Thursday, January 29, 2009


Well we had a nice and fun movie night last night. For all of those who missed out Legend was gloriously bad Tom Cruise as some sort of Tarzanesque character and Mia Sara who was Sloane Ferris Bueller's girlfriend in FB Days Off as a Princess. Fun was had by all and after we watched two seasons of the Sing Along Blog featuring Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser Fame. (Thanks to Shawn for that HILARIOUSNESS!!)

We have had quite a few couch surfers come through the house over the past couple of weeks and here is the break down.

1. Anthony - 19 yo just out of the Marines on his way to Washington then California and eventually Europe. He was new to couch surfing and we hope we showed him how much fun it could be.

2 & 3. Drea and Martel - Drea is a Yoga Instructor / Massage Therapist and Martel is a music community organizer of sorts. They stayed for a couple of days and returned last night to stay a couple more. They are moving into a place near Belmont in the SE and we are happy to welcome them to Portland. THANKS FOR THE AWESOME TEA LOVE!!!!!

4. Leslie - a nice lady from NYC who is searching for a new place to relocate to. She changed our perspective on the appropriate age to join the circus. She was only here one night but we really enjoyed having her.

5 & 6. Aaron and Joel: Aaron does work with developmentally disabled adults and is up here from California looking for work and a place for his wife and young baby to stay. He is still at the house now and is lots of fun to talk to. We hope he gets the job and place he wants. Joel just moved out here from Chapel Hill and came over for movie night and stayed instead of heading back to Vancouver where he is living now. He rode his motorbike accross the country and wants to get into metal working here in portland. Thanks for the music tips!!

That's all we've had thus far but I'm sure there will be more to come. I'm glad we can continue the dude ranches streak of couch surfers and I hope everyone who's stayed with us has enjoyed it.

The house is super clean thanks to Shawn and Pete who was over last night said he has never seen the Dude Ranch so spic and span. We've been playing lots of Settlers and a few games of Magic.

Adam has been working on his truck and Ayal has been working on music. They have both been in planning mode for their mexico trip. I've been working at my job and shopping around for a bicycle. I also just passed my level 1 Ski instructor exam last weekend at Mt. Hood. Shawn has been looking for work and a place in the neighborhood to live and he bought a new bike just the other day (I'm super jealous of the awesome brown paint job). Good luck to all the transition team members on their endeavors.

The artist in residence for Feb hasn't shown up yet and we are looking forward to meeting her. Other then that things have been going along quite well. We may be having a party at the Dude Ranch this Saturday or the next but more info on that to come.

We hope the old school ranchers are having safe travels and we look forward to welcoming Sarah back shortly from her trip to the UK. If you haven't checked out her blog you should it's been very interesting to read. I think the link in on a previous post of this blog.

That's all for now from the Dude Ranch transition team. Hope all is well in your world.

I'll leave you with a haiku and thanks for reading.

every single day
building a life on high stilts
tied to balls of twine


Friday, January 23, 2009

So Adam and Cedar spent a good portion of last night geeking out hardcore on They spent several hours playing it's unique brand of treasure hunting. Shawn had coffee after missing his planned attending of a volunteer meeting for the Portland film festival. We made lentil soup after discovering we had a large overstock of lentils at the house. While Adam and Cedar were geeking out I went in my room and lit some incense I got in India. This is the result hope you enjoy.

haunting India

I'm not sure what it is, but my mind is calling me back to India.

There were so many things that were so difficult there and maybe time gilds all memories with false gold, but I miss it. There was something so vital about being there. It makes me understand the thrill that pioneers must have felt.

Even as I sit here, smelling the incense I brought back, the ghosts are here. Rickshaws, mad filled buses, bustling train station, and whiskey on Diwali all dance through my head, like those sugar plums in that Christmas story.

I have so many stories from that place a dozen I've told and so many more that I haven't. It is so much more then all those stories. It is so much more than I can even grasp at remembering. Even the slivers of moments that I have captured in this odd little basket in my head are so sublime.

India is madness incredible beautiful madness. It is the kind of madness that the western world has striven to hide beneath the layers and layers of paints and civic order. It is the madness at the root of all humanity and being there reveals it. It reveals it in you and in everything you know. This is the vitality that has driven humanity so far.

The Persian ruler Xerxes believed that an empire must expand or die. I was thinking about this related to the American empire and I was struck with the realization of why so many things seem really futile here. We are already such a large part of the world any gain by any of us is dwarfed by the massiveness of our social influence. We are like a huge worm and any growth is so tiny compared to the rest of the bulk.

India is growing like a vacant lot left to overgrow in the urban summer sun. It is a vibrant patch of jungle writhing through concrete and steel tearing apart the ancient foundations of the modern order. Everything grows out of everything else. Even the chaotic lives of the slums seem to bear some fruit. There are so many people living a way that most of us have forgotten. The pride and cruelty of working long hard days just to sleep on the street and to send a little money back to your family.

This is what is most difficult and most beautiful to see in India. This life all around so much you can't escape it and you start to understand all the glitz and glam in our society. The neon lights and banner ads and twittering are all these empty little shadows reflected on a cave wall. An allegory of false truths is what takes up so much of our time. After being there even for a month I find myself seeing things here as hollow. Convenient simple non confrontational existence. It seems turned down and tuned out compared to the reality, overwhelming as it was, you felt when you were there.

I truly miss INCREDIBLE INDIA. I'm not planning on going back anytime very soon, but I do want to go back. It's eastern beauty calls to you like a siren. The madness is like an infection it gets under your skin and you need it in your life. It's that old crazy girlfriend you had such a great time with. You know in some ways she's bad for you, but you always sort of want to see her again anyway. The US is my faithful girl, the girl I go steady with, the girl in beach boys songs. She will always be there calm and quiet. She may not always be what I want but she will always feel like home.

Every so often I just feel the need for life in my life. Every time my thoughts bring me back. The sounds, the staring, the struggle and the truth of India are there with me again. Someday, I'll go back and if you can you should go back for me and tell her I miss her.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Ranch Order

So hello from the 'Transition Team' ranchers!!!

Our rag tag band of miscreants will no doubt fail to fulfill your every ranch desire, but we will try. The Temp Ranchers include but are not limited to: Shawn just in from teaching in China. Adam (Nates brother ... not that he doesn't have an identity outside of that) and Ayal who are both planning a veggie oil powered trip to Mexico later this year. Lastly is little ol' me.

My name is Sam and I'm currently occupying Cole's room while he is away. Here's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'm from Nashville where I was working the last five years in the music biz. The last three I spent on tour as a guitar tech and stage manager for the Gin Blossoms and as a merch guy for Phil Vassar. I hiked 182 miles this summer in a dozen or so national parks and spent a month traveling in India. I'm in Portland working on the weekends at Mt Hood (Tline) as ski instructor and I do online marketing for a record label during the week. I know how to do fire poi and enjoy long walks down the beach with an issue of the Economist or Talk of the Nation Podcast.

Anyway I just wanted to introduce myself and the other members of the 'Transition Team' here at the Dude Ranch. We will be having a winter movie night (Wednesdays) though a consensus on the movies will never be reached in advance.

Thanks all and the faces may be new but we'll do our best to keep the good vibes going.

Nameste, Sam

What I've Done in the Last Week

- Squeezed into the back of a minivan with two former Guantanamo Bay detainees
- Marched in a protest of thousands of people shouting "Allah Al Akbar!"
- Played ukelele on a frozen beach
- Raced around in the car of an Islamic graffiti artist
- Watched 70 Muslim women pray behind thick curtains in a mosque

- Not ridden a bicycle or been to New Seasons ONCE

check out my whole crazy January:

when we all get back home, we are definitely all putting together the world's most awesome Powerpoint presentation about our winter vacations.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Estranged Ranchers...
those of us remaining miss you, and the new ranchers will learn to do so as well.
life back at the ranch has been humble.
aside from the usual things like drug trafficking and housing terrorists,
life has moved at the pace of January.
in the lull, i (nate) decided to apply for a Norwegeian Reality Television show.
here is my "no longer than 5 minutes Video Application"
its awkward at times but hell, so am i.
Sarah is in Brittan.... Great Brittan.... England... anyway, she is putting brittish December to good use.
Cole just called from D.C... Washington DC!
Dan has to be in Chile by now (not putting Brittish December to good use, but then again he was never that into it anyway.).
pete moved out yesterday but he is still here.
Looks like the Chatty-Roundy-Rounds haven't stopped anyone from doing what they want to do.
the new roomates are cleaner than we were.
thats important to somebody.
In 4 days jill and i leave for Hawaii (pronouced.... nevermind...
and the house will have completed its chrysalis and emerge as....
we shall all see.
word from the hightest peaks and the widest oceans
holla' from the deepest holes and the tallest sky scrappers
I'm throwing my right-hand up for a sweet international "dude-five" right now
i hope you'll all do the same.
portland is a little more lonely without yall.