Sunday, September 30, 2007

You all suck, sorta

Here's your new Homework from Prof. Mikie:
1 - Write 1 blog over the next 24hrs. It can be anything, EVEN a posted video is OK. Tim N' Eric, a-okay. PLEASE! I'm desperate and lonely...I need some family in my system NOW! Please? pretty?

Ok it's a lovely sunday. Hopefully you're all running around apple hill like children. that's what I'd be doing. Ciao toutes!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

notes from the road

I'm a critter. I'm a man. I'm a critterman. (sung to the melody of that one song "i'm a bitch, im a lover," you know, that really lame song from the 90's.)

oil drum. leaky faucet.
broken thumb. fire rocket.

tattle tail. open road.
mostly dry, the quiet toad.

hope for freedom
in the future,
i can see them
drawing nearer.

broken stones with countless clones
litter every road.
smiling the devil's grin.

the clouds roll away like gymnasts in timeless motion.
chasing the eternal blue.

Southern Texas:
At times, when zoning into ethereal mind-space,
it becomes a blur.
But sadly I still gaze with the eyes of
a dying doe.

texas loomed darkly.

-highway 35 N from San Antonio to Austin. Saw Martin off sad & quick at the San Antonion Intl. Airport. More room, but no Martin.
Such is life.

Today New Orleans stole my soul.

Memphis Tennessee:
We got mugged.
at gunpoint.

Somewhere on the road leading to the Windsor ruins in Mississippi, these seeming sculpted ivy-covered trees lurked like chained beasts in a dungeon. (polaroid description)

Dillapidated pillars in the grounds of a massive southern mansion from the past. Plantation slave souls. (polaroid description)

Brown water and river workers eating from big blue lunchboxes at the mighty Mississippi's royal bank. We drank beers. (polaroid description)

i fell in love in st. louis.

The soul of St. Louis, a heavily graffitid sloping cement wall beneath an overpass cradling the rusty railroad tracks. (polaroid description)

St. Louis Arch: Too far to see, for little old me. (polaroid description)

Memphis Tennessee. Spirit of the Blues. Classic rhinestone boots. But it's in this southern country haven that we were robbed at gunpoint by a dude in a black skimask. Beneath an overpass. We lay on our stomachs in the layers of dry dirt and vomit and sweat. He had us securely hidden behind a waste-high concrete wall. He stole our cash. He didn't shoot us. I was thinking he might. But he didn't. I'm glad.

Big Sexy Fountain, in a park near the Art Institute of Chicago, where we saw original paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and many more. (polaroid description)

Most Powerful Van! Van, GO!

Farm outside Milwaukee where two pretty girls gave us whiskey, breakfast, and a naked lake swim. Wiscansin hospitality. (polaroid description)

Some random guy (me) at the Badlands, perched precariously in the sun. (polaroid description)

exploring the badlands...

Black Hills Memorial Cemetary: Long shadows cast like fallen pine trees on the good green earth by sad and stubby headstones. (polaroid description)

the pines & pinback.
vast south dakotan
don't cry, setting sun.
Belle Fourche.

No brain room to write.
Too much to see.

6:30 am sunrise in Belle Fourche South Dakota. (phantom horse eyes) (polaroid description)

wanna write a poem?

water whistle.
star thistle.
One morning I found
a dead bird and
I brought it back
to life. It flew
out of sight and
never came back. I
cried for weeks.
heavy drops of gloom
with tiny frayed tails
gleaming orange like his
sad, half-dead
And I flew home,
The train in the air went,
And fall fell
and spring went,
and this was the
warmest winter I've
ever spent.
(me and stan collaboratively(is that a word?) wrote this poem in Montana.)

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park, Montana. Camped here, woke up to intermitten rain sent by the stormcloud gods of the northwest. (polaroid description)

a carousel for Missoula. (polaroid description)

goodbye, missoula.

Monday, September 24, 2007

welcome back fofe!

he's back! in all his smelly-armpit, loving life, polaroid taking, poem making glory! our rambling brother returns from his hero journey.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Learning new things after you feel you've already learned a lot...

...HURTS. It hurts. It burns not stings, it digs deep and serrated drags slowly through your open sore. PAIN. Oh it hurts bad, it hurts with stress and dread. Your guts, the lower half lighten up with icky stick and goo, and a sour film douses your securities. This is learning after having learned a lot. Because as you learn more, you think you are becoming more stable and aware, that you begin to know what you're doing. This is the problem with getting a totally foreign new job that has lots of technicality - like learning a new language, ask Darin about that one. It's embarassing. Embarassing is HURT. It's that sucky pain in your stomach. Because you're "vulnerable", and to learn means to have to fail and then work to succeed again. That's learning.
Some people never let themselves completely learn; some people become very fixed in the comfortable pre-learned things they have attained. Socially, for instance, we have learned certain ways to be, ways that are appropriate or convenient, ways that benefit our own surival seemingly the most. But then take all those certain ways, and transpose them into a totally foreign many of your certainties do you think would stand up against a gang of knuckled-fisted dudes chasing you down a dark 1-way alley to rob you and kick you blind. How many certainties? How many job securities are you willing to give up to try something new.
The people I respect the most in this world are those who do one of two things:
1 - People who transfer to a 4-year college from community college and then actually graduate, and
2 - People with the guts to quit their job.
Both exhibit the qualities that I think suggest they are ready to LEARN, not out of laziness but out of a recognition and action with regards to some dissatisfaction they are having in their lives. Sometthing has put a question mark into the air for them, and these people, in-tune enough to feel this something strange, no longer ignore or repress that dissatisfaction but satisfy it through a desire to make a change to what is already normal and acceptable to them. In other words, these people openly display a desire to truly LEARN. Learn. LEARN.

Well, I've learned over the past week. Now I am sitting on the floor of Joey's room thinking about the trees I saw this morning at dawn, or the Japanese ladies that loved to use my name in San Jose, or the swift and chilly drive across Highway 1 in that massive smelly lovetruck with no music or distractions to cling to but the wide open road, the slid open doors, the cold ocean, the afternoon's wind, trees, a girl next to me, old bread locked in a cafe in behind, my hot tired hands, my smiling face and all the adventures of a fall upcoming that holds only mystery.

So there it is. I'll still say, santa cruz as a place to live ain't all that great. Basically, the people suck. Especially the potgrower trashmakers that hate me and my car. But should that bother this boy? Maybe its a learning experience, just like it takes to learn how to do a new job or quit an old one, maybe I need to learn how to not care what other people think anymore. Or better, at least.

So there's my introspection for the day. Hopefully you're all having a beautiful sunday of fall!

Love Mikie

Friday, September 21, 2007

welcome fall

our first trip to apple hill for the season...mikie and mom and i ventured over last sunday and it was not crowded and we tried not to hog out and had laugh attacks by the fish pond and made ridiculous faces while eating caramel apples. well, okay, really mikie is the only one who made scary faces. anyway we saw mom's friend misty with her husband allen there, oddly enough, (they always seem a bit bewildered by us) and we sampled fresh homemade caramel corn and bought a huge box of gala apples.

it is getting more and more crowded up there in those hills on weekends now....i drove up today and one thing i think is pumpkin patches!!?? is it still too early, or did something go wrong this season? it wouldn't surprise me if it was just too dry.

speaking of which, i am in love with the little bits of nice cold rain we've had this week. wednesday night i was in heaven. tonight is the autumnal equinox. and i am so ready for nice cozy curl-up-by-the-fire, apple pie making, pumpkin carving, reading good books FALL TIME!

The GC Chronicles

Gladcorn. What is it? Where does it come from? What kind of "farmhouse discovery" actually happened one fateful night in a far away kitchen somewhere. Was it an accident? Is this a secret recipe?

No matter the mystery around the Beatty-infamed green bag of crunchies, one thing is for certain, GC is an addictive substance. Today, as I tore open the bag in a snack seeking fever, I was surprised at the shape of what lay ahead. I expected a very similar "Corn Nuts" experience. But I was wrong. Soon, jagged edges of corn lay all around my feet, as I scooped into the bag in handfuls... I hadn't eaten like that in ages...
Like Dad eating popcorn from the bowl, kind of....

a photo line-up of what went on

The bag of Gladcorn.

Me in action...

Art says "tastes like chalky".... Good! More for me.

Birthday dinner with the marm and sis.

Geeking out hard.

The light in our living room is pretty crazy! Hi God, alright. (the record underneath)

So I got off track from the Gladcorn.

Dear Matt, Amy, Jarom, Bella, and Orion... thanks for the birthday gift. It was rather exciting to get in the mail, and that excitement just keeps on giving! Love you!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Timpanogos caves

We finally went to Timpanogos caves. The hike is a healthy 1.5 miles that climbs over 1000 feet. We were so proud of both Jarom and Bella--they did it by themselves, with no shoulder rides or help other than a little handholding. Orion took a free ride in a backpack, sleeping most of the way. The weather was nice and perfect for a short hike, but the cave itself was quite cold.

It was awesome inside. There's so much to learn: a lot of history behind the three caves, interesting geologic information and other fascinating tidbits. Our guide was Ranger Sue. I could say a lot, but this time around I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I put a pretty good sampling of photos here, but I also uploaded all of them to Flickr, right here.

Starting off

This map is interesting

Up the trail

The first tunnel, right under a faultline


It really was this steep


In front of Middle Cave Lake

The passageway was extremely narrow at times


Orion is a stalactite

The great heart of Timpanogos--the caves' most famous feature

The rarest formations here, known as helictites

This is a drapery, I think, with more helictites

Flowstone Jabba the Hut (he's a boy)

At the exit

Precariously perched, looking at a wind tracker

Beautiful everywhere I look, everything I look at

Crossing rattlesnake habitat

Cool kids, cool rocks

At the bottom again

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Class Poems

Here's a couple of poems I wrote for my creative writing class. See if you guys like them - Joey and Matt may relate somewhat ..

A Captive’s Week
From leaves to breeze, from sleep to coffee, coke
By hard stars, dark, by smell of bread, sunrise
Blank morning, house, the shower, town, sweet people, apple, streets
Night skies skip by, by driving tired, golden bridge
Of a bagel breakfast, halfway full, towards pressing class in cursive,
That hurry, blurred up, unsure, murder, credits, kissing history
I miss the driven highways, smiling sadly, promise lake,
Oh give me freedom, flee this city, give me friends, it’s not the end.

As the sun creeps north, our eyes creep east
A line across the sky I never see;
imagination's silhouette
my memories do bleakly sell
their half-enchanting promises
of places we once reigned;
that sleeping scent of minivan carpet
packed-up bags of boards all wet
from chasing white demons, singing
making memories so deeply set for
seven years; a silhouette is all I get
to tease what passions lie beneath
my snowpacked memories begin to melt
under the autumn's beige cardigan
and every smell an oracle
predicting such a future possible
and mine only imprisoned a monkey-minded dreamer
there is no captive more distressed
than he that's free to choose between logic and destiny.

Monday, September 17, 2007

images to go along with our memories

as family "historian," there's a lot more where these came from! since i spend, oh, two or three hours a day lately looking at old pictures, i thought i would share some.

too early for us to remember, here's addie at the start of our clan...
these are out of order, but here's mikie with our beloved fluffy...


anyone remember where this is? almost looks like apple hill...

i just really like this...

easter morning?

mattie and joey...sweetie pies...

was this on that hill in placerville addie mentioned?

mikie being a superstar...

joey and dad, mountain men...

addie and fluffy, escondido...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dan Francisco

Sorry to repost this, but matt's blogs were so awesome that i feel this important piece of family matter may have been lost in the maelstrom of excellently articulated updatings.


My brief ode to Jarom. Inspired by the following: a few days ago he came home from school with his breast tshirt pocket full. There were some different types of seeds and this halfshell that looked sort of like half a burnt acorn (I'm not sure what it is). The best part though--he called this thing a "buffalo nose." When we asked him who told him it was a buffalo nose, or at least who called it that, he said, "No one. That's just what it looks like."

The sad thing is, I had a cute video on YouTube of Jarom playing with and drinking from the bathtub faucet when he was less than two. But YouTube flagged it as inappropriate and took it down, because apparently a naked two-year-old (who was not exposed through most of the video) turns some people on. Is it societal decency or something?--please. Anyway I found another video, though it involves both toddlers, and I posted that one too.

The buffalo nose

In the sleepy Blue mountains

Labor Day weekend we went up to Baker City--eastern Oregon, right in the middle of the Blue mountains--to visit Rustin and Suzi. We started out much too late on Friday, due to working too long and a car that couldn't even limp itself home, and ended up getting to Boise at 2 am. We slept there at a Marriott we'd reserved. The next day we got into Baker City around 11 am, their time.

The town is great. It's got a historic downtown with big brick buildings, many of which are in disrepair. The Blue mountains rise up to the west, and the Wallowas to the east, and there's this sleepy little town in the valley. That's the best word I came up with to describe the town--sleepy. It's quiet and quaint, everyone knows each other (like the farmers' market at the big park by the library, where everyone greeted each other and basically bartered produce). The people are friendly, the streets just barely busy. There are a few little markets and boutiques lining the street, and everything shuts down by 9. Last call at the brewpub is 10:20; they close at 11.

Bella controlling the merry-go-round at Geiser-Pollman Park

Jenny and Dana also came out from Bend so we could all hang out. Saturday we all went to Rustin and Suzi's 175-acre property right next to the old Oregon Trail. There's an old 1800s farmhouse on the property that Rustin is restoring/modifying rather elaborately (he just lifted it and added a foundation). There are old names scrawled on the wooden walls behind where the cheesecloth wallpaper used to hang--Florabelle was one of the names. Rustin showed me his collection of old bottles that he found while digging around--they're amazing: Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, Dr. Sanford's Liver Invigorator, California Fig Syrup and so on. They've got two cats and 24 chickens than run around under these huge ancient-looking gray poplars with a ropeswing. I tried feeding Rocky the rooster, and he attacked me; I had scabbed clawmark on my arm to prove it. Jarom rode a little electric kid-sized ATV around over and over again; he kept going up this little hill and getting stuck. I also drove Rustin's adult-sized ATV a little bit with the kids, down a marshy cow trail under the warm afternoon sun.

Poplar ropeswing--notice the massive limb

Jarom on his ATV, the ranch house in the background

Big ATV ride

Saturday night was girls' night out, leaving us men with a lot of music to swap and six children running about (nevermind how Suzi backed into our Jeep because I parked it halfway behind them.) The girls ate at the Prospector, a little restaurant run by a husband-and-wife team who cooks everything in the morning and refrigerates it, ready to serve later. When the food runs out, they close for the day, so the menu is always rotating, always changing. (For our dinner, us boys ordered thin-crust Domino's pizza and an Oreo cookie dessert pizza.) The girls then watched Stardust and came home to relieve us.

Rustin and Dana and I went back to the ranch to lock up the chicken coop. Afterwards we went down to Barley's Brewpub, owned by one of Rustin's friends. Those guys got some cool-sounding microbrews--this guy got a Diet Coke. Rustin ordered a coyote wheat ale and espresso stout. Dana got an IPA and a hot blonde (jalapeƱo). Like I said before, last call was 10:20, but we didn't leave the place till midnight. Rustin knows the owner, remember. And they were able to talk about hops and harvest and storage for a good hour and a half. When we got back everyone was sleeping. We went straightaway to bed.

The next day Rustin and Dana and I drove up this crazy forest road into the Elkhorn Range. It was some real fourwheeling. At about 7500 feet we got out to hike along the trail. It wound around the mountains, giving us a beautiful view of the Powder River, Phillips Lake and an old lime mine. All along the way we were surrounded by lodgepole pine and tamarack. The trail was dusty but fairly straight; it dry and hot out but our way wasn't too steep. After 2.5 miles or so, we rounded a rubbly corner piled high with scree and there was beautiful Twin Lakes right before us, below huge Rock Creek Butte (the highest peak in the Blue Mountains). The wind rippled white across the surface of the bigger lake. (There seems to be a Twin Lakes just about everywhere in the US.) We went a little further to where the trail forked, heading down to the lake. Mountains goats were feeding in the yellowy meadows below. But high above us to the south was a craggy slope that led up to Elkhorn Peak, the second highest point in the Blue Mountains. (There's a cool local legend, attributed to Indians, about the face on Elkhorn Peak.) I decided to try and quickly head up it, and Rustin came with me; Dana stayed behind to wait for us. It turned to be harder and further than we thought. There was no set trail, just scree and rocks and trees. Half a mile and a steep 45 minutes later, we came out on top. It's such a feeling, when you get out high on top of a mountain or summit and the cold wind comes whipping you in the face and eyes, drying your mouth and blinding you. Somehow it makes you feel powerful. We stood in awe for a few minutes, looking around--right below us was Goodrich reservoir, further down was the Baker valley, the tiny agricultural communities and the old Oregon Trail beyond. Far west stood the Cascades. Just think of how this looked to the first people who stood here . . . Anyway, we hurried down to Dana, and since we'd left him an hour and fifteen minutes earlier, he was gone. We rushed back across the three-mile trail, even running for almost ten minutes, till we found a signal he left us: a food wrapper in the middle of the trail with a rock anchoring it. When we got back to the car he was there waiting for us.

Our trail, forest road NF-030

Wind over one of the twins

Baker valley from the top of Elkhorn Peak

After our hike, we went back to their house for a really nice dinner Suzi had made. We hung around for the rest of the day, had a little Borat viewing session before we all went to bed. Bright and early the next morning--5 am Oregon time--our little family got up and left Baker City to return to a different mountain town.

In memory of the American cowboy