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Friday, November 23, 2012

Brown Friday

November 23, 2012

OK… so it’s been a bit.  I’ve gotten lazy and complacent in my “Boulderado” experience.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with Emily’s cats.  Seriously, they are the most beautiful cats ever.  Remember that bit in the Disney movie “The Sword in the Stone” where Merlin transforms himself and young Arthur into squirrels.  They run up and down trees, and out of nowhere a female squirrel becomes fascinated with Arthur and they share a love chase.  They even made the female squirrel super feminine to drive the point home.  It was really weird.  I mean, he’s a human who is having a romp with a squirrel.  Sure, he’s in squirrel form, but he should know better.  Well, as messed up as that is, I can’t help but think that every time I see Isobel.  That said, she is not nearly as flirtatious as that slutty squirrel in the Disney movie.  She’s a bit skittish due to a meth-head break-in that happened a few years ago. 
This is Isobel
Isobel and Yoshimi

But the cats love me.  I mean, they’re not snuggling up or sitting on my lap, or even approaching me, but I can tell the love is there.  They surely do love Emily, though.  When they’re not sleeping all day, they are begging for hugs and nursing on Emily’s neck.  It’s an awkward sight, but it’s just another day in the life. 
Tripple Threat

Last night we had Thanksgiving with Emily’s neighbor, Virginia.  It was a fun time with good food.  I really love Thanksgiving, partly because I’m the skinniest glutton you’ll ever see and love an excuse to eat food all day.  We always did a big double family occasion back in the SC.  I gave a call and sure enough, it was a big one this year.  As long as the world doesn’t end this year, I’m sure I’ll catch the next one.  It’s been really nice staying in Colorado for this long.  It’s kind of interesting spending Thanksgiving here.  There was a huge Native American presence here before the first Thanksgiving.  You can feel it in the air, but there are also a lot of physical evidence left.  There is a spriritual purity in the air and over and over I can see that this is a great spot to set up.  The sun shines more days a year than any other city in America.  It can get cold, but it remains clear.  In the wintertime, the Arapahoe tribes would hug up against the Flat Irons (a range at the foot of the Rockies) and any storm would just pass over them as the mountain range was a perfect shield.  Then when Thanksgiving did start to become popular, the natives could stand at the range and see all the way through the plains at the wagons of westward expansion.  It was an advanced warning, but in the end it was not enough. 
I find it funny that we just came off a huge election where the fear immigration was a big factor.  Then we celebrate a holiday that remembers the European immigration to this country that subsequently decimates the native population.  Sure, there is now a street in Boulder named, Arapahoe, in homage to the native tribe to this area.  And I’m sure that they get a small percentage of all the shops and stores that line that street, right?
Native Majesty

Friday, November 16, 2012


November 16, 2012

I’ve been in Boulder, CO for over a week now.  It’s been the first chance I’ve had to really relax, check the internet, and take my time in a single spot.  It has become quite clear how amazing modern technologies are.  After camping in the freezing cold and that one time in just the raw forest, I've come to appreciate things like: take-out, Wi-Fi, hot water, and a nice warm bed, which are all popular for a good reason. 
I’m not going to mention professional construction, but even compared to a self made cabin or a teepee, a flimsy tent is cold and the volume of the wind is startling (no offense Josh, it’s really an amazing tent!).  I used an air mattress the whole time and it actually gave out on one of the last nights out there.  It was nice but surely couldn’t compete with a sturdy bed.  And no matter how safe I actually was, I couldn’t help think how heightened all my senses would get if a giant animal came poking around the other side of that nylon sheet.  I kept manifesting a large bear or a pack of wolves curiously sniffing around. Maybe I left a little food or a wrapper around?  How intense would that be?  Well as far as the future holds, the teepee or self made house isn’t out of the question.  The whole area is filled with such beauty.  It’s not very productive to drive the car through it.  You just want to stop every ten seconds to gaze or even run the whole country up and down, back and forth like Forrest Gump.  I happened to drive the exact route in Utah that Forrest stops running and says something like “I don’t feel like… runnin”.  Then presumably walks home from there or takes a cab from Salt Lake all the way back to Greenbow.  I don’t really know - they leave that part out. 

I’m staying with my good friend who I’ll try to keep anonymous… We’ll refer to her as E. Harrison… No, wait that’s way too obvious, lets just call her Emily H.  Now I love Emily to death!  We met in college about 13 years ago and I think we immediately got along.  It’s not like we told each other our most intimate secrets or kept in touch every step of the way, but we became real good friends very easily. I have mad respect for her.  She is smart, has a great sense of humor, she is a very talented actress and runs a theater company.  She also has her PHD and teaches at CU-Boulder.  She’s an amazing person all round and I’m lucky to be able to stay here for some time.  I have my own room and bed and great company surrounding me.  Oh, and it’s not like she’s going to read this and be all touched and embarrassed – she knows; we’re human beings and talk to each other.  And it’s not like she doesn’t say half that stuff over and over, “yeah I get it, ‘PHD’, real cool.”  Anywho, maybe I’m sharing too much…
This is a picture of Emily sleeping

It feels as if I am getting the taste of modern life again.  There are regular showers, dependable electricity currents, my phone hasn’t died this whole time, and I’ve had acai breakfast bowls three times this week.  Emily has cool friends and is showing me around town every chance she gets.  I’m really enjoying my time here and plan to spend a little longer. 
This is an Acai Bowl

This country is filled with the most inspiring horizons, cliff sides, mountains, skylines and three-hour sunsets that allow you to witness heaven from creation to collapse every night.  Places where the skies are clear hold a special treat for the stargazer.  It is a hypnotic vision, and as the blood pools in the back of our heads while looking up and aiding the trance, we are pulled out of our consciousness and into the heavens.  An organic pattern of lights set against the layers of nothingness that, in the distance of space, creates that utter void of black sky.  It’s light years of emptiness until my eyes reach each burning white light.  In reality it’s more like the light itself has been searching that distance to reach my eyes.  If you stare long enough the Milky Way will appear, and out here it did, quickly.  It’s clear ribbon of stars that cuts across all the constellations we in the northern hemisphere grew up with.  It’s a bold gaze into the infinity; one that I believe speaks to the souls of our ancestors inside each of us.  It does to me.  The complicated mix of blood and history that has navigated time and earth to maintain it’s presence in our veins knows this sight.  It will forever know it and pass that deep understanding to the future of human kind.  And as far as it pulls me up, it also has a grounding affect.  A feeling of assuredness comes over me, a sense that where I’m standing and what I’m doing is what and where I’m supposed to be that very moment.  It strengthens my ability to become completely clear of what’s around me and capable of overcoming any obstacle.  It is that heightened sense of awareness that I am searching for and trying to fill my every waking moment, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  It is the ability to live more life in any given second.  Water glistens my eyes and a cold dry chill enters my nose as I take in the universe.  Life is miraculous and I am alive!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weather or Not

October 23, 2012

My first observations after leaving LA, at least as far as the environment is concerned, has been ‘everything is so clear’.  When you look at a distant mountain range or even the skyline of another city there is no smoggy haze in the way.  In Los Angeles there is a big chance of the white film diffusing the skyline or mountain ranges.  There used to be air warnings when they would publicize a day that was particularly smoggy.  They would recommend that kids and old people not spend too much time outside on those days.  That's one of many pleasant things about leaving LA.  
The next thing I noticed was Weather.  There is cold, and wind, and rain out there; it does exist!  Driving through Oregon, I was hit with sleet and hail.  My awesome Honda Civic has the best aerodynamics.  All the little ice particles were getting swept right over the windshield and only a small fraction actually made contact.  Today I woke up in the ice and snow.  It was a freezing cold morning in the Shasta National Forest.  It was a moment where my knowledge and preparation went out the window and pure experience laid in the way.  I cracked the ice shield from the tent’s walls and emerged to a snowy, fog-breath view of the wilderness.  Again, after living in LA for so long, any time the air and sky is clear it’s a shock to my reality.  Thankfully that feeling is subsiding as I become more accustomed to the clarity of the rest of the US. 
The sky was a perfect blue, and as the day went on, the cumulating nimbus clouds slowly chased it away.  Seeing snow for the first time in a long time is kind of magical.  I remember waking up as a child to see snow on the ground and in the trees.  Back then, it was masked by the desire to miss school, but the majesty was undeniable.  All the things that were supposed to be brown and green were all white and vibrant.  It’s as if the sun is shining from the ground.  Brightness and Light make no sense to the stubborn mind.  When I woke, it was all business.  I had to pack up and get moving before I wasted too much time.  I kept getting distracted by the scenery and the shock of a season I’ve missed for years.  That, and I was stalling getting to business.  If you’ve ever had to pack up a soaking wet tent I could have used a tip.  I stood there a while hoping it would just happen.  I just figured ‘do it fast before I have to dig a hole and crap in the snowy woods’. …

Nov 10
Looking back on that time seems so far away.  When I had “planned” the trip out, it was supposed to take about a month and half to cross the states completely.  So far it’s been almost two months and I basically just got to Colorado.  Since that time, I have unpacked, dried, and used the tent again.  Turns out, that it’s not a problem at all.  Just make sure you have enough time to set it up and let it dry.  It was all pretty quick. 
The day I chose to leave Yellowstone was the day they closed the roads.  I knew a couple of days in advance that I’d have to be out of the west or south entrance by 8 am.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen as I don’t want to be rushed at any point  during this trip nor did the thought of waking up and packing up by 6:30 seem enticing.  I said my goodbyes that night and slept in the next morning.  Because the roads were closed at this point, I had no choice but to go back the way I came out of the north entrance and trace the perimeter from Bozeman, MT.  It was a surprising experience passing through that city.  I mean, there’s a college there and that attracts a lot of kids, so it was bigger than I had expected.  The college creates an atmosphere where the local establishment owners and bosses for seasonal employees develop a certain charm.
The whole time, throughout every city, the weather has been marvelous; bright sunny days and warm weather and solid clear skies.  It turns out this whole time a storm has been chasing me.  In just about every city I leave a storm is forecast to hit a day or two after.  Here I stay, waiting for it to come.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tale of Three Cities

So, the Yellowstone post was the most fresh in my mind but there’s definitely a few things I’ve missed along the way.  This is just a recap of a few of those things.

First lets start in LA with Jon.  We went golfing; nine holes at a small three par in Studio City.  It was pretty nice all considering.  The last I went golfing was in South Carolina with my long time friends BJ and Chad.  That was real golfing.  You can take a solid breath and glance around at the absolute country and leading all the way to the horizon.  I’m not very good.  I had some decent runs with little Matt’s clubs in SC, but those guys are real golfers.  Jon and I are kinda hacks.  Well, I am.  Jon’s pretty decent.  Well anyway, we were coming around to the clubhouse after most of the course.  I was getting consistently better as the round went on.  Right about the 6th hole, I hit a long Birdie with the Pitching Wedge.  My shot from the tee wasn’t bad; a 3 wood that landed it just left of the green but still in the fairway.  The green was up on a plateau and fairly close.  This was my best chance yet.  I like a chip shot.  I’m much better with that than a long putt.  I was far from the putting distance so I didn’t have to weigh the decision.  I grabbed my club, took my breath and climbed to that higher plane.  I knew what I had to do; took my practice swing, then nailed the actual go.  It was perfect (if I do say so myself:).  I put some backspin on it, hit it straight and watched in hope.  It rolled firm and true, right to the hole.  Birdie.  It was a leaving highlight. 

I stayed two nights in Portland at the Youth Hostel in the North West part of town.  It was expensive.  I remember traveling Europe and staying in hostels in a multitude of cities.  The average price was around 10 bucks.  Some places were around 15, others were as low as 8.  Those were the days.  Apparently now, the price for a night at a hostel is about the same as a hotel.  It was $30 a night; way too much for travelers!  Portland didn’t grab me like all the reports I’ve heard.  It’s true, the 90s were alive and it seemed to have a cool layout, but I just wasn’t there long enough to take advantage.  I did meet up with a few people from the hostel and we all went out for a movie.  There was an awesome Irish girl who initiated the whole adventure and a guy whose name was actually Steven King.
The Laurelhurst Theater was a little independent joint that served pizza and fresh brewed beer.  There should be more theater houses that are like that.  Seems pretty effective.  Afterwards a couple of us went out to experience the local flavor in the Portland downtown, i.e. a few beers at a few bars.  I'm sure we will share fond memories.  Then there was rain.  A lot of rain.  Meh.  Maybe I’ll see it in the summer.
Oh, there was one more thing about Portland.  There was a parking situation like I have never seen in any other city.  Many of the spaces were the standard 2 or 3 hour parking, but then there was another sign.  It was for 90 minutes only on two days out of the year (permits exempted).  Yes, it specified the date of these two days.  I’m not sure what was so special about those two days of the year being that one was the Saturday at the end of the week 10/27.  I think the other day was in June some time.  Of course if you had a permit, then you could park longer than that hour and a half on those two days.  Every other day of the year you’d be treated like every other person: free parking all day and night 363 days a year.  Luckily, I left before Saturday and could leave my car right in front the whole time. 

I left Portland Thursday at noon to head straight for Seattle.  I met my hosts who were a newly wed couple, an Indian girl and an Indiana farm boy.  They were super nice to entertain random people at their place, and just good people themselves.  Toni, a German girl arrived the same day I did; she was very cool.  We each claimed a sleeping surface and had a nice long weekend. Our lady host was an interesting person and also very interested in other travelers.  At one point there were three of us couch surfing at the same time.  A second German stayed for a night, he was an older traveler and a little bit crazy.  He claimed to have been traveling for 20 plus years, but was so disheveled it was hard to believe he made it anywhere.  He said he was an archeologist traveling and researching these string of questions and stories that all seem to run together.  It was kinda weird.  He liked to talk. 
The farm-boy had to work the regular schedule, but when he was around he was very pleasant.  He had a good energy and sense of humor.  I hope to stay in touch.  We all talked about going out for Halloween but kept going out and burning out all our steam.  By the time the weekend came about we were all tired and uninspired.  Toni, out of some inspired genius bought a pack of face paints.  It was enough for everyone.  We all went as white-faced zombies with black eyes.  In some ways it must have looked like we were a bunch of White Zombie fans from the mid nineties.  We took our deadly faces to the local gay dance club and partied until about 4 am.  It was so close to the house party in SF, but paled in true comparison.  I'm not exactly a nightclub type of person.  Too many people get in the way of having a good time.  I get overwhelmed by the neighboring insincerity and vanity and it physically disgusts me.  It’s a symptom of large groups and easily seen in the human mating cages behind the nightclub cover charge.  I've always been that way, and much prefer a few people to really get to know and then enjoy the random craziness that life provides all on it's own.  And of course, there is that empty void left inside waiting to be filled by the goddess of the moment - the same void that goes many days and nights falsely being filled with gadgets, calories, and a healthy imagination.  But those are not things that could fill such a vacuum.  The things that a man like me crave are all found in the skin of another... the lustful yearning found in deep eyes, felt in sharp nails and teeth, smiles melted in sweat and tears and the best of intentions; all of which will not solely come from me.  This night that void will go unfilled leaving only the hopeful possibility in future nights.  
As I said Toni was a traveler from Germany.  I’ll mention her name because I know she wont mind (right Toni?).  We got along immediately.  Good peeps.  She was super interested in finding authentic Seattle music stores and local and/or new music.  Surely, this was noble mission, one that I was very fond of and would often join.  Seattle is definitely a place for music.  It seems that no matter what you’re into, they have tons of rare choices.

I instantly liked Seattle.  When I got there, there was this energy emitting and sending waves of positivity.  I just felt good there.  It did rain pretty much the whole time, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.  We all still went out.  The only thing that really stood out as a negative was the parking.  There is no easy parking in that city.  There was only the option to pay to park for two hours at a time.  It was super inconvenient.  Not to mention that parking enforcement was from Monday-Saturday.  I’ve never heard of that!  Cities of America, parking enforcement is Monday-Friday.  You can’t start encroaching on the weekend.  That is sacred shit.  People will go mad!  Just look at the city of Seattle… the people are tearing each other to bits.  Well, actually they’re all pretty civil, but they all have parking permits.  If you want tourists to visit, make it a little easier!
So, last but not least was my really amazing fiend Allison.  She was born and raised in Seattle and just happened to be there when I was in town.  She is so funny and smart.  She’s an actress who is part of the looking for work community.  She is so deserving and talented; I can’t wait to see her in a major project, maybe one of mine.  Time will tell.   
Allison, you are so awesome! Thanks so much for being there.  

Ok surface scratched.