Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hot, Hot, Heat

Is the heat finally abating here in Portland? This has been possibly the worst week we could pick to spend all our free time packing up the house. It was so hot, stuffy, and still in the house Allie could barely bring herself to move. Upon her special request I dug out the old air conditioner we had used at the previous Guapo location and did my best to install it at the house. Unfortunately, it was too big for the windows in our bedroom so I put it in the only window it fits--in the kitchen. Some scrap wood, some towels, and a lot of half-assed work was all it took to slap the thing up there and get it blowing cold air. We turned it on Tuesday at 10pm and the temperature was still 90 degrees in the house.

We threw a foam pad on the living room floor (which adjoins the kitchen) so we could sleep out there and soak up the coolness from the AC. Last night we actually ended up a little cold, although you go anywhere else in the house and immediately start sweating.

Somehow, we've managed to pack up most of the house. All that's left really are our clothes, the plants, pictures on the wall, and all the big furniture.

My parents are coming up this weekend from Eugene to help us finish things off and install two new windows. We're also having an art show opening party at Guapo this Saturday. Here's the flier:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We survived Portland Zine Symposium 2009

Working the symposium Friday through Sunday was fun and tiring. We barely survived with our psyches intact. I was totally bummed out and sleepy Saturday, Allie was in a bad mood most of Sunday. The raging heat here in Portland didn't help matters (and is still making it hard to recover.) Nevertheless it was a good time, and nice to see so many friends.

Here's Allie, hiding behind one of our Guapo zine racks. This photo was taken by our friend Greg.

Sales were slower than normal but we did sell a lot of our zines. Allie's zine "She's So Unusual #1" was the top seller of the ones we made. My Macky zine did pretty well too. Our friends gave us lots of great feedback which felt great as they've been making zines for years longer than us.

Here I am making a letterpress style stamp for Allie to put the final touches on her zine. She spent all Friday finishing it up, and much of Saturday and Sunday, making additional copies to keep up with the demand. I'm wearing the awesome Hellen Jo t-shirt I got at this year's Stumptown Comics Fest. This photo was also taken by Greg.

Now that the symposium is over, it's time for us to get going on our next "Zine Challenge" I think we'll start in a couple weeks after all our house/floor stuff gets done. I want to post some pictures of the zines we did make but haven't taken them. Here's the image I created for the cover of my Macky zine.

I used oil pastels for the first time since 7th grade art class. It was fun! I want to do a drawing like this of Ouija too.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Catching Up, Also: We made zines!

Life is good. Oiuja's on my lap meowing. I'm listening to Smog's Supper album. We had a nice dinner with friends. It's almost midnight, but I can't resist doing a blog update. We've been extremely busy with no time for rest these last couple weeks. There's been so many blogs I wanted to do but no time with which to do them in.

I finally finished removing all the carpet from the house. August 3 we're having the floors redone and we need to pack everything up by then. We're only a third of the way done with that.

Here's some final before and after shots:

I can't wait to post the ultimate "after" shots, when these floors are totally redone. We've been planning this project for three years and it'll feel great to check it off our to-do list.

We joined the IPRC (Independent Publishing Resource Center) and took an Intro to Letterpress class last weekend. This is where you grab lead letters and load them up backwards one by one, then put them into a press which you hand ink. I dunno, it's hard to describe but it's really thrilling to learn such a tactile and historic craft. We made business cards for the store but hope to get a lot more projects done.

We also just made it through our personal "zine challenge." We've been vending as Guapo for a few years at the annual Portland Zine Symposium. After last year's symposium, we promised ourselves we would make our own zines by the next symposium. Today was day one of the 2009 zine symposium and we met our goal. I made two zines, one is the first issue of a zine of analytical essays about my favorite songs. Issue one is about Bill Callahan's song "Eid Ma Clack Shaw." I previously threatened to post this essay on this blog, but have since decided it was too esoteric for blogging. Instead I made a little booklet of it. Issue two will be about a Will Oldham song and issue three about a Beach Boys song. I did a second, more accessible zine, this one about our cat Macky. It was especially satisfying getting this one (which is all drawings) done as Macky has really been ailing lately and he may not be around to be our cute little cat much longer.

Last night I stayed up until midnight helping Allie finish her zine which is called "She's So Unusual." This is the first of a series about women who have inspired Allie. Each issue will feature personal reminiscences, related crafts, and factoids. The first issue is dedicated to the artist who inspired the zine title, Cindy Lauper. It's a really cool zine and I'm proud of her for squeaking it out. When we were working at the symposium today, she was actually putting the final touches to it, including carving a stamp of Cindy's face, stamping a cover made out of wall paper samples, and die-cutting a page for you to put your fingers through to make a picture of Cindy dance.

I'll post pictures of our zines shortly and give you a full update on the symposium. I've got to shower now and do some chores before getting to bed.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Fourth of July Weekend

We had a great Fourth of July weekend. I'm always trying to balance work and laziness, productivity and leisure and this weekend was a perfect blend.

Friday we slept in, as I had the day off from my office and we had friends covering at Guapo. We worked hard on the house all day and actually did so much that Allie commented that, "This is the most we've ever gotten done in one day."
My big project was organizing the garage. I also started emptying our house of junk in preparation for the floor project.

Saturday I slept in again (yes!) and then dug a big hole in the back yard to make a fire pit.
We ended up having a semi-impromptu barbecue at our house Saturday so I did a lot of weird stuff like this in preparation. Eighteen of our friends ended up coming to the barbecue. Here I am at the pit, building a fire to start once it gets dark:

I had the idea to set up our 8-bit Nintendo outside so people could play games on it. We couldn't get many of them to work so we ended up playing a lot of Jeopardy. Here I am beating Gariet and Jesse while Orly looks on in awe:

The fire pit was a big success and I'm looking forward to having more outdoor fires. We made a lot of S'mores around the fire.

Here we are lighting sparklers:

Eventually it was just Allie, me and four of our friends. We set up two tents in the backyard and camped out there overnight by the dying fire.

Sunday we all had breakfast together (Allie made French Toast and bacon) before going our separate ways. I spent a lot of time cleaning up the post party mess. I did three loads of dishes

and then relaxed the rest of the day. We watched the nearly 3 hour movie The Aviator about the early life of Howard Hughes. It was really good and I've been spending a lot of time reading up on him since.