April 29, 2004

Whose who’s who?

Hmm. I retooled the templates and stylesheets one more time, and with any luck things are finally getting to be stable enough that I can start resurrecting the dead sections of the site.

Check out the HTML code for this page. If it wasn’t for a few minor content glitches and piles of character encoding errors appearing in non-standard HTML hyperlinks, this pile would validate as XHTML 1.0 Strict. The really neat thing, however, is not whether or not it validates, but the fact that this site is currently using the same HTML template that most of my sites I am developing at work use. This template’s the bomb diggity, super-easy to manage, incredibly visible to search engines, and remarkably powerful when it comes to applying CSS styles.

Wanna know how cool it is? Need proof how cool it is? Reluctant to admit that I have created something ever-so cool? Do a Google search for Dane Petersen. Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.

See that? Cool, eh? Brainside Out even ranks higher than danepetersen.com, which is pretty cool but is something I’m never gonna gloat about. Never ever. Cuz ya see, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. Dane Petersen, and he is a very talented musician from the Texas area with an off-the-wall sense of humor that no doubt would enjoy a workplace with growling Incredible Hulk Hands, flying wooden Buddhas and child-crushing garage doors.

What’s more, Dane Petersen can take all the credit for introducing me to Jeffrey Zeldman’s website a couple years ago, a discovery that totally invigorated my passion for web design. In the spring of 2001 it was the humor of Lileks.com that got me started, then in the wet hot American summer of 2002 the music and design stylings of DanePetersen.com took hold, and finally in that fateful fall the mad standards-ravings of Zeldman.com infected my brain.

And now, we’ve never felt better. And by ‘we’ we mean Dane Petersen. Which, of course, is me.

…and if you ever, ever, ever spell it ‘Peterson’, we will personally kick your ass out of Texas, cuz that’s right, you aren’t from Texas, and hell if Texas wants you anyway if you’re gonna be such a little bitch about it.

April 27, 2004


I’m just a wee bit tired, so this’ll probably be short and incomprehensible. Like a few people I know.

Yesterday my friend Matt and I went up to the mountain to try snowboarding. According to my season pass I am “NO LONGER EMPLOYEE” and the ticket attendants are to “TAKE PASS” in case I try to use it. Personally, I found that to be a rather shitty way for an employer to treat a previously excellent snowboard instructor who had broken his leg snowboarding. Fortunately I was friends with the attendants who were working so they just let me through.

They didn’t have to let me through very many times, though, because I only had enough in me for one run. Toeside turns were pretty solid, but heelside turns put way too much pressure on my fibula and felt really bad. I’ll give it a shot in another two weeks, but right now I’m still grounded. I’ve gotta stop biking in gravel pits, too, because I keep falling off my bike and jamming my leg. Either I’ve gotta stop doing things, or I’ve gotta stop being such a fucking idiot when it comes to my free time. Gotta take up croquet. Or crochet.

Matt and I swung down from the mountain right as the rest of Bend was finally heading off to work. We grabbed a frisbee and while waiting for the putt-putt course to open we tossed disc in Drake Park for a bit. Matt is killer with the disc, and somewhere along this wild crazy adventure I have learned how to toss a frisbee, too. Perhaps it was playing ultimate frisbee as a wee youngin’ at Ihduhapi. Perhaps it was playing ultimate frisbee at All-State band camp (the rumors about band camp? they’re all true!). Perhaps it was on my college freshman ultimate frisbee team. Perhaps it was tossin’ with my sister and future brother-in-law at Shell Lake. Perhaps it was playing ultimate as a rough-and-tumble senior counselor at Ihduhapi. Perhaps it was our drunken frisbee-fests out on Kite Beach in Hood River. Wherever it was, there’s nothing as fun as a couple of accomplished disc-heads tossin’ to and fro. Sweet bliss, my man.

When 10:00 rolled around we hit up the Fun Center (literally, the “Fun Center”) for a round of putt-putt golf. The lady behind the counter at the bowling alley was all frazzled cuz she had to teach a bowling lesson to some high schoolers, and we were all like, “What you so frazzled ’bout? You work in a bowling alley.” Putt-putt was great fun, complete with farm machinery hazards, gorgeous landscaping and wild wild west antiques. Let me tell ya, there’s no waiting for tee time when you’re playing putt-putt at 10:00 in the morning on a Monday. I should play hookie from work more often. My boss has actually been encouraging it.

We finished up with the whole schbang around noon and called it a good morning. From mountains to snowboarding to frisbee to putt-putt, I had no compliants, and Matt had to get home and work on procrastinating. I mean packing. This weekend he’s leaving on a three week road trip, and as soon as he gets back from that he’s moving to Sisters to rattle around in the woods for the summer and work as a firefighter. If everything works out as planned, his wife Tori will be working at a resort in Alaska for the summer, and come the fall they’ll both be moving back to Bend.

Or Portland. Four months out, plans get rather vaporous. Remember when I was moving back to Duluth? Remember that? Last November? Am I a fool or what? I figure if I dig my heels in deep enough, people will eventually move out here to chill out. Resorts. Camps. Trail maintenance. Raft trips. Climbing. Biking. Kiteboarding. Web design. Eco-internships. Lord knows there’s enough to keep ya’ll busy.

April 25, 2004

Look for me in the ER

Last night we drank beer at JC’s. Then we drank beer at Goomba’s. Then we drank beer at Sidelines. Then we drank beer at the D&D, which is actually a redneck downtown bar and offers fewer savings throws against dragon breath than one might expect.

I tried to wake up this morning, but a piercing hangover (a hangover that pierced, not a hangover that resulted from getting part of my body pierced) complicated things. My roommate left a note in the bathroom that said “The drains are clogged again!” I swallowed a bottle of Advil, grabbed a Sharpie and appended “Fucking cats!” My head felt like a melon in a vise and I feared that I might spew from the pain alone, so I went back to bed.

I woke up around 1:00 to someone shouting and banging on my bedroom window. Turns out it was my friends Shane and Erin, who were achin’ to eat some breakfast and do some mountain biking. We swung over to the Victorian Cafe, where we happened to meet some topless dancers from Stars Gentlemen’s Club. They were friends of Shane’s, and strangely enough Erin was okay with that.

Our desire to go biking was slightly hampered by the fact that I didn’t own a mountain bike, so we sought to remedy this serious affliction. I test drove the Specialized Hardrock and Specialized Rockhopper at Hutch’s, the Kona Lanai and Kona Stuff at Bend Cyclery, and the Gary Fisher Marlin at Pine Mountain Sports. The Marlin felt really good, but the frame was a pansy-ass greenish-blue color with flames. Erin vetoed it right-out based on appearance alone, saying it was really cool if I was trying to impress seventh graders. The geometry on both of the Konas felt really awkward, and their dirt jumper model didn’t have all the gear ratios I was looking for.

With the evening wearing on we loaded up Shane and Erin’s bikes in the Subaru and headed to the other Hutch’s store on Bend’s eastside. Lo and behold, they had a Specialized Rockhopper, in the right frame size, with nearly identical components as the Marlin, in non-pansy silver. I took it for a test drive in a few bank parking lots, fell in some bushes, and bought that bike right then and there.

Thus properly armed, Shane, Erin and I took to the streets of Bend for a hardcore biking gib fest. We rode for hours all around town, cranking through parks, rattling over rivers, rolling down stairs, weaving through playgrounds and darting into traffic. With a golden sun sliding behind the Cascades, we finally broke up the party at Reed Market Road. Shane and Erin went home to cook up some salmon and celebrate their first anniversary, and I cranked on back to Lava House via the Old Mill District, moved by the promise of a tall pint of Kool-Aid after an exciting day of exploration.

…and one of these days I promise to let my broken leg heal…

April 22, 2004

Everything’s Better with Giant Skulls

Saw “The Punisher” tonight. The moral of the story? If life’s got ya down, KILL EVERYONE. Such lessons are no surprise for me, ever since I penned “Everything’s Better With Handguns.” Now I want to get me an old metal teacher’s desk and fill the filing drawers with guns and ammunition and get beat up by a huge fellow that looks surprisingly like Tons, my gigantic Canadian friend from Hood River.

Ahh, the gang from Hood River. Summer is creepin’ up fast, and pretty soon I’ll be able to hook up with all those crazy cats again. One could say they were a cast of thousands, but more accurately they were a thousand of casts… casts… of… people. Like, metal casts or something. But made out of persons.

Joe, my partner in crime for dominating Mount Adams and chasing squirrels around Mount Hood with long knives drawn.

Sara, my friend from Duluth who is a killer windsurfer, and will soon be marrying Erik, a Washingtonian climber/mountaineer/insurance salesman extraordinaire.

Pat, David, Heidi, Steve and the rest of the Samba Hood Rio crew.

Leslie, my companion for hitting up downtown Portland for Mates of State and Guster concerts, between waiting for her Jetta’s oil change at the Volkswagen dealership, walking in the spitting Northwest rain, snatching free cheesecake from Safeway, protesting on street corners with abandoned picketing signs, and building absurdly sophisticated structures with Duplos. Her Jetta has heated seats, too. Heated seats. “These heated seats go up to eleven.”

Dills, the wetsuit poster boy for our windsurfing shop, as well as the kindest glass-blower and least technical gear technician you’ll ever meet. Last seen riding a snowboard with no bindings down the rocky slopes of The Hook.

David, our obligatory Swede who disappeared for some reason.

Nelson, who is, well, Nelson. He has that Fahey appeal to him, where for some unknown reason you like the guy because he’s such a jerk, and you’re convinced that he can’t be that much of a jerk because he’s so nice about it. Nelson works at Crystal Mountain during the winter, where Joe worked as a cat driver for a season, and where I tried to get a job last fall but was a couple months too late.

Sparky, the only fellow I know who has single-handedly constructed a complete Captain Jack Sparrow outfit, from the leather boots to the tri-corn’ hat, and wears it while running errands around town.

Bobby (“The Greatest Instructor Ever”) and Randy, our resident Floridians who apparently spent their winter teaching windsurfing in the Caribbean.

The Army of Gates, who manage to dominate the windsurfing sales and instruction, as well as the realty and construction sectors, of Hood River. Steve watched shop, Erin worked as a ski instructor at Steamboat and Jodie ran off to college, never to be seen again.

My old roommate/landlord Michael, whose soap opera life will no doubt inspire a series of saucy novels penned by yours truly.

Motoshi, my roommate and friend who taught me how to cook, kiteboard and “custom” all in Japanese Style. We went snowboarding on Mount Hood in July and were both equally baffled by these stupid Flow bindings on his rental board.

Miho, Motoshi’s girlfriend, who we picked up from the airport in late-June and was a killer kiteboarder herself. Last I heard the two of them were in New Zealand ripping it up, but last summer there was avid talk about coming back to Hood River. One can only hope.

All the people who came out every Friday to hear us whoop it up for karaoke night at Jack’s.

Bruce Peterson, the Bruce Peterson of Sailworks, who would walk into our shop quite often so we could tell him how much his new sails sucked. Or rocked. Cuz we were finicky little bitches like that.

Peppy, the rep for Mistral and Sailworks and just about every other company under the sun, who taught me that a full night of Jack’s and the Shed and scorpion bowls and Rolling Rock and Jagermeister was a full night indeed.

Wyatt, whose dislike for Europeans will always be embodied by, “Daht spiyn loope whass off ohf nahsing! Off ohf nahsing, nahsing!”

Adam, who taught me and Kelsey how to fence.

Kelsey (with the awesome hair!), one of a few select people who can vouch for me when I say that I traded words with Jon Krakauer. And they weren’t all swears!

Matt, the bartender at 6th Street.

The Thai Winds trailer.

April 19, 2004


Lots of things. But mostly kicking ass. Spent Saturday shooting at defenseless woodland creatures with .22 caliber rifles. Bought beer from the Beer Cave, which is built out of real styrofoam and has a real jiggling skeleton holding a can of Budweiser. Got a complete stranger to pay for my gas station cappuccino.

On Sunday I went up to the mountain to clean out my locker, but the buzzards had already picked everything clean and all that remained were my crappy old goggles I got at Gart Sports in Dillon, Colorado. Erik and I spent eight freakin’ hours cleaning Lava House, which is now completely awesomest aside from the downstairs shower which no longer seems to drain properly. When the shower runs the toilet bubbles. Seriously. It’s like we have someone scuba diving in our john.

Also found out that Drano mixed with aluminium foil does not explode, despite what your friends told you in high school. This was a huge letdown. I also took the time to upgrade Movable Type to version 2.661. This wasn’t nearly as disappointing as the Drano episode, but I was sad to see that the most recent version of MT still didn’t have support for my brain/mouth FireWire.

Today I kicked major web design ass, and started using a number of advanced CSS techniques like they ain’t no thang. Took a hyperlinked header one tag and replaced it with a giant disembodied head. Took a graphical list of links and reproduced them, hoverstates and all, using an unordered list and one image. Used absolute positioning on header elements so I could have complete control over their order in the HTML code, lending a helping hand to search engines and people navigating the Internet with seeing-eye dogs alike.

Also just got back from this year’s Banff Film Festival. My favorite flick was by far the XTreme Trampoline one, followed closely by the one about the grassoline fellow who fuels his diesel truck with french fry grease. During the show my friend turned to me and said that that nutcase must be my long-lost brother.

My keyboard is missing exactly four keys. My new automobile features keyless entry. I see no reason my keyboard shouldn’t offer the same functionalty.

April 16, 2004

A Demon Can’t be Hurt


I’m super-mega-ultra pissed off right now, so I probably shouldn’t be writing. Whatever. I’m trying to rework my photo galleries (locally I’ve got over 1 1/2 gigs of image files) and have been writing batch files and crashing Adobe Photoshop. While that was frustrating enough, my photography directories are now causing Windows Explorer itself to crash whenever I access a folder. I’ve been trying to recover from a CD backup, but Explorer crashes whenever I try to copy those files to my hard drive. I still have another backup on Nonsense which I am currently attempting to recover through my ghetto FireWire network.

Foofaraw and I both have our personal demons. I’m sick and tired of computers and I’m sick and tired of work because ever since I broke my god damn leg, it’s all I’ve been able to do. Work, web design, computers or whatever are like thumb-twiddling for me; I’ve got to be doing something, busy doing anything or I start skidding into that dark abyss. These are my intellectual pursuits, which, under any other circumstance I do a fairly decent job balancing with physical activity. But now, well, it’s like my fscking leg is broken.

…okay, things are working better now.


April 13, 2004

Geekin’ so hard it hurts

A little warning: consider this a data dump, like pretty_dump_array or something. This is gonna be ugly and self-indulgent. My fingers can’t type, my brain can’t think, and my bones can’t stay together very well at all. About the only thing that’s working well around here are my computers, of which I have four, now. At work I have finally shelved the eMachine, which was a horrid little beast from hell that crashed repeatedly every morning until I poured coffee into it. We love the eMachine in that we hate the eMachine, in that it’s like in-laws or something where you don’t know what the hell you would do with your life if you didn’t have to visit them every weekend, because without those visits and awkward smells what would you complain about all week?

The eMachine wasn’t all that bad. It had an 800MHz Intel Celeron processor and 128MB of RAM, which I upgraded to 384MB with sticks I found in a junk drawer in our hot and sweaty server room. If sex is gonna break out anywhere at our shop, it’s gonna break out in that server room. Anyways. The onboard graphics card on the eMachine was so bad I was going blind… either from that or other reasons. Regardless, I upgraded it with a 16MB SVGA card I found in the closet. Perfect.

But the eMachine had personal demons that haunted its dreams and it would often find itself locked in infinite boot/reboot cycles. I drew the line when it started spontaneously rebooting when I was in the middle of work, so two weeks ago Jody drove me home so I could pick up my personal computer and bring it to work. It was like “Take your ingrateful children to work” Day without the screaming and boredom. And lemme tell ya, the kids didn’t have a very good day of it, either!

My home computer is (actually, was) as follows: AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2.0GHz processor, MSI KT3-Ultra motherboard, 768MB Crucial PC2700 DDR RAM, 32MB GeForce2 MX graphics card, 80GB ATA-100 Maxtor hard drive, 3 port FireWire card, 2 USB 1.1 and 2 USB 2.0 ports, 802.11g wireless network card, SBLive Platinum soundcard with a LiveDrive that doesn’t work and is more for looks than anything else, 52X CD-ROM that sucks, and a TDK CD-RW that sucks so much balls it’s useless and chokes whenever I try to burn a CD. Oh, and it’s got a sexy blue paint job, too. And its name is Nonsense.

Last week the parts for my new computer at work arrived, and with Nonsense chugging away beside I started pulling together the pieces for Tribute. Tribute is not the greatest computer in the world, which was actually the eMachine and nothing like Tribute. Tribute is merely a Tribute to the eMachine, which, as soon as this leg heals, is going out to the cinder pits to get the crap shot out of it.

Tribute is as follows: AMD Athlon XP 2200+ 1.8GHz processor, MSI A7N2 Delta-L motherboard with the nForce2 chipset and 333MHz frontside bus, 512MB Crucial PC2700 DRR RAM, 64MB MSI GeForce4 graphics card, 80GB Maxtor ATA-133 7200RPM hard drive, 4 USB 2.0 ports, DVD-ROM, onboard sound and onboard ethernet.

Nonsense and Tribute spent a good portion of last week together throwing files back and forth, mostly forth. Though the computers were right next to each other, Tribute had to suck data through our shop’s microwave ethernet connection while Nonsense channeled its guts through our wireless network. It was a roundabout way of transferring files, but it worked all the same. I haven’t even attempted to pull files off the eMachine, and if it comes down to it, I don’t wanna if I don’t have to. Too much poop in that soup.

Last Friday the remaining parts for my new personal computer showed up, and with Tribute finally on its feet I got to bring Nonsense home to piece together Foofaraw. Foofaraw is as follows: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ 1.83GHZ processor (though that doesn’t sound much different from the 2400+ or even the 2200+, the 2500+ has the Barton core with a 333MHz bus and 512K cache), MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR motherboard (notice a pattern, here?), 1024MB Crucial PC2700 DDR RAM, 128MB DDR ATI Radeon 9600XT graphics card, 120GB Western Digital 7200RPM SATA hard drive, black Samsung DVD-ROM, black Samsung CD-RW, 8 USB 2.0 ports, 2 FireWire ports, onboard ethernet, onboard sound, 802.11g wireless network card, and a 3.5″ black floppy drive with built-in slots for flash/smart media.

It also has a sexy black paint job and the front panel lights up blue and there’s a plexiglass window on the side with an awesome swirl design and a fan that lights up red and six other fans and a 420W power supply. And its name is Foofaraw. And did I mention that it’s black?

Ahem… originally I had written more. I had written much more about what it was really like to geek out this much, and how much I hate Microsoft Outlook, absolutely abhor Microsoft Outlook, but then that fucking paperclip popped up and I tried to close his ass but instead closed the browser window where I was typing. Lost nearly half of what I had been writing. Things like that make me lose my will to live, so I’m gonna take a lot of pills and bleed myself to sleep.

April 4, 2004


Let there be no question that I live in heaven on earth. I don’t live in Detroit or Houston or a shopping mall. The days in Bend have been getting warmer, and with that the people are starting to come out of their Hobbit holes, lending a glorious flurry of activity to this striking old mill town at the foot of the Cascades.

I live two blocks from downtown Bend, which is overrun by sweet-smelling restaurants and art galleries and bars of varying class. The Barcelona is my hoighty-toighty jazz martini bar. The Bend Brewing Company, based on the shores of the Deschutes River, is my quasi-local watering hole. The Deschutes Brewery pumps out some of the tastiest local brews of any town I have called home, though the bar itself is typically a tourist hang with an hour-long wait for a table.

I live across the street from an abandoned Catholic school, which has supposedly been purchased by McMenamins, a restaurant chain in these parts that buys old churches and insane asylums and other neat digs and turns them into burger joints. A block down the street is the Bend Environmental Center where, among other things, the Mountaineers Club meets on the second Wednesday of every month. Somewhere down the block is the old meth house as well, but my roommate didn’t tell me about that until after I had moved in.

Lava House is a two-story, two bedroom half of a duplex. Our living room and kitchen are upstairs, where two huge windows look out over downtown. We have a small deck out front, in addition to a front porch downstairs and a grillin’ deck out back. The grillin’ deck attracts stray cats who like to sprawl out in the sun, as for whatever reason our backyard is always 20 degrees warmer than anywhere. We also keep the recycle bin back there so I can throw beer bottles at the cats. It keeps me happy.

My roommate regularly consults cigars on our front deck. It’s a great place for contemplation with a gorgeous view, especially at night when they light up the neon spire of the Tower Theater downtown. It reminds me of the Norshor and the sad spire it never got back. If it weren’t for all the huge pines in the neighborhood we would be able to see the Sisters from our deck, too. I mean the Three Sisters, as in the mountains. Not, like, sisters. Though that would be cool, too. Real cool.

The bulk of our frontside horizon is made up of Awbrey Butte. Awbrey Butte is encrusted with million dollar homes with really big windows that look neat when they reflect the golden morning sunlight. Rumor has it that Awbrey is composed of nothing but old California money and if you dug deep enough into the hill you would discover it is completely hollow inside. Rumor has it that despite the overt decadence of the Bendian upper crust, there is no way to earn a living wage while living in Bend. Such are the tired words of people who are as we speak scratching out a living in Bend, while at the same time despairing that they’ll never be able to scratch out a living in Bend. “Poverty with a view,” it is called, a term that has haunted my travels ever since moving West.

To these folk I say “Buck up, yo.” Certainly you can’t eat sunsets, but trying sure beats chewing on smog. There will be spiritual, physical and economic tradeoffs wherever you choose to live, and if you find that one of these facets grates you so fiercely that you cannot even exhale without hissing obscenities, then perhaps I recommend you find a new place. The economics of Bend are something that we will not delve into too deeply at this point, but I mention it to establish some frame of reference.

Anyways. There is a particular section of road, headed north on Century Drive towards Galveston. Whenever I drive this stretch I watch Awbrey Butte loom before me, with its mantle of glass mixed in trees and its crown of radio towers, and I think to myself that I have been here before. On that tree-lined boulevard I feel like I am back in Duluth, headed up Park Point to Canal Park after a nutzoid dip in the Lake.

In moments like these I realize that place can transcend the physical and nestle itself so firmly into the spirit that distance becomes meaningless. Surroundings become meaningless. All that is left is the raw emotion, that screaming desire for the soul to soak up everything around it and disperse those visions within itself. In one brief moment of realization the place and the soul intertwine and mix up their particles with one another. The soul becomes suspended in place, the place in soul, and when the exchange is complete the two become indistinguishable.

But as soon as the wave crashes it begins to recede. The ecstatic realization fades, but it leaves behind a warmth in your heart. In that moment you learned that everything you need is already bottled up inside. Even then, you didn’t so much as learn, as you remembered.