Monday, December 31, 2007
OK, I've had three friends in the last week comment on me bringing popcorn from the movie theater.

My justification:

1) It's still damn tasty, even cold and stale the next morning. Makes a nice and nasty breakfast.

2) If I'm paying $6 for an item that cost all of 5 cents to make, then I'm damn well getting my money's worth out of it!

Parents these days

Monday, December 10, 2007
I took a trip to New York last weekend to do some shopping and to bum around a bit. While I was out there, I decided to finally visit the Museum of Modern Art.

One thing that's neat about the MoMA is that most of the paintings aren't roped off or even covered in glass. You could actually walk up to them and touch them if it wasn't frowned upon.

MoMA has a huge Picasso exhibit, and I was admiring the large (96" x 92"!) Les Demoiselles d'Avignon when I was horrified to see a little kid RUN FULL SPEED INTO THE PAINTING! Neither the kids' parents nor security were able to stop him in time. We're talking about a painting that is worth more than I will make in my lifetime, and some 5-year old was treating it like a trampoline. If I was taking a kid through MoMA, I would have him on a foot-long leash with an electric shock coller if he tried to move more than a foot away from me.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
If there were an Oscar for "Crappiest Dialogue", it would go to Beowulf.

let us speak of relationships

Sunday, November 18, 2007
life throws you curveballs all the time. this month has proved no exception.

in the six months since the break-up with g, i've more-or-less dated three people, along with a bunch of other random dates.

emily was first. she was a former classmate of mine that i just happened to run into by chance. she immediately started crushing on me. i had a slight interest in her, but frankly it was too soon after the break-up to hop into another relationship, and i couldn't get myself to commit. despite that, we had a month of most enjoyable crazy kinky sex that i've ever had. then she said she couldn't do that any more; she needed something more ... stable. she's found somebody now, but we're still friends and chat regularly.

erin was second. we went out a few times. this time it was me crushing on her. sadly for me (at the time), the feeling wasn't mutual. this went on for three months before she finally delivered the heart-breaking blow. but reflecting back on it, i'm kind of glad she did. i think the reason i was crushing on her so bad was she had all of the previous qualities that g had: quiet and reserved, doesn't like much adventure, dislikes people in general, low sex drive, seems to always have a bit of depression going on, etc. i guess i found comfort in those things because they were familiar, even though they caused the break-up of the previous relationship.

erin and i are still friends and talk regularly. i'm glad my stupid freakout over her telling me off didn't affect things between us.

which brings us to jennifer. i met jennifer at the symphony back in january; g and i were still dating at the time, but jennifer caught my eye there. i saw her several times at other subsequent events, and finally got the nerve up to talk to her. we went out a few times, and lo and behold, a find myself in a relationship with her.

i'm slightly overwhelmed by this because i normally go several years between relationships, but this time has only given me a scant seven months. should i feel guilty about this? i'm not sure. but i have that schoolboy giddiness about me right now, and she does too (well, probably more of a schoolgirl giddiness).

i guess this is just another chapter in the adventure we call life. i can't wait.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007
happy birthday to two of my favorite vagina-possessing people!



and to both of you:

Sunday, November 4, 2007
Today was ass-tastic.

However, at least one thing became clear to me today, so at least I can check that off the list.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I wish all my friends in San Diego and Los Angeles good luck over the next few days. Nine of them have been evacuated so far, two of them look fairly certain to lose their house overnight tonight. Luckily the grandparents are reasonably distant from the north LA fires.

I got stuck wandering around Ghetto Valley Fair Mall the other day. Luckily I was able to find a few laughs there:

I woonder what the reental raates are at the Acme Appartments.

Self explantory
Sunday, October 14, 2007
There are times in a relationship where you are comfortable sharing things you would share with very few people. They require a great amount of trust, and one expects this level of trust to remain, even if things in the relationship go south.

I held up my end of the bargain, but she had no problem dropping hers faster than 3rd period French.

I'm hopeful there won't be repercussions, but in this day and age, it's a crapshoot.

Peru - Day 12

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunrise at Machu Picchu


Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring llama phone

OK I'm tired of captioning this stuff. Just look at the damn pictures.

The road back down to Aquas Calientes.

Coca leaves. Illegal in the US, but common all over in Peru. These ones were free for the taking in my hotel, and you could get an equivalent amount in the market for about a buck.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
UR-MOM radio, coming to you live! Thursday @ 8 pm MST!

Everybody who has a computer and nothing to do this Thursday, tune into my first live radio show! Look for a mix of one-hit wonders from the 80s and 90s along with a bunch of other random songs, plus a "wonderful" surprise you won't want to miss!

Link to show (won't work until showtime!)

Peru - Day 11

Monday, October 1, 2007
Day 11 was spent in the tiny city of Aguas Calientes. This is the town just outside of Machu Picchu, and you must stop through here if you wish to see Machu Picchu without doing a several day hike. I spent a day and a half here resting while the rest of my group finished their hike.

Aguas Calientes is a mountain jungle town, and the entire city is surrounded by incredibly tall peaks covered in trees. It's quite beautiful, and was probably my favorite city in all of Peru.

The town square and cathedral.

A look down the river. It's dry season right now, so there isn't a whole lot of water.

Rays of light as the sun starts to set.

This is a rock formation we see a lot of in Utah! Water seeps into the ground on the mesa up top and flows through the rock in a cone shape. After extended periods of time, the ground weakens from the water and eventually collapses, leaving an arch.

Artsy flower shot.

Silhouette of the town. It's still fairly early in the evening, but the high mountains make for an early sunset.

Peru - Day 9 & 10

Friday, September 28, 2007
Day 9 was the day we started our four day Inca trail hike!

The day started way early at 4:30 am in order to take a two hour bus ride to the start of the Inca trail. The weather was rainy and cold, but we were all in high spirits.

My group consisted of 11 people, two Americans (including myself), four Canadians, two Australians, two Bulgarians and a Scotsman.

Our group at the base of the trail.

I can't remember what kind of tree this was, but they're fairly common.

Somewhere along the trail.

Ruins at the first major rest point.

The ruins aren't any more interesting with me in the picture, but at least I can prove I was there now.

Unfortunately I had not recovered too well from the throat and lung infection a few days earlier. By lunch time, I was really struggling to hike and keep up with the group. I had two bites of watermelon and a piece of bread and started experiencing breathing problems. I went and laid down for about an hour, just trying to rest up. After resting, I attempted to continue the hike. I hiked for another two hours, and it came to the point where I was lagging a good 20 minutes behind the rest of the group. At one checkpoint we decided to take my temperature to find it had shot up to 102.2F. We immediately decided that I should not continue the hike. I made my way down the mountain a little way to a nurse's station, where I spent the night under observation.

Day 10 was spent backtracking down the mountain (which took me nearly four hours, an unusually long time for a mostly downhill trek). From there I took a bus to the town of Ollantaytambo, where I rented a hotel room for the afternoon to just sleep. I slept about four hours, then took a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which you will hear about in Day 11.

Peru - Day 7 & 8

Friday, September 21, 2007
Late on Day 6 I was starting to feel a bit ill. Mid-afternoon I went back to the hotel room to try to nap and recover a bit. But by evening it was clear that I was getting sick with a noticeable fever. We talked to the hotel about seeing a doctor. Luckily they knew of an English-speaking doctor who made housecalls.

We called the doctor and he showed up within ten minutes. After a bit of poking and prodding, he determined that I had a throat infection that was spreading to my lungs. He gave me the most painful shot I have ever experienced (in my rear end, nonetheless), along with three other prescriptions and told me to rest up. Despite my insurance not covering anything, the total cost for the doctor was $40, and the prescriptions were another $45 out of pocket. Not bad for a third world country, eh?

Day 8 was spent in the hotel room resting for Day 9.

No pictures for you these days.

Peru - Day 5 & 6

Day 5 was the last day in the jungle, observing parrots kicking it as a patch of clay. My camera batteries were still dead at this point, so no pictures for you.

After that was a trip back to the lodge and pack for the trip back to Cusco.

Day 6 was spent exploring Cusco. I really don't care for this city. It's very touristy. There are people everywhere begging you to buy the pictures they drew, the hats they made, a shoe shine for one sole*, or food of questionable origin. The city sits at an elevation of over 11,000 feet (3,500 meters)(403.9 centigrades)(67.6767676 millipedes), which means you'll quickly find yourself out of breath after exerting the tiniest bit of effort of telling the eight taxi drivers begging you to ride with them 'no'.

Despite all this, Cusco is overflowing with history. You can't swing a dead cat over your head without hitting a piece of history. "One free piece of Inca history with purchase of Big Gulp" would probably a common promotion here if they had 7-11s.

The main square.

The main cathedral there is in the background. This picture was taken from the top of the CompaƱia de Jesus.

Random musician who played a seemingly random three-chord song. The wall behind him is Incan.

The world famous** 12-sided Inca stone. There were plenty of residents around who would be happy to point it out and count the number of sides out loud for you for a small fee.

Me playing with macro lenses.

* - One sole is about 32 cents. However, once they've performed the shoe shine, the price mysteriously rises to 20 soles (about $6.40).

** - All the locals informed me that this stone was world famous. Despite this, I didn't run into any other tourists who knew a thing about unless they read it in their guide book.

Peru - Day 4

Today we found ourselves taking a two hour hike to Sandoval Lake. No motorized craft of any sort are allowed on most of these lakes, Sandoval Lake included. This combined with its remote location make for a very quiet and relaxing time observing the wildlife.

Unfortunately my camera battery died early this day and I failed to bring my charger, so you only get a few pictures from me. I will post some pictures from my friend's camera in a few days (plus some pictures from the impromptu birthday celebration we had that night).

Some vultures decided to set up shop in this tree for a while.

This picture absolutley pisses me off. The owl moth is really neat to see in person (they're quite large and distinctive looking), and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph one. I was only able to get in two shots before it flew off, and I thought this one had turned out perfect when I looked in the viewfinder. Unfortunately when I got to a computer, I found that I had used too much aperture, leading to blurriness on the left part of the wing. Lesson learned.

On the lake.

Peru - Day 3

Sunday, September 16, 2007
WARNING: This entry contains pictures of some big bugs that you may find gross.

The second day consisted of several sections.

I started the day by running across this large cockroach-like insect. Take a look at the surrounding footprints to get an idea of size:

After a quick breakfast, it was off into the boat again to head a few miles upstream to our next adventure. Along the boat trip, a random dead animal similar to a beaver floated by. I took this opportunity to embrace my morbid side.

These odd boats are located throughout the river. They are actually mining for gold in the riverbed. They pump the sand at the bottom of the river through a mercury pan. The gold in the sand sticks to the mercury and the remainders are dumped back into the river. They are notorious polluters, and most of them are running illegally.

The first section of this area consisted of a visit into the forest canopy. We had to cross several sketchy bridges to get to the right area:

From there it was to a half-assed series of platforms to climb up into a tree:

Once on the top platform, it was onto another one of those sketchy bridges which spanned several hundred feet across (and above) the forest. Unfortunately my fear of heights kicked in at this point, and I chose not to go across. That bridge scared the crap out of me, especially since it was only supported by being tied to nearby trees!

After everybody returned from the canopy walk, it was off for a lunch of fish spaghetti. Yes, fish spaghetti. It was actually wasn't too bad! Following lunch was some time to doze off in a few hammocks they had set up:

I bought that hat back in Puerto Maldonado for about $2. It was made entirely of recycled materials, but not because they were trying to be environmentally conscious ... those were just the materials they had on hand! You could read the writing from grocery bags in some places on the hat.

The second half of this area was to tour a zoo-like exhibit. I hesitate to use the word "zoo" because these animals aren't on display for the public (not that there is a public here anyway). This is actually an area set aside to care for animals that have been recovered from the black market or from animal smugglers. These ones were deemed unfit to return to the wild, so a few enclosures have been set up for them to be cared for, yet to also remain in their native rain forest environment.

I'm not sure who would smuggle a tapir, but obviously somebody did:

Exotic birds like macaws, toucans and parrots are always turning up:

Monkeys are also very popular for smugglers, especially small ones like spider monkeys:

Here's an odd tree I ran across. All of those large sacks hanging from the tree branches are birds' nests.

After all of that, it was time to head back to the lodge for dinner. There are two resident macaws at the lodge who were also recovered from smugglers. They were in really poor health when recovered and the staff is trying to nurse them back into shape. They chose to make an appearance today:

After dinner, it was time for my favorite part of the entire trip: the night walk! All of the big fun insects come out at night, and tonight proved to be no disappointment. There were huge grasshoppers:

Walking sticks:

All sorts of spiders (most of which are poisonous):




This tree is known as a Walking Tree. It is one of the few plants that can actually move positions. This plant will move up to several inches per year in search of sunlight and nutrients. It will grow a new root in the position it wants to move and let an old root on the opposite side die out over time. Repeat this over and over and you can see how it can pivot itself across the forest. Most of them tend to move in a circle of a 10-15 foot radius rather than go in a straight line across the forest.

I was about to head to bed for the night when a scream eminated from one of the other bungalows. A quick investigation found that a girl had discovered this little guy in her room:

She refused to sleep there at that point, so I switched her bungalows for the night and spent the night with crawly here lurking in the ceiling.