Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tiny Home

Gabe Dominguez and Sonya Cotton played at our house this weekend as Tiny Home, their new folk duet. The music, food, and friends were all delicious.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Step Off the Train, Sir

Once I stowed away on TRAX without buying a pass. Instead of being vigilant and watching for UTA cops to board, I zoned out and rode illegally with no regard for my own well being. So when the cop asked to see my ticket, I told him I had none.

"Step off the train with me, sir," he instructed. I obeyed. There was also a girl about my age that got busted and deboarded.

As the two cops walked us over to a bench, she whispered to me, "Please say you'll be my witness in all of this." I didn't know if she was talking about religion or what. The uniformed busters looked called her name and info in, and were told that the girl had been banned from riding TRAX until 2040. That's the year 2040. She gave them tons of lip and harassment, which ended up working in my favor, because when they came to me I fully fessed up to the error of my ways and gave them nothing but polite responses and meek countenance. I think they were so burned out on the hippy-hellion girl that they let me go with nothing but an official warning.

They still made me walk home, though.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In Love With a Japanese Man

A couple of weekends ago I climbed Mt. Shasta in northern California, then skied down it. It was a two day endeavor and we had to set up base camp at the foot of this super steep, long, grueling slope that lead up to a rocky cliff band, around and through some spires, then up a section called Misery Row or Misery Hill or something before hoisting us up onto the bony summit of a 14ooo-ft. peak. 

We set our alarm to 4am to get a good start from base camp on the second day. We were ready to hit it by 5am--packs on, skis on, gear all ready. There was a Japanese threesome of climbers standing around twiddling their thumbs as we were about to get moving, they said they were waiting for someone (presumably waiting for their partner so they could do the same thing we were about to do). Just as we began to leave, the Japanese guy left the two women he was standing with and started to climb into CJ's tent. 

"Hey, what are you doing?" asked CJ, shocked.

"I'm getting in this tent," the guy replied.

"That's my tent--where's yours?"

"Hey man, I'm just starting to get cold and I want to get inside of this tent."

CJ talked him out of it, then we left. A friend of ours stayed behind at base camp and told us later that once some other climbers had left camp, he went and got inside their tent. I've thought a lot about that guy since then, and can't get over how forward he was about occupying somebody else's tent. I've come to realize that I love that Japanese climber for what he did and who he is. And I can only hope that he feels the same way about me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big Dump Utah

I don’t know why nobody came up with the idea for Big Dump Utah sooner. It’s basically a single source for all things related to Utah skiers and snowboarders. It has current mountain weather conditions and five-day forecasts for every Utah resort, a place to buy or sell your gear as well as get brand new gear from some of Utah’s sweetest outdoor providers. It even has video games. While it is still in the growing process, it has already become a valuable resource for snowmonkeys from the Wasatch Range, and even up into Logan or way down willy near Brian Head.

It will eventually be fully rocking with discussion forums, killer deal notices, avalanche info and specialty shop, events postings, and instant powder email alerts, as well as pic-of-the-day, easy video upload, and the latest of mountain-related news. It’s sort of like an easier-to-navigate TGR, but focused primarily on Utah locals.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cease Not to Shake It

You might want to turn your volume down a bit for this one.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Freddy vs.Jason

Once Holly and I went up to Jackson, Wyoming to climb the Middle Teton. If you've been in the Tetons, then you know of the magnetic effect they have on non-evil people. The effect they have on evil people is totally different--it's sort of like dipping a million needles in acid, then sticking them in your eyeballs and all over your face. You look freakier than Pinhead, that dude from all those scary movies back like ten to twenty years ago. What's up with scary movies having so many sequels? What's the point? So many of them have such a similar plot as each other, they might as well all be sequels of each other anyway, so why bother making one an official sequel of another? Many even crossbreed, like Freddy vs. Jason.

Anyway, we were trying to get to the top of the Middle Teton, but a huge storm came in and forced us off the mountain. We had to hike back down, crossing several steep glacier fields on the way. We had ice axes that had helped us get up, and we decided to glissade down the ice fields on our feet and/or butts, and use the axes as brakes so we wouldn't go rocketing out of control. I went first and slid about half way down, then stopped, turned around, and waited for Holly to come. She's totally hot and really athletic, so she stood in some sort of advanced European ski stance and started flying down towards me. She was going way too fast, so she spun around and hacked her axe into the ice. The axe stuck, but her speed caused the wrist strap to snap right off, sending her speeding helplessly down the glacier. At the bottom were rocks and boulders--she would certainly die if she hit them. She tried digging her hands and feet in, but it was to no avail.

My Terminator senses kicked in. I quickly moved into her path and slammed my axe into the ice as hard as I could. Then, using all the force I had, I kicked my feet into the snow so I'd have as much stable grip as possible. When she slid under me, I fell on top of her, stopping her. I then dee aitched her until my hips were sore. "I thought I was going to lose you," I cried. "You saved my life," she replied. We hugged and dee aitched some more right there on the glacier.

I still get the willies when I think of how close she came to kickin' the bucket. Right before this happened, we met a guy on the trail that told us a story of a woman that had died up there two weeks previous by losing her footing and sliding down a glacier. Holly is damn lucky to be alive. Too bad she broke her leg this New Year's Eve and is now in a cast that goes to her hip. Big Dump Utah, bigdumputah.com

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Putting Up a Fight

Dear Friend, this is urgent.

As you are probably aware, the Utah BLM, under mandate from President George W. Bush, will be auctioning off several parcels of Utah’s wildest and most beautiful land to big oil corporations on December 19th. This lease auction comes... Read the rest of this post at StateOfTheHive.blogspot.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Robot Child Slave Labor

I had a robot named Andar when I was rich and lived in Morocco. He used to bring me food and rub my back. It wasn't until I was twelve that I realized he wasn't a robot at all, but a real live human being with feelings, emotions, and desires. My father had been exploiting him as a child slave and telling me he was a robot so I wouldn't feel bad for him or get attached. The one thing my father didn't count on was that I DID get attached and was planning to free the enslaved robot, but once I found out he was just a boring old human I put him to work double time, especially with the back rubs.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bush and BLM Selling Utah Wilderness to Highest Bidding Oil Companies

As a goodbye gift to himself and oil companies, our current president has mandated that public land agencies "eliminate obstacles in the way of drilling," ... The rest of this post is at my other blog--StateOfThe Hive.blogspot.com. I'm slowly transitioning my serious political rants to that one so those of you who want all comedy all the time don't have to endure my preaching here at Ye Olde Magick Bones

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proposition Opposition

Since November 4th, the Obama hype has settled down considerably. The Proposition 8 discussion, however, continues on with immediate backlash and side effects. People opposed to the outcome are speaking out in despair and outrage, some going as far as to boycott the entire State of Utah (which means not visiting here, buying products from Utah-based companies, or in any other way putting money into the Utah economy—it’s very similar to the embargo the US has maintained against Cuba since JFK). People proud of the outcome are “bracing for persecution” as one email put it. I have received more chain letters, heard more people discussing, and read more online about Proposition 8 since the election than I did pre-November 4th. Being a Mormon has made it even more interesting for me as I hear arguments for one side from friends and co-workers (many of who are not LDS, though some are), and arguments for the other side from friends and family (many of who are LDS, though some are not).

I absolutely oppose the church’s involvement in the Proposition 8 issue and in anti-gay marriage efforts in general. I’d like to state the reasons why, as well as address the reasons people have given me for supporting it, and maybe even ask a few questions to those who favor Prop. 8, since I am perplexed as to why so many Mormons support what seems to me an obviously unfair and unchristian measure. I’m open to discussion and alternative ideas, and hope to learn from this discussion as well as maybe open people’s eyes to a different way of looking at it.

However, my letter to Prop. 8 is way too long to post here, so I've created another page for it. Click here to read it, and feel free to leave comments or questions. It might be cool if you left them on this here magicbones blog as well so people could see them without having to surf the webular.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stealth Babies and Silent Attack Dogs

There's a tv show on these days that teaches little kids sign language. I don't know what it's called, but I love the idea of it. Holly's little nephew was running around looking for something the other day and instead of screaming what it was he wanted, he kept doing the sign for it. His mom said it was kind of a mix between the sign for "dad" and the sign for "eat," so we never really knew exactly what he wanted, but the point is he was quiet instead of screaming. Like those German Shepherds whose voice boxes have been removed so that you don't hear them coming before they attack you. That's some seriously messed up and scary as crap stuff ... can you imagine being attacked by a stealth killing machine that never makes a sound? That's what I'm like when I play hoops.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Orson Scott Card Lives In a Sci-Fi World

I recently read an article written by Mormon author Orson Scott Card in which Card places nearly full blame for today's economic disaster on Bill Clinton specifically, as well the Democratic party in general. I will never affiliate myself with either of the two main parties, I think they are both beyond corrupt. However, Card's argument leads us deeper into a dark hole of getting suckered and then sucker-punched by corporate power that controls our politicians and our government's policies, thus removing any "Is this what's truly right for the people?" thought to be allowed to cross our "leader's" minds. To read Card's article, go here. This is my response. If it's too long, break it up and read a paragraph a day. The response is actually much shorter than I would like to give, it's just that I didn't want to lose any readers by dragging on. If you'd like more, you're welcome to ask me personally about how I feel on any of the points brought up below. Here we go:

Uh oh,

I have to totally disagree with the Orson Scott Card article. To place the blame for today's economic crisis on a certain political party rather than America's obese buy-now-pay-later, gimme gimme gimme personality only allows us to shovel our guilt off onto someone else and continue the sick practice of excessive consumerism and I-want-more-stuff lifestyle that we are getting more and more comfortable with. To blame the government for loosening loan restrictions rather than blame the huge corporations (Fannie, Freddie, et al) that preyed on low-income home buyers seems foolish to me. People took out huge loans for homes that they couldn't afford, but no one talks about that because it's an accepted practice that probably many of us are also guilty of. Are those people not to be held somewhat responsible? The government loosened restrictions, true, but I don't see how that removes the guilt from the individuals who spent beyond their means.

However, I don't make the individuals as the number one culprit. Do the richer-than-God corporations that knowingly handed loans out to obviously undeserving recipients hold no blame? Who do you think lobbied the government to ease the loan restrictions? Card's article somehow tries to paint a black and white picture of evil Democrats and holy Republicans. Do we really believe that the politicians from either side (whose campaigns are funded by, and in some cases whose pocketbooks are padded by and whose lush and lavish lifestyles are partially provided by these huge companies) aren't swayed by money and power? Card tries to convince us that Republican politicians (who have great and special interest in companies like Fannie and Freddie) weren't reveling in the profits coming in from said companies. I have a hard time believing that politicians from both parties weren't benefiting and propagating the practices of these mortgage companies.

I think it's convenient for these sort of letters to circulate a month or less before the election. Card tries to attack the "liberal" media for hiding story after story of Democrat scandal while blowing out of proportion Republican scandal. He cites John Edwards' infidelity and Palin's daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. He pretends that the former was swept under the rug while the latter was detonated in the faces of every news watcher/reader in the country. That scenario is totally invented by Card, but certainly isn't the truth of how things really are. Edwards' scandal made front page news all over the place, as did Palin's daughter's pregnancy. In fact, I think people expected Democrats to pounce on the whole teenage pregnancy, but for the most part Democrats (except for comedians) left it alone. Conservatives and Liberals alike feel picked on when the opposing party attacks them.

To pretend that both parties don't jump on any little crumb of potentially slanderous information about opposing candidates is to close your eyes to the reality of modern day politics. I'm not excusing it--in fact, I detest it. I think that both major parties have long since sold their souls to big money, and at this point to engage in the pathetic "look how pure my party is and how dirty your party is" argument (like that of Card's) is to ignore the real problem and only keeps us in a false mentality of "I'm right, you're wrong, politicians really are fighting for my best interests." The truth is that Washington politicians, especially presidential candidates, are slaves to wealthy special interest groups whose sole concern is their own bottom line. Politicians' campaigns are funded almost entirely by big corporations who donate with the strong expectation to get something in return. Many donors (like AT&T and several others) donate huge amounts to both candidates so that, regardless of who wins, huge favors are owed. Obama, despite his emphasizing that the majority of his donations came from small independent donors, actually received 3/4ths of his donated sum from major corporations and wealthy special interest. There were obviously fewer of those donations, but they were for MUCH higher sums. The small donations, though many, didn't add up to that much.

Noam Chomsky said that there is really only one party in America, the Big Business Party. If watching the practiced, memorized, and packaged presidential debates teaches us one thing, it's that the current system produces two versions of the same egomaniacal robot and then makes us somehow believe that we have a choice between two very different people. The truth is that politicians will say and do almost anything to get into office, then once there they don't feel any responsibility to stick to any of their promises. That's evident from Bush Sr.'s "read my lips, no new taxes" trick, Clinton's signing of the Helms-Burton Act (which harshened the immoral embargo against Cuba), and Gee Dubya's going back on his campaign promise to, in his words, "jawbone OPEC leaders and personally lobby oil cartel leaders" to lower the price of oil (not that anyone really expected George "I Drink OPEC Oil For Breakfast AND Get Richer Everytime I Do It" Bush to bully around his oil cohorts in the Mid East).

Card would make life easy for himself and for us by allowing us all to believe that Clinton is really to blame for this mess. He would wrap up a pretty, shiny parcel of finger-pointing, deliver it the Democrats, relieve us from having to feel guilty for the life of greed and unchecked consumption that we like to live, and pardon the predatory mortgage companies (who are experts in the field and surely knew better than anyone exactly what would happen if they continued to hand out sub-prime loans like candy, getting richer with each one) of any wrong doing. In doing so, he convinces people that one candidate (and that candidate's party) is obviously stupid, unethical, and entirely to blame for the huge mess our country is in, while on the other hand the other candidate (and his party) was telling us all along how to fix the problem and that he is obviously smarter, uncorrupt, and much more qualified to lead us (like sheep). Card is wrong. The fact that he's a Democrat has nothing to do with it. People often vote against their party. It's convenient to bring it up because it makes us think that his opinion is somehow unbiased or that even the democrats know Obama is a kook. But party affiliation one way or the other doesn't prove much, does it? This election, maybe more than any other presidential election in history, will have many registered Republicans voting for Obama. If Card's being a Democrat somehow means McCain and the Republicans are right, then all the Repubs voting blue tomorrow must, by Card's status, mean that Obama is right. Personally, I find it crazy to align yourself with any specific political party. They are both way too full of holes to hold any ethical water.

I think both parties are wrong. I think the two-party system not only denies us the chance to elect a candidate that isn't over-influenced by big money, but also robs us of any real choice at all. George Carlin said the only choice we have anymore is "paper or plastic, smoking or non." There's some truth to his joke. The presidential debates are run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization headed by Frank Fahrenkopf (former head of the Republican National Committee--a corporation, and Paul Kirk, a former head of the Democratic National Committee, a corporation). They close the debates to other parties' candidates unless those candidates can gain a 15% popularity ranking in the polls, something nearly impossible for third party candidates to do since they have to spend most of their money just getting on the individual states' ballots and aren't left with much campaign money. The two main parties have a surplus of money since they are funded by big business, who, of course, has very special and specific interest in influencing and swaying the candidates.

Sorry to make this so long. I'll cut myself off here, but I just want to say one last thing. The most pressing issue facing our country today isn't the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the future war in Iran. It's not the economy or what to do with illegal immigrants. It's campaign reform. Until we are given a real choice in presidential candidates, we will continue electing equally crappy presidents (party affiliation doesn't matter) who get caught up in scandal, who lie to us over and over again, who blow our tax money in unwise places, and who are really nothing more than slaves to huge corporations and special interest groups while pretending to care about acting in our best interest.

I won't vote for a Republican or a Democrat tomorrow. I won't vote for O'Cain or McBama. I'll vote third party even though I know he won't win this time. The lesser of two evils is still evil. I won't go against my own morals and vote for someone that ethically opposes me. But in four years, a few more people will vote third party. In eight years, many more will be fed up with the current and broken system and they'll vote third party. I really believe that people will become more and more fed up with the candidates we're given to lead our country and they'll start looking outside of the Rep and Dem parties, and that sometime down the road we really will be given quality choices. The thing is, this country is full of awesome people that DO have integrity and would make great leaders rather than pander to Exxon Valdez, Phillip Morris, JP Morgan, Smith & Wesson, McDonalds, Nike, Wal-Mart, AT&T, etc. Under the current system, though, it's impossible for anyone like that to make it to the final playoff round. People like Card will still try to trap us in a childish argument of proving that one of the two meager options is definitely right and righteous and the other is wrong and wicked, when in reality they are both, as Haley's friends might say, totally wack. But I guess writers have a flare for drama (me included), so I can kind of see where he's coming from.