14 August 2009

My Sinful Sunday B-day Bash!

So here's the scoop:

I'm celebrating my birthday this Sunday, the 16th. Yes, I'm turning 25! Again.

I haven't posted anything new in ages, I know. So come out, enjoy the chaos and we'll catch up in person!

The particulars:

On Sunday August 16th, at Dante's in Portland Oregon, I will be hosting my "Sinful Sunday B-day Bash!" (or Sausage-Fest 2009 as it's known to my closest friends). I've reserved the VIP balcony and will likely have a few other tables reserved. If you've been to Sinferno, you know what to expect--- burlesque, fire, sideshow, tits and ass--- so bring your ones, but leave the prudery at home.
Christian Kane (from Leverage) will be playing an early set, and let me tell you, the people watching opportunities are not to be missed. Plus you might get to rub elbows with Timothy Hutton or whatever guest star happens to be here this week. Today I heard Mathew (or was it Luke?) Perry is here. So if that's your thing...
Dew Tour and Warped Tour are in town as well, and most of those bands, plus every burnout in attendance there, will probably find their way Dante's as well.

In short---It will be chaos! It will be grand!

I'll be there at 9pm in the VIP balcony.

My guests get a discount on the cover ($3 instead of $10) so be sure to RSVP by 5pm on Sunday so I can get you on the list!

See you there!

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

29 May 2009

Movie of the Week

Do you ever feel like your life is a movie? I don't mean in a megalomaniacal, delusions of grandeur sort of way. I mean in the "I couldn't make this shit up if I tried, but this is my life" way.
Let me tell you about my movie-of-the-week day. I can't even make an attempt at being witty or "writerly", I'm so thrown by this!

My day began simply enough. Imagine me, your sassy heroine, bounding (ok, crawling) out of bed early in the morning, eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Frenchman. The Frenchman is a gorgeous ballet dancer and choreographer who is visiting for two weeks--- which happens to be the perfect length of time for an affair with a Frenchman.
Then, the montage: the sassy heroine tosses clothes and shoes into a closet, vacuums, madly scrubs a bathroom, then carefully chooses an outfit and does her make up just so.
And then...she waits. And waits.
All dolled up, and wound up, and still no Frenchman.

I'm a busy girl! I had things to do and places to be!
I was quickly going from giddy to grumpy, and I got a phone call from The Chicano, who happens to be a Tuvan throat-singing champion; one of the top three according to the judges of an International symposium last year. He offered to keep me company and run some errands with me, including a quick trip to the bank.
Just a quick jaunt up the street to cash a check, then milkshakes at Moonstruck. It was a perfect day for it, sunny and warm.

And then...

I arrived at the small local WaMu branch, which was garishly advertising its conversion to Chase bank. I had a WaMu check and they wouldn't cash it.

"We're Chase now. You could use it to open an account with us." the teller suggested.
No thanks.
I walked to where my friend sat, making faces at him as I went. I started to tell him, when...
I heard the blast of an air-horn as the door opened.

Just like that, my day went from romantic comedy, to bank heist movie.

He wore a gold mask which covered the top half of his face. It was duct-taped to his hoodie. He was very calm as he told us to get down on the ground on one side of the room, and informed us that he was carrying a very large explosive device.
The Chicano and I were right by the door and as we locked eyes I know we both briefly considered bolting, since the robber was already walking toward the tellers. We hesitated for a few seconds, then walked toward the corner he had indicated. The other few customers followed. One of the girls had been there to make what looked like a business drop, and as she set her things down, a sizable pile of cash spilled out onto the ground at my feet. Ack!
"I don't want that in front of me, I don't want that in front of me..." I muttered.
"I'm so sorry!" she whispered back, as she grabbed it and tucked it away.
We huddled there watching the robbery unfold.
My friend grabbed my hand and I could feel him start to run energy. Ah, something familiar! It helped to gound me, and I started sending out Reiki as well.
The robber went down the line of tellers, demanding large bills--- hundreds, fifties, twenties...all the cash form the tills and the reserve cash.
He was calm, methodical and efficient. As he reached the last teller I actually got a little scared. I heard the teller stammer out "That's it, that's all I have!"
"I want all of it! Where's the manager?"
The manager walked over and they exchanged a few terse words, the manager insisting all the while he had been given everything there was.
"I have small bills..." the teller offered.
"Large bills only."
The manager stepped in again. "Sir, that's all of it."

"Tell the police I do have a large explosive device and not to follow me." And with that, he walked to the door, then took off running up Burnside toward Washington Park. One of the loan officers sitting by us, jumped up to watch him through the window.

"There goes the dye pack! Good job, guys!...oh, he dropped his pack...oh, he's running up toward the park!"

In the meantime, one of the other employees had locked the door. After making sure we were all ok, we were told we'd have to wait and talk to the police and the FBI.

"So much for milkshakes!" I told my friend. We settled in to wait for the circus to begin. And we sat, and we sat...
"Where are the sirens? The SWAT teams?" I asked.
"Batman crashing through the window...!" my friend chimed in.

"Is everyone alright?" We blinked at her. She was all business, all 5'4" of her, as she walked through the bank, checking in with everyone. I should have been relieved by the police uniform, but--- I hadn't even heard a siren. I wasn't the only one thinking it, because one of the bank employees sitting near us ventured: "Uhm, is anyone else coming?"

She must get that a lot.
She did not look amused.
"The police are here." she replied sternly "They are searching the park with dogs."

While we waited to give our statements, we chatted with some of the employees and got to learn all about dye packs and how common bank robberies actually are. Normally, however, one would never know, until asked to give police a statement. The take-over style robbery we had just experienced is rare.

In order to speed things along, the female officer took my statement and my friend's. Just as I finished giving mine, the FBI arrived. I have to say, I was glad I wouldn't have to talk to them. "I had a chat with the FBI" is not something I've ever wanted to have on my list of things I've experienced. Of course, neither was a Hollywood style bank robbery, but what's a girl to do.

I got my milkshake and went to meet up with people who were expecting me. I had texted to say "I am running late. Have to talk to the FBI about a bank robbery I just witnessed". When I met up with my party just in the nick of time, one woman at the table commented "That's either the biggest lie, or the best excuse for being late I've ever heard." I wanted to slap her!

Overall, I think I handled it the way I do everything else...just stay alert and take it all in. If I don't die, it's blog material.

The next day I had to cash another check at another bank. It wasn't until I approached the teller that I felt my heart start to beat just a little faster.
"I need to cash this check, and no I don't have an account here." I said by rote.
"Would you like to remedy that today?" she chirped.

I glared at her.

"Lady, I'm not too excited about banks in general right now."
She was taken aback. "Why is that?"
I told her about the robbery.
"Oh, I'm so sorry..." she began.
"Yeah, if you don't mind, I'd like to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible."
She stared at me for a second then hurriedly counted out my money.

Just another day in the life of The Infamous CoatCheck Girl.

Roll credits...

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

01 March 2009

Thanks, You're a Peach!

In an age when marginally intelligible text messages pass for acceptable communication, some of the more graceful and genteel forms of communication are all but forgotten. There was once the language of flowers, volumes spoken by the flashing of a ladie's fan, even simple hand written letters...and that quaint custom of the thank you note, these days seemingly preserved only within wedding etiquette.

I, myself, can't remember the last time I wrote a thank you note, but I now find myself compelled to do so publicly. I am afraid it is a little overdue, but, better late than never? And I'm sure the intended recipient will forgive my inadvertent slight.

So, my thank-you note:

Some time ago, I posted a blog (Perfect Pitch) regarding a mishap with my Tool Box and some toys with minds of their own. About a week later I received an email from a young gentleman who is a self-proclaimed "fan" and has been following my blog for some time.
It was titled "How to avoid perfect pitch".
He told me his job requires him to travel quite a bit, and that he finds comfort in my blog, that it reminds him of home.

Yeah, I was a little puzzled and skeptical as well.

He went on to write that he had thought of a way to thank me for having entertained him all these months.

Hmmm....again, skeptical, and a more than a little afraid...

It all turned out to be fairly innocuous, though. He works making hand-blown glass and has made a few "special commission" pieces for friends. He reassured me that, while not in the habit of offering free glass sex toys to strangers, he figured it was not the strangest offer I'd ever received via the blog.

Unfortunately, he was right.

Did I think it too strange? he asked.

Quality, custom glass pieces are expensive. It was one of the few items missing from my Tool Box.

Are you kidding? I wrote back. A custom glass piece made just for me by a self-proclaimed fan? I'd be honored!

And so to my next conundrum...

Neither my mother nor Emily Post ever had anything useful to say regarding the etiquette for telling a perfect stranger about my Dream Dildo.

He suggested that I email him photos of pieces I liked or that I describe what I wanted.

A few days later he emailed me photos of the two pieces he had made for me, designed to my specifications.

Just beautiful!

I was not going to have him mail them to my home address. I gave him my phone number so we could coordinate a meeting on safe territory--- my work.
When the call actually came, I was, admittedly, nervous, but with plenty of co-workers around, I felt confident that I would be well looked after. I also have the good fortune to work someplace where this type of exchange might not seem all that out of place.

The staff alerted, I wandered downstairs to meet my admirer.

He was a slight figure, not at all threatening. A little shy in fact, though respectful and friendly. He set a small gift bag down on the table and I heard a rather hefty *clunk*. We chatted a bit while I removed the decorative tissue wrap as surreptitiously as I could from each piece.

Whoah! I exclaimed as I felt the heft of the larger piece.

"Oh, yeah, that one kind of got away from me. It turned out kind of big." he said sheepishly. He'd made a second one in case the first didn't turn out. "You can have them both."

He was actually a very interesting fellow. He told me about his work and his travels, and I had the opportunity to ask him what he meant when he said my blog reminded him of home.

"It's just such a Portland thing..." he said.
Heh... I guess I'd never really thought about it that way.
He mentioned telling people about the blog, trying to explain that "it's about sex, but it isn't...really". And I couldn't help but smile because that is how I often struggle to explain it to people as well. In fact it's become a barometer of sorts; I know what kind of person I'm dealing with, depending on what they think my blog's about.
He gets it.

We smoked a cigarette while we chatted some more.

"Well, I'll let you get back to work," he said politely as we finished our smokes.

I thanked him again.

"Just keep writing them...I'll keep reading them!" he called out as he walked away.

And that was the end of that.
Not an email, not a phone call since.
Just a genuine gift...my faith in humanity momentarily restored by a pair of glass dildos.

Thanks, C----, you're a peach!

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

21 February 2009

Love to Hate

Having a very public online persona can be a double-edged sword, as you might well imagine. Offering yourself up for public scrutiny is not for the faint of heart. I am fortunate to have readers who have nothing but concern for my well-being. They celebrate my triumphs, laugh with me at my foibles and exploits, and hopefully learn from my mistakes or occasional insights. Whatever their reactions, they are always impassioned. Take for example, this comment left by one reader, so concerned for my intellectual depth and my emotional future, that he (or more likely, she) couldn't help but write in:

I've read a certain amount of your writing (friend of a friend, et cet.), and on a formal level, I've seen worse. But the content sags under the weight of its unearned megalomania—you're a cute girl and you get unsolicited attention from guys? Fascinating. While you're at it, you should start a blog about brushing your teeth.

It feels like you're here to celebrate how "hot" and sought-after you are. I'm pretty ubiquitous in Portland, and have never met you—at least not that I remember. Investing in some substance now might forestall a future great depression. Vacuousness, after all, is not only endemic to cheerleaders.

Well, my dear FOAF (friend of a friend):

I appreciate your concern, which is what would undoubtedly spur you to carefully craft your remarks. I say this because time is precious and few people waste it on a cause they believe to be unworthy. I am unable to thank you personally, dear FOAF, since you posted anonymously, but I can tell you: I now aspire to your example. I am slow to pass judgment, but you, based on one single entry (thank you statcounter for that info!) were comfortable making a quick assessment and expressing it. Kudos for efficiency!

I have embraced a medium which is inherently frivolous, and indulged in it...well, frivolously, one might say--- using it as an outlet for expression and an exercise in writing. I now see my time could be better spent policing the web, which is world-wide I hear. I have avoided such actions in the past, thinking that if I found content truly vacuous or unappealing, I shouldn't give it a second thought. Thank you for your inspiration!

As to why we've never met? Well, that is a wonder in a city with over half a million people, and you with so much leisure time spent roaming the city.

Although...there was that time I hired a minion to walk ahead of me everywhere I went, holding a banner proclaiming "Make way for The ICG!", but he just kept getting in the way.
Good help is so hard to find these days!
In any case, most of the time these days, I just work, hang out with a select group of quality people, and keep a low profile...

Ah, but I jest, dears!

This has never been called "Juliana's Diary" for good reason.
It isn't.
I write based on my experiences...well, in part due to laziness---I'm too lazy to make things up. And why invent when truth is often so much more surreal? But it's not always exciting stuff, and that's just part of the human condition too. Sometimes I sit in CoatCheck bored out of my skull, observing the parade of drunken jack-asses in line for the bathroom, for lack of other entertainment.
Do I think it some great compliment to my charms that these guys talk to me?
I'm a captive audience, sitting there in my CoatCheck cubby, a mere distraction while they wait to take a piss.

Eh...I'll leave the intellectual policing to our friend FOAF, because, really, who else has the time?

I'll continue to subject readers to my frivolous little stories, corresponding with those who write to me about their own experiences with the death of a parent, an assault, abortion, or a relationship gone wrong...
That's really the most rewarding thing about this little exercise--- connecting with people through common experiences, desires, or disappointments. Ok, maybe that and the occasional gift I get from one of the readers (see the next post!)...

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

14 February 2009

Under the Influence

Sunday was one of those nights--- when the moon was full, the Red Bull flowing, and the baseball caps abundant.

CoatCheck is a crap-shoot under the influence of the full moon.

I usually stand separated from the rabble by a flimsy swinging door/counter, but the same device which affords me that separation also makes me a captive audience, and one directly in the path of every drunk guy who has to urinate.

I always hope the scantily clad girls on the stage and platforms will draw attention away from me but, alas, I was not so lucky. No amount of hiding behind a book or the glow of a laptop could save me.

"Gimme your number."

Just like that.
No preamble.
No "hi", "hello", "hey, how's it going?".
I was equally blunt.


"C'mon! Gimme your number!"


His tune didn't change. Neither did mine, until I finally said "Ok, move along".

And no sooner had he gone, than another popped into place.

"Hey. I'm just trying to make conversation."

I blinked at him expectantly.

"Uhm...ok." I prompted. *blink, blink*

During the long pause that followed, I swear I heard the faint sound of crickets despite the loud, pounding beats.

"That's all. Just trying to make conversation..." he muttered, as he ducked his head and slunk away to rejoin his friends.

I took a breath and steeled myself for the next onslaught. But I had a reprieve. My friend and respected colleague Mister Graves wandered by, and provided me a much needed drink and some amiable, intelligent conversation. He proved to be a poor deterrent however, to a determined young man.

I had seen this guy at the club for the past four nights, trolling. The first night, he had sidled up to me outside at closing time and asked me if this was "a good place to hook up." Then he'd unleashed his tale of woe..."in a band, from L.A., here mastering the new record, some Australian bitch dumped me, so alone...blah, blah...your waitress is a bitch, she wouldn't talk to me..."

I had suggested that the trouble might be in his approach before ducking back inside.

But he was back, and making the rounds and apparently it was my turn, sentry or no. Mister Graves looked on in amusement as the young rake mentioned I'd caught his eye a few times.

"So I noticed. You've been here the last four nights."

I recited his whole litany back to him from memory.

"How do you know an Australian girl dumped me?" he asked warily.


It could have been so easy to mess with his sense of reality and spin his head even more, but I mustered some restraint.

"You told me the other night."

He still looked a little suspicious.
Mister Graves snickered, already sensing the poor boy's fate. "I'm gonna leave so you can have your fun with this one."

My young admirer turned his focus back to me.

"You probably get hit on by guys all the time, huh?"

"All the time," I echoed. No amount of sarcasm could penetrate his drunken haze, so he boldly forged ahead.

"So, what's up with girls in Portland? I mean, I don't think I'm unattractive. And I'm in a band..."

"Maybe that's your problem" I pointed out. "You're in Portland now. Every guy here is in a band. You gotta have more than that..."

We chatted for a while, during which he tried to convince me to give him my number because "we'd look good together".

"How old are you, dear--- 23?" I asked him.

He puffed up his chest and said defensively "No! I'm 28." He withered under my arched-brow gaze. "Ok, yeah. 23"

And how very 23, with all its concomitant confusion, misplaced confidence and desperate desire to seem wise and jaded.
Very cute.
For about 5 minutes.
I bored of the game and sent him on his way.

I saw him outside at the end of the night--- his confidence was gone. He'd been reduced to a crying little ball of self-loathing. I even started to feel a little sympathy for him, as I watched tears and snot running down his face.

"I'm such a piece of shit." he moaned "I know you get hit on all the time. You're such a cool girl and I'm such a piece of shit, I'm just another piece of shit trying to hit on you."

I handed him my bottle of water and tried a there-there pat on his shoulder.

"I'm so lonely in this town, I'm just gonna go home and kill myself."

I rolled my eyes. My patience was wearing thin.

"You should come home with me," he continued. "Not for sex, but just to talk, you know? I'm so depressed. You'd be doing something good, talking to me..."

I firmly declined and offered to call a cab for him, which he refused.

I darted back into the club and shut the door behind me. I almost had to admire such temerity.


A few nights later I was again sitting at the bar, and looked up to see him walk in.

"Hey look, you're still alive!" I teased.

He turned a deep crimson and lowered his head. He'd actually come in to apologize. And give me a copy of his band's cd, of course.

There's always an angle...

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

12 February 2009

on CoatCheck

There is something meditative about working in CoatCheck.

Some part of it is a routine:

"That'll be $2, please."

Hang up coat.

Hand customer a numbered tag.


"No you can't have my phone number. Enjoy the show!"

Smile and dismiss with a wave...

The rest is unpredictable, a barely controlled chaos I often find equally soothing. It is a fascinating microcosm, my little CoatCheck world, and one full of contradictions. I am the observer and the observed, a part of but apart from the melee.

Sometimes it's mildly amusing, like a few weekends ago when I looked up from my book to see REM's Peter Buck repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to pee. Twice, I saw guys dart into the bathroom ahead of him.

"You'll have to be quicker than that!" I said with a chuckle.

"Yeah" he replied sighing. He slumped heavily into the stool next to my window.

"Aren't you playing tonight? Why don't you go downstairs (to the green room)?"
I asked.

"We go on in 5 minutes. This'll be faster"

I doubted it.
I gave him a "suit-yourself" shrug and went back to reading Eduardo Galeano's musings on Latin American politics.
Much more interesting.

And then there are nights when...well, that's best left for another blog...

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

10 February 2009

Dear Cupid

Dear Cupid,

forget Love. Bring me one of these:


and one of these, while you're at it:


and batteries...lots of batteries...

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved

21 January 2009

It ain't Shakespeare...

He says he thinks about me, thinks about bending me over the counter and putting his entire fist inside of me.

"I'll even trim my fingernails," he chirps.

Who says romance is dead?

All Content Copyright 2009, Juliana Tobón. All Rights Reserved