Thursday, August 30, 2007

Eugene to Missoula


SOMEONE MADE A FREAKING OFFER ON THE HOUSE. It was very low. I countered high. They countered low again. I didn't budge. They decided to meet my price. YES. SWEET GOD, YES.

After three trips to Missoula, I finally managed to overnight in Bend and visit some acquaintances from ONDA. On a Saturday morning I woke up at 5 a.m. and started up South Sister. Since my camera was buried in my apartment in Missoula, I didn't take any photos from the top--which, believe me, provided some of the most outrageous views on the planet. The hike was one of the most difficult I've done in a long time, exarcebated by the fact that I hadn't had much exercise the preceeding year. I fell asleep at the top for at least an hour and maybe more ... lost track of time. I also peed on a glacier.

My last day of work was on the 20th. Following the adage "leave 'em like you came in", I wore a suit and tie. They put together a collection and gave me, no joke, a beautiful set of mounted bull horns.

Joe helped me get a trailer and move my larger items to Missoula. We discovered that Big Sky IPA is incredibly delicious and alcoholic, just like us.

I pulled over on the way home so Joe could jump in to the Clark Fork.
If this isn't the definition of Manly Sex Appeal, I don't know what is.

The last days in Eugene

More sitting around waiting for house stuff to go through. The inspection uncovered that I'd been sitting on a potential fire hazard for the last two years: my electrical panel was a widely-used brand that was notorious for failing to throw switches on overloaded circuits. It seems likely that, given the electric heating, space heaters, and multiple stacks of electronic equipment, I could have overloaded circuits any number of times and not known about it. Obviously this knocked a couple thou off the house price; fortunately they didn't decide to press harder. I, however, was pretty angry that MY inspector had failed to mention this little tidbit when I was buying. After some interesting "negotation" with Pillar-to-Post, they realized I could have pressed for damages in small-claims and decided it was best to give me a refund. HOMEOWNERSHIP is to FUN as CHEMOTHERAPY is to COLON CANCER.

Then there was the much-needed weekend trip to Virginia to visit the Folks and personally congratulate Mike and Dawn for successfully subverting the entire wedding industry. As tribute, I brought five bottles of Oregon liquor in my suitcase. After blacking out one evening, my awareness started to return as I hunched over a toiletbowl with a toothbrush handle stuck down my throat, fruitlessly attempting to purge jagermeister and gin from my body. Thanks for the tip, Laura! The cross-country excursion was also notable for a total transit time of (I am not making this up) 47 hours! This is easily enough time to reach Australia by walking. One night was spent in the San Francisco terminal; another was spent in a hotel in Denver.

Then there was the very sobering experience of a good friend and co-worker suddenly being admitted to the hospital. This 42-year-old man, who is healthier than most people half his age, woke up with partial paralysis and quickly went off the ER. After a very scary morning where stroke, brain tumors, and multiple sclerosis were all eventually ruled out, it was decided that he has Guillain-Barre disease: the immune system overreacts to an infection of some sort and starts attacking the nervous system, causing weakness, numbness, paralysis, and potentially forcing someone to go on to a ventilator. However, he did not dip quite so low and just this weekend was able to return home after a few weeks in the hospital. It was quite shocking to see someone of such vigor go down so quickly; given the recent health troubles of a number of friends and family, I'm grateful to be afflicted with nothing more than an occasionally funny-feeling knee. Good health is so easy to forget.

Last, there was the final yard sale. Kobe spent most of it trying to bite/gum Uncle Waan.
With Megan's outstanding help ("Hey! Yeah you! You know what you need? An electric chainsaw!"), I managed to sell damn near everything--the ladders, the lawn chairs, some Mensa cards, tupperware ... nearly everything. I am, however, stuck with an unused fertilizer spreader, hoe, pitchfork, boogie board, and Italian glass punchbowl. They look pretty goofy in my one-bedroom apartment.

... and the first days in Missoula

Two weeks ago I made my seventh trip to Missoula and didn't turn around this time.
HUZZAH. And no, I didn't actually drive with them on.

After a few days of haphazardly unpacking and getting bored, I decided to cruise up to Glacier National Park. This view is a little over 3 hours away.

I camped and traversed the park west-to-east. This is Logan Pass the next morning ...

... a lake near the eastern entrance:

... and the "Many Glacier" area near the Canadian border:

The views outside the park were pretty great too. This peak on the right is Chief Mountain and this view is just a coupla miles south of Canada.

I drove south along the eastern edge of the Rockies. There are a lot of fires in Western Montana this year so views weren't quite as great as they could've been ... which is saying a lot, 'cause the views were awesome.
Grass fire just outside of Browning, MT. Those dark blurs in the background on the left are the Rockies.

Classes started on Monday. Here is my desk.
Stupid distracting map.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vote early, vote often, vote daily, vote with multiple email addresses

A few of you already received an email about this. My brother Travis and his girlfriend Heather collaborated on a 30-second commercial for an open competition by Heinz. (Yes, the Heinz of ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise fame.) Lest you think this is some sorta "promote-my-brother" pitch to forestall the day when his poor broke ass has to move in with me, it's much more than that: I actually like their commercial. It's cute, well-edited, low-budget, and features stop-action tater tots, which are pretty much the coolest thing ever. The judges agreed with me and selected "Rescue Mission" as one of the top 15 submittals. The ultimate winners will be decided by internet voting.

THIS IS WHERE YOU, VALUABLE READER, COME IN TO PLAY. Yes, we need to beat the others in voting. Short of finding each voter and physically beating them, we'll need to do this democracy-style and mobilize the vote! Send this link around to everyone you know! EVERYONE! Also, note you can vote ONCE EACH DAY! So don't just do it once!

I *will* be badgering you about this!

Other news: I live in Montana now and am writing this from the University of Montana library. I'll get internet in the apartment in a coupla weeks so look for a massive update sometime in the middle of September.