Saturday, May 31, 2008

Boulder, CO

I'm having some trouble coming to terms with the fact that I am so quiet around new people. Nick and I drove to Boulder today and met up with his two friends who we are staying with. I immediately shut down, as usual. It's terribly irritating and I told myself that I needed to open my mouth and just say something. But I didn't. I remained noticeably silent.

It's actually rather worrisome because I don't want people to mistake me for dim witted, snobbish, or think that I don't like them. It's never the case. The real problem is that I am a group observer. It must be some kind of insecurity that I become so shy around new people. It is especially bad when they actually try to include me and I still remain somewhat silent. How can I explain to people that I really am content to just observe? I don't feel left out, I'm just taking everything in I'm trying to understand who you are so I can figure out who I am, when around you.

That night Nick offered to do a Tarot reading for me because I had mentioned an email I got from Lisa asking me what my epiphanies have been. I thought it was rather interesting and worth writing down and sharing. The question I asked was "What's going to happen to me after Dorset?" Nick told me that my past has been associated with The High Priestess, who is a secret keeper. My past has a lot to do with secrets and hiding reality. The present is confusion, represented by the 8 of Swords. The future was the 6 of Pentacles, who has faith in the universe and is one with it. The focus card was the King of Pentacles, who will be a Virgo personality type. He (or she) is caring and likes helping others a lot, but he is also a strong and immovable character. There are 2 minor characters, who play a messenger type role in my life. One is the Knave of Swords, who is a logical messenger. He(or she) is good with words and persuasive. The second is the Knave of Wands, who is fiery and attractive and charismatic. My overall goal is Temperance. I strive for synthesis and balance of both sides.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Santa Fe, NM

I've been having a pretty nice time being alone lately. I've found that I really enjoy having the mornings to myself to be quiet and think while exploring, and then spend the evenings with friends. I guess I'm more social at night.

I remember when I first moved back to NY and I didn't know anyone, I would be ok during the day, reading or working, or whatever. At night I would get hopelessly depressed and wander around the city for hours in the dark. I see now why that was such a terrible time of ups and downs for me. Even today, though I am not in that state of depression, I find myself restless at night and even lonely sometimes.

Loneliness is an emotion I've always battled with. I feel as though my need- which is far more than just a desire, but a true need- is something I should overcome. Ideally I'd like to enjoy the company of others as I do now, but not feel so restless when I am alone in the evenings. It's not as though I even need to have someone to talk to, though I do prefer that, I can be content sitting in a room where others are interacting.

Last night I went over to Tom's place and watched him play video games and barbecue. We watched a movie and then played Wii bowling. Nothing amazing happened, but I was immediately content when I walked in the door, though I had been restless all evening beforehand.

Eventually I left with Ryan and we went driving around outside of Santa Fe on the pitch black roads telling stories of supernatural encounters. I brought up La Llarona, but we decided it was best not to talk about that out there. Eventually, after what seemed like forever on this one road, the pavement ended. I immediately noticed that the paved turnoff was called La Llarona. Ryan didn't notice and started to turn on to it, but I pointed it out and told him to stay off the road. He agreed that it was a bad idea to name a street that and an even worse idea to drive on it in the pitch black night in the middle of nowhere.

I spent today wandering about alone, taking care of a few errands and making one last stop at Doodlet's. I wonder when I'll be back here again. I don't know what's going to happen after summer. It's frustrating to me that I love so many places, but have found no where I love enough to stay. I'd like to take all the people and places I love the most and put them all together so I can finally be somewhere where I am not conflicted about who I am and what kind of culture is my own. There are people all over the country I miss terribly all the time. There are sunsets, skylines, stars, hills, foods, traditions from everywhere I've ever been that I think about all the time. It's almost as though, the more I travel, the more trouble I have picturing myself in one place. I don't want to live the life of a nomad. I want to find a place to settle. I know I need to make my home somewhere, and hopefully I'll be able to make it in such a way that I won't spend my nights thinking of the people that I'm not around.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And now I'm back in Santa Fe. You'd think that because I am such a compulsive planner I would have timed my trips better to save myself the back and forth. It's got to be a good thing that I'm not, though. That's the point of all this drifting around stuff. I think.

I drove here with a guy named Zach. He goes to school in Tucson, but is native to Santa Fe and wanted to visit in order to consume as much chile as possible. I'm not kidding, his visit is based on food. I think it is a noble cause and I support it. Especially because his chile craving coincided with my need to get to Santa Fe.

Zach was by far my best craigslist ride yet. He's a very smart and progressive person, and we were close in age, so he was easy to get along with. I enjoy a good conversation and this was a seven and a half hour drive where the conversation didn't seem to grow stale or awkward. We discussed diet, politics, economics, books (though I don't think either of us has ever read the same book), movies, all that regular first meeting conversation stuff.

He actually began one of the conversations by asking me "What don't you eat?" which no one has ever asked me before. It was kind of funny, but a relief at the same time. Normally when a conversation veers toward food people want to know what I like and then they talk about what they like and sooner or later we're going to get to the awkward intersection where I have to explain that I'm a vegetarian. Starting the food conversation with "I don't eat meat or eggs and I avoid green peppers," was terribly fun for me. Zack doesn't eat processed foods like bread. He has a weakness for Red Bull though, which is mildly entertaining. I admitted my weakness for Twizzlers, even though I'm a no-junk-food sort of gal.

Now is a good time to mention that I am not a nervous passenger. I find that most people can get from point A to point B without causing a problem. I explained this to Zack as he explained that many of his passengers are uncomfortable. He isn't a tailgater, or an angry driver, Zack is a speeder. There were times when I looked over and saw the speedometer moving slightly above 100. This didn't make me uncomfortable because he wasn't being reckless or aggressive and he slowed down when he come up on a group of cars passing. I figured, if he gets pulled over, it's his ticket. He knows how fast he's going, so he knows the risk he runs.

About two hours south of Santa Fe Zack gets pulled over. He's been a very calm, chill person this whole time but he suddenly gets very panic stricken. He informs me that he may have a warrant out. Oh. Well. Umm. For unpaid traffic tickets and failure to appear. Phew. I'm so not about this guy having drugs or guns in the back seat. Yikes. He hands the cop his license and when the cop goes to check it, Zack is flipping out. I'm not a terribly paranoid person and I tend to play it cool all the time. What's the worst that could happen? The cop will take Zack in and make him pay the fines. Whatever. But Zack is sure he's going to get arrested, which has me wondering how much of his traffic violation story is true. It also has me nervous about how I'm going to get myself to Santa Fe if something happens. I'm having a right good time driving with Zack and I'm not in a hurry to change situations.

The cop comes back to the car and tells Zack that his license is suspended. I mentally sigh. I've been through this before. I hand the cop my license so he can make sure I'm not offering to drive with my own suspended license. How sad to say that this is not the first time I've been in a car with someone pulled over with a suspended license. When he comes back he tells me that my license has been canceled by the Arizona DMV. Um, right, haha. No, he says, it's canceled. ?!?!?!?! How is that even possible?!?! When? Why? He doesn't know. All I can think of is someone messed up somewhere and allowed my NYID to cancel out my AZDL when it should not have. To be dealt with tomorrow. How are we getting out of here?

The cop, who pointed out that he was "not a hard ass" (kthx) and told us we should go. He warned us not to get pulled over. Right. Ok. Awesome. But he takes Zack's license with him. Poor Zack, all he wanted to do was go eat chile, now he's got two more tickets added on to his list, no drivers license and he has to drive to Santa Fe in a state of paranoia, knowing that if he gets pulled over, he's screwed. He goes about 5 over the rest of the way. It became apparent to me that Zack has trouble driving without speeding, especially if there is decent music playing. I have that problem too, which is why I love cruise control. But I'm not a worried person and we got in just fine.

Zack took me to this place called PC's for dinner. He insisted that I was not going to the best places for chile and that I needed to try this place. The red chile there was bright red, like the color of ketchup. I've never seen chile that red before, and it was crazy-yummy. Just the right kind of spicy. Clearly the kind of place I would recommend in the future, it was full of New Mexican diner atmosphere. It had a large stone fountain in the dining room, which was not running, a wall of displayed dishes, a wall of old movie posters, and a half empty gift shop full of the same crap you buy at every tourist shop downtown. Ah Santa Fe, how I love thee.

After that it was time for me to head to Denise and Ray's place, where Monty gave me a wonderful welcome. I told Zack I would email him the link to this blog so that he could sue me for violating his privacy. He did actually tell me his last name at one point, but I forgot it. So here's his email address: Just kidding.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tomorrow starts another adventure. My mother is feeling much better and is walking around just fine now, so I'm no longer nervous to leave her. My father and brother have been spending all their time at the store and I was worried that they would leave her alone while I was gone and she wasn't even able to get to the kitchen for water. Today she's walking around like nothing happened, so I'm not worried about leaving her here alone. Of course my mother can take care of herself, but if she gets a dizzy spell, I wouldn't want her to be alone in the house. I guess I'm just annoyed that they would put an Ace Hardware ahead her. What kind of family do I have if they would just leave her alone all day while she's feeling so sick? But, like I said, she's feeling much better, so I guess I don't have to worry.

The current travel plans are to leave for Santa Fe at noon tomorrow. Then I'll spend Wednesday in New Mexico, catch up with a few people and a dog. Then on Thursday Nick and I head out to the East Coast. We'll be stopping in Boulder, Iowa, Cleveland, and Boston before he drops me off in NY. I've never been to Boulder, Cleveland, or Boston, so I'm excited to see these new cities. We won't be spending a ton of time in these places, but just a little peek might spark my interest to check them out more thoroughly in the future.

Packing for Vermont has become a nightmare. I don't know where I'm going after the summer, so I don't know how much to take in terms of warm clothing. I'm not sure what to do about my bike except leave my parents some money and ask them to bring it to a bike shop that will ship it. I can't do it now because no one is at the theatre to receive it yet. I also can't find my screwdriver. I don't know why I always have to feel so rushed when I pack. I have plenty of time. I think owning things makes me nervous and having to pick and chose what goes and what stays is annoying to me. I would be better off owning nothing, then I wouldn't ever have to pack.

I think I might give my brain a short break and go out and buy some fabric to make a case for my laptop. I always enjoy sewing projects. I guess I'll update again from Santa Fe. After I've consumed more red chile of course.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sadly, I am at the airport. I couldn't find a decent ride out of Austin. I would have taken the bus, but my mother got sick yesterday and no one has time to take care of her, so I want to get home as soon as possible to help her. Apparently she has vertigo, so she'll be fine, but she's stuck in bed feeling horrible for a while.

This also means that no one will be able to pick me up, so I'm going to take my chances with the horrible public transportation in Tucson. The closest bus stop to my place is about half an hour's walk, so that should be fun. So glad I packed light, because it'll probably be hot. It's not a big deal though, I could use the walk after all the eating out I've done this week.

This trip to Austin has been wonderful. The city has so many fun little local places that you'd never find anywhere else. We only ate at local restaurants and went to some interesting bars. Even the movie theater where we saw Indiana Jones was a local place and there's an amazing local ice cream shop.

Exploring these places with Joe was probably he best part. Our friendship feels so natural and easy, I'm sometimes surprised by it. He has infinite patience with the people around him, (which people around me tend to need). It's kind of like having a brother I actually get along with. He's such an important person to me, it's about time I came down here to visit his life a bit.
Today was yet another fun and interesting day. Joe had off from work and Grace took a half day so that we could run about and do some fun stuff. Joe had been talking about taking me to this place called "Camp," which is owned by his uncle. It's a piece of property outside of Austin with a little cabin and a creek running through the back. This creek feeds into a bigger river and there is a canoe there. Joe couldn't find his keys though, so we couldn't go in the cabin or unlock the canoe. Silly Joe.

The creek and river were super icky from the storms last week, which caused debris to clog up the water flow, so we did not go swimming. We walked around a bit, peeked into the empty houses of the neighbors (almost no one lives in any of these houses, they just keep them on the property), swung on some swings, and chatted. A good part of the day indeed.

After that we went over to Barton Springs Pool. This is actually a river that has been made into a pool. There are steps to get in, and cement sides, but the bottom is all natural and it is not closed off from the regular flow of water. Because of this, it is a public pool that needs no chemicals added to it, in order to keep it clean. This place was a right good time. Joe had been promising me swimming all week, and this place was exactly the kind of place I wanted to swim. Natural, but still big enough to allow for proper swimming. Grace also requested that I mention that this was probably the biggest pool I had ever swam in. I admit it is quite large.

Joe had also been telling me about the Congress Avenue Bridge, which is home to the world's largest urban bat colony. At night you can sit under the bridge, or stand on it and watch the bats fly out. I could not believe the endless stream of bats flying out of this bridge! We were there for a long time and there was no end to them. We left before the numbers had tapered off. It was so amazing to see thousands of these little creatures flying off. I can also say that while we were there I was not being eaten by mosquitoes, like I have been for the majority of this trip.

We headed back to Joe's place so that he and I could pack up. Joe is leaving in the morning for Mexico to go on a caving trip he's been planning for a long time. He's going to the worlds largest known cave shaft in the world, Golondrinas Cave. He is going to drop down on rope into this huge opening, which could fit the entire Empire State Building. I informed him that if he chickened out, we could no longer be friends. I also informed him that if he died, I would be very upset. He'll be ok.

Friday, May 23, 2008

State Capitol Building- Austin, TX

Written Wednesday afternoon:

I'm currently in the state capitol building in Austin, TX, which prides itself on being 14 feet taller than the white house in Washington D.C. This basically sums up the atmosphere here. The entire building brims with Texas pride. Everywhere you look there are stars, the shape of Texas and the word Texas itself.

I really wish I had my camera because the details in this building are amazing. I've gotten some links in order to try and supplement the writing better. The hinges on all the doors say "Texas Capitol," when opened. The tile work on the floors is all about Texas history and heroism. The front entrance has the names of all the major battles fought for Texas independence laid into the floor. The doorknobs even have stars in them, as well as all the lighting. The rotunda is topped with a star 8 feet across (though it's so high up it looks much smaller)with the letters of TEXAS in each gap between the points.

The building itself is endlessly huge and I am grateful to be able to walk wherever I want. I took a short tour of the building to get a better idea of what goes on. It is clear that Texans have pride in their history and they have worked hard to preserve it. Most of this building has been remodeled to look the way it did in it's original state. The desks in the Senate and Representative meeting rooms are all original, as well as doorknobs, chandeliers and probably the hinges as well. One could spend hours in this amazing building wandering about lost.

My favorite part of the entire building is the underground areas that were added much later. When you are on those floors it doesn't feel like you are underground, because the windows were planned in such a way to let in massive amounts of natural light. There is an outdoor courtyard that has been dug out which flood the halls with light, as well as the skylights, which look up out of the ground. They look odd from the outside, because they are windows literally laid at ground level and surrounded with short hedges.

I'd like to spend more time in this building, but I've got to go meet Joe and Grace for dinner and a meeting of sorts with the caving group they are part of. We're to learn about cave fishing. I can honestly say I'm not interested in how to catch fish in a cave, but I am interested in Brazilian dinner and drinking with a bunch of crazy cavers. One of them owns chickens, which he is very fond of, and one of them is German, which I am very fond of, and one of them holds "Safety Meetings," which everyone is very fond of.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Grace's place - Austin, TX

Tuesday, after showing me his work place, Joe and I went around downtown a bit. We stopped at the river, but it was way hot and sunny yesterday and I had left my sunscreen at his place. Then we visited a friend of his who works in a headshop. Not a ton of excitement, but the best part was yet to come. Joe had plans to take me caving that evening.

I've gone caving with Joe a few times in Arizona. We've gone in some pretty cool caves and gotten plenty mucked up and bruised. I'm not claustrophobic and I'm relatively small, so the idea has always appealed to me. I am endlessly thankful that Joe is such a patient person, because I'm willing to try new things, but I ask constant questions and I take my time. I guess it's not all bad that I have the most interesting friends in the world.

The cave we went to is called Whirlpool. It is inside the city limits of Austin, right next to a shopping center, under the freeway. This came as a shock to me, because all of the caves Joe had taken me to previously had taken hours of desert driving to get to. Apparently the city of Austin has hundreds of caves, discovered when people try to build on them. This cave is locked to protect it. We went in with a guy named Matt as our guide, who gives tours of this cave regularly to beginners. There were 13 of us total, about half of which were not actually beginners, but I've noticed that cavers don't turn down a good cave just because it's not the most challenging one in the world. This cave isn't open for just anyone to come through, so they took advantage of the cave tour.

Whirlpool was given its name because it is in a stream bed. When it rained and the stream flooded, water drained into the cave and created a whirlpool, which is how it was discovered. It is a fairly straight forward cave with a pretty clear path of where to go. Some caves are like Swiss cheese, with endless passages to get hopelessly lost in. I have been in such a cave once with Joe, and gotten slightly lost, so this one was a relief. It was also a relief to have people who know the cave so well as our guides.

The cave was made up of many tight passages that required crawling, and often times slithering, to get through. These passages opened up into bigger chambers, which made the journey more comfortable. One of these passages was named the birth canal, because it was such a tight squeeze. It was best to go through on your back with your eyes closed, to avoid dust. You just have to feel your way forward and trust that you will come out in the end. It was about 6-8 feet of this, which is not so bad. I've gone through passages that seemed to go on forever and ever with nothing but sliding on your belly, using your toes to propel you forward, with no clear ending that allowed you to stand right up.

This cave had a lot of payoffs, in that hard work led to a comfortable place for the group to sit and chat, or amazing cave formations. In this case, the last room in the cave had an exploded geode, named Crystal City, that could be seen right up close. By shining your headlamp on it the little crystals glowed. Amazing, amazing the things that are hidden in the ground.

We entered the cave around 7:30pm and came out at 11:00pm. It was a long trip for such a small cave, but so worth it. I emerged covered in bruises and mud, but completely satisfied and energized. Starving, also.

After that it was off to shower and then meet up with Grace, Joe's girlfriend. Very nice girl, a little hard to read, but I think that's a good thing. We crashed at her place because she has an air mattress. She also has an awesome dog named Chloe who is currently laying on the air mattress with me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Grace's place - Austin, TX

Here I am in Austin, TX. Even more strange is where I am specifically. I am on an air mattress, currently sharing a bed with a dog, in a house that belongs to Joe's girlfriend, Grace. Yesterday he suggested that we sleep here because she has more room and an air mattress. This was before I had even met her, but it sounded ok. They are both at work and she's fine with me hanging here for a while, sleeping in.

But, it's better to start from the beginning. Marty turned out to be a hell of an annoying person by morning. As soon as the sun comes up, I'm ready for quiet time, even if I haven't slept. Actually, more so if I haven't slept. Not Marty! Talktalktalktalktalk. And about things I don't really want to talk about. On top of that, a 13 hour drive turned into a 16 hour drive because he just kept pulling over and spending far too much time browsing at gas stations.

We got in at 8:30am. Joe delayed going to work, which is apparently not a big deal at all for him, but I still don't like the idea. When I finally got there we chatted a bit, then I crashed in his bed when he left for work. It is my opinion that Joe needs to wash his pillowcases. I'm glad he gave me my own pillow, because sharing a dirty pillow is not my idea of fun. Sheets looked ok though.

Little power nap I guess, because he called me 2 hours later and we went to lunch at this vegan Thai place. Oh my god I love wheat gluten, and I love it better spicy (love it better?). Then we went to this coffee house and had vegan peanut butter cups (basically cupcake-sized peanut butter cups, but vegan, and BETTER) and chocolate beer. I am not convinced that beer tasted anything like chocolate, and I stand by not liking beer.

I told him I wanted to see where he worked, so he took me on a little tour. Joe works for a company that rents out cameras and equipment to movie productions. When they rent out something that requires a technician, they also rent out Joe, or his co-worker James. The place is an old airplane hanger at the old Austin airport. Most of the area has been turned into a strip mall, the rest is used for movie production. Robert Rodriguez has his studio in there and the new Friday the 13th is being shot there as well.

I am very sorry to tell you all that I forgot my camera on this trip. This is especially annoying because there were a few pictures I would have taken for sure. Joe's company rents out this Titan truck with a cherry picker-like thing on top for a camera man. The back wheels of the truck can be steered as well as the front, to make the truck drive diagonal, and also make -really- tight turns. The cherry picker is on a counter weight system, not a hydrolic one. Joe had me go sit on the camera end and then he sent it up into the air. It's not terribly high, but he made me wear a seatbelt. Ha. I got a pretty good view of the old airport, and the control tower especially, and of downtown Austin. I did request that he not drive the thing while I was in the air, as it might make me slightly uncomfortable. Joe is not the technician who knows about the titan and would not be called out to operate it normally, so it seemed better to stay stationary.

When I came down he drove me around the airport a bit and showed me the other studios. Apparently Rodriguez left up parts of the Grindhouse set and I would have taken a picture of it for my buddy Iggy. I did call Iggy and tell him that I met Rodriguez, which of course is a lie, and I told him so quickly. I think Joe is rubbing off on me in that way. He is a pathological liar. Luckily I've known him long enough to be able to tell when he's full of shit.

This is getting kind of long here, and I'm getting tired of typing, so I'll have to add the caving part a little later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Between Tucson and Austin

I'm currently driving through Texas. When I turned on my computer it offered to connect me to the wireless network "Jesus is Lord." We also just passed a place called Zebra Show Bar. Sadly, I forgot the camera, so no pictures of this. Ah well.

I've never typed in a moving car before, it's kind of crazy. Lots of typos. Not really enough room for my hands,

The man I am driving with is called Marty. He has a bird named Max, who is, thankfully, in a cage. When I get to Austin I'm going to remind Joe that I got in a car with a bird for him. If that's not love, I don't know what is. But Max is a chill bird, so we're getting along. He likes to "sing" along to music with high notes. Marty likes to whistle along with him. I like to eat Twizzlers.

Marty drives a minivan, which gets surprisingly good mileage, even with the AC on and the back completely packed with stuff. It drives well too. He is a man who likes bumper stickers. He has not one, but two "F the president" stickers, which I fully support. I wonder if he'll want to keep those on there even after the election. Perhaps they are reflective of his feelings towards the office in general?

Marty is s biology teacher at high schools and community colleges. He lives in Austin, but will basically travel to wherever the job is. He is currently waiting to hear back from a position h applied for at an all girls school. He is unsure f they allow makes teachers, but the ad did not specify, so he applied. He's got wild hair and unkempt facial hair and he likes to drink tea on the road because "road coffee is the worst coffee."

He's the most interesting person I have traveled with to date, because, like me, he's seen a lot of places and he's seen most of them from the road. Traveling with fellow drifters is a pleasure. I drove through all of NM and he slept. It was nice. Sadly, Marty is not in a hurry at all and keeps stopping the car for all kinds of silly things. He did a u-turn for donuts and attempted to stop at a rest stop to sleep for a little while, but I took over the driving because I wasn't at all tired. No point in stopping when you have two drivers.

I'd like to end this with what Marty just said to me as I typed this: "Pretty fast for a pecker." Ha!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

Well the internet is down, but it seems like a necessary thing to attempt an update. By the time this gets posted it'll be Monday. Right now it's Sunday night. I'm leaving for Austin tomorrow at noon with Marty, a teacher at the community college in Flagstaff.

Joe called me about a million times today. He instructed me to bring clothes for caving. Sweeeet. I love this idea of caving with Joe. Last time we went we had a wicked good time. Actually all the times we went were a wicked good time, even though I am not in shape and had a hell of a time climbing out of one of the caves. Climbing into it was funny because I couldn't find a good foothold at one point and though I was going to fall, so Joe grabbed my foot and held it to the wall. Ha!

This whole Craigslist rideshare thing has caused a few realizations for me. The first thing to mention, which is rather sad but true, is that my rides from Craigslist have been more reliable than my own friends. In the past two months my friends have bailed out on me so many times and the worst part is, I was never once surprised by it. I am absolutely not a flaky person, if I say I'm going to do it, then I will do everything in my power to get it done. It frustrates me that the majority of my friends are not this way. I begin to question my friendships and whether or not I am really as close with these people as I think I am.

The other fun thing about these rides is that I am given the opportunity to meet people I would never meet within the normal confines of my recent life. There are stories I would have never heard and experiences I would not have had. I never would have thought that I could enjoy the company of a married 23 year old Christian and even exchange some music. I would never have met a man who loved Hawaiian shirts so much that when one of them flew out the window of his car on the highway, he actually pulled over and chased it. I would not have had a giggle at the college student who tailgates full sized dump trucks at 5 mph.

Tomorrow will be another journey. Another story. This one will bring me to my best friend and a whole new chapter of adventure in a city I've never seen. This one is even more important to me because it's been such a nightmare to plan out and it's worth it to me. I guess I update from Austin.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

It would seem I found a ride from craigslist yet again. Thank you internet for always solving all my problems, even though you sometimes create them. I'll be leaving Monday afternoon and arriving Tuesday morning. It will be a straight drive through with someone named Marty, in a van, moving to Austin. Marty will call me this weekend. I don't even know if Marty is a man or a woman. All I know is that I'll have a seat with a seat belt and a ride to Austin. Go me. I hope this Marty person doesn't want to split gas 50/50 because that seems a bit unfair. We shall see.

Speaking of traveling cheap, I found this today. Looks promising.

I also should mention that my travel to Santa Fe and back cost me $57 in gas. This is a number I am very happy with. We'll see how much Austin will cost. Time to scope out a ride back.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

My ride to Austin kind of fell apart, so now I need to try and find a last minute Craigslist thing. It's worked for me before, but Austin is a lot further away than ABQ and Phoenix, so I hope I find something. More importantly I hope I find something back. If I have to fly I will, but I really, really, really don't want to. Not going isn't much of an option. I need to see Austin and it's about time I went to visit Joe. I mean, what the hell else am I doing? Plus I can not take much more of Tucson. After all the stress of today, none of which I feel like re-living by typing about, I'm ready to get out of here. I need to pack. I can't even say I didn't see this coming.

BUT! I'll figure it out, I always do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

I went out to a comedy club tonight to see my friend do his stand up act. What he failed to tell me is that he had to leave right when it was over to go to work. So that left me on the other side of town with nothing to do. I called my friend Marc who doesn't live far from there. We ended up going to a record store where I purchased The Streets- a grand don't come for free.

While at Zia, Jordan called and said he would meet us back at Marc's place. Jordan is a friend of mine from high school who I have not seen for a long time. The whole time I've been back in Tucson he's been "too busy" to hang out. So he finally comes over in his big-ass diesel truck. This is a secondary vehicle. Second to what? Another big-ass pickup truck. Keep that in mind, then throw in a little Jewish and a whole lot of computer nerd and that is the nature of Jordan.

We're all hanging out a bit, taking about whatever and looking at America: The Book, when we hear another loud car pull up. Marc says, "That sounds like Carlos." Jordan says nothing. I immediately demand to know if Jordan did, in fact, call Carlos. He giggles. What the fuck?

Carlos is a dirty, trouble making, slacker, pain in the ass. He is a petty thief and he'll have sex with anything that moves. And then he'll tell everyone about it, proud of what a stereo type he is. The last time I hung out with Carlos, he claimed to have me wrapped around his little finger. Right. Haven't talked to him much since then. I can say that as long as Carlos is around, you can be sure something crazy is going to happen.

As soon as Carlos got there Jordan started asking us to go to The Meet Rack. We headed over there in Jordan's truck (of all 4 cars in the driveway this one got the worse mileage and needed the most expensive gas, but what else could you drive to the Meet Rack?). The Meet Rack does not look like anything from the front, just a run down shack with shitty fences and a lot of old paint. The main door is on the side, where I was carded and given a stamp of the owner's name: GOD. Yep, he legally changed it. God is a weird bald guy. Looking at him one gets the impression that he must have every STD known to man, plus bad breath. He also curls up part of his beard like Dali's mustache. I like Dali, so I let the bad breath thing go.

As I walked in I heard Carlos mention how packed it was. It wasn't super full, but there were a ton of college boys and their under-dressed female companions. The place was very dark, making it hard to see all the newspaper clippings of God's run for mayor. Twice. The place is covered in pictures, road signs, string lights and dead animals. A dive bar like this would never happen in New York City. There are some nasty dive bars in NYC, but nothing like this place. The Meet Rack takes true redneck style.

When we sat down at the bar, Jordan and Marc ordered a pitcher of margarita, mentioning to the bar tender that they have "The Brand." This allowed them a small discount on all drinks. "The Brand" is a circular thing of sorts (I'm told it's God's face), on their calves. They had showed it to me earlier but refused to explain it. Yes, it's literally a brand. Burning, hot metal. And they paid $5 to get it. Jordan told me that when Marc allowed God to brand him, he yelled out "Pork chop sandwiches" instead of anything normal. And these are my friends. I love them. No, I don't need a brand, but thanks guys.

Jordan suddenly yelled "The Tour!" and told me I had to come on with him. God was giving a tour of the bar, which also happens to be is home. His bedroom is literally right off the bar. So is his Sex Room, which is filled with all kinds of weird kinky toys, including a wheel on the wall designed to strap a person to, a sex swing, a doctor's chair with stirrups, stocks, blow up dolls in cages, and "cum strainers," still not clear on what those were. The only rule in the sex room: No kissing a woman above the waist unless she's standing on her head.

The Meet Rack is full of all kinds of seedy crap. Next to the entrance is a wall of little round things: AA chips. Bring one in and you get a free drink. If a woman buys a condom from the vending machine in the bathroom, alarms, spotlights, whistles, whatever, start going off in celebration. There are bras hanging from all over the ceiling. I asked Jordan what these were for, but he didn't know and wasn't willing to find out for me. This was the extent of my exploration because the place was packed and I wasn't really willing to wander off alone, lest I stumble upon another hidden sex room and end up with my bra on the ceiling. Hey! That was an expensive bra!

I believe my words upon entering the bar were, "Jordan, if you guys leave me alone here, I'll kill you."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

I'm back in Tucson. I've been in four cities over the past two days. I'm so tired!!!

My wonderful "husband" Tom drove me to Abq yesterday morning, where I met up with this guy AJ, who drove me to Phoenix in a Prius. Oh man, gas mileage is so great in that thing. The engine switches off when you go downhill and you get about 100 mpg. Wow. Crashed with a buddy in Phoenix, then caught a ride back to Tucson this morning with a guy named Chris.

AJ is a 23 year old married Christian. The odds of us having anything in common and actually getting along in a genuine, more-than-civil manner were quite slim. However, AJ was a pretty cool guy. Not crazy into God and not a right-wing republican with mediocre music tastes. However, we did talk about food shortages, not eating red meat (he brought it up, not me, I swear), and how awesome Ben Folds Five is. Then I stole some of his music from a CD of MP3s he had.

As we got toward Phoenix both of our phones died and he decided to stop off at his in-laws' house, which was a huge scary brick mansion. I felt a little out of place going in there to charge up my phone while he called his wife to meet him at the rental car return (the Prius was rented). We went into the kitchen and there was a roasted chicken on the counter, half dissected. There was chicken juice all over the counter and I was a little freaked out, especially because there were two small children running about. Something about having a chicken with all it's guts spilled over a kitchen counter in the same room as small children rubs me the wrong way. Anyway I ended up driving the car back to the airport and he took his mother-in-law's jeep. He then dropped me off at the airport where I et up with a buddy for dinner and a place to crash.

That night my buddy needed to go pick something up from a friend. He called a bunch of people to find this person. This was all while driving around downtown Phoenix, which is really a weird and redundant city. Nothing very pretty about the architecture or the landscape. Phoenix is a flat, flat city. Still, it was enjoyable, because I love the way my friend drives. It's weird that his speeding around at night is so relaxing. It's like he finds empty streets just so he can zoom around, though he has no real destination. Anyway we finally got a location and went there. And waited. He was supposed to be coming, until then we would hang out with a bunch of pot heads who talked about some amazingly stupid shit. And played video games stoned. I don't understand the point of that. Why can't we just lay outside and enjoy the amazing night?

We finally had to go to some sketchy area of town to find this guy. The streets made no sense whatsoever and the numbered ones changed a bunch. It's like the people naming the streets just got lazy, or else thought the rest of the city was too consistent. Anyway we finally found him and my buddy got whatever it was that he needed to get in the sketchiest of ways and we moved on. Got back to his place intending to do a music exchange, but we were both so tired we just passed out. Fun night though. This friend of mine is an incredibly, intellectually stimulating person. I don't know why his friends were such idiots.

This morning my friend had to go to work early, so he dropped me off at the university to wait for my ride to Tucson. He was supposed to get me at 9, and I was there at 8:50. At 9 he calls to tell me he went a different way and is somewhere else. I got a little worried he was going to say he wasn't coming. It was rainy in Phoenix this morning and I had no where to go anyway. The coffee shop down the street wasn't taking credit cards and I had no cash. Turns out he was coming to get me, but he would be a bit late. No worries. He picked me up and he had a friend in the car, who I was relieved to learn is gay. Two college-age guys driving to Tucson to pick up some crap from a dorm room, or something. I don't like university guys. Shitty music, bad driving and all about impressing people with stories of sex. As though it matters in the end. But I didn't have to say much because they were entertaining each other. I was being entertained by the scenery.

And here is Samuel, the newest member of the herd:

Target forgot to charge me for him, but I didn't bother to say anything. That's how I roll.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Santa Fe, NM

I think about the life I left behind in NY and I compare it to the life I am living now and wonder which one was the bigger lie. Or maybe neither were a lie and this is just the way I am now, and that was just the way I was then. But my methods of coping with things are not working, I think. I think about my old life when I make the choices that I do and I find myself lonely and sad. I guess I am still mourning my old life, but trying to get on with the new. I wonder if the decisions I make are good ones. I wonder if I really am lying to myself, or if I'm trying to replace something.

I said something stupid to someone. I said that I wished things had been different. I said that I wished there was opportunity. But I don't think it was true. It wouldn't have made a difference. The things I said, the reasons I said them, it was only because I could. It was only because I knew that nothing bad would come of my saying it. But I should not have said those things. I got wrapped up in my head, it wasn't realistic. If I'm going to live this life, I need to remember who I am and stick to it. I need to honor it completely and ignore the "could-have-beens," they don't matter. They don't exist. I won't make the same mistake twice. Moving on is what I need.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Denise and Ray's - Santa Fe, NM

Mostly, I just want to say, I'm happier with the person I am now than I have been in a long time. It seems that I lose track of myself from time to time and I'm trying to find it again. I could blame all kinds of things, but in the end I am the only one at fault.

Maybe I could have stayed in NY and gotten my feet back on the ground, but I would not have been able to improve my life. I needed to get away from everything in order to start fresh. I am still transitioning even now, because I've been visiting an old life. That being said, I'm visiting it with a new perspective.

During my last few weeks in NY, I would come home to an orderly apartment. It felt as though no one lived in it. It felt like a lie. Things around me were coming unraveled and I was surrounded by over-organization. Clean me. Tidy me. Plans, paper clips, thumb tacks, labels, zip-tied and tucked-away mess. So I started leaving clothes on the floor. I stopped making plans, except the one that I would need to get out. I told myself that I would make new friends where I went. I would stop turning down opportunity in favor of what I thought was self-preservation. I need to re-earn the pride I hold so dearly.

So here I am, hitched a ride to Santa Fe with a stranger from the internet. Looking to hitch a ride back out. It's a big deal to a control-freak, too afraid to adventure alone. I want stories to tell. I want to feel as though I've actually lived an interesting life, instead of just surrounding myself with the interesting lives of others. I want to become this person I've always known myself to be, but never trusted enough to listen to. Most importantly, I want to bring back the fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Denise and Ray's - Santa Fe, NM

Actually having the choice of not driving is the best thing ever. I've missed the subway system, but the Santa Fe bus is actually pretty good. True it's never on time, but it does get you where you need to go and the stops are not hard to get to. Plus they're cheap. Tucson buses make me sad (read: I hate them).

I took the bus all over today for $1. That went like this:
Me: This is the #2 bus?
Driver: #2!
Me: I'd like a day pass please
Driver: OK, $1
Me: I thought it was $2?
Driver: Not if you're a student. Aren't you a student?
Me: I guess I must be.

That ticket was for people under the age of 18. See, looking 16 gets me somewhere after all!

I stopped at the college first to see the people at my old job. Quite nice. One of them adopted a baby. I was more than thrilled for her. I'm a big fan of adoption and I think she'll be a wonderful mother. I could not find Clare D., so I will go back tomorrow during office hours. There is a lot of crazy in the air while the college transitions, but everyone seems optimistic. I am too, for once. I wish that this had happened a few years before I had gotten there. Maybe I would have enjoyed college more.

I walked around campus a bit looking for my friend's new office. It's weird to be on the other end of the "you don't go to school here" looks from CSF students. It's such a small school it's easy to spot someone new right away. I used to give those looks! You were still in diapers when I was making those sideways glances!

I hopped back on the bus, after watching 2 ravens fighting in front of the school. I forgot that the campus was covered in ravens. Amazing birds. I should get better at this picture thing, because I didn't think to take one.

Once downtown I went to my three favorite stores ever: Doodlet's, Poem and Design Warehouse. I purchased some things that I *needed* (see below) and then went over to Atomic for food. A very good-looking waiter served me nachos covered in red chile, while I read The Santa Fe Reporter. It is a huge relief to be in a city where the waiters know off the tops of their heads what items are vegetarian. In many cases it is indicated on the menu. Not all chile is created equal. The nachos do not normally have red chile on them, but that's bullshit. You can not have Mexican-type food in NM without chile, so I fixed that. I'll also point out that natives are less likely to think you're a tourist if you order chile on everything. On this subject, it should be mentioned that McDonald's and Subway both have green chile on the menu.

I took the bus back to the house and on it I met a woman from VT and a woman from NYC. Needless to say, the woman from NY was rather rude and the woman from VT was very kind. Crazy how that works. The driver turned out to be from Jersey and was pretty cool. He used to live in AZ, but like me, felt that Santa Fe was a superior place to live. I'd like to now point out that conversations like this don't happen on NYC transit and I like it that way. However, being in Santa Fe makes me want to talk to people. Did NY make me an introvert, or did leaving make me an extrovert?

Ponder. Ponder.

Today's pictures:

A mailbox downtown. I have no idea. The web address on there is but it offers no answers.

It was rainy and windy and chilly today, but Santa Fe always manages to have views like this. I love the walk back from the bus.

A Magnet. The women in the store were nice enough to open a whole set, just so I could buy this one magnet. Thank you wonderful Poem women and your understanding of my love for Zebras.

A postcard

A zebra buying problem. But how could I resist?!?!? What is that zebra doing in a crosswalk?!?
This postcard is one of many that I own made by a German company called Inkognito.

I also bought my mother an Inkognito postcard of a mouse hugging an elephants leg, but I sealed it in an envelope before I thought to take a picture. She'll like it.

Denise and Ray's - Santa Fe, NM

I went to see "Happy End" at the college yesterday. It was ok... You could tell it was Brecht, but it was so watered down. The ending was completely random and lame as well. However, everyone in it was great. This is what they told me would happen, but I wanted to go anyway and decide for myself. I'm glad I did. That was the first Brecht show I've ever seen live, and it made me certain that I needed to see another. One I might have more response to.

After the show I went backstage (oh man, I don't know anyone at the school anymore) and wandered into the guys dressing room to see Matt Joe, Kevin, and Craig. Kevin and Matt Joe kind of flipped their shit and I got two big hugs. I've gotten a lot of unexpected big hugs recently. It was very surprising because we don't really talk ever, so I just thought it'd be a quick hello. I'm very fond of those guys so it felt pretty great. I guess that's why I enjoy just turning up without warning. I really really needed that after all the shit that went down in NY. Sadly, everyone had strike, so I didn't stick around and once again did not go out to dinner. Tonight I hope.

What I ended up doing was going over to Tom's place and drinking gin and watching Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and then jumping on a trampoline. I spent some time pressuring one of Tom's roommates to try a back flip, but he never gave it his all. They tried to turn it around on me and get me to try a flip, but I informed them that I am immune to peer pressure. I'm comfortable being too drunk to flip on a trampoline. Nevertheless, Tom's roommates are some pretty cool kids. We had a good time. Holy shit was that a good movie. I'll have to watch it again without all the skipping.

Today I'm heading over to the registrar to say hi to Angell and Marie and get a transcript. I don't normally like showing up places I used to work, but I loved that job so much, it is the exception. Then I might go see if I can find Clare D, she'll be surprised to see me I'm sure. I booked it out of this town so fast I hardly said goodbye to anyone. Then again, almost nothing surprising ever surprises her. Afterward, I'm taking myself out to lunch and spending the rest of the day downtown looking in some of my favorite stores EVER. Maybe I'll even buy something zebra print. Wouldn't that be unpredictable!?!? But today has to have red chile in it, or I'm going to pass out dead. On the plaza.

People will think it's art.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Denise and Ray's - Santa Fe, NM

There was some kind of block party thing on the quad last night and it included this "Laser Maze," which had no actual lasers. But some of us were a little fucked up and we decided we could have fun without them lasers and crawled inside. I took pictures with my annoying slow camera which happens to have a crazy-bright flash.

Ham, hiding from the flash

I don't know

Cory Collins!!!!

Did I mention there was also free beer on the quad? How crazy is that!?!?

Too tall, you lose!

Ham attack!!!!!

I can't take group pictures. Clearly.

So, while I was running about last night bumping into some people and avoiding others, I noticed some changes around campus. The students there look very much how the students looked my freshmen year. The art school is back to having a bunch of weirdo, outcast, art kids. There was a sense of community, but an alternative one. They also got rid of the bookstore (overpriced and full of shit) and made it into "The Den," a 24 hour rec-room, with pool and video games and couches and darts and internet and TV. Which is pretty cool I think. There is also a graffiti wall on the quad, which is also a cool idea.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Denise and Ray's - Santa Fe, NM

Today was my first official day of adventure seeking and I'd say it went well. Bruce, the man who drove me to Albuquerque, was a very nice and normal guy. Nothing crazy happened and we got along just fine.

As we got near Albuquerque I called my friend Tom, who I thought might be working in town, but lives in Santa Fe, so he'd be commuting. Turns out he was up there, but would be working overnight until 7am on a movie shoot. He offered to let me stay in his car and then drive me back in the morning, but I declined and decided to take my chances finding a ride from the airport. Tom told me that his friend, who I knew from college, was going to be flying in today and gave me her number, in the off chance that she might be there at the same time as me.

Turns out her flight got in a few minutes after I got there. I called her up and she was thoroughly confused, especially because we were never really friends, so much as acquaintances, and so had not seen each other since college. She told me she was getting a ride from her friends, who she was staying with and that they had room for me. They were more than happy to let me into their car and even took us out to dinner.

When we left the restaurant John, the driver, noticed the tire was a bit low and so on the way to Santa Fe we stopped at the gas station to fill it up. He has a limp and sometimes needs a cane to get around, so his wife got out and said she would put air in the tire. She went out and grabbed the hose and John starts saying "That's water. That's the wrong one, it's water." But the windows were rolled up and she didn't hear him. He decided not to roll the windows down and tell her and instead said "She'll figure it out." Then she leans down to put the nozzle on the tire and suddenly pops back up and looks into the car and yells "That's water!" At which point the three of us in the car have a good laugh and I exclaim "That's going in the travel book!" Which I admit is stolen from my friend Andrew, but he wasn't around, so I took it. But if I ever do write a travel book, this night is going in there.

Random and memorable.

Well they just dropped me off here at Denise and Ray's house. The two of them are out of town until Tuesday and were oh-so-kind to allow me to stay here. It's so quiet and peaceful. Sadly, I can not find a wireless connection that is unprotected, so I am forced to connect to an Ethernet cable. Poor little laptop.

Well I'm off to settle in and get some rest. Good good day. Feeling optimistic.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

I went and met this dude. He's a regular guy, I'm very happy I'm going to be traveling with him, he seems cool and fairly interesting, but nothing totally weird. *phew*

Parents' Place - Tucson, AZ

So my ride to NM this week just crapped out on me. I found another possibility that is leaving from Tucson tomorrow morning. I hope I can go meet him today and that h is not super-sketchy or anything. He's going to call me back in a little bit. In some ways it's probably better because he's leaving sooner and from Tucson and he's not in an over loaded pickup with 10mpg. Plus he wants to do all the driving, which is fine by me. I just need to make sure he's not a creepo, and he's just trying to save on gas. The other issue is, no one knows I'll be leabing so soon and so I don't have a ride from ABQ to Santa Fe. But if all else fails I'll have him drop me off at the airport and I'll take the shuttle or offer gas money to someone headed to Santa Fe, something I've always wanted to do.

So today's to do list is now:
Get money from Bank
Buy pajama pants
Get camera charger and take pictures at Ace
Calm parents down
Meet this dude

Update: I just got off the phone with him and I am going to meet him in about 30 minutes. Sounds like an OK guy. He works for the newspaper. Now I'll go see if he has any weird voo-doo dolls hanging around his neck or something.