Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Good old-fashioned knee slappin'

The new year has been rung in. I'm tired and a wee bit dehydrated, but ready to Live the Dream as was declared by myself and other fellow revellers last night. The stroke of twelve found me at the McMenamin's in Bend enjoying the twangy bluegrass tunes of Moon Mountain Ramblers. I rode my bike down to the show and met my roommates and some other people there at about ten o'clock. Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get some good dancing in. After all, bluegrass is my favorite music to dance to (followed very closely by eighties hits). I came to the realization that the enthusiasm with which one (at least myself) is dancing to bluegrass can be measured by the angle formed by your upper leg, hip joint, and upper body as the legs move up and down with the beat. When my hip joint is close to a ninety degree angle, making my upper leg almost parallel to the floor, as if I was stepping up on a ledge, correlates to my maximum level of stoke. I peaked at just the right time, about 1:00. I made it outside in time to see a guy get punched in the face. I also helped my roommate argue with a short fat lady about driving SUV's. She thought we were pathetic to ride our bikes to the show. She was proudly waiting for her huge SUV, which she said would never run out of gas because there are 82 years of oil left for her to burn in her monstrosity. She clearly has never had the joy of drunken bike riding. Her loss.

Let the Betting Begin

I have taken on the task of pet-sitting a tortoise and a hare. Actually I don't know if a lop-eared rabbit qualifies as a hare - I don't know what characterizes a hare. Perhaps a rabbit simply needs to be living in the English countryside happily raiding nearby radish patches etc...

In the interest of proving Aesop right (I like to think that slow and steady can win) I am hoping to organize a race between the two beasts. The course is not set, but will unfortunately not involve quaint country lanes, but rather carpeted hallways and a couch.

For those of you wanting to place a wager, the rabbit is reminds me very much of a certain rabbit named Pesto and the tortoise is about six or seven inches long by five or so wide and four tall. Good luck to all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

You promised not to laugh

So, here are a couple pictures of my anorexic Christmas Tree. It also suffers from a serious lack of ornaments. Building a collection of Christmas ornaments and decorations, while certainly a worthwhile endeavour, does not fit very well with my "accumulate as little as possible in order to stay mobile" goal. So, yes, that is a handmade paper chain ornament I learned how to make in Kindergarten. The pictures are crappy, but they're the best I can muster after a long day of work.

I have to give my brother and sister a shout out for making me laugh harder than I have lauged in a long time. They emailed me a recording of their rendition of Coldplay's song, Clocks. Sarah playing the piano was very good, while Brian's vocals were, uh, shall we say, an interesting interpretation of Coldplay's recording. I thought they sounded a lot like a cross between a drunk crow and a sick cow. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I love to fly, and I love being in airports. I especially like the Denver airport, which is good, since just about every flight I take uses it as a connection. Luckily I made it out of Denver a few hours before the airport got walloped by a huge snowstorm. One of the main reasons I like flying is that stupid magazine SkyMall that hangs out in the back of the seat in front of you. I am endlessly entertained by the sheer stupidity of many of the products in it. The main offender is a company called Hammacher Schlemmer. They have the most ridiculous products, most of which claim to be the solution to a problem that never existed in the first place. My favorites...
1. attachment for vacuum cleaners to suck up bugs
2. a fire resistant poncho to be worn when you are jumping to safety through flames when your hotel is burning down (believe me, as a firefighter who has had to endure training sessions on fire shelters, this idea would not work well)
3. the wearable blanket
4. the grocery bag rack

There are many more where these came from.

I put my Christmas tree up tonight. I'll post pictures soon, only if you promise not to laugh.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The streak continues

The hour was late, and the weather crappy, but I couldn't let the streak end. I went out and cut myself a Christmas tree today. I've had one every year of my life but the streak was in jeopardy as I just hadn't gotten in the Christmas mood yet. If it wasn't for the bad weather I probably wouldn't have cut one this year. A Cascade style storm has been pounding the mountains, with rain. The snow level is about half-way down Mt. Bachelor, making any snowboarding completely miserable. So instead I went and cut a tree. It isn't exactly the Rockefeller Square Christmas tree, it's rather anorexic looking when compared my trees of the past. But once I get my homemade decorations on it - popcorn strings and those paper chains everyone made in kindergarten - it should spruce right up. My apologies for the bad pun. The drive home with the tree on top of the truck was an eventful one. A spindly tree and fifty mile-per-hour winds combined for some serious tree movement and rubbernecking as I drove through town. Pictures will be coming soon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Watch out NPS here I come

Well, I got my application for an Interpretive Ranger in Yellowstone National Park submitted. After making many pro and con lists, flow charts of the various consequences of career-related decision, and lots of soul searching, I made true to my decision to pursue an NPS career. That word just scares me. On the flip side though, I had a great conversation with a colleague at Mt. Bachelor. We have had many of the same experiences while arriving at our various life decisions. It is nice to realize that I am not the only person that agonizes over such decisions. For better of for worse, I can confidently say that I am looking forward to working long hours for little pay, all for federal government. If I get this job in Yellowstone, preferably at Mammoth Hot Springs, it will be a dream come true. But what then? If I get this job will it all be downhill from there? Once, as a 12 year old boy, I caught this really big rainbow trout on a fly that I had tied while flyfishing on the Bighorn River. My Dad jokingly told a lot of friends that "it's all downhill from here." I didn't know what he meant at the time, but looking back he was right. I have not caught a fish that big since. Other fish I have caught have certainly been just as much or more fun, but not as big. Perhaps I should try and work at some crappy parks first and then shoot for the crown jewel. Or maybe it would be nice to accomplish a dream quickly, thus allowing me to rest on my laurels, content in the fact that I succeeded, and take in the next fifty or sixty years as they come.

On a less long-term note, I finally got a bill sent to my Bend address, allowing me to get a library card. The library had Kill Bill Volume 1, heck yes. I'm off to the couch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The highs and the lows

On Saturday night I had the good fortune to procure a couple tickets to a bluegrass band called Hot Buttered Rum. They are the purveyors of "High Altitude Bluegrass," and they travel around in a Biodiesel powered bus. The concert was an explosion of strings, as they sport a guitar, a bass, a mandolin, a fiddle, and a banjo. The vibe was really good at the concert, though there was not a enough room to cut a true rug, though I gave it my best shot. Before going to the show, my roommates and I had a BBQ and had some friends over. I can't say it measured up to the BBQ's at old 157 E. 27th Ave. with my little grill, but it did the job. I was a little out of practice though, and I paid the price for buying pre-made burgers because they were so thin one of them fell between the grittle, and another one should rightly have been called jerky. I had brats though, they are about impossible to ruin.

The bidding has continued for my sought after services. Skjersaa's has offered me a free pass now if I work there full time. They offered me this after I told them I wasn't going to work there full time. This is a new experience for me, I've never played hard-ball over a job. I don't think I want to work there full time though, too many young, pants below the ass punks, who think they are the shit come in to look around because they have nothing else better to do.

On a sad note, one of my two Grandma Evelyns passed away last night - on my Mom's side. It was no surprise to any of the family, as she had been gradually declining for a few weeks. She had a good 92 years though and had no discomfort in the end. So, I will be flying to Rapid next Sunday and returning on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cheap Thrills

As I write I am enjoying a "Cup of Noodles," a glass of water, and a can of PBR. Their prices, respectively are $.33, a fraction of a cent, and $.58. This is a perfect end to a day of cheap thrills. Rather than "shred the northwest gnar under the lifts" as one of my too large shirt wearin,' pants below the butt coworkers says, I earned my turns the cheap way. By hiking. Across the street from Mt. Bachelor is a mountain called Tumalo. It's a popular place to showshoe and snowmobile. My homie Wil and I snowshoed to the top (we decided snowmobiles were for wimps), enjoyed the awsome view, ate a cold burrito and snowboarded down. The whole way down you weave between trees and try to make a line toward the parking lot. As my first real backcountry snowboard experience, it was very surreal at first. On a lift-served mountain, you can basically just point downhill and be confident that you will end up at a lift eventually. In contrast, when snowboarding through a forest with only a few openings, your choice of path can have much greater consequences. Simply getting used to the fact that there are no runs, or the whole mountain is a run was great. The best part is that you don't have to pay for a lift ticket.

On another note, the bidding continues. Skjersaa's claims they can get me a whole new snowboard set up for free. Very enticing. There will be much mulling to do in the next couple days.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Let the bidding begin

I start my new second job at Skjersaa's Ski and Snowboard shop tomorrow. Fortunately, the management did not require me to correctly pronounce the name of the shop before they offered me the job. I still don't know how to correctly pronounce it. I've taken an informal survey around town and received many different responses. So far, the front runner is "sheer-shas." I guess I will just avoid ever having to say the name when I am at work.

As I blogged on an earlier post, simply not being a complete idiot is grounds for commendation at Mt. Bachelor. So, me being a semi-intelligent person, I was told by my boss that he was trying to give me a raise that would match the pay-rate at Skjersaa's if I agreed to stay at the mountain full time. I doubt I will take him up on the offer even if he does secure the raise. But, now that I seem to have started a mini bidding war amongst two employers I figured I would open the bidding to the general public. I have many skills and services to offer. Among my areas of expertise are...

1. Reducing worldly belongings down to one vehicle load
2. Driving long distances
3. Oregon Dunes, and Mission 66 (I can just hear the money adding up for that one)
4. Drinking PBR

My work ethic mantra: "It's good enough for government work."

Let the bidding begin

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nutria Beware!

A day or two ago I heard a very entertaining piece on NPR about nutria extermination in the deep south. Apparently, nutria have the habit of burrowing into the sides of canals (thus their presence in Amazon Creek in Eugene), which makes havoc on the canals. Being good Southerners, who are clad in cammoflouge and spit tobacco, the local Sheriff and his deputies patrol the cannals at night and shoot the nutria with high powered rifles from boats. These specially trained public servants are called "Nutria Commandos." The NPR piece incorporated many great Southern cultural quircks in their effor to explain the zeal with which the old, 350 pound sheriff pursued the rodents. Apparently the locals appreciate his efforts, he has been re-elected for 27 consecutive years and proclaims that his is just as "filled with piss and vinegar" at 70 some years old as he was at 20. Nutria beware, the reaper calls.