July 1998 Archives

Cold and we like it

Portland is wrapped entirely in heavy clouds. The wind is constantly blowing. Rain is inevitable.

After nights without sleep because of the heat, this weather is like a long-awaited kiss.

Tonight, Lars, Anne, and I are going to watch the end of Star Wars. We started the movie a couple of days ago.

Then many friends are coming over, and we're moving on to The Empire Strikes Back.

See, Lars has never seen the Star Wars trilogy. He is defending his thesis next week, and we figured that this lack of education was unacceptable.

I even threatened to tell his thesis review committee.

Someone from Brazil visited my page yesterday. Know who?

Last night I was headed home on my inline skates and everyone I passed tried not to look at me. But I was patient, and in every case, they would suddenly break out in a smile and say, "hello!" or "Good evening!"

It was a small test of patience and persistence.

I'm looking over this journal entry and realizing that it is a bit muddled. Or maybe a bit convoluted. Or perhaps just random.

S'okay. That's really how I feel this morning.

It's been a good and hard week.

The jury's out.

I'll hammer out a bulletin when the final verdict comes back.

The poetry of soccer

"Go ahead and kick it."

"Yeah, you say that, but what if I miss you and it goes in the water?"

The boy looked like a soccer player, though he was young and very small. A pair of maroon indoor soccer shoes and a dusty mop of blond hair gave him away.

His cousin was older--probably thirteen or fourteen--and she was not as comfortable as he was with the ball.

But he kept prodding her.

I looked at Ryan and Heather and remarked on the lack of railing and the small sidewalk, and the possibility of the ball ending up in the sound.

The cousin kicked the ball.

It bounced across the feet of another child, and against the heels of the smallest girl in the crowd. Down the steps it went. In two bounces, it was in the water, rolling over and bouncing through the salty waves.

We were close enough that we could have slipped in to grab it, but we didn't. We figured the soccer child's father was going in. He made motions like he would.

But instead, he leaned close to his boy and began explaining the reasons for not calling his little sister names, though the ball bounced off of her feet last.

She hadn't even been looking.

So we watched the ball drift slowly along the bank. It never came within reach.

It didn't move quickly.

Suddenly, the family pounced into action. The father--young, smiling, and admirable to the three of us as we drift toward a time of life he knows--told the children to get their walking sticks from the car.

They didn't reach.

Ryan and I looked at the ball with shining eyes. We were thinking of how the water would feel, weighing the cold and wet against the glory of retrieval.

"I would probably just tell him that I would get him a new one. It's like a three dollar soccer ball."

"I would have jumped in for it right away, while it was still shallow. We could have grabbed it, you know, without getting too wet."

Despite our words, we hung out over the water, one foot planted against the concrete walkway, one hand gripping the railing, the other hand and foot pointing out across the Sound, toward the Olympic Range, toward the drifting ball.

Further along the walk, the father looked at us with a half smile. Part of him was enjoying this. Another part was wondering what we were thinking.

He climbed down to a three-foot-square swatch of rocks and dipped his toe in.

By this time, the ball was thirty feet out, where we could no longer see the rocky bottom of the sound. It was drifting around a point, headed casually toward Lincoln Park.

The father climbed in to his waist. We excitedly anticipated the rescue. I kept thinking about how much I love to swim. I counted three good strokes to the ball. Three strokes back, and then out.

But the cold and wet were threatening, and I was wearing my change of clothes for the weekend already. I found myself wishing I lived on the beach.

The father jumped up and down a couple of times. Then he looked at his son and said, "there's no way. We're going to have to let it go."

And he climbed out.

Ryan and I scaled a pile of rocks and stood on them like child kings. We threw a few rocks into the water, toward the ball.

The family gathered around a park bench nearby. One small boy had a life-preserver wrapped around his waist and he was running back and forth along the edge of the bank. He was dreaming of the glory of retrieval, too.

"Well, if your ball is going to go, that's a pretty good way," we said. "Into the sunset."

The father looked at us and smiled. He looked at his son and said, "Yeah. Into the sunset."

The boy pointed away from the ball, toward the sun, and said, "the sunset is over there."

We laughed at his objectiveness.

For him, there was only the loss of a ball.

For us, there was the possibility of parenthood, the dream of being wet and cold for glory, and the poetry of the ball's slow drift.

Web ramblings

There is a conversation going on right now that demands eavesdropping. Besides which, you've been invited.

The gist of the conversation is this: there are a few "context-sensitive" websites, created by highly visual designers, that are successful if the intentions of the designer are to be original and artistically creative, and unsuccessful if the designer intends to be a cohesive narrator or storyteller.

At least that is what Alexis Massie, as much web critic as talented designer and writer, has to say.

If you head over there, you should know that she is intelligent and thoughtful, careful and insightful. And she is confident.

She's been designing web pages, and thinking about the web as a medium of expression, for some time. And she knows her stuff. But take a look at what she is evaluating and see if you agree with her.

I think that's what she would want, anyway.

What do I think?

Most of the time, I feel like an infant when I'm talking and thinking about the world wide web. I'm so new to it all--barely initiated into the world of personal pages.

I have had little time to take in any reasonable portion of the expanse of information, commercialization, and self-expression out there.

But Alex and Corin's conversation has cracked open the floodgates.

I guess in one sense I've been given a point of reference by their discussion, and what thoughts I've had time and energy to have are becoming more cohesive as they fall into place around and through that reference point.

For now, I have to agree with Alex. At least for the most part. (You'll have to read what she has to say to know what I agree with.)

I think she may not take into account the average web reader's ability to evaluate, understand, and even enjoy complex and tangled information; but in the end, a good story can be complex without confusing the hell out of you.

My love is writing. And good writing is what moves me.

Haub.net is nothing more than an expression of that love. A few ramblings, a story or two, some poetry, and in a corner here or there, a photo album of a camping trip or a wedding.

Nothing here is fancy or brilliant. Everything is as simple and clean as I can make it. Nothing should draw your attention from the writing.

I don't care if the design doesn't dazzle you; but I hope you find something in the writing that affects you.

And though I enjoy sites that are complex and convoluted, I find myself heading back, time and again, to the places where I know I'm going to find a good story, without the hassle of endless clicks and pointless but beautiful decorations.

Don't get me wrong--that hassle is also enjoyable. A different state of mind, a different mood, and a highly artistic site is inspiring.

But in the end, give me a good story.

It would be ridiculous for me to suggest that design is not important. Regardless of the medium, when a writer presents their work, design plays an important role in that presentation.

But when a writer presents work that is important to them, presentation should always be slave to the intentions of that work, and above all, should never detract from it.

Just a few small things

I'm sitting at my desk at work, headphones on, Tool in the CD player. I tried to listed to the CD yesterday, but I couldn't. I wasn't in the mood.

Monday, I would have been in the mood, except that I was so much in the mood, I couldn't stand it.

Today it's perfect.

I'm going to a wedding in Seattle on Saturday. Then I'll probably meet up with Ryan and Heather (the pair in all the wedding pictures) for a night out on the town.

At least once a week, a different band plays in the park blocks next to my office during lunch. It's one of those things I'm not going to be happy about giving up whenever I move on to another job or graduate school.

Naturally, the bands aren't always good. But some days, like today, they are *great*.

A more perfect state of mind

Two weeks ago today, I was sitting comfortably against a pillar supporting my office building's facade, reading an amazing book.

Standing across the street from me, a young mother was talking with a friend about the struggles of raising a child alone.

And her boy was running in every direction, laughing and playing.

The boy threw his airplane with a huge slinging toss.

Into the air and dancing in the wind it went. And he was watching it and dancing the jiggy dance of a five-year-old.

He pranced to it when it fell. His legs bent like bands. His toes were pointed and they tickled his back with every leap.

The sun motioned to me and I rose. And I walked home.

I have a book containing the design for the "world's greatest paper airplane," a fine Christmas gift given to me last December.

I made it once. The world's greatest. It was pretty fine, but I think it would have been better in that boy's hands. Or in mine, if I could just learn to think like him again.

I whine

My head hurts.

I haven't had enough sleep, I've had an unbelievably long day at work, I've pissed off a number of my friends, and though it is now after five o'clock, I have a distinct feeling that the day is hardly beginning.

On a good note, I spent Saturday night in Seattle. My brother and I drove up there to see a good friend in Pirates of Penzance.

I kept thinking I'd run into Josh while I was there, which was silly considering the thousands of people hanging around the Seattle Center for a Garth Brooks concert and The Bite of Seattle.

Doug and I finished catching up with our old friend around 2am and drove home. We left for Seattle at 4pm and arrived back in Portland at 4am. I don't recommend it, though the short time in Seattle was worth the trip. We wouldn't have known each other, anyway.

There isn't much else to say, except that I'm tired and a bit crabby.

So if you think of it, send me some good thoughts, or a joke or two. I could use a good cheering up.


Once I was eighteen.

I know well enough that I look silly. What do you expect? We were about to perform, for the third year consecutively, what we figured as the greatest feat of our young lives.

The photographer told us, "look mean," so I tried. Instead I look silly, which is just the way it is. At least it's not unusual.

We were in Mexico on a "mission," visiting an orphanage where we had ties from past years, playing football (that's soccer, gringo) and losing, painting a church, working on this or that home, dining with laughing Mexican families, laughing.

We were so young, and so silly, that we brought this watermelon with one single purpose. To bomb the banyos.

So when the time was right, we opened the door, took careful aim, and tossed the fruit through the hole in the plywood.

Then we ran like hell.

It was always anticlimactic, bombing the banyos. The preparation was the real fun: planning our attack, carefully picking our ammunition, posing for photographs.

Just some everyday thoughts

Portland is warm and filled with sunlight.

I am a bit crabby, but generally well.

I'm thinking a lot about who I am, what life is made of, what the future promises and what it will actually give.

Family, love, art, life.

The sun is waning now, drifting swiftly toward the West Hills, preparing to plunge toward Asia. It fades and blooms, like someone is playing with the brightness knob on an old television.

It is also peeking at me from a window across the street, reflecting directly into my face. If I sit up straight, it lands on my chest and chin.

Something I haven't told you all about Ryan and Heather's wedding is that it was amazing to meet their families. (I suppose it's "family" now.)

They were so kind and gracious, and tremendously pleased to meet Ryan and Heather's friends. So in one very mystical way, we all were invited in, welcomed with open arms, and celebrated quietly. It was a good feeling.

(Thanks, you all, for emailing me with good comments about the wedding pictures and journal entries. I put them together as much for you who are related to them or close to them as for me.)

For the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed them. The interface is simple, I know. Nothing spectacular. But the pictures (which I did not take) are wonderful, and I didn't want to detract from them by spending too much time messing around in Photoshop.

The leaves are dancing a bit, but not quite like the Aspens do in Colorado.

I'm also seriously thinking of graduate school, looking closely at Montana State and CU Boulder. What do you all think? Any suggestions for a great English program?

Colorado, and the wedding, part the fifth

Here is the last entry in the wedding series. You might want to read the first four entries in this series: here, here , here, and here.

I went to Colorado this weekend, to visit my girlfriend and the mountains.

I was in Buena Vista last winter, when the lakes were frozen over. I skated on one, at the foot one gargantuan peak.

The city was peppered with snow, and the mountains were covered in it.

This last weekend, it was 80 degrees.

Amy and I hiked to Ptarmigan Lake (the upper lake, not the lower ones, though we feared we still had one more lake to find, following the advice of friends, and ended up climbing a couple hundred extra feet for an incredible view from a 12,000 foot saddle) on Saturday. We were supposed to go rock climbing, too, but we didn't get the opportunity.

We did get to cast dry flies for a while, which was great, though neither of us caught anything. I think I scared the buggers away by casting so poorly.

Saturday night, Amy hosted a poetry reading (it was a little on the silly side for her, but she was sensitive and gracious about the "camp" atmosphere, and allowed for the silliness) and semi-talent-show. I sang a couple of songs, for good measure.

On Sunday, we attended camp church, hiked to Cottonwood Lake, ate a couple of barrios from Pancho's, and drove straight to the Colorado Springs airport, where I caught a plane to Salt Lake City (which was a madhouse, and drove me half out of my mind) and then to Portland.

It was a wonderful weekend, all in all, and I am tremendously glad I went. I had an incredible time.

On Sunday, the 5th of July, Dan and I woke up early to drive Joe to the airport. We said our goodbyes to the remnants of Ryan's bachelor party crowd and one girl who managed to tag along for the evening after the wedding.

Then we drove to Heather's mother's house for a brunch. We ate well, laughed a little, enjoyed each other's company, dropped off the tuxedos, and Dan and I left for the train station.

And I rode the train home from Olympia, and then walked home (it's only a mile or so) from the train station.

It was a simple day, a slow one by the time I had finished with it, and though work the next day was difficult after five days of rest, I felt better about it just because I had been in Olympia and in a cabin on the sound for those days.

And today, one week later, I feel the joy of being there a little less intensely, but I am settling into a peace that only comes after important times. There is great potential in this life. I feel it.

The wedding, part the fourth

So here we are, in part 4 of 5. You might want to read the first three entries in this series (here, here , and here) if you haven't yet.

When you're finished catching up on the last three days, come back here and go to the wedding.

The wedding, part the third

So here we are, in part 3 of 3. You might want to read the first two entries in this series (here and here) if you haven't yet.

Where was I?

Oh yes...

Friday morning we were all thinking about the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. This mostly because Ryan was thinking about the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

We woke up to the sun again, and drifted in and out of the shower as it came free. For breakfast this morning, something more simple--oatmeal with honey for the sweet teeth of the group.

Then we were on our way to Olympia again, this time to help Ryan's mother prepare the rehearsal dinner. Seven of us, working while watching the Brazil-Denmark game, skewered chicken for almost an hour.

Denmark lost, but not by much, and those of us who love soccer were satisfied with the game.

We drove to the church for the rehearsal, and everyone was glad to be entirely together for the first time. Ryan's friend Justin (married one week earlier) arrived for the first time.

Tim and I weren't in the wedding (though we were certainly part of it...) and we had other plans, so we left the church for Heather's house.

The guys threw together our funds to purchase a gift certificate to REI for Ryan and Heather, and Tim and I were in charge of procuring it.

We threw together a nice looking letter and ordered an appropriate gift certificate.

While we were working, members of the wedding party arrived at the house, so Tim and I assumed that everyone had left the church, and we drove straight to the rehearsal dinner.

But about two minutes into our time there (just before I was about to grab some food) we realized that Joe and Steve were not with us.

They were waiting at the church.

So Heather's mother gave me the keys to her E-series (wow) and she, Hollis (Heather's step sister), and I rescued them from their abandonment.

The dinner was excellent (and what else could we expect, after such an incredible gourmet week), and then we were back at the cabin, again smoking cigars and drinking port.

And our dreams Friday night led us into Saturday, and Saturday was the whole reason we were there.

Sailing again, and the wedding, part the second

Yesterday evening, I went sailing with Lars, Anne, and Paul.

Anne and Lars--Anne the championship sailor, Lars the president of the sailing club--sailed together.

Paul and I--Paul a two or three-time sailor, and me with one summer class under my belt--took the other boat.

The wind was strong and gusty.

Needless to say, Paul fell on our tiller as we were tacking toward downtown Portland, and I cut my foot while attempting to steer us home with no leverage on the rudder, which was coming up anyway, because the crimp where you secure the rope that keeps it deep in the water was on the part of the tiller that was no longer attached to the boat.

But the last two tacks before our boat was injured were amazing. Paul was a good skipper with me pulling the jib tight and barking at him to watch his tell-tales. I was hanging over the edge of the boat and Paul was pulling the main as tight as he could.

So that was yesterday.

Last Thursday, the preparations for Ryan and Heather's wedding continued.

The six of us--Ryan and I, Joe, Jeremy, Dan, and Tim--woke up early to the bright sun beaming through the windows.

Outside, the sound was scratching slowly against the rocky beach.

Joe fixed scrambled egg breakfasts to order. Dan cooked hash browns using fresh potatoes, garlic, and onions.

Somewhere in the middle of the day, we sauntered into Olympia so Jeremy, Dan, Joe, and Ryan could try on tuxedos. After a few adjustments, everything was okay.

Then we drove to the Olympic National Park. We drove for a good amount of time down a one-lane road with "turnouts" for oncoming traffic. When we stopped, we were parked next to a bridge that looked down several hundred feet to an incredible waterfall.

Then we began hiking up the trail (I think it is affectionately called the "ladder" trail, because it is literally like climbing a ladder in some places). We eventually reached the top of the ridge.

I really only have this to say: go to the Olympics. Just go.

That evening, Steve arrived. Dan and I steamed the clams we'd collected the day before, sauteed them in garlic and butter, and threw them in a pot of pasta and a fresh alfredo sauce Dan cooked up from scratch.

We barbecued corn in the husks, and a couple of oysters for good measure.

We topped off the evening with cigars and port.

And the tide went out, and we went to sleep with thoughts of the weekend fast approaching.

We all knew our time with Ryan was coming to a close--that it was time to prepare for the celebration, that there was plenty to do.

And we were blessed by the days we shared, and excited for the time to come.

The wedding, part the first

Suddenly, Ryan and Heather are married, which is new, and I am back at work, which is old--or maybe normal.

I feel different, partly because another of my friends is married now, and partly because I had an emotionally, spiritually, and mentally restful week.

It was not physically restful.

On Wednesday, Tim picked Lars and me up at 6am. We were on I-5 before we knew it, rushing toward Seattle. Somewhere along the way we stopped and picked up a dozen doughnuts and a gallon of oj.

In Seattle, we dropped Lars off at a bus stop. He was on his way to visit with Armin to talk about Lars' thesis, which is coming due soon.

Tim and I continued on to Ryan's apartment, where we met Ryan, Joe, and Jeremy. Soon enough, Dan arrived, and we were all present.

We were late leaving, so we decided to head straight to the cabin instead of trying to hike into the Olympic National Forest late in the evening. We would take a day hike sometime later in the week.

When we arrived at the cabin, we were amazed at the view.

The back yard sits above the sound, a beach spread out below it, an empty island across the water. Joe took the Sea Kayak out. The rest of us dug clams.

In the evening, we threw the clams in salt water, barbecued steaks from the grocery and oysters from the beach. Joe made a salad. We baked potatoes. We ate like kings.

Ryan and I watched the sun go down over the sound and the part of the island that curls left around the water.

We sat on the lower deck and smoked our pipes.

And drifting off to sleep, I thought, "this is just the beginning."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 1998 listed from newest to oldest.

June 1998 is the previous archive.

August 1998 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 4.3-en