Friday, January 9, 2009

holes in your underwear

I'm most likely sitting at a desk like you're sitting at a desk, but my desk is most likely a mile higher than yours. I'm at 5,682 feet in elevation. Where are you? What elevation are you at?

Write back and tell me. Who cares if I don't know you?

The dress code where I work is this: Holes in your pants shouldn't line up with holes in your underwear.

I think this is Mt. Lamborn. Upwards of 11,000 ft. 5 miles from my home. I'll be on top of that in the Spring or Summer.

The Wild West

As an intern, I get to do occasional tasks like drive a consultant to the local airport. Obviously, I jumped at the chance to drive the company car an hour and a half West, drop off the dude, and get a meal out of the deal.

Not only that, I get to see the American West. Things are big here. Things are wide. I, unfortunately, do not have any pictures to share with you about these big and wide expanses. The plan was to drop the guy off, grab a quick bite, and head back so I could photograph the Western Slope of the Rockies to show all ya'll back at home. Dinner took too long, but it's cool, because I got to hang out in Grand Junction, Co. for a little bit and eat Nepalese food.

It's interesting out here. I drove across BLM land [that's Bureau of Land Management. We don't hear much about BLM "back east." Speaking of which, I didn't realize people out here use the phrase "back east" even if they aren't from the East Coast. They're referring to their ancestors that made the great trek to the Wild West. Anyways, I feel like I'm taking advantage of these brackets now, so I'll stop typing within this bracket, but the transition to the latter part of this sentence will be weird, because I've taken you, dear reader, on a wild literary excursion in the confines of these damn brackets!] and Forest Service land between Paonia and Grand Junction.

On my way back, there was a huge accident that stopped the two-lane traffic for a while. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but it involved an 18-wheeler carrying lots of timber. Well, that's just another one of those moments that you let pass by in your life. I threw on the radio and seeked out the local NPR station and the voice of Meeee-chelle Norris brought me right back to D.C., except this time I was listening from the middle of nowhere, it seems.

Fun picture of my last few hours in MD. Really, it's just to break up the text and keep you reading!

There's a lot of things going on in D.C. There's also a lot going on out here too. For example, I kept looking for a place to pull off the road so I could enjoy a serene few minutes to myself without traveling at 75 mph. So, I pulled onto a road I saw, and the sign said "Hidden Springs Rd." It was dark, and it was private property, so I didn't explore the "spring," but I hung out there and I could hear only two things: the wind howling and a cow moo-ing. How wonderful. There's a lot going on out here in a different sense. That cow is consuming thousands and thousands of gallons of water in the form of liquid, grass, corn, and probably other things to sit dead on your dinner table for your consumption in D.C. It's the development of a lifetime... sitting dead... on your dinner table... for your consumption in D.C. I'm no vegetarian, but in a land of little freshwater, we should all be a little conscious of what we eat.

I switched radio stations and heard all kinds of religious radio. Something about daughters baking a cake and the cake collapsing like a sinkhole in the center, and that's why you should choose Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. Another preached knowledgism [Is that even a word? Is this even the correct usage of brackets?] as the wrong path. What in the world? Who is listening to this stuff? Was this preacher advocating accepting Jesus without knowledge of anything else?

Anyways.... I'd say it's pretty busy out here. The cows, the wind, etc.... You can't hurry, though. So far, the pace of life has been a little slower, of course. I walk to work; it's maybe a 10-minute walk. It's wonderful. Snow has been falling many mornings, and it's just such a breath of fresh air. But you really can't hurry. Physically, you can't hurry, or else you might slip and fall and crack your head open.

Last night, I went to the local brewery with some co-workers. They're based in a former Episcopalian church. Revolution Brewery is their name, and they taste great. I'm getting used to the habit of introducing myself to everyone, because it's a small town, and I think it'd be great to know everyone.

A few nights prior, I went to another local bar alone, and I met some of the guys there. After drinking a little, the ol' guitar made an appearance in one of the guy's hands. He sang a few memorable tunes of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. And then I sang a few tunes. Folk songs just seem to make sense here.

Is this blog entry getting too long? Yes. Am I struggling for a way to end it? Yes.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bless You

I've sneezed at least 6 times since I moved to Colorado, and no one has said "bless you" or "god bless you." Oh man, I love it. I think the phrase is completely unessential to the English language.

Anyone agree? C'mon!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Breaking Bread


Since my arrival in my new home, I feel like all I've done is cook delicious food and hike. This is somewhat of the good life that I'm always seeking. We'll see what the first day of work on Monday has to say about that.

Oh yeah, I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging. I guess I just wanted to fill ya'll in on what I'm doing out here.

Here's a brief description of Paonia; some facts and also my own thoughts so far. Geographically, Paonia is on the Western Slope of the Rockies. It's in, what they call, a banana belt. I don't get it, but I've heard that reference twice already, and it means that it's slightly warmer than the rest of the surrounding area. Sounds good to me. There's a bit of snow here, but not a whole lot. There are approximately 1500 residents and 22 churches. Major employers in the area are coal mines and a sandal factory that's recently decided to move production to China.

Aside from that sandal factory, most people (it seems) are really into keeping things local. A lot of "buy local" signs. It's great, I think. It seems to transcend political lines. Right next door to the place I'll be working is a small-scale meat-processing store. They specialize in wild game and grazed meat. I'll be sure to try some out.

My roommates have been teaching me to bake bread. It's awesome. I'll post pictures later. Bedways is rightways.

This is, like, the second rise or something.

6 Months in the Wild West


It's been about a year since I last wrote in this blog. I'll change the title of it soon, but I can't figure out how right now. Anyway, the Taiwan trip finished well, and I made a radio documentary about it, and hope to upload it on the Web soon. No promises when.

Since the walk, I've graduated university and I live in Paonia, Colorado now -- for the next six months, unless I get fired or something...or if elk hoove me to death... or if I get stuck in an avalanche. I brought 88 pounds of my old life into my new life out here. Most of it was clothes. Regular clothes, work clothes, hiking clothes, etc.

I'll be interning at an environmental news magazine called High Country News. Check it out:

My trip out here was fun. I flew into Denver, and stayed with friends of a friend. Thanks Davey, Nick, and Ira! The next morning, I caught the Greyhound to Glenwood Springs, which is further West -- on the Western Slope of the Rockies, in fact. On the bus, I chatted with a lad named Karl from New Zealand. He'd been traveling for some time now and attributes it to avoiding living in one place for too long. As we chatted, I looked across the isle and saw a woman clutching a book about pregnancy. She was reading about Month 5. She also had a pack of Marlbloro Reds in her pocket. I hope she wasn't pregnant, and I hope she was just reading the book for shits and giggles. Or maybe she was a Med student. I doubt a Med student would smoke Marlboro Reds though.

Took two more public buses to get me to the other side of town, and then I tried hitchhiking for more than an hour, but not a single car offered a ride. I thought it'd be relatively easy in Colorado, but I guess I'm wrong. It was nighttime though, so maybe that was a factor. I called my roommate in relative desperation. He drove an hour and a half to pick me up, and I'm grateful. I just wanted to be in my warm future house.

After failed hitchhiking, I went shopping.

Well, I'm here now (but I'm also writing this in the future, like a few days later. whatever). It's beautiful here.