Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Moment of Truth

All I can say about "True Stories: A Night of Semi-Brutally Honest Non-Fiction in Spoken Word and Song," the show I just saw at Mississippi Studios, is wow.


That's not much of a statement from a guy who aspires to be a writer, but after hearing the authors at last night's show I feel unworthy. Sure, I'm a little biased because I'm lucky enough to consider myself a friend of all of last night's authors and I hope they consider me a friend. Although, I may just be the crazy stalker guy that still geeks out around them becoming a complete tongue-tied dork that just stares and drools, that even now, is cringing so hard at the mere thought of one of them actually reading this post his butt puckers and he may have wet himself a little bit.

What was I talking about?

"True Stories: A Night of Semi-Brutally Honest Non-Fiction in Spoken Word and Song" featured Courtenay Hameister, Marc Acito, Chelsea Cain, Stacy Bolt, Jim Brunberg, and Kristin Hersh. I am in awe. They rocked the house. Can you rock a house by just reading an essay? Well, I was there last night and I say you can and they did. I laughed, but I was also moved. I was also a little jealous. Let me tell you it's tough wanting to be a writer when all your friends are great writers. I guess the important thing is; did I learn something? I did. I learned never to borrow a pen from Chelsea, not to get injured during cocktail hour and your chances of being murdered go up significantly if Marc paints your house. I also learned that truth makes the best fiction.

Sorry for that little rant before, about being jealous and all. I mean I'm thankful for the friendships, it just sometimes it feels like getting the keys to a starship and then realizing you have no idea how to fly the damn thing so you start pushing all the buttons and… well it's not really like that. It's more like you're Rocky in Rocky II except when you get your ass kicked in the seventh round you don’t come back and win the fight you start making out with Burgess Meredith. Err… wait. OK, it's not really like that either.

Umm… why am I blathering on? You can hear the great writing from Courtenay Hameister, Marc Acito, Chelsea Cain, Stacy Bolt, Jim Brunberg, and Kristin Hersh for yourself because the show is going to be podcast on As soon as I find the link I'll put it up here. It's worth hearing. (Maybe if someone out there knows where it is they'll let me know.)

I also took a few photos. This is the best of the bunch. From the left, Marc Acito, Courtenay Hameister, Stacy Bolt, Kristin Hersh and Chelsea Cain. I'm not sure who's dandruffy head that is.
Most of the pictures didn't turn out. It's a new digital camera and I haven't learned how to take a decent picture in a darkened room filled with people yet. I have taken some great pictures of my cats though. Like this!
And this!
What was I talking about? Oh yeah! Kitties!
So Cute!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DRINK RECIPE: Linsel's Jagged Gin and Tonic

Our trip to the Cycle Oregon event in Union is the stuff of legend. Kind of. Well...I thought it would be.

Maybe it was the adrenaline or (more likely) the liquor, but after the Pants Machine RV began belching flame and toxic smoke (and after I trampled poet Scott Poole on my way to safety) my first thoughts were of the many grand tales and songs of the occasion that we’d share with friends and fans back home. As we huddled in the chilly street we began telling the stories right there and then, to people we really didn’t need to tell, as they were there, then. It was Roshomon soaked in tequila.

Our loudly exaggerated accounts were punctuated by the hearty, careless laughter of people who thought they cheated death and lived to drink again. Bedside lamps and porchlights flicked on all over the sleepy neighborhood. Nearby, tired cyclists grumbled in their tents as the RV whined its fire alarm, ever more weakly. Out of concern for the now disturbed peace of our neighbors I would approach clumps of storytellers and shush them responsibly. But a minute later I’d find myself bellowing my own hyperbolic account, making jokes about live wires and flaming pants then being shushed by someone less drunk and more responsible than I.

Perhaps it was because of our immediate and exhaustive processing of the event that the tales are few and I’ve yet to hear any songs. (I’ll be very disappointed if Alan and the Pants don’t come up with one. This could’ve been their “Smoke On The Water.”)

There are still legendary elements of that perilous night that deserve tales told and I want to share one in particular before it fades into the haze of the brain cell graveyard.

Getting to the RV-that-was-rockin’-so-please-come-a-knockin’ was a trial in itself. At the close of our show there was no clear plan or destination for our after party. The cast, crew and guests of Live Wire dispersed to find an open bar or otherwise not-friggin-freezing location at which to celebrate. For about an hour my girlfriend and I wandered the empty streets of Union on a largely fruitless search. We did find one bar still open that contained some of our friends, but when the surly barmaid was seen zealously carding the elderly we knew we’d have to hoof it back to the tent for ID. By the time we returned, our posse had left the bar so we did the same.

The partay prospects were looking more and more grim. We decided to wander past the RV on our way back to camp where we’d sadly, soberly slumber. There we found the encouraging sight and sound of way too many people crammed in a recreational vehicle parked crookedly on somebody’s front lawn. We were surprised however to find Union’s finest (and possibly only) police officer cuffing a belligerent drunk in the grass. We quickly determined it wasn’t one of our drunks and were further relieved to observe our group partying on inside, undeterred by the potential buzzkill outside. In fact, if you’re going to plan a noisy drunken party in a sloppily parked RV in a quiet neighborhood of a tiny peace-loving town, it’s a GREAT idea to have an angry drunk local stationed outside to occupy any police that might happen by.

So we partied! Finally! It was cramped and a little smelly and there was another weird towny guy inside making things interesting. But it was a party! I even went outside a few times to help the cop with his arrest by holding the flashlight, and going through the “perp’s” wallet. (I wasn’t as instrumental in this endeavor as our own Amy Stevens, who was so professional and helpful to the policeman I started to suspect she was a narc.) We discovered from his ID that the drunk guy was actually minding his own drunk-ass business in his own front yard (our unwitting host!) but made the mistake of getting physical when Johnny Law happened by. I salute you, drunken scrapper! You played your fateful, enabling role well.

It was there, next to the toilet, peering out the RV’s back window upon the scene of our host’s misdemeanor that I sampled Linsel’s Jagged Gin and Tonic.

Linsel Greene, friend of Live Wire, took pity on my sober state and fashioned me the drink that would make me merry, and later, lubricate me enough to smoothly slide through the figurative tight spot of a crowded RV fire. From then on it was either tightly gripped in my hand, held aloft in toast, happily passed amongst friends or (believe it or not) sloshing around in the pocket of my coat.

Yes, this blog entry does have a point and this is it. The recipe. I will try and present it as I observed it being created.


3 inches of warm Schwepp’s Tonic Water forgotten in the bottom of the plastic bottle.

An equal portion of Tanqueray Gin containing swig backwash from friends and strangers and probably drunk belligerent dude from the lawn outside.

Something mysterious that kept bobbing against my lips but was never identified, possibly from my pocket.



Step one: Cut tonic bottle in half with rusty kitchen knife, leaving plenty of jagged plastic points on rim.

Step two: Pour gin/backwash mixture into tonic bottle (now the drinking glass.)

Step three: Dump in a dirty handful of melting ice from equally dirty RV sink and swirl.

Step four: Allow a moment for alcohol to kill deadly bacteria from rusty knife, soiled hands and dirty sink.

Step five: Enjoy!

Step six: Repeat.

Except...there's no repeating this one-of-a-kind concoction. You can try. That's the idea behind a recipe I suppose.

Not being a fan of tonic, especially, I found this mixture exceptional. To my understanding tonic was invented as a means of administering the medicine quinine, so gin and tonic seems a bit like scotch and Robitussin, or rum and Pepto-Bismol.

So thanks go to Linsel, and his contribution to one aspect of that legendary fiery night under the stars of Union; immortalized in blogform, and saved in the nick of time from the dim oblivion of the bygone.

And thanks to whoever picked up the drink’s empty plastic shell, which I abandoned on the street when the warm, convivial feeling it produced had cooled and gone taciturn. Give a hoot, don't pollute.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Let me stand next to your fire.

Thanks Courtenay. I don’t drink tequila (it’s the devil) so I have a pretty solid memory of the wheelings and dealings that night. Whoa. I just wrote wheelings, like as in wheels, on say… an RV! I don’t know much about the RV. I know it was an atrocious recent movie with Robin Williams and that guy just ended up in rehab, so that should say it all. I also know that there were 12 to 190 people sitting in a small one along with Alan Singley and Pants Machine. We had finished our show and were trying to a) stay warm b) drink stuff c) discuss the theories of Max Plank.

Wouldn’t you know it, but just like in a slasher film, all the lights go off. Whoever’s operating the interior system of this RV restarted them up, but sho’ nuff’, they went dead again. This happened oooohhhhhhhhhhh, I dunno, about five times, before someone dashed out the door like they saw a tarantula scorpion (nearly extinct). This maneuver, as we found out ten seconds later, was to flee the fire that had begun on auxillary batteries beneath the RV sofa. I guess extra weight had pushed down on the battery coils shorting them out and every time we turned back on the RV, we were only tempting fate.

So now the fire has spread to the cushions, and we all disembark (do you “disembark” from a RV?) and either a band member, a mysterious drifter, or some phantom of the night hands me a fire extinguisher. It wasn’t one of those 50 pound proton pack behemoths that you saw in Backdraft, but rather something about the size of a RedBull. I whipped off the safety strip (‘cause who needs safety right?) and gave it a trial squirt. Pslat! We’re good to go. So I jollyjump back inside and make my way to the sofa which is gurgling smoke like every car I’ve ever driven during a first date. It takes me a good twelve seconds before all the foam or whatever is out of the extinguisher but alas, the fire is defiant. So I entrust my right leg (who I call “Lefty”) and jam it down the chargrilled holes in the sofa, attempting to stamp out the flames like a Rhinocerous (hey, who hasn’t seen “the Gods Must Be Crazy?). I think it goes out, and if on cue, my eyes and lungs throw in the towel and convince me to get the hell outta there.

So I do. And I cough like it’s my first cigarette for three minutes straight. My eyes have watered profusely and due to the smoke and good ‘ol Union, Oregon dirt, I now look like Tammy Faye Baker. I cough some more and when I see my first bit of pulpy lung come out, I decide to call it a night. That’s all I remember. At some point, I realized that watching the escapade from outside the RV was probably more entertaining than watching that Robin Williams movie. Good thing I get paid more than him. Oh wait… shit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ssh! Antelope!

Hello fellow bloggers, readers of blogs and government computers that sift through blogs in search of keywords that might indicate terrorist activity! You’re the bomb!

It’s exciting to be a part of a blog! What a great opportunity to create more and better results when I Google myself!

So far, I’d compare my blogging style to the dialogue in the comic strip Mark Trail! In that beloved King Features syndicated series every sentence ends with an exclamation point! Even when our animal-savvy hero (coincidentally named Mark Trail) quietly sneaks up to a nest of hatching quail or a timid herd of antelope, he ends up SHOUTING something about it! The same thing happens in Apartment 3G! I’d hate to live in 2G or 3F or whatever apartment is next door as I think I’d find all the screaming very disturbing! Does anyone in that apartment have an inside voice?

Dang it. With the above rhetorical question I just shattered my dream of an exclusively exclamation-point-punctuated blog. Nothing to do now, but return to my original goal of increasing my visibility in the Googleverse.

Tyler Hughs. tylerhughs. hughs, tyler.

Please note, there is not an e in my name. Well there's the one. But it's hardly silent. I ask you: what's the point of adding a vestigial e in "Hughs," silent as a fart in an elevator, when there's already two silent letters in there anyways? What am I, French?

Now when you or I enter “Tyler Hughs, celebrity” or “charismatic, brilliant, masterful lover, hope for our future, Tyler Hughs” we can all find what we’re looking for: me! And when Google asks:

Did you mean tyler hughes


Did you mean “trailer hitches

...answer NO…with an exclamation point!

And before you call my first foray into the blogosphere indulgent and self-serving, consider what I’ve done this day for Mark Trail, Apartment 3G, Tyler Hughes and trailer hitches. As my flickering spark of Google light grows brighter, so does theirs.

And I’m glad of it…except for in the case of Tyler Hughes. That guy can suck it.

Sean + smoke inhalation = brain damage?

Okay, the thing that happened in Union wasn't Sean saying hello to his Gammy. Sean, you wanna finish the story?

I Blogged myself

Hi Grandma, I miss you very much. I hope to see you for Thanksgiving. I will eat a lot of turkey. And then maybe watch football. Are you going to get drunk again and hit my brother behind the ear? I will see you soon. Bye, love, -Sean

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blog Day 1: The Hangover

Hi. I'm Courtenay, and along with my fellow "Hello, Internets!" bloggers, we make the comedy. Most of that comedy happens on a Portland, Oregon radio variety show called "Live Wire," but some of it happens while we're just sitting around our houses enjoying some Coco Puffs. We'll put it all here. Because we care about you, the reader. And you, the grocery-store shopper. And also you, the wealthy guy who wants to give our show money. Mostly that last guy.

Last Friday we found ourselves in a 12-passenger van, returning from our first-ever road trip outside Portland. As we approached the city, we were all looking out over the stunning beauty of the Gorge thinking, "Wow. This would be so much nicer if I didn't feel like my head was in a vice and a rodent ate my tongue and replaced it with its own body." See, there was a little bit of drinking the night before.

We were in Union, Oregon, performing a show for the bikers on the 500 mile Cycle Oregon ride - which this year passed through Heppner, Sumpter, Lake Wallula and some other places that sound totally fake. We performed the show outdoors in what was...I don't know...-17 degree weather, and then moved on to more important things. Like booze.

The majority of the Live Wire staff was drinking margaritas, expertly mixed by Pat, our Siren of Sound, in the kinda-too-small-to-hold-25-people 1970's-era RV of our guest band that night, Alan Singley and Pants Machine. I had mostly stayed out of the RV, due to a combination of claustrophobia and the close quarters reminding me that I took up a smidge too much space in the world. But that's for another post. At around 11:45, I left the RV to get more tequila. And that's when the real excitement began.

I'll let Sean tell the rest, for reasons that will become obvious later.