virgin” sung in the key of angels, followed by the “Wabash Cannonball” in clod hopper baroque.

Out the back door is a congregation of smokers. The icy winter winds tear at the puffs of smoke and the collars of the trench coats. Cigarette butts pile up in a stair corner, a change from the flicking days of past. Smokers are squeezed into a mere third of the area, the rest an orgy of bicycles all mashed together in a mating melee. I think to see little unicycles and tricycles, the progeny of this proliferation, careening about under the refined Shimano gears, misbehaving as children do.

As the alcohol diminishes, more masses are pressed into the walls in their torpor, bludgeoned by the blasting kamikaze karaoke machine. The young couple emerges from the bosses house across the street, sober, still employed by their obsequiousness’, still wistfully longing to be part of the looser crowd in the whirling lights. They climb into their politically correct Subaru station wagon, heading for another ubiquitous string of lights on a matching street across town. Inside the dude ranch, the trio triumphant, Howling “Girls just Wanna Have Fun” to the collapsed masses.

I sure as hell had fun. Thanks Dude Ranch.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dreams Up In Smoke

Dan's dad is here. Which is strange because we talk about him all the time and he's become something of a mystical, fictional figure here. Dan's dad, who lives in a tiny house in Idaho that doesn't have a bathroom, just a hole he dug on the side of the hill. Dan's dad, who builds hovercrafts. Dan's dad, whom Dan visited in October and returned with a 3-foot tall, 20-sided isohedron, crafted from a raw aluminum sheet in the high desert.

And suddenly, here he is in the living room, drinking whiskey of course and debating who would win in a bar brawl: smokers or nonsmokers?

Dan's dad is named Charlie and he's more personable than the stories made him out to be. He may know the finer points of building a pipe bomb, but he's affable, too, and talks about wild things in a low voice. Attempting to explain how Dan has a "double cousin" ends, somehow, with, "My sister went fuckin' beserk! She yelled at him, 'We're gettin' married tomorrow and you've got the clap!'" Sometimes the entire premise behind a story doesn't make sense to my rigid, rational world. Like the time a moose ran him off his sapphire mine claim.

Sapphires come up later, too, after Charlie rolls a cigarette and they start debating whether it's better to mine for gold or crystals. Dan shakes his head and argues that either are preferable to sapphires.
"I have this bad association with sapphires and nose bleeds. I got a really bad nose bleed in this swamp one time looking for sapphires and I got covered in flies, flies up my nose, flies in my lungs. The first thing you said was, 'Don't get blood on the company truck!'"
Charlie laughs, this is true. Dan was 11 at the time. "And I was like, eat all this bacon and drink all this beer. He stopped thinking about all the blood, I can tell you that much," says Charlie.

I'll tell you one thing, we are all jealous of Charlie for our own personal reasons. Jill has always dreamed of riding a hovercraft. Nate admires his entire life ethic, his crystal mine, his insane skills. Me, I regret the time I've wasted listening to "No Scrubs" on repeat while eating soup at New Seasons rather than casting my own manta ray belt buckle out of brass.

"That is so hip," says Dan, when I gush about the ray, "You are wearing the zeitgeist." His dad invites him out to Idaho for Christmas, they could build a furnace in the shed out of a 55-gallon tank and some propane, they scheme, and cast all kinds of sea creatures. When he first got here, Dan's dad pulled a box of Jim Beam out of his bag and offered whiskey all around. Then he pulled out his knife and carved little apartment windows into the box and set it in the fireplace. Nate, Jill and I stared in horror as the building went up in flames. Not one month ago, Dan built his own little city of apartment complexes in the fireplace and watched it burn. We don't become our parents. We already are them. The horror, the horror.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whoa-mygod! Such a Great Opening!

Did you skip Friday's art opening of The Dude Ranch's Tap Dance Strip Touch On Yer Grave at the Pancake Clubhouse? Well then get ready to get jealous.

During the evening's main event, the Makeshift Memorial Sculpt-Off, everyone was assigned to teams and each team was assigned a historic tragedy. They then had 25 minutes to sculpt a memorial to that tragedy using the available resources (which were mostly hot glue, a piano, construction paper, 7 cases of PBR). The results were super impressive!

THIRD PLACE WINNER: Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin.


FIRST PLACE WINNER: team "demotion of Pluto" staged a performance in full NASA regalia. (no photos available - you shoulda been there!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Art Show on Friday! (plus a party)

Do you like this felt horse and wagon made by Jill? More of her art (plus art by Nate, Dan and myself!) will be on display all December long at the Pancake Clubhouse in an art show titled "Tap Dance Strip Touch On Yer Grave." Since the opening night of the show is First Friday, we're having a big opening night party! Hilariously, the opening is sponsored by PBR! Here's the stats:

7-10 PM
906 NE 24TH AVE
- eating cupcakes and drinking beer.
- reading the comic books in the "reading room."
- the main event!!! Makeshift Memorial Sculpt-Off! Everyone is assigned a team and each team is assigned a tragic event and each team sculpts a memorial for the tragic event using the available resources (hot glue guns, candles, cardboard etc etc). Then the best memorials win prizes and then there's a short, fun dance music show!
- (did we mention the cupcakes and beer drinking)

+ + guitar music by Cole Robinson and a fiddle-player named Kate


Nate's brother Adam has been sleeping on our sofa again and he's attracting all kinds of weirdos. Tonight a thickly-bearded guy named Will showed up in our kitchen, slammed down a foot-long box of Magic cards and launched into a high-speed conversation about veggie oil-diesel conversion.

They moved into the living room and Jill and I don't know what to do but sit on the sofa and eavesdrop and giggle.

"If they put algae farms all over Mexico it would supply the entire U.S.!" Will shouts, taking a breath and continuing, "You guys know about that guy who thinks funguses are the answer? Like Timothy Leary with LSD but not LSD - all funguses!"

Jill shakes her head. Then she checks the pedometer she recently attached to her waist.
6,742 steps. "Damn it!" she shouts at Nate, whose own waist pedometer reads 7,306 steps, "You're like a thousand steps ahead of me!" Those two are in a competition to see who walks more in a day.

posted by s.mirk

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We played Pictionary all day on Thanksgiving. Except for that hour when we switched it up and played Scrabble AND Pictionary at the SAME TIME. We also took a break to eat some food.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I've only just noticed that November is here and apparently it is already almost over. This is the problem with moving between milestones (Halloween! Election! Thanksgiving!) - I forget which month we're actually in while I'm measuring the days via countdown.

Anyway, November is here and it is cold. Did I tell you we weatherized the house during one of the last hot days of 2008, way back when the sun set at dinner time rather than after lunch? We cut out big sheets of plastic and, all together now, adhered them to our large windows so that now the interior of our kitchen nook resembles a shoddily-made space shuttle.

But it's warmer, sitting here, than it was last year ago this time. The campaign to keep us all from retreating into our rooms during winter - casting aside friendship for a long-term relationship with our respective space heaters - that campaign is going well. We've been talking and cooking. There's lots to talk about and lots to cook because Nate and Jill don't eat sugar anymore and most of us don't have jobs.

Everyone is in transition. Rather than being a month of tradition, November has turned into a month of flux. Here's the status report, as of 11:52PM. I'm sure it will be different by morning.

During November, Cole quit his job and willfully dropped out of music grad school, searching for something more relevant and proactive.
Dan: During November, Dan quit his job half way, then rethought in the face of the epic financial crisis and quit his job the whole way. He's now working on a new internet-based "consulting" venture but I don't understand what it is because part of his "marketing strategy" is being cryptic.
Me: I'm still not making any money. Hopefully this will soon transition into me making lots of money.
Jill: Jill turned 28 and has been making lots of cool art. She's seriously thinking about going to grad school, maybe to teach visually impaired people braille.
Nate: THIS IS BIG, GUYS! NATE'S HAD SUCH A HUGE TRANSITION! It's probably such a big deal that he'll want to post about it himself. Forget I said anything.

posted by s.mirk

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do or Diorama!!!!!

I'd like to cordially invite you to my home for a celebration of miniature 3-D worlds and also to celebrate my 28th birthday on FRI. NOV. 7th!! 8 P.M.

Please make a diorama and bring it!!

The suggested theme for the diorama's is NATURAL DISASTERS!


This theme is not required but it WOULD be pretty fucking cool.

As you may already know,
the life sized dude ranch diorama home is at:
5200 NE 35th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

Bring a diorama, a friend, some wine and whatever magical things you would like me to have for being 28. (those possibilities are endless!!!) oh and your dancing shoes.

7th 8 pm
Do or Diorama

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Cole Robinson, Dan Bayer, and Peter Kass are all becoming one year older this week. In celebration, we're having a three way birthday party on Monday, the 13th at 7pm.

The theme is Menage-a-trois meaning we're doing everything in threes that night. Bring two dates and dress as triplets.

We'll also be having a treasure hunt in teams of three, a 3 lap bike race, and a 3
legged race. If you come alone, no problem. Hook up with others coming stag.

We'll start with a potluck at 7pm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How David Wins

Remember that time during the summer when David was moping around feeling unproductive and Dan challenged him to complete a do-or-die art project: design 50 posters and put them up around Alberta before the end of the week or Dan would handcuff him to a bike rack downtown with a sign reading "Justice to Bike Thieves"?

David accomplished the task in a hilariously characteristic way. Half of the posters were white sheets of paper stapled to light poles with 50 staples in straight rows. No drawn images, no text, just staples on white paper. Thanks, David.

Then David flew back to Chicago and in his absence the posters have changed in a way no one saw coming. The staples have rusted in the Portland rain and now long brown streaks emanate from each mark. They look beautiful and old and draw attention to the deep brown of the light poles.

The sign on 33rd and Alberta attracted a tagger:

We noticed how the posters had changed while walking to New Seasons one afternoon. "Damn it," said Dan, admiring the rust, "David wins again!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Made a Comic

with my friend Arthur and I'm putting it up here for you.

click to see it big.


Friday, September 26, 2008

And More Beautiful People

I woke up Sunday morning to the cherubic-notes of classical harp music tinkling in my bedroom door. I stumbled into the living room to find Emily, a former circus performer turned harpist, perched on the edge of our sofa plucking away at a full size harp. Later she filled our kitchen with buckets of flowers and baked cookies.

Sleeping one sofa over, meanwhile, is Meredith - my great friend from school and Nate's newest miracle healer. She's taken to walking around the neighborhood finding edible plants. Sunday night she returned home after a sunset stroll to the Kennedy School with this ridiculous fall bounty: a dozen apples and an absurdly-shaped squash.

Hooray for couchsurfers paying rent in kindness!

posted by s.mirk

Monday, September 22, 2008


Dan and I have put our lives into it so fucking show up at least....
it's gonna be the dance party that makes everyone sweaty and better friends then they were before the show started.
sarah's gonna be there.
cole is gonna be there.
welcome back jill, she's gonna be there.

better words than scrabulous and safety instructions combined.
it all happens at lindsey's house!

22nd and Alberta.
4826 NE 22nd ave.
to be exact.
the house where shit is happening.
maybe 10:00
i hope. not sure yet.
but call me and ill tell you.

When Laundry is a Newsworthy Event

Here's a quick fact about Nate:

Despite living at our house for 3 months, he had only gone to the laundromat once. UNTIL YESTERDAY! Yes, Sunday was the essential but rare event: laundry day! Everyone hates laundry day! The machines at Alberta Wash House cost $1.75 and scrounging up 7 quarters would be a pain even if the machines didn't occassionally lash out in random acts of disrespect, leaving your clothes soggy or covered with new mysterious stains.

But anyway, laundry day! We piled up Dan's bike trailer with our small mountain of dirty clothes. Please note our hilarious last-clean-item laundry day outfits. Dan dressed in Halloween garb, Nate wore that blue sweater and I'm all fancy in a black dress.

collective laundry costs for month of September: $10.25

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gettin' Creamed

This week we all learned some important lessons.

Number one important lesson: Cream cheese makes anything taste better! Even chocolate chip cookies!

Our refrigerator is now occupied by exclusively cream cheese, someone’s forgotten case of PBR and – honest to god – 15 pounds of carrots. Cole and Nate juice carrots like nutritional fiends, they tear through a 5-pound bag in a day or two. The juicer runs nightly and everywhere around the house are glass jars lined with the unmistakable orange crust of once-wonderful liquid carrot.

Also, look what happens when you try to take Nate to a “high art” event at the TBA Festival! All he wants to look at are the penis clouds! :

And listen to what happens when I take myself to an art event and then decide to interview everyone present: I get so excited by asking questions that I forget to breathe between words.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Trip to the Fair

Sometimes working as a reporter means I get paid to do things I don't want to do. Like distribute condoms at the state fair.

Our new friend Arthur and I drove down to Salem Sunday evening to do just this. The fair's slogan is "Too big to miss!" so I didn't print off directions. This slogan proved to be sadly misleading. On the outskirts of the wrong side of Salem, we finally stopped at a 24 hours donut store to ask where to go. The kid working the counter made some vague gestures toward the appropriate street and then told us, placing two rainbow-sprinkle donut holes in a bag, "Everyone's saying there was a fight at the fair yesterday."

My expectations increased dramatically.

The state fair turned out to be full of surprises. Number one surprise: sunset makes the gaudy flashes of the food booths beautiful.

Only at the state fair can you watch a video of a horse giving birth in such convenient proximity to Oregon's largest potato.

We held yellow, nearly weightless baby chicks in pen morbidly sponsored by the Oregon Chicken Fryers Association. We met a beekeeper and watched the queen bee lay an egg.
We took a long time surveying the winners of the decorated cakes category while making up our minds on which one to cast our own votes for.

(can you guess which one of these was my choice?)

Oregon: famous for its edible beavers.

posted by s.mirk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

David's Exit Video

Well, today I left Portland and the beloved Dude Ranch, but not before making my awesome exit video for the Portland Mercury's My Pretty Portland 2-minute video competition! I'm also sort of considering it a goodbye-to-Portland video since my classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago start tomorrow and I will most likely be here in the midwest at least until winter break. Which will be awesome! I've only been here a few hours so far but Chicago is much as I remember: a cat that juggles shoes, tent set up in the living room, etc.

So-long Dude Ranch friends, enjoy the movie.

D. Cook

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cake and Parents

Oh man, what a weekend. Let me tell you about it.

Cole went camping. He was gone all weekend.
Dan ate all my cereal while watching Beastmaster by himself on the sofa, then went camping. He was gone all weekend.
Nate wished the sun would stop shining, then went in the basement and made music on the computer all weekend.

Thus David and I were forced to have a good time all by ourselves! It was pretty tough but we totally did it. Mostly, we went to the zine symposium downtown, where we met some great people (like this girl who does comics like mine but better and in San Francisco!) and drank some coffee.

Then David's parents came to visit! They all made hats together at Tuey's monthly cake party. Apparently David's parents secretly know how to make hats really well, because his dad turned a strip of blue construction paper into a wearable Frank Gehry building and his mom made an Easter bonnet so pretty that someone else picked it up and wore it home.

This is Tuey cutting the cake, which turned 5 this month. David celebrated the year's fifth cake party by forming himself into a five on the grass of Lair Hill Park.

posted by s.mirk

Thursday, August 21, 2008

House Half Empty

For the first time I can remember, no one is sleeping in our backyard. No one is sleeping on our living room sofas. The trampoline is vacant. It's Thursday morning and absolutely no one is crashing at our house.

While steaming chard for breakfast, Cole and I counted up the number of people who have stayed at our house this summer.

29 people
have crashed here for one night or more (not including romantic liaisons, we're talking sofa people), including Nate and Jill who were eventually brought into the rent-paying fold and David who washed our dishes all summer in compensation for his basement room.

Sometimes people ask me how many people I live with and I don't know what to tell them. Now, though, I can confidently say that in a battle of couch surfers versus housemates we would be outnumbered one to seven.

But right now, no one is here but us housemates. Does that mean summer is over or something? Do travelers scatter as soon as the rain comes?

posted by s.mirk

Monday, August 18, 2008


Man, it's almost my birthday. That means I'm almost 22 and I haven't done anything yet but graduate from college and make some good friends and write some stuff. I remember watching the Olympics when I was 13 -- the same age as most of the tiny sequined gymnasts -- and thinking, "Wow! I could have done THAT by now?!"

I still haven't done THAT but, you know, I've been having a good time. So let's continue this 22 year-long unproductive streak and waste another night together, okay?

Wednesday Night 08.20.2008

Party starts at the Dude Ranch, then goes and goes. These images are clues as to what we'll be doing:

Bring your bike.

posted by s.mirk

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DUDE RANCH Summer Movie Night: Week Six : Pre-Film Creative

A Digital Potluck is an event where everyone arrives with a digital recording device and participates in a record keeping activity. This week the record keeping activity will be the creation of 3D animations of flying objects. Please bring your digital camera and find out how this is accomplished.

Nate's True Poem about the suburbs

When Driving on Highway 26,
Exit 69 is for Beaverton!
What are the Odds!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movie Night: Wild Zero

It's Nate's turn to choose a film to show this Wednesday night. He's having some trouble settling on a film, but our discussion over his top choice went like this:

Nate: I think Wild Zero. Kevin and I laughed our asses off during that movie.
Sarah: Okaaaayy.
Nate: But I don't know, you think that's too many zombie films in a row?
Adam: What other zombie film did you show?
Nate: They Live.
Adam: That's not zombies.
Nate: Well, cyborgs.
Adam: Alien cyborgs.
Nate: You're right.

Thanks to such logic, this week's film is "Wild Zero." But Nate wants you to let him know if you have any ideas.

A Gay Daisy Chain of Events

"I have heartburn and my mind is a puddle."
- Dan

It's been a long and crazy week, mostly because our house got turned upside down on Wednesday night during David's birthday sculpture contest. Everyone who showed up was assigned a room and they had to make a sculpture out of the items in the room. Our backyard became a cult scene with an upturned giant trampoline and a tunnel lined with strobing bike lights. All of the food in our cabinets and fridge became two humanoid forms with watermelons for heads.

Dan has photos, but he can't post them now because his mind is a puddle.

Also during the week, we stumbled across several troves of free items on the street. These treasure stashes included:

- a ballin' leather jacket inscribed with dollar billz
- a purple mesh lace thong
- a pair of antique boxing gloves
- two dozen vintage Playboys

which all add up to mean the Dude Ranch got 170% more dude.

We spent all Sunday evening winding down in the kitchen, paging through Playboys on the sofas. Old Playboys are just collections of bizarre juxtapositions - serious political commentary folds into anti-feminist cartoons. Naked breasts turn over to be an intelligent diatribe against the American prison system. There's also a smattering of jokes and limericks that make no sense out of their 1970s context. Case in point, from the October 1973 issue:

"Our Unabashed Dictionary defines 'gay daisy chain' as 'swish kabob.'"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Robot Golden Globe Nomination is truelly Golden!

Wednesday evening at the Dude Ranch was a dazzle night of wonder. Among the many firecracker and stolen watermelon (and beer) antics, a very special 64 seconds was enjoyed by all. The debut of Nate and Jill's stop motion animation movie:

The video was played multiple times to an ever excited crowd hollering for 'more'. Dan even said his co-workers were humming the song from the movie the next day and peeing all over their cubicles. That made us both feel pretty awesome and super special. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dude Ranch Movie Night is not what it seems...

As mysterious as that sounds, its not really a mystery. Its just a party. Well not JUST a party. Its David's Birthday party! I don't know how old he is going to be but its probably the most important age. so... if you show up at 8:00 we will be having a statue erecting ceremony. no, its a sculpture installation project. If its not a fucking riot, it won't be that awkward because the movie starts at 9:00.

it has rowdy roddy piper (a real ass kicking kinda man).
when its all over/ during the movie, = Dance PARTY!
see you here on WEDNESDAY!

A Variety of Delightful Tunes, all First Class

Last night as the sun set, we seasoned a batch of savory popcorn and all rode bikes in a single file line to Unthank Park where Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was projected outside for free. Have you seen this movie recently? Here's a refresher:

When I was younger and watched this movie, I just rolled with the craziness, since kids aren't wed to rationality anyway. But seeing it as a full-fledged adult now I realized it's a period piece capturing the 1970s psychedelic scene. Charlie's grandparents all share one filthy bed while his mother stirs laundry soup, a bad trip down the chocolate river is overlayed with the image of a chicken being decaptiated, Willy Wonka replies to Veruca Salt's exclamation, "There's no such thing as snozzberries!" with the unforgettable line, "We are the music makers! We are the dreamers of dreams!" Willy Wonka will definitely be shown in history classes to help children born in 2020 understand their great-grandparent's culture.

The film finished, we boarded our bicycles and raced up Alberta to a weird trip of our own: drinking, pool-playing and Sopranos-themed pinball at the Spare Room on 42nd Ave. We had never been to The Spare Room before and stood outside for a while, trying to figure out if the windownless bar was actually a strip club that happened to feature Tuesday night karaoke. Inside, the place was almost empty and reeked of cigarrettes and old carpet. A strip of pink neon ran around the edge of the lounge's low-ceiling, illuminating several thin and wrinkled people playing light-up slot machines. We took a small round table next to the dance floor, where two middle-aged women in tight jeans shook themselves to the live band - aging keyboard and guitar duo Larry and Teri.

I could try and describe what Larry and Teri sounded like, but the pair do it better themselves on their website:

"The dance-music duo Larry and Teri offer the most delightful variety of tunes, all first-class. Those who love to dance, or would like to learn, will find the duo just exactly right for dancing. Anyone who just wants to sit and enjoy listening will fit right in.

When Larry and Teri perform at the Spare Room, you will be amazed at how fast time flies when you are dancing and having fun. This is a case where one-plus-one is more than two."

Teri's voice accounts for seventy-five percent of the reason why we stuck around the Spare Room till it closed at 2am. Her voice, edged by years of singing in through other people's smoke, is heart-rending. Never have I heard such a sincerely sad version of Blue Moon. Teri gave us her business card at the end of the night. It's a red rose inscribed with "Larry and Teri" in gilt comic sans.

This morning we were all pretty tired, but managed to get up by 11 (except for Dan who's still not awake) to make burritos and sausage and say goodbye to my friend Jeff, who had to catch a bus back to Seattle after sleeping on our sofa all weekend.

"Stop back anytime," said Jill.
"Yeah, when in Rome," added Nate. There was a pause.
"When in Rome?" I said.
"Yeah," explained Nate seriously, "When you're in Rome, you stop by."

posted by s.mirk

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dude Ranch Summer Movie Night: Week Five

This week we will be screening Spellbound at 9:00PM.  It's Sarah's pick.  There will be mojitos and a live spelling bee at 8:30PM. Come, fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dan's Dad Sends Another Bug

A life was lost this week at the Dude Ranch. Let us mourn.
The saga began when a second box arrived in the mail last week from Dan's dad in Idaho. The last box he mailed contained one live Jerusalem cricket and the box before that held a poisonous spider. Thus, Dan we coy about opening this parcel. He waited for days, biding his time until we could all watch him open it. Finally, late at night, most of the vast number of people who occupy our home and sofas at various times were on the back porch sofas, enjoying the summer evening with some conversation. The perfect time to open the dangerous box! Dan decided, seizing a knife and hunching over the cardboard container.

With much fanfare, he sliced open the packing tape. The box contained one dead beetle. In our fear, we had waited too long. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Freedom Moon Tribe Headlined Movie Night

All you suckers who skipped Movie Night this week missed out BIG TIME. This week was our first to feature an opening musical act. Experimental space rock band Freedom Moon Tribe filled the backyard with three Casiotones + wore make up from Mars + strummed a warbley song from a saw with the aid of a violin bow. It was a unique and humbling experience.

Before the show, the band outlined the directions for how to play their 15-minute long song on a convenient cardboard box (read left ---> right). You can trying playing it yourself at home, but it won't be the same.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dude Ranch Summer Movie Night: Week Two

Come join us.  This week we will be screening The Spirit of the Beehive at sunset (9:02 PM). There will also be a special pre-movie performance by the casiotone inspired band Freedom Moon Tribe!


ha! here's a photo of Dan from Friday night:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A short photo essay on the nature of a common relaxing conversation on the back porch.

- posted by Dan Sternof Beyer