Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Falling Forward

Sometimes pushing through boredom means performing your “funny cowboy dance” for your friends while wearing men’s size 14 wooden clogs and a borrowed sweatshirt with an embroidered graphic of a crab and the slogan “Don’t Be Crabby”. Other times it means unexpectedly running into a drunken Santa Clause and his equally drunk chicken sidekick on a random street corner in a city far from home. In any case, pure unbridled silliness beats the heck out of boredom 100% of the time.

Laughter, good friends, live music, and random absurdity have been the staples of this summer. From Iron Maiden to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, to Harvey Milk to the Melvins to Red Red Meat to the Fluid to Flight of the Conchords to Radiohead, I’ve rocked and rolled and sweated and sang along with the ‘kids these days’ until the summer began to take her leave and the rain has slowly and incrementally started to return to Seattle.

From Washington to Hawaii to Texas to Oregon, I've surfed and skated and partied and, um, danced (if you can call it that) until the sun came up. I've met new friends and tried new things and stuffed myself with the ice cream of the Gods. Now, even as I hold tight to the last tiny bits of warm weather and golden sunshine before the gray skies begin to rain down on us again, I secretly find myself excitedly looking forward to the fall when the smell of wood stoves will permeate the neighborhood as I walk with my best friend through the crisp evening air.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Time Flies When You’re Being Choked

The last time you tuned in, I had just pulled my tongue from the mustached mouth of the Iron Sheik. But that was nearly three months ago. Don’t worry, my I’ll never wash my mouth again promise only lasted for a couple of hours. So what, pray tell, has been warding away fits of boredom since then? Why, violence, of course.

Sister SledgehammerIf idle hands are the Devil’s playthings, then beware the unholy devastation created when mine are kept busy with a sledgehammer. On the domestic front, I’ve spent the last few weeks ripping apart my bathroom.

Rowdy Roddy PiperBut even girl a like me needs a break from her trusty tool belt now and again. And there is no better way to get away from the dust and debris of a bathroom remodel than a good ‘ol horror movie convention!

Last weekend, I doubt my feet ever even touched the ground as I floated on a cloud of joy, geeking out among the horror movies stars of my dreams nightmares: Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Tony Todd, Tony Moran, Ari Lehman and, the pièce de résistance, horror movie star and wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper!

One truly has not experienced life until one has escaped a good strong choking by the one and only Kane Hodder...I'm never washing my neck again, I swear!

Kane Hodder

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Camel Clutch of the Lips

When I was a kid, I freaking loved wrestling. Every Saturday morning I would plant myself in front of our veneer and hardwood encased 1970’s style television set and wait with baited breath as Mean Gean introduced the first match ups of the day. I would giggle and squeal with delight as the wrestlers shouted insults at each other, often pushing poor Gean to the side in an effort to get at one another. For the record, I was never a Hulkamaniac, but I did love many of those early eighties icons: Sgt. Slaughter, The Junkyard Dog, Jake the Snake, The Road Warriors, Andre the Giant, Captain Lou Albano, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Nikolai Volkoff, Rowdy Roddy Piper, oh, how the list goes on and on.

Twenty or so years after the bruises and Indian burns that I inflicted on my younger brother (while reenacting my favorite wrestling moves on him) had healed, I came face to face (quite literally) with one of my favorite wrestlers of the past: The Iron Sheik. He stood on stage at the El Corazon with his World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship Belt glittering under the spotlights. My smile started to spread wider than ever before as I zeroed in on his T-Shirt, which depicted none other than himself in his younger days. My hands started to sweat and my heart began to race.

"Do you want your picture with The Sheik?" the bouncer asked me. I was already showing him how to use my camera before he even finished asking the question. I practically ran to be the first to stand next to the wrestling icon. He looked at me and in a thick Iranian accent told me, "You are very beautiful." I blushed and said "Thank you, Mr. Sheik" in a nervous fan girl voice that was a noticable three pitches higher than my normal speaking tone.

I then proceeded to tell him that Hulk Hogan was nothing and that he, The Iron Sheik, was Number One. We made number one signs with our hands and the bouncer snapped our photo.

What happened next was both a blur and an embarrassing eternity. The Sheik hugged me and kissed me on my cheek. I think he was going in for a kiss on the opposite cheek, but I had already turned my head toward him and started to say something else when our mouths collided. All of a sudden, there was a moustache in my mouth. It was prickly and tasted of aftershave. I can’t be sure but for a millisecond, there could have been a hint of tongue. We both pulled away quickly, surprised. He played it off and I thanked him for the picture and embarrassingly scurried away all the while thinking to myself "Oh my God, did I just make out with The Iron Sheik?"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Journey is the Destination

There is no better way to christen the New Year than by taking a road trip with your good friend. So my best buddy Celine and I took off work early on Friday, jumped into my car, cranked up the stereo and started out for our favorite bacon maple bar donut making city in the Pacific Northwest: Portland, Oregon. Heading south on Highway 99, we had been on the road for less than twenty minutes when we came upon the First Ave. South drawbridge just south of downtown Seattle.

If the First Ave. bridge is going up, one can anticipate waiting at least ten and perhaps up to fifteen or more minutes before traffic will start moving again. Every once in a while I manage to be on the bridge approach during such an occurrence. I've found there's no better way to pass the time of the opening and closing of the bridge than by shutting off my engine, getting out of the car and doing at least one cartwheel between the lanes of restless commuters parked in their cars in front of the raised deck.

This afternoon, as Celine and I were eager to begin out adventures, we ended up stopped at the bridge in the perfect cartwheel spot. Usually it's dark out when I hit the bridge, but on this magical day, the sun was shining bright and we had all the time in the world, so I, of course, could not help myself. I killed the engine and jumped out of the car. If you could have seen the perfect gymnastic wonder I demonstrated on the bridge approach, you would have thought I was Mary Lou Retton herself. I was showered by an array of car horns honking their approval. The old lady in the car next to us flashed me a big denture filled smile and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up. I returned her smile and quickly got back into the car to listen to Celine's hysterical giggling. Glancing in my side view mirror, I saw a trucker from the 18-wheeler parked several vehicles back climbing down out of his rig and heading my way. He approached my window and I promptly rolled it down.

"Lady" he said with a slight drawl, "you just made my day. I'm a long haul truck driver and I tell you what, you do two more cartwheels for me and I'll blow the longest, most appreciative trucker horn you've ever heard in your life!"

"DEAL!" I exclaimed.

I got back out, pulled my pants up by my belt loops, wriggled my behind a little, posed for a second with my hands in the air, and busted out with two more near perfect cartwheels. The trucker kept his end of the bargain too. He blasted his fucking horn for a full fifteen seconds and my heart exploded with joy.

Friday, December 21, 2007

SHAGging in Public

Get crafty for a second with me. Take out your scissors, glue and crayons. Carefully cut the SH off of the end of Josh. Then, cut off the AG at the beginning of Agle. Glue the two pieces together, add a few select solid, vibrant colors and you end up with SHAG, the artist behind some of the most ultra-cool retro-modern works you’re ever going to see. At last Friday’s Roq La Rue gallery opening, I was treated to an exceptionally thrilling new show of SHAG art titled Motorino.

Photo by Dan10ThingsI’ve admired SHAG’s work for years, buying stationary sets, post cards, wrapping paper and even personalized checks with his art on them. So seeing him in person wearing an adorable little leopard spotted fez as he mingled with the crowd made my palms sweat with nervous admiration. Had I not already been trying as hard as possible to maintain some semblance of composure while standing in between two other artists I also totally adore, pin up artist Krysztof Nemeth and photographer Rob Butler, I might’ve worked up the courage to introduce myself—but not this time.

Introductions or not, I really enjoyed the exhibit. Seeing original works of art is always thrilling to me. It is SHAG’s crisp, clean lines and brilliant colors that catch my eye first. And when I look deeper into the work, I find myself becoming involved in the scenario displayed before me. More often than not, I seem to want to climb right into the painting, have someone pour me a drink in a tiki glass and hop on the back of a scooter for a ride through the jungle.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Turn up the Juice

By now, you’ve probably gathered that I love me some Rock & Roll—fast and hard or slow and loud, I’ll take it anyway I can get it. But other things tickle my fancy too. Like art. And science. And art mixed with science, oh yeah baby, that’s the spot. Any exhibit that warns you not to enter if you’ve got a pacemaker or a metal plate in your head, well, that’s obviously going to be right up my alley. Enter PEOPLE DOING STRANGE THINGS WITH ELECTRICITY.

Last Saturday was the opening night of the exhibit I had been looking forward to going to since the Seattle Dorkbot meeting last November where in between talking about nonlocal quantum communication and the annoying potential problems associated with time travel, my friend Eric McNeill handed me a postcard advertising the show. When the opening night finally rolled around, a bunch of other engineers, artists and electricity geeks let our inner pocket protectors shine proudly as we wandered the 911 Media Arts Center watching the blinking lights and interacting with the works. In true Rettig form, I had a hand in spilling no less than three glasses of red wine in under five minutes, but few seemed even to care as pure unadulterated chatter about circuits, diodes and high voltage transistors persisted, refusing to be derailed by something as simple as a cup of fermented grapes.

When I wasn't busy adding my own artistry to other people’s clothing, I was able to pick out a few of my favorite pieces. Shelly Farnham’s Electric Scrying Pool, a shimmering futuristic oracle of sorts was on the list. Shelly Farnham’s Electric Scrying PoolSo was Rolf van Widenfelt’s piece, FiveByEight, a light sculpture of scrolling LEDs. It reminded me of a much classier version of my ever so tacky scrolling LED belt buckle that was tucked away in my closet. I sighed when I thought of all the inappropriate places I’d worn that belt buckle, and how this place above all others, would have welcomed me with open arms as I scrolled “For a good time, call 206-351-XXXX” above my crotch--if only I would have thought to wear it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

God of Thunder and Rock & Roll

My step dad and I used to go to NHRA drag races on the weekends at what was once called Seattle International Raceways (today it’s Pacific Raceways). Typically, we’d watch stock cars, funny cars and top fuel. One day we went down to the track and there was a special guest car from Australia: Gravity Storm. Gravity Storm was the first jet engine car I’d ever seen and I was in awe. The car itself is really little more than a jet engine with a seat welded to it, a couple of wheels and a parachute. I had a sneaky feeling that I was going to need my own seatbelt when this thing fired up.

We were sitting in the bleachers on the Winston side of the track next to a young boy and his dad when the driver of Gravity Storm eased the car up to the start line just shy of the Christmas tree. The driver began to fire up the engine: “BOOM...BOOM...BOOM, BOOM, BOOOOOM!” Everything vibrated with the earth shaking noise. The hair on my arms stood on end and pulsated in time to the thunderous beat. The car tore down the quarter mile track at well over 300 mph. It took mere seconds to reach the other end. The little boy next to me was completely amazed. He turned to his father and after struggling to catch his breath exclaimed “Dad! (gasp) Dad! That felt like I was getting a massage!”

I’ve seen Thrones play many times, and every time they make me think of Gravity Storm. Friday night at the Crocodile Café was no exception. Joe Preston’s music roared like a jet engine. I wore earplugs, but that was more of a formality. Earplugs don’t really do much—your ears are going to ring after a Thrones show no matter what. The sound envelopes you. It spills drinks not being held onto and it vibrates cameras so one cannot take a clear picture. Thrones are like a thunder storm created by angry gods and seeing them play live feels a lot getting massaged by the shock waves of a jet engine.