Chapter XII: The City of Roses...And Strippers. Part I.

Every town has a story, often set to music. Maybe its an era of music, maybe its a defining band, or just a solemn note. Every crescendo is timed just right with a piece of history, the kind of history that humans are self-important enough to think is meaningful . The lives of individuals and groups captured in audible expression: prayer hymns and feel-good utopian what-ifs, stories of war and of peace, of friendship and deceit, of love. And why shouldn't these things be important? Lately I've been burdened by the shame of all things distinctly human. From material goods to politics to complex emotions.... I've recently been approaching situations in terms of what would happen if we blended ourselves back into nature, completely overlooking or finding interest in things that aren't tied into nature. I say as I type this. And the more i catch myself romanticizing primitivism, the more I'm reminded of how far removed my life is from it. I often oversimplify things in my head in an attempt to figure them out in a one-liner sortof way. i don't think this is uncommon, but its certainly counter-productive. And between traveling all over the place, finishing up a class, planning a moving, and working on saying long-term goodbyes for the first time, I'm not doing much better than pop-philosophy one liners lately. And it has mostly come out as Live Fast, Fuck Dying. No surprises there. What I can say is that in my travels I have figured out a lot more about myself, about the people i surround myself with, and my place within our black and white, one-liner culture.

This is where Portland comes in. I spent almost 2 weeks there, now a few weeks back, and it did a lot to change me; just like i am changed every time I leave my immediate surroundings in search of an adventure. It's always subtle, often too difficult to put into words, but I feel it. I stayed at Fort Konik, in NE Portland, the home of my friends Jake, Justine, Lucas, and Phil. By the time I'd left I'd shot photos for a nude cookbook, got beaten up by little kids with an 8 foot inflatable bat, went to my first strip club, and got dared into rocking a mustache. These don't seem like particularly life change-provoking events, i know, but I don't really feel the need to defend them as such either. I missed my friends there a lot, especially matt "matty bo" hayek. One fun thing about Portland is actually the bars. For the first time I didn't mind hanging out in them, in fact i requested it. Every bar that we hung out at had really good vegan food and locally bottled rootbeer. One bar down the street from Ft. Konik also had a free jukebox full of early 00's emo, and a free pool table. So naturally I spent a lot of time there, especially once Jack and Sean (finally) met up with me. Yeah, bars. still hate them mostly, but i think its important to have public places to go be social, so if i can't fight people wanting to base that around alcohol, I at least am slightly more okay with it when there are things for me at those places, too.

Stripping. My friend Justine strips. I've been talking about this a lot lately it seems, because most people people aren't bothered by strip clubs and are always curious why I was so off put by going to one. So i'm over it and worn out by the discussion, but I will say that Justine had a lot of interesting things to say about the stripping profession, and I just received in the mail the book "Flesh For Fantasy", which she bought for me and sent me. I am going to miss her a lot.

I've got a lot of photos, so i'm just going to drop them all into the next post.

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