March 30, 2004

Signal Faded

Postings and curious updates will be more intermittent than usual. The eMachine has been in its death throes, so my computer from home had to make a trip to the machine shed so it could take over.

Soon enough the “Tribute” will come along to take the eMachine’s place, and the eMachine will find itself at the firing range. Either I’m gonna spending my federal tax refund on Oregon state tax or I’m gonna spend it on guns.

This is the greatest and best computer in the world… Tribute.

March 28, 2004


I saw this at Collectively Unconscious and thought it might be fun. See? Profiles can be fun! Copy it yourself! Put your own answers on your website! And link to it in the comments section! Or put my answers on your website! And link to it in the comments section! And let’s watch everyone’s mind boggle as they try to figure out what in the heck is going on!

General Info





Sexual Preference?

“This one goes out to my one true love… the ladies.”

Martial Status?





Dark blonde


My crutches say 5′ 6”


170 lbs with backpacking gear


ex-Snowboard Instructor, High-Powered Web Designer, Master of the Universe

Current Residence?

Bend, Oregon


Hopkins, Minnesota



Do You…




Last time I had a cigarette I ended up on top of the paddle wheel in Hood River. They hook ya with the crazy antics that wouldn’t happen without nicotine!

Have tattoos?

Scars are sexier.

Have piercings?

This body has enough holes as it is.


They call me the Lord of the Dance.


Optimus Prime – a 2004 Subaru Legacy Outback. Silver, leather-wrapped stick shift, dual moonroofs, blinding fog lights that I have on regardless of driving conditions, 2.5 liter side-imposed boxer engine.

Kiss and tell?


See dead people?

See: Attic.


Pooh character do you most resemble?

The high-strung crazy one.

Is the most important switch in your house?

The fireplace.

Is your favorite letter of the alphabet?


Super hero would you be?

The Tick

Is your favorite bumper sticker saying?

My doberman tore your honor student into meaty shreds.

Position would you work at Walmart?

Parking lot vandal.

Dis or Dat?

Chocolate or Vanilla?


Plane or Train?

Private jet

Coke or Pepsi?


Steak or Veggies?


Asparagus or Liver?


Kissing or Cuddling?

Heavy petting.

Death Metal or Blues?

Death metal blues played by a chamber orchestra.

Dogs or Cats?

A good hard freeze would kill all the stray cats ’round here.

It’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

In an effort to improve my sanity, I delinked all the sections of Brainside Out that were still using the old design. If you are a clever young git you will no doubt figure out how to find them again, but that wasn’t the point. I was growing tired of looking at a huge pile of junk that needed my love and attention, so what should I have done? Fix it? Update it? Love it? Nay! Hide it! Hide it all! Sweep it under the carpets and deny its existence! If I can’t see them, they ain’t there. Dig?

Most sections will reappear as I am able to update them for the Rugged Edition, but at the same time I’m pondering some further changes that may delay the process. What changes, you ask?

  1. More consistent inconsistencies
  2. Better browsing for the photo galleries
  3. Animated flames
  4. Fun and Exciting Interactive Contact Form
  5. Kentucky Essays
  6. Database-driven somethingoranother which I have no idea how I will build, let alone implement, but as far as goals go, database-driven anything looks really good and impressive
  7. And on every page, amazing Flash intros with no skip button!

In a way, we’re starting over without really starting over. Sometimes you gotta clean out the attic. Sometimes you gotta chase the bats out of your house with a broomstick. Sometimes you gotta relocate the bodies to the middle of the desert.

March 27, 2004


A night on the town and drunk. Not terribly so, but just enough to elucidate some thought in a period that has been dominated by personal incoherence and mysticism. My leg feels better now than it ever has before (aside from how lovely it felt before I broke it, which was a physical pleasure I honestly never noted) and, to quote my orthopaedic surgeon, my fibula is going to “heal like gangbusters.”

Good news, all told, but now that things are starting to feel nice again, now that I can start putting weight on my right leg again, it’s high time I attempt something massively stupid and screw it up. Knowing that time has a way of twisting its own false histories in the mind, I took a moment to mark the benchmarks down on my calendar so I don’t jump the gun and bust myself. Salvador Dali himself tells me that I can remove my robot leg on April 9th or 16th, and that I’ll be completely healed on April 25th or May 9th. A personal goal is to wean off the crutches and be driving again in a week, but this depends on 1) me not doing anything stupid and 2) my physical self healing as quickly as my mental self wishes. We’ll see.

Anyways. A few other benchmarks have passed without much attention. The first time I ever saw Oregon in the flesh was a year ago March 15th, when Ryan and I touched down in Portland to raise havoc (havoc sponsored by the Portland Habitat for Humanity) all the way from Tillamook to Hood River. I saw my little windsurfing town for the first time, met my boss, found a place to live for the summer, hiked Eagle Creek and nearly killed (and nearly got killed by) Ryan after spending five rainy days cooped up in a leaky tent.

What I remember most, though, was driving through the Coastal Range for the first time, jaw agape at deep forests of giant pines (and frequent scars of clear-cutting that broke my heart) that seemed to stretch on forever. I was completely overcome by the hugeness of it all, never having seen anything like it. I mean, living on Lake Superior definitely gave me great respect for huge landscapes, but WHA!, Oregon was, like, huge on a new exponential scale of hugeness! And so wet. So green.

Little did I know that the damp lushness that I associated with Oregon was still only one small part of Oregon. Blocked from my view on that trip was the massive Cascade Range skyline of Central Oregon, depths of snow measured in hundreds of inches, dusty dirty deserts, and the natural playground of Smith Rock.

March 20th marked my four-month anniversary for moving to Bend, and yet I’m still trying to wrap my head around this town, this landscape, this lifestyle. So much has happened in those four months, from training clinics for my job at the Mountain, to working full-time as a snowboard instructor, to chasing a freakish fellow wrapped in tattoos for a job in landscaping, to financial despair from not being able to find income, to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations with a bunch of kind Mountain folk.

Then. Near the end of December I connected with my current gig. In January I started working full-time as a web support specialist at a full-service internet solutions shop, a position which has since allowed me to grow into a full-fledged professional web designer, if I may be so bold. Every week I am floored by the sheer amount of stuff I am learning about web design as well as hosting, programming, database architecture, graphic design, client management, addressing support issues, and really, how to run and manage a small business. New and better ways of solving problems are evolving every week, such that the work I was doing even a month ago is laughable compared to what I can do with what I know, now. Working in a start-up environment has definitely had its share of fits and starts which will no doubt continue, but for the most part its been an incredible experience.

When March rolled around I stopped working Saturdays at the mountain, as working seven days a week was really starting to run me down. Instead, I started spending my Saturdays out at Smith Rock with Jody and some of his friends, working my outdoor climbing skillz for the first time in over four years. Somewhere in there I also got the rocks to throw down for a new car. Though my exposure to stick shifts has been minimal (if not diverse), I got a manual transmission because 1) I wanted to learn a new skill, and 2) stick shifts are sexy. I’ve had my Subaru for over a month now and I love it, love it, love it, even though it’s been sitting in the driveway sad and neglected for the last two weeks because of a broken leg.

Then, two weeks ago this Sunday, I heard my leg snap after a crash landing in the terrain park at the mountain. I got wrapped up in a yellow tarp and a ski patroller towed me down to the clinic in a sled. It quickly became apparent that my recovery time would put me clear out of teaching snowboarding for the rest of the season. I got a bottle of Vicodin and a packet of x-rays that I now take to parties so I can strike up conversations with hotties (who, with my luck, always have boyfriends). So that’s that. See ya’ll next season.

And now? I’ve watched quality flicks like Joe Dirt, School of Rock, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, Moulin Rouge, O Brother Where Art Thou? and Pirates of the Caribbean. I finished Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, The Old Man and the Sea and The Great Gatsby. I am currently engaged in the user manual for Macromedia Flash and Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies. On deck is A Developer’s Guide to Flash and XML and SQL in Ten Minutes.

It’s been a busy winter, and I am certain it will be a lovely spring. A few more weeks of patience and I’ll be back on the slopes at the Mountain, back on the rock at Smith, and back on my kiteboard in the Columbia.

Hunting for further injuries, of course.

March 24, 2004

A Slight Tingling Sensation

Alright. Ever so slowly, things are becoming less of a horrendous mess. I’ve tweaked the main blog page, massaged the individual entry archives, revamped the archives listing template and rebuilt all the search templates so they use the new design.

Today has been cruel and finicky. The novelty of having two bones where one bone would do has officially worn off. I’m counting the days until I have my freedom back. Until then, expect sporadic fits of rage, inspiration, productivity and animosity.

So really, nothing new.

March 20, 2004

The Song is Heard No Longer

It’s a cold and lonely evening and you’re busy becoming nocturnal for some reason or another. You sit at your computer and sigh, shuffling your good leg and your robotic leg and a train whistle sounds and you say to the world, “Okay, now that’s just too much.” I mean, for real. A train whistle. Is there anything in the world more forlorn than a train whistle?

The fog horn, perhaps, but so much animosity swirls around that damned thing that it is wrapped in its own community of hatred. You could stumble through the frosty streets of Duluth knowing that even the rich people, even the crazy people, even the homeless people, even the guy with no legs in a wheelchair pushing himself down 2nd Street in a snowstorm, they all hate the fog horn as much as you do.

You are at the edge of the world with broken bones. You choke on the desert dust that whails through town like a restless spirit. Tumbleweed bounces across the parking lot and away into the sands and you realize the tenacious grip of the civilized world. The poster boys of civilization are different out West. The landscape and its patrons are inhospitable towards your coat and tie. Cowboys. 49ers. You can hear the creaking wooden floors, the swinging saloon doors, the tinny piano coughing out a ragtime lament. You take whatever civility you can get.

Your ghost train disappears into the desert shadows, leaving you with the evacuated heavens of all memories.

March 18, 2004

Take me Back to Causality

I’m having a little bit of difficulty focusing on anything, here. Last night I finished reading The Great Gatsby and now my mind is awash with the Next Great Choice for Value-Based Entertainment. What shall it be?

The Open Society and Its Enemies?

Outdated DHTML for the World Wide Web Circa Y2K?

Teach Yourself SQL in Ten Minutes and Use the Rest of Your Free Hour Shredding This Book into Thin Strips to Build a Shrine out of Paper Maché?

How-to Use Macromedia Flash 5: Now twice as heavy as the manual for Flash 4, and five times that of Flash 3?

A Developers Guide to Flash and XML: Pretend you’re fluent in two languages you don’t understand and fake your way across Europe?

Mountaineers – The Freedom of the Hills and the Depths of Depression Brought on by Immobility?

M’eh. Whatever. One of these days Dane Corp., LLC will be walking ‘gain and they’ll all be sorry. They’ll be so sorry. Especially once my home plague-breeding kit arrives in the mail and I can start getting some real work done.

At their most basic, autonomy and determinism will be defined by our concept of causality. Pure determinism claims that, in some way or another, the course of our lives has already been decided for us and we are powerless against it. Determinism can be governed by whatever force or entity you want. Perhaps it is a Deist watchmaker God that created the whole darned universe in one fell-swoop fifteen billion years ago, and now He is merely watching the show and eating some divine popcorn or pretzles or Milk Duds and shuffling His feet on divinely sticky floors. In this model, the entire casual course of history (as well as the future) was decided at the moment the universe was created.

Or perhaps an intervening God is calling the shots, a rowdy little fellah who built the universe way back when, but finds himself intervening at particular intervals as things unfold. The rate and degree at which God intervenes is a hot religious debate of hotness and religicity, and can be viewed as a continuum that exists from the non-intervening Deist god to a God that intervenes at every second of every day.

The notion of relative time really puts a monkey wrench in this one… if a man is travelling at close to the speed of light, time nearly stands still for him when compared to his twin brother on earth. Does this mean that God will intervene more often with his life than with his brother’s? Or does God’s influence transcend time? Transcendence conveniently sidesteps the issue, but in turn complicates how God’s influence would affect the lives of creatures that do exist in time.

A moderate view (and one I believe most religious people would claim to adhere to, but please, tell me if I’m way off on this as I am not a religious person and don’t quite know how these things are wired up) would be that God intervenes only for major junctions in our lives: whether to get married, move to another state/country/continent, chicken or beef, dedicate our lives to science, donate our bodies to science, etc. But then, if this is indeed the case, you still run into the problem of time versus God’s intervention. If God isn’t always intervening, through perceivable time there will be a period where his intervention increases, peaks and decreases, like a killer wave ripe to be torn up for surfin’. Or, God’s intervention may not be wave-like but binary and absolute, with exact starting and ending points.

So then. What of our twins, one on earth and one traveling near the speed of light? Does one get more of God’s attention than the other? That hardly seems fair, but fairness isn’t necessarily part of the game. For the purposes of our discussion we won’t get into the morality of playing God, and where his responsibilities lay in a fair distribution of divine intervention for all. For the twins one could argue that each gets as much intervention (as much determinism, as much fate) as his life allows. If twenty years pass for the light-speed twin but only a minute passes for the Earth twin, they get twenty years and one minute of God, respectively.

However, this introduces a troubling anthropic dilemma. If time passes only as we perceive it passing, and God distributes his intervention respectively, then that means human perception is determining the influence of God. As far as fate goes, God doesn’t interact with the universe just for the sake of interacting with the universe, but in order to to push and prod people along their intended path. Because the intervention necessarily involves humans, though, it occurs along the perceived human time-scale, not along some ethereal, universal time. The most interesting upshot of this consequence is that human perception is determining determinism.

So here’s what we’re left with, as far as determinism goes. If you ask the Deist, God wound up the universe long ago and is now merely a passive observer. The deterministic consequence of this model (if we are to deny the existence of free will) is that everything, all of history, our lives and the future, was casually determined at the creation of the universe. If you ask an absolute interventionist, God is always influencing our lives. This is effectively the same absolute determinism as the Deist, only here it requires God’s constant attention. If you take the middle ground, that God lets us roam until those critical junctions and then steps in to show us the way, you run into the problem of reconciling human time and perception with God’s changing degree of influence.

And next week, maybe we’ll find time to say somethin’ or two about causality.