Thursday, November 30, 2006


I am now almost a graduate student. Okay, so written like that ... sounds far less exciting than it actually is. But it's really exciting. REALLY EXCITING. See, for the last week I've had this horrible scenario in my head wherein the Officious Admissions Peopleses at the Graduate School sternly page through my application until they reach my transcripts, whence they gasp and abruptly break in to loud, sustained, stomach-clutching laughter and pass the paperwork around the office for everyone to wince at and perhaps tape to the inside of the toilet-stall door. I mean I'd forgotten what an incredible fuckup I'd been as an undergraduate until I reviewed my glorious record. I failed Physics 2306 three separate times. And Mineralogy? How does anyone fail that? Or Chemistry 1045? Or Structural Geology, Calculus 1206, Differential Equations (twice!), Statics, Intro to Engineering, Fortran ... ? I mean wow, HOW WAS I SO DUMB AND LAZY? WHY DID THEY EVER GIVE ME A DEGREE? And maybe the admissions people did laugh a lot, but the end result is that I am officially a post-baccalaureate graduate student. It's a step in the right direction. Perhaps by the Autumn I will be a full-time graudate student studying physical geography or geology and running around the Great Basin in the name of science.

Tomorrow I will walk in to work and tell my boss I am almost quitting. Sort of. I'll probably sustain some sort of part-time work until I decide that E911 can go to hell and find callers the hard way. And I will also schedule an appointment to talk to the U of O geology department about the PhD process. Because geology is better than dog porn, and God knows how much I love dog porn.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Favorite Joke

Okay, actually my two favorite jokes. In case I get hit by a bus or eaten, I'd like you to repeat one of the following two jokes at my wake. You can use it to prove whatever lame point you want to make about my character or personality or whatever. And there'd better be a fucking wake, or I'll reach out of the grave and punch you right in the beer.

A woman walks on to a bus and sits down next to two middle-aged Italian men having a conversation. One is speaking loudly in heavily-accented English and waving his hands about (as Italians are wont to do) to animate his story.

"Emma comes first! Then I come! Then two asses, they come together!! I come again, and two asses, they come together again! I ... pee twice, and then I come one last time."

The woman can hardly believe her ears and turns to face the guy. "You foul-mouthed swine! In this country we don't talk like that in public!"

The man looks wounded and is taken aback. "Hey lady, whatsa you problem? I was just teaching Giuseppe here how to spell Mississippi."

God I love that one. Really. Okay, here's the other one. JOKE NUMERO DOS:

A woman was shopping at her local supermarket where she selected:

a half gallon of 2% milk;
a carton of eggs;
a quart of orange guice;
a head of romaine lettuce;
a 2-lb can of coffee;
and a 1-lb package of bacon.

As she was unloading her items on the conveyor belt to check out, a drunk standing behind her watched as she placed the items in front of the cashier. While the cashier was ringing up her purchases, the drunk calmly stated, "You must be single."

The woman was a bit startled by this proclamation, but she was intrigued by the derelict's intution, since she was indeed single. She looked at her six items on the belt and saw nothing particularly unusual about her selections that could have tipped off the drunk to her marital status.

Curiousity getting the better of her, she said, "Well, you know what, you're absolutely correct. But how on earth did you know that?"

The drunk replied, "'Cause you're ugly."

I love it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Last Two Months

This post is brought to you by my generally-reliable-but-inexplicably-racing heart which won't allow me to fall asleep. It's well within the BPM range of house. So: the last two months relayed, as usual, via poop jokes and computerized photographs.

The house had a small backlog of bottles. Chris helped me cash in the rebate. Homeless people at the Albertson's recycling machines were oggling our $23 of silica capital.

There's really no reason I included this photo besides the standard wagon porn and sweet t-shirt.

Speaking of sweet t-shirts: awhile ago I spotted some dude walking down Willamette St with a WUVT shirt. I crapped my pants, then my head exploded. Turns out he was a recent graduate of Virginia Tech.

Work sent me to Vancouver, BC for a national conference in the last week of September. I know, I know ... may as well be East St Louis, right? Well wrong! Let me tell YOU something, you big macaca! You think you know Vancouver but you are soooooo WRONG!

Obviously I was 6000% stoked to go. My co-worker Bob, plumbing his vast network of insane travel deals, managed to find an outrageous deal at a 4-star hotel above the convention center; I reserved a room for myself. He and a woman from another agency hitched a ride with me up I-5 and we arrived at night. After lovingly parking the (filthy battered) wagon under the hotel, I cruised up to the room after being told I get a "free upgrade from City-View to Harbor-View". Uh ... sure? Sounds cool? I wake up to:

Whoa. I mean, wow. I firehosed the window with barf, then my head exploded. The next half hour was spent sitting on the bed watching seaplanes land, taxi, and take-off right below me; tracking freighters as they passed slowly beneath the Lions Gate Bridge, itself packed with morning commuters; wishing I could join the joggers and bikers in their morning circumnavigations of Stanley Park; and just staring at the mountains that the city clings to. Good grief, do cities get any cooler? This view is the reason I'm late to the conference every morning--despite it being 20 floors directly beneath me. I also liked standing naked in the window. Hello seaplane passengers!

My bike was crammed in the wagon so I took half a day from the conference to bomb around the city and explore Stanley Park. My camera batteries died so I only got a few shots; here's one from the previously-mentioned Lions Gate Bridge:

The conference ended Friday around noon, giving me the perfect opportunity to drive very quickly to Banff and spend half a day there before heading home. But no. The house needed to be painted. (Insert long, sustained, deeply expressive cursing here.) I compromised with myself and, instead of driving straight home, drove north up the Sea-to-Sky Highway, past Whistler and Blackcomb, and on through the itty bitty town of Pemberton, climbing up an intensely steep hairpin road and then down a very long, very high U-valley. Unfortunately the camera batteries finally quit, but here are the last two teasers.

Views like these abounded. The Fraser Canyon even had Ponderosa and sagebrush--very cool

Leaves were turning yellow, the sky was clear, the road was empty, and everything combined in to Roadtrip Nirvana. This place was so far Out There that the road itself felt tenuous, like it was a meek attempt at putting a human presence in a place so completely wild, like the road engineers were nervously glancing around as they hurriedly built it. I've never experienced that sensation before. Roads have always felt boldy intrusive in other remote areas, as if wildlife and the land had resigned themselves to slink back. Not here. I guess the sensation was that I wasn't in the human realm anymore but in someone else's territory--an overwhelming sense even from behind the wheel. Maybe it stemmed from my unfamiliarity with the land. Now I'm curious about the drive to Alaska. Any takers for next August?

Anyway I turned south, cruised down the Fraser River valley/canyon, spent my last Canadian Dollaresse in my favorite town of Hope, and crossed the border to head straight home. Aside: there's something about me that invites a thorough going-over by border guards. This particular one was probably the nastiest, though seconds before he'd be laughing hysterically with a co-worker. At least he didn't pop the trunk like last time. He was even irritated when I asked if I could use the pisser. It's always interesting to see how customs, TSA, or cops do their best to ask lots of questions, repeat a few, and act a little irritated with at least one of the responses. There must be a well-practiced psychology behind it--a combination of their power and your willingness to please. Or maybe I just look like a gigantic weenie. Anyway I got home late Friday night and scraped/prepped/primed all weekend. Wowwie zowwie, painting shore am fun!

In early October I applied for a sure-fire job in Portland. The description was literally akin to "Tall skinny white guy with excellent taste in music wanted for cross-country geology transects with female Finnish exchange students; must be politically moderate/independent, willing to drive station wagons safely at high speeds, and have borderline-inappropriate interest in physical science." No joke, getting an interview was going to be easy. Right before our Halloween Party I heard that the position was closed and that I didn't get an interview. What? I didn't even merit a half hour of their time despite VIRTUALLY BEING AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD? NO PORTLAND??? I moped for a few hours and then decided to start winter quarter post-bacc courses at the U of O. I'm in the process of applying; the boss will be hearing from me soon.

Halloween Party: I was Heff, Chris was a Playboy Mansion (don't look in that lower front window!), and Joe was a roller-disco-dancin' badass. It was generally a success, though not as many turned out as promised. The next weekend ONDA had a year-end potluck for the volunteers. It was great to see everyone again and I got to party a little with a bunch of strangers in the Bend yoga and ski circles. Being around fun, young, alcoholic party people, all my age, was a refreshing change of pace from the Eugene Routine.

This past weekend witnessed the annual rite of the Veteran's Day Roadtrip, wherein me and a vehicle of choice commerate our proud veterans by driving to some desert and running around for all of one day. This time I managed to rope Chris in to coming along. Our destination? Canyonlands National Park! After a game of bowling on Thursday night, we left town to cross the Oregon Outback. Chris drove all through the night; I awoke for the Snake River to Moab stretch. During the wee hours, Chris discovered his "breakfast slammer": a cigarette with black coffee.

It kept him going for the rest of the trip. We were ragged but reached Arches National Park by 2:30 p.m. There was a friggin desert bighorn sheep next to the ascent road. I screamed, pointing and babbling, while Chris tried to figure out what the big deal was. We pressed on a little further and I watched my passenger's eyes bug out.

His head exploded right after this shot.

I get as much of a genuine thrill out of sharing my favorite places as I do introducing new music. This time I got to do both, like a WUVT roadtrip.

Chauffeur and chariot.

We made enough time to hit Delicate Arch.

There weren't too many people up top, but they were the standard morons: shouting to each other, letting their camera motors take the same shot hundreds of times, standing under the arch (ruining everyone else's photos), and mostly clad in overpriced expedition-grade gear to prove that, y'know, they're anything but simpleton tourists. So my fellow tourist and I scrambled off to explore a little slickrock. Here he is sitting on a gigantic pile of congealed poop.

I made him sit on newspaper for the rest of the trip.

We camped in Arches and the day dawned cold, windy, and overcast. We meandered through Arches, hit Denny's in Moab, and then cruised off to the Needles Overlook. It stayed cold and windy all day.

And of course we performed the obligatory Needles Overlook Veterans Day Commerative Teeth Brushing.

Dental hygiene is important, kids.

Last, we headed in to Canyonlands itself. Chris took all the photos; I'd gotten my fill when Matt Waite and I visited in May 2004. From there we headed straight back through Moab, Price, and on up over the Wasatch Plateau. Our early exit meant we mostly beat the bad weather, though Chris drove Zippy through wet snow near the summit (a challenging task with RWD and dry-weather tires). The next day a huge storm hit the Pacific Northwest, so we elected to drive the Gorge and come down I-5 in what turned out to be a record-setting deluge. Fun fun fun. Our mileage came to a little under 2500 and we certainly looked it.

That brings us up to date. Today I am contemplating how to sell the house (timing-wise), debating over a "Eugene" sale price for the station wagon (generally about 1.5 x actual value), waiting for my glamorous 2.01 GPA transcripts from Virginia Tech, and searching for classes at the U of O and PSU. I should get started on that "statement of intent" letter.