Monday, October 26, 2009

Concerts and more concerts

I'm disappointed in this blog. Events are flying by, and we're barely reporting anything...Oh well.

This weekend we kept very busy with social engagements. Friday night we went out to see a customer's band play and celebrate their CD release party. Three punk bands played including his. It was a really fun night.

Saturday, our old high school friend Nick came up and he and I went over to Lewis and Clark College where we saw a free concert by Former Ghosts. The band is led by the guy from This Song Is A Mess But So Am I and also features Jamie Stewart from my favorite, Xiu Xiu. The guys really blew the lid off with dark, noisy, moving, synth pop. Nick and I were blown away by the performance. The lead singer Freddy Ruppert put all of his physical and emotional energy into the performance. His whole body was tense as he sang, shook, danced, and played. The venue was so intimate and we were so close you could hear him panting, out of breath, between songs. There was a percussion stand both guys would occasionally wail on, and you could see wood splinters flying off their drumsticks. The Former Ghosts album is reportedly about a relationship and break up Ruppert had and it seemed like he dredged up all his real life emotions for the performance. He was just an ordinary guy before the show, but during some of the songs he actually brought tears to his eyes and after a couple of them he quietly sobbed to himself. It was intense, but seemed brave and moving instead of pathetic or uncomfortable as you might imagine it could be. It was as if Ruppert was doing a method actor style performance, bringing up all his personal grief to sell the songs and give them truth. Former Ghosts wouldn't be to everyone's taste, but I highly recommend them.

Afterwards, we each bought the album and headed to North East Portland and the Tonic Lounge. We met Allie there and although I missed the performance by our friends Fun Yeti, I was in time to catch the Punk Rock Collective which also features two of our friends. They played a great, energetic set of punk rock covers.

Sunday we went to see Where the Wild Things Are, which I really enjoyed, and then had friends over for dinner.

It was a great weekend but I find myself filled with angst about everything else. There's so much house work to do and I feel so behind on so many things...

Anyhow, this might be my last blog entry for a long while as I am embarking on a personal project for the month of November, which could possibly use up all of my free time. November is National Novel Writing Month, in which participants try and pump out a 50,000 word story. I've had an idea for a novel floating around in my head for the last four or five years and I am going to use this month to finally dive into it. I don't have much planned out or anything. Come November 1st, I'm just going to write and write until I make it to 50,000 or more words. If it's any good, I'll start the long revision process come December. If it stinks, I'll just be happy I gave my brain the exercise. I'm trying to get a friend to participate with me. He most recently committed to doing it, if we promised to make one Print-on Demand copy of our creations in December; a "published" edition of one. Sounds fun to me.

JT

Monday, October 12, 2009

Allie's Amazing Cake!

In August, Allie made an awesome cake for our friend Andrice's birthday. I previously promised photos. I was waiting for Allie to post them here, but at this point, I think it's better to do it myself.

Our friend Andrice was turning 40 and having a big birthday party to celebrate. It was Allie's job to make the cake. Andrice is a big fan of baking and cooking, so Allie had the idea to make her a gourmet cake, upon which she put 40 vintage cake toppers which Andrice could later use in her own baking. It was both a dessert and a gift.



The cake was white chocolate and dyed with streaks of blue and teal. The frosting was parfait amour butter cream and was dyed lavender for the side of the cake and green for the top, where it was laid down to evoke a field of grass. The cake had two layers between which was a filling mixture of parfait amour frosting with orange and elderflower marmalade. It was delicious!




After everything was put together, Allie topped it all off with two handmade banners which ready Happy Birthday.


She also made this lovely card:


Allie loves making crafts and such and it's a real treat to watch her make new things and grow in her skills. One of us--hopefully Allie--will post some relevant news on her crafting passion soon--I promise!

Jeremy

Weekend Update

Yes! This weekend we went to another Portland Library book sale and it was awesome!

I scored:

Hollywood Babylon II by Kenneth Anger
The BFG by Roald Dahl
I'm With the Band by Pamela Des Barres
Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook by Roger Ebert
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
Invincible Summer Volume 1 by Nicole Georges
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
New Rules by Bill Maher
Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems by James Thurber
Lanterns & Lances by James Thurber
Fart Party Volume 1 by Julia Wertz

Allie bought a biography of Joan Crawford and a bunch of craft books. All of this only cost us only $21! We also bought twenty or so books for the store. It's always so much fun being able to go crazy buying books without having to spend too much money. Meanwhile my room is literally overflowing with books for which I have no shelf space. Eek!

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The most frustrating aspect of running a comic book store is getting stuck with hundreds and hundreds of back issues. We have to order all our comics two months in advance and we have to order them in the amount we think will sell, with no returns possible. Unfair right?? Companies like Marvel and DC are always launching new titles and new mini-series and it can be pretty hard to anticipate how new titles will sell. We tend to err on the side of overkill, over ordering a little, and thus we always end up with a certain amount of comics that never sell. Right now our store basement is filled with thousands of these comics. Even with occasional clearance sales, it's impossible to get rid of these things. Earlier in the year we gave away an entire long box of comics to a charity because we have so many--that's about $1,000 worth of comics.

To try and remedy this situation we've started listing comics on Amazon. It's been doing so well that this weekend we opened up a Pro seller account. Comics have been flying off of our virtual shelves!
We have thousands of more comics to list so we'll see how it goes. It's a pretty long process and has been keeping Allie very busy. On the bright side, I'm feeling like this will at the least keep our back issue section from growing further out control. If we're really lucky, it might actually start to dwindle!

Running a small business in the struggling economy, we have to do whatever we can to try and increase sales and using Amazon to get rid of our extra stock really seems to be paying off.

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A couple weeks ago our cat Ouija started having mouth problems. We saw her fang seemed loose and we scheduled a vet appointment. We took her in Saturday and saw that her fang had actually broken right off! Even worse, the root remains and the rest of her mouth is filled with cavities. I can't imagine it feels good for her to be living with a broken tooth. We want her to get taken care of but the estimate for dental work is $200 to $700 and we do not have that kind of money. We're thinking of trying to pull off some kind of fundraiser or bake sale. Any ideas?