For Suzanne

My dearest Suzanne could use some beautiful things right now. So I shall give her (and also you, dearest readers) some flowers and a sunset from Oregon, 2010, when Lockwood took us round to investigate the glories of Oregon geology for the very first time.

Sunset Sprig

I have no idea what this is, but it can be found on the coast near Devils Churn, and makes for a fantastic bit of brilliance against all the green foliage and black rock. Perhaps a more flora-savvy reader can enlighten us.

Yellow Delight

This, I think, might be an orchid, but I can’t run down an identification, so I don’t know. But I love it. It was sitting close to the beach at Devils Churn, nestled in the rocks, lovely as anything. I love finding things like this in unexpected places.

Sunset, Sea and Seabirds

On our way up the coast, seeking dinner, the sun set the sea afire, and so we pulled over in a convenient spot and chanced upon some spectacular photo ops. It’s not a patch on some of Suzanne’s sunset photos, but it’ll do for a finale.

I’ve got quite a few more flower photos I’ve not done anything with. Who else is in need of some flora to sweeten life a bit?

The Truth About Guys and Gals

Last night was completely fucked up in all the best ways. Well, most of them. And it’s led to semi-deep thoughts.

Mind you, I hadn’t had enough sleep. I’d had a shitty day at work, following the shittiest four-day weekend I’ve had in forever, and just that afternoon our call center director had asked me how things were, which led to me saying “not good” and then doing too much sniveling on the way home from lunch to feel capable of stopping by the gas station for a lighter. So this is the context.

One of my most cherished friends, one of the very first I ever met upon the intertoobz and who has been a presence in my life for a surprisingly long time, was up visiting from Oregon. He wanted to hang out. Hadn’t seen each other for ages, had we? And so, instead of heading straight home for bed, I picked him up in Lynnwood after work. We’d just do some pie, jibber-jabber for an hour or so, and then home for me.

Pie happened. Jibber-jabbering took place. And somehow led to us comparing notes on chick flicks we’d seen and liked. Not that this was something we’d necessarily confess in public (hence me hiding his identity, and not telling you about some of the other awesome stuff we discussed. He can out himself if he wishes). He gave me shit for not liking Love, Actually as much as everybody else on the planet. I couldn’t believe he’d never seen Bridget Jones’s Diary. And there was a moment of regret when I discovered I’d deleted Anything But Love from my DVR to make room for all the Doctor Who and science programs, without having checked to see if this was a film that could be easily obtained via Amazon Instant Video. Whoops.

This discussion should not have happened. He is a manly man. I am a chick-flick disdaining woman. But he’s got lady friends who loves them some chick flicks, and is secure enough in his masculinity to watch such films with them and appreciate the well-written ones. And I’ve got a Muse who sometimes decides that sexual frustration is conducive to the writing process. Hence, we know our chick flicks.

Having been denied our Anything But Love experience, we turned to a chick flick I’d actually been astonished by. It was one of those freebies from On Demand I’d watched during the chick flick marathon, and I’d watched it mostly because I couldn’t believe anyone had made a movie about such a ridiculous premise. 27 Dresses? Really? The title alone is horrid. And then it’s about a woman who’s been in a bunch of weddings and kept all of the bridesmaid dresses. Puh-leeze.

But it turned out to be funny and clever and touching. Surprisingly good. So I bought it, and we watched it last night.

What interested me most was how who in the story we identified with. My friend, who is one of those white knight types, identified with Jane, the perpetual bridesmaid. She, like him, is one of those people who goes around perpetually sacrificing her own happiness and time for other people. The reliable one everybody takes for granted. Too nice for her own good. Believes that one day, forever-after will be hers. And a bit on the hopeless romantic side.

I, OTOH, identify with Kevin. Stuck in a job he hates by way of getting to where he wants to go. Cynical about love and marriage and all that rot. Perpetual bachelor. Decency and kindness often swamped by the definite not-nice traits. Encourages friends and sometimes random strangers to stop being unfailingly nice and be bad every once in a while, for their own health and happiness. Did I mention the cynical about relationships and even more so about weddings bit?

And I realized, once again, the truth.

The truth is that these roles we think are filled by men and women are actually filled by people. Guys can be mushy-gushy I-believe-in-love sorts. Women can be the love-is-for-fools type. I’ve known hetero men who are far more in to fashion than I am. I’ve been the one saying, “Fuck talking” while a significant other thinks We Need to Communicate More. Except for those of us who feel trapped by society’s gender roles, who are terrified to put a toe over the line into the territory supposedly reserved for the other gender alone, most of us inhabit pieces of the whole genderscape. We’re a mishmash of all sorts of different traits. We pick and choose what works for us, what really is us, regardless of whether it’s supposed to be for a boy or girl.

And we should. Men and women both should feel completely comfortable poaching on one another’s territory. Those boundaries are all artificial anyway.

The boys who played dress-up with me and my girlfriends when we were kids were no less boys than the ones who preferred toy soldiers. And the girls who liked to go jump bikes and play Cops and Robbers weren’t any less girls than the ones who set up elaborate Barbie houses. As we get older, that Us vs. Them shit should fade away. We should be able to identify with who and what we want without worrying if the pinks and blues are “properly” sorted.

I’m Kevin, he’s Jane. We both like chick flicks, and Firefly. And we’re completely comfortable with all that. In the end, it’s not male or female, it’s simply human.

Subterranean Homesick Blues, Here I Come!

I just got my package of books from Wayne Ranney.  (Actually, I probably got them a week ago, but I’ve only just now checked the mail.)  You know what this means, don’t you?

Pain, that’s what.

You see, Wayne’s a wonderful writer, and he’s got all of Arizona’s delicious geology to go play in, and these books will be filled with all of the places I used to ramble through for the first three decades of my life.  I shall love them.  But you can expect the occasional sentimental post arising from them, because they’ll remind me how much I miss ye olde home state (although not its government).  We’ll be taking some rambles through Arizona’s spectacular landforms, guided by Wayne and a few others, in the months to come.

While you’re waiting for me to get round to it, you can go visit Wayne’s blog, where he has a spectacular post up on the Esplanade Platform:

Far away from the main tourist areas in Grand Canyon lies a huge wilderness of stone and space. It is silent beyond belief and seldom visited. Within this huge expanse lies the Esplanade Platform, a stunning landscape feature that is found only in the central and western portions of the canyon. The Esplanade forms a broad terrace positioned about a fourth of the way down in the canyon, where the Hermit Formation overlies the Esplanade Sandstone. The Esplanade thus creates a canyon within a canyon. Geologists have long been intrigued by the presence of the Esplanade Platform in Grand Canyon and many theories have been proposed to explain its origin. Did the Colorado River carve it during a period of erosional quiescence, as some say? Or did it form in response to the canyon’s variable stratigraphy? I explored these questions on a recent trip to the Esplanade. From February 10 to 16 I was privileged to backpack with two other friends here. This is our story.

And it’s illustrated.  Lavishly.  So get thee to Wayne’s place and enjoy.

One (or Two) For the Road

Silver Fox has a post up about road songs:

So one day, I’m in the passenger seat of some other geo’s truck, being driven from place to place through thick trees and over rutted and roily dirt roads somewhere in central Idaho, in search of particularly fascinating outcrops — any outcrops would do, given the number of trees and lack of visibility — and JS, the geo-type whose projects I was visiting, pulled two of his newly made road tapes out of the glove box. The tapes, filled with road songs, were meant to be played while on the road, any road. Brainstorming while we listened, all the while watching for outcrops, we came up with a million more road songs, and a rather loose definition.

A road song must contain a word pertaining to roads — road, highway, freeway, byway, street, interstate — or it can instead contain words pertaining to cars, trucks, semis, and railroads or railway cars. Travel songs without mentioning the roads or railroads or the vehicles don’t count, and airplane or boat songs are generally out. Exceptions to these rules may exist, but I can’t think of any.

And it occurs to me, there’s a perfect road song she may never have heard:

See? It’s even got the word “interstate” right there in the title.

And there’s a second song that doesn’t quite qualify as a road song, but it’s about being a long way from home, and it’s wonderful, and so it shall be included here:

Silver, my dear, if you enjoyed those, and wish for just a little bit more, let me know, and a CD shall be on its way to you directly.  The Peacemakers have plenty more where that came from.

Lyrics below the fold.

Lyrics for “Interstate”:

Well, the fact of the matter
There ain’t no facts involved
Take it further
It doesn’t matter
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Well you should have known better
Dead thoughts and lost horizons
And to take it further
It don’t get any better
Well out here on the border
Ain’t nobody asking questions
No I don’t need a miracle
But I could use a push in the right direction

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
and a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
When they crossed the state line
They were just in time to fall
Asleep at the wheel

Last fact of the matter
Never was no facts involved
And to take it further
It never really matters
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time
To fall asleep at the wheel

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall–

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall
asleep at the wheeeel …

Lyrics for “Mekong“:

Barkeep
Another Mekong please
Yes of course,
you can keep the change

A new glass here
for this new friend of mine
Forgive me, I forgot your name
Flip a coin
What shall we talk about
Heads I tell the truth
and tails I lie

Well I came all the way
From Taipei today
Now Bangkok’s pouring rain
and I’m going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
for fifteen thousand miles

But is it true
It’s always happy hour here
and if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Barkeep
We need to go around again
One for me and what’s his name
My new best friend
Deal me in and I’ll
pick my cards up off the floor
I’ll see a lucky coin
And raise a pack of lies

Smile to the girl at the door
Another 4 dollar whore
But don’t look her in the eyes
She’ll break your heart

We came all the way
From Taipei today
Still Bangkok’s pissin’ rain
and we’re going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
in fifteen thousand miles

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

And here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Again

Stuff Comes from Somewhere

Back before I distracted by the shiny new car and purchasing of same, our own George W. had a post up that really forced some thinking.  And it’s all because he was up at 4 in the morning thinking about bolts:

Where’s the nickel (which plates the bolt) mined? What’s the state of mine-safety technology? Do mining companies pay lobbyists to keep the laws lax? Or more likely, does the manufacturer just buy the nickel salts for plating from some third-world country where the government doesn’t protect the workers or the rivers or the children who live along them? Is that why the bolts are so cheap? What’s the external cost of the carbon output from manufacturing the bolt? Maybe that’s the reason I saved the bolt that was left over from a project of years ago.  Or maybe I’m just really cheap.

Read the whole post.  It’ll make you think about bolts, politics, change and resources all in one go, which is damned impressive for a short post brought on by insomnia.  This is why I love George’s blog so: when I leave there, it’s not with the same eyes as when I arrived.