Saturday, November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving Adventures

During shift draw back in August I wound up scheduled to work Thanksgiving. In exchange, I’ll get all of Spring Break completely off. Since Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday right behind Halloween and right above St. Patrick’s Day (okay, so those aren’t really holidays, but you get the idea), I was slightly bummed about being stuck in Laramie for it.

Then I found out I wasn’t necessarily stuck in Laramie. It turned out that we had enough RA’s who were going to stay in Laramie anyway, and that I had the opportunity to leave for Thanksgiving Day if I wanted.

Well, I wanted. Not only that, but I had an invitation to Willie’s and Jenn’s place in Steamboat Springs, which is why Thursday morning at just after eight AM I was flooring my little truck down WY 230, heading southwest. The Snowy Range was in the lower right-hand corner of my windshield and their surrogate parents, the Colorado Rockies, were in the lower left-hand corner. I popped in one of my favorite Beatles CD’s, Let It Be, and a few minutes later, practically on cue, the sun lit up the mountains in an orange glow as Paul sang “The Long and Winding Road.”

This was a good sign.

A note here about “Let It Be.” The song “I’ve Got a Feeling” still, to this day, makes me wish I had a band. In fact, if I ever do have a band we’ll be doing that song. And Willie, if you’re reading this, I’m calling dibs on John’s part right here and now.

The rest of the trip was mostly what you’d expect when driving in the West. WYO 230 wound into the southern end of the Snowies – which were, well, snowy – and turns into Colorado 237 (I think) at the border in the mountains. From there you emerge on a high plains in northern Colorado with high mountains rising in the distance on all sides. Passing through the little town of Walden, you catch CO 14 West, a stretch that leads higher and higher until it dead-ends at CO 40.

CO 40 is one of the main arteries in the Colorado Rockies, connecting Steamboat Springs with civilization. I’m not sure what its mean elevation is, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 10 or even 12,000 feet. It was foggy and icy in spots; a sporty drive at times but nothing I couldn’t handle. Heading west, CO 40 pierces the mountains at Rabbit Ears Pass, and the resulting five mile freefall into Steamboat Springs is one of the most beautiful stretches of road I’ve ever seen.

Steamboat Springs is really a cute little ski town; the arbiter by which other cute little ski towns are measured. Dave and Jenn bought a condo there, and from their front porch you can see gondolas zipping through a skyline composed of other condos.

Please note that there were about four or five inches of snow on the ground, and all the sidewalks and roads were clear. This will be an important detail later.

Their place smelled like Thanksgiving. Jenn’s mom lives there too, and clearly they’d been cooking for a good while – and it was a little after 10 in the morning. (I’ll spare you the math: it took shortly over 2 hours to get there. This, too, will be an important detail later).

Dave and I drove around Steamboat Springs, checking out his new digs at the college library, the actual springs for which the town is named (they’re the size of your kitchen table, they smell horrible, and they’re too hot to bathe in), the high school (because teaching in Steamboat Springs would be really fun except for the housing prices and the bratty kids), and finally the liquor store where we loaded up on microbrews and wine.

Back at the condo, food and other guests started appearing.

Round 1: Crackers, cheese, and an amazing chipped beef ball (pronounced “CHIBEEBA!”), beer.

Round 2: Chex mix. Sweet fancy Moses, someone (Jenn’s sister) made Chex mix. More beer. My boys the Detroit Lions get their asses handed to them by Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Round 3: A return trip to the crackers and CHIBEEBA.

Round 4: The turkey appeareth. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Ham. Vegies. Wine.

Round 5: Pie. Ice cream. Australian port.

The turkey came out around 2 or so, and the rest of the afternoon is a haze. I think I fell asleep for a bit and then stayed conscious for all of “A Christmas Story,” then drifted in and out during “Will and Grace.” By that point most of us were TV’ed out, and Dave, his friend Mike, and I all took out our guitars and started playing. From there it was a long evening of Australian port, REM covers, and a few originals.

I crashed on their Murphy bed and their dog Sadie joined me. They’d warned me that Sadie snores, but I didn’t hear a thing – probably because my snoring drowned her out. In the morning I took Sadie out before anyone else was up and managed to lock myself out.

This is a good time to mention the snow. It hadn’t snowed during Thanksgiving Day much at all, but throughout the evening the snow started falling and steadily increased. By Friday morning damn near six inches had fallen and wasn’t letting up; the sidewalks were completely covered and it packed in between my ankles and shoes when Sadie and I walked around. I was mildly concerned about the drive.

So there I was, locked out in a heavy snowfall. After a bit of pounding Jenn’s mom let me in, at which point the morning started rolling. Coffee and ham sandwiches for breakfast. I called a coworker back in Laramie to let her know where I was and that I was heading back. Because, you know, if I didn’t show up for work this morning they should probably alert the highway patrol.

Simply brushing the stuff off my truck took more effort than should have been required; it was six inches deep and sticky. Jenn and Dave came out to help, and after a few tries I made it out of the parking lot. It was going to be a long drive.

The first few miles – the flat stretch leading out of town before the sudden climb back up to Rabbit Ears pass – were clear. The instant the road went vertical, though, it got icy. About a mile into the drive traffic was stopped because someone went over the side at the steepest part. Emergency crews stood at the top, pointing. One of them shrugged.

I drive a 2wd Toyota Tacoma. This translates into: lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and automatic transmission. This translates into: horrible, horrible vehicle for winter driving.

CO 40 heading east up to Rabbit Ears Pass is two lanes. The left lane had been sanded the day before but was still slick; the right lane was a veritable luge track. I crawled up to the pass in the left lane, pulling over only when someone wanted to pass – which was infrequent. The truck fishtailed a few times, but mostly this stretch was just icy and slow.

At the top, though, it was more or less a blizzard. The only time it wasn’t icy was when the snow had drifted over from the ditch. I fell in behind a slow-moving Lexus SUV and stayed relatively close; when I slipped out of their tracks my wheels spun and the RPM’s skyrocketed, even in low gear. To top things off, my windshield wipers weren’t working and left a big icy spot on the driver’s side, so I was leaning to the right and peering through a small spot where the heater kept the glass clear.

It should be noted that there were many, many vehicles in the ditch, many of them 4wd models. Now, I’ve long believed that I’m a better driver than most people. And actually, a small part of me thrilled at the idea of challenging driving conditions – winter driving provides a rare opportunity for truly skilled driving with automatic transmissions. On hills and icy spots I was all over the shifter column, dropping it into 2 or, when things got really sporty, L.

But the fact of the matter is I shouldn’t have been out there. 95% of successfully navigating winter road conditions is having enough goddam sense to not try it.

As CO 40 descended a little, the weather cleared. The road was still awful, and for a while I considered just heading into Denver instead of risking CO14. At the intersection, though, I saw a bunch of pickups and trailers taking the turn, so I assumed safety in numbers and followed. For 20 miles it too was icy but not snowy; 10 miles from Walden it cleared completely.

Gas, hot chocolate, and a bathroom break at Walden, 60 miles and one more mountain pass from Laramie. The ten miles into the Snowy Range was clear, but the second the road curved into the mountains it got icy again. Where ice and snow conspired to wipe me out in the Rockies, here ice and wind did their best. On one stretch the truck fishtailed to over 45 degrees past center. Vague survivalist machismo became concrete survivalist plans in case I went into the ditch.

Somewhere past the Wyoming border, up in the Snowy Range, WYO 230 crested and started to descend. Occasional clear spots became more frequent. Near the last few turns it cleared completely, the speed limit was posted at 65, and the sun shone clear and bright.

The last 20 miles into Laramie was a high speed burn. In the rearview mirror I saw chunks of snow blow off my roof and disintegrate on the road. I probably looked like a giant snowball, or a meteor with a white vapor trail.

A trip that took just over two hours Thursday morning took just under four hours Friday morning. Back in my room I called my mom, who along with my stepdad were on their way back from an East Coast trip, and then called M, who’d made it home on 287 (the notoriously hellish road between Laramie and Fort Collins) without much trouble at all.

After a nap I met M at her friends’ house for dinner. S and K are grad students from England; not only are they amazing cooks but absolutely hilarious. That, and they have one of the coolest houses I’ve seen in Laramie. Also, the wine went down really, really, REALLY well for some reason.

Wow. If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I wrote this this morning but Blogger wouldn't let me post until tonight. I got a bit more of the Beowulf paper done this afternoon, and I think the paper has turned a corner . . . the words are starting to come a bit easier. I should have the first draft completed by tomorrow night, thank Christ.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Dudie

Happy thoughts tonight. Happy. A metric ton of work (see below) looms large and menacing, yet tonight I'm happy. Why?

1. I'm dating someone. Our idea of a good time is her knitting while I read her copy of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism.

2. I get to go to Willie-dudie's for Thanksgiving. More on Willie-dudie in a minute.

3. An ex-girlfriend got her righteous self out of an icky relationship.

4. My beloved Illini are going to kick the shit out of the Big Ten in men's basketball.

5. Wyoming is probably going to a bowl game. I'm not kidding. They really are.

6. It's snowy and cold. All is right with the world when it's snowy and cold.

So, Willie-dudie, a.k.a. Willis, a.k.a. Dafe, a.k.a. Dave. Dave and I really got to know each other about 4 years ago, when my soon-to-be stepbrother Tim and I met for the first time. Tim and Dave were friends growing up in Champaign, and over winter break four years ago (I think it was four. Dave? Tim? Do you guys remember when that was?) Tim and Dave and Jenn and Liz (longtime friends+) and I went bar hopping in downtown Champaign.

On the way to the bar in Dave's minivan, we realized that we recognized each other from somewhere. We started listing off the classes we'd taken, and it turned out we'd had a Modern American Literature class with Michael Berube together. Michael Berube, I should mention, is a genius. And he's really, really, REALLY funny. And he knows his hockey. And he left my beloved University of Illinois to teach at Penn State... which is Illinois' loss, so someone there really fucked up. But I digress.

Anyway, Tim and Dave and Liz and Jenn instantly included me in their social plans whenever I came to Champaign, for which I'm still deeply grateful – probably more so than any of them realize. I can' t believe how serendipitous it was that four people could be so nice and so cool and have so many similar interests as my own. Also, when they lived in the house on Daniel Street, they threw absolutely humdinger parties. When they weren't throwing humdinger parties, they were sitting around playing guitar and singing songs I knew and loved.

At some point in that interaction I was initiated into the Dudie. The Dudie is a collective of dudes. I'm not sure how long it's been around, but it's an honor and a privilege to be a Dudie.

Dave and Jenn eventually held one of the most gorgeous weddings I've ever attended, in Colorado in the summer of '02. That trip, especially the camping excursion Tim and I took on the Poudre river, probably saved my life; that's when I realized the agony at Amazon.com was as temporary as I wanted it to be, and that maybe I really did belong back in the Rockies.

After a stint in a tiny little Colorado town called Larkspur, Dave and Jenn recently moved to Steamboat Springs, where Dave works at the college library. I haven't seen their new place yet but will in three days. Hopefully the roads won't be too bad; it's about a 2.5 hour drive on dry pavement and I know exactly how my little truck handles on snowy roads, which is to say it doesn't handle at all.

And really, this is exactly what I need. I haven't had much fun this semester, Dearest Readership. Undergrad is supposed to be fun, but it's been remarkably absent from my life until M entered the picture (she's going home to Boulder for Thanksgiving). So really, spending a few hours with Dave and Jenn – just hanging out, not necessarily doing anything – will be a very welcome relief. I can't friggin' wait.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The End is Nigh!

Okay, well, things seem to be looking up. We’re heading into the last few weeks of the semester, and thank (a) God (who may or may not exist) for that.

From what I can tell, here are my remaining assignments in order of stress generation:

1. 12 page final paper in Medieval Literature, due 12/2. We have a choice of topics and I’ll be writing on structuralism in Beowulf. Not that I have a thesis yet. Yikes.

2. 12 page final paper in Scottish Literature, due 12/7. We get the final assignment this Tuesday. Right now I’m thinking about Scottish paternalism in The House with Green Shutters and Lanark. I don’t have 12 pages’ worth of things to say about Scottish paternalism. Yikes.

3. 7 page final paper in my Intro to Literature class, due 12/8. I turned in a real piece of crap for my last paper (I tried to clarify Roger Williams’ position on converting Natives) but got an A; right now I’m thinking about Sara Knight’s terrifying road trip from Boston to New York, which I’m told is still terrifying.

4. Translation paper in Medieval Literature, due 11/30. Read 40 lines of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from the Pearl manuscript, translate it, and account for every word on the page. Sounds easy, right? I dare you to try it. No, nevermind. I’m almost done anyway.

5. Observation paper in my Human/Lifespan Development class, due 12/6. I’ve done the actual observation, now I just have to write it up.

6. Article summary in Teaching with Computers, due 12/1. Find an article about the gendered use of technology in the classroom, write a summary, turn it in. Um, okay.

Those are the assignments; on top of these are final exams, which shouldn’t be too bad since I haven’t missed any classes.

I’m also in the process of filling out an application for “Phase III” in my education career. Phase III covers the two semesters in which I’ll be mentored by a real life teacher and then do student teaching, scheduled for 2005/2006. The application process is roughly equivalent to filling out an overseas travel request in 1961 Russia. I swear to (a) God (who may or may not exist), a system’s value to humanity is inversely proportional to the amount of paperwork required of its people.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

. . .

I haven't posted for a week because, well, I've had a bad week. I don't feel like getting into the details other than to say it has nothing to do with M. She and I are still fine, which truly speaks more to her character than to mine.

So in lieu of the typical self-obsessed bullshit I usually post, I thought I'd dig into the vault for a passage I wrote back in the summer of 2001, when I was writing a page of fiction a night. I picked this one mostly for Tim's and MaryAnn's benefit, but anyone familiar with Phoenix may recognize the stretch on Indian School Road.


--------

Ray stepped into the heat and walked to his car.

Phoenix is a city without a soul. As with any American town its story is about growth, prosperity, and the price of each. In this case rapid growth dictated poor planning and the result is a sprawl of townships, villages, and intersections seeping so far north that villas dot the foothills of the Mazatzal Mountains. Eventually, Ray imagined, Phoenix and Flagstaff would be connected, 70 miles of gas stations and strip malls. Driving south from Flagstaff to Phoenix you plummet on Interstate 17 for several thousand feet, out of the pines and into the cacti. When Ray first made the drive he got the distinct impression he had landed not in the American southwest or even in North America at all, but on Mars.

His car-door handle was hot. His seat belt strap was hot; the metal clasp was untouchable. The metal button on the brake release felt like a sharp jab. His steering wheel was hot.

--------

Driving from Scottsdale to downtown Phoenix requires staying on a choice of a few roads for several miles. Ray preferred Indian School Road because somewhere near the border dividing the two cities, the road made a slight curve around what appeared to be a private, fenced estate. Phoenix’s richer neighborhoods are a patchwork of high stucco fences, which hide all but the clay stucco rooftops of the Phoenix elite. Even so, the estate itself wasn’t what appealed to Ray; he didn’t think a celebrity lived there and even if one did he wouldn’t care.

What Ray liked was the smell. A large wispy tree overhung the north side of the street where the road curved slightly. Driving through this neighborhood at night, you could instantly feel the temperature drop as you passed beneath the tree. It was still only a 10 degree difference or so, and really the smell was more interesting. It was an herb, or a spice, something Ray had tasted before but couldn’t name.

Smelling it did not make him hungry just as the difference in temperature did not make him cool. It was simply a little spot in Phoenix where hell was broken.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Things I've Done Tonight Instead of Homework

Wrote a pretentious blog entry.

Called Companion X, who henceforth shall be known as M because it takes too long to type "Companion X."

Checked up on the various online Risk games I have going on. Repeatedly.

Signed into MSN Messenger.

Signed out of MSN Messenger after finding that no one really had much to say about anything.

Ate dinner. The cafeteria had a gyro bar in lieu of the Mongolian grill. Was mildly impressed, but the cucumber sauce needed more cucumber.

Checked Chad's, Willie's, Tim's, Leta's, Michael's, and MaryAnn's blogs. Timmy. Dude. Update.

Checked my site's stats.

Checked CNN.com. No, I don't know the guy from Laramie that got busted for aiding terrorists.

Transferred a nasty APR on my laptop payment over to a low APR on my credit card.

Cursed the UW IT department for roughly the jillionth time in 4 days. Their little "outage" was "supposed" to take "2 hours on Saturday." It's been an "intermittent pain in my ass" ever since then.

Checked out ravenmaps.com because I have this thing about maps. Namely, I like them.

Thought seriously about playing guitar for the first time in several weeks.

Meese is a Pig

On my way across campus today I glanced up at the flagpole for no particular reason. Now, from what I can tell, this flagpole has no real significance apart from what the military industrial complex wants us to feel about flagpoles. I mean, it's a pretty normal flagpole. In fact, it's so normal, so completely pedestrian in its flagpoleness, that it could pass for Plato's flagpole in the realm of forms.

Preconscious relic or no, it had no business uncorking an old dream, but that's exactly what it did. Suddenly I remembered flags and corridors and t-shirts saying "Meese is a pig" from a dream I had many, many years ago.

Why does that happen? Why do random scenes or smells bring dreams back like that? Maybe time runs out on synapses and firing through old patterns is their way of staying relevant; a chemical PR move. Or, for that matter, maybe I was supposed to get something from that dream that I never got, and somewhere deep inside I'm still chewing on it.

No, I suppose that's unlikely. I think what's more likely is that I'm writing because I don't feel like studying right now.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

White Noise

Speaking of authors I dig, one of my favorites is Don DeLillo. I first read White Noise as an undergrad at Illinois in Michael Berube's class. If any of the Dearest Readership are currently enrolled at Penn State University, do everything you can to take a class from Michael Berube. I don't care if you're a mechanical engineering major, just take his friggin' class, okay? And, friend, prepare thyself for book learnin'. Prepare thyself also for hockey insight to rival Don Cherry's.

Anyway, I was thinking about white noise today, and tonight I'm writing a mindless paper with Sunday Night Football droning in the background and the remote is AWOL. It occurs to me that I hate commercials. A lot. Especially when kickass rock 'n roll bands like Led Zeppelin peddle fogey shitboxes like Cadillacs.

Commercials I Hate and Why
-----------------------------------

TNT (or maybe TBS – I can never keep the two straight) Knows Drama. Their proof is pretentious actors blithering dumbass monologues ripped straight from Inside the Actor's Studio (a show that makes me itch). Allison Janney, the only time we want your insight is when you're C.J. Cregg.

Cadillac & Led Zeppelin. Maybe the guys have a good reason for selling out to Cadillac, although I can't think of one for the life of me.

Cialis – A smooth jazz horn riff. An attractive woman talking about erections. Aw, yeah... time for middle aged men to get it (back) on. Actually, I've long argued that the world would be a nicer place if more people got laid, so anything – ruffies excepted – that helps achieve that end can't be all bad.

Beer commercials – I have this theory that there's an inverse correlation between a beer's taste and the amount of money spent on advertising. For instance, Budweiser and Miller spend more on ads on Sundays than Spain's annual GDP. LaBatts Blue, whose ads are seen less often, is far better than either. And we don't hear a damn thing about the best beer ever.

There are more, I'm sure. I invite the Dearest Readership to submit theirs.

Lanark

It's a novel. We're reading it in our Scottish Lit class. I'm 25 pages into it, and already I can tell it's going to be one of those novels.

Throughout my twenties most of the fiction I read was written by really smart white guys. My favorite writer, I claimed, was Thomas Pynchon. I say "claimed" because while technically that's whose writing seemed most intriguing, what I most enjoyed about Pynchon was saying my favorite writer was Pynchon. That is, when you're playing the Name Game with other English majors (or whoever), saying "Pynchon" is more or less like pulling a gun.

-------------------------
The Name Game's rules:

1. It must be played in a public place where others can easily overhear. A hallway in your local university's English building is good. Airport lounges are great. Coffeehouses are ideal.

2. Mentioning an intellectual movement from Europe results in extra points.

3. Mentioning Nicholas Evans or Robert Waller results in immediate disqualification. Other authors too numerous to mention here result in loss of turn, but not disqualification.

4. Each party's turn shall consist of A) Restating which novel the Game is referencing, B) naming one author the novel in question reminds them of, and C) supplying evidence, preferably found in writing style, use of metaphor, or intellectual movement (see Rule #2).

5. The party naming the most authors and/or intellectual movements before the conversation turns to either party's own writing wins.
-------------------------

I've come to realize the Name Game is usually a vehicle for insecure people to show off their compendium of knowledge. Which is fine, except the same people would likely snort at the idea of buying your first Nick Drake CD after seeing a Volkswagen commercial. This whole attitude is why I stopped trying to talk about jazz with anyone.

But I digress.

Participants in the Name Game usually have an unspoken baseline; there's writing (Stephen King), there's writing (Martin Amis), and then there's Thomas Pynchon, where weird and often unexplained phenomena may or may not be a metaphor for something more profound, and whose omniscient narrator may or may not be kidding. Which is exactly what's happening in Lanark.

25 pages down, 535 to go.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Question for Robert Crawford

You said the earth talks to itself.
Mountains acknowledge hills
from other masses.

I wonder if you could explain
why the hills speak in the first place,
when they know most voices erode.

And at least I do know to be careful here; that
irony is narcissistic; that there are some elements
you may have never known.

"She opened up a book of poems / and handed it to me..."

I haven't written poetry for just about 10 years. In talking about it, Companion X and I recently reached the conclusion that we know bad poetry when we read it, but we're confused by the poetry that smart people insist is good.

That said, I had the privilege of hearing Robert Crawford read some of his stuff during a recent visit to the University of Wyoming. Hearing him read inspired me to write poetry the same way Willie Nelson inspires me to play guitar, and, I noticed, led to the same vague feeling of inadequacy.

So I wrote a poem about it.

Justice Ashcroft, I Presume?

You heard it here first:

1. Rehnquist is ailing and probably on the way out.

2. CNN is reporting this morning that Ashcroft may resign "within 2 weeks."

3. Bush has to be drooling at the prospect of nominating a Supreme Court Justice.

4. Republicans have control of, well, everything.

5. Words cannot adequately express how horrified I am right now. I wonder if Canada needs English teachers.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Four More Years! Four More Years!

The American people have spoken and what they've said is, "Please, can we have another four years of theocracy and fear and war rhetoric? Huh, can we? Pleeeeeeeeeease?"

I went and voted yesterday and felt damn smug about it. Not that Presidential votes matter in Wyoming; I'll have to check but I'm pretty sure we've never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Still, there were a few interesting amendments which were easy decisions and many local elections that weren't. Since I had no idea where the local candidates stood on issues, mostly I picked the people with Scots-Irish surnames because, well, why not?

Back to the national scene. The Democrats are getting their asses handed to them, including a major upset in South Dakota, where Tom Daschle has been dethroned. Gay marriage bans, or definitions of marriage as a union between Man and Woman, are passing all over the place. If you're one of the holier-than-thou types who support gay marriage bans, all I can say is "enjoy it now." By the time I'm 50 – 18 years – those amendments will be overturned. Even the most adamant God-fearing, Bible-thumping Christians have yet to explain to me why two people who love each other shouldn't have domestic rights. And don't start quoting scripture on me. YOUR God may not have room for loving relationships; mine does.

The single bright spot in this whole mess is Obama giving Keyes the what-for in Illinois. I have the feeling Obama will play a major role – if not an historic one – in American politics over the next several years.

So that's that. Some of this is sour grapes; I feel strongly about many things and I'm baffled by people who feel differently. Maybe another four years of Bush won't be too horrible, but I think in all likelihood, all we've done is encourage more division and self-righteous posturing from Washington. And hey! At least we'll have plenty of material.

See you in the streets.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Halloween Ot Four

In the fall of 1999 I was a cog in the customer service department at Amazon.com, living in Seattle, and weighted down by pocketfuls of disposable income. If you've never been in Seattle for Halloween, especially the neighborhood around Broadway Ave., I highly recommend you try it out, just once. I mean, you won't believe the shit you'll see.

Anyway, that was the first year I went as Hunter S. Thompson. The movie version of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" had come out, but I was already a Hunter fan. I think I might have gone to one of Amazon's infamous Halloween parties as Hunter, or maybe not, but either way that was the year I discovered a remarkable ability to BECOME Hunter S. Thompson at Halloween. It's weird: you put on the hat and glasses, stick a cigarette holder in your mouth, and suddenly you're forced to mumble non sequiters about bats, or booze, or politics, or swine, or whatever.

Nevermind that most people who think they get the costume don't call out "Hunter!"; mostly they yell, "Fear and Loathing!" Which strikes me as akin to liking Chaucer because of the sex scenes.

So this year I was invited to a party on Saturday night on the west side of Laramie. Companion X went home to celebrate her mom's birthday earlier that day, so I went stag, sucked down a can of Budweiser, made talky-talk with a guy dressed up as a Young Republican, and skeedaddled back to Orr Hall. I had to work early Sunday morning anyway, so it was a rather subdued Halloween compared to what usually happens.

On that note, when my best friends C&H lived in Seattle in the late 90's and early ots, Halloweens were simply Out of Control. At one point we vowed that someday we'd all go as Scooby Doo characters (I fucking hate that cartoon, but whatever), and guess who got elected to be Velma. Fuckers. Anyway, C&H are now in DC, but are thinking of returning to Seattle or even Laramie, pending job offers at universities. Hmm. Yes. Let's see. Post Doc stuff at the University of Washington, or at the University of Wyoming. Gosh, I just don't know which one I'd pick.

Then again, C&H now have a child, and personally I'd rather raise my kid in Laramie. Their respective families are in Wyoming, too, so I hold out hope that a year from now I'll be living in my best friends' basement, paying them rent, and playing Mario Golf or James Bond on Nintendo 64 just like the old days of Seattle, '99.

God. Was that really us?

Halloween, 2003. Taken in some back alley in Edwardsville, IL. I have no idea who the other guy is. Posted by Hello

Monday, November 01, 2004


Me, as Hunter S. Thompson, Halloween 2003. Taken at the health club where I worked. Oddly, few people got the joke. Posted by Hello

Pics from the Ft. Collins Trip


A fellow RA and I at the Wyoming/CSU game. Taken by a drunk CSU fan. Posted by Hello


On board the "magic bus" en route to Ft. Collins for the Wyoming/CSU game a week ago. To quote Jerry Jeff Walker, "He sure does like his Falstaff beer./ He likes to chase it down with that Wiiiiild Turkey liquor..." Posted by Hello