Friday, September 26, 2008

If I Had a Golden Ticket

Prior to April of this year, I was very excited about Austin City Limits Music Festival. Three days of music, Shiner bock, sunshine, Austin sweat, grass stains, sunburn, and friends? Um, heaven does exist in Zilker park.

But when I decided to move to Oregon, I had to make certain sacrifices. Obviously, I am no longer amongst family and long-time close friends. Obviously, I gave up weeks of sunshine during Wintertime. But ACL was another sacrifice I had to make. Sure...I could've flown to Austin (at least $400 or so) and attended the festival (another $180), but I just don't have that kind of cash flow.

BUT IF I had a ticket to ACL..this is the schedule I would see! (Click on the links to go to their myspace and hear music!)

Wake up, get some Austin's pizza, load up and head out..
2:30 - Vampire Weekend
4:30 - Gogol Bordello
5:30 - Hot Chip
8:30 - Manu Chao

Party time.

12:30 pm - Fleet Foxes
1:30 pm - Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
2:30 pm - Jose Gonzalez
5:30 pm - MGMT
6:30 pm - Jon Fogerty
8:30 pm - The Black Keys

Party Time II.

12:30 pm - Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet with Bela Fleck
1:30 pm - The Kills
3:30 pm - Stars
4:30 pm - Neko Case

Salt Lick break, then head up to the front for
7:30 - Band of Horses

On another note, I had a delicious barbecue sandwich today. It was from this bbq stand across the street from Safeway that I've been to a couple of times, but it had been closed for some reasons. Turns out the guy that runs the stand was born in Denison, Texas (adjacent to Sherman, which is where I went to college).

I thought that was CRAZY!

I just got done watching the debate. It was a good debate.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

things that suck...

I'll tell you one thing that sucks. Having a dream that there is a sneaky murderer living close by you, and then in real life the dogs in the house barking viciously at the front door at 2 am. And then realizing that your roommate stayed at her boyfriend's house, so if there is a vicious murderer/rapist/burglar/sociopath/drug fiend, you'll have to fend them off alone. THAT sucks.

I think my only weapon is...chunking my tv at his/her head. or bashing my roommate's guitar over the head.

But other than that, things are going very well. Except I *desperately* need more allergy medicine. and a much, much less active imagination.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You've GOT to Be Kidding

With the campaigns not quite at their height and the economy teetering on the edge of self destruction, there is a LOT of "media coverage" out there. I don't want to say I agree with Dusty Horwitt's equivalent of a blog , but he's got a point when he says the online barrage of facts and lies brings a new meaning to "too much information," or as my favorite jerk in Scranton, Michael Scott, would say, "TMI."

So, with all this excess of information, I am finding it more and more difficult to drill down on what's real, what's important and what's relevant.

Therefore, I was appalled when I went to my yahoo mail page, which always greets me with today's top headlines, and THIS is what I saw:

What? Michael Douglas is fielding questions about this CRISIS that America is facing?? That's about as relevant and important to me as Clay Aiken finally coming out of the closet. What I want to read is what Congress has to say about Paulson's three-page OUTLINE of the federal bailout of national companies! I don't care about some hairbrained reporter asking, " "Are you saying Gordon that greed is not good?"

I know it's on the entertainment tab of the headlines box, but it was the first headline that greeted me. I didn't have to click "Entertainment" to see it.

So what's worse? The fact that Yahoo put it on there or the fact that Americans are actually more interested in what Michael Douglas has to say about the economy than the people they elected to represent them?

No wonder Sarah Palin is doing even remotely well in the polls. Oh...I wonder what toner and skin cream she uses? Maybe someone will write an article about it, as opposed to discussing, oh...I don't know.....her stance on diplomacy over preemptive war.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dog Park Woes

As you know I love going to the dog park. It's even more exciting that there is an extremely cute guy there to brighten the landscape.

But tonight, and last night, Luna acted out. I'd like to blame it on the fact that she ate a pork chop bone last night and wasn't feeling well, but I think she's just an ornery little dog sometimes.

Last night someone got a little too frisky with her, and she screamed at them. And when I say screamed, I mean scream. She's got this loud howl/bark mixture, and she throws in a rabbit scream. It sounds like someone is torturing her. And she gets snarly and jumps up at the other dog's face. I don't think she'd EVER bite, but it's still disconcerting.

Tonight I thought things were going smoothly. It was REALLY cold (well, 52 degrees, but I thought it was cold), but cold in an invigorating way. My roommate and her dogs were there, and Luna and Nikko were playing fetch with me. It was dark out, and I was walking around looking for a ball, when this bright, new neon green tennis ball appeared out of nowhere. I considered picking it up, but I figured some owner might've just bought it, so I decided to leave it alone.

But Luna evidently thought it'd be a good idea to get it for me, and when she went for it this dog appeared out of nowhere and lunged at her growling, to which she responded with her usual vicious valor. Then ALL the dogs decided to join in, and next thing I know I'm surrounded by four or five dogs all barking and growling. And I didn't know what to do!! I've read a million times to grab your dog by their hind legs and pull them out when that happens, but I couldn't even see Luna's hind legs and frankly, I thought they might be in some dog's mouth. Well the other dog's owner got their dog out, and Luna skulked away...knowing she had messed up. Nikko ended up with the ball! But Luna was sitting, waiting for me at the edge of the meadow. Her ears were drooping, and she knew that was not a lady-like way to behave. As I walked away, I heard one of the spectators at the picnic table commenting that they thought it was the "little guy" that started it. I cringed and wanted to retort back to save my dog's honor.

I was glad she was ok and that no dogs were hurt. But I was mortified...mortified to see that the my dog park crush must've arrived in the middle of all that and seen it all.

Any tips on how to get a defensive/territorial dog to not be that way? She's fine at it's not necessarily with other dogs. I think it's just when she feels cornered.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harvest Moon

It happens this time of year.
The sun and moon illuminate the sky with an equal hue, an equal power.

The branches dance, rejoicing.
Their leaves whisper words of welcome, chattering in brief spells of chills.

This is her new year. When the two sky lights are one, disengaging the disparity between dark and light.

Whole, too, does her soul become.

This time marks the end.
This time marks the beginning.
It's print is as humble as the morning tide's gentle caress.

Here is where the mist and haze of what is yet to come surrounds her.

Looking over her shoulder, she recognizes the view.
It's landscape is vast, created by two foes, wrestling for power.
The tall mountain, charged by the convergence of fate and trodden by her feet, stands looming the distance.

She smiles wanly, knowing its foothills, boulders, creeks and trees of shade.
Its leaves, her memories, shake with sadness and dance with joy as she rambles on.
Reaching for one, she plucks it from its branch.

Breathing deeply, she fills her lungs with the air of paradoxes around her.
High. Low. Dark. Light.
The flavors are the same, as they have not yet been defined.
They have not yet become.

The sun and moon beckon her forth.
The subdued hum of the moon's pleasant orange cools the glittering passion of the sun's orange.

Clasping the leaf, her souvenir, her memory, she wipes a lone tear from her cheek.
She steps forward towards the orange dawn of what has not yet become.

Dance Party

Some of my friends and I keep talking about going to 80's night at a local club on Thursday nights. Apparently the DJ will play any song you request, and it's great dancing fun.

But if it's dancing they're looking for, perhaps I should just invite them over to my house at about 11:30 pm each night. That's when my room becomes a discoteque. Because that's when my neighbors decide to put on their best 70's pop vinyls and do.....whatever it is they do. Last night I was sung to sleep with songs like "Jungle Love" and "Dream Weaver." Tonight they seem to be focusing on Queen.

I actually don't mind it. Not only is it comforting, to have that noise and liveliness next door (although I'm sure if I were abducted, they couldn't hear me screaming), but it makes me feel warm inside. The music brings familiar sounds, feelings, and emanates a warm color that makes me feel cozy and relaxed. And considering that I can fall asleep despite almost anything, it poses no trouble in that way.

I don't know what it is they do while listening to the music, and frankly I could go the rest of my life without knowing or caring. All I say is bring on the REO Speedwagon and ABBA, because lord knows a life needs a little music.

Also, I suppose it's a fair trade for Luna's ferocious and intimidating howls at the passersby.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Crater Lake

I can't believe I haven't written about my day at Crater Lake yet!

After a rough start in the morning (forgetting my wallet, sleeping in, etc.), I FINALLY was on my way for the three hour trip out there. The first part was a beautiful drive, through winding roads surrounded by tallllll trees and sudden drop offs.

Then I reached the Deschutes National Forest. The only thing I know about the word "Deschutes" is that there's a Deschutes Brewery that makes fabulous beer (my favorite being the Black Butte Porter) and a large river with that name. This forest wasn't as beautiful as I had anticipated (it was still gorgeous, just not AS gorgeous) due to wildfires.

Finally I reached the park, bought an annual pass for $20. It's $10 a trip, and this way I can go next summer as much as I want, provided gas isn't too ridiculous.

I started the venture with a hike down to the water's edge. It was incredibly blue and clear. Pretty much incredible. I found a great spot on a rock, half in the shade and half in the sun, and sat down to read awhile to enjoy the cool air from the lake and the warm rays of the sun. There were some guys above me on a large boulder doing all sorts of cool dives and flips into the lake. I really wished I had brought my bathing suit!

Then I hiked back up, which was a little more difficult than I had anticipated, but WELL worth it. After that I just drove around for awhile gawking at the stark beauty of the lake and its surroundings. I enjoyed driving through the park and taking pictures. I got some souvenirs at the lodge (a sheet of postcards and a much needed rain proof windbreaker!), then I drove around some more. Then I drove home for three hours and went out to enjoy some of that Black Butte Porter! I've posted a slideshow below!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Palin Frigid to Polar Bears

This (in)famous picture is used by environmentalists everywhere to strike a realization into people's hearts about the real effects of global warming. Oftentimes people are put off by such drastic displays of life and death situations being used to sway opinions and actions. Sadly, it's quite relevant to my blog.

Sarah Palin, my new favorite target, and the state of Alaska have sued the federal government for listing polar bears as a "Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act."

Polar bears were listed as such because of their reliance on sea ice. Not only is this their habitat, but it is the resting place of seals, the entree of choice for polar bears. I think we can all most of us can agree that global warming is a very real issue in which our behavior can make changes. Without change and innovation, the sea ice will disappear and the polar bear population will drastically turn downward.

What does Sarah Palin have to say about this seemingly innocent "threatened species" listing of polar bears? Not only is this finding "not based on sound science" (, but evidently the polar bear population is growing! See:

"In fact, the number of polar bears has risen dramatically over the past 30 years," she said. "Our fear (is) that extreme environmentalists will use this tool, the ESA, to eventually curtail or halt the North Slope production of very rich resources that America needs." --

Yes, some polar bear populations have grown. Steve Amstrup of the U.S. Geological Survey explains this in the Anchorage Daily News:

"Amstrup said bear population trends have sometimes been misunderstood. The numbers have trended upward since the 1960s, he said, as overhunting was stopped internationally and better data became available. But the healthy trend has now been reversed by the new and overwhelming factor of habitat loss."
But the scientists know what they're doing. They're trajectory predicts dire straits (no pun intended) for polar bears.

One MAJOR benefit of placing these animals on the list is more protection of their lands and more scientific research into renewing their habitat via reversing the effects of global warming (ultimately helping US and OUR children).

What resources are being held captive by this new listing?

Oil and gas. Palin's veins run deep with oil, and without it, her prosperity drops. So, much like Bush and Cheney, she places her own self interest and pockets above that of reason, science, and the environment. Am I surprised? Heck no. Are you? You shouldn't be.

And while we're on the topic of "sound science," how about her stance on teaching creationism in school?

I assure you there will be maaayybe just a couple of more political blogs. I really am holding back.

A Gift Comes in the Mail

Today I was feeling especially distressed. Two weeks ago I didn't receive my paycheck on the normal date, because the post office gave me the wrong zip code for my PO Box, which I then told my company.

Then on this past Friday, I didn't get my check either. Today as I waited by the mailbox for my paycheck, I realized I had given my company the wrong new address. The street number is 791, but what with my dyscalculia, I had gotten the numbers mixed up!

I was quickly concerned about, not only getting my paycheck, but, that I had given EVERYONE (all papers I signed, etc.) the wrong address. As I was reading The Handmaid's Tale for my book club, I heard the postmas leaving a package at the back doorstep.

I went out to retrieve the package, which I figured was surely for my roommate or the girl renting the studio next door. Imagine my delighted surprise to see MY name written on the package in my dear friend Sarah's handwriting.

When I opened the package, I was elated to see a satchel with an owl made of patches and embroidered onto the bag!!! I LOVE owls, and my previous satchel promoting Dallas singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe had several holes and looked like I had thrown it in a mud pit.

So THANK YOU Sarah! I LOVE the new bag.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Typical Thursday Night in Eugene, OR

Tonight was one of my favorite kinds. Low key, yet not totally lost. My friend called for hobby suggestions, and my responses to her were A) a list of my hobbies or things I frequently do and B) a narration of my evening. I shall share a narration of my evening with you.

I came home from work. I ate leftover pot roast. I talked to roommate for a bit.

Then I went outside and laid on the hammock prepared to read The Handmaid's Tale for my book club. However, I was soon distracted by an insect crawling on my sweater. As I reached to gently remove her, I noticed there were three baby insects hiding underneath her wings. Her wings fluttered at my touch, and the babies moved around, their tiny thumbelina wings gently brushing one another. Slowly one by one, they came off of her back. With one left, the mother flew away, leaving one probably confused insect behind. Eventually it caught its drift and learned to fly. This was probably my favorite part of the evening.

Then I came inside, downloaded some music, broke a potted plant and vacuumed up its soil. I watched Big Brother (I hate everyone on the show). I put on some laundry. Mostly my evening consisted of me doing wikipedia hops from one topic to another, as I began researching the Oregon candidates for senator. There's been a ridiculous amount of well-financed, mudslinging ads by the Republican candidate (surrrrprised?), and I had to get down to the FACTS.

With my hatred of Republican political tactics flared, I looked up more info on Sarah Palin, my new favorite target. I found this article and shared a few choice words and thoughts with my good pal Allegra. She let me pretend to interview her, as she worked on her Teaching Philosophy.

With a renewed interest in invertebrates, I am looking for the name of a bug I saw last year at the Wall of Sound Music Festival. I'm not having much luck....yet. I'm thinking along the lines of an earwig, but I really have no idea.

And as I head to bed, I leave you with a picture of THE BUG. Keep in mind, my camera was still new and I didn't know how to use its special features just yet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seeing Eugene Through the Looking Glass

I'm not sure that I've adequately raved about where I work. For such a small organization, it certainly has a lot going on. It is, in my opinion, a well-oiled machine. The timelines are in place, people know their tasks and duties, and the product is great.

But more importantly than that, it is a very socially responsible group of people. Each month, we have a staff meeting dedicated to the idea of going green. Last month it was conserving paper, and this month it will be conserving electricity. In addition to that, it is sponsoring a new sort of program where employees (all six of us) can volunteer on work time with a local organization. It's part of our community outreach program, where we can actually practice what we preach! I think that is VERY cool. The program we opted to partner with is Looking Glass Youth & Family Services.

Looking Glass works by incorporating eight different, but complementary, programs, all designed to help at-risk youth in their development and hopefully to succeed. In preparation for our partnership, we toured three of their programs yesterday afternoon. The first was the Riverfront School, a program I was particularly interested in. It's a school for people who don't fit the round peghole public schools have created for them. For whatever reason, these students have found their way to this smaller, student-oriented program, where they can learn life skills and work on THEIR level for academic success. Their culinary students won first place in a contest last year!

The next program was the Counseling Program. With high productivity and few resources, this was one of the most mind-boggling programs as I tried to comprehend ALL that they did...or rather HOW they accomplish all they do. Lastly, we stopped by Station 7, a very cool emergency, short-term shelter for youth in crisis. It's a relatively new program, but it was very focused on helping youth develop life and coping skills, while also helping them build their own foundation.

After work I stopped by Smith Family Books to purchase a book for next week's book club meeting, when I saw a book called "The Heart is Above All Things Deceitful." I thought it might be an interesting read, as it said it was a narrative of a boy'd adventures moving through tough life situations.

Well, the book really hit me hard as I read it last night. It was unfortunately probably realistic, as it narrated the harrowing and TERRIBLE experiences this (fictional...) character endured. I kept reading, in hope that the kiddo would find his way out of these traps, but each one fell deeper and deeper into the hole. It was a fascinating progression and display of the pathology of mental illness or skewed thinking, but I can't bring myself to congratulate the author. Instead I'm filled with sadness, helplessnes, and outright disgust at what adults can bring themselves to do to children.

All of this has weighed very heavily on me today, especially after visiting those programs, where a lot of those kids may have experienced a life not totally unlike the "fictional" character's. Then I watched a video on youtube from Youth Communications, where a young man told his story of being bounced from foster home to foster home, failing school, and finally finding track and field as his way out. In the end he said he lacked confidence in himself and talked about how difficult it was for him to grow up without anyone loving him, believing in him and with no one to trust.

So, I'm thankful. I'm thankful foremost for having parents who brought be me up in an extremely loving and encouraging way. Always, ALWAYS on my side, they never let me doubt my own capabilities and only wanted what was (and still continue to do so) best for me.

And I'm thankful that my organization is allowing me to somehow get out and help Looking Glass help these kids. It's a great opportunity, and I just need to find where I can best fit.

Sorry for the long blog, I just had a lot on my mind.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Movies, Lakes and Humor

I saw a great French film tonight called "Tell No One." It was a suspenseful narrative similar to The Fugitive, but with better twists.

Crater Lake tomorrow!

but for now...a little Jon Stewart..

Friday, September 5, 2008

Where Has All The Ire Gone? Long Time, No See...

When I lived in DFW, I was an angry person. I attribute about 85% of my stress, anger and beligerence to my job. The rest was just typical stress. Ill father, drama-rama, and discontent with where my life arrow was pointing.

Commercials would send me on a five minute rampage arguing with thin air. People driving slowly on the highway would move me to growl loud gutteral noises I'm quite positive only gorillas make. I could only find peace and harmony in the sound of vodka dripping over ice and the slurrrp of it going up my straw.

But after moving here, despite any small problems and stresses I may have, life is good. I'm not angry. I'm not bitter. I can let stuff roll of my back much easier. In fact, just yesterday as I was driving in a roundabout intersection, I almost hit a passenger who was hiding indecisively behind a tree. As I drove by her, I smiled, as if to say "It happens.." Her response? A peace sign.

Admittedly, part of me misses the ability to go on tirades. I sorta miss NEEDING a cigarette, if only to think about the embers sizzling in someone's eyeball. I actually LIKE some commercials (the "milky minutes" one is hilarious to me for some reason).

But I gotta say... I wouldn't trade this serenity for comedic ire any day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grilled, Smoked...or Barbecued?

If there's one thing I've learned up here, it's that people say "barbecue" when really they mean "grill."

I went to a free baseball game "barbecue" with the law school, and I went up to kids working and said "Oh...where's the brisket?"

I got a blank look as a response.

"Brisket? We just have veggie burgers, hamburgers or hot dogs."

"I thought this was a barbecue."

"It is!"

le sigh.

This was not a one time thing either. It's happened several times since. Oregonians...we call that a "COOKOUT."