2012 and Other Boring Ways For the World to End.

2 03 2011

Compliments of Priscilla's sketch book. My wife draws murdering dinosaurs for fun- eat your heart out!

By now you’ve all heard about the ancient Mayan calendar that predicts that Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies will all be so bad by December of 2012 that even just seeing a billboard for one will kill you.  (Amazing information to glean from a calendar written by people who have been dead for over a millennium!)  But, maybe you haven’t heard about some of the other dumb ways people think our planet may plummet into a bizarre Mad Max sequel.  Solar flares.  These could come and wipe out all the electricity globally.  How about the super volcano? It’s right underneath YOU Wyoming.  Good luck with that.  Or, what about the next animal flu?  Birds and pigs are one thing, but what the hell will we do when we get something REALLY bad, like Shark Flu?

Now, I agree with all the naysayers- I’m going to die.  I even agree that the world will end sometime.  AND, I’m not even worried about that one.  I know some dead people already, it will be nice to catch up.  Plus, if we all die, I’ll know a lot more dead people. Also all the people who have had near death experiences say really nice things about being dead.  …Except for the ones who say they went to hell… So, what AM I concerned with here?  Well, I’ll tell you.  I’ve seen some of these movies.  The Road?! …thanks for that one Cormic- what a great combination of boring and morbidly depressing.   The Happening?! Sometimes when I see M Night Shyamalan’s flicks I think he puts crap out, sits back, waits, and then says “What, people still came out to see this one? Really? Ok, ok, I can still do worse.”  (Rather than link you to what ‘The Happening’ really is, I’ve embedded a video by the same name that you will enjoy more.)

Folks, what scares me more than anything is being trapped in a boring post apocalyptic world, watching the world blandly expire. Barf.

So, what’s the solution? How can you stop the inevitable? Can we really launch Bruce Willis into space with a nuclear warhead every time an asteroid comes by? Not realistic.  But maybe, just maybe, if we’re all going to die anyway, we can have a little bit of fun with it.  Eh? So, I’m sure you all know what I’m thinking of- Zombies AND Dinosaurs.  Duh. Can the Gub-ment stop the massive tidal wave of destruction?  The guys who try to fix a leak of harmful oil in the ocean by dumping more harmful chemicals in on top of it?  Ask any of the guys who helped clean up the Exon Valdez spill- oh wait, they’re all dead now… Nope, not likely.  But, as always, I’m sure they’ll know all about it before some terrible, terribly boring disaster takes place.  So, all I’m asking for, is for them to implement my simple Zombie/Dinosaur plan of action about… lets say, one year before things get really crappy.

See, this looks like much more fun, right?

Where will they get Zombies and Dinosaurs? Well, I would like to think that first we would try Zombie viruses, and Jurassic Park style DNA experiments.  But, if all else fails, we could always go animatronic.    Once they’ve figured out the ‘how’ they just need to mass produce both, and then release the Zombies and Dinosaurs into the unsuspecting populous.  Now granted, some people won’t like this.  Maybe some people don’t even know how to kill a zombie or out smart a velociraptor,  but I think we can all agree they would be the minority.  They would also be the very first to die, leaving behind a wealth of firearms and canned goods for the rest of us.

Now, of course, none of us would be able to survive forever with millions of zombies swarming and a hundred deadly species of dinosaurs roaming around, thirsty for blood.  However, the fast paced thrill ride would be just the shot of adrenalin we need.  And the colorful sights and sounds produced by the new monsters would keep our imaginations preoccupied and, dare I say, enchant us, up until the quick-ish painful end- Eaten alive in an entertaining, honorable, and fulfilling death, long before boring natural disasters ravage our already lifeless planet.  I guess it would suck to be the Dinosaurs in that scenario though… back on top… for a second,  and then boom!  Another boring asteroid extinction.

Just a photo of me running from a T-Rex I already had lying around, I'm sure you've got tons too

I know what you’re thinking- WTF?! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this yet? I have no idea.  I can only hope that Uncle Sam already has and they’re just waiting for the right time to surprise us!  Lets all keep our fingers crossed!

David

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Merry Christmas and a Happy Valentines Day!

21 02 2011

Ok, so my last blog was about Priscilla and I getting attacked by bears in South Dakota- AND LOVING IT! …that was about six months ago.  …or eight.  And, it seems as though I’ve gotten pretty bad at updating this blog.  I promise to try and do better… but, in the mean time, he’s what I’ve done the last- I don’t know, year or so.

Green Room Music Source Christmas party- I'm telling a story, and Priscilla doesn't buy it. ...That or she's realizing what crappy job I did trimming my sideburns...

In September we went down to Winona for the fifth annual Zombie Pub Crawl.  Unlike some more normal cities zombie crawls, in Winona you get a good feeling for what a real zombie attack would look like.  People stop traffic, climb on cars, projectile vomit all over, and even chase unsuspecting college kids who don’t know what’s going on.  One high schooler tried to start a fight when his daddy’s Chrysler 300 got a little bit of puke and blood on it… what a wuss.  The only zombie he attacked was a girl, and his opening line was, ‘you can’t hit me, I’m a minor.’  Then he promptly tried to strangle a girl zombie before the rest of the angry mob of drunken undead gently removed him and told him to go home.  This boy will be a huge douche bag one day…

Some Winona degenerates attacking a car

Check the whole in the knee... wicked!

Check the whole in the knee... wicked!

The toughest 17 year old in the world!

Also, Priscilla launched Pirk, a soap and beauty company. All natural, organic when possible, soap and face scrubs and bath bubbly salt junk, all that sort of crap.  People have been liking it so far!

Priscilla showing off all her soap flavors- which, as it turns out, are not for eating...

In October, Maudlin and our agency Green Room Music Source, went to New York City again for the CMJ music festival.  I was very disappointed by the fact that we didn’t steal any mannequin body parts this time.  We did eat a lot of food, and get a better understanding of how the Russian Mafia operates.

On the way to NYC we stopped in Indianapolis to see their war monument downtown... These bears commemorate the great bear insurgency of 1849

On the way to NYC we stopped in Indianapolis to see their war monument downtown... These bears commemorate the great bear insurgency of 1849

Me and Green Room partner, Aubry, checking out bands at the fest.

Brooklyn at Juniors

Brooklyn at Juniors

Puk in Manhattan

Priscilla doing something or other in the subway

Then, in November, Maudlin welcomed a new band member into our wacky fold.  You may remember Nick from last years St. Patrick’s Day adventure.

Nick proving that he fits in with the gang...

December was a time for holiday magic!  Maudlin hosted our second, kind of annual ‘The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever’ at the Hexagon in Minneapolis.  Discribing this event isn’t as much fun and just listening…

Radio's Barb Abney of The Current and Nick Larsen of Maudlin

Speshul K singing a touching rendition of his song, "The Bitch Who Stole Christmas"

"Daddy, Please don't get drunk at Christmas" You could feel John Denver smiling down on them as they sang

And who could forget Pat's duet with a puppet. Yes, Scritchy the Cat showed up for this one too.

Here I am with Barb trying hard to read my lines...

Priscilla ...out dorking everyone

This is a recycled piece of our totaled Ford Focus...

January was cold.  We don’t do anything in January here because it’s just too cold.  When the New year is over we turn in to primordial cave people.  …We also make ice sculptures though.

I am king of all the people dumb enough to be outside when it's this cold

This is King Tut

February has Valentines day in it… Weak.  I got Priscilla a pan for Valentines day.  Yup, a nice pan.  I thought this was  probably not the greatest gift I’d ever come up with for Priscilla.  However, after seeing her reaction to getting a very nice pan, I’ve decided that she only gets pans for gifts from now on.  That’s your relationship advice for the year- Pans, chicks dig them.  Or, at least, Priscilla does…

More exciting than the new pan was the new amp we bought for P

That’s about it… Oh, and George Clooney, STOP making movies. Please.  The glory days or over my friend.  Speaking of people who should stop doing what they do, I found this website recently.  What a beautiful charity! www.killlilwayne.org Hopefully someone will make a similar site for Weezer soon.  They must be stopped!

Until next time…

David





Raiders of the Lost Rickenbacker

22 09 2010

Ok, take the next left, and then an immediate right and you can't miss it.

Some of you stalkers may remember the recent trip Priscilla and I took to Denver Colorado for UMS.  After getting in the car at about 10PM, Priscilla and I drove out of Denver, and didn’t stop until we’d reached home, sweet home, St.  Paul, MN.  I was getting out of the car, and decided we’d better get the guitars before we went inside to collapse and sleep for a day.   I opened up the back of the Element and there was only one guitar. “Oh, we don’t have my bass…”

My baby! See where Frank ran out of room, and finished his name sideways? ...wait, you can't it's behind the mic stand. ...but that's what it looks like.

Priscilla broke down crying, which was very sweet of her.  My Rickenbacker, 4003 bass is my most prized possession.  Aside from the fact that, that’s just an awesome bass, mine was made more awesome by Frank Black when he signed it.  He was a complete dick the entire time I interacted with him.  I approached him as he was clearing some things off the stage at a small show at The Warehouse in LaCrosse when I was still in high school.

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Um, Frank?

Frank: *sighs* Yeees?

Me: Can you sign my bass?

Frank: I’d need a marker

Me: *waves hand already holding out marker*

This was probably the most pleasant of the three brief conversations I had with him that night.  Despite him being a jerk, AND his musical downward spiral (I was quite found the the FIRST six solo albums.  Now he’s got, like, forty or something- each progressively worse from what I could tell.  This was on the ‘Frank Black and the Catholics’ album tour.  That was a SWEET album.) it is still my favorite memento.  But as Priscilla cried, I was far to delirious from driving 15 hours to care about anything at all, and I stumbled inside.

Grief stricken, but determined, Priscilla went online to try and find what might have happened.  As luck would have it, a local Denver band found it and had already sent us an email.  When I woke up, we had to figure out how we were going to get this bass back.  I couldn’t ship it, because it was just in a gig bag, and I wouldn’t trust shipping it anyway.  There was only one thing to do- journey back west.

Our good friend Stephy, and new pal Brittany stopped somewhere in Wyoming for no reason that I can think of. Stopping in Wyoming is probably the most dangerous thing that happens in this blog...

Our good friend Steph went and got the Rick from the Denver band and took it home for safe keeping.  Then, on one fateful morning in September, we both set off, from opposite ends of the Earth, on a mission to reunite me and my bass!  Where should a historic reunion like this take place?  In the place the Natives believed was the sacred center of the Earth, and the white man marked as his territory with four famous severed heads, like some overly artistic dog peeing on a fence.  That’s right, Mount Rushmore!

Actually, that’s a lie.  We did go there because Steph brought her friend Brittany along, and she’d never seen Mount Rushmore.  But, we actually met beforehand at the hotel where we were staying ten miles away… Which is where I got my bass back. After that though, we did go to Mount Rushmore.  And once I had my bass back, what more could I ask for?  More bears please.  That’s right, back to Bear Country USA!

Bear Country also has Caribou, but they have less add space devoted to them...

So, it just so happens that we hit a ton of bugs with our car on the way to South Dakota.  It also happens that bears actually like to eat bugs.  …I didn’t ask them why.  But this combination turned out to be interesting.  We might as well have strapped a dead deer to our car as far as one hungry bear was concerned.  After he was done picking the grill of our car clean, he got up on his hind legs and plopped himself on top of the hood of the Element and began chewing on our windshield wiper.  It was probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me… THEN, Bear Country USA came to our rescue by sending a scrawny teenage worker to chase the bear away from our car by clapping his hands and saying, “Shew!”  They apologized to us, and gave us out money back because there were scratches on our car.  …I didn’t tell them I would have paid extra to have a bear chew on my car…

People have asked me if I was afraid after seeing these photos.  …seriously? As if!  I’m not afraid of this little guy- it’s not like its a maneater like… oh say, a killer whale! *drum roll*  But, what happened next scared the crap out of me.  After the ride through the park we got out and walked through baby land.  (The part of the park with all the baby bears and other little critters) When, out of nowhere I felt something hit my chest hard, like some punk five year old whipped a pebble at me.  …but it wasn’t a pebble, it was the scariest bee I’ve ever seen.  If you can identify this thing then I owe you a beer.  Remember when I was getting attacked by horse flies that I thought were bees? This was like some sick joke by mother nature.

 

Evil has a name. It's this guy's name. ...I don't know what that is, specifically... so I'll just call him, 'Evil.'

I grabbed my shirt and pulled it away from my frail human body, and out of range of the massive stinger on its butt.  Then I worked up the courage to try and flick it off of me.  Just when I was about to make my move, Priscilla freaked out and told me not to- clearly afraid of what this thing would do to retaliate.  Just when we thought all hope was lost and the bee would have to ride home with us we heard, “Oh for Pete’s sake…”  Some small children’s mother walked over and fearlessly shewed the bee away.  I was surprised when it didn’t kill her.  I went up to the little boy she was with and told him, ‘Your mommy just saved my life, isn’t she brave?’  And he looked at me like I was a freak.  After that adrenaline rush it was time to go to Deadwood and ‘heckle’ pedestrians.  At least that’s the ‘official’ story of what happened…

Anyway, it was a weekend of triumph and knowledge.  I got my base back- that was great, but I also learned some things.  Some hotels charge by the person.  But when someone asks you why you need three keys when there are only two people staying in the room, keeping a cool head can save the day.  …that and using the back door the entire time you’re there.   I also learned that you can blow out your rotors really quickly in the black hills.  What I haven’t learned is what in the hell landed on my shirt.

 

I was thinking about going back with a screw driver to make the claw marks more badass, but I decided to leave it.

All for now!

 

 





They say you never get to attend your own funeral…

20 09 2010

Well, only if you wait for someone else to throw you one!  So, when I found out I was turning thirty, I decided to do just that- throw myself a funeral.  Once again, facilitating the event fell on the muscley shoulders of Scott Weber- because I don’t know anyone else with a 35 room themed mansion well enough to throw a party there.  He was happy to help.  Then, I shamelessly requested friends of mine to write “eulogies” in the form of a roast.  Everyone was told to wear black.  …and this is totally one of those ‘had to be there’ stories.  But, it was amazing!  I’ve never felt so loved while being made fun of!

Barb Abney (transplanted hillbilly) was called on to MC, but she couldn’t find it in her heart to say anything mean about me.  …which was too bad, because in my retort I had written several things about her… Laurel Ogren had some choice words for me- but I’m mostly mentioning her full name in here because someone keeps googling her and finding my site.  …so there you go whoever you are… Then the infamous Scotty Herold roasted me with a blow up doll.  Nick of The Icy Shores recounted our St. Patrick’s Day adventure (which is also a blog)  And, finally, my lovely Priscilla came up to roast me while doing her best Courtney Love imitation.  It was all hilarious.

There was a cake too.  It was great.  Thanks for the great time everyone!!!!





“Yes please, and some bears with that!”

13 08 2010

To keep healthy in the wild, bears will do countless sets of sit-ups.

As some of you devoted blog reader(s) might remember, we have a good friend in Denver, and we like to visit her.  We also like playing rock and roll and viewing bear attacks.  So, when the oppertunity came for Maudlin (That’s my, quote un-quote -cool band) to play at UMS we said, “yes please, and some bears with that!”

There are two ways for people who haven’t discovered planes yet to get to Denver: the evil, endless farmyard known as “Nebraska” or South Dakota.  Now, some people might not like all things to see in South Dakota, but we can all agree that there is nothing to see in Nebraska.  (I hate you Nebraska!  I hate you more than bad whale analogies!) …Anyway, there’s this place called Bear Country USA in South Dakota, next to Deadwood.  There are bears there.  You can pay fifteen dollars and the let you drive around in a big back yard with sixty bears- it’s basically like swimming with sharks.  …except the sharks are furry.  So… we did that.

Highly paid bear models will starve themselves to stunt their growth and maintain a desirable figure.

In captivity, bear models will starve themselves to stunt their growth and maintain a desirable figure.

(There are lots off really bad family videos of Priscilla and I driving around here that rival the Blair Witch Project, but I decided not to include them.)

After Bear Country USA, we headed on to Wyoming!  …Not much had changed there since the last time we passed through.  We did meet a gas station attendant who had never been pulled over by the man before.  Never.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been pulled over.  I must just look like trouble- trouble with a burnt out headlight.

So, just when I had made up my mind that the only way I would ever get out of the car was  to veer off the road into a tree- when ever I saw one- we reached the mile high city.  We showed up at Steph’s several hours late- which surprised no one, and promptly went to sleep.  In the morning we presented Steph with a traditional travelers gift: a wolf hat.

Um...

The next day we performed the first of our two showcases at UMS.  In our haste to get to the bear yard, we forgot Jason back in Minnesota, so our agent, Craig Grossman, was kind enough to sit in with us.  Big thanks to all of our new friends in Denver!  We had a blast playing!

Later someone in the crowd made me take off my sunglasses.

And then I forgot my bass… my Frank Black autographed Rickenbacker… I am an idiot.  But, the good people of Denver didn’t steal it, and arrangements have been made to meet at Bear Country USA again and get it back… Good fun, lots of forgotten things, and lots of bears… That’s about all I’ve got for this blog.  FAIL.  Le sigh…

In Brief: I hate to keep ragging on Ben Stiller… but did anyone see Greenberg?  It’s the dramatic tail of a suicidal washed up musician, who sexually assaults his brothers barely legal housekeeper.  It’s ok though, because after he assaults her, then verbally berates her, she realizes that she’s actually in love with him, and he’s not such a bad guy.   He finds out that being a douche bag always gets you chicks, even if you’re a complete loser.  I hope everyone who routinely takes all of their social cues from poorly dramatized realism is paying careful attention to this film.





Maudlin Takes Manhattan

5 12 2009


david.and.seth.underwear

Getting things off with a bang! (or a wtf) David with friend and guitarist Seth on the mean streets of New Jersey

This picture kind of sums things up.  New Yorkers are the nicest people in the world, they didn’t even kick us out!  We were invited to play the CMJ Music Marathon, and braved the long bore of the Ohio Turnpike to see what the Big Apple had in store for Maudlin.  Well, it had great food, kidnapings, vandalism, and grand theft mannequin, that’s what it had in store.

Musicians flock to free things like deer flock to ...deer parks.

This is where it all started.  Downtown Manhattan, in some club somewhere, they had created a ‘musicians lounge.’  This lounge had free booze, free food, free haircuts, free massages, and free interviews with Walter from Stabbing Westward.  …So we ended up hanging out there most of the time.

Priscilla has some lady cut her hair for free.

They spared no expence with the accomidations. Nothing was too fine for the honored musicians who had traveled to New York!

While all the New Yorkers we met on the street were fantastic, we soon found out that most of the 1200 bands from all over the world who came to New York were made up of boring people.   As we tried to live it up, they mostly stood in tightly nit groups talking to their own bandmates.  Then one really stupid chick I was talking to tried to argue with me about the size and danger of moose.  WTF?!?!?!

I was telling a story, I could tell she really wanted to hear, about my family camping trip to Superior National Forest, and I mentioned that a big moose walked out on to the road.  It was huge!  We were driving a little Focus, and I said the thing was nearly three times as tall as we were. Then she was all like saying this really stupid crap about how moose aren’t that big, and I was full of it, and that they were like big deer and couldn’t hurt anything.

Well, I had never punched a girl before, and I didn’t think now would be a good time to start, but I really wanted to.  Instead I found the first woodsy looking guy I could- some dude in a wolf mural sweatshirt.  It was ugly as sin, and clearly a joke, but something told me- this guy knows his animals.  Turns out he used to give wildlife tours in Alaska.  They would scare off black bears that had come on to the resort with golf carts, because, as we all know, black bears are the nancys of the large predator world.  He told me they received special training on what to do if you ran into a grizzly while hiking- but if you ran in to a moose up close… you’re just screwed.  I lost track of that chick… but someday she’ll get hers…

Anyway, then Jason drank way too much and took over an entire sofa by himself after a lunch stop in Little Itally where he managed to smash a framed picture of James Gandolfini in his inebriation.

He was like this for no less than three hours, with a hoard of people milling around looking for a place to sit.

Eventually, we found a band that was not boring to chat with, Robotanists.  They hailed from LA, and had a bizarre fetish for mannequin hands. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due- they were the first to steal a body part off the mannequin.  But Maudlin is not a band to be outdone.  Who would be stupid enough to put a bunch of designer clothes on a mannequin and then leave it in a room with musicians and unlimited free alcohol? Yeah, exactly.  We plundered the mannequin for clothes and limbs like it was 1725!

Me and Priscilla with Walter of Stabing Westward

Maudlin is papmpered by local servants

As an after thought to all the shenanigans, Maudlin also played a showcase at the Lit Lounge which was great…

Bars in New York stay open until four, and music only went until one.  The Lit neglected to let us know that the “green room” became the “smoking lounge” after two… So we had all over our gear spread out when hooligans began to flood in all over everything.  Poor Jason ended up getting stuck watching things and was whiteness to several prostitutes haggling with people about ‘jobs.’  Eventually we had to make an escape before Jason was thrown into a deal as a bargaining chip.

We got back to the lovely Wendy’s place where we were staying in the East Village, and I realized I had forgotten the Green Room banner.   Green Room Music Source is our booking agency, which I also now work for.  I was entrusted with the safety of the banner, and I wasn’t about to lose it, so I told Jason and Priscilla I would be right back and I darted out to hail a cab.  It was 3:30 am and I had half an hour to get back to Lit Lounge, but it was only ten blocks, so I wasn’t worried.

I got into a cab and said ‘Take me to 93 2nd Ave”  I think the guy said ‘ok’ in some language, but I’m really not sure.  Pretty soon he turned onto the freeway, and I quickly tried to explain that I was only trying to go to 93 2nd Ave, which was only a few blocks away.  The driver reassured me he know where he was going.  Then he told me he was trying to avoid bar traffic because it was dangerous… (as he did 90 on the freeway, slamming on the breaks several times, very nearly rear ending other cars…) When the drive continued I began to argue with him.  “I’m trying to get to 93 2nd, it’s ten blocks from where you picked me up, this is not the right way!” He finally exited onto 93 street and told me that 2nd ave was just a few blocks away.  This is important.  In New York they use intersections as opposed to street addresses.  93 2nd Ave is in the East Village, 93 AND 2nd ave is in East Harlem.  He pulled over and tried to kick me out… What a d-bag.

Finally, after a shouting match with this guy, we were back on the way to the East Village, and my four dollar cab ride turned into a thirty dollar cab ride.  I was able to get the sign though, so it wasn’t all bad.  It was no surprise to us when we hailed a cab the next morning to take us to Seth’s place in North Arlington, NJ  that this cab driver was also retarded.

Driver: Where are you going?

Maudlin: North Arlington, NJ

Driver: Ok, fifty five bucks plus tolls

Maudlin: Ok (we load in and start driving)

Driver: Where is North Arlington

Maudlin: *le sigh*

Later we realized he had pee bottles in the front seat …if only we had seen them sooner…  But, all and all, it was a fantastic blast of a time! The locals were all great, and far better looking than the locals anywhere else- and therefor better. We can’t wait to go back!

In brief:

I just saw 100 Feet, which is a movie about a successful actress who takes a terrible role in a crappy horror flick just to see if she can do a Jersey accent.  She finds out she can’t.

See you guys later!

David





Lewis and Clark Eat Your Hearts Out!

17 07 2009

Many and many a year ago a couple of outdoorsy guys named Lewis and Clark went from some place out east, west to Napa Valley and back looking for refined wines and tan babes. They had half of the dangers we have in the modern world, yet they lost half their party. Priscilla and I did almost the same thing last week and no one died. I can’t believe they got paid for that and we didn’t. Anyway, (que flash back music) it went a little something like this…

Me in the bad lands.  ...I don't know what I'm doing either.

Me in the bad lands. ...I don't know what I'm doing either.

We wanted to go out to Denver to visit our good friend Steph.   Since the government outright refused to commission us to do this, we decided to pay for it ourselves. After months of foreknowledge of the trip, we started planning on Tuesday night- the night we were leaving. We decided to drive to Sioux Falls, SD the first night. Our friend William Shatner helped us negotiate a deal on a room at the Sheraton last minute, which was nice of him. And now we just had to get there in one piece…

Evil bull that guards the road to the Bad Lands.

Evil bull that guards the road to the Bad Lands.

Looming over our heads was the bat-shit crazy  prophecy of some  lady Priscilla works with. She told her that she has a recurring dream where Priscilla and I die in a horrible car wreck and they also find that Priscilla is pregnant with our first child. She followed that zinger up with several other stories about how she’d dreamed things that had come true, concluding happily that she’s always right about these things…  (I kind of feel like, if you don’t have anything nice to prophesy about, then don’t prophesy about anything at all.)

We arrived at the Sheriton at about 1am and we went to sleep.  The morning had harsh news waiting for us.  There was no continental breakfast.  I know we only paid $50 for the room… but normally it was $129.  I expect breakfast with anything I pay that much for.  But, we didn’t throw in the towel- not on reaching Denver, and not on eating breakfast.

This room cost $90... wtf

Later we stayed in this crappier room that cost $90... wtf

Before we continued on, we need to get a new camera, so we set out looking for a department store.  The rural west is like some national park where endangered department stores like Pamida and Shopko hide from extinction.   We came upon a Kmart in a desolate parking lot.  We were able to get inside before it saw us and ran away.  There amidst the Jacklyn Smith collection we found the stores remaining electronics and bought a camera. CNow wer were ready to face the long blah of South Dakota.

Here’s a red flag questions for states.  Is everything valuable, desirable, or bearable significantly closer to an adjoining state than to the interior of the state itself?  If so, it’s likely that state blows.  Case in point: South Dakota.  (For further examples please see Nebraska, Illinois, or Kansas.  If you are unsure of where desirable parts of your state are, try googling your state.  If you reside in North Dakota, then google the state you’re planning on living in when you move.)

These are the Black Hills

These are the Black Hills

To get to the ironically named “Bad” Lands and “Black” Hills of South Dakota you need to drive through several hundred miles of utter crap.   Rolling fields of nothing.  The only thing to do is just take the car to top speed and surf the Internet to stay awake while you drive.  The best parts of the state lay on it’s meaty west side, close to the frightening Montana.

In the bad lands we took video on our cell phone of me running into a field of hundreds of prairie dogs trying to chase them, but all you can see is my blurry head moving back and forth with lots of ambient wind noise.  I’m not going to include it.  However, I feel it’s important to note that I did that.

After chasing prairie dogs, climbing out the clay edges of the hill things, and purchasing potato chips for an inebriated native who asked us for a ride to the next town, we’d seen every thing South Dakota had to offer. We were ready to get to Deadwood.  Also Walldrug sucks- It just sucks.

We finally got to Deadwood and I won $100 from a dealer who was a jerk.  Which was good because William Shatner was no help with the hotel rates in Deadwood.  We payed $90 for a queen room.  …this was the smallest hotel room I had ever seen; like someone crammed a queen bed into the bathroom.   What’s worse? No continental breakfast.  I was really starting to get irritated by that…

This is a log cabin we found later in the story at 13000 feet.  And ancient race of spider people lived here.

This is a log cabin we found later in the story at 13000 feet. And ancient race of spider people lived here.

The next day we woke up and got ready to go to Bear Country USA!  Bear Country is this zoo type place where all the animals roam free, and you drive through and look at them.  They can walk up to the cars- I even heard that a few toddlers got killed there!  We were pumped.

We exited Deadwood and were back on the open road.  An hour later we saw a welcome to Wyoming sign.  The realization that we’d made a huge mistake flooded over us the same way it floods over most people who find themselves reading that sign.  In our case, the mistake was that we were trying to get over by Mount Rushmore, south east of Deadwood, and instead we went south west and ended up in another state.  Fortunately, the road we accidentally took did happen to go to Denver, so we decided to keep going and leave Bear Country for another time.

Priscilla in Wyoming.  I was looking for my binoculars, and came to the realazation that they were in the car before it was broken into... Great, they took my grandfather's binoculars that were worth ten bucks. I cursed the theaves here on top of Big Sky Country.

Priscilla in Wyoming.

Wyoming is big and it has hills.  Hills kind of vary state to state.  Minnesota has river bluffs, which are steep and cliff like.  The black hills are pretty steep too, but they’re not following a river and there aren’t really cliffs.  They are pretty much all pines too, where as Minnesota sports a greater variety of trees. Wyoming has these really slow slopping  large hills with lots of scrub brush on them.  I know this whole paragraph is really boring… this was the best I could come up with for the five hours I was in Wyoming.

Wyoming people are scary.  This mother and son have identical massive man-butts. ...creepy.

Wyoming people are scary. This mother and son have identical massive man-butts. ...creepy.

Eventually we got to Colorado, and shortly after that we could see the Rocky Mountains.  The looked just like the Coors can.  Denver’s elevation is about a mile from sea level, so they call it the mile high city- not to be confused with the mile high club, which is something else.   We found our friend Steph, and went out for fish tacos- the second time in a week.  It made me nervous and awkward, but I did it.

This a the cake Steph made to celebrate our arival!

This a the cake Steph made to celebrate our arival!

The next day we set out on a mission to cross the continental divide and hike deep into the Rock Mountains. We drove for several ear popping hours west and up. One interesting thing we noticed is that all the trees were dead. Steph’s boyfriend Glen told us that some mutant beatle had been feeding on the trees, and due to global warming, it doesn’t get cold enough to kill them in the winter anymore. I suggested burning them out, but in retrospect I guess regrowing the whole forest after the fact should probably be a last resort. Anyway, I could the spirit of John Denver singing about planting trees all the way.

The cake cutting cerimony

The cake cutting cerimony

Steph and Glen like to go hiking, and they’ve both lived in Denver for years. So they took us to a mountain slope they knew and we stared up. I was pretty worried about cougar attacks because they are on the ‘remotely possible’ spectrum of things that could happen, and I’m on the ‘very much so’ spectrum of paranoid. It’s just like Kurt Cobain said, ‘Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean I’m not after you.’ …and in this case I think that applies to mountain lions.

Hidden Valley, home of ranch dressing, is on the way to the spine of the world.  So is the Coors place, where beer comes from.

Hidden Valley, home of ranch dressing, is on the way to the spine of the world. So is the Coors place, where beer comes from. ...and the whole town is also sideways, it wasn't the photo editing. ...*whew* he he suckers! Just saved myself the 30 seconds it would take to fix that!

I was watching my back pretty closely, and bravely refusing to let Priscilla carry up the rear.  (Is that the correct phraseology for that?  ‘Carry up the rear?’) Cougars, as we all know, like to attack from behind and from above if possible.  Naturally they also go straight for the jugular.  If you see a cougar in the woods, the only reason you’re seeing it is because it’s stalking you. They’re a no nonsense killer.  Not at all like the all too common brown bear, which is known to be pretty much a wuss.

As we hiked, something changed about my brain.  I started to care less and less about the enormous killer feline that was probably right behind me.  I started to feel a little woozy.  My legs weren’t tired at all, but I was out of breath and my heart was beating a mile a minute.  Priscilla must have been feeling the same way because she was complaining even more than usual.  Steph and Glen seemed just fine.  Then it struck me, we’d caught the Rocky Mountain High.

The Hobbit Priscilla on her way to the slopes of Mount Doom with the Ring of Power!

The Hobbit Priscilla on her way to the slopes of Mount Doom with the Ring of Power!

Aside from a pretty mediocre song, it’s also what happens to you when the elevation reduces the amount of oxygen in the air.  Also known as ‘elevation sickness’ and ‘tennis elbow.’  Even though I diagnosed this, Steph and Glen kept right on moving at a normal pace up the mountain, presuming we were pansies.  They’re like the creatures from Superman II who come to earth and find that they have super powers because of the yellow sun and their super dense bodies.  …only it was like the reverse, and we went to their planet and could no longer use our laser eyesight.  It totally sucked.

Eventually it started to get dark. We were at about 13,000 feet by then, only a few hundred from the summit.  The trees were thinning and snow was on the ground in spots.  We were on a clear mountain lake next to the ruins of a small encampment with log cabins that were probably a few hundred years old.  The road to the summit started to switch back after that, so it would have taken too long to get up to the top and back down again before dark, so we decided to go home.  And then, my phone rang.

This was almost as high as we got, around 13,000 feet

This was almost as high as we got, around 13,000 feet

Yes, at 13,000 feet, on the side of a mountain, my cell phone rang.

Phone: *ring ring*

David: “Hello”

Chris: “Dude, what’s up?  We’re watching this video of this old show from high school for Todd’s band, and you were running sound.  You totally suck at running sound…”

David: “I’m at 13,000 feet on the side of a mountain”

Chris: “Huh?”

David: “What?”

Chris: “What?!”

David: “On mountain, reception bad”

Chris: “You want to talk to Todd?”

David: “There are lions here.”

Todd: “What’s up man?”

David: “One ate my hand.”

Todd: “Huh?”

David: “I’m on a mountain at 13,000 feet, I can’t talk”

Todd: “Yeah, we’re watching this video from high school”

David: “I can’t hear anything, I’m on a mountain.”

Todd: “So what are you guys doing?”

David: “I’m on a mountain, I can’t talk Todd”

Todd: “Ok, well I should probably let you go.”

Thanks Verizon, for letting me share that incoherent moment with someone 1000 miles east, and 12,000 feet down.

"Hello?"

"Hello?"

Anyway, we went back down, and no one was eaten. The rest of the trip I had a splitting headache, which I later learned was also part of the Rocky Mountain High.  So, to combat feeling hung over, we went to a winery.  I knew nothing about wines.  I knew they were color coded, and that was it.  The biggest surprise for me was that these little taste test things with wine and cheese and crackers are free.  Free!  Yeah, you go to the place that makes the wine, and they just give it to you.  Then they serve you free snacks.   I also learned I prefer Cabs to Shiraz and Merlot; and I prefer the cheese and crackers to wine.

This is a picture of Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings movies, home to the dark lord Sauron

This is a picture of Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings movies, home to the dark lord Sauron

After that we went to an art show, then to the obligatory performance.  Jason wasn’t with us in town, but the good people of Denver still wanted a show.  So Priscilla and I played a short acoustic set at The Hi Dive.  When it was done, we promptly said our good buys to Denver and our friends, and hit the road.  By the time we were edging dangerously close to Nebraska we decided to stop for the night.  We went to this cheap joint that I’m positive several people were had been murdered in.  And, wouldn’t you guess it, no free breakfast.  I could have screamed.  Instead I peed in the courner of the room.

Priscilla and I are playing guitars on a stage.

Priscilla and I are playing guitars on a stage.

We awoke with the heavy weight of the length of Nebraska in front of us.  The first sign we see entering the freeway: DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, FEDERAL PRISON NEARBY.  Well.  Ok then.  We didn’t encounter any escapees that we know of, but we did encounter boredom.  Can you imagine if you had to ride through that crap on a horse and it took you weeks? I’m sure that all the stories surrounding the loss of life on Lewis and Clarks trip were made up. They all killed themselves in the great plains.  Again, I saved my sanity by surfing the net while I drove.

Aren't we cute when our brains are depleted of oxygen?

Aren't we cute when our brains are depleted of oxygen?

When all hope seemed lost, we reached Iowa.  We took a wrong turn there and found a car turned into a spider.  …yeah.  We left pretty quickly.  At 9pm central standard time we finally got home to St. Paul, MN.  …and then had to go to work the next day. Puke.  That’s about that.  …also, no one really died on the Lewis and Clark expedition… one dude got sick and died, but sources say it was related to a methamphetamine addiction.

Seeing is believing.

Seeing is believing. ...I think this guy was in the Lord of the Rings too trying to eat Frodo.

David

Oh, and when we got back we found a small pirate costume on our bed… We called Laurel who was appartment sitting for us, and she said she brought it over to try and put on our cat.  …but it didn’t work out because Leeloo resisted.  Well, Priscilla and I had a talk with Leeloo about how she treats guests…

This is Leeloo.

This is Leeloo.








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