turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task


warning: a quick turn of phrase may be hazardous to your health

a study came out earlier this year that looked at the deaths of almost 2,000 writers around the world and through time. of poets, playwrights, novelists and non-fiction writers, poets lived the shortest and non-fiction writers the longest.

now, i fancy myself a poet, though a personal one. i write poetry, i share it with a select few friends (and the entire world, i guess, if i post it to here), and it just makes me feel better to know that i have a book or computer full of work that documents my life. for me.

but that all may change now. if i can tack on an extra 6 years to my life by writing some shitty essays, well hell! sign me up. or have i already corrected the situation by posting to this blog? does that mean my blog is full of shitty essays? does that mean i should change the blog title to "turning your orbit around... or, shitty essays"? and my anxious thoughts spin off exponentially.

on another note, my library conference in denver was quite fun. good workshops, a little bit of networking, and some interesting products on the horizon to look forward to. the best part of the weekend? catching "garden state" at the mayan on broadway. what a great movie - an odd, goofball, sweet and sad look at the detachment, love, listlessness, and inspiration that makes up modern life. beautiful.

i love denver. and i miss it some. but driving home, upward, into the mountains, i left denver behind and i was glad to get back here. to steamboat. to my wife, my dogs, my job. to our new life.


there! is that better?!

after taking all kinds of heat for how "altered" i looked in my last picture (even from my wife), i have changed my profile picture.

i know, it's pretty goofy too. but in my opinion, i look stone cold sober. and that's what matters.

in other exciting news, how 'bout them red sox, eh? i just checked espn.com, and as i write this they're up eight to one on the yankees in the fifth inning, in game seven of the alcs. after being down three to zero.

let me repeat that: after being down three games to zero.

history might just be made tonight, folks. first team ever in major league baseball to come back from being down three games to zero in a seven game series.


what's the dewey decimal number for rockin' good time?

well, i get to go to my first ever CAL conference this weekend. for all of you who aren't cool enough to know, CAL stands for colorado association of libraries. hundreds of librarians in one hotel in the thrilling and exciting denver tech center, and man are we going to throw down! i'm talking scheduled lunches, vendor information booths, workshops and presentations all afternoon, dinners with nationally known librarians as keynote speakers! it's going to be crazy!!!

okay, i'm being a little facetious. it should be cool, though. as usual, even at the ripe old age of 30, i'll be one of the youngest folks there. and, also as usual, women will outnumber the men 3 to 1. i'm sure to get a comment that goes something like this... "oh, my! it's so exciting to see young men in this profession!"

i will admit, though, that it is better than it was 4 years ago. most librarians have a working knowledge of technology now, and are using some pretty cool applications to do really exciting things - electronic reserves, live online reference, animated online tutorials, etc.

libraries ain't just books anymore, y'know.

i do have one gripe, however. for many years the conference has been up in the mountains at keystone or snowmass or some place cool like that. the year that i finally get to go, it's down in the denver tech center. the denver tech center! what type of crap is that?! they may as well have held it out in limon.

oh well, at least i'll get some killer free schwag - pens, pencils, letter openers, post-it-notes, bookmarks. i can hardly contain myself.


a gaping maw of an abyss

or, you could just call it a really tall cliff. really, really tall. either way, it was a long way down.

jamie and i hiked sand mountain on saturday. it's about 30 miles north of steamboat, above big, meandering (and full) steamboat lake. my guess is that the lake was created by damming the elk river.

it was a dream of a day - blue skies, a few wispy clouds, temps in the fifties and naked gray aspens covering the mountains and making them look furry, like you could reach out and pet these rolling peaks. (thanks to my coworker for that last little bit of prose)

jamie and i accessed the hike differently than the book, but we didn't realize it until about two-thirds of the way in. we probably added about 3 more miles round trip this way, which didn't bother me until we were headed down and we realized how sore we would be.

some things we saw:
*more grouse, and grouse nests, than i could count
*deer tracks, elk tracks, deer scat, elk scat, maybe some bear scat, and chipmunk tracks (scat means poopy for all you city folks)
*8 separate hunting parties (it's deer and elk season)
*an empty busch light beer box in the middle of the trail (we packed it out on the way down)
*the tallest, sheerest cliff i've ever had the nervous exhiliration of being on top of - and i've been on top of a few
*a living deer on the way out (we yelled at him to run and hide)
*a severed deer leg, also on the drive out, in the middle of the road... hunters suck

i want to hate hunters, but every one we stopped and talked to was so nice. so, i remain conflicted. hunters - effective method of herd thinning for healthier animal populations? or overweight, beer-swilling, lazy atv driving, sorry excuses for outdoorsmen and women? it's a tough call.

if you see any deer, tell them to stay out of colorado for the next few weeks.


we're an american band

from left to right, tommy and myself and russell getting some practice in last sunday before a group dinner. we were getting a short little 3 song set together for open mic night on monday - "what i got" by sublime, "the golden age" by beck, and ryan adams' "rescue blues" into the stones' "you can't always get what you want" back into "rescue blues." unfortunately my two bandmates went early to sign us up the next night, felt the sign-up process was a little unfair (which it is) and promptly stormed out of there in a huff. so we didn't get to play out this week. oh well.

big pants (that's our name) will rise again.



i got this via email today. i thought i might share it with my - dare i dream - ever expanding dearest readership.


* I attacked and took over two countries.
* I spent the U.S. surplus and bankrupted the Treasury.
* I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history.
* I set an economic record for the most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
* I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
* I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
* I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
* In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
* After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
* I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.
* In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
* I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.
* I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
* I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
* I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president since the advent of TV.
* I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history
* I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption
was revealed.
* I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
* I cut health care benefits for war veterans.
* I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
* I dissolved more international treaties than any President in US history.
* I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
* Members of my cabinet are the richest of any
administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
* I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
* I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world.
* I am the first president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations andthe world community.
* I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
* I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any other president in US history.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.
* I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
* I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
* I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
* I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
* I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.
* I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.
* The biggest lifetime contributor to my campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
* I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
* I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1).
* I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.
* I took the world's sympathy for the US after 911, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
* I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
* I am the first US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than by their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
* I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
* I set the all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in corporations bidding for gov't contracts.
* I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
* In a little over two years I have created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided that the US has been since the civil war.
* I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

* I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
* I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during time of war. I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
* All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my father's library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

* For personal references, please speak to my dad or uncle James Baker (they can be reached in their offices at the Carlyle Group where they are helping to divide up the spoils of the US-Iraq war and plan for the next one).


monday morning you sure look fine

it's monday morning and it's been a week of the most beautiful indian summer i can remember. the sun will not go quietly into that cold winter. it doggedly hangs on above the already snowy, hardscrabble mountaintops and continues to warm the valleys below. it continues to shine its low autumn amber light through yellow and orange treetops. it continues to brighten us all.

i am looking out of my window at work at this gorgeous scene, listening to nick drake's "pink moon" album, and as i type this sentence he just sang "day was dawned, and it was beautiful." how right nick was.

nick drake put out a few albums at the end of the 60s/beginning of the seventies (i'm not real clear on my dates), and then died. as so many seem to do. some quotes about nick drake from my annoyingly interactive realplayer window:

"Drake wrote beautifully demure British Folk songs and played a guitar in tunings that sounded like an acoustic orchestra."
"To this day, nobody is sure whether Nick Drake's untimely death at the age of 26 was an accident or suicide."
"Although virtually ignored upon release, Nick Drake's pastoral folk records have become hugely influential."

the world is a joy to look at, but it is still a melancholy morning. maybe it's the nick drake album. maybe i miss my friends, who seem to be scattered everywhere. maybe it's a long winter right around the corner.

or maybe i'm just overwhelmed by the utter enormity of the task.


word to rob's mama

some yo mama jokes:

yo mama is so ugly, your daddy takes her to work every day just so he doesn't have to kiss her goodbye.

you mama is so fat, she freebases ham.

yo mama is so fat, when she hauls ass she has to make two trips.

yo mama is so fat, i had to take a train and two buses just to get on her good side.

yo mama is so fat, on halloween she says "trick or meatloaf!"

yo mama is so fat, when she ran away they had to use all 4 sides of the milk carton.

yo mama is so ugly, she makes blind children cry.

yo mama is so stupid, she thought grape nuts was an std.

all right folks, that's all the yo mama jokes for today. they're all aimed at rob's mama, by the way.

it is so friggin' beautiful out today, i can hardly stand being indoors. not a cloud in the sky, no wind, 62 degrees, and the fall colors are still hanging around. on the bright side, at least i'm not in some soulless cubicle somewhere with gray fluorescent lights beating down on me as i answer customer calls or enter meaningless data. not that there's anything wrong with that. it's what you do outside of work that counts.

tonight we are going to the premier of teton gravity research's new movie, "soul purpose." every fall the ski movies tour the country, hitting ski towns and big cities nationwide. tgr is based out of jackson, my brief stomping grounds a few years back (where i met roberto, the yin to my yo mama yang). it'll be a fun vibe, and i am looking forward to seeing new footage of jackson and all points in between.

i fully plan on enjoying my weekend, and you should do the same. if i were in champaign, i'd head out to allerton for some walking and frisbee. if i were in jackson i'd probably hike the dogs up to ski lake. if i were on the front range, i'd be driving into the mountains for something or other. and now that i live in steamboat, i am so overwhelmed with possibilities i can hardly stand it! probably a big hike and some fishing on sunday.

the world seems limitless when it's this beautiful.


you might think you know what skunk smells like

i took the dogs out for a walk last night in a very, very big field near the softball diamonds below where we live. there's a lot of high grass that surrounds the field, and apparently...

some skunks live in there.

our younger (some may argue dumber) dog, marley, got the brunt of the encounter. she was completely covered in stink on her face and chest and shoulders. sadie was pretty close behind, and she didn't smell too great either.

it's the first time the dogs have been skunked, and oh... my... god. i have never smelled skunk up close - usually from a quarter mile away on some midwestern country road - and i am here to tell you it is an entirely different smell. it doesn't even resemble that nice, far-away, skunky weed smell so many of us are familiar with. the close-up skunk smell is much, much, much worse. it's like turpentine and rotten pee and sulfur. actually, that would have been all right. i can't even put into words how bad it was, so i'll stop trying.

marley sneezed all the way back to the car. i put 'em in the back (ruby sue the subaru stinks now, too), hightailed them home, chained them outside, and mixed up a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. it was a cool night, and the girls were covered in this nasty, soapy mix - sneezing it off their faces, shivering, and generally just looking miserable. we left it on for about 7 minutes and then washed them up. it helped a lot, but i don't think anything will take it away immediately. it'll be a few days before they get back to their normal, sweet smelling selves.

on another note, after reviewing my last post, i think i may have been a little harsh. though i'm not a fan of rush or yes or other seventies "prog rock" bands, i certainly don't fault anyone for loving music. and, if someone wants to blast their favorite music for half an hour a day, that's fine. but when i'm 45, i'll be blasting wilco or sublime.

and not rush.


today's tom sawyer he gets high on you

so, jenn and i went over to my sister-in-law's new apartment last night and did some laundry for the week. our condo doesn't have a washer and dryer yet, and we won't be putting them in until next spring or summer. so, for the time being we're using jamie's fashilities.

but anyway, that's not the point of this post. the point of this post is to tell you about the guy who lives below jamie. i didn't get to meet him, but i can only assume it's a guy because he was blasting rush's "moving pictures" at an impressive and ear-splitting volume. loud like he was nigel tufnel and the volume knob was turned up to 11.

now, rush was a good band, and i won't turn the radio dial if "tom sawyer" comes on. i might even bang out some percussion on my steering wheel as i listen. but dude, if you're fortysomething and still blasting rush as loud as your stereo will go, well...

it might be time to cut your hair, get in your datsun pickup, and go out and meet some people.

or maybe you should at least start listening to queens of the stone age. or tool. they're both kind of like rush. except cooler.


dude, i most certainly was not...

stoned. after reading the 2 comments (which sounded suspiciously like craigers and snookum) from my last post, it has been brought to my attention that i look stoned in my picture. and i am here to tell you that i was definitely not. it was my one night a week at work, and it was approaching our closing time of ten o'clock, and i was one tired boy.

okay, so now that we cleared that up, i am here to tell the world that at last night's CMC open mic we did not suck at all. in fact, we were quite good i think. i got to play a few songs by myself, and then tommy and russell and i nailed "ain't no sunshine". we then played something i had worked on with snookum when he was up a few weekends ago - a ryan adams song into a stones song back into the ryan adams tune. we practiced it about half an hour beforehand, and wound up pretty much acing it in all its loose and bluesy glory. russell can friggin' play. i was seriously, majorly excited. playing in front of folks is so exhilirating.

and now i'm listening to donovan frankenreiter as i eat my early lunch (donovan is to jack johnson as america was to the eagles), and contemplating new song lyrics. all i have is a couplet so far, but i think it might fully develop into a song in the next week or so:

every moment is someone's zeitgeist
been there done that for someone else

that's all folks. thanks for checking in with me. peace out, and enjoy your weekends. i'm going fishing!