Category Archives: music

East coast adventures: Part 1

I’ve been back home for a week and a half and yesterday was first day I left more than a mile radius of my house…it was also the first day I felt caught up enough to do so. I guess I didn’t post while I was gone so I’m gonna make a run down of our trip here:

September 21-26 Philadelphia, PA

Webly, Paul and I left Portland on a red eye on September 21st headed to Philadelphia. We were stoked to go to Riot Fest to make our inner 15 year old happy with some awesome bands like: The Dead Milkmen, Weston, and Plow United. We stayed with my friend Max and his housemate, Will, in West Philly.  Max lives around the corner and down the street from the Dock Street Brewing, which was our favorite brewery from the entire trip, probably because it tasted like NW ales.Max with his wiggle Muppet dog, Spocket.

Max has a muppet like dog named Sprocket. She’s a ball of energy bouncing all around and sitting in laps. The most ridiculous thing was her behavior with the cat, Lewis. Sprocket would try to play with the cat who would vacillate  between fighting back with paw swats or just  ignoring it. This would amount to the dog literally putting the cat’s head in its mouth and the cat would just let it. It was so weird! Occasionally the cat would retreat to the dog free space behind the West Philly window bars on the inside.

kitty jail is a safe space free of dog slobber.

Other amusing sites in West Philly:

I'm assuming this is what the east coas thinking being greee means? Small cap = less waste... uh hu, sure.

Stolen Skerple Revolution? I'm still kicking myself for not buying these! So ridiculous!

We checked out a bunch of awesome vegan restaurants and even tried to take a silly haunted tour. It didn’t end up being a haunted tour. It was more of a tour about the history of brothels and how there are dead bodies buried in all the parks. It was interesting, but not what we expected. On top of that we got caught in an east coast downpour and of course we didn’t have unbrellas. Oregonians don’t use umbrealls….but oregon doesn’t get rain that is like someone dumped a bucket on your head.

Oh! How could I forget! We went to the Mutter Museum! it’s a museum of medical oddities and it was pretty rad and totally worth the price to get it. The fetal skeletons and syphilitic brains and skulls were freaky. I totally suggest you check it out if you are in Philly.

Riot Fest was fun. It was like the Warped tour for adult punks in bootlegged Operation Ivy shirts. We tried to play a game of figuring out the ratio of  Black Flag tattoos to Misfits tattoos…but we gave up. Here are some photos:

Weston! I haven't seen them since 1995 in the basement of DV8. This big dumb stage was a far cry from that, but I still enjoyed it.

Paul and I sat on some bleachers and looked at a big dumb stage.

Philly sunset

Who in a million years would every have thought that Plow United would have been on a jumbotron?

Dead Milkmen in their hometown. It was excellent! I believe in swordfish!

More to come….



We seem to have a crow nest in our tree. That’s what we have figured out by the aggressive jerks that caw without end and swoop down on us when we leave the house. My neighbor came over to say that she saw Jackie on a fence with 3 crows swooping down at him and fur was flying.  That’s the same neighbor that hosts BINGO at the sports bar down the street. Paul and I went last month and won cash prizes and a gift certificate to our favorite pizza place. I couldn’t go yesterday because I had too much work.

I was getting annoyed at the crow that wouldn’t shut up outside and took a bit of a break thinking that if I brought OJ inside that the crow would stop cawing at the cat. Well, when I opened the back door OJ started walking to the door just in time to miss the crow pooping right where OJ had been sitting! I hope the crow babies learn to fly soon because between them and the neighbor who has TWO starling nests in her roof, or corner is a noisy place. At least the hummingbird has been visiting again.

I have been tending my yard a lot. I have some photos here if you are interested. I guess having a lot of flowers means that people can steal them. I catch people stealing irises, poppies, love in a mist, and lupines all the time. The three weeks when the irises are in their full glory are my favorite time of the year so it makes me angry to see teenagers walking away with fistfuls of my flowers. I wrap loudly on my 100 year old melting glass windows like and grouchy old lady to get their attention. If they had asked or if they had offered some sort of trade I might let them have them. Hell, if they did it at night I might not even notice. if they offered to pull weeds and dead head flowers for an hour I would totally give them some.

Yesterday, one of my across the street neighbors came over with a basket asking if she could have some of my roses for her relative’s wedding. It might have been for the girl from across the street that I have watched grow up the past 10 years I have lived here. She needed flowers for the flower girl. I thought it was so nice of her to ask that I told her to take as many as she wanted. She wanted roses after all. I’m not a fan of roses. They are the prima donna of flowers.  So, she filled a wicker basket and I watched a pack of older ladies in finery pack into a minivan and be off.

I must be getting old when I bought myself some truffle oil and some saffron for my birthday. My saffron came in the mail yesterday and paul and I had to decide what to do with it.  I settled on Moroccan seared tofu and a saffron pilaf. I actually almost followed the directions!

Seared toful over saffron pilaf

Kingpin is one of our new favorite beers.

I had been looking at the messy stacks of records in the dining room. We have to go through them ever few months but I think we have only gone through our 7″ records once in the 5 years we have lived together. I picked up way too many new records last summer hanging out with Steve, the record buying enabler, and I started going through and alphabetizing the 7″s leaving a specific section for old Salt Lake bands. I have this problem that whenever I find old Stench, Insight, or Brainstorm 7″s in dollar bins across the country I MUST BUY THEM. It is sort of ridiculous, but good.

Once I did all the 7″ and started sorting the Lps that hadn’t been up away Paul started putting them in order with the rest while he made me listen to Fleetwood Mac. I think I cleansed my palate with Operation Ivy Energy while we debated on whether we should but all the Aaron Cometbus bands in once place or if we should put Julian Cope under J or C.

The view from the table.

A full IKEA EXPEDIT of records and 2 full crates full of 7"s!

I’m glad we went through all the records because my birthday is next Sunday and Paul wants to take me record shopping at the place down the street that is also a bar. It’s pretty great, they have these pint glass holders for you to place your beers while you shop.

This was sitting on the table so I took a photos of it...


That’s the Leatherman that my dad got me complete with my given name engraved on it. I bought one for him and he found it so indispensable that he bought one each for my sister and me. I was born on Father’s Day in 1977 and this year my birthday, yet again, falls on Father’s Day. 34 years ago I became a human and my dad became a dad. I always like when it completes the cycle and happens on the same day again.



Steve Larder is my friend…and stuff….and things… and he draws pretty pictures.

I was going to post this in the last one but I forgot. My friend Steve Larder drew this illustration of me for and article about

I'm thinking deep thoughts as I stare into the Wilamette River from the Steel bridge.

he also did this one for our Zines on Toast tour last year.

modeled off one of the many photos of me with whispy dramatic hair, when I had long hair.

Anyway, Steve does a zine called Rum Lad is a really great friend and and excellent illustrator trying to make his way being and illustrator in Nottingham in the UK. You can check out his images that have been used in zines, on show fliers, albums and magazines here , follow his blog here or check out his guest blogging at Creative Nottingham here, here, here, and here. Steve was also the instigator for our zine band The Copy Scams. I’m not sure how he scammed us into starting a band in 3 weeks and then playing a show but it sure was fun! Paul just remixed our tape of four songs and I have the available on my Etsy site here.

4 lo-fi pop punk songs about zines!

I also have about 5 copies of Brainscan 26.5 Nine Stories left! I put them up on my Etsy shop while supplies last!

I need to head downtown because I have and IPRC shift tonight.


before there was SLC Punk there was SLPX

Paul and I got back from Utah this week. We saw friends and Paul’s family and I even got to drive in the snow after not doing it for over a decade. Verdict: I can still drive in the snow. Go me!

When thinking of my trip I keep stumbling across this image in my head:

The place where all the cars are parked used to be a venue called DV8. It was a double venue with a bigger venue up stairs and a smaller venue downstairs with a bar in between. Apparently it burnt down a few years ago.  I can’t imagine how many shows I went to at DV8. I remember seeing NOFX, Green Day, being amazed with Cinder Block’s vocals in Tilt upstairs and being dragged backstage during an Unwritten Law show. I imagine the rocks that rim the lot were the same sturdy rocks that lined the downstairs I saw Weston, boysetfire, Discount, had my nose broken at the Swingn’ Utters, and was the merch girl for Paul’s band Homesick when they opened for Citizen Fish and The Parasites and I watched the merch people from all the other bands dance along to Homesick. That made me really happy to see.

It is strange to think that it is filled in and gone forever. It still lives on in my head. Paul and I had one of our first “dates” there. We went to see a show that neither of really cared about. For some reason we sat backwards on a couch with our legs up the rock wall singing Dead Milkmen songs and making fun of the bands that I can’t even remember who they were. Wow, I hadn’t thought of that in years.  I also haven’t thought about another one of our other first dates involved us watching a video that his friend had made of a Queers shows in 1995. It shows Paul meeting a future band made for the first time and It also shows glimpses of me in a bootlegged Operation Ivy shirt with my sister. In 1997 it seems so weird to look back at the space we shared 2 years prior, I’d love to see that video today.

When I took this picture I asked them to stand in line like they were waiting for a show or were selling zines or demanding that the sparechangers gave them jokes in exchange for their pocket coins. These were people I went to shows with 14 years ago: Dave (who was in the Grubs who also opened for that Citizen Fish show) Paul (duh) and Brandon (Sickboy records) it was kind if surreal. Especially because we met up with other Dave at a new placed called the Beerhive who was also in Homesick and happens to be my very favorite genius drop-out.

I’d like to think that the ghosts of us still haunt the place whether the Mormon Church buys up the property in hopes to make its own little Vatican or not. And SLPX? It was a way of saying Salt Lake Punx. I don’t know, it made sense at the time.

This is what I am doing Wednesday. The first open planning meeting for the 2011 Portland Zine Symposium at the IPRC and then the Tagalongs shows at Backspace. You are invited to both.

A Microcosm public statement, seriously?

I’d much rather tell you about my first adventure with puff pastry, how using vodka for part of the water makes great pastry dough, or how I’m making vegan black eyed peas for the New Year. But, I’m gonna weigh in on this before the end of the year. If you haven’t read this post yet, you catch up. If you are sick of hearing about, please ignore this post.

THIS would never have been on my radar had I not noticed a bunch of hits on my blog from What’s I had no idea until I went to the link. Apparently The Microcosm Collective squeaked by Cindy’s deadline to make a public statement about Joe’s history of abuse by 2 days and stuck it in this obscure corner of the internet. Hooray for them. But, as the first reply stated: “Who the fuck are Cindy, Alex, or Joe?” You might not want to read the replies, it might take years off your life or boil your brain, who knows? Who the fuck are Cindy, Alex or Joe,  indeed! There is no context or links to anything, it just sits there like a steaming pile of someone’s baggage while people who didn’t know and didn’t care walk by. Not only who the fuck are Cindy, Alex and Joe but who are The Microcosm Collective. There are no names listed.

In an e-mail to me from Cindy a few months ago, she asked me to put this into Brainscan #26 , a zine about all the failed mediation attempts with Joe:

In my statement to Microcosm, I asked that the collective make a statement or that each collective member contact me. When I sent this statement to all the workers listed on the Microcosm website, Joe emailed me and told me that the collective was only 3 people: him, Chris and I think Adam. I found this so disturbing. Especially since Sparky, who was very involved in Microcosm, wasn’t included in this list.

One of the big stumbling blocks in the accountabilty process came when we had emailed some questions to Microcosm workers who’s email addresses I had, and Joe was upset that we had only contacted some of the collective members. He said the collective was him and the people in Portland, the people in Bloomington and the people in Kansas; I think 7 or 8 people in all.

I’m sure there is an official policy on who is collective and who is not, but I would like it to be noted that Joe’s manipulative use of who counts as being a collective member, makes it impossible for me to stick with the demand that each collective member contact me.-Cindy Crabb

I’ll admit, it is nice to be told I was right and be thanked but the statement is so vague and just too little, too late. I feel that if this was truly meant to be a public statement they would have, you know, put it on their own website. Or maybe responded to the echo chamber of blog posts about it or a really novel idea would be to e-mail me, not stash it away on a website that clearly doesn’t care about it.

Edited to say that I don’t know for a fact that this actually from the Microcosm Collective. It does not appear anywhere on their site or anywhere else on the internet. I can’t imagine that it is fake though.

Paul calls 2010 the year that everything broke. So, good riddance! Tomorrow is ONE ONE ONE ONE. I think we wrote a Copy Scams song about that called one one one one! It’s about stealing copies but screaming ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! tonight might be fun? See you next year.

Forgot to post these vegan food stuff from awhile ago, Bad Religion, and cursive typewriters

Vegan pizza: eggplant, peppers, and carmelized balsamic onions. yum!

Stuffed poblanos and green beans with almond slivers

I really need to start taking more photos of my food again. Last week I had what Paul and I were calling “cabbage fest” I had 3 heads of cabbage, two green and one purple. I made a huge cabbage soup with white beans that our whole house snacked on for days. I made two kinds of coleslaw (one creamy and one with a vinegar base). I also made a braised purple cabbage with apples and red wine. I stuffed that mix into perogies and made a mix of perogies some cabbage and others potato/onion with fresh  herbs from my garden.

Jess is coming over tonight, invariably with wine to pair with something that I will cook. I haven’t really accessed my kitchen yet…or cleaned it for that matter but I will make something great. I might take photos with my phone though since I let my housemate Marc borrow my digital camera in trade for his cursive typewriter. I find that a humorous trade.

Monday night I went to see Bad Religion with my sister, Paul and James. I wasn’t expecting too much. Off with their heads was good. The Bouncing Souls were…. the same as ever, playing songs I haven’t heard but they drip with nostalgia nad sound like other songs I know. I had the realization that the first time I saw Bad Religion was in 1993 and they played with Rancid. The first time I saw the Bouncing Souls was in 93 or 94 and they played with Rancid too.

Then Bad Religion played. Wow. I really was not expecting much but holy fuck they played a great show with an amazing set list! It was about 3/4 stuff from 95 and before. It made me super happy. They also played “You” one of my all time favorite songs from my very first favorite punk band. That song is very poignant to some goings on in my life right now so it was great to hear it live and dance like and idiot….and scream until I was hoarse.

Check out this set list!

I was very pleased to see the show and I’m so glad I went. My sister actually wrote me a letter to say that it was the best show she had seen since we saw the Dead Milkmen last year. Last night Webs and I went to see Greg Graffin (Singer for Bad Religion)  speak about his book that I just finished called Anarchy Evolution. He didn’t read anything from the book but he spoke about Punk and Science and his trajectory with the two in the form of a personal narrative. That’s basically what the book is about. It was a good quick read and was good a putting some things together that I already was thinking about.

Also, I did some work on Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast this week. it’s true!

The Copy Scams in ones and zeroes

Remember how this summer I wrote about how we started a silly band called the Copy Scams all about zines? and We wrote 4 lo-fi pop punk songs, recorded, and played a show in 3 weeks?  Well, Paul digitized it and we have it on the internets if you would like to listen digitally to our songs about excuses as to why the zines is late, stealing photocopies, lists of things we like and hate and the 24 hour zine challege:


Brainscan 25.5! Copy Scams tapes! Up the analog zine punx!

Brainscan #25.5
At the IPRC on July 11, 2010 the Portland Zine Symposium sponsored a 24 hour zine challenge. A 24 hour zine challenge is when you make a zine in 24 hours. 

Well, this is the zine I made that night. You are not supposed to have any idea what you will put in your zine before you start so I had no idea what would come out of this. What did come out of those 24 hours, besides sleep deprivation delirium, was some photocopier artwork and stories about all the post boxes I have ever had. The count is 4 and each was a distinct time in my life that I wrote about including the secret admirer who wrote love notes to my boyfriend I shared the post box with and stories about long lost penpals.

32 pages 1/8th legal with black covers hand stamped in silver.

You can get a copy at my Etsy Shop

Also, I started a zine band!

The band equivalent of a 24 hour zine!

Steve of Rum Lad zine came to Portland from the UK for awhile and had the idea to start a band. I said “ok” and we got our housemates Paul and Marc to join in the fun! In 3 weeks we wrote 4 songs, practiced, recorded, and played a show that closed the 2010 Portland Zine Symposium!

What resulted was this 6 track demo of 4 lo-fi pop-punk songs all about zines! We have an obligatory intro song filled with excuses as to why the band is so late, another song reads like a cliche zine article full of things we like and hate, a song about stealing photocopies, and a song about the 24 hour zine challenge.

Cassette tape only! Up the analog zine punx! Comes with a 16 page 1/8 sized zine with lyrics and silly drawings.

The Copy Scams are:
Alex Wrekk – wordy stuff (Brainscan zine and Stolen Sharpie revolution)
Steve Larder – guitar stuffs (Rum Lad)
Marc Parker – Bassy things (Zine Thug)
Paul Burke – drummy and screamy goodness (Lunchroom)

There is also the
How I spent my summer vacation pack

home again!

I’m home!

The last 3 days of tour were spend in the excruciating humidity of New York City, but I still had a great time spending the last few days with friends who are now 8 time zones away. I can’t help myself from doing the maths from time to time.

So, I’m back in Portland with a yard and garden that desperately needs my attention so I’ll have to attend to that. Jackie and OJ seem happy that I’m back. They were waiting at the gate for me… not the gate at the airport as someone suggested but at the back gate. Jackie also proceeded to sleep on my head being a great cat hat to show is appreciation.

Yesterday Paul and I got burritos at my favorite (and conveniently located by my house) taco cart. Then we rode our bikes to do some grocery shopping. There was a perfect Portland misty rain and it made me really happy to be home.

Maybe soon I’ll write more of an update about tour but for now I have a ridiculous amount of photos uploaded to facebook that you can check out here. Looking through them seems like the things happened so long ago. Good times!

Right now I’m really into the autumn weather, cooking in my kitchen, listening to my new records, cleaning up my messy office and reclaiming my shipping table now that Steve has gone back to his tiny island and the office is no longer the Brain-Lad office.

I have a new zine in my head and I’m going to make more of the Copy Scams tapes and put them up on Etsy. Somehow we went through 25 of them? I think I gave away 5 but still, 20 people paid money for our silly tape of 4 songs put together in 3 weeks? Rad! There is even talk of putting it out as a 7″. We’ll see what becomes of that.