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