please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


One of the spooky things about the internet is how people continue to misinterpret the function it serves. I routinely see people discussing the phenomenon known as 'internet dating' who honestly think that the entire enterprise is conducted over cable, and never results in actual humans actually meeting. There is usually some sort of 'Call me old-fashioned but, I like human contact' comment that follows.

Or the continuing moon-eyed thoughts of various cultural commentators who feel that since everything can be done over the internet now, we're going to lose all that manly backbone and ingenuity that made our country great. Forgive me for saying so, but: just because you order the thing from the place using a computer (still) does not mean that it will magically appear on your desk-top. There is still a warehouse somewhere that has your thing, and people who work there get to go look for it, bring it over to shipping, package it, ship it, and have it then delivered by a person on legs who delivers things for a living. You yourself might very well have to sign something before you may take ownership of the thing.

Or the already over-used trope of You The Audiophile finally making some room in the house because now you can just put your entire music collection on some sort of tiny digital player that fits in your pocket. This is true, but isn't there a law of sorts from an earlier age in computing that says, Always have a backup, always have a hard copy? Yes, there is. You might very well drop your iPod or Zune or whatever in a very real toilet, and lose all that memory. It might get crushed under the wheels of a bus. You might just fuck up and erase everything yourself.
Now, it's not like there isn't still music out there to be had if any of these cases occurs, but all the same, you might be glad to know some asshole like me with my roomful of vinyl after Shit Goes Down, Man.

So anyway, technology doesn't solve everything, it just provides more options, I guess would be my point here. You already knew that, because you're very smart, but I just feel it needs repeating.

Here are the Mosier Twin Tunnels, which lie on the Mark Hatfield trail, which is a remnant of the old Historic Columbia Gorge Highway that runs between Hood River and Mosier. This isn't the greatest image of it, but it will have to do for the time being.
Th' Bee and I have been spending a great deal of time there lately. It provides a sort of nice walk along the cliffs that is pretty flat but also damn pretty. It is also only three or four miles long.

I had wanted, as a small child, to walk the length of the old highway, at least in the many places where it was abandoned; those glimpses of tunnels and bits of bridges up there among the rocks were tantalizing. I knew too that most of the highway is either still in use, already a trail or underwater. A fair amount of it is under I-84, too.
As you walk on this road, you gotta ask yourself, And how exactly would a '47 Packard and a '49 Merc do passing each other on this skinny ass, winding road? It also is high up enough off the Gorge floor that it is more likely to be snowy or icy up there. It's incredibly susceptible to landslides, as well, so why put a road up there?
In the '20's, when it was built, the dams were yet to come. Down there in the valley, the Columbia routinely flooded (and occasionally froze, if you can believe that), so building a road down there on the floodplain would have been a singularly bad idea. Hell, as late as the '70's there were still walking sand dunes along a fair amount of it. These would occasionally cover the freeway.

The tunnels are now a place where the wind whistles, and the shoring-up work they did along the approach looks like something Christo would do, except it's way more interesting. There's still a portion of the wall in there where two guys carved their names: they were stuck there for six days after an avalanche, some time in the '20's.
This is how we spend our time. Well, when we're not snowmobiling.

This is not a picture of either of us. Also, until last weekend, I had never participated in this activity (I'd think twice about calling it a sport).
Maybe I'd call it a sport, actually. The challenge is somewhat of an equestrian one: at first, the damn thing is so squirrelly, and every inconsistency in the terrain seems likely to throw your ass. Your arms go numb both from the vibration and the need to have them stuck in exactly the same position for a couple hours.

It's actually sort of amazing that I grew up in eastern Oregon and managed to escape this sort of thing. Of course, I wasn't taken hunting by my father, either. I've only rode a horse once in my life, too, and I was Four, or something.
But anyway it was tremendous fun, though another example of technology vs. personal culpability: the faster it goes, the less squirrelly it is-but- the faster it goes, the worse the damage if something goes wrong. And if you flip one of those fuckers, it'll crush you.

Above all else, I enjoy a trip to the pseudo-alpine architecture of the high Cascades. I love the sharply pitched roofs and gingerbread n' beaverboard construction. The sun shone down on snow that stood a good five feet taller than I am, and though pretty much everybody was a douchebag (I can't really stand skiers/snowboarders, in general), they were happy douchebags.

The day before, on a hike up to Angel's Rest, my back was screaming at me, as was my right ankle that pops so much these days. I was hyperventilating and somewhat tachycardic, at one point feeling like I'd pass the fuck out.
Then-after leaning panting and wheezing against a damn tree-I felt much better, and made it the rest of the way to the top. But all the same, Angel's Rest is not an especially high peak, and I was reminded yet again: You must change your life.

So I rode my bike to the store today. Baby steps. Tryin' to clean out m' colon, too. Bought some milk thistle to make liver cleansing tea...Eating more greens...Next week it's smokes quittin' time again.

Thread idea: I've already thrown out my thoughts on the Worst Presidents Ever (oh hey-happy Day of Celebrating the Concept of the Presidency, by the way), now how about your top five Worst Bands Ever?
I'll go first.
1. Starship
2. Bachman Turner Overdrive
3. Styx
4. The Sundays/The Cranberries (they're one item, I feel)
5. (I'll need to think about this a bit, clearly. The criteria here is that the band in question needs to have never ever made a song that you liked. For instance, Emerson, Lake and Palmer don't quite make this list; I think they may have one song I don't mind. There could certainly be some measure of wasted potential in the equation-I'm lookin' at you, Starship- and they also need to be blithely unaware of how terrible they are. If anything, that's still too many people we could be discussing here.)



Blogger rich bachelor said...

5. Blink 182, lest you think that I only have hatred for bands from the '70's or '80's.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Starship, yes.
Prog rock.
Jethro Tull.
Jam bands.
Fountains of Wayne.
PM Dawn.

Not even in a 'so bad they're good' way. Even then, I barely have time to listen to the music I like, let alone the bands that the cool kids like. Shit, I don't even know who the cool kids are these days, anyhow.

8:45 AM  
Blogger George Popham said...

Allan Parsons project springs to mind immediately with respect to the 'never made one song I ever even got guilty pleasure from, for even one second' in this category I'd also add Toto and Loverboy.

then there are horrible bands I have no distinct recollection of, but irritated the shit out of me and whose name I might kinda know because they were being jammed down our collective throats at some point in the last 10-15 years: smush, lush, bush, frush or thrush
and or greed,creed,screed,feed,bleed

and in the bands I thought were wonderful 20 years ago but horrify me in every respect now:
Scandal (as in Patty Smythe and) and 10 Billion Maniacs (what was wrong with me?)

and bands I have tried really hard to like because people love them and they are or must be total geniuses, but I am unable to experience them as anything but grating: P.J. Harvey, Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers...

10:57 AM  

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