Saturday, November 23, 2013

You smell- Failed body wash scents.

Failed body wash scents. They smell good, just not on you.

  • Bacon- A beautiful aroma to wake up to, but try making out with someone who just slathered themselves with the  eau de bacon. You’ll wind up hungry or sick. 
  • Gasoline- A pungent smell that reminds you how much money you are spending and how you could probably walk to the store for that donut, fat ass. 
  • Vegetables and chicken being seasoned with Rosemary
  • Curry. I like it in my belly, not on it. 
  • Fuck it, most foods- not counting pastries or deserts, which aren’t food- they are life bread. 
  • Permanent Markers- Yea I stick a marker up my nose at work. I savor that shit. Makes the day fly by. But I don’t think I need to smell like a big marker all day. 
  • New car smell- I don’t know how cars acquire that smell and I don’t think I want to know, but whatever it is makes you feel like a million dollars. However, the opposite is true if you smell like your new car. You smell cheap and trashy. 
  • Paint- You think it’s overwhelming when you walk into a freshly painted room? Try bringing that scent with you. All. Day. Long. 
  • Leather- Ahh how I love the smell of tack stores and leather bound books. I just can't imagine smelling like a tanned hide. 
  • Freshly printed ink- Fresh off the printer, the hot paper and ink feel so good in your hand. It’s the smell of hard work.  However when you wear it, it smells like you’re a delinquent paper boy who passed out and fell into a satchel of newspapers. 
  • Campfire- The fire, the smores. Stories and smoke fill the air. You don’t even notice the harsh smell of the burning wood. That is until you go home and lay down in your fresh linens. You realize you smell like a Neanderthal just waking from a long winter’s nap. It’s good while the coals are hot, bad when the fire burns out. 
  • Axe. Anything made by the company.- No need to explain.  
Clearly I've had too much time on my hands. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I love road trips.

I love road trips. Not your run of the mill road trip though. The kind of road trip where you can't pack all that much because you are sleeping in the back of the truck. I love how the night before, or more often than not, the morning of, I find myself scampering around the house, collecting everything I think I'll need for the next few weeks. I then cut out at least half of those items, deeming them unnecessary. A brush? Two shorts? Three hair ties? Come on, really? What I end up with is barely sufficient and I typically curse myself for having left it behind. On the other hand, I make up for that saved room by bringing items I think are going to be really useful, only under the perfect circumstances. For instance, my hammock. I've brought it with me on every road trip and have yet to remove the tag. Reluctantly, I left it behind on this trip, knowing full well that I will camp near two perfectly positioned trees. What a slap in the face. The fun I find in packing my bag is just foreshadowing for what is to come. 

Robert Louis Stevenson said, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Buddha went so far as to say, "It is better to travel well than to arrive." I realize that both of those statement have a good points, but I'm actually not too keen on traveling. Put Buddha behind a Semi on a precipitous mountain pass and see if he can keep that tranquil gem of wisdom in his head. Highly unlikely. I enjoy arriving at my destination, but the act of getting there is a real drag. Considering my inability to sit for longer than fifteen minutes, my pure hatred for driving and my bouts of road rage, I make an unlikely candidate for a serial road tripper. I can usually handle myself as long as I stick to some general rules. One: Never make rude or vulgar gestures at other drivers. Two: Cursing at others is acceptable if they cannot hear you. Three: Pass slow people before a murder ensues. Four: Don't go under the speed limit unless weather dictates that you do so. Five: If pulled over, lower IQ 60 points. With these in place, I manage to get by, but barely. I know that the longer the distance the trip is, the higher the likelihood of popping a blood vessel in my eye. 

This last trip really took it out of me. Denver to Silverton. A fairly long trip, but I thought it would be ok. I was ok until I started my car. I can understand traffic in Denver. It is over crowded and full of stop lights. I don't like it, but I get it, ok? I cannot, however, understand or tolerate traffic the further away from Denver I get. Each truck, RV and vacationer had my eye twitching at an absurdly rapid frequency. I cursed at them and their stupid vacation plans. Didn't these assholes know I was headed to Silverton in a hurry?. MOVE OVER. Jesus. Christ. Shortly into the drive, I found myself having imaginary conversations with the people in my way. "Oh sure," I'd say, "Pull in front of me. Don't mind that I had to slam on my breaks to avoid hitting the swaying dilapidated home made trailer your '84 Oldsmobile is struggling to pull. I'd love it if the crazy left wheel broke off and hit my car." The conversations seemed to help, but at times they did more harm than good. One instance involving a husband and wife motorcycle team nearly ended in catastrophe. Knowing that a passing lane was approaching within the next few miles, I waited somewhat patiently behind them. But when Buck, that's what I called him, slowed down to a crawl to point out things in the distance to a woman I came to call Sugga, I lost it. I imagined the conversation they were having with one another. "Looky there Sugga. I better slow down to point out all that nothing over to our left. Ya see that?" Sugga, apparently blind, dumb or both, could in fact see the nothing off to the left. "Well babe, since we can't get closer than this here lane to that vast nothingness, I'll slow down a hellof a lot more so we can really soak all this Colorado nature shit up. And while I'm at it, how about I sway back and fourth on the bike, cause it will impress you and those around me." Sugga, clearly taken back by the landscape and Buck's motorcycle handling skills piped up, "Wow Buck! I hope we can see more nothing soon. But you best move into that passing lane. Be sure to speed up though. I don't want anyone actually passing us. Just slow back down at the stop of that hill so I can see this shit around us." This is when I chimed in. "Gee wiz guys. I love all this bonding you two idiots are having, but I'd sure appreciate it if you didn't take your goddamn Sunday morning drive on a Friday afternoon. Your hand waving me to go slower isn't helping the situation, jackass. I and the 17 cars behind me don't find that fucking soothing. Learn how to drive!" Thats when I passed them, careful not to look over at the faces of doom staring right at me. In fact, I'm sure they shook their heads, rolled their eyes and smacked their lips as if they wouldn't have done the same if the roles were reversed. 

Stopping on road trips is, unfortunately, a harsh reality. The trouble comes, not from stopping, but in reencountering and repassing everyone all over again. Because of this, I usually add on rule number six: only stop when your car needs to. This works well until my 20oz of tea moves from it's cup to my bladder and I find myself in quite the pickle. This situation usually occurs in remote areas or traffic jams. At times I've hallucinated a Shell or Conoco oasis, only to realize it is in fact a half burnt hay barn. By stopping only when my car needs gas, I ensure that when I arrive at the gas station I am paralyzed by my bladder. The tricky part comes just after I extract myself from the driver's seat. I must remain stiff so as not to explode, but I also have to stay calm enough to fuel up my car. There is always a moment of hesitation before I leave the car where I can't decide if I should pee or get gas first. I always choose to get gas. Why? Because the people who leave their cars parked at at a pump, but aren't actually using it, are without a doubt, ass holes. What if someone I've passed pulls up behind me? It would only confirm what they already believe to be true.
I'd rather be here.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Balancing Act

Am I getting old? There was a point in my life when being old was cool and desirable. While I was stuck pushing a toy car across the living room floor, my sisters were driving real vehicles on real roads. When I could eventually drive, my sisters were gone, in homes of their own. Married even! WOW. Growing up is awesome I thought. False. The idea of growing up is awesome until it happens to you. On top of that, the idea old age is cool shatters after the age of 24. When I was younger, awe obviously clouded my vision. I didn't see my sisters paying for gas to fuel the real car. I didn't see the very uncool traffic jams. I didn't see the mortgage, grocery, and student loan payments flying out the door. All I saw was a vogue, suave lifestyle that consisted in doing whatever, whenever.

I turn 26 this year. Young by most standards, but it's the oldest I've ever been, so it feels pretty damn old. Which, after writing that, I don't even know what that means. People older than me say that I'm in the prime of my life. Gee, thanks? That's a lot of pressure. The prime of my life. My entire life. Is it all down hill after this? Am I doing..things..right? What are benchmarks or signs to know if I'm on track for having a fulfilling life? How much is health insurance!? Wait, should I be saving for retirement, which is still some weird amoeba type thought that I can barely conceptualize. I have so many questions! This is all happening so fast.

It's not that getting old scares me, it's that the passing of time seems so fast. I feel like I and perhaps society, place an inordinate amount of emphasis on spending time wisely for it is, unfortunately, something you cannot stash away in a savings account. There are days when I question whether or not I am doing the "right" thing with my life or making the "right" decision. This is certainly a more common line of thought during the summer on the Pro Leisure Tour, where, at times, I feel like I'm a complete waste. Hiking around, doing as I please. Not really accomplishing much of anything that will contribute to the greater good. (Well, it contributes to my greater good.) It is during those times that I get anxious and question myself. I find that I compare myself to those around me in a feeble attempt to measure the worth of my outings and choices. A dangerous train of thought. Rationally I know that judgments like these are not an accurate predictor of happiness, success or anything really, but it is incredibly easy to get swept away by this line of "reasoning." I've been attempting to let go of this mindset in hopes of adopting a more gentle, non-judgmental mentality, but I still struggle to accept things for how they are.

When I was young and still pushing toy cars across the floor, my dad always told me, "Balannnceee. Balance is everything." I'm fairly certain I looked at him blankly, not knowing exactly what he meant. Perhaps it was some secret that people who drove cars only knew. He never really expanded on that phrase and it's probably for the better. Over the years it has taken on numerous and varied meanings. During college it meant find a balance of studying and skipping class to ski. After I graduated it meant strike a ratio of days dedicated to "panicing about the future" and "relaxing about the future." Balance for running means, run AND rest. Now a days, balance has become a blend of my previous definitions. It means, relax about the future, but don't rest on your laurels. It means take time for yourself, but not all the time. Pay your bills on time, save for the future, but you probably need that LuLuLemon top. Spend time in the mountains doing what you love and don't feel guilty about it.

Deep down I know what balance means and I know that over time the definition will change. I'm sure 40 years from now, when ultra running has destroyed my knees, it will actually mean balance.  But for now, I'm happy with the definition I've given it. Though that's not to say that I don't forget that definition on a daily basis. It just means that it's a working definition. A work in progress. The PLT is in it's beginning stages. There is much traveling, running and hiking to be done and I fully intend to enjoy it. As long as I don't forget that I still need to pay my rent on the 1st and that my Jeep doesn't run on hopes and dreams.
So confusing!

 "I suppose it's like the tickling a crocodile, isn't it? Time is chasing after all of us." -Peter Pan

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No offense, but...

Washington, DC- A bill that called for a removal of certain phrases from the English language passed by a unanimous vote on Friday afternoon. All members of the House stated that from here on out, the following phrases would be deemed unconstitutional:

  • "No offense, but..."
  • "Just saying..."
An unnamed Representative from Colorado said that these phrases needed to be removed "because they were essentially an attempt at voiding the statements that preceded it. They are a smoke and mirror illusion, trying to disguise the truth. They are a pathetic attempt at smoothing over an inappropriate, blunt, and perhaps crass statement." Another Representative stated that the phrases "try to make the victim of the offensive statement feel a bit better about being demoted."

Tim Griffin, an Arkansas Representative  told reporters that, "At first I was a bit leery of the bill. It seemed like it would be a violation of the First Amendment. But when talking this issue over with my wife, she told me 'that was the dumbest thing [she'd ] ever heard, no offense.' That's when I knew we needed to pass this bill."

The bill, which is often referred to as The No Offense Taken bill, will go in to effect immediately. It mandates that the phrases mentioned above, be abolished. If the phrases are heard being used, violators can face up to a $1000  fine and 3 days of community service where they will teach English to illegal immigrants. Already police have taken several people custody and fined hundreds more.

Officer Wilksboro, a DC Language Police Officer, said, "Just the other day I had to break up a squabble at a cafe. Two middle aged women were talking when I clearly heard the more aggressive women say 'No offense.' She tried to come back from it after I confronted her by saying, 'That's not what I meant! I didn't mean to call her stupid, undermine her intelligence and blatantly try to deceive her. I thought she'd get it, but instead she somehow managed to take my statement the wrong way, despite the 'no offense' clause.' Poor lady. Hopefully she will learn from that slip up."

This reporter thinks the bill will be a boon to the country. It will force people to be upfront and honest. Rendering verbal shields utterly useless. However, I do think that the bill will be difficult and extraordinarily expensive to enforce. Perhaps there are better things the government could invest in. No offense, I'm just sayin. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Buck Up.

I wrote this a while ago, but I felt like I wanted to resurrect it.

Are you struggling with a problem, illness or a crippling case of depression? If so- read on! After years of clinical trials and research, the doctors at No Shit Sherlock LLC, have found the cure to all your ailments.
            “We tried a lot of things on really fuckin depressed people. I mean the lowest of the low on the loser totem poll,” stated Dr. Fulkerson. “The assisted suicide and bungee jumping therapy proved to be slightly unethical. Not to mention, it didn’t fit into our current marketing scheme. Ultimately we decided to stick to marketable catch phrases that everyone could relate to.”  No Shit Sherlock LLC (NSS) reported that after testing nearly 156 phrases- ranging from fourth grade reading level insults and comebacks, to redneck proverbs and even some “high class shit,” they finely stuck gold with three phrases. The researchers at NSS measured things like: Motivation, likelihood of beating head against wall, passive aggressive behavior, aggressive aggressive behavior, the times a subject would nod their head in agreement, perceived level of self loathing, and level of repulsiveness as judged by peers. Dr. Fulkerson reported that, “these phrases seemed to just click with people. The lines sunk in and really got them thinking. All the numbers and results we got were impressive across the board.”       
            The phrases that NSS ended up with are as follows: “Pull yourself together,” “Buck up,” and “Get your shit together.” Although the doctors found that certain factors help to boost the effectiveness of these phrases. Dr. Heine, the lead research at No Shit Sherlock LLC, notes that their studies have shown the phrase has a particular high potency if it sounds like “bullshit advice elitists offer people.” For instance, one of the test subjects, whom we will call Joe Sprankelstuben so as to conceal his identity, states that after hearing the line “Get your shit together,” a light bulb went on in his head. In interviews he said, “It was an “AH HA moment.  Of course! Had you told me years ago to get my shit together, I could have saved hundreds on therapy bills! I totally forgot about the horrible bob sled accident that killed my entire family and left me with HIV. I just sort of sat up straight, decided to get my shit together and now I’m pretty much the picture of perfection.”
            NSS is still running trials on these phrases and caution people that only use these gems sparingly- as they are not sure of the long term effects. Though the results seen in lab tests seem positive and a good indicator that perhaps words DO speak louder than actions.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Becoming a Beginnger

I aspire to do many things. I want to start rock climbing again, go to yoga classes, write short stories, run 100 miles, complete a Colorado bike tour. I'm fairly fit, have the time to invest in these endeavors, and yet I haven't done a single one. Sure, I talk about doing them. I think about starting them, look at information online, but I never actually follow through with anything. The fact that I can do these things, but simply don't is frustrating beyond belief. The only thing preventing me from starting and completing these tasks is me.

A few days ago I spoke with a good friend about this ridiculous paradox. He, too, struggled with something similar. Plagued with months of "hemming and hawing" about hobbies and purchases for theses new activities. Both of us made up outlandish excuses as to why we couldn't commit to these things. "Too expensive," "not enough time," "I have to watch paint dry," "I need to research it more," "I probably won't like it." These excuses only mask to real reason for not pulling the trigger, the fear of being a beginner. The fear of asking questions, making mistakes, being unsure, looking 'dumb.' Which is ironic, considering I work in a school where I encourage students to ask questions, try new things and to not worry about what anyone else thinks. Perhaps I should start practicing what I preach.
The cow that never learned to run from enemies.

Running is something that comes naturally to me (and shockingly, to a majority of the human species). So of course I find that I want to run. It is an easy part of my comfortable routine. Introducing something new would require a change. Something new might make me work, make me learn! Oh, heavens! (Again, ironic considering my job.) Interestingly enough, I enjoy learning. I actually crave it. I read, I attend educational classes, but I don't want people to see me stumble up the learning curve. I'll learn, damnit, but I don't want you to know I struggled. Passive learning, via reading and classes, there are not many opportunities for people to see your mistakes. Yes, you might pronounce a word wrong in your head while reading, but the chances of anyone noticing that are slim. When you start something new, like rock climbing or take up an instrument, mistakes stick out. That off key note, that slip from the wall, surely someone will laugh. Someone will notice. And from that moment on, you'll be known as the person who made that mistake. Forever. 

Really? Forever? I doubt it. First, if someone does remember you solely for the minor mistakes you made, you might not want to associate with them in the first place. Second, it is extremely probable that someone else, perhaps even the people around you, made similar mistakes.  (None of this is true for a suregon. I never, ever, what a suregon to make a mistake. I will hold a grudge.) Making mistakes, learning from them, seeing improvement is rewarding, not scary. Asking for advice or taking lessons doesn't make you a failure. It's probably more normal than stewing for 6 months about buying a yoga mat.

"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you." Barbara Sher

"Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns... We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small." - Tara Brach