Thursday, March 12, 2009

Diversity... on the Western Slope

someone driving down the main strip
in a yellow Mustang
called me a "chink."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

photos of Paonia

Here's a selection of photos with captions.

This is the town of Paonia. I finally got a chance to walk up Lamborn Mesa (I think) and along an irrigation ditch. This is the main strip in town. It's got everything you need, except brown socks. This view gives me a better perspective of where I am.

Something - I dunno.

Something else - I dunno.


Whatever - I just thought the colors were cool.

This is where the coal trains run multiple times a day.

My roommate and I are the co-hosts for a "mountain-grown" public radio show called Musical Convergence. It's on every Thursday at 9:30pm MT, but we're on every other Thursday. We were on this past Thursday (2/26/09) so that means our next show will be on 3/12/09. So I guess you've got to count 14 days in between if you want to tune in. You can listen at Call in with requests!

A co-worker's car.

I'm running the Sound EFX for the community play. It's based on the book Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. The world premiere was last night. It was awesome. My boss wrote the play.

That's Babbitt looking directly into the camera.

That's the crazy woman.

I hope the play makes it big somewhere. It's really well-written.

And these are some berries outside of my office.

In conclusion, iPhoto is fun. Hope you're having a nice day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's probably a good thing that many nights here end with pulling chairs up to the oven and eating tater tots.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the first miner i ever met

Sorry for the couple weeks without a substantial blog post. I got caught up in work and being busy and being lazy and not having a computer at home.

I was walking to the office tonight to catch up on blogging, and as I walked out, a man happened to be walking by and drinking a beer. We were headed the same direction, so I said hello, and we walked toward the center of town.

He's worked in the West Elk mine, a coal mine 27 miles north of town, since the 1970s. Starting with his grandfather, all the men in his lineage had worked in the mines. He'd been to 'Nam and all across Asia as part of the U.S. Navy. I'll name this guy Fred to keep him anonymous. I feel weird writing about people in a town of 1500. Everybody knows everybody, and I'm beginning to know a lot of them too.

Fred's the first miner I've ever met, so I guess that'll bring a new dimension to all the folk songs I come across about coal mining. He said he works 12-hour shifts 4 days a week. 6am to 6pm one week, and the next week is 6pm to 6am. That puts my part-time graveyard shift at the T.V. station to damn shame. I'll never complain about that again.

Anyways, I just felt compelled to document my first (I think) encounter with a miner. They're not all conservatives haha. In fact, I think a whole bunch of left-leaning miners around here got in trouble for trying to form a union. I'm troubled by the concept of mining because it's unsustainable, but at the same time it's what's in place already, and it's what human beings depend on for their lives. I've protested against mountaintop removal because I think it's completely fucked up, but the only real solution I've thought up for our nation's energy is very general. And that is: we need to speak up about clean(er) energy, we need to study its human health impacts, and we need to develop the infrastructure for all of this. AND we have to do all that while keeping in mind that what we do as humans has an ENORMOUS impact on the rest of this living and dying world. I know that's a horribly general solution, but when I think of energy solutions, those are the basic principles that come to mind.

...which brings me to my next point...

GET OUTDOORS! whoever the fuck you are. A lot of natural places are getting torn up for our way of life, our over-consumption, our need for everything at all times. GET OUTDOORS and see nature and speak up about it. If you don't see it or if you don't have a connection with the outdoors, you ain't gonna do nothing to stop its destruction. And neither is anyone else.

I've been really fortunate out here to have really active roommates and friends, so most weekends, I've been able to get out and see the land. Here are some photos of last weekend...

This is the decent down the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In 1 mile, we dropped 2000 feet. I crawled the entire thing back up. Probably the longest 2 miles of my life.

At the bottom of the canyon, we wandered around a bit. We were the only people that attempted this route this winter season. While we slid down the snow, I wondered if we'd get back up alright. We would also create these small landslides of about 4 feet in length. That was kinda scary. I'd imagine that us humans have caused quite a bit of erosion in the canyon from the miny landslides.

Today was cool. I randomly got certified to administer CPR and AED. Oh yeah, that's another thing... If the opportunity arises and it don't cost too much, go get taught how to do CPR, AED, and First Aid. It's all common sense, but it can really help your fellow brothers and sisters. Sure would've helped during that spate of hit'n'runs in Rhode Island last summer. You might recall seeing the video of that man that got hit by a car in the city. No one did anything for a good minute and a half.

I can't write anymore; I started listening to music. Here's some photos near my home.

This was taken a little ways up Steven's Gulch, a piece of Forest Service land about 5 miles from my home. I live down the hill from here in the valley between the mountain I'm standing on and the two mountains in the distance.


Monday, February 2, 2009


My bad. Haven't blogged in a while. I'll try to blog soon. But hopefully this exchange in conversation will give you a good idea of the town I'm living in.

Guy in bike: Ahh, what a beautiful day in Paonia...
Guy in car: Yeah? What'd you do today?
Guy in bike: Ate some toast.... and... listened to Flogging Molly.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Country News


Anyone that may or may not be reading this: I encourage all of you to check out High Country News on the Web at

It's a great news magazine that explores issues of the American West. It focuses mainly on natural resources and the cultures surrounding them. A lot of cool investigative stuff. So if you care about nature and what it has to offer, make sure to check it out. Spread the word! Let me know what you think.

I've been blogging a little for The GOAT Blog, which is a part of the HCN website.

We do on the ground reporting...

Boots of Spanish Leather

Dominguez Canyon area.

Around here, people know where you've been by the mud on your boots. This weekend, I took some of our recycling to Grand Junction, which is about an hour and a half West of Paonia. On the way back, I dropped in on the real Dominguez Canyon area. I hiked about three miles in but still didn't see the petroglyphs everyone's been talking about. It was getting dark, so I hiked back out. Definitely an area worth going back to. My boots were all covered in red mud when I got back, and people knew almost instantly where I was.

me and the cool bridge.

And for the past few days, I added a layer of gray mud to my boots. That's from visiting a farm after a couple days of unexpected rain. The farmers at White Buffalo Farm showed me around and we chased Daffy (the duck) around for a while. There's been a bobcat that's been catching some of the birds on the farm, so they wanted to help Daffy out and put him in a safe place. We never caught him while I was there though.

Pretty landscapes you don't get to see on the East Coast.

The boots I brought out here are usually what I wear for longer backpacking trips back East, but out here, they're good for everyday use. They feel like tennis shoes now; I've worn them every day. It's either been snowy or icy here, so they've come in handy.

Weirdest rock I ever did see.