no vehicle access

tippecanoe and tyler too, we like ike, and all that jazz
Tomorrow’s the big election. And since it’s my civic duty to vote, I am scrambling to read as much about the major players as I can before the I head to the polls. It’s pathetic that I don’t know who I’m gonna vote for, but I’ll do my best. I’ve been visiting the candidates’ websites, which (in my mind) does no good – they’re gonna make themselves sound rosy. So I’ve been reading debate transcripts and whatnot. Basically, it’s down to three choices: no recall, Bustamante, or Arnold. Any other vote would just be a throwaway. Kristi (a federal lobbyist, and by far my most political-minded friend) was kind enough to put together an e-mail for me, collecting some of the better links re: the recall. Hopefully, I can get this all sorted. Argh.

Yesterday, Anthony, Ben, Brontë… and I took the Discovery out for another intended 4×4 romp. The plan was to head to this 4×4 park that’s near my house. When we got there, however, it was closed down due to some special race they were having. We were pretty bummed about that. So we drove around, trying to rack our brains and think of some exciting places we could take the truck. The idea of the Auburn State Recreational Area came up again, as did Ruck-A-Chucky. Ben said he knew of some dirt roads up that way, near the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge and Mosquito Ridge Road. So we settled in for a drive towards the Auburn SRA.

Eventually, we ended up just deciding to try out Ruck-A-Chucky. Ruck-A-Chucky is a famous rapids/waterfall section on the middle fork of the American River. It’s where most of the middle-fork whitewater trips end, and it’s also where Sharaun and I love to go camping. The middle-fork is set in this huge canyon, and it’s really quiet and awesome being down by the river. To get down into the canyon to the river, you take this washed out dirt road that winds down one canyon wall to the river. The road is pretty rough, so we thought it might be fun to test the Rover on it.

We crossed the Foresthill Bridge and continued on towards Driver’s Flat Road, which is were you turn to get down into the gorge where Ruck-A-Chucky is.

<begin tangent>
On the way, we saw some dude in a minivan towing a couple dirtbikes (there are several OHV trails for dirtbikes and ATV’s in the Auburn SRA, so you see bikes being towed all over place). The guy’s tying-down job on one of his bikes wasn’t perfect, and he lost the left one right in front of us. It smashed onto the highway and was dragged for about 30ft before he noticed it had fallen. Sucks for him.
</end tangent>

Anyway, we started down the dirt road at a reasonable clip. The truck effortlessly tackled some washboard bumpiness that would have left lesser cars (lowered Civics) stranded. We drove down to the river and went as far upriver as we could. Eventually we turned right at a sign marked “no vehicle access,” and did some decent offroadin’. The day was pretty fun, and Ben captured it on his new camera. Being the second-best web dev he is, he’s already got the pix up in his gallery section. You can view the day’s events in living color and moving pictures over at this link. (Note: as of Monday morning, Ben’s site was experiencing some technical difficulties – so these links may or may not work when you click ’em).

In other news, the retaining wall is done! Well, let me qualify that. The retaining wall is stacked. It still needs to be backfilled, but other than that it is complete. I will add some pix to the backyard site as soon as possible (it’s on my long list of junk to do).

I’m out.

thanks for the confidence

ahhh... young love
I was busy today scouring my folders for photos for the soon-to-be-launched “cast of characters” page, picking out good ones, cropping them, resizing them, and working them into the flow of the page. When I decided I wanted to include some older pictures (pre-digital camera era by a long shot), I busted out some old boxes from the garage and fired up the scanner. It was during my picking-through of some old school pictures that I found something that made me wanna do this late-night Sunday blog.

I have this box of old stuff from my gradeschool years. It used to reside in our extra room when we lived in Florida. We had a house where the previous owner had converted the garage into a den and spare/junk room. We piled boxes and crap in that back room, and for years that’s where this box sat. Unfortunately, the drainage or sealing of that room was not done properly, and during a particularly floody day one year, that room took on a lot of water. A lot of the stuff in the box got ruined, mildewed, and just nasty. But before I moved to California, I cleaned up as much as I could and brought it with me. I was sorting through that box today, looking for some old school pictures of myself to add to the “cast” page.

Wedged between my Bausch and Lomb Science award and a crispy/moldy 5th grade project on birds, I found one of the coolest things in the world:

This is the first “love letter” I ever got. I was in kindergarten. Man, just seeing those hearts catapults me back to when I got this thing. The scan above is the front of the envelope (you can click all the images for larger versions). As you can see, my name is not spelled right.

Here’s the back of the envelope, they spent some time on this part – color and all. I swear, I was the happiest kid on earth when I got this thing. Thank God my folks had the presence of mind to save this. I can almost feel how good I felt when I got it. Oh yeah, did I mention it was a love letter from two girls? Apparently their names were “Christy and Shelly.” Now, I looked hard for my kindergarten class photo, but couldn’t find it. If my memory serves me correctly though, these two foxes looked they were in at least the 3rd grade. Once a pimp, always a pimp… (they still got the name wrong though)

Inside the letter was another “handmade” envelope. Again, some time was taken on this one. Looks like this might be from Christi alone, and it also looks like Christi was kinda dumb / kinda smart. Why do I say this? Well, she’s now taken to spelling my name correctly, but she’s forgotten if her own name ends with a ‘Y’ or an ‘I.’ Seems she has been completely mentally obliterated by her love for me, and is clearly losing her mind with lust.

Inside the inner-envelope, was this piece of notebook paper. Now Christy has gone back to the ‘Y’ spelling, and my name has once again reverted to “Daivd D.” That’s OK, because there are like four-thousand hearts on this page. There are even hearts that have hearts inside of them. Some of the hearts have been cleverly turned into balloons, and either Christy or Shelly had the shakes, or there’s confetti flying around. Also, there are what appear to be water spots on the note – which leads me to believe that their emotions were so strong, these poor girls were actually sobbing while they wrote this letter. This is for real love, y’all.

Also inside the inner-envelope, a very small scrap of paper with yet more admonishments of undying love. I don’t know if it matters which side is “side one” here, so I’ve shown both of them. The left one seems to have some intense imagery, including what I make out as a sand-dollar, a ninja star, and a flower. In reality, these are all supposed to be flowers – but hey, we were in kindergarten, and these girls were most likely super hot for five-year-olds (we all know brains don’t get handed out on the same day as looks). On the flipside, we have a simple message: : “Lovig David,” there’s a nice blue stamp there too. Ahh… this was the best day of my young life thus far.

Well, there ya have it. My very first love letter. Reproduced here in all it’s awesomeness. I’m really glad I could share it with you. I honestly can almost remember how good it felt when Christy, or Shelly, or Christi, or both of ’em, came up and gave this to me. I was ecstatic.

Christy and Shelly – thanks for the confidence.

what’d you say about…

was it something I drank?
Ahh… damn you barleywine. Damn you Anthony’s kegerator; your ease-of-use factor is seriously harmful. You sit there and tempt me with your sleek blackness and your silent offerings of cool delicious quaff. You make no audible sounds as I drop your hammer and top off yet another frosty mug, yet you thank me telepathically with each swallow. So what if I drank too much for a Thursday… or Mardi Gras, for that matter. You guys were cheering me on, chanting “drink! drink! drink!” Wait, that was in my head? You guy’s weren’t cheering me on? Dang.

Yeah well, we went to Anthony’s last night to watch Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. I know, it’s totally B-list at this point, but I’d never seen it, and Ben talks about it like it’s right up my “thinkin’ man’s” alley. A lot of people have said a lot of stuff about this movie, and without getting too much into it – I’ll simply say that I liked it. I liked it a lot. Sure, Moore is an expert at making his point – and he’s cunning and crafty in baiting people into reinforcing that point, even when they are in total disagreement with it. Contrary to what a lot of people get from it, I didn’t really see Moore assigning blame to any one group or factor – I considered it a really open-ended piece. But that’s the beauty of it. Anyway, I said I wouldn’t really get into it, so I won’t.

On the music tip, I was extremely glad when Ben rang me up yesterday evening to tell me that the new Beulah album had been leaked to the ‘net. I grabbed it as soon as I got home. Beulah has a special place in my musical canon, their sophomore album, When Your Heartstrings Break, was the first album I got when I moved to California. I played that thing to death, and that sound kind of embodied the whole “I’m a Californian” thing to me. Anyway, the new album is called Yoko – and from the few times I’ve been able to hear it, it sounds much better than their last effort. Anyway, the leaking of the album bumped me over what I like to call the “comp line.” This is the point where I have enough good new music to compile an mp3 cd of “new shit.” For your enjoyment, here’s a filetree from the latest comp (albums not linked to reviews are early leaks for which I couldn’t find a proper writeup):

Folder PATH listing for volume new_shit
Volume serial number is 71FAE346 9031:0187
+---appleseed cast - two conversations
+---beulah - yoko
+---death cab for cutie - transatlanticism
+---earlimart - everything down here
+---long winters - the worst you can do is harm
+---long winters - when i pretend to fall
+---snow patrol - final straw
+---stars - heart
+---stars - nightsongs
+---strokes - room on fire
+---the shins - chutes too narrow

On the “your mom” joke tip, Anthony broke the mold yesterday and created what I believe to be a whole new breed of YMJ. For the uninitiated, a “your mom” joke is a quick way to make the guys laugh. If the crew you run with is OK with rude and, more often than not, lewd jokes being told at their mothers’ expense – then you have the right ingredients. We make YMJs more often than any other joke, mainly because they are fast and easy, and generally get a hearty laugh. They can take almost any form, and don’t even really have to make sense. Nearly any statement can be turned into a YMJ. “Dang, this rock is heavy.” “Your mom is heavy.” “Man, that bike ride wore me out.” “I wore your mom out.” As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Anyway, Anthony came up with an unconventional, outside-the-box YMJ – and you, faithful reader, can read the IM transcript of it’s inception right here:

Anthony says:
you really suck as a friend
Dave says:
yeah… i know.
Dave says:
Anthony says:
on a call
Dave says:
Dave says:
i need some peanuts
Anthony says:
my mom said you are packing a peanut…so why not just play with them
Dave says:
hey! you turned a your mom joke around on me!
Anthony says:
I just bagged on you through my mom…that is the best ever
Dave says:
that’s an innovation i think. a first.
Dave says:
that was awesome
Dave says:
a whole new breed of joke
Anthony says:
need to show that one to ben
Dave says:
i think i might copy this whole chat into the blog it’s so good
Anthony says:

To explain a bit: sometimes after lunch, I get a hankerin’ for these toffee-coated peanuts that the store in the lobby sells. Hence the “peanuts?” line above. Oh, and Anthony is always telling me I’m a sucky friend. The “new hotness” about this joke is that Anthony actually sacrifices his own mom for the sake of insulting me. Now, those are some high stakes – but I think the rewards can sometimes justify the price. Kudos.

On the random tip, I really thought this was a cool story. Who knew that diesel engines could run on vegetable oil? Well, not me, OK?


Inspectors have not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but have found evidence of weapons programs, chief U.S. inspector says. Details soon.

Update! “Bannerwatch 2003” has had it’s first sighting, courtesy of CNN’s zealot style panic reporting. Thanks to Anthony for the heads up with enough time for me to grab the screen cap.

update on frank

blogged it's way to the top
Got an update from the folks re: Frank.

Hey dogg – just wanted to let you know we got a letter from Frank today. He sounds okay, says he really misses Angela a lot and thinks they will get married over his leave at Christmas. He says he actually starts Basic tomorrow and won’t have a real address till then, so we still can’t write to him. He says he’s met a lot of new people and his lower bunkmate cries a lot cuz he’s never been away from home. Frank says he tries to “talk him up” but he still cries. He says Fort Knox is supposed to be the hardest place for basic – great! He also says they get up at 3:00 AM and don’t go to sleep till 9:00 at night. He got his glasses and can see much better – surprise, huh? Anyway, just thought you’d want to know he doing okay. He asked how you and Sharaun are so he’s thinkin’ about ya. Say hey to Sharaun, too and talk at you guys later.


To me, it sounds like Frizank is doing OK so far.

No red banner on CNN all day yesterday or thus far today. I predict a red banner by the end of the week, stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out who I’m going to vote for in this upcoming recall election. I’m just so out of touch with politics, I don’t know when my lack of caring started – but I kinda wish I cared more.

I was checking my website stats today, and the blog page has really rocketed to the top. Probably because half those hits are me checking it for spelling errors and just generally admiring my own work. It’s getting about half the hits of my Mysterians site (man, I hate that site), but that makes sense since that page is a #1 return on Google. Still cool to think people might be reading this.

The cast of characters page has about 50% of the images I want already integrated into the format. Which means I should have it done by early next week. I was tempted to link an early version here, for feedback – but I’m gonna hold off and wait until it’s done to my liking.

I’m out.

human bug-light

hangin' with the aquaman and the snorks
It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those “the end is near” doomsday red bannered news headlines on Seems like ever since 9/11, even the smallest piece of news is huge-bold-white-font-red-banner worthy. I mean, even John Ritter dying made the red banner. I wonder what the criteria is for being red-bannered? Most of the time, it’s someone blowing someone else up over in that middle-eastern place where people are always blowing other people up. Occasionally, it’s to make sure I’m aware that some crazy movie star is leading the pack of distinguished porn actors and other Hollywood-types in the latest election.

I have become, much to CNN’s knuckle-cracking delight, a news junkie. So much so, that when the news Gods don’t bless me with the red banner for a few days, I notice the fact, and even write about it. I check like every hour, just to make sure that the human bug-light that is the red banner hasn’t appeared or changed.

I’d like to be in the room when they’re deciding what goes in the red banner. “Hey Mike, how many people died in that suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem again?” “Umm… lemme check the wire… it says here that two other people died.” “OK, we got three total people dead here, I’m thinkin’ we slap this headline in a huge ass white font, framed by an insane red banner, and slap it at the top of the page.” “OK, you want me to make that whole thing blink like once a second?” “Nah, let’s save that for something really big, like when the pope kicks it or something.” It’s sensationalism at it’s very best. Hopefully, the red banner will never leave. I would not know what to do. I will keep you, the faithful reader, updated – and as soon as there is a red banner headline again, you’ll hear it here first.

What else is going on? Well, Anthony and Ben and I took his new truck out for a test run the other night. We went out to this construction site that I hadn’t seen any kind of barricade on. We drove up some pretty dang step inclines, tilted the truck up on two wheels (it was too dark to see what degree we were at, he has a tilt-o-meter gauge). A couple times we started just spinning tires since the terrain was a lot of loose dirt and rock, but it was really fun. And, what’s even better – no cops came and arrested us. Next time, we’ll have to find a real 4×4 place where we’d not be breaking the law to drive. Anthony said we might take it up to Ruck-A-Chucky this weekend and try to ford the middle fork of the American. I want to go underwater so bad.

I totally haven’t been working on the “cast of characters” page. I need to finish a few writeups and add some images, and it’ll be done. For now, it’s in the perpetually-coming-soon category. Until later…

frank’s 6th day

if i was a bum...
Anthony’s new truck got here yesterday, he drove it back from New York in three days. Let me be the first to say that this truck is friggin’ awesome. Sooo sweet. You could live in it. As a house.

I’ve always had a fascination with areas that can be self-contained living environments. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had daydreams about living in small places, but having enough amenities to sustain me. I used to have a favorite one about a cave, and another about a bomb shelter. The idea of being in a small area that’s somehow protected from an attack (why, I have no idea) and that provides me with sustenance is an awesome one. I thinks that’s why I loved the movie Cast Away so much, and why I dig Thoreau’s Walden too. It’s where my love of camping comes from, where I get my love of the Hobbit-hole that Bilbo lived in, and also my frequent thoughts of “what if I fell down a well.” I guess it’s that aspect of solitude and self-sufficiency that really appeals to the hunter-gatherer in me.

Somehow, this tangent was coming back to the truck. I mean, fo rilla. This truck is insane. It has a GPS LCD screen, heated seats, an underwater-driving-enabling snorkel, CB radio, roof rack and spotlights, winch kit, tow kit, argh!! It’s rad to the bone!! It packs so much into such a small area, all this cool stuff encased in a body reminiscent of a small army-tank (ok, not really at all – but it’s that way in my head).

TiVo mentality has taken over my brain. During the day, I find myself wanting to pause, rewind, and very often fast forward various goings-on. Sometimes I wanna do those last 30min of sleep each morning in slow motion. Those are the best 30min of the whole night. People are talking to me, and I just shout out “rewind” like the TiVo in my brain is gonna be able to figure out what I mean.

In other news, the long promised “cast of characters” page is nearly done. I really want to add some pictures to it, so that will probably take a few days to get finished. Other than that, it’s pretty much ready to go.

It’s Frank’s 6th day in the army. I wonder what he’s doing right now?

I’m out.