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Trippy NSFW image )

Road Trip

Nov. 18th, 2008 02:52 pm
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BTW, if anyone is interested, my partner and I are road-tripping up to Seattle this weekend. I've never been there before so I'm feeling vaguely touristy. We're planning to be there Saturday afternoon and Sunday, then heading back down to Portland for a week visit with her family before returning home.

With being so miserable the past week, this trip has kind of snuck up on me and I haven't really made plans like I should have. :/
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Friday was of course, Halloween, Samhain, All souls Eve, or whatever you wish to call it.

I hadn't really planned to do anything. My life is, as always, chaotic, and things like holidays have a bad way of sneaking up on me.

A nighttime adventure )
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I had a nearly perfect weekend. Actually, it started off pretty bad, but I discovered that if you get the bad part out of the way early, it makes the rest that much more enjoyable. So. Even the part where I fell down a cliff face and the part where I got my car stuck in a river turned out to be a lot of fun. :)

Now I'm off to bed. Nightnight. :)
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There's nothing like listening to a lecture series on psychology and behavior to really get you worried about the future of mankind.

The Reward Re-enforcement Path )
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A couple of weeks ago, I signed a petition to legalize marijuana in California. If you haven't seen the petition floating around, here's the website for it. April is rapidly approaching. Sign if it interests you.

More personal commentary about marijuana )
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We didn't get so far Thursday night. A warning light by the roadside said to tune our radio to the AM band. A mudslide had closed the road 80 miles ahead. Just under 8 miles above where 1 and 101 fork, less than 90 miles from San Francisco. It was getting dark anyhow so we decided to stop, get a hotel room, and have dinner. I sorta paniced on the hotel room, got the first/cheapest place I saw (it turned out not so bad in the long run) We had an overpriced and not very exciting dinner (I described it as: We could get the same food at Denny's for half the price) went back to the motel and slept. I had a bad feeling about the next day and tossed and turned all night.

Woke up early and got us packed while Stacey showered. 101 south was still closed and _MIGHT_ open at 2PM. Decided it was time to head the other way. The warning signs were again flashing as we drove past them. 101 was closed to the north. High winds had blown down trees blocking the road. Reading news now, I find out there were more 101 closures soon to follow. We had, of course, already decided to turn inland on 299. Up up into the mountains.

The storm caught up with us there. Wind and rain sheeting down. Every creek and river we passed was swollen and muddy, blasting down the hillsides with tremendous speed. Though the road was marked 55, we had the Good Luck to be stuck behind a couple of cars that insisted on going 30MPH, except when there was a passing lane at which points they sped up to insure no one would pass them. Higher and higher into the mountains. We crested a ridge and could see snow on the next peak and then, snow all around the roads with rain pouring down on top of it and we crept on through the mountains, a slow caravan stuck behind an idiot leader. There were more and more slides on the road. Men flagging past one buried lane. I started getting a sense of urgency. Just after some small miserable town I can't remember the name of, the caravan came to a stop. Not more than five minutes ahead of us, a major slide had cut across the road. I walked up to see it in the rain on top of icey slush. Roughly the size of a 3-strey apartment building. Rocks, mud, trees. Had it not been for the slow-moving prats in front of us, we would have been past the collapse a good 20 or 30 minutes before it happened. Instead, we were stuck, turned back. The water getting higher, the rain coming down harder.

There was one last route. 3, headed almost straight back to Eureka but up through the mountains on a winding one-lane road that had a big sign reading, "Road not maintained during storms." We backtracked up this road about 40 miles. It was slick, icey in places, muddy in others. There were rocks and mudslides partially blocking parts of the road, strong winds on tight turns near sheer cliffs. Stacey drove the whole way. don't know how she managed, my nerves would have been frazzled. We again got behind some very slow and discurteous drivers why blithely ignored the large signs that said, 'Slow moving vehicles must use turn-outs and let traffic pass' as well as the long line of cars stuck behind them. Not wanting to get stuck again, I sighted while Stacey made a somewhat daring pass on a little-less-windy part of the road.

Finally, after an eternity or two, we made it to highway 36 to Red Bluff. There were a few slides on it, but more worrisome were the swollen creeks that were level with, and in one or two places ABOVE the level of the road and in a couple of places, the swift churning water came up onto the edge of the road and the rain was still pouring down, meaning any minute the road might be flooded and closed down. Happily, we made good time on 36. Cars that were going slower used pull-outs (one guy even went to the other side of the road to pull out and let people pass) and we got to I-5 just about dark, a mere 7 hours later and only a bit over 300 miles out of our way. Reading the news now, I see that 5 had a slide and was closed just North of us there too. *shudder* I think Northern California was trying to eat us.

We took a pit stop at the Olive Pit and used it as an excuse to buy lots of olives (the olive groves around the highway had made me hungry. :) People were talking about how bad the roads were. We were sorta happy to learn we'd made the right choice. 101 south had not only stayed closed but been closed in a couple of other places and the mountain roads we'd came through were rapidly becoming impassible.

The storm wasn't quite done with us though. The pumps at the gas station died just as we were about to get fuel. Luckily, I'd ran in to get a soda, heard this, bee-lined back out, and got Stacey to go to a different station before all the other cars go piled up there. Unluckily, the storm had caught up with us and there was hard driving rain and really impressive winds most of the way to San Jose. So much so that at a few points Stacey couldn't get the car above 60 because the wind was blowing straight at us.

We finally got into town around 8:30, had dinner at Midori, then came home. Stacey went to bed. She's exhausted. All that driving must have been murderous. Generally Stacey's driving scares me, but now I think that's because we're driving in town and she gets upset and angry at other drivers when they do things she doesn't expect. In the wet, rain, ice, mud, wind, she became a different driver, very focused and careful and in control of the vehicle. Not sure I could have handled the mountain drive.

Lastly, I must admit that it is extremely gratifying to listen to NegativeLand CAR BOMB! after you've just passed someone who, really really needed passing (the one asshat that wasn't letting people around him, I hope he got stuck in a ravine and drown) I didn't put the song in. It just came on right after we passed him. Nicely defused the anger tho. :) CAR.... BOOOMB!!!!!!!
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The second day of our journey home, it began to rain. We stopped at the sand dunes of Coos bay and hiked a ways in the wind and spitting rain. It was cold but fun. I hadn't seen big dunes since I had been to Florida as a child. The surf was pretty impressive, the sea cold and gray. Different kind of shoreline up there. All sand. No rocks, no glass polished smooth by the waves and the only types of shells I found were clams and more clams. The bottom drops off pretty gradually there so the waves come way waaaay up the beach and a few times it was a pretty hard run to avoid getting soaked when looking for shells. As the rain picked up, we turned inland a bit to a brakish swampy area. Stacey spotted a really cool beetle trundling along the sand. I stopped him and took some photos then held him for a couple minutes giving him some warmth in exchange (which he seemed to appreciate once he decided I was neither going to eat or squish him) The inlet was something of a bust too. There was the dead torpedo ray laying in the mud and I found a fairly large float from a fishing net but in general it was getting too cold and rainy at that point to really enjoy exploring.

We headed back to the car and drove down the coast through dozens and dozens of cranberry bogs. When we got bored, we stopped at a little shop and Stacey stocked up on several types of mead, sweet berry wines, and jam. The best part for me though was a cut-away in their wall with plexi panes and tubes. It was a bee-hive habitrail. The bees were inside their hive, buzzing away and you could get right up close to them near some wire mesh, feel the air from their wings, hear them, smell them, and see them dance. It was entrancing and they didn't seem to mind my being so close. I admit I've always liked bees anyhow so this was a treat for me. In one area, the court was clustered in quite close. I suppose it's not every day one gets to meet the queen. I paid my respects and then we were on our way again.

It'd begun to rain pretty hard at this point and while we wanted to do more hiking, I didn't want to do it in the pouring rain. Also, we hit the big redwoods a little after dark and I didn't want to wait an entire night to go hike in them so we decided to press on and head straight home.
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Je Aeroplane Titanique!!!!

We began our adventure home on Wednesday. We decided to go down the coast and do some hiking and stuff along the way. I spent the night before loading up my brain with a book of soviet sci-fi which was quite fun and I'll have to share with Jon later. Anyhow..

December 24th marked the 100th birthday of one of my favourite lunatics, Howard Hughes. As we drove out to the coast, we passed a sign for the aviation museum and the Spruce Goose. I begged a detour and off we went, not to be disappointed at all! Oh my god is it magnificent! It's a reminder of how awsome the world was back in the 40s. There was still all the beautiful architecture and everyone was trying to do things with style and do them BIG! This craft is the last of it's kind, I think. Ships like the Titanic and the Hendenburg lay in ruin but the Goose is in one piece and you are beneath and look up at it and it's so unbelievably huge. It's just an amazing thing to behold. I can't really say anything that would do it justice or put it in perspective. You see old newsreel photos of it and you just don't get a sense of how truly awsome it is.

Here's a picture of the museum.

You see that little black thing under the second engine from the right. That's the SR-71 Blackbird. Laying next to it on display is a Titan II rocket, which isn't nearly as long as the Goose. It's really an overwhelming thing to see. And then you go up inside of it and EVERYTHING is made of wood in it. The entire airframe is wood. The hull is wood and canvas. It was just wow.

The rest of the exhibits were pretty neat too. Lots of fighter planes, which aren't my thing although I took a lot of photos of different things for reference because while I'm not into war machines, I really like the forms and grace of aircraft. Radial motors are also just neat to look at, and okay, I admit the turrets on the bombers were pretty cool too. There was some pretty rare stuff there too. B-29 bomber, B-17 bomber (both absolutely tiny compared to the HK-1 (The Spruce Goose's official name) Also a P-38 lightning, part of a japanese zero, a sopwith camel, some old french racing planes and a few other nifty things. Outside there were some rusting russian tanks which looked like they were leftovers from WWII that were also pretty cool. Oh yeah. There was also a cargo-return/emergency escape re-usable russian capsule that was pretty spiff. All in all, I had a great time and wish we could have spent just a little longer there. It was 3:30 when we got there though and the museum closed at 5. Ohwell.

Edit: Oh. I forgot. Stacey took me to a clam-chowder place she really liked called 'Mo's' which was pretty good. We had dinner there, then drove a bit further. We ended the evening at an old town on a river, got a river-facing hotel room that was warm and cozy. We walked into town and had hot toddys and beer at a bar, played pool, talked and sketched for a while before returning to the hotel and lazing about.
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So.... Stacey needed the car so I rode the train today. *sigh* I wish the train were just a little more cost efficient for me to ride it every day that I don't have school. I love riding the train. It's way better than driving. I get to start my morning off with a pleasant walk, and a nice sit where I can daydream or peoplewatch and draw.

I draw people while I'm on the train a lot. I notice two things about that though. 1) I seem to pick people that are getting off at the next stop and 2) I like to draw unattractive people. The first is just amusing. The second is sort of interesting. I guess its because they fascinate me somehow. I always want to ask them to wait so I can finish drawing them but I know I can't. People on the train alone are between worlds. They're not presenting for work, they're not with friends. They're reading or daydreaming. Off in their own place. It's like being back stage. If I told them I was drawing them, they'd switch into presenting mode.
Also, I think I like drawing unattractive people because they're just more interesting to draw. deep crevices of facial lines, bushy eyebrows, nose hair, bald spots, fat rolls. Challenging and different things to draw. Things that make these people more interesting than those with smooth even skin and perfect hair and pressed clothes. not that those things can't be fun to draw sometimes too but they aren't as captivating to me.
I guess part of it is that I live and work around mostly 'beautiful people'. People that have money and are well fed and in good health so their appearance has a certain crispness to it. Also, when you look at someone attractive, you don't wonder so much about them. It's mostly a given that they have a good job, friends, etc. The odd people though. What is it like to be them? What do they do? Where do they live, where do they go? What kinds of things interest them? There's something mysterious and interesting about them and it reflects in their appearance. I wish I understood it better and could explore those stories with my pen.

Maybe I'll try to scan some of these sketches later though most of them are incomplete. Anyhow. More later.



Jul. 27th, 2003 12:47 am
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I wassa bad girl. I haven't written my paper yet or got much done in the way of housework or artwork. Instead, I went hiking with [ profile] centauress, [ profile] merin, and [ profile] salia today. We went to Perry Grant again. Very very hot and that place is infested with wild pigs. *shiver* We musta seen at least a dozen of them including a male razorbacky-looking one complete with full-body mohawk. I fear the piggies!

We also saw about a dozen wild turkeys. Oooh! Turkeys are much cuter than wild boar. I like tha turkeys!

Anyhow. After we hiked in the hot hot sun for a long time, we went to the mall to cool down 'n' Stacey bought me this really nifty wooden snake which is what I stop-motion animated, then photoshopped a bit to make this icon on this post! :)

Not sure I'll keep the icon. The animation is a little rough. The snake, though is really cute and he's got a LOT of potential as a stop-motion animation puppet. I named him Mr. Slithers. :)

All in all, a fun day if a smidge unproductive. :)
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I've been having a hard time staying focused today. My mind keeps drifting back to this morning.. I've been driving to work lately because I have school after work and the train doesn't go near my school, but on the way to work, I drive pretty-muc right beside the train tracks...
This morning the trains were stopped. I heard on the radio that someone had got hit by one of the trains. It was erie, driving past them, all stopped in their stations and empty of people... Then there was one stopped just outside the station I get off for work. The police were there, the news people were there taking photos, about 30 feet from the train was a white sheet on the tracks.
So my mind keeps going there, wondering what must have been going on in that person's head to make try to cross in front of an oncoming train. I know it wasn't a suicide. It's one of the busiest stations and I see people run across the tracks in front of trains all the time, even though the gates are down and the lights are flashing and the bells are ringing. Cars do it even more often. They even drive around the gates. I've seen them missed by only seconds. But what would make someone do this? The trains pass an intersection in less than two minutes. That's shorter than a commercial break on most TV channels. Is risking your life like that worth it?
I also see the journalists, taking the photos, the police, keeping onlookers out of the scene.. I don't understand our fascination with blood. I couldn't be one of those journalists, looking at stuff like that every day. I don't know how they deal with it. Nor the police. It's funny, I guess. When I was growing up, I helped my father butcher deer and went with my grandmother to the meat-packing plant to have her cattle slaughtered. I should be more desensized to it than most people.. Then again, maybe I've seen enough of it to not be curious and want to see more. I guess that explains away the onlookers, but the police and reporters.. I wonder how they deal with it? I don't think I could.

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