Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Rumble Begins

It is still a week before the Sturgis motorcycle rally officially starts, bringing as many as 600,000 leather clad bikers to the Black Hills area. But the early-birds have already arrived. I am sitting outside utilizing the free wireless at a local gift shop and restaurant inundated by bikers and the constant rumble of their Harleys or custom choppers. For better or for worse, the next two weeks will be filled with this deafening roar. The sound is novel for about the first ten minutes, then you realize that every overweight middle aged biker who only rides their bike two weeks out of the year finds endless joy in revving their engine for no good reason. On the upside though, the bikes make so much noise that the interp staff at the Tower doesn't have to give talks because we can't be heard. So we simply walk around and talk to people. The bikers are quite interesting one on one, but when there are so many of them the scene becomes a bit annoying.
The Tower had a visit from another, more impressive, noise creating group last week. The Blue Angels did about ten flyby's of the Tower to take photos. Seeing and hearing these fighter planes fly low with the Tower in the background was awesome. I had a momentary relapse to boyhood and a desire to become a fighter pilot. Instead, I just ran around the yard with my arms outstretched like wings. Just kidding.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Try as I might, it was an impossibility to change my work schedule to accommodate a quick trip to Bozeman for some sought after socialization and celebration with a posse of current and former Oregonians that I have been yearning to see. If anything good came out of my inability to make my schedule work it is the knowledge of how one needs to go about "officially" requesting days of. You see, the federal government must keep record of everything, including leave requests from the grunts in the trenches like me. Some other grunts knew this and asked Uncle Sam for their days off before I did. With that disappointment, and the inherent drama that stems from a bunch of strangers thrown into close proximity for a few months and expected to be fast friends, I needed a break from the tower. Spearfish, SD to the rescue.

I met my mom and sis in Spearfish yesterday. We hiked to a place called Devils Bathtub (I can only go places now that have the name "devil" in them) in Spearfish Canyon. A little creek forms a series of pools at the base of small falls. The pools lend themselves perfectly to relaxing in the water and splashing around. My dad then met us for some fly fishing. I redeemed myself from our last outing - I was skunked. I caught quite a few fish this time, ranging from a whopping four inches to a respectable 13. Not exactly Moby Dick, but at least I smelled like a fish when I was done.

Today finds me back in Spearfish eagerly awaiting a haircut at a place that purportedly breaks out a cold beer for you when you sit down in the big chair. This sounds almost as good as an ice cold PBR in a hot shower.

I also had a weird realization while hanging out with my mom and dad: they are old. It hit me all at once. Last I remember, they were relatively spry. They ran around, seemed limber, jumped over things and generally seemed physically fit. To be fair, my dad is over sixty and my mom is getting close, but all of a sudden they seem more like paper clips - breakable if bent to far- rather than silly putty. Wow, with that great analogy I better be off for my haircut.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A bad combination

The heat has returned to north-eastern Wyoming. I don't mind heat that much. But I have come down with some sort of stomach bug for the last few days that makes enduring the heat that much more annoying. I'm attributing my stomach problems to a serving of macaroni salad, the thought of which makes me queasy. I thought I had made a recovery yesterday so I went to the lake and spent far too long in the sun for a pigment-challenged person like me. I'm not now devoid of color, but a nice painful shade of red. The lake was fun though, swimming, jumping, and a photo-op with a mermaid Barbi doll. The day was topped off with a viewing of Blazing Saddles, chicken Alfredo, and the return of Old Man Nausea. At least I have a good excuse to nap now.

To make matters worse, some clever fellow employee requested the weekend of July 27-29 off before I did. So as of right now I am high and dry for time off. Shitty.

To conclude on a better note I'm hoping to see Harry Potter tonight.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Six dollars of Satisfaction

I had a very fruitful visit to the Spearfish, SD Salvation Army a few days ago. I'm not normally one to be susceptible to impulse buys, but the novelty of the items and their cheap price combined to break down my willpower. I've always disliked the idea of wearing a robe because I couldn't get past the feeling that any robe I wore was intrinsically dirty no matter how many times it had been washed. To be clear, I have no problem with other people wearing robes. In fact I have always been rather jealous of those who can pull off a robe. Now that I have bought and worn a robe I am starting to like it (though, like sweatpants and my Uggs, I will never wear it in public). The fork adds a hint of class I think, kind of like a trident but not as cool.

Not pictured: an elementary-school-style Dick Tracy plastic lunch box complete with thermos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

As the Tower Turns

Well, as you might have assumed from my lack of blog postings (despite my intentions of the opposite) that I have somehow managed to fill what I thought were endless idle hours with activity. This is at least partially true, because my ability to fritter away the days has grown substantially. If I can break out of this pattern I hope to re-engage in the pursuit of some worthy goals. I know what they are, I just have to execute.

The job continues to be enjoyable. I like observing people on vacation, they have some very interesting behavior. I especially enjoy the propensity for people on vacation to wear fishing vests when they are nowhere near the water. Apparently for some people when they are on vacation the contents of their pants pockets multiplies to the extent that they need fifteen or twenty pockets off different shapes and sizes. But who likes a simple khaki vest? That's where the patches come in.

On the plus side though, the groundwork for another winter in the mountains seems to be set - much to the chagrin of my parents given the tone of their recent comments. The process of my brother and I narrowing down our choices of places to live has begun. It's a good problem to have.