Tag Archives: riverhouse

First, my friend Kurt interviewed me while he was staying in our guest cave a few weeks ago. Go here and hear what I have to say about stuff and things when someone else asks the questions. Kurt is pretty great. We knew each other on the internet for years and I just knew we’d get along well in real life. We had some good conversations. I hope to do it again sometime.

Paul and I spent the weekend and the Riverhouse. We took the bus up to Battleground and rode up and down 7 miles of hills to get to there and then we rode all 35 miles back. The ride back seemed more difficult than usual, there was something heavy on my mind.

Saturday night my housemate Marc, who had been up at the Riverhouse earlier, called to say that our friend Dylan Williams had passed away. Dylan was a friend, fellow Portland Zine Symposium organizer, and teacher in the Independent Publishing Resource Center comics certificate program who had been fighting cancer for awhile now. It’s hard to imagine this world without him. Dylan was the mastermind behind Sparkplug comics and I had seen his own comic, Reporter, for years before we actually met.

One of the first real conversations we had was after one of his first few meeting organizing the Portland Zine Symposium. He came up to me after the meeting and asked how it was that we were able to make a new organizer feel so comfortable and valued in the organizing process. I took that as a great compliment about the Portland Zine Symposium and about Dylan’s insight into PZS.  I remember answering something to the tune of saying that I believe that everyone has a valuable perspective to bring to to table and that the Portland Zine Symposium can only grow and become better by listening.

Dylan’s input in this world was very valuable. His help with the Portland Zine Symposium, his ethics in zines/comics and his business were honorable. I’ve been working on a zine about zine event organizing and with with that memory of Dylan in my mind I’d like to dedicate the zine to him.

I’m going to miss his insights, his playful (not mean spirited) snark, and maybe most of all, his knowing smile.

Dylan Williams, you will be missed.

International Zine Month Day 8

Happy International Zine month…from a stolen internet connection in the middle of Nowhere in SW Washington! I’m at the Riverhouse with Paul’s family and managed to wrangle up some wi-fi from their neighbor to get a little work done (thanks Jill!) I also took today’s photo.

International Zine Month Day 8 shirt: Fanziotheque in Poitiers


Today’s zine shirt is from the Faniotheque in Poitiers France. In 2009 I made my way over the the UK and France for a small zine tour and to celebrate teh 20th birthday of the fanziotheque and discussing zine libraries. Check here for old blog posts and photos.

Yesterday I chopped some wood and watched Paul and naomi fish (unsuccessfully!) then we had a big fire.

I took this photo from the porch. It is funny because it makes the river look so big!

When really it is more like this.

The saddest part was the fire. we have been chopping wood for weeks and stacking the bark up in the middle of a ring of stones for a bonfire. Well, last night we used to coals left over from the grill to light it.  I walked away for a few minutes and heard teh worst storuy when I got back. Paul said they heard a lot of screaming and all of a sudden 3 moles emerged from the flames and died! I guess they had been lving in the bark pile when they weren’t busy wrecking the yard with mole hills. it was super sad. Tonight is our last night and I have a lot of work to do when I get back.

International Zine Month: Day 2

My mom came and pick Paul and I up yesterday and whisked us away to the Riverhouse for the evening. We made pizza and stayed up late around a fire drinking and watching bats. Good times! The next day it got hot, but not hot enough to swim. I helped my mom split some logs for fire wood. Few things make you feel as tough or get out anger better than sawing, chainsawing, or splitting wood, and i have no idea why.

Today was the second day of International Zine Month and I wore a different zine shirt:

Zinesters do it on the Photocopier from QZAP

QZAP is the Queer Zine Archive Project and they are awesome at Archiving Queer Zines. Take a look.

Paul’s mom, brother, and niece are getting to town tomorrow so we spent the evening cleaning the house, setting up a second guest room in the empty room, weeding the garden, working in the yard and cleaning up the porch. Our yard becomes a jungle if we blink so it was due.

Our first bike trip to the Riverhouse!

We got home this afternoon from the Riverhouse. We left on Wednesday content to make it the 30 miles armed with our bikes and waking directions from  GoogleMaps. The maps served us well and we didn’t hit too many hills.

I my snazzy new cycling jacket!

We saw so really weird signs but I only took a photo of one of them.

Good thing it was the Positive sort of way?

I also saw the “Memory Memorial Cemetery” Don’t you think the “Memory” was a bit redundant? It also said it was a “Freedom of Choice cemetery” I didn’t think you’d have too many choices when you’re dead. We also saw “Secluded Apartment Homes” “Hidden Village” and “Secret Valley” I made a joke that the next sign would say “where to bury the body”… That’s when I saw the Memory Memorial and decided that my joke wasn’t funny.

We took a break at some place that advertised itself as a "Cowboy Church" I wanted to show you the set up Paul made for his Guitar. Rad hu? He jsut strapped it to the side of his bike rack like a pannier and with the help of a bungie chord it worked like a charm.

Mt. Saint Helens blown top showed its head about 3/4 of our way there.
We made it to Battle Ground and got provisions of food a beer then rode the last 7 miles which we knew would be the most grueling but it wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t gotten so much in Battle Ground. We got to the Riverhouse in 4 hours including a stop for a picnic, a stop at the grocery store, a few backtracks and direction settling, and a short stop at the coffee shop that my parents’ neighbor owns. It wasn’t so bad for our first trip! We had a celebratory beer on the back porch.

Pauled wanted these two photos to be posted together.

The next day we went on a beer run to the Heisson Store. Then we worked on my reading for Powell's. I'm going to read stories while Paul plays music, sings one part of a song and then we are going to sing a song. I haven't sang in public in a looooong time. This should be interesting.

I woke up this morning to a flat tire, which seemed weird since I had ridden over 35 miles and now that I was all comfy at the Riverhouse THEN I got a flat! Instead of patching it I just slipped a new tube in and away we went!

On the ride up to the Riverhouse Paul and I saw soooo many cute animals. My favorite was the stubby burros with shaggy winter fur! We also saw chickens, sheep, goats, horses, llamas, and puppies! I’m bummed that I didn’t get photos of them on the way up but here are some from the way back!

It took is a little under 2 hours to get to Vancouver! SO much faster than the way up there! I think we could do the whole ride in 2.5 hours. Paul busted a spoke about half way home but we still made it back. We stopped in Vancouver at the Salmon Creek brewery, had a beer and continued on our way. We crossed over the I-5 bridge into Oregon and I took this Photo of Mt. Hood. It has always been an iconic image to me ever since my childhood summers in Oregon.

And, now I’m home and a bit sore but, I know that I can make the ride and I’ll do it again!

Still false spring, lots of work and now I’m off on a bike trip!

I spent pretty much the entire day Monday cutting, folding, stapling, and assembling 450 zines. I woke up Tuesday with a very sore left palm but proceeded to pack everything up to ship out today.

Most of the mail going out today plus an entire box of Brainscan 24/25 and stacks of reprints. That 3/4 empty box of Stolen Sharpie revolutions? Ya, I have one more box left and then I'll have to ask AK to send me more. It hasn't even been a year and I have already sold over 2,000 myself!

A lot of the mail plus a whole box of Brainscan 24/25 and stacks of reprints. That 3/4 empty box of Stolen Sharpie? Ya, i only have one more box that size and then I'll have to get more. I have sold almost 2,000 in less than a year!

At some point I guess Paul thought I was working too hard and he came into my office  and said “you should put on your shoes and come with me” So, Idid. We went outside into the sun and 60 degree weather where the cats were fighting with each other in the street, Maggie was working on her moped and the pants seemed hard at work growing.

Violets are most definitely not blue. Children's love rhymed to me!

We are going to have so many foxgloves in our yard this year! Theymake me happy.

Beebalm in the hummingbird garden creeping out of the ground!

Camellias are blooming!

I still managed to get all my work done and now all my orders are parked by the door waiting for the postal carrier to pick them up!

Now Paul and I are fixing up our bikes and getting ready for the next adventure! We are riding  about 30 miles north to the Riverhouse! I have been wanting to go up there and all of this false spring  that keeps hanging around is perfect weather for a ride of that length. Soon my view will look like this.

My housemates rule!

A couple nights ago Maggie and I accompanied Dan to meet some folks at the Florida Room and we ran into our other housemate Marc there too! Maggie and I convinced them to take photobooth pictures. Too bad Paul wasn’t there! The photo goes like this:

Marc, Alex, Maggie, Dan. We are going to have to get Paul to take a photobooth picture to add to the strip.

What I didn’t know until after the photobooth session at the bar was that marc was actually on a date all all these weird housemates show up to the bar and then make him do a photobooth! What a trooper!After we got home from the bar Maggie, Dan and I all decided that we should go to the Riverhouse so the three of us plus Paul went to the Riverhouse the other night. We played games, drew pictures, worked on a puzzle, told stories and generally had a great time.

It seemed a bit weird to be all “hey housemates, wanna go play housemates at a different house?” but we had a fun time hanging out and staring at the river and geeking out about etymology and the awesome dictionary we have up there. It turns out that 4 of the 5 of us who live her are left handed! What are the odds? Also, I think with our combined obscure not very overlapping knowledge we would rule the school at trivia!

I guess I haven’t been this happy and comfortable with housemates in a long time and it really feels great to share my space with such nice, respectful, talented, and intelligent people.

Now we just have to figure out how to get the cats in the photobooth at the Florida Room for a real house picture!

Holiday Wrap up

Ok, Holidays are done.

A few days before Christmas Paul and I went up to the Riverhouse. My parents were in town with their new adorable puppy, Maggie. She has this problem with wanting everyone to wake up at the same time and so she runs around and jumps on you when you are sleeping and just waits for you to wake up. it would be more annoying if she wasn’t so damn cute. Both of my aunts brought their dogs and one of the aunts brought her boyfriend. My sister and brother-in-law came with their two dogs. The final count was humans: 9, dogs: 5. Although one of the old dogs was taken away by Santa to doggie heaven on Christmas Eve. That sort of put a damper on things but it was the right decisions. he lived a long and loved life and was a very special furry friend.

We aren’t really a family that buys each other clothes or ties or whatever. Some of the unique gifts I received were: a set of ingredients for brewing a brown ale (my aunt drove all the way from Texas with the yeast in a cooler so it wouldn’t spoil!), that gift also came with a bottle opener that was also a keychain and a 2 gig flash drive!, a stainless steel  soap (even though I like my hands smelling like garlic!) and tickets to Portland Center Stage. My parents gave me some money which is always a good gift but I think it will have to be used for the not so fun-ness of going to the dentist.

We played a multitude of games: Uno, dogs with a laser pointer almost as fun  as cats with a laser pointer) Life (on a computer and not the boardgame) crossword puzzles, Apples to Apples (the best game ever!) and I think I walked in on a failed attempt at my family to play Mille Borne with a french deck left over from my parents when they used to live in Ontario.

A Christmas with our family wouldn’t be complete without two things: Copious amounts of drinking and Chinese food. Last year for Christmas Eve we got Chinese food from the town near the Riverhouse and Paul got sick. This year we had some from a different place the day after Christmas and Paul still got sick. We have had this tradition for as long as I can remember where we each take turns shooting Champagne corks and try to get the farthest distance. The Champagne is for our traditional Christmas morning Mimosas. I held the record at two separate house my grandparents lived in Texas. I was able to make it to the center of the river from the back door but I think my sister’s shot was farther this time. We went through about 7 bottles of Champagne for 11 people. Good times! My dad also made the mistake of taking me to the beer store and telling me I could get a six pack… I grabbed 6 beers that added up to over $40. He should have put a money limit! I did impress wine drinkers who say they don’t like beer with some Belgian Ales and the syrupy black Abyss by Deschutes. yum!

I love my family but after 4 days in a cabin it was time to go home. I had about 80 e-mails waiting to drown me and my housemate’s cat who were not very happy with the food that their person left them with when he left for the Holidays. It was nice to sleep in our own bed.

One of the days we got a zip car to run errands and spend some gift cards. We had ones from Home Depot, Target, Lowes, and Pet Co. The pet go one was sort of due to the passing of a family animal. My mom decided the cats at our house should get treats too. Paul and I wandered around thinking that we could get pets for the cats like parakeets or ferrets but decided on a case of ultra fancy human grade cat food with trout and salmon. It always seemed weird to me that cats like fish. The thought of a cat taking down a fish is just ridiculous!

Paul and I decided to be adults with our gift cards and buy boring adult things like weatherizing stuff: air duct covers, spray foam for cracks, silicone caulking, plexiglass to replace a cracked window pane in the basement and air vent to put in it for our clothes dryer exhaust, stuff like that. If it was up to me alone I would have got a bunch of plants and dirt and garden stuff but, this was about being practical and hopefully saving a bit of money on our heating bill. You see, I have finally come to the conclusion that I will be staying in this house so I better take care of it. For so long it was sort of up in the air if I was going to sell it and more on but things seem to be going well here so I think we’ll stay.

For New Years I made black eyed peas and collard greens,  tradition from my Texas side of the family, but them in Tupperware and we met James and Christina at the Tugboat brewery and headed to their house. I was amazed by the people drinking in public! Dude on the street car with a half empty plastic gallon jug of vodka, girl with the comically large bottle of Champagne, and her friend with a half empty case of Coors light. I felt I should join in and drink some vanilla infused vodka from my flask although I was a bit chicken and didn’t drink any until we were off the train. At James’ and Christina’s house we snacked on food, drank more beer, and listened to records. Then someone has the bright idea to do Screaming Nazi shots (Jagermeister and Rumple Minze), something we used to do about 11 years ago that always seemed to lead to bad things. At the 3rd shot Christina said something hilarious causing James and I I to spew our drinks all over the kitchen. Good times! and also sticky floors in the morning. We were up until 4 listing to Oingo Boingo, which seems to be perfect New Year Music, and Paul kept howling at other people on balconies off the porch to see if he could get them to howl back. Paul and I got home and crashed out again only to wake up later to watch the new Doctor Who!

I guess there were a few things I missed in there. I snowed the other day. We don’t normally get snow but we got 3 inches of fluffy white stuff. The housemates and I made a chickpea stew to eat over barley and watched episodes of Spaced. We also had the one night a year amnesty of smoking in the house. Oh, also Paul and I listen to 1st and 2nd wave ska over the Holidays. I’m not exactly sure how that happened last year but it seemed to make sense. I have been on a Cure kick lately. I blame it on Paul getting me that disintegration album and also reading Roger Odonnell’s memories of making that album. He posted it on his site here as a sort of a celebration for the 20th anniversay of the album. The Cure were my first favorite Band and that album  came out the year I entered Jr. High and pretty much changed my life for ever.

Now it’s back to work life for me. I have 75 copies of my new zine to put together and finally send more out to distros, I have button orders to attend to and about 50 pounds of coffee beans came the other day and I have yet to put them away. But first, the year end meme:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Took a train underwater to France, Went to 5 zine fest and 2 other zine events, started a podcast that I swear we’ll put another one out someday, did everything from pre-press on for my own book all by my self, put out a zine i have been meaning to do for years, sang on a song a let Paul record it, took part in the Anchor Archive zine residency.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make resolutions.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

I was with Paul and James and Christina eating black eyed peas  and Champagne.
4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, a puppy nephew.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA, UK, France, Canada

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

More time and energy to work in my yard and on my house.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

7a driving though the Redwoods with Paul in June with all my books in the car and listing to music and singing along.

7b One of my last days in Halifax Caleb found a car to drive us to the ocean. I drew a labyrinth in the sand and stared out at the sea thinking about how I had been on both sides of that sea this year. It felt like an accomplishment.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Publishing my own book, getting my zine done, doing a lot of traveling by myself, meeting some very special friends.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not doing enough in my yard and no doing much in Portland.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had The Sick.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

plane tickets, publishing my book, and my new computer

12. Where did most of your money go?


13. What song will always remind you of 2009?

The whole Lemuria-Get Better album has been on high rotation. I have also been listening to Cub and love the song Chinchilla. Paul says it reminds him of me but I’m not exactly sure what that means.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Saved money, planned more, ridden my bike, brewed more beer.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?


16. What was your favorite TV program?

I watch too much tv on the internet. I think Battlestar Galactica ended this year and that was sad. I also liked Mad Men and Doctor Who.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try not to hate. There is some weird power in that. I am still annoyed at the people I was annoyed with last year but I don’t want to talk about it.

18. What was the best book you read?

I read three books in the Dies The Fire set. They were alright. I can’t really remember what other books I read and enjoyed. I read a lot of zines.

I19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

New Music discovery? Fifth Hour Hero (thanks Steve!) and also my housemates’ band The Tagalongs!

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t really like movies. it is hard for them to hold my attention. I prefer tv shows where there is time to develop character. I think I saw Star Trek and Avatar this year and that’s about it.

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 32 but I don’t think I did anything that special. Soon after Paul and I took a plane down to Oakland to sticker copies of SSR and drive back up. it was a fun birthday trip.
22. What kept you sane?

Paul and knowing I had a home to come back to wherever I went.

23. Who did you miss?

Friends who live to far away. I hope they all come visit me soon!
24. Who was the best new person you met?

I met a lot and sort of have  have a top 3 even though it seems sort of unfair: Steve, Isy and Caleb.
25. How did you spend Christmas?

With my family at the Riverhouse, see above.

26. What was your favorite month of 2009?

June or October… probably October.

27. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Travel and getting my book printed

28. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier and a bit more hopeful.
b) thinner or fatter? fatter but whatever
c) richer or poorer? about the same

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009: Traveling alone is a worthwhile experience in wits and a total adventure!