Friday, November 28, 2008

my best of 2008 (and yes, i know it's a month early)

*Note that some of these I discovered in 2008, even though they may have come out beforehand.

Best Movie: Twilight
Best Album: Flavors of Entanglement, Alanis Morissette
Best New TV Show: True Blood
Best Book: We Disappear, Scott Heim
Best New Website: The Myers House - North Carolina: The Boogeyman's Home Away from Home (
Best New Shoes: Iron Maiden (Eddie!), Vans
Best Documentary: Planet Earth
Best B-Sides Project: Orphans, Charlotte Martin
Best New Musical Artist I've Discovered (a tie): A Fine Frenzy & Bat for Lashes
Best Video I've Seen: A&E, Goldfrapp
Best Play: Equus
Best Visual Artist: Nicole Linde (of Brittlestar --
Best News: We get to have Obama as our president
Best Breakfast Experience: The Lilly Pad Tree House, with Sandy Lilly
Best Revamped Website: Fangoria (
Best DVD Release: Friday the 13th: The Series, Season One
Best Surprise: Learning there's a "mannequin dump" somewhere near here, for those thought not-good-enough (can't wait to go there with Glenn)
Best Sports Experience: Watching Friday Night Lights, and actually liking football while devouring each episode
Best Remodeled Restaurant: McMenamin's Kennedy School opening up their very-cool basement, now called the Boiler Room
Best New Drink I've Tried: Ginger Beer
Best Memoir: Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Best Name I've Heard: Darwin Otto
Best Piece of Shallow Pop Culture News: Shannen Doherty returning to 90210
Best Use of the Buck Brothers' Names: Gossip Girl having a Nate, Jordan, and Aaron
Best Use of a Madonna Song: Ugly Betty's Season Two Finale
Best Reason to Cry Blood: To end up on my arm as part of a tattoo

For the most part, we've had a dry, crisp autumn here in Portland.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

word of the day

I learned last night that "ghost" can be used as a verb. Its definition to this effect is:

"To move noiselessly like a ghost"

as in, "Santa ghosted across the room to slip toys inside the stockings without the sleeping children noticing."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

mood of the day

quote of the day

"An axiom of depth psychology is that when the gods of mythology are
denied or repressed, they force themselves into awareness
symptomatically. Hillman notes that when the gods are not given their
proper place and recognition they become diseases. There are gods in
symptoms. Symptoms are gods. He says, 'It is mainly through the wounds
in human life that the gods enter . . . because pathology is the most
palpable manner of bearing witness to the powers beyond ego control and
the insufficiency of the ego perspective.'"

- Gene Toews, "Remembering Soul in Symptoms: A Mythological


I just chatted with the most pleasant checkout clerk at Safeway -- Sherry. She just exuded warmth, humor, sweetness, lightheartedness, and depth. Sherry, you rock!


I loved Twilight. Seriously. They did such a great job! In fact, I think I liked it better than the book....You were totally right: they fixed all the things that were clunky/off about the novel. I would have liked the chase scenes to be a touch longer, more drawn out, but I know that's a personal preference....after all, it's PG-13, and it's mostly for teen girls! I saw it in a theatre with a thousand screaming 11-13 year olds, and I have to admit, wow, what a great audience! Totally respectful and quiet for the film, but then - after famous lines, scenes, introductions of characters, etc. - they'd scream and hoot and holler. In the parking lot on the walk back to the car, one 11-year-old girl kept smiling and chanting, "I love Edward! I love Edward!"

The direction? Brilliant. Casting? Perfect. Pacing? Spot-on. They also did a nice job setting up for the future film installments. And you're right, Jacob, whoa, he's going to chomp his way through scene-stealing (werewolf style) in New Moon. I'm 50 pages through Eclipse. And totally hooked.

....Yes, I really, really loved Kristen Stewart. I liked her (androgynous) performance in Panic Room, and she was great in her brief role in Into the Wild. And Rob Pattinson, well, they couldn't have cast Cedric better for the Harry Potter films.

I, too, appreciated the scenes between Bella and Charlie. They did feel awkward, raw, true. And I thought the actress playing Jessica did an amazing job -- A++.

Have you seen Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen? Evan Rachel Wood is one of my fave young actors working today....I've been a huge fan ever since the TV show Once and Again, where she got her start.

Yep, caught Stephenie in her cameo:)

The film, overall, was up the "Nathan Alley" in so many ways. I'm obsessed with horror stuff, and I'm kind of an oddball combo of horror and kitschy all over my house....dangling dolls and mannequins....scary movie collection....unicorn memorabilia....Queer as Folk collection....faeries and elves and magical stuff just spilling from corners and crevices....I've had boyfriends say I was a mix between a gay man and a 13-year-old girl. That sounds about right! Which is why I appreciated Twilight all the more. I WAS one of those girls! (Still am!) I will most likely see it again in theatres. I'm hoping they release a "Director's Cut" of some kind on DVD, maybe unrated, that has a little more blood and guts and violence to it. I'm sick in the head. Sue me.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

quote of the day

"We were always your decision. You came into my woods, my love, not I into your garden."

--Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb), from Cloven Hooves

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

mood & quotes of the day

“…time also stumbled and had accidents and could therefore splinter and leave an eternalized fragment in a room.”

--Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

“One thing I truly knew – knew it in the pit of my stomach, in the center of my bones, knew it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, knew it deep in my empty chest – was how love gave someone the power to break you.”

--Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

Friday, November 14, 2008

Scream 4.... going to be released in 2010. There are lots of theories swirling regarding the plot. Here's one fan's cool take/poster on the story:

This is the year of (continued) --

This is the year of:
*Someone breaking into my car, smashing the window, ripping out the radio
*Esther giving birth to her daughter, Ella
*Christina giving birth to her daughter, Sylvia Golden
*Questioning, for the first time, if owls are in fact my totem animal (and deciding they are)
*Ollie having seizure attacks
*Going to the Maryhill Museum with Mom and Glenn, and the exchange of peacock feathers, and the dancing troupe at the Oregon Stonehenge
*Gretchen taking a stand with herself, and making a decision that strayed outside her people-pleaser comfort zone
*Deciding I don’t always need to be a people-pleaser, either
*Julie opening up her heart, her vulnerability, to her friends
*Kevin falling in love
*Missing Michael, and our melancholy goodbye, even though we’ve only spent a handful of actual hours together
*Marieke getting married and moving to Scotland (again!)
*Seeing Jacki, and meeting her son & daughter
*Saving Dewey
*Nancy’s second surgery
*Brad and Tara’s trip to Fiji
*going to the Beltane Celebration on May Day, with Mom and Brenda, at 6:00am up in the Rose Garden, and dancing as part of the garland ritual
*getting my poems in the right order
*reading Scott Heim’s We Disappear, and finding mysterious (and refreshing) connections between it and my own fiction, as well as my own life
*Aurora giving me the lovely White Rabbit art piece, made from a Tic Tac box, with “Eat Me” star-art inside
*Having coffee with one of my new favorite artists, Nicole Linde of Brittlestar
*Last Thursday art walks
*Eileen’s sister dying of cancer
*Eileen’s other sister being diagnosed with cancer
*Lynn being diagnosed with cancer
*B and Jeff visiting
*Mom’s deepening friendships with Janelle and Brenda
*Watching the Six Feet Under finale with Aaron
*Jordan getting his dog, named Brooklyn
*Seeing The Strangers and deciding it’s one of the scariest movies ever
*Seeing Carly again
*Seeing Tommy (Ishtar) again
*Taking a nap under that tree in the park that one day, with the sun bathing me
*Getting my Iron Maiden Vans so the Skull Twins have friends
*Getting the Green Man mask at the Oregon Country Fair
*Losing my ring that Mary gave me from our trip to Turkey
*Climbing up into Julianne and Marlo’s tree house
*the prettiest, crispest autumn I've experienced here in Portland
*My next novel slowly starting to take shape in my heart

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is the year of --

We still have a month and a half to go this year, but I've been reflecting on all the big and little moments, the details of the heart, that have played out in my Life in 2008. Here's a sprinkling of them....

This is the year of:
*The broken heart
*Luna's pirate status
*Having the best bowl of soup I've ever tasted, at Crema, with Meagan
*Watching Twin Peaks with Tara
*Meeting Glenn, a kindred carnival soul
*Starting work at Our House
*Mom almost losing everything
*Mom staying true to herself -- and once again proving the ultimate role model through her integrity of character
*Aaron returning from Scotland and moving in with Stephenie
*Jordan taking a chance with dating again
*Getting close to finishing my novel
*Alanis releasing her best album ever -- and introducing "Torch" into my personal music tapestry
*Reconnecting with Amanda Peterson, a childhood friend from Chicago
*Reading more and more and more, with a vengeance
*Making amends with my melancholy-demon
*Facing myself in the (figurative) mirror
*Erasing "doormat" from my list of personality traits
*Walking my talk -- and expecting others to do the same
*Throwing out my knee in a major way
*Staying in a tree house resort
*Giving more dolls homes
*Getting my new tattoo and deciding on my next one
*Knowing Tara sees the real, raw, core of me -- and loves it
*Taking more time for myself
*Mom slipping down the basement stairs
*Becoming more and more comfortable with the Gray Zone
*Falling in love with Felicity all over again
*Kicking the Boogeyman's ass
*Embracing Ray Bradbury as one of my favorite authors (Dandelion Wine should be required reading for each person in this country)
*Meeting someone whose totem animal is the blue-ringed octopus
*Losing Grandma Lilly
*Saying "no" to my father
*Saging the San Raphael home (and my own NE neighborhood with Mom)
*Seeing ghosts dancing in the trees in the park by my house
*Deciding to get my own place next year, and to get a little kitten
*Inspiring Jess
*The Twelve Months of Christmas contest
*Coming up with the term "ProFAGonist" with Robin
*Obama getting elected (Yay!)
*Some friendships falling apart
*Some friendships gaining strength & momentum
*Learning to be comfortable hanging out with just myself again
*Hanging out with Devin and Debra in Wilshire Park
*Going for that awesome walk in Forest Park
*Spending more time with Jerry
*Embracing all the childhood awe of Halloween and all of October
*Luke, Tara and Brad's dog, dying unexpectedly
*Tara and Brad buying a home
*Letting go of some imaginary idea of perfection
*Adding secret magic messages to chalk drawings
*Stumbling upon that huge bonfire with Mom, Jordan,and Tara, the moon full above us, the lighthouse casting a beacon over the ocean
*The strong heart

We lost a resident at Our House last night, and he was filled with elegance and grace, and today we all walked out, in a procession with candles, to help him onto his next Adventure as the blue sky burned crisp and dry and fresh above us.

More to come later.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

and my mood of the day now includes....

Here's a link to a list of banned books. I love that Banned Book Week ended on October 4th this year, which happens to be Saint Francis' birthday. Interesting some of the books that have made the list, including the Bible:

mood of the day

ms. rabbit

I broke routine this morning, and decided to take a quick jaunt with my ladybug umbrella in the rain. Usually I take the dogs with me for the pre-work walks, but because of the rain I knew that, A) Ollie would resist, and B) Luna would love it but then run back in and rub herself (and mud) all over the furniture. So there I am, bopping along and listening to Bruce Springsteen, and I see this little stuffed toy rabbit, about the size of my palm, lying sadly in a crack on someone's step near the sidewalk. It was pouring on her -- she smiled regardless -- and I propped her up so that she'd be noticed by the people who own the home. I walked away, but glanced back and saw that she'd toppled onto her side, and I frowned. How could I leave her out in the rain? Was anybody really looking for this dirty, abused little rabbit sitting right out in the open? So I snatched her up, took her home, and gave her a bath.

Barbwire: it's been on my mind a lot lately, the barbwire around our hearts that is. How nice that I see now how much I've resisted letting men past the wire, how I need to date men who are open to being real with me and not locking themselves up in their own barren gardens. It was lovely to chat about this idea with Marianna last night, as we sat in Crush in front of that art project that's still on the wall, where people can write and tuck secret messages, where my message might be there still. One of Crush's owners said to a new patron, "You never know what you're going to find in there. It's all part of the fun!" I agree. Life is a mystery, as Madonna would say. But, Maddy, we don't need to stand alone. We have friends and family and lovers to be there with us, lighting up the dark.

Monday, November 10, 2008

got my mentor at a garage sale.

Once a month, Alanis Morissette holds contests with questions for fans to answer. If she picks you as the winner (at, you get a care package from her in the mail. This month's question: "Do you have a mentor?" My letter follows the picture. I'll let you know if I win!


I'd have to say my main mentor and role-model -- besides my amazing mother -- is my dog, Luna. Luna's a one-eyed Jack Russell Terrier who takes the world by storm, and is willing to take on all pirate jokes in the name of staying sassy.

Luna lived in an abusive household for many years, where she was forced to live outside 24/7, under less-than-desirable circumstances and where another dog regularly attacked her. Eventually, Luna was taken in by a loving woman, Brenda, whom my mother Janice and I refer to as "Mama 2". After Brenda decided to move to Mexico, she and her husband Charles decided that Luna needed a home as giving and warm as theirs. They also decided to hold a garage sale and sell off their material possessions. Little did Brenda know that Janice not only loves garage sales but was on the lookout for a companion for Ollie, our goofy Fox Hound. Janice and Brenda, previously strangers, ended up chatting for a bit, and -- as they moved onto the topics of dogs and pets in general -- Brenda said, "I get a good vibe from you! You should have Luna stay with you for a few days and see if you'd like to give her a home!" And the rest is history: We literally got our dog at a garage sale.

Within weeks after moving in, it turned out Luna had a disease in one eye, and there was pressure building against the eyeball, and it was going to explode from her head if we didn't get the eye taken out. Janice noticed that Luna was walking with lots of tension in her neck, and Luna seemed to be having headaches. Brenda, just days before moving to Mexico, joined forces with my mother and another friend, and -- voila! -- Luna had a successful surgery and now looks like she's permanently winking, hence her nickname, "Winky Lu".

Luna is my mentor because she's been through so much -- physical abuse, neglect, serious health complication, unstable home of both the literal and figurative varieties -- and yet she maintains a nice balance of go-getter-ness and tenderness. She's loving, sweet, funny, smart, and loyal, while also being full of tomboy tendencies; she's never afraid to explore the bushes and flowerbeds, to dig under that next leaf pile. (I'm constantly giving her baths and wiping stray leaves from her face hair.) Even when she falls down a step, or off the bed, she just bounces back up and kind of says with her expression, "Oh well! Shit happens! Bring it on! I'm ready!" She and Ollie are boyfriend/girlfriend (and step-siblings, but we'll side-step those Flowers in the Attic overtones for now), and they always look out for one another. Plus, Luna follows Janice around, always making sure Mom's okay and that she has company. They're two peas in a pod, that's for sure.

Thanks, Alanis. Loved your show here in Portland, by the way! I will forgive you for not playing "Torch" (smile) since you busted out "Versions of Violence" for me. Both songs got me through a lot this year; you may thank India, but I'll stick to thanking you:)

Warmest Regards,
Nathan Buck

Friday, November 07, 2008

quote of the day (and then some)

"A feeling is not bottomless. Once felt all the way through, a great peace greets you there."

--Alanis Morissette

Her show last night was terrific, by the way. She didn't bust out "Torch", like I was hoping. Maybe "Torch" will end up like Tori Amos's "Merman", that song that I'm always hoping she'll play but never does....and, in the poetic end, maybe I don't really ever want to hear it, but just anticipate that moment....

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dangerous Angel

Halloween was terrific, and I’m thankful I got to spend so much wonderful time with Jerry. I’ve known Jerry since I was 18 and a freshman in college in Madison, and he now lives right outside Corvallis! He hasn’t seen many scary movies in his day, so I exposed him to plenty of the classics: Halloween, Scream, The Howling, Poltergeist, and then some. We also passed out candy to the trick-or-treaters; there was a young Dracula, maybe four or five years old, who was in awe of my vampire/angel hybrid costume. Yes, my original intent was to go as Angel, the vampire made famous by mastermind Joss Whedon. Mom was Buffy the Vampire Slayer – she looked perfect and bad-ass, by the way – and I was to be her main squeeze. My outfit ended up morphing until it almost looked like Spike, the evil-turned-good vampire (with the sexy British accent) who falls in love with Buffy and drives a wedge between her and Angel. Then I thought, why don’t I call myself “Spangel”, the (unfortunately figurative) lovechild of Spike and Angel? I dressed in black wings, white face paint, and silver hair glitter, with black lipstick and black fingernails, sexy black clothes, and a black-and-white tie. Then my vampire fangs wouldn’t stay in my mouth, so I became, simply….Dark Angel. (And, for all those Francesca Lia Block fans out there, I secretly thought of myself as Dangerous Angel, a reference to her Weetzie Bat books.) Mom, Jerry, and I hit the gay bars and danced; for his costume, Jerry had turned himself into some hippie-redneck-Richard Simmons hybrid, and he even talked in a Deliverance-inspired drawl throughout the night, never breaking character.

The last few days have been a delicious blur….writing….meeting Sylvia Golden, Christina and Ryan’s newborn daughter….the election….and my humorous moment at the Kennedy School on Tuesday night. Get this: I’m sitting there with Mom and Robin, and this woman keeps glancing over at me, and she finally comes up to me and points to my Equus shirt, with Daniel Radcliffe posed/morphed with a horse. Here’s pretty much how our conversation went:

“Did you see Equus in New York?”
“Yes, three weeks ago! It was great.”
“Was there really full frontal nudity of Harry Potter?”
“Yeah, for 20 minutes.” (said dejectedly, as I’d thought it would be more)
“Oh my god. 20 minutes?” (said with awe and lust, as she’d thought it would be less)
“I sat in the eighth row. It was fantastic.”
“Well, my mother and I got first row!” (and then she ran off, giddy as a schoolgirl)

Now, as we’re on this whole Harry Potter theme, I’m currently reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series – the world’s bestselling books since HP – and getting obsessed. I can’t wait to see the first film, starring the swoon-inducing Robert Pattinson; you know him as doomed Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yeah, THAT guy. He can bite me anytime. You know, in a good way. Here he is, looking for some Dangerous Angel to hang out in hell with (if only we could get rid of that Bella chick….):

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's about damned time.