March 22, 2003

free-range computin’

Now blogging from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. They’re surprisingly liberal in what they allow you to do on their computers. We spent an hour stuck in the entry way, trying to figure out the little brain teaser puzzles they had set out. Eventually I balanced twelve heavy nails on the head of one. I shouted hurrah and drew stares. I don’t think the entire museum was quite ready to share in my sense of accomplishment.

The kid at the computer next to me is playing a game that’s got shotguns. It looks like a glorified version of Oregon Trail, if there is such a thing. If any state could come up with a glorified version of Oregon Trail, for some reason I get the feeling I’m there, now. Kids here look at me like I’m insane.

There’s a 486 sittin’ ’round here that has the ELIZA computer psychologist installed. We got in a fight because she kept saying “I see,” and asking me if I could “elucidate my thoughts.” I shouted at her for using such big words. The whole thing was annoying. It was like talking to myself.

Seeing as how this computer is probably logging all my keystrokes (along with spelling errors and everything) I should probably jet.

UPDATE: Yes, it is Oregon Trail. This version has even got colorful, gibbering frontiersman folk. When you wait for conditions to improve your family argues in the background. The characters all sound drunk.

“Good work there, lad. Go hunting.”

“Hey, there’s a skunk.”

“I don’t think you can eat that.”



“Pretend that nothing happened.”

“OK… hmm. My family won’t let me back in the wagon, now.”

“Tough game, huh?”

ready-to-eat eagle creek

Hood River is one groovy town.

We are now out of the rainforest, where it rained on us for four days straight. Everything is soaked. We got to hike behind turquoise waterfalls and dine on deep woods forage. An animal chewed a hole in my tent and ate two granola bars. The nerve.

Tomorrow it’s back to dry ol’ Minnesota.


March 15, 2003

crazy moon state

In Praughtland, now. The air here smells green. There are mountains and pines and moss. There are sailboats and barges in the river. We flew over Mount Hood on the way in.

I think I’m in love.

Today we visted the coast and I saw the ocean for the first time in sixteen years. You know how most fog gives the landscape a dull, grey color? Here it was white. Ethereal.

. . .

“I need whale testicles for my illness.”

“What’s your illness?



“Inflammation of the whale.”

. . .

Sarah’s house has a parking lot with paint stains all over the place. It would appear that she’s been flinging paint cans off her roof in her spare time. There are bicycle tire tracks that draw paint on the sidewalk.

. . .

“What about fish? Do you eat fish?”

“It’s the fruit of the sea, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, well. So is orangutan.”


ATTENTION: Please do not leave children unattended. Unattended children will be confiscated and may be destroyed.

Currently blogging from the Denver International Airport, the only airport with a terminal with a “day at the circus” theme.

UPDATE: I gotta make this quick because our plane to Portland is boarding and I’m being charged 25 cents a minute for internet access. Please do not forget to send postcards to the Coolest Club Ever. Ryan and I sent four, today.

“Dane, Do you think they sell postcards here?”

“Of course not, Ryan. This is a post office, not a mailing center.”

March 13, 2003

spotted causality

Every once in awhile I wonder if my entire experience working at camp last summer was just one long dream. I mean, there are all these great people milling about that I met at camp, but what if I just knew them all along and dreamed the whole camp thing? I have only a few various knick-nacks from Ihduhapi that I picked up along the way… what if I’m deceived in the origin of these trinkets? What if I actually did some sorta Fight Club switch-over and made all these things in one long summer night, while my body actually sat in a vat of warm goo?

I wonder, I question and I ponder… and then something ultimately comes forward and jars me back to consciousness. Something reminds me that camp is the easiest possible explanation for all the consequences that still linger. Yes, it did happen, and here’s why.

As I was packing up my rain jacket for our spring break trip, I found little spots of puke left over from when I loaned it to one of my campers for a few minutes.

didn’t sleep ’til dawn

I haven’t ranted much about college this year, but that’s probably because I hardly even consider it a legitimate opponent, anymore. It’s not worth my time to systematically oppose it and tear it down.

College is a quasi-reality. I feel like so much of what I do here; homework, class, etc. has no meaning beyond my tiny little experience. The reasons I’m here and the resulting actions I take have so little impact on the world writ large that I hardly feel I’m even a part of it when wrapped up in schoolwork. I sit here and spin my wheels, and nothing I do decides whether the earth plunges into the sun or not. Nothing I do decides the direction of humanity.

I suppose some people appreciate the lack of large implications and seriousness of their actions in college, as it acts as a cushion to guard against the cold hard world out there. But I just don’t feel alive without legitimate challenges, and the arbitrary troubles that class generates for me simply are not satisfying.

The more intensely I can pursue an endeavor, the easier and more fun it is for me. If something is dull, if it’s a complete drag, I simply can’t bring myself to work to my potential. What’s more, when I’m surrounded by tired people that hate their lives and hate their classes and whine that things are much too difficult, it really saps my energy. Like vampires, man. Straight up. I feel physically and mentally drained around these tired, lazy husks of skin, and there’s all too many of them in all my classes ever since I left the music department.

I thirst, always, to be surrounded by people that produce greatness. That doesn’t mean that people around me need to relocate mountains or mass-produce hovercars or anything of the like… it can be as easy as sewing flags for your club, researching the solar system to better your job at the planetarium, or amassing an anime video collection that can nearly be recorded in the terabytes. Stuff like that, my friends, is what pure love is, and I wish more people could understand.

I mean, this is what it means to be human. It’s all about how we manifest ourselves in our interests. Our activities take our energy and become who we are. It takes great effort to pursue the things you love, even, but when that effort becomes so great you don’t notice anymore, damn, you just float on the euphoric waves of your existence. It’s cool, to say the least.

You can’t approach work feeling tired and heavy. The question is never whether or not you should bust your tiny little ass in life, but where. Perhaps college is intended to be the laboratory where we decide what’s important to us. If, in the end, you are able to focus your energies into those things you love and enjoy doing it, then you have been successful. Maybe it’s music, or writing, or climbing, or coding, or dancing naked in fields of tall wet grass, or whatever. It needs to be an activity that requires your complete mental and physical concentration, and leaves you feeling glorious in its wake.

Pretty soon it doesn’t even matter that you’re working hard. You don’t realize you’re tired. You just do your thing, what seems completely inevitable given your passions, strengths and history, and it all works itself out.

In the end, everything gets done.

March 12, 2003

definition of terms

Dave: Warblog!

Dave: Sounds like what a cancerous songbird would do.

Dave: “Dude, your canary sounds like shit.”

Dave: “Ahh, that would be the warblog.”

March 11, 2003

it’s official

Today we finished the paperwork and brought UMD’s newest student organization, The Coolest Club Ever, into being. The Coolest Club Ever is a creative think-tank dedicated to the discovery, analysis and dissemination of all things cool.

What’s cool, you ask? What’s cool is what we say is cool. Maybe it’s a hanglider you use with your snowboard. Maybe it’s the latest Flash meme to wipe across the Internet. Maybe it’s bowling shoes. Maybe it’s, as Pat Keenan suggested, jumping out of an airplane. What’s cool is an ever-changing and dynamic entity, and it is our goal to stay on top of it.

Our first Cool Thing will be a Skywarn presentation, April 7th at 6:30 PM in the Chem 200 lecture hall. We will have a guest speaker from the NOAA who will tell us all about how to become a trained spotter for severe and tornadic weather activity. It will be 1 1/2 hours of a super multimedia experience that will result in everyone’s certification in severe weather spotting. You can help save lives by becoming a volunteer in the intricate communication network of weather detection.

And the best part? Some fool made me president of this whole thing.