Category Archives: Ben Lundin

MusicfestNW Recap 2: The Joy Formidable, The Men

Joy Formidable at Roseland Theater

Here is my second MusicfestNW recap featuring Joy Formidable and The Men. I attended the festival Sept. 4-7.

“This venue’s at capacity” became the unwanted, all too common mantra at this year’s MusicfestNW. I heard it at no less than four shows which might not sound like a lot but amounted to at least a quarter of the shows I attempted to access.

Typhoon’s Old Church show on Thursday night marked the first such failure. Small venue, large demand, local band – all factors that forced my friend Ben and I to reevaluate our options and head across town to the Roseland Theater.

There we saw the UK rock trio Joy Formidable, whose manic power walking onstage, blinding strobes, and lead singer’s resemblance to a ninth-grade science teacher I loathed led me to focus my attention more on the audience than the stage.

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"Jersey Shore" — Season 4, Episode 10

No. I don't have photos of Deena's kooka.

Depending on your perspective, MTV’s “Jersey Shore” has either had its occasional low points or been one continuous low point. I am an unabashed fan of the show, and thus I would say it has had occasional low points, most of which were caused by Ronnie and Sammi “Nada Sweetheart”‘s constant bickering in Seasons 2 and 3.

Episode 10 featured the lowest moment in series history, in my humble opinion, and it had nothing to do with the castmates. It involved MTV’s decision to splice a Beavis and Butthead promo into a conversation Vinny had with his family.

I wanted to throat-punch MTV executives and claw my eyes out. Simultaneously. What in the name of Deena’s flea-bitten kooka were they trying to pull with that one?

I will leave that question unanswered. Besides revealing MTV’s utter contempt for its “Jersey Shore” audience, Episode 10 showed broken-hearted Snooki, in what has become one of Season 4’s main plotlines, lashing out at Snitchuation and trying to make up with her boyfriend, Lil Jionni.

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LSU Win A Must To Shut Oregon Fans Up

Only two days away!

It was Nov. 9, 1996. Tiger Stadium. Baton Rouge. LSU and Bama.

My dad and I bought tickets on the street minutes before the game. We ended up sitting in the Alabama fans’ section. It turned out to be a painfully long game. Bama running back Shaun Alexander rushed for 291 yards and four scores in the Crimson Tide’s 26-0 win over a 10-win LSU team.

The Bama fans would not shut up. Their southern drawls offended my 11-year-old sensibilities. Even then I hated redneck Crimson Tide fans from Alabama. Still do today.

I bring up this painful memory of Purple and Gold failure because I am planning to watch LSU’s season opener against No. 3 Oregon Saturday with a house full of Ducks supporters. It could be an epic victory or epic failure. There is no in-between.

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The Fate of Breaking Bad's Jesse Pinkman

Jesse Pinkman played by Aaron Paul

SPOILER ALERT: This post includes spoiler-y type material on the fourth season of “Breaking Bad.” Any suggestions about the future of Jesse Pinkman are mere guesses, not representative of any inside knowledge about the show.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been saying Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) will get killed in Season Four. The nonstop party lifestyle he has lived since killing superchemist Gail Boettinger will ultimately be his demise. Or, at least, it seems that way.

My roommates disagree. They say Pinkman is the moral center of the show. Sure, he’s a drug user and pusher, but he’s got a decent heart and his interactions with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) make him essential to the show’s continuation, they argue.

For about 15 minutes in this Sunday’s fourth episode I thought my prediction was about to come true. It appeared the show’s creator Vince Gilligan had decided to off his second most important character — either at the hands of one of his party guests or Gus’ enforcer, Mike (Jonathan Banks). It turned out to be nothing more than a suspenseful tease, which left me feverishly anticipating this Sunday’s fifth episode titled “Shotgun.”

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Fear, Flames, And Wipeouts: My Pedalpalooza Experience

A memento from the Midnight Ridazz.

As I waited Saturday at Pioneer Courthouse Square for that night’s Pedalpalooza event to begin, a cliche popped into my anxious head reminding me why I hate such lazy methods of expression in the first place.

“It’s like riding a bike … Once you do it, you never forget.” I tried telling myself this nonsense to erase the doubt that came with suddenly being thrust into a situation where A) I would be sharing the road with cars B) I would be riding in a pack of 200 or so riders and C) I would be pedaling up and down fairly steep hills. All this after not owning a bike the past 15 years.

The cliche did not take into account any of these circumstances. It just took into account I previously rode a bike. Sure, I would remember how to ride, but would I do so safely? My mind envisioned gruesome wrecks, the term “OH SHIT!” in big letters, and pedaling off to a safe place so I could avoid the event.

I agreed to participate in the Midnight Ridazz’s bike ride Saturday night because it was my last chance to participate in this year’s Pedalpalooza. Pedalpalooza, a two-week festival of bike events, provides residents the opportunity to party while supporting the green movement.

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The Cajun Tomato Prepares To "Party Down South"

Cajun Tomato in full-on party mode!

This evening one of my roommates, @ben_lundin, gave me an unexpected, yet significant bit of news. MTV, he told me, is casting for a show called “Party Down South.” Envision a bayou version of “Jersey Shore” and you have “Party Down South.”

It will be sweltering, slutty and subtitled, if I know anything about Cajuns and MTV.

I’m Cajun. If I had to use three words to describe Cajuns I’d say we’re fun, prideful, and a tad ridiculous. “All they do is drink and fuck,” a former coworker from south Louisiana remarked about people down the bayou. His fake Cajun accent resembled something you would hear between Cut Off, Louisiana, and Jamaica.

“Party Down South” is looking for castmates from the Gulf region. I’ve got news for the casting directors. If you’re looking for the true crazy, skip Mississippi and Alabama. That’s not where the action is. Go straight to Louisiana. And while you’re at it … add The Cajun Tomato to the show’s cast. (I’m the good crazy.)

Here are my answers to “Party Down South”‘s questionnaire. Without further ado, check out my “coonass” credentials.

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Crawfish in Portland: Yum, But Where's The Dip?

Crawfish boil at Portland's EAT!

It’s been more than six months since I last set foot in God’s Swamp aka south Louisiana. I must admit I took a few things for granted while there. Things like motorists’ disdain for bicyclists, mosquitoes’ unending fly-by assaults on muggy summer nights and thick, juicy Cajun accents — you know, the kind that require subtitles on Fox reality shows.

Oh, and lest I forget, one other thing: The seemingly endless bounties of crawfish just waiting to be scooped up and boiled. I’m told crawfish exist in Oregon, but this remains something of a rumor, since I have not yet devoured them.

On Saturday, for the first time since leaving the bayou, I feasted upon crawfish — Louisiana crawfish — at the oyster bar Eat! in northeast Portland. It was damn near perfect except for one thing — they did not supply dipping sauce.

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Out Of The Toilet Bowl And Into The Natty: An Oregon Alum’s Take On the Ducks’ Rise From Obscurity To The Title Game

There were no winners that day. At the end of what has been dubbed “The Toilet Bowl,” involving the University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers, the scoreboard read 0-0.

Some say it was the worst football game ever played.

Eleven fumbles, five interceptions, four missed field goals, no points.

If overtime rules had existed then, this comical futility may have never ended.

The year was 1983, several months before I moved to Oregon. This was the state of the Oregon Ducks football program when I first set foot in the Pacific Northwest. It was a laughingstock of a program, unknown to the rest of the country.

Tonight the Ducks play the Auburn Tigers for the right to be called national champions.

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Cliches, predictability plague football coverage


Noted U. of Oregon fan Ben Lundin (left) celebrates the Ducks' BCS title game berth.

By Ben Lundin aka Ben “The Machine” Lundeen, softball shortstop extraordinaire.

And so ends bowl season. With the Ohio State Fighting Sweatervests’ victory over the Arkansas Hogs in Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl, we reach the end of the (important) bowl season and await the only bowl game that matters: the mythical national championship. Sure, there are a few games left on the slate. There’s the AT&T Cotton Bowl involving LSU and Texas A&M, but does anyone outside of Louisiana or Texas care?

In case you can’t hear the thoughts of this blog’s other readers, the answer is, “Meh, I don’t know, it’s better than ‘Two and a Half Men.’”

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Food Stamp Diaries Vol. 1: Job Search Deceptions

Somebody hire this man, please. Photo Credit: Cajun Tomato

Hello from Ben, the word bringer, food stamp slinger. That’s what they call me, and always in that the order. Because my blogging is so sick. So sick, in fact, that I wrote this post from the hospital.

Full disclosure: this is my first foray into the blogosphere. They say confidence goes a long way, so I’ve built myself up for blogging skills that, as of the time this is being written, are completely a mystery to everyone, including myself. I’m sorry I deceived you. From now on I’ll let you know before I deceive you. I’m also not in the hospital. I’m sorry I deceived you again.

Without further ado, let me break my blogging cherry.

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