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This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

[outlandish] | [my story] | [love] | [sin] | [places] | [philosophy]

Ren Fayre: Bugs, Drugs, Neitzche

Kevin
Mark's buddypal Kevin from Cali. He drove his truck up and brought some crazyness to the party.

Friday Night
After we'd taken down the Chunk Tower, we had a good time orienting ourselves to the amenities Reed campus. Seeing all the very cool stuff that's set up around (people do groovy and fun things just for the hell of it), I started getting agitated that I'd left my camera back at The House of Rock & Roll, aka Luke's place, where I was staying. Since we had an hour to kill before the Beer Garden opened, I asked Mark's friend Kevin, who came up from Arcata CA for the festivities, if he was still good to drive and would he mind taking his truck back to home base so I could get my camera. Being a good natured guy, he agreed, and we quickly got a bunch of other requests for things that had been forgotten.

So Kevin and I took the drive across Southeast Portland to get the supplies (including more liquor, just in case) and I get to know a little more about him. An Air Force brat, he'd moved around a lot and wandered some before discovering that he wanted to be a farmer and settling into the bucolic American paradise of northern California. He likes it ok there, but all the hippies are starting to wear on his nerves. Kind of a mountain man, that guy.

Sick Boys
Sick Boys Cian and Chris Williams. This is what happens when you have to wait a long time for the beer garden to open.

So we collect our things (this is where the photo record begins) and return to Reed. The Beer Garden is still closed, so I offer to head down to the 7-11 for some interim supplies. I also need batteries for my camera. I take Luke's roommate Max's bike, which is far too small for me, but I'm enjoying it, being outlandish. When I return we all have time to slug back one brew before the Beer Garden finally opens. For anyone who truly appreciates beer, or just loves to drink, this is one of the best deals you can get anywhere in the country: you pay a total of $20 ($10 to be at Ren Fayre and $10 for a Beer Garden pass) and you can drink as much quality MacTarnahan's Brewery beer as you want.

The Northwest is flush with quality microbreweries and homebrew operations, something I sorely miss back in NYC where the best beer you can get most places is large-scale imported stuff, so I take advantage of the copious libation. They also have High Life to satisfy some students' staunch lowbrow tastes, but I refrain from drinking that. I can swill Miller anytime, but it's only once or twice a year I get to sample Cream Porter or authentic India Pale Ale.

My friends in Oregon being a resolute collection of drinkers, this place is the central focus of our activities, the axis around which the rest of the madness turns. We're drinking steady, at a pace you can keep up for six hours or so, while catching up on old times, making plans for the weekend, telling lewd jokes, and generally acting like the pack of scummy-lovely rock and rollers that we are.

The Beer Garden is the creation of a Reed student organization called "Beer Nation" which receives funding for the express purpose getting Reedies drunk. They handle keeping the garden orderly, checking IDs and serving the suds at Ren Fayre, and you can tell them by their distinctive t-shirts.

Rachel
Rachel strikes a typical pose. Lots of attitude on that one.

It's raining lightly and starting to get dark when I start flirting with Rachel. This is a girl we've known since high school back in Eugene. She used to hang out with our crowd more, but then she got together with some guy who's in AA and we stopped seeing her so often. Myself, I haven't seen her since last year. Given all the debauchery that will go down, her recovering boyfriend is not in attendance.

I've always liked Rachel, ever since she made a pass at me the day before my 18th birthday on Robin's dad's deck while Luke and her then best friend were making woo upstairs and the rest of the people we were hanging out with were wandering around the neighborhood on mushrooms. I liked her then, but not a week before my friend Dylan had told me that he was going to try and date her, so I held off. We've maintained a certain level of sexual tension ever since. Sometimes when we're drunk and forget ourselves we kiss, but nothing serious ever happened. She's a strange, beautiful creature, an avid videogamer and lover of the Stray Cats. The way she talks, her vocabulary and tone, is reminiscent of what I think a two-fisted dame from the '30s would sound like. A unique lady.

So I flirt with her because I'm attracted to her and she's sitting near me and I'm halfway crocked. And she flirts back a bit, and we converse with everyone, waiting for the musical lineup to start. The Beer Garden isn't just for drinking: there's a full bill of music to enjoy as well, and tonight it's dominated by our friends and acquaintances.

I took a minor injury at this point when I fell and hit my jaw on a chair while going for beers before the music started. The irony was that it wasn't because I was too drunk. It was a simple clumsy mis-step on a slick ledge, but I was almost kicked out anyway. Luckily the Beer Nation worker who was there, legendary Jim DeSoto, ex-minor league ball player and former president of Beer Nation, was a friend of Luke's so he didn't give me any trouble, though he didn bust my balls about it the next day.

Friends
The regurgimotherfuckingtations.

First up on the stage were the Regurgitations. led by Luke's roommate Max (who's bike I rode earlier to get beer). They are a "Puke Rock" power trio, with songs such as "I Puked (On Me)" and "I Want To Get High And Fuck Your Mom." Their seminal anthem is the blistering 35-second "Shit Fuck Die." After their short but energetic set, another of Luke's roommates, Tom Wunderlich, took the stage. Tom is a Texan, a very smart guy and avid fan of American roots music. He writes highly intelligent, often pun-filled, bluesy folk songs. The prototypical Tom tune is about a "Po' faux pho foe boho pomo homo mofo" and he sings all his songs with heart.

By the time the music was over it was fully dark and we were all pretty well juiced up. My flirtation with Rachel was getting a little more bold and eventually we wandered out of the Beer Garden and over to the Student Union, where improbable as it may sound someone had booked The Pharcyde to play. Hiding in the dark anonimity of a noisy crowd, we made out and drunkenly danced around each other. It was a schizophrenic moment, for I knew what I was doing was not really right, but in the moment it was a difficult thing to resist, kissing the girl.

The recollection of what actually when down at this point is hazy and cluttered. The photo record suggests that after the concert ended Rachel and I went back to the Beer Garden, drank more, and I took a lot of photos of people I don't know. I would hear about a few things the next day, Kevin getting mad a "spoiled college kids who've never worked a day in their lives," and lots of miscellaneous property damage and hooliganism. Eventually, we all made the trek up to our friends Chris's truck where we jammed about 10 people in the back and he drunk drove us home. I crashed out on Luke's couch almost immediately after a full day and night of revelry.

On to Part Three: Saturday Sun

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Trips

Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...

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