More Summer

This past week has been both fast and slow, as Summer often is.

Last Saturday, Ashley and Elaine and I decided that a short road trip was in order. We left Monday afternoon. It was hot and we drove fast deeper into the heat and headed south.
We decided to go to Fish Lake--a deep blue lake that sits on top of a mountain and commands the desert for a hundred miles in every direction.

We ditched out on the freeway and took a back road that promised to lead us through the tops of the mountains and to our destination in grand scenic style.

The pavement dissolved in the heat underneath us and gave way to dust and gravel.
We encountered a "Road Closed" sign chained to the trees across the road.
We proceeded to lift the chains and drive under.

We wound up through the hills and into the aspens and pines and through meadows and stopped at a lake that wasn't on the map to hear a chorus of summer frogs rehearsing in the late afternoon.

We saw a moose.

We came to the top of the mountain pass only to encounter another road closed sign--and eight foot snow drifts blanketing the road ahead.

We drove back down, underneath the chains again.

It was dark soon after, so we decided to search out some fabled hot springs south of Richfield and after some help from the nicest cowboy gas station attendant on the planet, we found them. Mystic hot springs. A hippie-owned hot water haven in the desert hills.
We soaked in giant white bathtubs under a nearly full moon.

The next morning we found ourselves in a green pine and quaking aspen valley at nine thousand feet elevation next to a five mile long and one hundred foot deep lake.

We launched the old boat and found ourselves chopping high-speed across the water like a dolphin afraid of the deep.

We cut the engines and took a floating nap.

I nearly ran the boat aground in the lake's only shallow spot.

Later, we took off into the woods and found, among other things, Rust Springs, the High Top Meadow, and a pack of cigarettes dangling on a string from a tree--a lost and found.

The next day was lazy. We woke up late. Cleaned and picked a dot on the map called 'Frisco' that claimed to be a ghost town as our next destination.

We drove through what felt like dozens of small towns, stopped and stood inside Butch Cassidy's house and listened for ghosts.
Pulled over and explored an abandoned gas station and then drove some more into the evening.

We realized that Frisco was farther than we thought and left it to ghost another day without us.

Moon rise came as we soaked in the Meadow hot pots on the way back. Sitting on rock ledges in warm and crystal water over an underground cave we watched bats snatch bugs from the surface of the pond.

Thursday was recovery. Also found out that I got cast as Pericles in the Young Company Shakespeare production of the same name.

Friday was Family Reunion in Heber--catching up with long lost cousins.

Saturday new glasses ordered and lunch with Dad and Andrew at Taco Riendo. Best Horchata of my life. Every time.

Later on, King and I strike, followed by an adventure with Clark and Amy.
We went to the Hollow Mountain up the canyon--a looming quarter mile tunnel that ends on a cliff face. It's entrance is a forty-foot grid of rusted iron bars like a cage over a gaping mouth. I made Clark and Amy walk the whole thing in the dark.

We told ghost stories in the car, almost hit a deer, and landed in my yard sleeping on a spare mattress we had pulled out on to the lawn. It was getting light before we fell asleep, and we woke up scant hours later this morning to the clip clip sound of my neighbor trimming the roses.

Scene I

Int. of apartment of ROGER and

ANNA. Roger is alone. He makes

a cup of coffee and sits at

table. Anna enters from outside, she takes off her coat and:


Where have you been?


Out. I meant to stop by the store and get some milk.


...Well, what happened?


I ended up at the church--stopped to pray. I lit a candle

for your mother. (she checks the sugar bowl)

Are we out of sugar?


I'm sure she'll appreciate that...yes.



Why don't you ever come any more. Your mother would be



She doesn't need to know--


But if she did--


Are you going to tell her?



No. You should at least call her though. She's dying to hear from you.


I will. Maybe.

He goes to do the dishes


I should have stopped at the store on the way back. I got

distracted--there was this girl...


Will you pick up some mustard when you go? Eggs too. And I

think we're out of milk.

ANNA you remember that bicycle my sister would always

ride? When we went to visit last summer? With the

streamers? It used to be mine.




There was a girl riding in the park. She had long streamers

on her handlebars just like mine did. Do you remember that





I stopped to watch her ride. I sat down on one of those

orange benches near the edge. Then there was this couple, a

few benches down, feeding the birds. I couldn't help

watching them--


I've got to get ready for work.


They looked around, and when they didn't think anyone was

watching, she pulled him in slowly and kissed him...

He has stopped to listen.


Then he opened his eyes for a minute and they saw

me--but he sort of grinned a bit and pulled her

in again...


That's disgusting. There's nothing worse than a couple going

at it in public.


But it wasn't like that--they weren't... You

could see it in the way they looked at each

other. The way they kissed. It was different.


I'm going to be late.


I miss that.


What? The bicycle?


No, the...well, yes that too. But...being like...


I've got to go. I'll see you after. Do you want me too pick

up some sugar?


Yes--but...maybe you could come back here first? We could go together.




After you get off--Maybe we could walk to the store together?


Um? No, it's fine, it's on my way back, I'll just--


Roger, would you kiss me in the park?

Long Pause


Yes. Of course. But I've got to get going--I can't be late. We'll talk about this when I get back. I love you.

He kisses her


I love you too.

He goes


Don't forget the milk too.

He leaves. She is alone

Viva la Verano

Today Ash and I went to the Summer Fest. It was last minute and lovely. We went not because we had any interest in buying things from the booths or waiting in line for hours on end to board an electric whirlygig of whizzing neon splendour, but because we wanted to see these things and smell them and hear the racket of the crowd and be pushed and squeezed and reminded of how many human beings we share these little plots of land called cities and towns with.
The ground was thick with footprints and we almost felt sorry for the grass, but it was just doing it's job.
We weaved in and through and out of bunches of people we've never met and Ash said it made her feel old because there were so many teens that we no longer felt any affinity with, and I said it made me feel young because I saw so many families, parents with little kids running around waving glow swords and cotton candy--I'm not old yet because I don't have any of these little creatures called kids.
And I remembered what it was like to see a carnival when I was six years old--radiating light and resonating color, spinning and shouting into the night, candy and popcorn and games offering prizes that were bigger than I was. And I remember how much I loved my mom, because she hates carnivals but would always take me anyway and sometimes let me ride the rides--even though they were really over priced.
We heard popping and a boom and we ran down the street to find a good spot to tilt our heads back and watch blooming fiery bouquets in the sky--red and gold and purple sparking blossoms opening and fading into crackling cinders overhead leaving nothing but smoke and ashes in the night after a thousand oohs and aahs. Fireworks so big and close that the repeating booms felt like a second heartbeat pounding in my chest.

This experience reiterated the fact that there are some things that will always be filled with a great deal of magic regardless of how old I am:
-Waves on the Shore
-Frozen Lakes
-Mountain Peaks
-The Sound of Crickets
-Cities and Crowds
-The Desert

Every time I experience something on this list I am again brought to a sense of childlike wonder.

After, we went with friends to a giant house in the middle of nowhere in Mapleton to join a freezetag tournament.
Thirty people. Three taggers. Three full floors full of long hallways and winding corners to pursue and evade. At times it felt like watching a heard of antelope in your living room.
Somehow, nothing was broken and no one was injured.
We played the sort of freezetag where you have to crawl between the legs of a frozen comrade in order to free them. My shining moment of the night came when I dove head first down the stairs passing under three arched sets of legs to set them free.
Somehow, I had gotten it into my head that I was too old to play tag.

Tonight I realized that I may never be to old for tag, or fireworks, or a carnival, or even diving down a curving set of stairs head first between someone else's legs--or at least I hope I'm not.

Long live this Summer.


An Eccentric Architect
A Madcap Plan
Jonathan Safran Foer
Puzzles, Riddles, and Ciphers
Secret Panels, Coded Messages, and Hidden Keys

=Every child's dream.

PS-I will build a house like this someday.


Cost per year to effectively end world hunger:

$ 200 billion

United States budget for Military forces during the year 2008:

$ 200 billion


So today my younger sister reminded me of something rather mean I had done to her when she was much younger and more gullible.
I told her that chicken nuggets and patties and tenders all came from a special place.
I told her they came from a boneless chicken farm--you know, where they raise boneless chickens?

The best part is, she believed me.

On a side note though, I think that this is an interesting commentary on modern food consumerism. Everything we eat is so over processed and modified to the point where the final products are often totally unrecognizable as something that once occurred naturally.
Even organic products like grapes and watermelons have been modified through genetic selection to be seedless.
Another evidence of human tampering: bananas are so inbred and genetically homogenous that your common yellow banana is unable to evolve any resistance to disease because they are all basically clones. If one got sick, they would all get sick. If any new diseases were to emerge that affected banana trees, that would be the end. We would have no more bananas.

The processing of meat is another story entirely and goes far beyond centuries of genetic selection. By the time it reaches your plate, it has been so altered that it is hard to imagine that it was ever moving, flexing, blood pumping muscle in a living creature. Bludgeoned, butchered (skin stripped off, muscles ripped and tendons sliced, bones broken) blood drained, then ground up into a red mush, shrink wrapped in plastic and styrofoam, thrown on a searing hot grill and then slapped between two sesame seed buns for your convenient consumption--you'd have a hard time ever imagining your burger peacefully grazing in a meadow.
Do you think people would eat so many hamburgers if they had to kill and butcher the animals themselves?

On a personal note, my mom read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle when she was in high school and became a vegetarian for a while as a result of the graphic descriptions of butchery and meatpacking.
To this day she will still not eat red meat in any form--but she does enjoy fish and poultry.

Due to her warranted disgust with red meat, the only sources of protein in the house while growing up were canned tuna and turkey hot dogs. Even as I write this, there is a 24 pack of the lowest priced turkey hot dogs sitting in the bottom drawer of my mother's fridge. They are disgusting. The first item listed on the ingredients is "mechanically separated turkey". I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but I am sure that I don't ever want to know and that "mechanically separated anything" makes me just a little bit queasy.
(I think I'll stick with the boneless chicken--at least that's natural!)

Not to mention that eating meat is maybe one of the most environmentally unfriendly and intensely wasteful things you could do--in many ways it's worse than driving a car. Consider the following:

Animals fed on grain and those which rely on grazing need more water than grain crops [6]. According to the USDA, growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the U.S. water supply and 80% of its agricultural land. Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume
90% of the soy crop
80% of the corn crop and
70% of its grain. [7].
In tracking food animal production from the feed through to the dinner table, the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1. [8] The result is that producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits. (Wikipedia)
Think about it: Driving your car probably isn't causing people to starve to death, but by eating meat you could potentially be depriving another man of his meal.

That's really the kicker for me. Imagine if we took all that soy and corn and grain that we are using to feed pigs and cows for meat and fed people instead? You could feed a lot more people! This isn't hypothetical either--people need food! People are dying! They are starving to death because we are feeding pigs instead of them!

So while I'm not really morally opposed to the use of animals as a food source, I am opposed to the poor treatment of animals and poor management of limited resources.

Food for thought (pun intended) and all the more reason to follow good advice and eat meat only sparingly--if at all.


I really wish I could write in italics.
No, not here on the computer, but with my hands holding a pen on paper.
Have you ever tried? It's really tough!
It would just be useful that's all.

What about umbrellas?
Umbrellas like parachutes--a plane full of paratroopers gliding to earth on unbrellachutes.
Or umbrellas for secret agent scuba divers to catch all their bubbles before they got to the top and gave them away.
What about umbrellas looped like bat's wings with tin bones extended and black nylon stretched tight, hooked feet to hold on to.
How about umbrellas that flap backwards in a gust of wind and try to fly away--what about a flock of migrating umbrellas?

What about fireworks?
Weeping cinder willows white hot in the sky.
What about fireworks from space? What would fireworks look like from space? Would you be able to tell the difference between a war and a celebration?
What about miniature fireworks that you could fire off inside on a rainy Fourth of July--the tiny rockets no bigger than a thimble bursting blooms like a bouquet on your kitchen table as everyone let out little 'oohs' and 'aahs'.

What about rain on a desert day that sets steam off the sidewalk when it hits the hot pavement? Or hot snow that freezes when it touches cold ground?

What about people who love each other and never had to feel differently no matter what happened or how far apart they were or how much time had past? What about love that could grow and grow until there was no room left inside but it stretched you and filled you and made you bigger like a balloon that wouldn't pop.

December 31st, 2007

Photobooth at the Musée Mécanique, Pier 45, San Francisco

Archive: Three Fragments

Heat residual
like burning in the blood
something I once knew
thinking of ---
quiet red coals
encased in white frost
--warmth inside the snow

slowly pulled wider apart
drawn upwards so slightly
--your mouth
in memory slow motion

on the bridge:
red kite on white string
rising above
fast rushing heads
held up by the river's breeze
that no on seems to feel
floating away


It wasn't even mid-april yet, but you could have sworn that July was half over.
The light morning breeze was short lived and gave way to a suffocatingly stagnant heat that cooked emerald green lawns into crisp yellow cinders before the sun had reached it's menacing apex in the sky.
Even sidewalk gutters seemed parched and thirsty--their dusty throated grates gasping at the thought of a burst pipe or a chance summer storm.
Harper sighed heavily as he smeared the persistent sweat beads from his glistening forehead. His rag was soaked and he had now been waiting forty minutes for the inter-city thirty six.
"This heat" he thought "could kill you."
Again he smudged the salty streak on his brow.
Long and fluidly writhing heat waves floated off the radiating blacktop and distorted everything in view to a dizzy, miasmic stumble. Harsh yellow white sunstreaks all but drove quivering shadows into submission, obliterating entirely those not swift enough to take cover. Tops of trees rustled a little in a hot breath of a breeze, their flaglike leaves weakly waving a pathetic surrender.
Images of the heat remained even when he clenched his eylids (though it did little good to keep the sweat from stinging them). Eyes closed, he still saw the heat swirling around him, the timid shadows seeking refuge beneath the soles of his shoes even as he lifted them sticky from the sidewalk, and felt the damp warmth of his rag as it scrubbed his face for the thousandth time that day.
He pictured the neatly lined row of trees across the street, utterly motionless against the thin blue sky that seemed to be rising and stretching like a hot air balloon being filled with fire--then, a deafening blast and a searing white light penetrating every inch of his peripheral like staring into the sun in every direction. A tidal wave of furnace blast air engulfing, scorching, vaporizing. He watched the trees across the street pop in succession like white dandelion globes blown clean by a shotgun--the cindered trunks floating away with the seeds before ashing completely. The ground began to split and bright orange cracks raced along the roadway just before everything melted--sidewalk, buildings, and grass turned glowing magma.
His glasses flew off first, followed closely by his backpack, clothes and skin. His bones held a split second longer--like the frame of a tin shack in the face of a hurricane, before being whispered to ashes: His shadow smeared thirty feet across the pavement.
Then, after the winds and the roaring, the burning and bursting, the cracking and melting, there was nothing but darkness and smoke. A rolling, reeling, and bellowing rumble carried everything away on a desolate wind.
The pneumatic doors hushed and he opened his eyes, once again feeling the hot sting of sweat on the corner of his lids.
How would he tell her what he had seen? What he had been dreaming of night after night?
More importantly, how would he find out what it meant?
He stepped up into the tran car and began the long journey to Anchorage.


I have now been home for two years to the day.