Monday, September 28, 2009

Frank Nudo Day

This is a story I wrote a few weeks ago. Watch the video, if you can. This guy was HILARIOUS. He kept calling people "drunks" when he'd talk about them.


Frank Nudo spent Frank Nudo Day the way he spent 48 years -- talking sports and eating hot dogs.

Until a year and a half ago, Nudo was the owner of Nick's Famous Coney Island on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

Every day, current owner Tyler Rogoway says, people come in asking about Nudo. So Rogoway deemed Friday "Frank Nudo Day" to allow all the old customers to come check in on the Portland character.

Nudo was nervous about the day. Truthfully, he says, he didn't want to do it. All week he's had trouble sleeping. What if no one showed, he wondered.

"I'm a nobody," he said. "I used to be a somebody, but now I'm a nobody."

Read the rest of the story Here!

Frank Nudo Day

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summer's over

I spent the last days of summer cleaning up and saying goodbye. The river rafts are stored. My two best guys are headed out. The trees outside are changing.

Tomorrow, it'll be 90 degrees. This is the longest, hottest summer I've ever seen here. But the tops of the trees outside my window are marooning, so I know these record highs won't last forever. Soon, the leaves will change entirely before disappearing. [so leaf subsides to leaf]

This time last year, I was so relieved to see the red leaves. I couldn't wait for summer to end. I had spent the season crying, mourning everyone who had left.

The year before that, I was bewildered. The South does not have trees like the ones here. One day everything's green, the next brown. Then the trees fall bare, and the streets crunch underneath you when you walk. But in the northwest, you can see every gradation. There are so many shades of green to go through! And yellows! And reds! And orange! The brown comes, but slowly.

I spent that summer-fall transition (2007, I mean) with a point-and-shoot camera trying to capture each hue. I barely noticed summer had ended, I was so obsessed by the colors.

But this summer, it's different. The marooning tops shocked me. Already? I thought.

I'm not sure why it surprised me. Summer felt over a month ago. I went to Texas, came back, and the summer I had known was gone. No more river. No more late-night, post-work hang-outs. No purple hydrangeas. No girl.

So I focused on work. I started reading non-stop. I amped up my biking, even bought that new bike. It was great, but it didn't feel the same. The past month felt like a liminal space season.

But even that held something. For me, this summer changed everything. I spent so much of it outside, so much really living. I met so many new people, grew closer to some I knew already. I feel healthier and happier than I have in a long time. Summer's over -- and hell, I'm not stoked to see the gray, not stoked to see Ryan leaving for Africa -- but I know I spent this record-hot summer right.

So check it out. How I spent my twenty-sixth summer:

Summer 2009 from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

A good night, every night

PS: I kind of never want to hear this song again. But for a time there, it really did sum everything up. As CJ wrote to me, "It was a good night, every time."

PPS: If you want to see how I spent other seasons, check out: Spring 2009
Winter 2008/09
Winter 2007/08
Fall 2007
Summer 2007
watch closely and you can see Randi's hair grow!

Bye bye Fred Stickel

On Friday, perhaps the best boss I'll ever have retired. Fred Stickel is 87; he's worked at the Oregonian for 42 years. Under his leadership, we Oregonian employees have had it damn good -- much better than most other journalists in this country. I truly believe he has fought for us, has protected us and has given us the best he could.

Among other stands, here's one thing he did (from the press release about his retirement):

In 1992 he took the unprecedented step of publishing a front page editorial urging Oregonians to vote to defeat Measure 9, which would have inserted restrictions on the rights of homosexuals in the Oregon constitution. “My longstanding religious and moral views as a conservative Roman Catholic are one thing. My lifelong commitment, both in peace and war, to defend and exult in the inalienable rights granted our citizens under the U.S. Constitution is another. This is what I stand for, and this is what Oregon stands for,” his editorial stated. The measure was defeated with 57 percent of the vote.

The paper threw a sort of surprise parade for him on Friday. Most people were crying.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Drawing without looking

The other day, Quentin, Randi and I spent the morning crafting. I had cut out a pink T from the Sunday Times Magazine to use in a postcard I was making, but it wound up not fitting. So there it sat, unused, on Quentin's table. I turned my head.

"That looks just like a hairstyle," I said.

We had been doing blind contour drawings of owls that morning, so we somehow hatched a plan that Randi would draw a blind contour drawing of me to go with this hairstyle. Quentin did the gluing. I did the thinking. Randi did the drawing.

Thus, I give you, a collaborative approach to my new hairstyle and glasses*:


*I did really get a haircut and new glasses, but they look a bit different than this illustration.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In use

People often leave free, discarded items in my apartment lobby. Last week, for instance, there was an entire plate of rocks for the taking, along with a gently used three-ring binder. Other apartments apparently do it, too: My friend Ryan once found the entire set of Angel DVDs in his apartment lobby.

I did once get a recliner, though. And a bookshelf.

But earlier this week, there was no free item, only this note where the item must have once been. It struck me as very poetic.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Light speed

I found these in a collection of photos I took in Chicago. This is Jazzy, my friend Rebecca's daughter. She talked a mile a minute, never sat still and chewed gum vigorously. She was adorable.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Chimpanzees are like us

Jane Goodall is so adorable, so fluidly moving between conversations with adults and kids. Today, I made a video of her, and in between her and the extra adorable 11-year-olds at the Portland French School, I could've just died:

Jane Goodall speaks at the Portland French School

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Shake your fists

My cousin's band played in Portland:

Telegraph Canyon




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Under the big top

I really tried to make a better video than I normally make. Let me know what y'all think:

The Circus Project from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

Nine months ago, Jenn Cohen dropped her dreams off at a bus stop in Yachats.

That followed a winter weekend that was supposed to be a benchmark for Cohen and the non-profit she runs, which teaches circus skills to homeless and at-risk youth. The Circus Project was low on money, but the students were becoming great performers. Cohen took them to the coast to write their first performance.

But two days into the retreat, Cohen discovered that three students had been doing drugs -- a violation of company rules.

"How could you do this?" Cohen asked, crying.

After a sleepless night, she delivered the news: I'm sending you back to Portland. When she dropped them off at the bus stop, the group was six months old. The three offenders had helped create the program and made up half the troupe.

How could she go forward without them?

Read the rest on the Oregonian's Web site

Monday, September 7, 2009

Turns out summer IS still here


Also, Quentin and I made the best sandwiches:


Sunday, September 6, 2009

My stuff: Quentin

Quentin explains his choices:

1. Sennheiser 280 Pro headphones -- I've always liked music, but I live in a noisy apartment next to the Interstate, so having noise-canceling headphones is important. They sound amazing, but they look really, really geeky on.

2. collaged table -- I bought the table at Goodwill for $10, but the surface was beat up. I spent three or four months during my freshman year collaging the top of it.

3. 1983 Centurion LeMans RS bicycle -- When my mountain bike was stolen, I wanted something thinner and faster. Bikes are like couches and kids: There are already too many in the world, so you should buy them off Craigslist. I do have a feeling, though, that the guy I bought this one from on Craigslist may have stolen it, which makes me sad.

4. painting of San Francisco Church and Catacombs in Lime Peru -- A friend of mine who is a photograph took the photo this is based on while traveling in Central America. Then she painted the picture when she got home.

5. Emigre Magazine(s) -- They started publication basically the same month that the Apple computer came out. They're design magazines. A teacher/mentor recommended them to me in college, and ever since, I've been collecting them.

6. collage notebook -- I've always enjoyed collages. A couple years ago, I started this notebook after having a similar one in college. Once every week or two, I sit down and do a few pages. It's like a private journal that I can show to the world. People see one thing, but they mean something different to me. They hold specific stories for me, but no one else picks up on them because they don't know the contexts.

7. Canon AE-1 -- I learned how to shoot photos on this camera, which a high school friend gave me.

8. 1967 Magnavox Astro-sonic HiFi record player -- For a couple years, I wanted one to play old records on. This is one of the first that they made that was solid state, so I won't have to replace any tubes. It came up on Craigslist for $50 a couple of blocks from my house.

9. Big American flag -- Ryan Adams reissued his first three albums on vinyl recently. Around the same time, I moved into a new apartment. I liked the way the bedroom on the back of Gold looks, so I decided to recreate it. I found a cheap flag on eBay.

10. Q -- That same friend sent me a letter in the mail.

***Eds note: Some of the images are courtesy of Q, who scanned them in for nicer lookin'

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A new, collaborative blog

Some Portland friends and I have started new blog. The basic gist is every week or two there'll be an assignment, and anyone who wants can submit one. Some of the assignments will be photo-based. Some will be drawing. Others will be writing. One might be to record a sound.

Anyway, check out the inaugural posts. Our first assignment was to pick a song lyric then photograph something to illustrate it:

You can RSS it, but if you do, the pictures don't show up in it for some reason. So make sure you go to the actual site.

The new assignment will be up soon. Contribute!

Thursday, September 3, 2009