Friday, March 30, 2007

Without an answer the thunder speaks from the sky

Tomorrow I have to present some of my research at a symposium here on campus. It's always hard to get excited to present at this particular symposium because the only people who are going to be there are others who are presenting their research, so there's not really an audience that's particularly interested in what is being presented. However, we all received funds from the same source, and in order to be eligible to receive future funding it's required that we present at this symposium (just another hoop to jump through).

I was talking about it with one of my lab mates and he mentioned something about how inevitably people ask stupid questions at the end of the presentations (side note, whoever said there is no such thing as a stupid question lied). On top of that, someone almost always asks "Why should I be interested in this research?" (which clearly indicates that they are not interested in the research - one of the problems about speaking to an audience that is only there because they have to be). Sure, we could go on and on about how it's important to know how things have evolved and so forth, but the answer most people are looking for when asking such a question is how it affects people.

Well, fear not gentle reader, for my lab mate has offered the best possible answer to that question and it is as follows:

"Well, for one thing, it keeps me off the streets and away from your daughter."

That's one I may have to start using.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Look what you did, you idiot kid, you don't have a clue

You've got to love YouTube. They have almost everything one could ask for, which is quite handy on days when one doesn't have much time to put into a blog post. Today, one figures one can just play a clip from one of one's favorite movies, The Royal Tenenbaums.

One's not quite sure why one loves that scene so much. Maybe it's because one's been there before, and is fairly certain that one will be there again at some point in the future.

Or maybe it's because of the following scene, which one couldn't find on YouTube (although one didn't look very hard) but has transcribed below.

(the scene is set with the entire Tenenbaum family sitting around Richie in the recovery room at the hospital after the incident).

Chas: Why'd you do it?
Richie: I wrote a suicide note.
Chas: You did?
Richie: Yeah. Right after I regained consciousness.
Chas: Can we read it?
Richie: No.
Chas: Can you paraphrase it for us?
Richie: I don't think so.
Chas: Is it dark?
Richie: Of course it's dark. It's a suicide note.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fire it up

Last night I watched my friends play softball. They lost (again), but this time it was probably just because the other team was made up of guys who live to play softball. What pleasure you get out of stacking a team with a bunch of guys who are pretty decent and then playing in a novice league is beyond me, but apparently it helps some people feel better about life. And by some people I'm specifically referring to the really fat pitcher on the other team. I haven't seen anything jiggle like that since the girl we nicknamed Jugs competed in one of those sack races in high school. When she was bouncing up and down all over the place it was awesome (you should have seen it, every guy in the school lined up to watch that one, including the male teachers and principal). When the pitcher's man boobies and fat gut were jiggling all over the place as he ran the bases, it was most certainly not awesome. I really wish that I'd had some sort of recording device so that I could have slowed it down, put it to music and shared it with you all via YouTube, but you'll just have to use your imaginations. Personally, I'd want to play in a league that was competitive so the games would actually be interesting. There's really no joy in winning a league championship if you didn't really have to compete for it, but maybe that's just me.

I was not dressed for the occasion. I knew that it was supposed to cool down yesterday, but figured I could still get away with wearing shorts and sandals. I was wrong. It was cold!

(Those of you who are not from Vegas are probably snickering about what wimps we are here, in which case I challenge you to come here in July when the temperature is 117 and we'll see who's wimpier).

I had to break down and put on the big gay sweatshirt my parents got me for Christmas (live by the rod, die by the rod). That wasn't even enough so I put on a windbreaker too. Even with that, I still got too cold just sitting on the bleachers so stood up throughout the second game of their double header figuring that it would help a little, and it did.

While we were standing there, I offered to warm up one of my friends by putting my jacket around her to shield the wind.

Girl 1: That actually does help a little.
Me (to Girls 2 and 3): Come on you two, there's plenty of room. It'll warm you up.
Girl 2: It might heat up in other ways.
Me: True. It'd probably start a fire in my pants.

Now that, my friends, would be a proper way to start a fire in your pants.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well you talked about nothing which was more than I wanted to know

My friend and I made a detour on the way back from lunch yesterday so that I could pick up the new Modest Mouse cd. I grabbed the cd and proceeded to the check out line as my friend followed me.

Cashier: Are you two together?

Friend: Well, we're not together. We're just enjoying a nice shopping experience together.

Cashier (very embarrassed): I wasn't trying to say you were gay.

I wanted to say something to him about how it's ok, we don't have to hide anymore, at least not here because nobody knows us, but as he said when I told him that later, "You don't want to put me into a position where I'm going to say something really humiliating."

I've only listened to the cd once so far, but it's definitely got one of those catchy songs that I end up playing over and over again (4 times on the way to work this morning). The lyrics are even optimistic (for those of you who say I listen to depressing music).

Here are a few examples of the optimism:

- Well it would've been, could've been worse than you would ever know.
- Oh, the dashboard melted but we still had the radio.
- Oh, the windshield was broken but I love the fresh air you know.
- Well the car was on blocks but I was already where I want.

Note: If you'd like to hear the song, I believe it plays automatically when you click the link to the band at the beginning of this post, or you could just play the clip below.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dead cat in a top hat, wow

This may come as a surprise to you, but I'm not much of a pet lover. Maybe it's because we were never allowed to have pets in the house when I was growing up, or maybe it's because I'm a horrible, horrible person. I'm guessing it's a little of both. Or maybe I get it from my dad.

I have a sister who loves pets. Ok, I have more than one sister, and more than one of them loves pets, but this particular sister really takes it to the next level (ironically, it's not even the sister who has 30 goats). She's the one who convinced my parents to spend $300* on a Pomeranian even after they swore that they'd never get another dog. She also recently convinced them to let her take in a Siamese cat. It was supposed to stay in the garage, but somehow that didn't stick and now it's always in the house. This particular sister has also moved out recently. Her pets have been left behind, even though I don't think either of my parents or my sister who still lives at home even like them. I know my dad doesn't.

Last time I was at their house, the cat was playing around with some stuff in the living room. My dad told me that he was trying to get it to play with plastic bags from the grocery store.

Him: My plan is to train it to jump into a bag. When she's used to being able to jump in and out, I'll wait for her to jump in, then I'll tie it off and sit and watch until it stops moving around. This is going to be fun**.

* If you knew my parents, that price tag would amaze you.

** He wouldn't really do it, but it is funny.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

And the woman who says she'll have me I long for her embrace

I'm currently reading a book titled Special Topics in Calamity Physics (go here for a review of it, it's not exactly what you'd think by reading the title). I'm only about halfway through, but I've enjoyed reading it and would recommend it even without knowing the ending*.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that I read a passage this morning that perfectly sums up my take on relationships.

"I'd never contemplated relationships very much (Dad said they were preposterous if I was under twenty-one and when I was over twenty-one Dad considered it Fine Points, Minutiae, a question of transportation or ATM location in a new town; "We'll figure it out when we get there," he said with a wave of his hand) and yet, in that moment, when I moved past Milton and Joalie, both of them smiling confidently in spite of the fact at distances greater than fifteen feet they looked like a gorilla walking a teacup Yorkie, I actually felt awed by the remote possibilities of the person you liked ever liking you back a corresponding amount. And this mathematical conundrum started its long division in my head at breakneck speed, so by the time I sat down in the front row of AP Calculus and Ms. Thermopolis at the dry-erase board was trying to wrestle to the ground a robust function from our homework, I was left with a disturbing number.

"I suppose it was why, after years of playing the odds, some people cashed in their measly chips for their Zach Soderberg, the kid who was like a cafeteria, so rectangular and brightly lit there wasn't a millimeter of exciting murk or thrilling secret (not even under the plastic chairs or behind the vending machines). The only saturnine miasma to be found in him was maybe a bit of mold on the orange Jell-O. The boy was all creamed spinach and stale hot dog.

"You couldn't make a grisly shadow on his wall if you tried."

I cashed in my measly chips once before (albeit without the years of playing the odds, and it was for someone with too much "exciting murk" and too many "thrilling secrets"). It didn't work out all that well. While I don't wish to repeat that experience, I don't want to end up with a Stepford Wife either (well, except for the impossibly beautiful part). The odds are most definitely not in my favor.

* If you want to check it out from the library on campus you may run into some confusion as I accidentally forgot to check the book out before leaving the building. Obviously, it won't be on the shelf even though the library catalogue will say it should be. I know the right thing to do would be to take it back and check it out properly, but I'm far too lazy for that, so I'll just return it when I've finished reading.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm lonely, but I ain't that lonely yet

Ex-wife: I think you should date my biology teacher.

Me: You do huh?

Ex-wife: Yeah, I do. She's not that pretty, but she's well educated and seems to be really cool. She has a lisp, but you don't even notice it after a while.

Me: Um. I'm pretty shallow. Plus, she lives in Salt Lake City so I don't really see how that would work out.

Ex-wife: I just thought that you'd have a lot in common because you're interested in the same subject. I said she was smart, but she's not arrogant.

Me: But I am, remember? I heard that from you for years.

I don't know why everyone is suddenly feeling the need to find love for me (I mean, obviously I'm incapable of doing it myself, but still). I'm finding it to be a little annoying. Strike that. Make that QUITE annoying. I would like to take this time to add another rule to who I will consider dating.

New Rule: NO LISPS!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Maybe sometimes old men die with little boy faces

We are now at the point in the semester when my students get to start dissecting animals. They're usually quite excited about this as animals are infinitely more exciting to learn about than plants (sorry all you botanists out there, but it's a scientific fact).

Yesterday one of my students made a comment about how it was fun to finally be able to cut something open. A guy sitting a row behind that student said, "Yeah, this is fun and all, but when do we get to dissect a homeless guy?"

Scary as it may seem, his was not the first comment along those lines. Earlier in the day, one of my students asked if he could dissect an earthworm without anesthetizing* it first. His two lab partners looked at him like he was crazy, and started telling him that he was sadistic. He maintained that he just wanted to see how the hearts pumped. His partners kept on with the comments, so I decided to join in.

Me: "You had to go to the park over spring break and strangle a homeless guy just to get you by until you could come back to class, didn't you?"

He just looked at me as if I was the most disturbed person he'd ever met**.

Hey, at least I didn't say what I initially thought, which was "you had to strangle a homeless guy in order to get an erection."

*drowning it in ethanol

**he may be right

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I tried hard to have a father but instead I had a dad

My 4 year old: I'm lucky. I have two dads. One fat and one not fat.

His Step Dad: Wow. I just got put in my place by a 4 year old.


Speaking of my 4 year old, is he a budding young ornithologist, or a future serial killer? I'll let you decide:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And if the devil would take her I'd thank him for his pain

I stopped to visit my parents for a couple of hours on the first day of my trip. It was nice to see them. I'm sure they were glad that I showed up without having eaten anything so I could take care of a bunch of the left-overs they had in the refrigerator. After all, what else are sons good for?

Sometime during my short visit, my dad offered the following gem:

My Dad: You know why they call it PMS don't you?

Me: Why?

My Dad: Because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.

And you all wonder where I get it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You're back in your old neighborhood cigarettes taste so good

I'm back, did you miss me? Shut up, you did so.

My trip was nice. I was able to con my brother into joining me, so that made it even better than if I'd gone alone. That said, what was quite possibly the highlight of the trip happened before I even got to his house when I came across a burning semi on the freeway. The trailer was full of sheep, and emergency personnel were doing their best to evacuate the trailer, but there was still at least one that had caught fire. I can assure you that you simply haven't lived until you've seen a charred sheep standing on the freeway, staring at the flames that had so recently ignited its wool. In fact, I was so busy looking at the charred sheep that I nearly ran over the off duty police officer that was directing traffic. It's probably a good thing I eventually saw him.

I spent the first night at my brother's house, and we left early the next morning to drive the rest of the way. When we finally arrived I realized that even though neither I nor my family has lived in the area for ten years, I always feel as if I've returned home when I see this view:

We fished the Green River for the rest of that afternoon and the following day. The fishing was slow but I was able to catch a few. I was hoping to have one of those 50 fish days that people often have on that river, but it was still fun to get out there. At least for me. My brother would probably tell you something different. It was one of the few times that I've actually caught more fish than him. In this case, it was quite a few more.

Here's a picture of him getting skunked:

And another:

The original plan was to fish the Green River for two days and then go back to Salt Lake City so I could spend two days with my kids. However, my ex-wife called to tell me that the kids were grounded because of their grades and that she was making them do homework all day Saturday. Plus, Shooting Star and her sisters were visiting the area, and they convinced us to stay an extra day and float the river with them.

Not all the pictures I took turned out good, but you can see why this is one of my favorite places in the world.

I did spend Saturday night and all day Sunday with my kids, so I'm not as horrible a father as I could be. I also spent some time hanging out with Flieswithoutwings and some other old friends. I didn't want to come back.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I feel it coming and I've got to get out of its way

In an attempt to avoid going absolutely insane, I am leaving for Flaming Gorge in a few minutes. My hope is that the trip ends up being cheaper than therapy.

I'll tell you the same thing I told my roommate:

Me: "The rent check's on the counter. I'm outta here."
Him: "When are you coming back?"
Me: "Maybe Sunday, maybe Monday, maybe never. We'll see."

It all depends on whether or not I encounter Ted Bundy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Livin' it up at the Hotel California

A few days ago I was in my friend's office while he was discussing some things with his lab mates. One of them mispronounced the word 'nuclear,' pronouncing it the way our well spoken president does (nuc-u-lar) instead of the correct way (nu-clee-ar). When my friend corrected her, the other guy that was there said that it wasn't necessarily pronounced wrong, but that it was just a form of dialect.

He argued that it was just the way the word was pronounced in certain parts of the country. I said that was just because those people were also pronouncing it wrong. Similar to the word creek. Just because many people say 'crick' doesn't mean that should be accepted as a proper pronunciation. At least not for someone who's working toward a Ph D. After I pointed that out to him, he still said that it was just part of an accent. Just like people from the east coast pronounce their "O's" differently than people in the west, or how people from New England never pronounce their "R's" at the end of words.

Since he was taking her side, she took the idea of the accent and ran with it. I can't remember how the switch was made, but she somehow got on the fact that newscasters don't have accents because they have to work hard to lose them if they want to go far in their career, and therefore, all newscasters sound like they're from California (she's from CA too).

Her: People from California don't have accents.
My Friend: I disagree. I can almost always tell when someone who's talking is from California.
Her: That's because they don't have an accent.
Me: No, it's because they never shut up about California.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Would you like some sweeties little girl? Come a little closer.

Me: You know why I wouldn't make a good pedophile?

Friend: Why's that?

Me: Because I'd end up eating all the candy and wouldn't have anything left over to bribe the kids with.

Friend: You know what else would make you bad?

Me: What?

Friend: You'd get them into the van and then sit and wait for them to make the first move.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Exploding egos in the night

Yesterday I went back to hang out with the nasty little parasites in Arizona. Oh, and two lovely ladies too.

We got a later start than we initially planned, in part because one of the ladies had never been to Hoover Dam and wanted to stop there, but also because the other had lost some stuff that morning and had to go back to retrieve it before it disappeared for good. We were successful on both of our respective missions.

This time, when we got to the Colorado River I did swim, and let me just say it was FREAKING COLD. I knew that the second I waded in, but since I'd already decided I was going to do it (and to prove that I'm a MAN), I dove in and swam for a short while. My feet were numb when I came back out. It was refreshing though.

After my swim, there was another short delay in getting to the hot springs because I couldn't remember the last part of the trail. After running around on the rocks for a while looking for it I finally decided that the best thing to do would be to follow the arrows that were painted on the rocks. Shortly after that, we made it to the hot springs, and this time there were no fat naked European men sitting in the pool (which I may have omitted from the story last time), so that was a plus. We hung out for a short while and then decided it was time to head back to the car.

Unfortunately, it was actually past time to head back to the car, because it got dark on the most technical part of the trail. I had forgotten about all the scrambling we'd done the last time I went. Normally it wouldn't have been a problem for me, but normally I'm not trying to scramble with a 75 pound Rottweiler either. The dog was amazing, but there were a few parts where we weren't sure how we were going to be able to get her across certain parts of the trail. At one point, I was trying to scale a waterfall with her, and lost my balance. I couldn't grab onto anything without dropping the dog, so both of us fell about six feet. I landed right on top of the dog, but stuck my arm out so as not to crush her with all my weight. It worked because I didn't break any of her ribs or anything, but I didn't think about how easily I could have broken my arm doing that until afterward. Luckily the only thing that came of it was a few scrapes.

By the time we scrambled over our last rock wall it was completely dark. We had two headlamps, and plenty of water, so we weren't too worried about survival (at least I wasn't - I can't really speak for the ladies), but we did lose the trail a few times. The good thing about hiking in the desert is that you can almost always see where you need to be. We could have made it back to the car even if we hadn't found the trail again, but that wasn't completely necessary. Just necessary enough to angle our way to where our path intersected the trail.

It was quite the adventure, and what better to go with the end of an adventure than a nice meal at a Mexican restaurant? Even with that, I'm pretty sure that at least one of the ladies is never going to leave her house with me again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

To take the house he built for her apart

Here's a heart warming story about divorce and the way it ought to proceed.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Open up my eager eyes

Let me tell you some of what's been going on behind the scenes here in The Shallows. A few weeks ago I happened to notice a comment that someone had recently left on a post in the archives. It was from a former student who revealed that she had a crush on me when I was her TA a few years ago (and still does).

You might think that's great. However, she chose to remain anonymous, and despite my best detective work using the clues I have, I've been unable to crack the case. (I may need to get some pointers on detective work from The Slackmistress and Mr. Boy).

The other night my roommate walked in while I was trying (unsuccessfully) to follow the clues. When I explained to him what I was doing he just laughed and wished me luck.

His son overheard us talking and chimed in:

Roommate's Son: Wait, a girl likes you?
Roomate: That's what he just said.
Roomate's Son: Wow, she must be desperate*.
Roommate: Even better!

A few minutes later:

Roommate: By the way, did [son] tell you he got hit on today?
Me (to the son): You did?
Roommate's Son: BY A GUY!!!
Roommate's Son: Well, actually, I'm not sure if he was really hitting on me. Does it count when someone tells you that you're cute?
Me: Oh, that definitely counts.

The question is, if you knew that someone had a crush on you, would you want to find out who that person is? I'm always torn. There's the part that really wants to know, but there's also a part that's afraid of the awkwardness that could result if the feeling isn't mutual. The second part is what prevents me from divulging when I have crushes on girls (which is almost always).**

*I probably would have said the same thing to him.

**More on this later

Friday, March 09, 2007

You think the score's set but you can't truly see

The other day a group of us were playing basketball. When we finished one of my friends announced that he will be holding a 2 on 2 basketball tournament at his house in a few weeks. I knew about it already as I was with him when he bought the curbside basketball hoop, but some of our other friends hadn't been informed yet.

(In the earliest stages of planning, his roommate had offered to run the grill wearing a bikini. She followed that up by saying she didn't own one, but being the selfless guy that I am, I offered to buy her one if she needed me to.)

Friend 1: So are you guys interested in playing in the tournament?
Me: The only reason I'm coming over is to see [her]in a bikini.
Friend 2: Who's [she]?
Me: She's the little cutie that lives with [Friend 1].
Friend 2: She's a cutie huh?
Friend 1: That's what they say.
Me: Oh, don't act like you've never noticed.

. . .

Friend 2(to me): So what's the matter, is she too old and mature for you?
Me: I think she's 23.
Friend 2: So yeah, she's way too old and mature for you.

. . .

Friend 2 (to Friend 1): So do you two just sit around speaking German to each other?
Me: They do!
Friend 1: Actually, we talk about the people that are sitting right next to us without them even knowing it's them we're talking about.
Friend 2: Really?
Me: Yeah, it's usually stuff like "I wish [Minnow] would put his penis back in his pants."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I listened very carefully when told just what to buy

The other day I was watching TV and I saw a commercial for Boost Looped. Apparently you can get a GPS system with your cellular service that allows you to see where all your friends are at, as long as they have the same service.

It sounds fun and all, but aren't there times when you don't want people to know where you're at? I wonder how long it will be until the first double homicide occurs because someone finds out their buddy is nailing their girl?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Welcome to the monkey house

I just got back from lunch. It took me twice as long to order because the woman at the counter wouldn't listen to me until she'd finished reading my t-shirt.

It illustrates how very mature I am:

It's evolution baby

I have just finished reading The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen (and if you can't tell by reading that sentence, this is going to be a boring post so feel free to stop now). It's a short (but interesting) read, and sheds some light into the period of Darwin's life between his return on the HMS Beagle until his death. It focused mostly on the reasons why it took Darwin so long to publish his theory, something I have often wondered about.

Most people are aware that he didn't publish On the Origin of Species until 1859, yet his idea had begun to solidify in his mind a good 30 years prior. Quammen lists several possible reasons for the delay including fear of the outrage it would cause, the political climate, fear of loss of status and/or wealth, bad health, his desire to gather more data, family life, etc. The one that added a human element to the story (at least for me) was the fear of how it would affect his wife.

Emma was a devout Christian, and he had told her his views on species early in their marriage. Shortly after that she wrote him a letter expressing concern for his ideas. "Don't think that it is not my affair and that it does not signify me," she wrote*. "Everything that concerns you concerns me and I should be most unhappy if I thought we did not belong to each other forever." She added that it had caused "a painful void between us."

Darwin saved that letter, and occasionally would re-read it. At some point he wrote a note back to Emma on the bottom of the letter: "When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cried over this. C. D."

*Most if this post, including the quotes, has been taken straight from Quammen's book.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cinnamon and sugary and softly spoken lies

One of my friends bought her boyfriend a Nintendo Wii for Valentine's Day. I've gone over to their house a couple of times in the past week to play it. It's a lot of fun, and I have to say that I applaud Nintendo's effort to whip all the little fat American kids into shape. The system is really cool, and I even felt a little sore the day after I played it for the first time. Kind of pathetic, but you try boxing with your friends in Wii life (iwl; as opposed to in real life, or irl) and see if the same doesn't happen to you.

One of the things you do before you start playing the Wii is create a character (a mii). It's cool because you can make your character resemble your looks very closely. I'm pretty sure that anyone who knows me could see my character on the TV screen and recognize that it's me. Anyway, since my friend knew that I was coming over, she started to create my character for me, but once I arrived let me finish it. I made a few changes, but for the most part she was spot on. One change that I made was the eye color. When she saw me do that she said, "Oh, you have green eyes, not blue. I'm such a bad friend."

Now, in her defense, most people don't get a good look at my eyes because usually what they're seeing looks like this:

Furthermore, I don't define friendship as being able to remember the color of one's eyes. It's one of those details that I rarely pay attention to. I probably couldn't even tell you what color half my friends' eyes are. Maybe I'm the bad friend.

The last time anyone mentioned anything about my eyes was the last time I had lunch with the girl I had a huge crush on (I say "had" even though if I saw her today it would probably come back to the present tense). She told me that I had pretty eyes, but that is far from true. For one thing, I have a pinguicula on each eye. Not the carnivorous plants of the same name mind you, but a yellowish bump that forms on the white of the eye. Those are unnoticable by most people, but they're there nonetheless. The most glaring part about my eyes (lame pun intended) is that they are the color of cow manure, hence making it impossible for my eyes to be considered "pretty."

Monday, March 05, 2007

1000 years old, sure you think that's old, 1000 years old, but what do you know?

The other day I was driving somewhere with a girl. It was the first time she'd seen me since my last haircut.

Her: Did you get highlights?
Me: No.
Her: What's that color I see then? [she points to my temple]
Me: That would be my gray hair.
Her: Wow, you're getting old.
Me: Thanks. I wasn't aware of that.

That's one prerequisite to becoming a dirty old man though, so at least I have that to look forward to.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

We'll build a bonfire with whatever's dry

Last night a group of us went to a dry lake bed south of town and had a big bonfire. I got there much later than everyone else, so I missed the good old fashioned book burning, but still had a great time. I pretty much have fun any time I'm able to sit and watch stuff burn.

At one point during the night, one of the girls that was there was starting to tire out, so she wrapped herself in a blanket, sat by the fire and began to doze off. Shortly after that someone else came along and threw a wood pallet on the fire to get the flames good and high again. Some of the flames were getting a little too close to her blanket, so I pointed that out to her boyfriend.

Me: I think your girlfriend's a little too close to the fire.
Him: Yeah?
Me: Yeah. You might want to have a talk with her. I think her exact words were "I'd rather light myself on fire than spend another night with [him]."
Him: Is that so?
Me: Yeah, and you know what else?
Him: What?
Me: She's not the only one.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Of recklessness and water

Lately I've been itching to visit Flaming Gorge. I spent 3 years of my life there, and despite the fact that I hated my parents for making me move there, it is one of my favorite places in the world (you might consider it to be my Brokeback Mountain, although in a less gay cowboy kind of way).

My friend Flieswithoutwings put it well when he described living there as "being part of a magical place and time." I've thought about what it would be like to move back there some day, perhaps after I retire, but it wouldn't be the same unless all my favorite people moved back there too.

I'd like to pay a visit to the area during Spring Break, but don't know if I can afford it. I have a million stories about the area, and Flieswithoutwings has done a good job of telling some of them in his 'Chronicles of Cow Country High' series, but here's one that I thought of the other day and thought I'd share. Besides, I doubt this one is worthy of inclusion in The Chronicles.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a fairly large body of water, and approaches a depth of approximately 500 feet in some places. Late one summer night we went swimming off the docks at the visitor's center on the dam (even though it wasn't legal). I decided to swim over and touch the dam. I have to say that it was unsettling by the time I got there because of the amount of water that was beneath me. I had the feeling that if I were to sink to the bottom, my body would never be found. I followed through and touched the dam, but it wasn't a task I was eager to perform again.

As with any body of water that big, there were always rumors about bodies being found by fishermen who were trolling and would think they'd hooked a large fish only to end up netting a human body (in full or in part). Usually the stories stated that the body had multiple fishing lures stuck to its skin (a sure sign of an urban legend, even though the area was far from urban).

While I doubt the authenticity of some of the stories I heard while I lived in the area, there are certainly plenty of bodies in that lake. My mom had a cousin who drowned there when his boat capsized during a storm and whose body was never found. With water so deep, you could imagine that it would be a good place to dispose of a body. In fact, it is believed that Ted Bundy dumped a few of his victims' bodies there.

One day we were talking about how it was kind of creepy that we'd swim in waters where bodies were decomposing. Not that it deterred us, but it is kind of gross when you think about it. During the conversation one of my friends proclaimed, "You know, my missing aunt used to date Ted Bundy."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The first mammal to wear pants

I'm tired today, and even though I don't feel like it, I have to teach starting in about an hour. Hopefully my attitude won't be reflected as I'm teaching: