August 1998 Archives

Two days

It is the last day of August.

I am tired after two days at the coast and two nights in Portland.

On Sunday, Amy and I drove to Newport to see Keiko before he leaves for Iceland and the possibility of a new life.

We ate clam chowder and fish and chips at the original Moe's.

And then we drove home.

Sunday, Lars and Anne arrived in Cannon Beach on the tail end of a trip throughout the West. We drove to meet them.

After chasing them for some time (we passed them on the way and had to turn around to catch them) we laughed about the trip and a broken accelerator cable patched with duct tape.

Then we turned around and finished the trip to Cannon Beach. We had fish and chips again, watched the sun set, read the employment section of the local paper.

We ran through the cold sand down to the water. We put our hands in.

And we drove home.

Two days: one whale, five baskets of fish and chips, two beaches, two cities, one Volkswagen bus, two Germans, three Americans, and a whole lot of driving.

The good side of impending darkness

It's been a good week again here.

I'm hoping to climb Mt. Adams this weekend with Amy and Dave. We don't have transportation yet.

Anyone know where we can get a car for a day?

Here in Portland, we are waiting for the end of the season.

We are well aware that one more warm week lies ahead. One more blistering heat.

And then, the winds will come. They will bring rain. Rain will cover the city and clean it, preparing for the coming of fall's elegance.

The sun gets lazier and lazier. The moon figures to spend more time with us.

I have been so busy lately I haven't had time to work on projects. Several redesigns and several stories are on the back burner. I know I've been saying that once in a while recently. It's just true, so.

I guess that's part of what I anticipate about the fall. Everlasting darknesses are perfect when you have projects to finish.

Books are read. Stories are finished. Warm drinks are brewed, blankets are pulled over knees.

It always seems like I'm depressed for three or five months straight.

But on the other end--when I look back--I see good things.


"What do you see?" she asked me quietly.

I looked up at her. She was looking through me, I think.

It seemed like she was.

"I dream big dreams," I said.

She cocked her mouth sideways and turned her head slightly.

"I didn't ask you what you dream," she said pointedly, "What do you see?"

"I don't see much. Whorls, maybe."


"Yeah. Like spinning pools. Whorls."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

I shuffled my feet together and then apart. I looked up at her again. This time, she was staring hard at my left eye.

"Dunno," I said. And then softly, almost to myself, "I dream big dreams."

Something new

The horizon is grey-blue today.

It is the suggestion of a new life, I think, drifting slowly this way.

The future is getting less and less hazy and more and more frightening.

But it is a good kind of frightening. I am afraid of the power of potential energy. And I am excited about the same.

Web work is looking up.

Last night, I helped Sonoko put together an online photo album. I won't tell you where, because it is hers alone to share. But I am telling you because it was fun to design.

Tonight, I am cooking spaghetti with a sauce made from nothing but fresh vegetables, olive oil, basil, pepper, and feta cheese.

Tomorrow, a dear friend arrives from Kansas, Kentucky, Spokane, and England.

The end of that list will be stretched and "Oregon" will be scribbled in. And for the first time in over two years, we will be living in the same city.

Hopes shift.

Work is completed.

Paths cross.

The horizon stretches and yawns.

Thank you

To everyone who came by yesterday from projectcool, thank you for visiting! I appreciate that you took the time to look around.

And if you're reading this, I'm glad you're back.

Yesterday was an amazing day.

Today, Sonoko, Doug, and I are going to Powell's to get a Japanese book for Doug and "How the Irish Saved Civilization" for Sonoko and I.

I'm working steadily on a redesign of the British Isles Study Tour section of this site. I'm really excited about it.

I expect to release it for public viewing before too long, so keep your eyes open.

I'm also working on a new short story. But I'm in about second gear. It's slow going.

I may have lost control of it. It may have grown over by now. I hope not.

My girlfriend arrives this Saturday. After years of living in different places, we'll be living in the same city again.

We may rock climb on Sunday. She's "tuf" like that.

It's warm today, but the heat is receding.

So is the sunset. Every day the sun exits earlier.

I've got my feet planted firmly. I'm ready for Autumn.


I started to write an entry yesterday, but I didn't ever finish it. That happens all of the time.

It's part of the reason there aren't more journal entries here. Some days, it's just not clicking.

So I'm going to give it a shot again:

Saturday was filled from beginning to finish with a twelve pound salmon, the roof of a friend's house, and a karaoke machine.

The day itself wasn't anything special. I climbed out of bed later than I have in months, stumbled into the kitchen to pour a bowl of cereal, and sat on the couch in the noonday sun.

By six thirty, I was watching Tim stuff a huge fish with six-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary and halved cherry tomatoes. By seven thirty, we were eating barbecued garlic, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, and a serious helping of that huge fish.

At about nine or nine thirty we climbed to the roof of Tim, Miho, and Sonoko's house to watch the sun's retreat.

Later in the evening, we visited a "family karaoke" place, where you rent your own private room with a bunch of friends (there were eleven of us, or so) and sing until you can't sing no more.

Or until the $30/hour saps your funds.

Every person there amazed me. I sing and play guitar. But I suck at Karaoke.

Sonoko, Tim, Miho, Aki, and the rest... they were incredible.

There was a time when standing around and singing together was the finest form of entertainment.

Recorded music (dating way back) started to change that, as people began to have other things to listen to. Records featured opera stars with amazing voices.

People began to worry about the quality of their voice, and not the quality of the experience.

Steadily, the folk tradition died, or became just another category at warehouse-sized stores.

I'm not about to say that a bunch of kids gathering together in a room to sing pop favorites in two languages brings back that tradition with any force.

But for a moment, I got a glimpse of what it must have been like to be each other's entertainment. And I'm glad we did it.

The number fifty

At the risk of sounding self serving, I would like to point out one significant number related to

This journal entry is number 50.

Okay, again, I don't want to sound self serving. Instead, I'd like to do a little self reflection. If you're not in the mood, there are 49 other journal entries you can read. Or you can read a couple of short stories. Or you can go elsewhere.

I'm a little embarrassed by my first journal entry now that I've been writing for a while.

I was still trying to figure out what I thought about the world wide web, and I was reveling in the excitement generated by publishing in such a public and accessible place.

But the next day, I wrote my second journal entry. And while I was writing about the spring rain of Portland, I was outlining several of the main themes of my journal: Portland, nature, and those extraordinary moments that suddenly hit one, no matter how ordinary life is.

Of course, I didn't know back then that those themes would resurface so often. It just happens that those are things I think about a lot.

So with a little reflection, I can see this one thing: when I wrote my first journal entry, I was eager to join what I perceived as a tight circle of web writers and designers. I had a sense that this tightly-knit community was a good place to be.

I have learned instead that though there are communities out there in the internet world, they are disjointed and undefined, and each has its own special character.

And instead of joining one, I began to develop my own. In a sense.

Several people have emailed me over the months to tell me they were moved by a journal entry, or they liked the tone of a short story, or they just liked the overall feeling of my site. And some of those people have become excellent email pals.

So I have my own community of internet friends. Some of them publish or write, and others browse. Others barely ever use the internet.

My priorities changed quickly from the 10th to the 11th of April. And since then, they have developed slowly into something more complicated than one journal entry can explain.

Nowadays, I write for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes for therapy. Sometimes to connect with distant friends. Sometimes to celebrate certain events. Sometimes just because I love to write.

In the end, my first journal entry is only partly indicative of what has become my online experience.

All the hoo-haw about getting the word out is pretty much gone, except that I like connecting with people, and the only way to connect is if people find me, and the only way for them to find me is if the word gets out.

Of course, there are natural urges for fame and fortune, but I accept them as part of life, and usually I move on.

But the excitement in my first journal entry is still here. I love writing, I love publishing, I love playing.

So to all of you who come by, I want to say that I appreciate that you took the time to visit.

I hope there is something here for you, and if there isn't, there are thousands of other places you can look--on the web and elsewhere.

I usually look from the top of a mountain or from the side of a high rock wall or from a trail passing through a deep forest.

And I am often touched by an email someone sends or a postcard from a distant designer.

The power of the internet lies in its ability to help people connect across continents and across the world.

And the weakness of the internet lies deeply rooted in our weaknesses.

When we begin to believe that there is anything innately special about the internet, we are bound to end up swimming in disillusionment.

The power of the internet, as in anything, is deeply rooted in the people using it. And our success should be measured solely by our ability to connect with each other.

My new shoes

It's the middle of the week here in Portland. It is in most other places, too.

The sun is out in full force. "A heat trough," the weather man said last night, "is moving up from the South and should bring with it more heat tomorrow and Thursday."

A friend of mine has this theory that heat makes people crazy.

"Air conditioning may be the single most effective therapeutic technique," he said. Or something like that.

The only problem is that I usually step directly from my air-conditioned office into the heaviness of the day's heat. At 5pm, if my friend is right, people go utterly mad.

Judging from the dangers of rush-hour traffic (especially when, like me, you go by foot or inline skates or bicycle) I think he's right.

Last night, I bought a pair of Stan Smiths. They are totally white. New, and pretty damned close to unbearable.

I can't wait to spend some time in the dirt with them on. When they're beat up, that's when they're mine. Until then, they might as well still belong to Adidas.

When I was a geeky middle schooler (as opposed to a geeky college grad) everyone I knew had a pair of Stan Smiths or Jack Purcells. They were just the shoes to own if you were cool.

A couple of weeks ago, sitting in the Salt Lake City Airport, I ended up next to a huge group of middle schoolers. They were everything you expect from unsure, clumsy, not-quite-adult, not-quite-kid kids. Loud. Silly. Highly aware of everything everywhere.

They all had the same sunglasses on. There were probably thirty different colors, but all of the glasses were the same style. I'd forgotten how important it is to fit in when you're that age.

So I bought my Stan Smiths and laughed a bit to myself. I thought about all of the kids who called me "geek" and "nerd" back then. I thought about my attempt to be more like them.

And I remember finally growing out of what was so hard, into a place where I could be just me. Or at least, where I have the freedom to figure out exactly what "me" means.

I'm still figuring it out. And now I'm doing it with a pair of really bright shoes.

Camping and vacations

I spent the weekend packing around the Indian Heaven Wilderness Area in the shadow of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Ranier, and Mt. Jefferson.

We camped on Blue Lake Saturday night, after hiking four miles through fir trees and past a number of smaller lakes that are drying up in the summer heat. Our tent was placed on a tent-sized flat spot on the end of a small peninsula sticking carefully out into the lake. Our view was 300 degrees lake and 60 degrees peninsula and forest.

Indian Heaven has been aptly nicknamed "mosquito heaven" by past summer visitors, and though we saw the potential of mosquito hell, a lucky wind blew in as the heat faded, pushing the flying menaces into less windy parts of the forest.

It doesn't matter anyway. I am dealing carefully with the last effects of a short-lived but long-suffering tangle with a number of poison oak bushes. It's the price you sometimes pay.

I spent three long days away from email and from my computer and I didn't miss any of it in the least.

Paul and I threw together what we could of dessert using a couple of apples, two energy bars, a bottle of water, and hot chocolate powder. What we ended up with was something resembling apple crisp, without the crisp. It turned out very tasty.

The lake, like all of the lakes in the area, is slowly drying up. All of the water sources have dried up. Because there is no sediment pouring into the lake, and because Blue Lake is actually pretty sizeable, the clarity is amazing. We could see the entire bottom of the lake. I kept on wishing I had a snorkel with me. It was cold, but I would have gone diving anyway.

Today, Lars and Anne left for a three week vacation.

They bought an amazing '72 VW camper-top bus. They are driving down to Smith Rocks to climb for a day. Then on to the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, LA, Yosemite, San Francisco, the Redwoods, and the Oregon coast.

It's going to be quiet in trinity place for a while.

Time to wish you all well.

for Anne

Anne has been complaining recently because I "always write about Lars" and never about her.

Last night, a bunch of us came together at a very special house to celebrate Lars' thesis defense. He still has a couple of papers to turn in, but his thesis defense went very well, and the bulk of the work is completed.

The food was excellent. We barbecued marinated chicken, trout, vegetables, and corn.

After the food was gone, we sat around eating ice cream soaked in rum and talking about rock climbing, physics, and computer electronics. We laughed a lot, which is normal.

We drove back to our apartment and dropped Lars--who hurt his right heel very badly last weekend--at the front door.

Anne and I parked the bus and walked back to the front door. Neither of us had a key.

We rang the intercom and got no response. We rang it again.

I looked down at the watermelon and the case of beer we had carried from the car.

"We've got rations," I laughed.

"I was the one who wanted to come home and go to bed," Anne said with a frown. We rang the intercom again.

I walked out from under the glass cover over the entrance so I could see our windows. The lights were on in Lars and Anne's room. I called, "Lars".

Anne set the beer down and said, "I'll drink a beer, you know? If we're going to be stuck out here. Want one?"


She twisted the tops off of two beers and handed me one. We clinked the bottles together.


We sat on the steps with the intercom ringing, drinking our beer and grinning.

Eventually, my brother woke up from a dead sleep and tossed us a key.

Eventually, we went inside where Anne found Lars in the shower, where my room was hot from the day's sun, where life drifted back to its normal rhythm.

But for the moment, we were trapped outside, at the mercy of the evening's strange humor, sitting on the steps and laughing at ourselves.

I believe

Two days ago, I lost my debit card.

Not that I knew I'd lost it. I was in the shower yesterday morning when Lars yelled through the door that there was a woman on the phone who had my credit card.

So I jumped out and dried off quickly. And I ran to the phone.

"This is Jeremy."

"Hi," her voice was low and calm, like a breeze through summer leaves, "I have your credit card."


"Thank you.

"Where did you find it?"

"On Everett. I'm housesitting in an apartment on Everett and 19th."

Her voice was liquid velvet.

Please don't stop talking, I thought.

"Where can I meet you?"

I was still dripping wet, my towel wrapped haphazardly around my waist. I pulled a strand of hair over my ear and shook the water off my fingers.

"I'm in the alternative school up the street," her voice shimmered, "you come in the door furthest from the blacktop, down the stairs, through the double doors, to the right, and in the first door you see. It's the daycare. I'll be here until two. I can leave your card if you want."

"No, I'm leaving now," I said quickly, "I'll be there in five minutes."


"What's your name," I suddenly remembered I should ask.


I threw on my inline skates, grabbed my backpack, and skated three blocks to the school. I went in the wrong door, wandered around in my socks for a few minutes, and finally found a set of double doors that looked right.

Down the stairs, through the double doors. To my right, a door covered in construction paper.

I walked in the door.

One small girl was playing with a set of blocks in the corner. In another corner, sitting at a desk, Marian was on the phone.

I walked straight toward her, and before I was within ten feet of her desk, she was holding out my card.

Of course. There was no reason to check my ID. She'd looked me up in the phone book. There's only one of me.

I took my card and mouthed 'thank you so much'.

She was still talking into the phone. I thought about her amazing voice. I wondered if the person on the other end of the phone could hear the brightness.

Marian smiled at me.

I turned around and headed for the door. I was late for work.

I twisted around to motion my thanks again. She was watching me leave, but she quickly looked down at her desk. She was still on the phone.

I fingered my card in my pocket. I waved, though she wasn't looking.

I closed the door and climbed the staircase and suddenly I was on my skates.

And suddenly I was in motion.

And suddenly I was swift, sweeping through intersections, sliding toward my everyday.

Summer comes and goes with little fanfare



I can hardly believe it.

Though the summer is hardly over, I can feel drifting slowly away.

There are inevitable moments when I feel this same feeling, every season, every year. I wait the season's slow retreat, and somewhere along the way (I haven't reached that "somewhere" yet this summer) I get excited about what is in store.

Part of my lack of excitement this year is due to the changing role of summer. Last summer, I was looking for a job after college. The summer before that, I was preparing to travel through the British Isles for three months.

This summer, I am continuing work into the fall, at which point I will continue to continue work.

There's nothing wrong with that picture. Except that my dream is to teach college. In which case, summers would eventually be mine to do with as I please. After doing my time as a summer school instructor, of course.

I'm not about to say I deserve three months off--not any more than any other person. And while I am between school and school, I will work and I will like it.

But it is clearer because of this sinking feeling that graduate school is calling my name. Not soon... first I need to prepare applications, take tests, apply for assistantships, make plans to move, save money.

But it's time to get moving.

About this Archive

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

July 1998 is the previous archive.

September 1998 is the next archive.

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