Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

how about those new red ten dollar bills

That have incorporated themselves into circulation? When I got my first one a couple of months ago, I had to look twice. I thought it was a silver certificate or something; I never expected the dollar designers to put a splash of red into our money.

I had a silver certificate dollar bill from 1932 once. My brother borrowed it without my knowledge to buy cigarettes. He bought the cigarettes when he was about 14, from a weird gas station/convenience mart/car wash up the street from where we lived. Sometimes on Friday nights, my friends and I would hang out in the dark and dormant car wash, drink beer and smoke cigarettes. To be funny, when we were drunk enough, one of us would step on the big trip panel that started the spraying and washing action of the car wash. After a few consecutive weekends of amusing ourselves this way, the clerk working the night shift wised up, and turned the power off to the car wash.

It was still fun hanging out in there anyway. I felt like we were in a sacred place, a place where only people in cars have gone. The still and dry brush arms looked like giant sleeping insects, clutching the ceiling and hanging upside down. The humid light and orange glow from streetlamps illuminated the scene as if it were an ailen ship, something from the future and not of this earth.

mural in Cottage Grove, OR

Saturday, May 13, 2006

sick at work

I came down with a wicked virus earlier this week, and as a result I ended up taking two days off of work. It was a horrible experience, and for the most part consisted of a cycle—sleep for an hour, wake up nauseous, throw up, stay up for a ½ hour, sleep—that repeated continuously for about 2 days. I couldn’t even hold down small sips of water without becoming violently ill. I quickly became so dehydrated that I had a pounding headache and (as I described to a friend earlier) it felt like I had dried mash potato flakes on my lips.

In my early stages of delirium, I thought I was a victim of biological warfare. I imagined that a maniacal, rogue, militant villain poisoned my Organic Columbia Gorge Cranberry Wellness drink with a biological agent that would cause me to vomit my innards out until I dehydrated and choked on my own bile. At one point in the first evening of being sick, I woke up and 24 was on. I imagined when I was at the store the day before, a government operative working with a foreign government secretly placed canisters filed with an airborne fungal agent near the air ducts, and I sucked some in and 12 hours later it’s starting to break my body down from the inside out.

The whole thing started out pretty innocent enough. I can’t think of anyone I’ve come into contact with lately who has been sick, and when I woke on Monday I felt fine, but I was aware I was extra tired. I shrugged it off and figured 3 instead of my usual 2 cups of coffee should do the trick. No fever, no body aches, no headaches, nothing. For breakfast I slugged down a container of Organic Columbia Gorge Cranberry Wellness drink and had a blueberry yogurt. Not an inkling of what was to come.

By around 12, things went downhill fast. Like a train with no brakes.

I started to feel easily distracted, I couldn’t concentrate, I was unable to multi-task. The lights seemed extra bright and I became hyper aware of smells: the smell of hot paper and toner from the stack of 200 photocopies I just made, the lingering sweet chemical smell of the cologne the quality assurance manager is wearing, the burnt stench of hot tar from the parking lot they are paving across the street from my office, and the bright and syrupy tropical breeze scent wafting from the bathroom from the stupid automatic bathroom air freshener dispenser thing (which is a whole other topic I plan to expand upon).

My distraction intensified, and then my stomach started to hurt. I determined that I couldn’t be at work any longer, and started to type an email to my boss telling her I was going home. As soon as I started typing, I was overcome by an abrupt urge to throw up. Quickly averting disaster, I refrained from puking on my keyboard and grabbed my garbage pail. As I did this, my partner, who was on the phone at the time, widened her eyes in alarm.

I felt a few things at once; relief, of, course, and an awareness of being at the center of attention. Strangely enough, I also had a funny thought cross my mind. I remembered when I was in elementary school, whenever one of our classmates threw up abruptly (much like I did) the janitor would come in and sprinkle sawdust on the vomit. What was the sawdust all about? I mean, I’m sure there’s a good reason for it but it always cracked me up.

Anyway, while I had my head in my garbage can I was thinking of that. I was also aware that a few people in the nearby cubicles heard and were probably staring at me in shock horror. This was very awkward; this was the quietest office I have ever worked at. And whoever didn’t hear it I’m sure will smell it when they walk by. My puke was so gross, and florescent pink and smelled like warm sour berries (sorry if that was too gross). It looked like something that could have been used on the set of “You Can’t Do That On Television.”

I got puke in my hair, a little on my shirt, some on the floor, and a little on my lunch bag. Nobody really noticed that, my cubicle for the most part, is tucked in a corner and has high walls. I quickly cleaned up using tons of napkins, water, and Clorox clean up wipe things, shut my computer down, and got my things together. I never sent the email to my boss, so I figured I’d just run by her desk and say bye. As I turned to leave I was overcome with another urge to throw up more, and grabbed the garbage pail just in time. I was careful this time to not to make a mess, and promptly told my boss I was leaving.

I had just enough of a “feeling better now for a little while now that I’ve thrown up” window to endure the car ride home. Once I got home, I just dropped everything at the door. The illness was so sudden and intense I had no idea what was going on. Besides my conspiracy theories, I felt that there could have been other medical reasons behind how I was feeling. I called my Doctor’s office and they told me it sounded like I contracted the nasty virus that was going around. I relaxed a little, and for the next two days I writhed in agony and rode it out.

I’m real lucky to work for a company who has an entire department devoted to all aspects of janitorial services because when I got back to work on Thursday, there was no evidence that awful scene ever unfolded.

No evidence of sawdust anywhere, either.

Friday, May 12, 2006

tough life

so i get up for work really early sometimes, and after standing over me all night as soon as I get up to take a shower Marcus makes his move and slinks under the covers and onto my pillow like some kind of king.

note the smug expression on his face. He gets annoyed that I'm sleeping on my pillow and there's not really enough room for the two of us. He is the moodiest cat I have ever known.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

last week I drove east on 84

for most of the day while I was working. I occasionally spend time out of the office for meetings, meeting with people, etc. and our company does business all over Oregon and Washington. Last week, I headed out to Hood River, which is eastern Oregon. I-84 is a nice ride becuase it goes through national forest area, and follows the Columbia river as the landscape gradually changes, moving from dense forest, valleys, canyons and mountains, to large rolling hills, to high desert. I didn't travel to the high desert, but Hood River is in the rolling hills area.

Bonneville Dam, on the Columbia River. Such a strange large man made thing, it seems to sacrifice natural balance for convenience electricity. I recently saw a movie at the Clinton Street Theater, called Source to Sea: The Columbia River Swim, which chronicles the experiences of a guy swimming the River from it's icy origin in British Columbia, and ends in Oregon at the Pacific Ocean.

A picture taken from Cascade Locks, OR, looking across the Columbia River onto Stevenson, WA.

Bridge of the Gods, a rickety toll bridge costing one dollar (both ways) connecting Cascade Locks to Stevenson.

Picture taken from Hood River, OR, looking across the Columbia River at White Salmon, WA.

From the Riverbank, looking south at the City of Hood River.

Somewhere near the center of town, looking west...

...looking east.

Oregon's a pretty big state. You can fit almost 13 New Jerseys in the State of Oregon.

the daily nice

the daily nice

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


When I was at my Kung Fu class earlier, I had to hold a horse stance for an excruciating amount of time and my mind started to drift. At one point I thought to myself that I would rather get accidentially punched in the face then scratched with someone's toenails.