June 29, 2003

Adventure Log: Helen

10:36 AM – Left the house in the Green Dragon Wagon, rocking out to Matt Pond PA’s Nature of Maps. We are currently set to meager rations and a grueling pace.

10:42 – Dogs were waiting for their owners outside Safeway. Got $40 from the ATM.

10:46 – Bought Oregon and Washington maps from Walt at the Chevron station. Paid for it with the ‘minimum bill possible’, a rare $8 bill.

10:53 – On the highway near Viento. Rain and sticks start falling from the sky.

11:15 – You know, New Mexico is the only U.S. state that boasts “U.S.A.” on its license plate. It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, it’s not Mexico, Mexico… it’s New Mexico, United States of America, dawg!”

11:26 – PRESS F1 TO PULL OVER THE WAGON AND SIZE UP THE SITUATION. Stopped at VIEW POINT. There may be more trash and empty beer cans here now than there was in Lewis & Clark’s time. It may smell less like urine, however.

11:28 – Looked at detailed Washington map. “APE CAVE?!?! HELL YEAH WE’RE GOING TO APE CAVE!”

11:29 – Switching CD to Cowboy Curtis’ two-song EP. This should keep me going for another hour or so.

11:45 – Entered Portland, City of Roses.

11:47 – Left Portland.

12:01 PM – Threading through the mountains at speeds that make my car creak with every turn. Life suddenly becomes exciting and dangerous.


12:39 – Tried to get into the Speedway Bay Recreation Area, “Brought to you by Pacific Power.” They wanted $3. I said nuts to that. That’s $3 I need for sinister plots.

12:42 – Just got passed by a Model T.

12:45 – My car needs gas and I need to pee.

12:46 – “Well, I’ve got Yale and then I’ve got Cougar. And then I’m fucked.”

1:09 – Reached Cougar. Found gas and potty. Everyone is happy.

1:11 – The kid in the Hyundai next to me is listening to shitty music. He is wearing Oakleys, a wifebeater and an upside-down-and-backwards visor. His car is purple and has a pink feather boa draped across the dashboard. A sparkly pink “I’m Innocent” stick is on the windshield. Either this guy’s real car is in the shop and he’s borrowing his sister’s, or he’s got a lot of explaining to do every time he picks up a girl for a date.

1:39 – Mount St. Helens is a silly-looking mountain. If it were in junior high it would be wearing a funny hat and glasses and would get slammed into the lockers by the cool kids.

1:42 – I have reached Ape Cave. No apes are in sight yet; probably because they’re all in the cave. The rangers want to charge me a fee, apparently. I’ll just tell them I’m with the apes.

2:03 – I got into Ape Cave, but it was huge and my flashlight was small and powered by the batteries left over from my CD player. A good Woocher is always prepared for spelunking, even if he is ill-prepared. My light works fine for the cramped spaces beneathe universities, but is insufficient for lava tubes two miles long and big enough to drive a Volkswagen through. There was way too much darkness for giant apes to lurk in, so I got out quickly.

2:04 – I have decided to take a winding road alongside St. Helens up to the town of Randal, and to take another road down to Trout Lake and back to Hood River. The ranger says the trip would take at least five hours. I thumped my chest and said I was hardcore. She said have a good time.

2:24 – Got sidetracked into Lava Canyon. If I spin around really really fast I can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood all at the same time.

2:45 – I drove a little bit further, and got sidetracked into the actual Lava Canyon. The first was a decoy to throw off tourists of less-cunning intellect than I. Lava Canyon is fashioned with lots of danger signs: Easy Trail. Harder Trail. EXTREME WOOCH! TRAIL! with ladders. Please Dangle Children Over Edge. All Men Banished from Rainbow.

3:45 – Climbed into the rigging of the Ship, a dark and hulking volcanic formation. Ate a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk and Cereal Bar.

4:15 – Dunked head under a tiny waterfall.

4:26 – Returned to the Wagon. Time to devise another plan.

4:28 – Decided to go to Carson, a town on the Washington side of the Gorge. 90 to 51 to 30. Should be fun.

4:47 – Got distracted by a sign for “Climber’s Bivouac.” Need to go see what that is all about.

4:49 – If they’re not going to bother paving a road, why do they still bother putting all those washboards down under the gravel?

5:07 – Apparently “Climber’s Bivouac” is where you go when you want to climb St. Helens, which I think is a silly idea because this is the only mountain that keeps doing everything in its power to get shorter and easier to climb. To climb the mountain they recommend you come outfitted with ice axes and crampons. I had fingernails and Chacos. You are required to have a climbing permit. I had an ATM receipt. There is snow and wind up on the mountain, and you must dress accordingly. I lost my shirt playing poker with the lava flows.

5:11 – Going to Carson, and the Gorge, and Hood River, again.

6:26 – In the mountains, a green exercise bicycle was sitting on the side of Wind River Road. I slowed down for a moment, but the whole thing stunk of evil so I kept on driving.

7:01 – COWBOY BREAKFAST. SUN. 8-2. Grub for all the cowboys that get up early and all the cowboys that stay up late. I know where I’ll be next Sunday.

7:19 – Stopped at the Hatchery on the way back to Hood River. The swells were a good five feet high, and there were at least fifty windsurfers out on the water. When I left town today there was nary a breath of wind.

7:40 – Stopped at the Event Site to see what was shakin’, and saw only about forty sailors on the water. If I hadn’t cleared out my gear to make room for my adventure, I could have rigged and gone out. Damn.

7:51 – Driving home from the Event Site I spent those $3 that Pacific Power tried to weasle out of me. I bought three pounds of cherries out of the back of a truck. “They were picked about an hour ago,” said the orchardist wearing a South Park t-shirt. They were absolutely delicious as well.

7:56 – Stumbled in the front door, drunk on mountains, wind, and cherries.

June 28, 2003

Trout Fishing in Hood River

It’s hot. It’s 100 or 200 degrees or so. It cooks your brain.

The locals are cranky because all the windsurfers are wandering around town and taking up space. The windsurfers are cranky because there’s no wind and they’re all stuck wandering around town. Thomas the Tank Engine is cranky because it is so hot his train whistle can only shimmer like the puddles of water on the tracks. All the kids are cranky because Thomas is just a train, not a real tank as promised.

The ice cream truck music plays strange counterpoint to Santana.

People are out and driving mean and crazy, but it’s not their fault because it is so hot that all the stopsigns have evaporated and the streetlights are melting and running thick in the gutters.

Here’s a good thing to do: Walk out on the sandbar until you can see Mount Hood peaking over Hood River. Watch out for fossilized ripples in the sand and pools of steamy bathtub water. Dive in where the sailboats died and swim a spell. Hurry up and do it now before the River melts.

How do we keep the wind from ever dying again, you wonder. The answer is simple. First we pave the desert. Then, every night we send a fleet of liquid nitrogen trucks to Portland and freeze the town like a giant beer sno-cone. The wind will funnel through the Gorge with a fury unknown since that of Woden himself.

The trout will save their shiny muscles and get blown upstream.

And so.

Welcome to Brainside Out, Cowboy Edition. Kindly refresh if you feel it necessary.

June 26, 2003

At the Edge

We are close. We are so close it is frightening. We stand before an orchestra that plays the music holding up the great crystal dome of the heavens. A few more pages recoded, a few minor tweaks to our stylesheet, and we go live with the biggest redesign since our inception back in February 2001.

It will be this weekend.

This baby is solid. I’m ready for this. I know I’m ready. I’m ready for XHTML. I’m ready for CSS. I’m ready for the Mistral Edge. I’m ready for Rowena. I’m ready to be the fastest gunslinger both on the water and in the glass fibers of cyber-reality.

Brace yourself, yo, or the wind will knock ya down.

June 25, 2003

slant rhyme olympics

Tova: Fancy pants!

Sun Ra: schmantzy rants!

Tova: Prancy cads!

Sun Ra: Nancy Caddish

Tova: Trance-filled raddish

Sun Ra: Psychedelic trilling catfish

Tova: Like a melon? Silly prat, dish!

Sun Ra: Thrice times a yellin’, willy-nilly English.

Tova: Nice pines in Belair – it’s a dilly, really. Squeamish!

Sun Ra: Christ lines in air over Philly, Auntie Mitch.

don’t ask her what it was

So. I’ve been here over a month, already. The skunk that usually goes off right outside my window at this time of night has become old-hat. I’ve grown accustomed to Hood River; to Oregon; to the Wild Wild West; to being away from home and family and friends.

And now that I’m getting used to my surroundings I have to make sure I don’t become jaded to the things around me. I think newness is a beautiful thing. It inspires us, keeps us fresh, and brings about that unsettling experience that keeps us honest human beings. But at the same time, familiarity has its own perks as well. When the novelty of living away from home, of living with a Japanese roommate, of windsurfing every day, etc… when that all wears off, it leaves room for substance and content.

I can smell the nuance in daily life. That’s something I feel I learned from summer camp; discovering ways to keep myself fresh and inspired in a stressful environment, where developing a routine could easily come as a mere survival method.

So that’s where I am now; boosting familiarity while maintaining that early excitement. I still stare down the Gorge in awe, looking west into the crowns of angry dark clouds boiling through the hills; clouds that never seem to make it into town. All I can think is an articulate, “Wow.” I am still floored that I’ve got the opportunity to live here, to work here, to play here. A soul can grow in the fertile volcanic soils beneathe Mount Hood. I feel I can breathe, here.

But then, that’s not to curse home, to cast Minnesota to the dirt. I love Minnesota, and I suppose I loved it enough to realize I needed to leave. I needed to cast aside that filter to see how much of what I see is myself, is my environment, is my reality. I approach this all as an experiment. I’m testing things out, seeing what holds substance and what does not.

I love home, I miss home and my friends. I find myself missing silly familiar things that I didn’t really appreciate at the time. My roommate Hal making up stupid songs on his guitar, Doug inviting his freshman harem over to the apartment, or Ryan offering me bottles of his expensive-yet-nasty beer. These are all things that irked me at the time, or just fell neutral across my brain, that now summon up strong feelings that say, “This is how it was.”

And that was how it was, and I can never go back there again. That is the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve realized on this adventure. Before I left I was talking to my mother about it, how it might be nice to swing back up into Duluth and shoot the shit around the yellow Wooch! table, again.

Even that will never be exactly the same. Me and my fellow Woochers can trade jokes, both old and new, and recount current and past adventures, but never again will we be able to share undergraduate gripes. I’m outside out that, now, and I can’t turn around and put myself back in.

I can’t become the person I was, but I can become the person I will be. Same goes for reality. It’ll never again be the way it was, but it will inevitably be the way it is.

Don’t ask her what it was. Tell her what it is.

June 24, 2003

you’ve been warned

www.danesbored.com is officially gone. I unparked and deleted the domain about ten minutes ago. Long live www.brainsideout.com.

As I’ve been saying for months, “Update your links, foo.”

We’re still chugging through our HTML, making it all nice and pretty for your fancy pants. The new stylesheet will roll out later this week. In the meanwhile, enjoy the 90’s while you got ’em. Dial up some Crash Test Dummies and pretend you’re in high school again.

sesh-wan sauce

I had a killer windsurfing sesh off the Event Site, tonight. Got totally dialed into my waterstarts and didn’t even touch my uphaul once. The Mistral Classic 295 (cm) is going into the garage, to be replaced by the Mistral Edge 168. A 140 liter board, down to a 91 liter board. Barely enough float to uphaul in a pinch, but a small enough board to not be a pain in the ass.

Sparky rode the Edge back in its hey-day. His verdict? Killer board, very difficult to jibe because of its 90 degree rails, freakin’ fast as hell thanks to a flat plane surface.

This puppy got sauce. Team Mistral lives on.

June 22, 2003

strap on your power suit

Welcome to Brainside Out – Transitional Edition. The 90’s never looked this good.

A few notes for nerds: We are now using PHP for navigational server-side includes. Our index pages all validate as XHTML 1.0 Transitional code. Our CSS? It validates as well, but we’re keeping it behind the curtain until all our HTML is clean-dandy and ready to serve.

put on your prayer shoes

Observations from the Jesus Presley concert last night at Hood River’s River City Saloon:

People in Hood River know how to drink.

People in Hood River know how to party.

People in Hood River do not know how to dance.

When 38-year-old women want to dance they claw at your arm with long, laquered nails.