Monday, December 20, 2010

Westward ho!

In late July/early August, Melanie and I took a road trip that largely followed the Oregon Trail. In fact, Mel was on the road all the way from the east coast, so she started the OT in Missouri and saw the whole thing. She picked me up in Laramie, and we had a great adventure.

Wyoming landscapes are gorgeous, but I've posted so many pictures of it I'll try to restrain myself this time. Please enjoy the Sinclair refinery interrupting the scenery.
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I love roadside oddities. Mel is nearly indistinguishable from these stoic westerners in either Kemmerer or Diamondville, WY. I can't remember exactly.
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It is seriously so pretty out here.
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Straddling Wydaho.
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On the trail!
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We stopped at the Oregon Trail interpretive center for just a minute, and met a trail celebrity (although we didn't know that until later).
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On the way to a wedding near Sun Valley, we took a big detour to go to Craters of the Moon National Park. It was very odd, but cool to see all that black lava rock.
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Of course we had to make another stop out of the way to visit Ketchum, the last home of Hemingway. Finding his grave was super easy.
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It cracked me up to watch Mel post to Facebook from the gravesite.
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The Sun Valley Lodge has a really pretty monument to Papa.
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We drove back down to Twin Falls for the night. Can you believe we're finally at Day 2? In the morning, we visited Shoshone Falls before hitting the road again.
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From Twin Falls, we drove to McCall for Elizabeth and Jasper's wedding. I took a little break from photos for a day and just enjoyed hanging out with friends. The wedding was gorgeous and small, and the ceremony took place at a cute little inn on a patio that overlooked the lake. It was so fun to be at the wedding of two awesome people who've been together for 17 years!
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This one is probably in Idaho, but could be in Oregon.
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Of course we stopped in Baker City, OR at the end of the trail. The interpretive center there is really neat, and the wagon ruts are quite impressive.
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The rest of the day was spent hauling ass to Portland (Lewis & Clark trail, now!). We followed the Columbia (gorgeous) and stopped for the night at the White Eagle. Bunk rooms are cute and cheap, if you need a fun place to stay.
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We had breakfast at Tiny's, a cute coffee shop in the neighborhood, and made plans to meet up with our friend Shel for lunch.

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For a true Portland experience, we ate at some food carts. It was Monday, so lots of neighborhood pods were closed and we had to go downtown. That was okay with me! It was hard to choose what to eat, but Mel ended up with Thai, and I had a beet and apple juice smoothie.
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Then it was time to haul ass toward Seattle. After a brief stop in Seaside at the end of the Lewis & Clark trail (we're all about the detours), we took the bridge in Astoria over to Ilwaco, Wa.
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We made a stop again to see the North Head and Cape Disappointment lighthouses and to see the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. We had to hike up a short trail, but the views were so amazing. This is North Head.
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The Pacific Ocean.
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Cape Disappointment.
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We wanted to get to I-5 before dark, so we only stopped in Long Beach for a quick dinner and drove up the Coast Highway for a while but then had to cut over after Willapa Bay to start making good time.
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It was an amazing trip, and we got to see a lot of the west we love so much in just a few days.

Monday, December 13, 2010


You know what? I have gone several places in the past few months. I'm not going in order here. In August, I went to Sweden! This time it was Gothenburg, on the west coast, so now I've been to both sides of the country. The visit was for a library conference, but it was a lot of fun, too. I saw so many cool things.

An ABBA cover band opened the conference. You have not lived until you've seen 5000 librarians get up and dance with glee.

On our first night, we met up with some fun Danish and Finish librarians and stayed out all night barhopping. I think this photo was taken at about 3am in the "shittiest bar in Gothenburg!"

I ate a lot of good food and drank a lot of free wine. This table represents maybe 1/3 of the wine consumed by two people at one reception. Oops.

We visited several libraries. I won't bore you with the dozens of photos I took, but at one, I found a printer named for me.

We saw Jose Gonzales with the Gothenburg String Theory for free in the street because the city cultural festival was happening.

Cass and I rode hotel bicycles around town one day (yes, I was in a dress).

With two friends, I ate at a Michelin rated restaurant. My lamb was AMAZING.

Cass and I went to a two-day music festival and it kicked ass. Let's just say I've never been to a better festival in all my years. The lineup was fantastic and there were club shows for three nights. Crazy.


LCD Soundsystem was great, and we were way up front.

On our last day, we went to the archipelago for a rainy ferry ride. It was gorgeous.
tiny harbor in the archipelago
peaceful times

Monday, November 15, 2010

department of complaints department

Have you seen that commercial for Disneyland that has parents surprising their kids, who are "so excited!" about going to the big D? It kind of makes me laugh because my parents also pulled a Disney surprise on my brother and me back in the day, and let's just say it did not go well. Picture two children, aged 9 and 12, bursting into tears at the airport and asking why they can't just go home. Poor Mom and Dad. We were so ungrateful.

Speaking of commercials, though, I am in HATE with the new one for the (disgusting) McRib. In addition to the gross-out factor of McRib sauce dripping off people's lips, the music is an insanely schmaltzy love song that I can't get out of my head thanks to Hulu. It seems to only want to show me the McDonalds and Disney ads.

And speaking of things that make me crazy, what up TSA? I have three plane tickets for the next two months and will soon be booking a fourth for March, and I'm mentally preparing to refuse to go through the peep-show machine if directed and just submit to getting groped instead. My bra almost always sets off the metal detector in Denver (but not other airports), so I've gotten used to the pat down and wanding. But last month when I flew to Baltimore, I got the new and decidedly unimproved touching. The woman who aggressively felt me up was so into invading my private areas that she totally forgot to wand me.

The just-for-show non-security bullshit is making flying not feel worth it. I'm considering only using air travel for conferences and driving home when I want to visit family, even though it is a 2 12-hour days, multiple mountain pass crossing project that's kind of treacherous for the first day several months out of the year. Still, it might be worth it to just take my money out of a terrible system.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

sing me to sleep

My brain often refuses to power down at night, leaving me physically exhausted but mentally preoccupied. Usually, I'm just scrolling through everything I need to get done and coming up with new ideas to torture myself with overwork. People, I need new project and/or research ideas like a hole in the head.

Sometimes, though, I can't stop thinking about my day and all the bits I wish I could rewind and rerecord: missed opportunities to tweak a piece of writing before sending it off, something I should have said in a conversation, a moment I should have stopped to enjoy for bit before rushing off, a lecture I didn't attend, an invitation I didn't accept, a photograph I didn't take. I'm secretly a perfectionist, I guess--just too lazy to realize perfection.

But every once in a while, the odds and ends floating through my fatigued mind are just random memories. Tonight's sample:

1. During my first year of community college, I took trigonometry from a teacher who pronounced the letter W as dub-ah-yuh. And W was often a variable in our problems.

2. A fairly irrational paranoia that I'll lose all my teeth.

3. Where is my passport? Oh, right. Don't forget to pack the passport!

4. Can I justify the cost of a ticket to Way Out West? Can I really go to Göteborg during the festival and NOT get a ticket?

5. There's a book on the hold shelf for me at work.

6. Whatever happened to my white jeans?

Insomnia is not new to me. When I was about fourteen, I used to listen to my cassette tape of Louder Than Bombs every night to put myself to sleep. Man, I was obsessed with the Smiths. My first bedtime album was their debut, but I always had to listen to it about three times through before I'd drift off. LTB is way longer, with the bonus of ending in the track "Asleep." Think it would work for me again, a couple of decades later?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today's Go Fug Yourself installments featured Angelina Jolie. Now, I'm not either a big fan or a strong hater when it comes to Angie here, but on first glance I thought this photo was pretty cute. Then I realized I like her hair here. Then I realize she has the exact same bangs I just got (similarities end there). Finally, I realized the Fug Girls dissed the bangs.

By extension, I think I got fugged, too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton

You probably heard that Alex Chilton died yesterday.

I learned about Alex Chilton backward, through other bands who loved Big Star, especially the Posies. Once I started paying attention, I realized how many of Alex's songs I already knew, some through covers. "Thirteen" is probably one of the prettiest songs ever recorded, and I loved it when Elliott Smith covered it because it sounds like something he could have written himself.

I won't pretend to be the biggest Big Star superfan, or anything, but they're important. The Posies did several Big Star covers when they'd play live, and as you probably know, Ken and Jon played with the band when they'd reunite. Because I wasn't alive yet when the Box Tops were around, and I was so little when Big Star was recording albums, the Posies are really mixed into my understanding of Big Star as a band.

When a musician I love dies, I always feel selfish for mostly mourning for the songs I'll never get to hear. But you might know what that's like. I probably felt that most keenly for Elliott and for Kurt Cobain, but Alex Chilton ranks pretty high up there, too. Maybe because I'm getting older it seems like this happens more and more often now and that I should start getting used to it. But it still feels like there's something missing in the world when an artist dies.

Like a lot of people, I went home and listened to Big Star. And Cheap Trick. And R.E.M. And the Posies. And a bunch of other bands that were influenced by Alex Chilton and his bands. It made me feel better somehow, which is something. And I love that Chilton was memorialized for Congress.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


So, appropos of nothing, do you think Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" sounds like it could have been recorded by America? It has such a 70s sister golden hair vibe to it, in my opinion.

Just checking.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


To try to get back into updating, I decided to totally copy Jess and do a ten things post. Well, we'll see how many things I end up with.

1. I went to prom. It was a fundraiser for the local dance studio's performing troupe, and it was pretty fun. Some girlfriends and I took advantage of the opportunity to get dressed up, drink champagne, and dance our asses off. As you can see, we mostly stuck to regular, cute dresses and left the 80s period costumes to others.

2. The weather has been really cold, work has been crazy busy, and I've had a cold, so I've been slacking on exercise. This means that every time I do go to yoga class, my muscles ache a ton afterward. In a good way. Then I think I should go every day to get in better shape, but days go by before I do. Lather, rinse, repeat.

3. On Valentine's Day/Chinese New Year, my friend Nina had a really awesome brunch. We ate quiche and drank mimosas and coffee, and it was totally fun. Then I had to bail out a little early to pick up Rick and drive down to Denver to the conference we presented at. We talked about finding a Chinese restaurant for dinner, but then lamed out and just got food downtown where we were staying. The elk burger was good but not great, so I had minor regrets. The conference went well, though.

4. The Olympics are wearing me out. Part of the problem is that I like all the winter sports and therefore will watch any and all of it, even the dorky athlete profiles and pandering interviews. The winter games has more value added elements than summer. By that I mean crazy Russian ice dancing costumes (faces painted all over, ropes, and random bits of tulle!) and hot Norwegian curlers in plaid pants.

5. For the first time ever, I did the Poker Run out at Centennial. It was a long slog though snow, dodging five hundred drunk people on skis, snowshoes, and various other modes of transport. Here I am with Nina and Kerry, excited to get started.
Poker Run 2010
As you can see, the "shuttles" that took us up the mountain were totally offical and safe.
Poker Run 2010
After the event, we hiked up to our friend Laura's mom's place outside of town, where we spent the night. It was gorgeous.
After a hearty breakfast and some coffee in my gnome jammies...
...we hiked back out and went back to real life.

And...I'm out.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

dance dance dance

photo by Jurvetson (flickr)

Last week Pilobolus Dance Theater came to campus. I had beard of them, but hadn't seen them live before. I had a vague notion of them as a modern dance company, but they actually don't use established dance vocabularies--at least not that I could recognize. The program said they use a lot of improvisation in their choreography, which made sense based on what I saw. I particularly liked the way they partner dance, supporting one another's weight in really unusual and beautiful ways. Less interesting to me were the extended sequences on the floor. I like seeing people dance, and it's kind of boring to watch them writhe on the floor, although I was impressed that one of the most floor-centric pieces incorporated music by Primus.

I found their YouTube channel, but they don't allow embedding. I think that's lame, personally, but what are you going to do? For an idea of some of what I saw, check out Lanterna Magica. The other pieces I saw weren't there. I always wish photos were allowed at dance performances because some of the poses the dancers strike would make amazing stills. Luckily, I found some creative commons licensed stuff on flickr.

I'd recommend going to see Pilobolus, even if you aren't as crazy into dance as I am. It's kind of a spectacle that anybody can enjoy. There were tons of kids at the show, and during one piece called Walkelyn (which I didn't really care for), all you could hear were the full belly laughs of children. how much better than that can you get?