Bachelor Party – Part 1 – The River

As I’m going to be married in less than a week my friends threw me a bachelor party yesterday. We had quite a good time but nobody got any photos so for the record, I’ll talk about it here. I was already a bit hungover before it even started, so N and I went to the gym (!?) to work out some of the previous night’s alcohol…oddly enough, the strategy worked and I felt a lot better. I’m even thinking about applying it again today. S was at my house shirtless when we got back, “letting the sunscreen soak in,” and put a slick straw hat atop of my head as we approached. I implored him to allow me a quick shower before we went, which I got, as well time to put together an overnight bag and to grab a bagel dog (onion). We got to D’s at 12:30, and had a coupla beers while people showed up…me, SS, the albatross, BB, WB, RB, DD, and A-train. R’d rented a monster van, so we loaded that up and piled into it with inner tubes and many pumps and headed off to Washougal for a nice day rafting, B driving the dropoff vehicle. We listened to Blackalicious because T wouldn’t have any of that Maiden crap.

We could see from the road that the water in the Washougal was very low, and that we’d likely have to walk some sections, but we went for it anyway. At the put-in spot, we unloaded, had some beer, smeared sunblock over our Oregon-tanned physiques, and inflated the tubes. The water was fantastic, refreshing and cool. But not very fast, which was alright because we just needed to get down before we ran out of beer. We frolicked, splashing and tossing a coupla footballs feebly between tubes, but the strategy quickly became one of getting the ball to land just short and out of reach of the person for maximal splash-quotient since nobody could catch the ball one-handed while laying on their back anyway, though both A and T showed sporadic acumen, and D surprised me with some decent spirals. It was a very fun trip down, and a lot of PBR was consumed. There was a rope swing at a bend in the river that was pretty wide, slow, and deep. A very nice rope swing, cobbled together from several different pieces of rope that looke to have been there different amounts of time, which was a bit worrisome. T blazed the trail to the swing, and tested it for us. Looked good, so a few more of us gave it a go, even braving the sun-bleached platform that creaked and swayed under my weight. Most of us took several jumps before W raised the bar with a jacknife. I decided to do a flip, but chickened out on the next jump. I’d succeeded in the past, even at a double front, so I decided that I really needed to now. So my last swing I did, and actually pulled it off cleanly (no flop, not no splash).

Back on the river after the aside, and efforts to get the wet lighter to work (too many wet thumbs) eventually succeeeded, we went through the last set of rapids (pretty rocky with the water this low). The tricky part for me was my portage. The boys had given me Annie, an inflatable love you ewe, which they roped to me. At the river we had to daisy chain the beer cooler and Annie onto my wrist, so I had to assure the safe arrival of my charges, and was popular quite often when one grew thirsty. Just for the record, a cooler full of cans of beer and ice will float just fine. If you think about it, an empty cooler floats, ice floats, and cans of beer float. So putting two floating things into one floating thing will result in a floating thing. Bottles may or may not work, depending on quantity, but using glass for such events is questionable due to the breakage factor…just be responsible.

The final stetch was beautiful. The sun was just starting to get a bit low, and the air was cooling down, but not too much. Some nice girls on the shore identified the bachelor party through Annie, and said some sweet things, like if we needed strippers for that evening. We got back to shore and struggled up the path to the car with full hands. R got stuck carrying the cooler up. I should’ve helped, but I didn’t, and he didn’t ask, but R’s that kinda fellow. B and R took B’s car up to get the mega van. I believe that the measued the road distance between spots to be 1.6 miles. The rest of us stayed behind and deflated tubes and peed into the bushes, even A-train with his stage fright, I believe. We ran by Freddy’s on the way home for food and more beer, and I wanted to stop by the fancy cigarettes store (next to Horse Brass) for some Shepherd Hotels or Nat Sherman Lights, neither of which did they carry so I got Galouis and Natty regular kings.

This was a great frickin trip, and a really nice way to start a great day. Thanks to everyone who came, I think y’all are great! btw, for anyone who actually read to the end of this, as clarity of different events changes I may add a bit more material just for the historical record. There will probably be two more parts to the tale, as that seems the best way to split it up. cheers.

He’s a Winter

Thus speaketh Ann Coulter of Saddam Hussein. Well, the rest of her article is a bit meatier that than but holy crap, what a bunch of antagonistic flag-waving, divisive drivel. This lady really sucks. I hadn’t really read much by her to this point and if this represents the quality of her work, how the hell did she ever get out of Denny’s or wherever she crawled out of. The sad thing is is that this represents a fair quantity of the conservative talk-show/newswriter tone—some ornery, overconfident righty who spews very contrary conclusions out of unrelated evidence.

The most confusing part to me is that I’ve spoken to a lot of Republicans and Bush supporters, and beyond the ones who can’t think for themselves (these are on all sides), a lot have well thought out opinions which really have nothing to do with anything that their leadership is driving them towards. I’ve realized recently (not too recently, but for the lucidity of it) that the Republican Party is one strongly based on buzzwords and images, dreams and nostalgia. It draws its voters in with those tools. The Grande ‘ole knows that logicking is tough, so it just needs to voodoo some sweet home pictures together with corporate sweetheart deals, and its members won’t catch the pass. Many Republicans are perfectly reasonable, well-meaning people, many are intelligent and open-minded.

At some point in their lives, people place their stakes in the ground. Not everyone, but many. At that point, you’ve commited. It is so hard to admit wrongness that even when the thing that you believed in turns into something different you can’t call it out, but instead become more solid in your position. I believe that this is what is happening right now. We need to turn this situation away from the ‘us&them’ , or as Ann reminds us, “You are with the terrorists or you are with America.” It’s amazing how the Administration has coopted the words patriotism and America. We need to reach out and find a common ground. I believe that there’s a lot more overlap than either side wants to believe, as long as you eliminate the leadership.

An aside, I believe the two-party system is obsolete and wrong. Either many parties or no parties is the way to go. We need to dissolve the national commitees of both to truly move forward. Corporations should have no rights as citizens. They have absolutely no business even buying a frickin cookie at the mall for my representatives. I will not support any politician who does not at least show evidence that they think this is a reasonable thought except in the face of worse alternatives. Take campaign finance reform as an issue to bond on with somebody who wants to be contrary, it will open the door to more agreements. Leave out the particulary grey issues like abortion and gun control, there’s little value in such an argument.

Your assignment for this holiday weekend is to find someone with contrary political views to yours and find agreement somewhere. If you fail at that you have to glue a picture of Ann Coulter to your butt.

powells wtf

So, I’m a bit upset with Powell’s Books lately. They have a mountain of freakin books, a city even, yet three of the last four books that I’ve gone there looking for (actually maybe more) have been out of stock. What is particularly frustrating is that I see by the website that they are located in this warehouse or that. What are sixteen copies of Parasite Rex and ten copies of the armchair economist doing in warehouses when they are popular books that are not available in your flagship store? This trend has become more and more common there. Some books they just claim haven’t been published yet, like California Rancho Cooking, which I’d held in my hands at New Seasons and seen available at amazon.com (they stock it now, and thanks Claire for the recommendation). Isolated, these wouldn’t be significant, just a bit annoying, but together they feel a bit like a trend. Has anyone else noticed this sort of problem at Powell’s? There also is the sad transition away from book lovers for the Customer Support desks. I used to ask about a book, and the person I asked would not just know the book but chat about it, or we’d discuss some others, and I’d walk away with a few recommendations. I wonder if there is any relation to the unionization of the employees.

Mars Attacks

well, maybe not, but it is a great pinball machine, and Mars will be as close as you’ll ever know tonight. Here’s the JPL’s site on viewing Mars. Cheers, and happy gazing.

The Queen

One might expect tattoos and piercings to be in abundance a Lollapalooza, and this is quite true of tattoos. Piercings were not a notable decoration this year, however. Of particular note was a couple (who may or may not have been together in any way), one of whom, the male, had a really cool tattoo of a turtle on his back. It was intricate and large. The lady next to him had one consiting of words only, large letters, reading Queen Pain. Not Queen of Pain, not The Pain Queen, but Queen Pain, scribed permanently into her light complextion. I gazed between these two tattoos, and then as Jane’s Addiction came onstage, between the bearers of them to see Dave and other playing an instrumental opening, Home or something like that (don’t know the name). Perry Farrel came onstage at the end, and they broke into Been Caught Stealing. Bam! The instant the tempo stepped up, Queen Pain did something to me. I didn’t see it coming, it was some sort of reverse charge, perhaps with an elbow, or maybe torso only, but she just about knocked the wind out of me. She used me as a springboard to jump into the pit, and was away.