Torlo Goes to Portland

I may be forced to find some part time work if no fantastic assignments fall in my lap this month. So, if you know of anyone looking to hire a guy who has arms and legs and a typing speed of over 80 wpm, do pass it along. Data entry would suit me fine. I have this weird hankering for manual labor since I haven’t been doing anything active except the occassional swim lately (by the way, the tennis courts by my house are now just piles of dirt). I do not want to do anything that involves sales or calling people, or generally interacting with human beings, cuz those are the worst kind of beings. Maybe I should apply at the library.

Kodos missed me so desperately that he peed on things. I don’t blame him, I peed on a few things myself over the weekend. Mostly urinal cakes.

On Thursday Marlo and I went to ye olde Greyhound station and sat around waiting for the bus to come, which it did. Oh how it came! They moved the ‘Gifts ‘n’ Shit’ store since I was there last, but otherwise things are pretty much as I remember them. On the bus we played 20 questions, which turned into 47 questions, and we played with the channel changers on the back of the seats in front of us. There were 5 channels. We didn’t have any headphones, so we just decided to change the channel to reflect how antsy we were to get off the bus (I got up to 3 shortly before Abbotsford). Once we got to Ford of Abbots, we walked the 40 minute walk from the bus depot to Warren’s place. Somebody in a truck yelled something at us as they drove by, so you’ll be pleased to know that the culture in Abbotsford has not declined. Most eateries were closed by the time we got to them (10-ish) but I got some kind of veggie wrap just before War’s place. Warren had just got in as we arrived. He tucked us into bed and suddenly it was…

Friday morning. Marlo and I went to White Spot and had breakfast while Warren was at school. We both got the same thing but my sandwich had a toothpick with blue celophane to match my blue shirt, and Marlo’s had a toothpick with green celophane to match her green shirt. We learned that Sylvia was coming with us to Portland but that she wasn’t arriving until about 2 because her car had a flat tire. She was coming in from Vancouver. Marlo napped on my lap while I read Warren’s D&D books and conspired (with myself) to make my Thursday campaign just that much more interesting (and by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘nasty’). Once she arrived I managed to leave my jacket behind and we were off to those united states of America. The border check was uneventful. We got some snacks when we filled up for gas several hours into the trip, and I got my favourite exotic US candy bar Whatchamacallit as well as some Jelly Belly flavoured Smartie-like candies. They had instant soup in a can – pizza flavoured – that I found entertaining but I wasn’t brave enough to try it.

Traffic was dreadful so we got into Portland midway through the first block of films – around 8:30 I think. Marlo and I had dinner at Chin’s authentic Chinese restaurant just behind the Hollywood Theater and their egg foo young came as four greasy patties. We got well fed for about $6.50 Canadian each, and had the experience of take-out in those little folding boxes that you see on American TV shows and movies. Grood! That night I introduced Marlo to everybody (her blog has details) and we watched a bunch of shorts, most of which were so-so, but entertaining. I gave Marlo my schedule (which was in fact her schedule) so I’m lost. Afterwards there was an informal get-together at a pub, but since we got there late all the cool tables were full up, so we had to make our own cool table. John Tynes and Jenny showed up (by the way, John’s blog “dispatches from Revland” is to make the cool table legitimately labelled, and soon Scott Glancy snaked over, scraping along a miniature-size picnic table for a chair. Oh how I wished I hadn’t left my jacket in Canada, but we got the keys off of Warren and I found an extra shirt. Brian, Andrew & others talked Warren & I into performing some ‘unplugged’ Thickets. The first snag was that nobody had a pick for the guitar that somebody brought, so Warren ended up using Brian’s tie clip. The second snag was that halfway through the second song (The Innsmouth Look) the staff asked us to cut it out! The waitress said it was because the people next door complain (this was out on the back patio) but I think it was just because she didn’t like good old Cthulhu Rock.

The company was good but both Marlo and I were a bit burned out and we just wanted to go somewhere quiet and bed-like (possibly bed) but as both our hosts (Andrew and Linda) and our transportation (Warren) stayed later than almost anyone else, our schedule was a chattel to the ringleader of partydom. How ironic then that when we finally got to Andrew’s house the partying began in earnest! We partied as we blew up air mattresses, pushed couches together to make a nutty kookoo super couch, and brushed our teeth. Marlo and I ended up sleeping alone in the basement on a Jenga-puzzle of a couch set that was as wide in the middle as one of those stools that goes with the set, but it turned out fine and it was in fact only marginally narrower than Marlo’s bed at home. It was just hard to get in and out of in the dark. This was complicated by us hearing a strange sound shortly after we went to bed. It sounded like a dull moan, or whiney alarm from an expiring washer/dryer. It lasted only for a second, and then silence, but it sounded ominously close. We weren’t too concerned about it until it happened again, a minute or two later. Then again, and again. We decided it was a cow mooing, and we started stumbling around, looking for light switches and combing the room for the source. Since there was at least a good minute inbetween moos, this became frustratingly difficult. I found some kind of electronic dinosaur push-button learning interface, and looked for a power button. Of course dinosaurs don’t moo, traditionally, but it was all that I had at the moment. I pushed the power button, and new noises filled the room. While I was doing that, Marlo found the farmyard set that was in fact the source of the sound, but there didn’t seem to be any power button – just an array of things to touch. She touched. More noises. A cacophony of oinking, clucking, neighing and some awful midi song no doubt carried up the stairs along with our frantic giggling (caused by imagining what we would look like if somebody came down the stair fumbling around with these preschool toys in our underwear). I turned the whole playset over only to find that you need a screwdriver to take the batteries out. So I was scrounging around for something to unscrew the battery cover or, alternately, something big enough to smash the whole thing, Marlo figured out that the moo was triggered by the barn door being opened, so we just made sure it was properly shut and prayed that it would stop. It did.

In the morning (this is Sunday now), after some new and exciting American sugary cereals (which Andrew & Linda always buy especially for me, and I love them for it!) Warren, Sylvia and I went downtown to explore Powell Books. There were some good art books there that I couldn’t afford, but now I know they exist so I can keep them ‘on file.’ I did buy the first book in the Black Company series, so that was good. It was seemingly the last copy they had. We spent over two hours there and ran in to just about everyone we met the night before – John & Jenny, Aaron & Kirsten, Donovan and his wife whose name I forget. Funny how a bunch of Lovecraft nerds flock to a big bookstore. Apres that Marlo & I separated from Warren et al, and just started browsing downtown. First we went in circles looking for somewhere to eat before finally coming across a Mexican place. US restaurants give you a lot of food. And that’s good, because am I ever hungry! I had the nachos, and the nachos had me. Then we just wandered around till our feet hurt badly, popping in and out of stores and sitting in parks watching the yellow leaves fall from the trees. I don’t know about you, but I get a little nervous about public transit in unfamiliar cities. There are just so many unknowns, it stresses me out. So I was constantly looking at bus stops and asking people and consulting maps and finding exact change — and making sure Marlo was well apprised of my anal bus-tracking ways — just to figure out a simple route back to the cinema. Turns out it was pretty straight-forward, and we ended up arriving with the perfect amount of timelyness back to the cinema, but it was all thanks to me. ME, I TELL YOU! That night we watched more movies, and we got a ride back to Andrew’s with Aaron & Kirsten. Oh, and by the way, if you live in the US and you’re hounded by canvassers on the street, just say you’re from Canada and they’ll immediately lose interest in trying to get your signature or whathaveyou. But don’t not register to vote. Unless you’re voting for Bush. Anyway…

Sunday was the traditional HPLFF brunch, which is always the highlight for me. This year not only were delectibles supplied by Linda and experienced short order cook Warren Banks, but Andrew had a catering company supplement the home cooked buffet. It was amazing, with lots of fresh pineapple, plus we got to hear the annual “night before christmas’-like telling of the legendary Pagan Publishing severed dog’s head story courtesy of Scott, watched various guests do their impression of S.T. Joshi, and chatted with Lee Moyer about the art of Henry Clews, communism, and being a gaming illustrator. People started heading back to the theater for the matinees, so we hugged everyone goodbye and headed north. On the way back we stopped in at another Mexican place and had some really tasty burritos. The trip back took just under 5 hours and when we got to Abbotsford, Sylvia was nice enough to give me and Marlo a ride back to Vancouver – it was even on her way. We listened to the Eagles of Death Metal that I purchased in Portland for about $11 Cdn and it was very satisfying. Now I can give the burned copy that Sid made me to my brother or Garett & Lea, because I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

7 Replies to “Torlo Goes to Portland”

  1. Your re-telling of the moo story was far superior to mine. High five. Also I’m glad you paid attention to directions and buses and stuff. Usually I’m the one who has to do that shit, so it was a nice break from having to think.

    I bet you could find the listings of the movies on the HPLFF website. I know they have a schedule of some kind. Try here.

    I was just remembering how at least 15 people told you to admonish Bob. Heh.

  2. Hey Toren,
    Its allways a joy seeing yous guys at the fest, did you get to see the trailer for “Call of Cthulhu”, very exciting. I hope you enjoy Black company,
    I got to play test the game and it rocks. If you live to be a high level wizard you own all! Cheers- Jeff

  3. hey – you know, if i’d known youse even NEEDED a lift to warren’s, i definitely would have offered. if only to watch you both hanging on for dear life as i bombed out there trying to get in on time 🙂

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