August 21, 2003

Des Moines, IA

Spotted at the Iowa "One in a Million" State Fair:

-Pork chop on a stick
-Pickle on a stick
-Salad on a stick
-Deep-Fried (Oreos, Snickers, Milky Ways, Twinkies) on a stick
-"Pepperoni", The Biggest Boar at the Fair, at 1,118 pounds
-"Ranger", in second place (
-Life-size butter cow
-Life-size butter Harley-Davidson
-Open-heart surgery, while you wait.


(Last year's sculpture, the Last Supper rendered in butter)

Posted by DV at 10:47 AM

August 14, 2003

Easthampton, Long Island

Susie Goetz: "How do you want your burger cooked?"

Chevy Chase: "Um, in a pan?"


Posted by DV at 08:03 PM

June 14, 2003

There's No Banner Large Enough...

We pulled off the banner drop without a hitch, which was lucky considering we had no practice/experience in the matter. If you ever want to know how to make a really huge banner, I'm your man.

I can take credit for most of the sewing and painting, tho' not the message. It was somewhat of a compromise between clunky, pre-approved SEIU slogans("fighting for a healthy and secure future") and more direct, inflammatory messages ("Class War Now"). I really wanted to write "There's no banner large enough to cover the shame of exploited janitors", but nobody would back me up.

We even got the banner rolled up and back into the car before security came, which means we can cut out the 'got healthcare?' panel and sew in a new one with next year's message. Or just have a huge workers' picnic on the banner at some corporate office park.

That's me in the upper left.

Posted by DV at 09:29 PM

June 13, 2003

Support Your Local Janitor

4.26.03 J4J Action.jpg

In my time out of jail and off my bicycles I've been working with Justice for Janitors, a campaign with SEIU Local 49. It has been fascinating, to say the least, working with a group of mostly immigrant, mostly underpaid, and mostly invisible workers. I've found myself barbecuing for janitors downtown during their 10PM lunch break, playing drums and shaking brooms in the mall, and now making giant puppets and massive banners.

Today is National Justice for Janitors Day, and there will be marches across the country. Sacramento is out on strike, and cities like LA, Boston, and Seattle all have well organized unions. Most Cementhorizon folks probably have an SEIU janitor cleaning their workplace(e.g. UC Berkeley).

If you see them out on the streets, honk your horn, or maybe ask the property manager of your building if the janitors have a union. Actions in California or Washington have their effects in Oregon because the building owners are the same(we even did a solidarity action for janitors in Australia).

I'll post up some picture from our march in a few days...

Posted by DV at 02:38 AM

June 03, 2003

Bahl Hornin' at the Tidrik

(Boontling for 'good drinkin' at the party')

I snuck back to the Bay this weekend, leaving as soon as I arrived for the Wild Iris Folk Festival in Boonville, home of many fine beers(including He'Brew) and probably the only enclave in California with its own regional dialect.
The festival was perfect-a small crowd of 500 where many spent their hours playing in impromptu jams instead of attending the performances, and where Utah Philips stands behind you in line for pancakes and nobody notices. It's a rough life indeed, going from tent to stage to cooler, munching on brie, getting a little Cali sunshine. We even constructed a washtub bass and played in our own little hillbilly band that night, banjo, guitars and all.
Monday was spent grazing the Vigil back forty, netting 5 cherries, three artichokes, and the last of the fava beans. The nasturtiums planted over Mat/t's grave are sporting dozens of red, peppery flowers(they're mighty tasty). Some might be appalled at the cat communion , but the extra nitrogen is just the sort of thing that makes our fruit trees ever-abundant, and that's probably the way I want to be put into the ground.
I even had some family come out for a dinner of spring vegetables for my 'last night in town'. Ever since I left for Venezuela at age 17 I've been breezing through P-Hill for a week or two at a time, long enough to catch a McT party or a heated Trivial Pursuit battle at the Fulk residence, but never long enough to get a job or do anything remotely responsible. Marsha Fulk finally exposed me, asking every time we held an extended Sunday dinner party if it was my 'last night in town', her way of telling Ash that he should find a better excuse for the hordes who invaded her house and peed on her lawn on an almost weekly basis.
I've got my ticket out of Portland for June 30th, meaning that I'll have to throw a party here for my last night in town, maybe fulfilling my dream of turning the basement into a mini-bike velodrome.

Posted by DV at 03:27 PM

May 28, 2003

Kickball Counterculture

In a town where counterculture is the popular culture, even the alternative happenings are subverted by a younger, hipper, more 'real' manifestation of the same event.

Between anarchist messengers, Zoobombers, Chunkers and bike jousters, pubcrawlers, and Midnight Mystery Riders, there is little room on the streets for unaffiliated cyclists. First Thursday art openings have been countered by Last Thursdays on the Eastside. And now it seems that the Portland branch of WAKA(world adult kickball association) has its own counterpart coming to fruition in the parks of Northeast Portland.

Maybe it's a class thing. Perhaps for the working singles aged 25-35, paying the $60 WAKA membership to play kickball and drink microbrews is not a major expense, and maybe a significant investment into their dating lives. But for the minimum wagers and the dumpster divers, it's $60 too much. They'd much rather pool pocket change for PBR and pick teams playground style than submit to the schedules and rules of an organized body (I should note that drinking is at the heart of most Portland subcultures, be they DIY crafters, bikers, or kickballers. The essential difference is in the beer-12pks. and 40's of PBR and OE versus pint glasses and pitchers of porters and amber ales).

The Memorial Day theme was Jug Band Kickball, tho' most opted for the jugs only( a few hillbilly accessories were spotted). I dropped the first pop-fly kicked my way, which put one runner on base for the succeeding grand slam. My defensive game picked up, not letting a single ball hit the ground after that. I even made the play of the game, running backwards into another outfielder to catch a pop fly, both of us fumbling the ball, then diving to recover it to make the out.

The game wore on until dark, ending with a three run comeback in the final inning, a line-up for high fives(remember those? where you'd say 'good game' to everybody and slap hands, except to your friends or enemies who might get a 'shithead' mumbled their way or a secret handshake), and a everybody stumbling onto their bikes with backpacks full of empty beer cans.

Kickball for the People, baby.

Posted by DV at 03:24 PM

May 21, 2003

Glucklicher Geburtstag, kt

To my big sis:

thanks for letting me steal your big day in May. I hope you aren't still bitter about me robbing the spotlight when you were turning two.

and thanks for interpreting my silence on those summer days in Kristen's backyard as really meaning 'salami sandwich', and for getting arrested as part of a pirate parade.

i hope the german beer is good.
happy birthday.

Posted by DV at 11:49 PM

May 13, 2003

"Mucho" Maas

I just finished re-reading the Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. Besides a brevity(and implied lack of self-indulgent digression) that his other novels do not possess, I love his character names, middle-school-caliber Spanish jokes, and his decidedly Northern California point of view:

"Somewhere beyond the battening, urged sweep of three-bedroom houses rushing by their thousands across all the dark beige hills, somehow implicit in an arrogance or bite to the smog the more inland somnolence of San Narciso did lack, lurked the sea, the unimaginable Pacific, the one to which all surfers, beach pads, sewage disposal schemes, tourist incursions, sunned homosexuality, chartered fishing are irrelevant, the hole left by the moon's tearing-free and monument to her exile...

Oedipa had believed, long before leaving Kinneret, in some principle of the sea as redemption for Southern California(not, of course, for her own section of the state, which seemed to need none), some unvoiced idea that no matter what you did to its edges the true Pacific stayed inviolate and integrated or assumed the ugliness at any edge into some more general truth."

Posted by DV at 12:45 PM

May 03, 2003


[Disclaimer: Contains no celebrity encounters, car accidents, or current unfortunate events. Just a boy and his bicycle(s).]

To say that my bicycle relationship with this town had a rocky start would be a bit of an understatement. Nonetheless, I have persisted on two wheels(because, well, who wants to take the bus?), and I think I might finally be in the clear, my karmic debts for my previous life as an SUV driver paid off.

A bit of history, to begin. I think I finally understand the cliche "add insult to injury." Looking at the events of March 20-28th:

1. Bicycle run over by truck.
2. On a beer run 2 hours after above experience, my U-lock falls into the front wheel of my other bike and breaks a spoke.
3. Arrested for getting my bike run over. 8 hours in jail, two criminal charges.
4. Making a left turn on a rainy day, the car in front of me suddenly stops. Loose brakes(because of above-mentioned broken spoke/wobbly wheel) and wet rims do not allow me to stop fast enough, and I crash into the car's rear bumper, flying over my handlebars onto the trunk.
5. While getting the wheel repaired, I borrow my roommate's bike to get to the hospital where I volunteer. Bike is stolen.
6. Ticketed by an over-zealous motorcycle cop during a Critical Mass ride for entering an intersection on a yellow light ("Son, in Oregon yellow means stop."). $175 ticket(being contested).
7. $771 removed from my bank account for the vehicle registration fees of another David J. Vigil (bike related only because I don't even have a car). Still fighting that one.

I was afraid to leave the house for a while, unsure what fate might befall me next. Things were bad enough such that I didn't dare contemplate what worse might be.

With time I restored my relationship with my trusty red Bianchi, acquired a mini-bike, and started getting out for more Masses, Zoobombs, and other extra-legal cycling activities(like riding through yellow lights).

Tuesday night I came home from the Community Cycling Center with a circa 1970 bicycle frame and a banana seat strapped to my back and a new one-speed cruiser rolling alongside in my right hand, all while trying to pilot my road bike the sixteen blocks back to my house. My bicycle appetite unsatiated, Ani and I returned to the CCC dumpster, netting two mini-bikes and a tricycle.

On our way we were met with calls of "This is what a Big Wheel looks like!"
A couple of Zoobombers were out with the newest creation, an adult version of the Big Wheel, complete with front-wheel drive and plastic seat. Suddenly, the two big bikes, one mini-bike(re-christened 'La Chiquita' for her new banana seat), and two frames crowding my basement seemed like not quite enough for all of the spring fun that is already underway. Two days into the month, with no rain and two Critical Masses under our belts. May should be alright.

Posted by DV at 02:02 AM

April 23, 2003

No Complaint

Or, in layman's terms, no charges filed.

Yeah, bitches.

Posted by DV at 11:33 AM

More Entries

Des Moines, IA - August 21, 2003
Easthampton, Long Island - August 14, 2003
There's No Banner Large Enough... - June 14, 2003
Support Your Local Janitor - June 13, 2003
Bahl Hornin' at the Tidrik - June 03, 2003
Kickball Counterculture - May 28, 2003
Glucklicher Geburtstag, kt - May 21, 2003
"Mucho" Maas - May 13, 2003
Velophilia - May 03, 2003
No Complaint - April 23, 2003
"Bomb the Zoo, Not Iraq!" - April 21, 2003
And Then... - April 19, 2003
French Bicycle Symbolically Run Over by American Monster Truck - April 16, 2003