“MUSEUM OF ABSURDITY AND TOO MUCH SUGAR 03”

And here, my dear reader, is my third “Exhibition” of artwork and weirdness, which I’m calling the MUSEUM OF ABSURDITY AND TOO MUCH SUGAR! Should you be curious about why I’m doing this or what it all means, you can check out a post I created for my Steemit blog where I give a B.S. story about motivations and militant amateurishness! If you don’t care WHY, and you just want to see WHAT, then keep scrolling!

[Ha! I spelled “weirdness” wrong!!! Ha ha ha!!!!]

That’s it for the FIRST WAVE of ABSURDITY—or first THREE waves… And so… Uuuummmm….

Hopefully, you had a good time looking at this junk. I love it—even when I get stuff wrong. That’s half the fun! And that is, truly, the point of all of this… FUN! Make stuff because it’s fun. Draw monsters and U.F.O.s and cartoon characters because it’s fun! Make yourself laugh because that’s REAL FUN! And if you can make yourself laugh, there’s a good chance that OTHER people will laugh along with you! That’s my theory anyway…

Okay. Now go make something (and when you finish it, send me a link! I’d love to see it!!!!)

LATER!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“MUSEUM OF ABSURDITY AND TOO MUCH SUGAR 02”

Oh! So you came back, did ya??? Come to take another gander at the FREAKS!!! Well….I don’t blame ya! I love weird stuff, too! And thus, below, for your amusement, we have the NEXT exhibition of weirdo, punky, D.I.Y., unschooled, having-a-great-time, amateur art!!!

[For more info on this entire project, check out the post on my Steemit blog! I explain a bit more in depth—sort of—what I’m doing there.]

Meanwhile, here’s some ART!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

[All images BY me, except for the one OF me, which was taken by my wife, Mariah, although I designed my fancy costume in that one!]

Okay, folks—I’ve got one more of these to share, for now, so keep your eyes peeled! In addition, I have THOUSANDS (not exaggerating) more images that I’m eventually going to want to post—so if this kind of stuff bugs you, you’ll know to stay away! (HA!)

Later!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“MUSEUM OF ABSURDITY AND TOO MUCH SUGAR 01”

Art is for touching! Here’s some arts that I and my family have created over the last ten years or so. I’m happy with this junk, even if it ain’t “PERFECT.” Perfect is boring—I like messy!

[For a full explanation of this project, check out my POST about it on my Steemit blog!]

Museum of Absurdity and Too Much Sugar – Exhibition #1

[All images by me, Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool), and created sometime in the last ten years or so…give or take me having a terrible memory!]

Check back REAL SOON for more fancy and exciting STUFF!!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“A Grandpa Plays MINECRAFT – Day 0004!” by Richard F. Yates

Hey folks, my family left me alone for a few minutes again last night, so I made another MINECRAFT video! In this one, I actually recorded an introduction for the video before the game play starts (why is the video taken with my phone better quality than the capture from my laptop???), so you can see my goofy face and put a cartoony expression to the silly voice chattering away during the game!

Speaking of goofy, I also mention that the video is “SPONSORED” by GOOFY GALS CRAFTS! What I mean by this is that my wife and two daughters have a crafting group that they’ve put together, and they are making stuff like t-shirts and Christmas wreaths and coffee mugs, and I thought it would be cool to use the POWER OF VIDEO to promote their stuff!!! AND, technically, Mariah (aka: The Wife) IS my sponsor, in the sense that she makes way more money than I do, and she let’s me do stuff like make videos and create crypto-art and spends hours every day reading, writing, drawing, and computing. She is why I can do all this stuff, so—MEGA-SPONSOR! So go check out Goofy Gals Crafts and help support the folks who let ME do MY goofy things!!!

[Logo shirt designed by my older daughter, Frankie!]

But before I get too far into sponsors and links, let’s actually boop the video into this post so folks can watch it. The video quality ain’t super-good, but I hope the inane chatter is funny enough to make the suspect video worth sitting through! (Think of it as a podcast with primitive, blurry, abstract-expressionist visuals playing in the background. Maybe that will help…)

In this fourth episode, I also dropped some SHOW NOTES, with links to some of the stuff I mentioned in my chatter during the video. Here’s what I wrote:

Day four of “A Grandpa Plays Minecraft” and we finally start to do some serious mining! However!!! While the pick-axe is smashing blocks, I really just end up going off on a bunch of weird tangents—many of which I’ve linked to in the notes below!!!

LINKS TO STUFF I MENTIONED IN THE VIDEO:

1. GOOFY GALS CRAFTS! (My “sponsor,” in the sense that one of the three creators in the group is my wife, who is patient and good natured enough to let me make these videos…along with all the other weird stuff I do!) (The other two Goofy Gals are my daughters, but they’re not the boss of me!!! As much…) Anyway, here’s a link to their Facebook page!
https://www.facebook.com/Goofy-Gals-Crafts-101484207933657/

2. Skeptoid (A science and critical thinking podcast that I mentioned in the video.)
https://skeptoid.com/

3. Skepticality (Another science and critical thinking podcast that I didn’t mention in the video—although I SHOULD HAVE!)
https://www.skepticality.com/

4. My MakersPlace Store / Gallery (I mentioned in the show that I recently created a new piece of crypto-art! To SEE that art, along with the dozens of OTHER digital collectibles I have to offer, visit my gallery!)
https://makersplace.com/store/richardyates/

5. SNL: Best of Eddie Murphy (The Eddie Murphy video I mentioned in the show, which has the Buckwheat skit, and several other classics on it, available through Amazon.)
https://www.amazon.com/Snl-Best-Eddie-Murphy/dp/B00014NE9E/

6. My Steemit.com blog! (Where I post something new EVERY SINGLE DAY! Either a story or a drawing or a video or a book review, I post on Steemit every day—compulsively and with great joy! In addition, if you don’t know about the Steem blockchain or Steemit.com, the crypto-based social media platform, leave a comment and I’ll explain what it’s all about. I love Steemit, personally, and you might love it, too!!!)
https://steemit.com/@richardfyates

And that’s today’s Minecraft video! I’m still hoping that I’ll get my READ A DAMN BOOK review written before bedtime tonight, but that will depend on how busy (and lazy) I end up being today. I’m 75% certain that I’ll get the review up before I go to bed. Tentacles crossed—and all that rot!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Read a Damn Book – 161: The Land of Nod Treasury”

About I-don’t-know-how-many years ago (maybe 7 or 8???) we moved out of a house that I’d had stuff in since 1987. I lived there in high school, then after I got a fam-damily of my own, we BOUGHT the place from my dad, and we lived there for a long time, my wife and two daughters and me. The place was STUFFED to the gills with junk—boxes and piles and more boxes of twenty-plus-years of family detritus…including something like ten comics boxes, which I left behind… When we moved out, we moved into a temporary place that was too small for most of our stuff. We put some of the twenty years worth of family stuff at the new place, put some into a storage unit, and left a lot at the old house, thinking we’d go back and get it as soon as we found a new PERMANENT residence—but that took a long time, and we ended up having to abandon a BUNCH of our stuff in the old house. (Sad to think about, all those books and comics and photo-albums and blah blah blah, just gone, BUT!!!!! It’s just stuff. And we can live without stuff, as long as we still have our family. (That’s the story, and it sometimes makes me a bit sad, but I’m MOSTLY over it now!) One of the things that I THOUGHT I might have left behind in the old house, but that I FOUND in a box when we recently organized the garage, was Jay Stephens’ The Land of Nod Treasury. (Happy smile!)

[This is a photograph that I took of the actual book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]

Jay Stephens – The Land of Nod Treasury (2001)

This brilliant, weird, goofy book is a collection of stories from a variety of comics with titles, like Sin ComicsItchy TalesSavage Love, and other bizarre books… What Stephens has created with this collection is a humorous dream-scape that is equal parts Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat, a dash of Bosko, maybe a bit of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, and a bunch of weird modern things, like Evan Dorkin’s Milk and Cheese and Michael Kupperman’s Snake ‘n’ Bacon. The art is funky, sometimes scratchy, cartoon figures—ducks and skeletons and bugs and whatever Nod is— with exaggerated expressions and kooky dialog; odd, nonsensical story progression; and a bit of adult naughtiness—ALL stuffed into a blender, then fried in a wok, and then tossed in a microwave with a bunch of marshmallow Peeps.

Here’s a single panel from the book taken out of context (the best way to present a Nod image):

Despite the weirdness, there is a thread of a story that SOMEHOW holds the book together—even though the stories come from a bunch of different sources—in which the main character, Nod, who is sort of the “King of Dreamland,” is challenged by a weird, reality-distorting figure, who calls himself the “Dream King,” for the throne of Dreamland. The Dream King also says, as King, he should be the star of the comic book! However, after a quick succession of barely connected events, the Dream King is accidentally killed, and the characters of Dreamland go their separate ways and have a bunch of odd adventures, only to discover, in the third act of the book, that the Dream King’s brother, Nox, a powerful, nearly-godlike creature, has vowed to destroy Dreamland and kill everyone in it! Only Nod has the power to save everyone, but he, mysteriously, has gone missing! The story is fun, dark, and weird—like everything else in the book!

I can’t really say this enough—the whole book is very strange, very silly, and seems almost like an angry kid’s story until, all of a sudden, characters start cussing and a weird, sexually explicit thing will occur, basically out of nowhere! It’s a bit of a shock when this happens, truth be told! Although as dark as the humor is throughout the book, it really isn’t EVER a kid-friendly story, even from the very beginning. The humor is dark, for certain, but the characters LOOK a lot like they should be in some old, black and white cartoon…and that contrast between the traditionally kidsy look and the dark, satirical content is what makes the book so interesting. It’s weird and silly and, at times, JARRING, but I really dig it!

Along with the Dream King / Nox storyline, there are also a number of other odd characters who get their own recurring mini-stories, like Captain Rightful, (the completely ineffective superhero who always shows up just as everyone dies)—and Coxwell, the Badly Drawn Ghost, (a Casper the Friendly Ghost parody in which everyone who Coxwell tries to be friends with HATES him because of how badly drawn he is)—and Jumbo Head, (the elephant headed boy who, like Charlie Brown, is always being abused and picked on…) In a very real sense, this book is a satirical take on a bunch of classic comic and cartoon tropes. However, Stephens’s supremely odd sense of humor and injections of surreal absurdity and weirdness keep the book from being JUST a parody. It’s also a full-on RIOT!!!

I’ve read this book at least seven or eight times, and it’s still incredibly funny. In fact, just before writing this review, I sat down and reread the book, cover to cover, in just a couple of hours. (I’m a really slow reader, so I’d imagine a normal person could read this whole thing in less than an hour.) Jay Stephens, later in his career, would go on to bigger and more popular things, like Tutenstein, which was made into an animated series, as was his JetCat, and he also did stuff like Oddville and Atomic City Tales, which were excellent. According to a couple of wiki pages that I looked at, he’s even worked on mainstream stuff, like Teen Titans and Star Wars and Alien, but I’ve never actually seen those books, so I can’t comment on them.

What I can say is that I love THIS book. It’s silly and weird, but has a dark, almost nihilistic edge to it (not as dark as Milk and Cheese, but few things are.) The art style is cartoony, but it definitely appeals to me, reminding me of the classic, old, weird cartoons from the 1930s, but still feeling as modern as good stuff made by the likes of Richard Sala, Peter Bagge, Evan Dorkin, and Michael Kupperman—all favorites of mine. So, if you like satire, indie sensibilities, and classic cartoon weirdness, I definitely recommend checking out The Land of Nod Treasury, and just about anything that Stephens has created. SOME of his work is specifically intended for the kiddies (like the Tutenstein show, which was produced by the Discovery Channel), but THIS book is absolutely NOT for kids. Nope…

It’s for child-like adults… You know who you are!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“OH! What a Lie!!!” by Richard F. Yates

[All photos in this post are by me. This particular image is from a fortune cookie that I ate today, which obviously lied to me! I’m far too much of a weirdo-jerk for folks to speak of me in any terms, besides mystified annoyance!]

It’s Saturday! And here is a recap of the last 24 hours or so! (For little or no reason! Wooo!)

Last night was one of my closing shifts at work, and that went fine (boring, tiring, and not-much in tips, but I finished my work earlier than usual, so that was neat-o.) Got home before 1:00 A.M. and took a shower, then spent a half-hour or so reading a digital comic on my e-reader before conking out and going to sleep. Slept WAAAAY in, until almost 7:00 A.M.!!! (That’s late for me.) For some reason, everyone in the whole house was up today by about seven! Weird. We all could have slept in, but for some reason, nobody did…

(Are you mystified and annoyed yet?)

Anyway, we all got up and ate some breakfast (I won’t tell you what we ate, in order to preserve some mystery), and my older daughter, Frankie, came by with the new kid, Felicity, just as we were finishing our food. (Yes. We fed Frankie, too.)

I’ve been spending lots of time with the new kid lately:

Frankie has recently started back to work two days a week, (she’s back to working at a vet clinic, although it’s a different clinic than the one she used to work at,) so I’ve been babysitting. Part of the fun of babysitting is introducing the kid to new music and cartoons, and (as I tend to think like a DJ) I put together a YouTube playlist to play on the T.V. while the kid’s here, full of ‘80’s new wave music, ‘60’s and ‘70’s cartoon clips, my Minecraft videos, a few classic internet bits, and a ton of other junk. If you’re interested in seeing what’s on the playlist (it lasts for HOURS,) here’s a link to check it out:

BABYSITTING VIDEO PLAYLIST!

It’s interesting to me to see how quickly time flies, and it seems like just yesterday that I was introducing these cartoons and songs to my two daughters for the first time. To ME, my kids are still kids… THIS is how I still think of them!

The kid on the left (on the bike) is Frankie—who now has a four-month-old of her own. The guy with the blue hair has TWO kids of his own now and is working on coding a very cool video game! The gentleman holding the skateboard is a musician, a boxer, and also does artwork of his own. And the girl on the right, Ellie, just bought a house!!! (But they’re all so little!!!) Old guys tend not to realize how much time has passed… (I’m very guilty of this “time blindness.”)

Back to today’s exciting adventure:

Once everyone had eaten, we loaded up two vehicles with humans (and a baby) and wheeled over to my grandma, Lucille, and uncle, Randy’s, house to visit. I’m glad we did that. It’s important to stay in touch with FAMILY!!! Once we’d worn out our welcome, we went to a local Chinese restaurant and ate lunch. That’s where I got the fortune cookie that resulted in the photo at the top of this post! (It’s all connected man….)

Then we began a MASSIVE shopping marathon. Ellie (our younger daughter) needs stuff for the new house she just bought, Mariah was looking at Christmas stuff (plus some general supplies), and I broke our vacuum cleaner last weekend so we had to spend too-much-money on a new machine for sucking junk out of the carpet. Frankie had her hands full with Baby Felicity, as the little kid wasn’t feeling well—kept sneezing and had a runny nose and such—so she took the baby home after the first store so she could get the kid to rest and try to heal up! Mariah, Ellie, and I soldiered on, however, and helped keep the economy spinning. (Ellie found a little, replica Christmas tree based on the sad, little tree in the Charlie Brown Christmas special. She was pretty excited to get that!) Mariah and I DID get a new vacuum—which SUCKS! (Hopefully.) We got a bunch of other junk, too, like groceries and toothpaste and a bottle of Saint Brendan’s Irish Crème… (I don’t drink very often, once every few months I’ll get a bottle of something, usually a whisky, and it will take me a few more months to drink it…) I also got me some new “fast-jumping, high-running shoes!” (When my brothers and I were young, we used to think that new shoes made you run faster and jump higher, but I’m an old grandpa, now, so I sometimes get things confused.) I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes for just walking around in for about three years, and my old shoes, which I chucked right into the trash when we got home, had more holes than hide left to them—so good riddance! Nice to finally be able to walk around outside without my socks getting wet!

It was a long day. Shopping can be exhausting, and I imagine, as I was finishing bagging our final purchases of the day, I probably looked a little bit like our cat Gitzy does in this photo:

She’s an OLD cat—about 14-years-old now. (This image is from a couple of days ago, and I caught her in a particularly grouchy mood in the photo—so that was cool.) Clearly evil.

TIME PASSES…And now it’s super-dark outside and I’m already tired (even though it’s barely 9:00 P.M.) Meanwhile, as I plink on the computer and make notes in my notebook, Mariah and Ellie are working on their craft projects! Together with Frankie, the three of them have started a company: GOOFY GALS CRAFTS. Check out there Faceboot page HERE!!! They’re currently working on Christmas wreaths for a couple of bazaars that they’re going to be vending at in the next few weeks. Here are a couple of the wreaths they finished tonight!

I think Ellie and Mariah have been making some super-cool things, and Frankie (who has a Cricut) has been making personalized hand-towels, coffee mugs, t-shirts and other fancy stuff. (Again, check out their Faceboot page to see some of what they have to offer.)

[By the way, I’m not being PAID to push the GOOFY GALS’ products, although you COULD say that they are my SPONSORS, in the sense that the group is made up of my wife and my two daughters—AND, since my wife is the BOSS OF ME, and the primary breadwinner in our relationship, she does fund just about everything I do! She wears the pants, and I draw the ghosts and monsters!]

And that’s about it for today! I have every intention of posting a new Read a Damn Book review tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that! If my brain is back to full function by Monday, I’m going to try to post some new CRYPTO-ART—finally! (Fingers and tentacles crossed!) Aaaaaand, basically, that was Saturday: an old guy went shopping! The thrills! The coupons! The new shoes!!! [Rated PG-13 for strong economic themes and some cursing…]

Later!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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[This post was originally published on my Steemit blog on 9 Nov. 2019.]

“A Grandpa Plays MINECRAFT – Day 0003!” by Richard F. Yates

Hey folks! My MINECRAFT play-through experiment continues! In this odd-ball episode, I fight some monsters, do some farming, make some stained glass, and (after dark) spot a mysterious glow on the horizon! It’s a bit like watching a slightly deranged person wander around and talk to himself—except there are zombies!

As always, the project is lo-fi, but you can hear what I’m saying… Maybe that should be my new angle (for future episodes.) While I’m doing Minecraft stuff, I’ll tell weird stories that have nothing to do with the game! ??? (It’s a thought.)

Anywho, here’s the link to today’s episode:

You know, I didn’t actually expect to be doing a new episode so soon. I got off work a little early last night, ate some cereal, and realized that the wife and daughter were going into the bedroom to watch some “murder show,” (they like forensics programs,) and I thought, “Why not make another Minecraft video?” (This is EPIC storytelling, isn’t it!?!) And though I was tired, and I knew I should get to bed—because today is going to be a MARATHON—I went ahead and recorded a video, edited it, and uploaded it to the YooToobs, instead of being responsible and getting the rest I’m going to need today and tonight. (Foolish human does foolish things!)

But—there you go. A surprise Minecraft video, put together instead of getting enough sleep. HOPEFULLY, I’ll have a new READ A DAMN BOOK review for you folks, either Saturday or Sunday, and THEN I REALLY REEEAALLY need to get some new CRYPTO-ART uploaded to my MakesPlace store. I’m behind in all of my production scheduling lately. (Remember when I started that “STORY TIME” thing? What was that, like two years ago or something???) Yeah… I really need to get my SMURFIN’ act together, make a schedule, and STICK TO IT.

There you go. RESOLVED. I’ll be better at getting my work done on time. (Now, let’s see if I can managed to actually ACCOMPLISH THAT!)

Okay. Now, I need to take a nap before the baby gets here and I have to start my seventeen hour work day!!!!

Later!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool) [I’ve clearly demonstrated the FOOL part of that title, haven’t I???]

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“Name Change and Further Experimentation with MINECRAFT Videos” by Richard F. Yates

Hey folks! I’m back with DAY TWO of my MINECRAFT video play through series. I noticed, in my first video, that I spelled “Minecraft” wrong… Damn. That’s embarrassing! I’ll have to be more careful with my editing in the future, although I’m almost certain that I’m going to have errors in every video. (But, in my junk-punk philosophy, it’s better to make a bunch of videos with flaws that being so paralyzed by fear of not getting everything perfect that you don’t do anything at all! I assume, as I do more of these, that I’ll get better at them!)

In other news, my wife suggested that I change the name of this series from a “Beginner” plays the game to a “Grandpa” plays the game. She thought that was funny—because grandpas aren’t SUPPOSED to play video games—or that’s the common conception, anyway. This is, of course, FALSE. My generation was actually the FIRST to become addicted to video games! They weren’t as slick or sophisticated as they are now, back in the 1970s and early ’80s, but we still got hooked on games like Pac-Man, Defender, Miner 2049, Missile Command, Centipede, and even PONG! (We had a Pong machine at our house as far back as 1975 or ’76—I’m pretty sure it was a Magnavox version of Pong, so it wasn’t CALLED “Pong,” but it was still fun…) Moral to this story: Grandpas DO play video games! (Even if we aren’t all GOOD at them!)

Anyway, here’s my most recent video:

Like last time, the video and audio quality aren’t super, but I’m coming at this with a “lo-fi,” punk, DIY attitude, and I’m trying—first and foremost—to have FUN! If it goes well, I can upgrade stuff later. If it DOESN’T, I’ll still have a good time playing!!!

Okay! Now that I’ve posted my link, I’m off to vacuum the house! If I have time before work, I have a few drawings that I’d like to share today, too, but we’ll see how quickly I can finish my chores!!! If I have time, I’ll get another post up this afternoon. If NOT, I’ll have to share my new drawings either tomorrow morning before the BABY gets here (Wednesdays are babysitting days) OR I’ll post after she goes home for the night—so I might not get a chance to post anything until tomorrow evening… Keep your peepers pealed! LATER!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

“My First MINECRAFT Video!” by Richard F. Yates

Hey folks, I’ve finally taken the plunge and entered the challenging world of video game play through videos… (That sounded weird. Let’s try it again.) I recorded a video of me playing Minecraft, starting from day one and trying to survive! I’m really bad at the game, so that’s kind of fun. I also talk a bit, but I’m nervous, so I’m talking pretty fast and not always making a lot of sense… But HEY! It’s my first try…

PLUS, I really don’t know what I’m doing with either the game OR technically, especially with the video capture junk. It’s all a big experiment. It was fun, though, so that’s something!

Here’s the video, if you want to see it:

And here’s a STEEM related question: Why did I use YouTube instead of D-Tube to post my video? The simple answer is LAZINESS! I already have a YouTube account set up—I’ve uploaded half a dozen stupid videos, which have about two views each—and I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new system…yet. I might try shifting to D-Tube, eventually, once I get more comfortable with the whole VIDEO experience. I’m still new—and I’m obviously REALLY bad at it. (Most of my videos look like Abstract-Expressionist paintings come to life, what with the low quality. I’ve never been able to afford REAL equipment, so most of the videos I’ve uploaded either came off my phone or old digital cameras…)

Still, if the experiment goes well enough, I might try to EXPAND MY HORIZONS: Get some better equipment, maybe acquire some REAL video editing software (although that might involve getting a newer computer because mine ain’t that powerful), and yes, even trying out D-Tube. I’m dabbling at the moment, but we’ll see where stuff goes! DEAL???

Okay, now I have to go put away a bunch of laundry, make the bed, hang some artwork in the living room, and start making dinner… A Dad’s duties are never done!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool!)

“Cultural Day” by Richard F. Yates

[All photos by me. The owl in this image is on the roof of Shattuck Hall at Portland State University. I love grotesques and gargoyles—and some day I’ll get a REAL camera so I can take better photos of them! For now, I do what I can with my phone! —RFY]

Last Thursday (aka: Halloween), my younger daughter, Elise, and my wife, Mariah, and I went on a journey of discovery! We had ulterior motives, of course, because we are sneaky, shadowy figures—but on the face of it, we DID exactly what we’d said we were going to do…

What we WANTED was Halloween off from work. As a family, we love Halloween—basically all things spooky and sweet and artificial—and LAST year, we missed the traditional Halloween festivities because we’d gone to California to spend about a week in a few THEME PARKS. (We hit Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Disneyland. Great time! However, it was weird not being at our own house for Halloween, which we always decorate to the rafters with spooky imagery, and we always enjoy giving out goodies to the neighborhood kids, which we couldn’t do from Disneyland!) So THIS year, we wanted the day off so that we were free to celebrate the SPOOKY-TIME the RIGHT WAY!

My wife and I just requested the day off way ahead of time (I indicated in my request that it was a religious holiday, partially to be funny and partially because it’s as close to TRUE as I get. I’m not a religious fellow—but if there are a FEW things that almost inspire religious-LIKE feelings in me, Halloween would be one of the closest!) Ellie, though, had to put in a reason for her request, and it was suggested by someone at her work—she is medical encoder for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe—that she take the day off as a “Cultural Day.” This sounded interesting, and I remembered a Native American resource center on the campus of Portland State University (where I went to grad school a few years ago), and this resource center has a number of creative works made by Indigenous folks that I suggested it might be fun to explore! Ellie pitched this idea to her supervisor, who okayed her request, and we were SET! On the morning of October 31st, we headed towards Portland, Oregon, to look at some art!!!

We arrived in Portland around 10:00 A.M., navigated the busy downtown traffic, and found a parking space in the pay-lot next to Shattuck Hall on the PSU campus. (It was $8.00 for two hours of parking!!! That seems like a lot to me…) The Native American Student and Community Center is on the next block up the hill, on Broadway Street, from Shattuck Hall, so we hoofed it from our parking spot to the center.

(I knew about this resource center because, back when I was a student at PSU, I took a lit class on Louise Erdrich and Toni Morrison in that building. It was a great class, and I loved ever book we read in the course—but for some reason, I was the only MALE student in the class… I don’t know why. Out of nearly thirty students, why weren’t there any other GUYS who wanted to read those books? I’ll never understand…)

Here are some of the pieces of art that we saw and enjoyed!

[I WISH I’d gotten some of the artist information on these pieces. I’d love to know who created these, but unfortunately, I was in such a hurry to jump from artwork to artwork, I wasn’t diligent in getting artist info. I apologize to the creators!!! I know how I’d feel if my artwork was used but I wasn’t credited… Still, these works, as of 31 Oct. 2019, are all on display at the Native American Student and Community Center on Broadway Street in Portland, Oregon. Go check them out, and don’t forget to ask who the artists were!!!]

[My wife is silly…]

I have a BUNCH more photos—but I’m already overloading this post with images, so I’ll cut it there. Hopefully, I’ve included enough here to convince people to stop by the resource center, if you ever find yourselves in Portland, and look at some of the awe-inspiring art! It doesn’t cost anything to go in and look around, and it’s certainly a cool place.

After we finished looking at the Native American art, we were starting to feel a bit hungry, so we went looking for my favorite crepe shop, which used to be right across the street from Neuberger Hall, but sadly, it had become a Bubble Tea shop since I was there last. (It’s been a few years.) Looking around, I noticed at that point that a LOT of stuff had changed since 2007… (And I just noticed that 2007 was TWELVE YEARS AGO!!!! That’s insane. Time slides by on greased wheels!!!)

We wandered around the campus for a bit looking for a bite, and we eventually found a shop called the Green Zebra Grocery. I don’t know if this is a chain or just a Portland thing or what, but it was an interesting take on the “minute mart” concept, with a coffee bar, a deli, and a bunch of snacks and drinks—but they specialize in what Ellie called “HIPPIE FOOD.” They have organic chocolates and veggie hot dogs and plant-based hamburgers and vegan goat cheese! (How does “vegan goat cheese” work?) “What’s wrong with this place???” Ellie said, and Mariah and I both laughed. Mariah bought some hot cocoa, and Ellie said she was creeped out by the experience, but it just seemed like a normal Portland store to me… Everyone was friendly, though, and because it was Halloween, all the staff were dressed in costumes, like Sloth pajamas and stuff… Actually, now that I think about it, it’s PORTLAND—maybe they dress like that everyday… I dig it.

After our stop at the Green Zebra, we headed back to the car and motored out of town, heading back north. It was still before noon, so we had time to kill before the TRICK-OR-TREATING was going to begin, so we stopped by the Cowlitz County Historical Museum in Kelso, Washington (which is only a few blocks off the I-5 Freeway,) before going home.

It’s a cool little museum focused on local history, which we’ve visited several times before, although I’ll admit, it’s been several years since I’ve been there. The HIGHLIGHT of the museum is the actual log cabin that they have in the main showroom. They now have a whole “show” that you can see through a big window, with lighting and narration and voice acting, talking about the lives of some of the early settlers to the Pacific Northwest. It’s a quality production! I was definitely impressed!

They have lots of other neat stuff there, too, and the staff is friendly and excited to share their knowledge, but that log cabin is easily the coolest element of the museum!

And that was our cultural day! We had some fun, saw some fantastic artwork, and expanded our minds—and then gave out a bunch of candy that night to all the little kids who started showing up just before dark. Some NOT-SO-LITTLE kids came by, too, but I’m fine with that. In fact, we still have WAY TOO MUCH CANDY, so I kind of wish MORE folks had come knocking!

That’s it! Show’s over. Hopefully, I’ll have more stuff ready to share tomorrow! LATER!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

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[This write-up was originally published on my Steemit blog on 7 Oct. 2019.]

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