Lincoln City, OR – late night

Things I’ve noticed.

If I have people around, I don’t do updates very often, nor are the updates very long.  “People,” in this case, can mean friends from home, new friends I’ve just met, or real time internet friends, when I’ve had an active connection (just twice so far, unfortunately).  In addition to not writing updates, I tend not to write songs or record them.

Since I got to San Diego, I haven’t written or recorded any songs (wait, that’s a lie, I did do a little taping in Las Vegas), and the frequency of updates has bottomed out.

I briefly mentioned that I worry about this.  I can also connect it with certain other instances in my history that make me wonder how able I am to create, to write, as long as I’m not miserable in a hole somewhere.  This is a concern beause I really feel better about things when I’m writing about them.  I hope to be able to actually make a living at writing things, but once I get started in a direction, things distract me.  I lose touch with whatever was so important that I had to write it out in the first place.

At some point, it becomes like work.

I have to find a way to create regularly, to write to deadlines, to meet obligations, while maintaining the urgency I feel when I write because I have no other choice.

I just can’t go back to changing passwords for a living.  I’ll be fixing an idiot problem for the same person for the third time that week and I’ll snap and the headlines will read  BALD MAN CHANGES EXECUTIVE PASSWORD TO “FUCKING PINHEAD,” KILLS DOZENS.

Aside: My mother hates that word I just used up there.  And it’s not like I’m doing it just to get the ‘R’ rating.  I mean, I have friends who might like to read these to their grandparents, or to their kids, or even to their friends from church.  I worked on that line for quite a while (I know, kind of takes away from the magic, doesn’t it), and there was just no other way to do it that had the same impact.  I mean, even _reading_ that word, my eyes close, my head turns to one side, and I almost spit it out.  Sure, it’s childish and asinine, but then again, it’s childish and asinine that you make twenty times my salary and you can’t remember which of your kids name you used as a password, you dipshit jerkoff.  Oh, hell, there I go again.  Sorry.

But can you see why I can’t go back to doing something like that?  I mean really.  It’s only a matter of time before I get fired, or punched, or shot.

So does anybody know of someone with a job opening for an elitist smartass?

Postscript:  I’ve noticed that typing updates with a kitten nearby is a lot like that game Whack-A-Mole…

Lincoln City, OR – evening

Well, Mark is going to kill me.

Late last night, there was an addition to the clan.  Mark had barely learned to tolerate Scout when Kato showed up, and now…

He doesn’t have a name yet.  Cats will usually name themselves if you give them the chance (although if he keeps clawing at the laptop, his name will be “Dog Chow”).  Last night I was walking around down at the Newport Bayfront.  I was meeting some people at the Ro344egue Ale Public House, and had gotten down there early.  There was a kitten in the street.

Now, I’m no zoologist (looks at his watch, “Am I a zoologist?  I’m not a zoologist…”) but I don’t think a kitten’s natural habitat is the middle of the street.  So I at least got him to the sidewalk.  I watched him for a while, he poked around here and there then went off down an alley that looked like it had residential type doors along it.  So, I figured, that must be home, and I walked on down the street.  Well, as I’m waiting for the light at the next crosswalk, who should I hear yelling at me but… this guy.  Sitting there behind me, it seemed as though he’d picked me.

He’s stopped playing with the keyboard.  He’s now very politely sitting on my left shoulder, watching me type.  He’s still small, Scout could never get away with that.  And Kato would rather just knaw on my arm.  He just tried to walk down my arm and promptly fell into the seat beside me. He’s not even enough of a cat yet to act like he meant to get down that way.  I didn’t get much sleep last night because he refused to go to the bathroom and I refused to sleep until he’d proven to me that he knew where the box was and precisely what it was for.  Eventually, nature ran its course and he passed that test (reason #736 why cats are better than dogs).

You can probably tell I’m hooked already.  I’ve really been missing Scout (Kato, too, but Scout’s been my buddy for a long time now.  I think he and I understand each other.  I just hope he forgives me for going away for so long), so this is pretty cool.  And it’ll mean my adventure won’t end just because I’ve gotten home… Mark and Scout and both still kinda cranky that Kato’s moved in… so this should be quite interesting.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve been enjoying Newport.  Everytime I go out I meet cool people and end up doing or talking about interesting things.  I’ve found great restaurants and drank great beers.  There’s three (!) used bookstores that I want to try to get to tomorrow, along with the aquarium (might as well say “sayonaro” to Keiko, as long as I’m here).  And I’d like to run the new guy through a vet’s office real quick if I have the chance.

And, speaking of him, he seems to be all wound up right now.  He keeps attacking the long-sleeve t-shirt I just took off (Rogue clothing, ask for it by name), but never decides to finish it off.  Perhaps it’s putting up a struggle that eludes my non-feline powers of detection.  Uh-oh, I hear footsteps.  I think I’m being stalked.  If you’ll excuse me, I must defend myself, for the sake of my species.

Lincoln City, OR – afternoon

Finally back in Newport.  Or, more precisely, just north of Newport, still on the coast, in Lincoln City.  Since the trip home is looming on the horizon, I’ve been looking ahead to the best route back east.  “Best” meaning the fewest, easiest hills (for Roberta Verona) and no damn deserts (an imperative of my own)

I am _so_ happy to be back here.  When I left Portland (from a tire store–and “don’t ask, don’t tell” is my new policy on this kind of topic), a sign told me it was one o’clock and ninety-five degrees.  When I got into town here, a similar sign gave me the far preferable reading of three o’clock and sixty-three degrees.  I am sitting in a fresh seafood restaurant overlooking the ocean, where I was just served a crab cocktail with a scoop of Dungeness Crab as big as a softball.  And while the price is eye-opening, it’s not even as much as I paid for less than half this amount of not as fresh crab earlier this week in Portland.  And this cocktail sauce shows all the signs of being made in-house.  Oh, yeah, B.B. King is on the restaurant sound system.

And this was just some place I stopped because I was hungry and a sign said “fresh seafood”.  I haven’t found a place I didn’t like here, yet.

If I overhear someone say they’re looking for a computer guy or a guitar player (or, hell, even a bartender, at this point), Susie and Bill are going to need a plane to get their RV back…

Portland was okay, but to be honest, I was actually expecting a bit more from it.  It seems that once cities grow past a certain size, they’re pretty much all the same.  The zoo was pretty cool, and Suzy knew about a fantastic book store called Powell’s downtown.  I imagine that there are other really cool places scattered about, but for someone just in town for a few days, who doesn’t know anyone and who is not looking for anything in particular, trying to find them proved pretty futile

I’m still not sure if I’m going up to Seattle and Vancouver, which I never realized was just across the border.  For some reason, I always pictured it being more northwest than it is.  Part of me thinks Vancouver in particular would be awesome, but I’m concerned that it’s the same part of me that felt exactly that way about Portland.  Without knowing what in particular to do, I’m left driving randomly in a city I don’t know at all.  Not that that’s such a bad way to spend a day, but the reality of what I’m going to do with myself and how I’m paying for stuff once I get home has started to set in.  So I’m beginning to do mental math on possible stops for the trip home.  Newport made it (and when I got here, I extended my campground reservation an extra two nights.  Nyaah), Vancouver (and Seattle, which is on the way there) has not yet proven itself in my mind.  We’ll see.

I apparently will have ‘net access from here, but it’s back to the once or twice a day in the campground office.  I did get spoiled by the fantastic campground in Portland where I had phone lines in the RV.  It didn’t show up with extra updates (there wasn’t a lot to say, really, I spent the better part of two Portland days in the RV sick), but I did get caught up on the Dolphins’ preseason thanks to Curt Fennel’s great Dolphin site.  I have a feeling Peyton Manning is in for a rude welcome to the NFL Sunday…

Anyway, this late lunch is about over.  Too bad I just can’t eat any more, is was wonderful.  Pier 101 Seafood in Lincoln City.  Go there.

Portland, OR – morning

Well, it’s now pretty clear that I write updates as a substitute for human interaction.  One tiny update in the last week, but Suzy gets on the plane for home last night and here I am at breakfast, writing away.  This, coupled with the fact I’ve already mentioned in an update that I tend to write songs only after I’ve broken up with someone (I’ve written a few on this trip, but again, far away from people) make me wonder if I’ll only be able to pursue a creative career by cloistering myself far from human contact.  I’ll have to work on that issue.

Back to a couple things you all missed while I wasn’t writing.  After the extra day in Reno waiting for RV repair, Suzy and I hit the road for Crater Lake.  It was the most spectacular thing I’ve seen so far.  Painted Desert was awesome, but it was kinda one of those things you have to have a predilection for to really appreciate.  I can’t imagine anyone not having their breath taken away by Crater Lake.  Particularly the way you approach it from the south.  As the name implies, it’s a lake in a big crater that used to be the top of a volcano (actually, “crater” is not the correct geological term, but at this point, who cares?).  So you spend quite a bit of time serpentining up the mountain through some beautiful scenery, but with no indication of what’s ahead.  All of a sudden, you crest the rim, and there it is, blam, all at once.  The bluest thing you’ve ever seen.  I really hope my pictures came out (I shot more than three rolls of film), I had to learn something new about my camera to take many of them (the autofocus couldn’t “see” the water at all, and refused to open the shutter if the lake itself was in the center of the picture.  So in my brilliance I figured out how to focus all by my manual self).

The only thing left to say is that you really should go see it yourself.

After Crater Lake we went to Newport, where I wrote the brief Rogue Brewery update.  We came in on SR 20, because the map showed that it was about the most direct route west from where we were (if you’re playing our home game, we went north from Klamath Falls to Crater Lake, continued north to Bend, then all the way to the coast on 20).  Unfortunately, maps have this nasty two-dimensional limitation.  If I’d seen how much up-and-down ground we had to cover on 20, I would have gone any other way.

In any RV, hills are a bitch, both up and down.  Going up, you slow way, way down.  And with Roberta Verona, there comes a point in the day (after about two hours of driving) where “slow” becomes “stop” on hills.  We spent about an hour and a half in an alledged Oregon State Park that looked suspiciously like a Rest Area waiting for Roberta to decide that “up” was a legitimate directional choice again.  And down, you’re simply completely out of control.  One of the things that got fixed in Reno was the brakes, and if you’ve ever gotten new brakes, you know they can smell and squeal, just because they’re new.  Well, when you’re rocketing down the side of a mountain in an RV and you overuse the brakes, they’ll start to squeal and smell.  I am not nearly educated enough to detect the differences between these sets of squeals and smells.

The RV repair shop guy in Reno had talked about brakes and the importance of using lower gears when going down hills (I did this.  It seemed to have the same approximate slowing effect as does holding your hands out the side windows) in order to keeps your brakes from actually bursting into flames.  Which surprised me, because he also said tht brakes are made of asbestos, which is not a material that I thought was supposed to be particularly combustible, although I am aware of it’s carcinogenic effects.

So you can imagine my stress-free level of driving as I plummet down mountain roads in second gear, fairly standing on the brakes, the stench of asbestos cutting neatly through the piney forest air in its quest to give me cancer, as I wait for the flames to begin erupting out of every wheel well

But, hey, at least the engine was running cool.

So, we’re about fifteen miles from Newport, and I’m wondering which of the next couple turns is going to pull us free of all these mountains.  See, Newport is a coastal town, and coastal towns, in my experience, are different from mountain towns.

Well, how about that, more education.

It seems Oregon (and who knows what evil example they’re setting for Washington and Northern California) rudely stacks its mountains right up to the edge of the ocean.  I was nervous enough about stopping on some of these downhills without the threat of being pitched off into the Pacific, should I not quite make a stop sign.

Now, every stop I’ve made on the trip so far, I’ve called ahead to reserve a spot.  Sometimes only a couple hours ahead, but still.  Even so, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a campground that was full.  And this includes more than a week in San Diego, during Comic-Con and some of the nicest summer weather you’re ever likely to come across.  For some reason (I suspect I had flaming cancerous death brakes on my mind, but I can’t be sure) I failed to call ahead to Newport.

Newport was freezing.  Well, okay, not freezing, but late afternoon when we got there it was high fifties or low sixties, and with a vicious wind.  Even the crabs and seals were like “Screw this weather,” and stayed in drinking.  The “beach” was the small area at the base of a cliff where the ocean was currently dashing boulders into their component atoms.

This was the vacation environment in which I arrived to be, literally, laughed at when I asked if there was someplace to park me RV.  The one time I didn’t call ahead.

Now, I thought this type of weather was fantastic, but I slept with the window open during the winter at Syracuse, which I have been told is not quite normal, so I was kinda surprised that everyone wanted to be here now.

Anyway, we did finally find a place, and we went out to the ocean and then got dressed (long pants!  I haven’t worn long pants since June 3rd…) and went to the Rogue Brewery, which I’ve already mentioned.  I drank enough to where I shot my immune system and ended up getting kinda sick.  I’m only now getting rid of my stuffed up nose and sore throat.

Well, I’ve long since finished breakfast, and I’ve worked on this off and on all day between napping.  I don’t feel like it’s particularly finished, but I’m done working on it, so that’ll have to do.