Monday, May 28, 2007

Wait 5 Minutes

In New Hampshire, they say that if you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes. The weather here can be some of the darkest, wettest and coldest out there. It was a constant source of contention and depression when I lived here. But now that I live in the land of perpetual sunshine and oven-like temperatures, I think I have a new appreciation for the varied weather here, especially on days like today which make make me fiercely miss living in this place. It's sunny and breezy, not to hot but not too cold and everything is bright green. Flowers are blooming and streams are full. It's a nice time of year of be visiting the old home state.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

are all families this crazy?

I'm up in NH for the week and it's nice to be back in the lush trees of the Northeast. I've been living out of a suitcase for the past few weeks and I'm still not sick of it. The road is my friend these days. And, while home is filled with the usual family drama, it's good to be here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Super Shuttle Shout Out

I'm giving a big thank-you shout out to Super Shuttle this morning. This was the first time my attempts to get to the airport from my new(ish) place without myself or a friend behind the wheel has actually worked. Every time I've called a cab, they've either not shown or they've been woefully late.

One cabbie told me it's because my address is in a bad part of town and cabs don't want to go there. He, however, was from my neighborhood and said he'd be happy to pick me up anytime. Too bad he took the most backasswards way to the aiport, which is literally 7 minutes down the road, totally disrespecting the directions I gave him and costing me $20 for what should have been a 2 second ride.

Anyway, I'm all happy because I'm here on time and for once the lines at SkyHarbor weren't out of control. I guess this is how the airport runs on Sunday mornings, its very zen. My flight is already late though and we're still almost an hour to scheduled take-off so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Red Rock Adventures

As promised, I bring you part two of Adventures with Sarah. As you will recall, we left off on the drive from Flag to Sedona. It's a quick jaunt down a windy road, lined with pine trees. The first sign that you're getting close is a magnificent scenic outlook at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon.

oak creek 1

We arrived just in time for dinner, a lovely Italian spread on the Veranda at Dahl and DiLuca where I sipped on Cabernet and contemplated 'borrowing' a seat cushion as a sleeping pad for the evening. I decided against it as I've been making a more concerted effort to make grown-up-like choices in life. Turns out, I was able to make a pretty comfortable bed inside The Pebble (my tent) with my yoga mats and some strategically placed sweatshirts and bunched-up clothing.

It's always my hipbones that hurt from sleeping on the ground. It also poured rain all night, but a drop we did not feel. The Pebble, trusty as ever, kept us warm and dry throughout the night. I love the sound of raindrops on tent fabric. To me, it's the most true expression of pitterpatter. We woke up and decided to hike around here:


The weather was spectacular! We could see the rain in the distance, showering down on the red rocks, moving through crystal blue skies. The storm clouds cast shadows over the landscape that made for some incredible views.


We hiked up a little trail, greeting many friendly travelers along the way and kicking up red dust and trying to identify all the yuccas and century plants around us. We talked a lot about red rock crust. It looks like coffee grounds or dirt but it's a living thing that contributes to the balance of minerals and nutrients in the desert. Pretty neat. This is a flower I looked at for a while.

sedona flower

Up the trail we came to the main event, a natural bridge. It's called Devil's Bridge, it's made of sandstone and it's 50 feet high. As I stood on it, I wondered just how long it would take for this thing to destructuralize and fall down. It's going to happen one day and that will be a real shame because this arch is cool. Here's a picture of me sitting on it.

devils bridge

And the view from below.


This is what the walls looked like.


I just love Sedona. It's beautiful and full of energy. The only thing that sucks is the tourists but even they're not so bad. I'm excited to go back this summer and play in the creek.


We made a quick stop at Montezuma's Castle, which is comprised of 20 rooms over 5 stories nestled into a giant limestone cliff cave. Montezuma never actually stayed at the cliff dwelling, actually it was abandoned over Century before Montezuma was even born! It was built in the 1400's right above Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley by the Sinagua, an ancient desert people who originally settled around Sunset Crater.


The only thing to watch out for there is the rock squirrels. Apparently, they carry the black death.


Friday, May 18, 2007

High-altitude Adventures

It's been a whirlwind of craziness the last couple of weeks with work, play, traveling and a not so brief stint getting intensely ill. However, I'm on the mend and I've got a photo essay for you!

You were hoping to get lucky this Friday night, but I bet you didn't dream of getting this lucky.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sarah and I met in Flag for a mini-weekend getaway. After a night of rabble rousing and dancing (more swaying pensively) to Lucinda Williams at the Orpheum, we stayed in the Presidential Suite at the historic Monte Vista hotel. The Monte Vista is a great historic hotel now run by hipsters. It's awesome, they have club and a bar and all the rooms are decorated real crazy-like. The Presidential Suite is red, royal chinese red with bright gold trim and dragons on the walls. Pretty cool, right?

After all the drinking and running around town, I thought I'd start the day off with a fine plate of eggs. EGGS! If you know me, you know that I DO NOT EAT EGGS. EVER. For some reason, I was feeling adventurous. It was probably Sarah, she does that to people. You know, makes them feel adventurous. This is a good thing. Except in the case of my insane breakfast choice. After the reckless breakfast, we were feeling brave and so embarked on an ambitious hike up Humphreys Peak.

humphrey view 1

At 12,637 feet, it's the tallest peak in Arizona and the last mile of the trail to the top traverses the only region of tundra in the state. That fact alone may have clued me into the fact that this mountain is not to be taken lightly. While the trail was very short, only 4.5 miles up, it was one of the most difficult hikes I've ever experienced. And, I'm sad to say, we didn't make it to the top.

humphrey trail

The trail started off nicely enough at the Snowbowl, walking though a beautiful open meadow full of grasses and plants and sweeping views. As we started into the forest, the wind was picking up and the trees were creaking something crazy. It was one of the strangest sounds I've ever heard.

humphrey view

The forest up there is comprised mostly of Ponderosa Pines and, my favorite trees ever, Aspens. The Aspens, swaying the breeze sounded like people moaning or like cats crying. It was crazy loud and a little creepy. On our hike down, we saw this Aspen, which had fallen to the wind just recently. It smelled like heaven.

broken aspen

So, being tough mountain chicks, Sarah and I fought against the altitude, the snowy and icy trails, the chilly temperature and the scary forest noises as we made our way up the incline.

humphrey trail 2

I had no idea the altitude would slow us down so much. The trail begins somewhere around 9,600 feet which didn't seem like such a substantial differential from 2,500 where I had come from the day before. It was slow going though and as soon as we hit the tree line, the wind smacked us in the face and tossed our dreams of summitting the great peak. We felt a little bit better when we met a couple of mountaineering experts outfitted in full alpine regalia with hoods, crampons and goggles who also had to turn around because of the insane wind speed.

snow bowl

Making our way to that beautiful open meadow was such a relief. After we returned from our jaunt into the clouds, we hopped in the Subi and headed down to Sedona. I'm going to save that story for the next post as this one has turned out to be the longest ever! I will, however, leave you with a preview of the photos to come.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Who's World Is This?

It's mine, biatch!

Sometimes, I feel like my body is a machine. Other times, I feel like it is a bag of soft potatoes covered with budding nubs. Luckily, today is a machine day. I just got back from an hour-long jog along the beach in Santa Barbara. I was blasting Nas on my enormous, antiquated Dell Mp3 player (which, by the way, has been one of the most durable and used pieces of technology I've ever purchased) and pounding the pavement of the bike trail. It felt awesome to exert some energy and release some stress.

It was also a strong reminder of how important it is for me to exercise regularly. I feel like my body has all this untapped athletic potential. Seriously, if I were to put some effort into it, I feel like I could be a real athletic type with coordination and muscles and everything. But, writing about exercising on my blog does not equal actual physical exertion (except exertion of the fingertips, I have the most athletic fingertips eva.

Speaking of hip-hop and new fangledness, have ya'll heard this song by the Gym Class Heros? It's all 'why isn't my face in your Top 8?' and 'this is not an LOL matter' and shiz. It feels a little forced and cheese-ball, but what does it say about contemporary youth culture? Has MySpace really infiltrated mainstream hiphop this way?

Is it pathetic that I'm 28 and I have a Top 8? I swear, I'm not trying to capture my youth, I just want to keep in touch with my (similarly-aged) peoples across the county.

Game Over

My Peeps know that I have an undying affection for Mario. He's so cute with his bulbous nose and wee red hat. The video below is freaking great, and not just because Mario is hot as hell. Though the ending is tragic, I feel like we get a true glimpse into the soul of the plumber so many of us have come to love.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lickable Album Art and Creamy Sonorous Filling

I just listened to the new Feist album The Reminder and I love it. I knew I would. Leslie Feist is a funny and loverly song writer with a totally non-irritating voice. Actually, her voice reminds me of home. It's unaffected and natural, and puts me very much at ease. Man, am I a girl or what? Rhapsody describes Feist's music as Torchy Baroque Pop which, I think, sums-up these new songs quite aptly.

I want to eat this album art.