July 31, 2003

a challenge for ya’ll

In fifty words or less, explain why there should be a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. You may not mention God. You may mention kittens, Pop Tarts or a man named Jimmy who sharpens lawnmower blades for a living. If you feel so inclined, you may mention other things as well.

Also, please consider that the purpose of government is to keep its people free and safe, not to decide morality. This we will take as a premise.

Or will we?

July 30, 2003

under the masthead of heaven

Dane: So, are you still an editor at Outside Magazine?

Jon Krakauer: My name still appears on the masthead, but I haven’t had much contact with those guys over the last few years.

Dane: What happened?

Jon Krakauer: Writing books is much more fun.

Dane: How does one go about writing for Outside?

Jon Krakauer: Get in contact. I approached them with an article I wanted to write and they went for it. They’ve gotten much bigger since then, but it might still work.

Dane: Alright. We’ll try that.

Jon Krakauer: Good luck.

Dane: Thanks.

July 29, 2003


Today in Hood River it was 103 degrees in the shade. 103 degrees also happens to be the melting point of bone. Everyone’s bones were melting and their bodies were falling like wet rugs in the street. They would think, “I think I’ll go to the Thai place to get some Thai food,” but they would never make it because it’s hard to walk that many blocks with your bones sloshing around under your skin.

Some of the people were trying to walk around town and get used to their new haircuts. Their old hair covered their ears like a bonnet, and now that they are without a bonnet they sunburn their ears easily. They didn’t even realize their ears were burning until they smelled the neighbors barbequing, even though the neighbors were microwaving TV dinners of potted meat and corn. You can’t barbeque TV dinners, of course, so eventually they decided it wasn’t the neighbors that smelled so delicious.

You smell a lot of things in Hood River that may or may not be delicious. A long time ago your ancestors were out and about in the world, probably hunting rabbits or someone else’s ancestors. When your ancestors would smell woodsmoke it told them they were close to home. “Just over this next hill,” they would think, and so you think too, because this kind of thing is passed down through blood and sweat.

In Hood River when you smell woodsmoke it makes you chew your bottom lip, but not because you think it is delicious. Other reasons. No one in their right mind would want to make woodsmoke to welcome their ancestors home, especially when it is already 103 degrees out. In Hood River the smell of woodsmoke will be the last thing you smell before the town burns up and gets in your eyes. When you haven’t felt rain for two and a half months you know there is darn little between you and stinging eyes.

These are the things you think about as you chew your bottom lip and watch your bones run in the gutter.

July 27, 2003

Going Coastal

Ok so like. We’re back from stuff and stuff. On Friday my parents and I went to Mount St. Helens and hit up the north side, where everything went kablooie. Lemme tell ya. That mountain went kablooie. Where there used to be a cute little snowballed peak there is now an angry ampitheatre with a smoking lava dome. All the hills, within miles of the mountain, are covered in smashed dead trees all pointing in the same direction. A huge valley is filled with a solidified stream of mud, miles across and a hundred feet deep.

And what’s happening on the cliffs of that valley? People are paragliding. It’s like parachuting, only backwards and I want to do it. They set up their gliders (which look like directional parachutes. They call them gliders, not sails, not kites… even though much of the terminology and banter overlaps with windsurfing and kiteboarding) wait for a gust and run off the edge of the cliff. And float back up. And are soon spinning around in the air hundreds of feet above the cliff. They’ll stay up in the air for hours at a time, spinning in thermals to maintain altitude. To land they just hit a spot, jog across the ground and quickly depower the glider.

When a tandem flight lands it looks like a horse trotting out of the sky.

We made a move for the Coast. At the Cathlamet grocery store I saw the Weekly World News boast, CROP CIRCLES APPEAR ON WHITE HOUSE LAWN. FBI, CIA AND NASA BAFFLED!

I didn’t believe it for one second. What I found most baffling was that each agency was simultaneously baffled by the same thing. Wasn’t the whole point supposed to be that government agencies didn’t share information very well? That each would independently come to the same conclusion on the White House crop circles is preposterous. The sudden concurrence of opinion makes it wholly impossible to take the story seriously.

We spent the night camping at the Cathlamet marina and I slept out under the stars. My parents slept in the tent and fought the Air Log, a terrible inflatable mattress that bucked you off every time you shifted your weight. The eternal smell of summer woke us up in the morning. Two-stroke engine exhaust, musty boat canvas and lakeside funk. The tide had gone out and yellow finches were eating the muck in the tidal flats.

We drove through Astoria and reached the Coast, which was huge and salty and sandy and amazing. We pointed the nose to the south and ended up at the Tillamook Cheesery. There were a lot of people who were so large they should not have been touring a cheesery. We thought that they should put up signs that said, YOU MUST FIT THROUGH THIS SLOT TO TOUR THE CHEESERY.

“Hey, no fair pushing him!”

We went as far south as Florence, and spent the night at a hotel right on the ocean. In the morning we jetted out through the Coastal Range to Eugene, paralleled the McKenzie River into the Cascade Range, and fell out of the mountains into the desert town of Sisters. We skirted the very edge of Bend and headed north to Mount Hood, peach orchards and Hood River.

There were other things. They are details. I learned that Columbian white-tailed deer actually look like holsteins. I saw the sun set on the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. I cut my feet open scampering across young (400-year-old) lava fields near Belknap Crater. I saw every mountain in Oregon that peaks out over 10,000 feet (South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood).

And I found out that no matter what it is, it doesn’t work when it gets sand in it.

July 25, 2003

Reductive Theories

For those of you that don’t follow the chaos that goes on in the comments section, we have something new and exciting for you around here:

Hank Ryanin’s Afternoon Bonanza

The title is no-doubt still pending. Check out what this guy has to say as I go and figure out ways to firebomb the Oregon Coast, steal Crater Lake and keep it in my backyard, and make St. Helen’s erupt again.

July 24, 2003

The Laistrygonians

Sorry that things have fallen silent around here. Don’t worry. My computer hasn’t crashed, I haven’t broken off all my limbs, and I haven’t found a girlfriend. Instead, I’ve been waking up at 6:30 in the morning, working 10 hour days at work, windsurfing in the evening, and eating delicious jambalaya, phad thai and calamari in the later evening. Also, I’m working on a project that may or may not be the most ridiculously important thing I’ve done all summer.

What else? I sliced off my hair, I bought a cell phone and my parents are in town. Now I can be the guy that walks down the street shouting at himself. Not that anything has changed, really. Just shorter hair.

July 23, 2003

Dripping in a Strange Design

Weird thoughts I had while drifting off to sleep last night:

An eel swallowing a bicycle

Barry’s Park & Floss

A floral-patterned laundry bag filled with laundry and tied around someone’s ankle

July 21, 2003

Death and Taxes

Chocolate Cake: So who is Crazy Eddie?

Sun Ra: Crazy Eddie owned electronic stores on the East Coast. Then he got thrown in jail for tax evasion.

Sun Ra: His prices were criminally insane.

Chocolate Cake: They didn’t arrest the prices?

Sun Ra: I think the prices escaped while the cops were busy with Eddie.

Chocolate Cake: They went through the roof.

Sun Ra: lol

Sun Ra: You sir, are a funny man. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Chocolate Cake: I have a newslette?

Chocolate Cake: *r

Sun Ra: How could you not have a newsletter? Everyone’s got a newsletter.

Chocolate Cake: Tax problems.

gettin’ better all the time

Two long 98 degree days of working at the Hook with our entire fleet fully deployed. Two long nights doing James Brown in the style of karaoke at Jack’s and dancing to Cherry Poppin’ Daddies under the stars at Hoodfest. Two bad slog sessions at the Event Site, trying to waterstart on a 4.4 sail in 15 knot wind (sail too small, wind too light) and fighting to stay upwind because I can’t keep a plane.

My body feels like a sunburned slab of hamburger. That’s ok, though, because my parents are now in town and they buy me beer and feed me thai food.