March 27, 2005


If you drink three Red Bulls in the same day you will not sleep that night. At all. Your brain will reel and you will be haunted by uncomfortable visions and non-dreams, stitched together in a horrible and disjunct fashion.

The last few days have been wild. Friday afternoon I went to the local sporting goods store to rent a pair of snowshoes for our backcountry skiing expedition on Saturday, and by Friday evening I found myself driving to Government Camp, spinning a recently acquired Johnny Cash show, headed for the Mount Hood Brew Pub to meet a group for a full moon snowshoeing hike.

We hiked a few miles up around Bennett Pass, and afterwards a small group of us pulled up to Charlie’s in Government Pass for beers. We were treated to live music, a solo guitarist who played a fifteen minute rendition of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald with more flange than you can imagine.

It was late and I had an hour’s drive back to Hood River, but I was armed with Red Bull. So much Red Bull. And Johnny Cash. And Red Bull. I fell into bed around 1:00 in the morning, and proceeded to toss and turn for more than four hours. I was meeting Joe at a quarter to seven that morning to hike Hood and go snowboarding, and with my alarm set for 5:45 I really wanted to get some sleep.

But sleep I did not. Instead, my brain was haunted with awful disjointed images, juxtapositions that unsettled the mind. It resembled the slapdashed style of snowboard magazine ads, where underpaid and overtalented graphic artists are turned loose on an indifferent audience. Instead of mishmashed photographs of professional snowboarders, the source images were of my own life, past and recent experiences, slapped together with wickedly worn edges, distressed Photoshop techniques and high-tech interfaces.

It wore on for hours, until finally I decided it was late enough to get up and shower. It was 5:30 in the morning. I ran the water for more than five minutes but it never got warm. The furnace had finally choked and needed to be repressurized (or filled with bodies), and I didn’t know how to do this without blowing the house up. Plus, the furance is in the basement, and we can only access the basement by going outside, pulling aside a heavy (and sodden) plywood cover, and descending a step ladder into the foundation.

Plus, it was raining. Whatever. I ate toast, the cat yowled constantly, I drove to Joe’s, we picked up Phillip, and the three of us headed for the mountain. It was snowing big heavy flakes at base when we started slogging, and it was blowing and snowing like all fury at the top of the timberline where we stopped. The snow was great in the higher elevations and we made some sweet turns, but down low everything turned to crud. It was raining hard and the snow rode like Elmer’s, so we called it a day and drove back to Hood River to eat burgers and drink beer.

At the pub we got a table near the window, and watching traffic on State Street provided limitless entertainment. The city had been doing some road construction, and the rain had carved out a huge pothole in the oncoming lane. The pothole looked deceptively tame, so cars would approach it with way too much speed and find themselves kicked into the air and bucked all over the street. The whole thing was so hilarious that we shot video. If anyone can recommend a good way to compress AVIs shot from a digital camera, I’ll smaller them up and post them online for ya’ll.

My friend Brian from Wooch! is in town. He was supposed to be framing houses down in Tucson, but road construction had foiled his grand scheme of living in the woods and commuting to subdivisions, so he headed for the coast. He met up with a French-Canadian gal and they’ve been working their way up the Pacific coast, occasionally stopping at organic farms to lend a hand and make a couple bucks. He called me Saturday afternoon when they were in Tillamook, and they arrived in Hood River that evening.

We hung out and waxed poetic late into the evening, and I learned that even though Quebéçois mainly speak French they also speak Canadian, and Canadians always say “eh” no matter the language. I was also told that most of the Frech I speak “doesn’t mean anything.” Seeing as how the French I remember involves such phrases as “Do not tease the pig,” and “The gas station attendant is in my trunk,” I wasn’t surprised.

Oh. Also on Saturday, thousands of ants invaded the house and carried off the cat. And this morning, the neighbor’s dog was curled up with the chickens inside their coop.