hey yall,
you should re-check or check out my posts about my Montlake and Yakima River experiences.
i added links to google maps that may help you figure out where the hell i was.

Carillon Point

Manuel and I went down to Carillon Point today around 10:30.
it was a kinda chilly morning.
we went into the water and my watch only had to adjust itself one degree to calculate the water temperature at 71 degrees.

we headed out from the most southern park, i guess the map calls it Houghton Park,
and we went south of there to that pier area.
the water was rather shallow even as we went out further from land.
i think the deepest depth i gauged was 23 feet.

there was just a lot of milfoil and other plant life between the park and the pier.
We saw a few tires and the stumps of pilings that used to support a pier.
about 50 feet out from the pier that's standing now, we found about a 100 foot-long chunk of an old pier that used to occupy the area. It was crazy, it just kept going as far as you could see.
we followed it from end to end, coming up for breaths every now and then.
we also found half of an old, skinny toilet on one side of the sunken pier, and the other half on the other side.

there were a few schools of fish that hung out in the area. they were about 5 inces long, mostly yellow looking (hard to tell underwater) with vertical tiger striping.
we saw some clams and muscles as well.

there was an unusually large amount of stuff far out from the pier, my guess is that the older pier stuck out a lot further than the one that exists today. from the pictures you can see what we found.

overall a cool snork, but i'm finding out that my camera is slowing me down a bit.
not only to take pictures, but to be cautious of its wellbeing.
i can't just go down and grab that metal gate like Manuel did today.
oh well, i'm sure everyone enjoys seeing our trip rather than just reading about it.
and i know i enjoy more to share my experiences visually.

Yakima River

A few of us headed over to Ellensburg for Keith's birthday.
our goal: to float down the Yakima River in innertubes.
we started out basically at the intersection of the road following the river (Canyon Rd), and that east-west running road on down to just before that last big right-bending bend in the river at that small green patch of land that leaves some room between the road and the river.

so we lashed 5 tubes around a 6th center tube containing a cooler full of beer.
we set out on a 4-hour ride just floating the river.
once in a while i'd hop off to attempt some underwater shots, but the view wasn't all that good. the best thing out there was lea's ass hanging through the innertube.
not that i'm complaining, but it got old after one picture.
i took shots of everyone else's ass too, but saved you all the distress of having to see them.

so the ride was pretty cool. there were a few other friendly passer-byers as we made our way.
maybe two-thirds down the river, we came to a point where we could jump about 20 feet down into the water. good times.

there were a few bumpy moments, nothing too bad. the worst parts were being tossed into the low-hanging branches at the edge of the river.
for the most part i acted as the motor (i was the only one with fins) to guide the make-shift raft away from the edge and other obstacles.

toward the end, chris realized that his car key had dissappeared on one of his dips into the river, so when we got to our preappointed destination, we had no way of getting back to keith's place.

so keith hitch hiked back to his car four hours of floating up the river and eventually came back with his car. i guess his ride was mexicans who spoke little english. i wish i could have been there.

instead the rest of us were left to explore the area.
walking up to the main road we came upon a snake.
with the small amount of research online, i can't really distinguish what kind of snake it was, but i know it wasn't a rattler. no rattle.
but it was mostly brown with triangular, symetrical, black stripes that start wide at the center of the body and taper as they flared back toward the tail.
it was probably about 4 feet long when fully extended.
i think it was lazily enjoying the heat from the pavement as we walked up.
for some reason, being fearless at the time i felt like touching it.
so i did.
it's head was a good 2 feet away from its tail, so i just pet the last couple inches of tail.
it started to move. nothing very offensive, it just headed for the nearest area of grass closest to the pavement.
we parted ways with neither party too pissed or scared with each other.

up at the road we scared away a bunch of cows.
after a while, with the sun hiding behind the hills, and having nothing but shorts on, we decided to build a fire. it took one of those large gas lighters, but we got one going.
just as it was about to bloom, keith showed up, so we spread it out and killed it.
we made it back to keith's place, but still without clothes and wallets.
but we got pizza and borrowed clothes, so it was nearly all good.
drinking and more firebuilding ensued throughout the night.
claire eventually showed up from kirkland with the spare and got us all our stuff.
she promptly left back for kirkland an hour later.
poor claire. such is the married life...

the morning after, keith triaged the scene and found himself, air, and randy to be in need of some good ol' fashioned IVs. apparently it's the miracle hangover cure. from what i've heard scuba diving does a body good too. must be the oxygen levels introduced into the bloodstream.

so they got their saline groove on while i played with the dogs.
i missed stu, and i'm pretty sure he missed me, with all the humping and the licking.
i'm his bitch, and i'm perfectly fine with that.
someday i need a dog like his clever ass.

oh. it was good to see keith too.
it had been a while.
maybe times between visits will change here shortly.



I've spent way more time with flickr than with blogger lately.
i just now realized that i haven't even posted about my Montlake experience yet.

we got in near that southern offramp on that nearly-barren penninsula and swam north to the 520 bridge on the west side of that small island.
that small pedestrian bridge to the north was where we hung out for a while.
the lily pad forest that i took the majority of the lily pad pictures in was on the east side of that western island, south of the pedestrian bridge.

i went with calen about a week ago. the water was about 72 degrees.
not bad at all.
we tried to find the least murky place to enter, but we really couldn't find anywhere that was semi-clean, so we just plowed in.

damn that water was gross, and there was a bunch of these slime clouds that you'd have to weave in and out of.
at one point i was completely surrounded by 270 degrees of slime, so i had to just swim right through.

there was a small island there which housed some duck, turtles, and had a beaver home. all around the area, was pretty shallow. i only recorded a depth of 10 feet in a few places. it was dark and murky, and the bottom was some thick sludge, i think you can see it in a picture.

later when i was taking pictures of the ducks and turtles, i'd stand up on my fins, stirring up the bottom sediments. large amounts of bubbles would come tickling up my leg. but once they hit the surface, they literally smelled like ass.
decomposing matter, methane escaping. marsh-like environments.

we got to the 520 bridge and swam under. it's amazing how much colder the water can be with some permanent shade over it.
we made it to the floating pedestrian bridge, where calen took a few pictures.
then i hinted at wanting to go into the lily pad forest, so he graciously gave back the camera.
sorry bout hogging that shit, calen.

but man, that had to have been the coolest shit i've done in a while.
i don't think i've had that thrill since we were climbing around in the ape caves.
ok. i take that back. mountain climbing in alaska and almost dying did that too, but that was kind of a different feeling. fear of death. the other feeling was just something that not a lot of people do and takes some physical exertion.

so i was weaving through the lilies, the 7 foot long stalks are amazing. for the most part, the labyrinth of stems was easily navigable, but toward the end there, it got a bit denser.
but that's where the cool pictures were from.
at one point i took an exceedingly long amount of time to get the shots that i wanted and didn't have time to plan my ascent.
while on the way up, my left fin got caught on some stems.
it was a bit unnerving, but after a few seconds, i realized i could just tear through them.
although that's the time i came up with the dead, brown leaf on my head.
but, air is air. it's the same lifegiving gas if there's shit on your head or not.

so i decided after that incident to be done with the lily pads, which meant i had to go through a bunch of slime rather than go back the way i came.
so i grinned and beared it. it wasn't too bad.

i went to the floating bridge where calen was chilling, and we hung out for a bit.
a duck came to visit, which signaled our time to leave and chase it.
i got a few pictures of it.

back at the island is where i got my best wildlife shots.
i had to plow through more sludge and slime and general muck that was about a foot deep at least. all this was on my stomach. i felt like i needed khaki shorts and a shirt.
so i got some pictures and made my way back through the sludge.
once again i was less cautious going out as i was heading in.
this time the slime totally covered my mask so i couldn't see anything but green at all.
calen must have heard the snorkel-muffled screams as i was thrashing about in the lake doing flips in the water to get it off of my lips and face. i was tightly gripping the snorkel to not let it into my mouth at all.

that was about it. no real good finds other than plant and animal life.
we did find that snail or crab shell, which is the coolest calcium-formed thing i've found since the sand dollar that's chilling in with akbar.

manuel and i are going again tomorrow in kirkland.
be on the lookout for more pictures!

media cons

amidy was earlier talking about the control the media has over us.
i'd like to present an example that's been bugging me.

now i know gas prices have been rising steadily, but in the last week i've had three people mention to me how life is getting harder with rising food prices.

so i saw the news report where they stated that since gas prices are rising, that food prices because of their transportation costs are also rising.
now, as a cashier, i should theoretically be fairly intimate with food prices.
but personally, other than the usually fluctuating prices of produce, i haven't seen anything out of the ordinary.
i don't know where these people are getting their ideas other than from what the media is telling them.

granted food prices will most likely go up. but as of now, they haven't.

hows about you start seeing the world through your own eyes...

RIP fishy

i have some work ahead of me tomorrow or the next day, to get another round of snork pictures up and blogged about. actually, they're up on flickr, i just haven't put the story behind it yet. i'll get to it.

there's also pictures from the yakima river that we floated down for keith's bday.

fuckin-A i love my new underwater camera. it's my passion now.

but what i did want to post about was the death of one of my fish.
they turned 5 years old right around now (the end of August), and the smaller one finally decided to go tits up.
admiral akbar's (the one on the left) still going strong.
i'm kinda glad they're finally dying off, but they've also been a part of me so long, it's weird to see them go. i wonder how long aky's going to last after the death of his sole companion.

it started out as four fish and a snail. akbar's now the only survivor.
the crazy shit is that the instruction manual claimed that it's rare to have these fish live for even a year.
500% longer is nothing to scoff at.


Mercer Island

manuel and i snorked it up again for the first time since i've been back from alaska. we met at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island.

it was a nice sunny day, i scoped out the place a bit before diving.
it didn't look like too huge of a dock, but when we got in the water and dove down, there was a treasure chest of shit down there.

where we dove in was way out at the end of the furthest arm of the dock.
out at the point where most people don't go, proved by the whitewash of bird shit blanketing the final 30 feet of the walk.
we jumped off and were well-received by the water.
this was the first time my balls didn't try to climb up into my throat.
i somehow forgot to check the temperature of the water with my watch, but after being out of the water for a little while and getting back in, my watch read 76 degrees.
that's pretty damn warm, i don't know if i can fully trust that reading.

but what i did remember to watch for this time around was the depths that we went to. at that furthest point along the dock we tried to dive down. however, the bottom was unexpectedly deep. after another try, knowing what i was in for, i made it down and hurriedly slammed the watch onto the sludgy bottom.
gauge reads: 40 feet.

my deepest recorded dive yet!
i didn't have much time at the bottom after checking out my watch, so i grabbed the nearest bottle and headed up to the surface.
manuel and i did two or three of these dives and realized that if we were going to do anymore, that we needed to move in a bit towards the shore.
those deep dives took a lot out of me.

along the dock was a virtual bottle and can graveyard. i hadn't seen this many can's per square ______ (your choice of measurement) at any other place!
this area was literally littered with cans. from any given bottle or can, you could reach out your arm and you'd have a near 100% chance that there would be another bottle or can within that reaching distance.
it's very amazing when you consider the environmental consciousness that the islanders seem to exude.

so you can see our collection of stuff. there's always a few i've never heard of.
some of the cans ended up being a home for tiny lobsters. i know people might say that they're crawfish, but these guy's backs aren't curved like the crawfish i imagine, but are more flat and wide like a lobster. so until i find out otherwise, i'll call them that.

either way, they live in cans. one had the unfortunate turn of events that left him in a can where he grew too large to leave. poor guy. he seemed to be doing ok for the time being. there was another lobster that i surprisingly found when dumping out water from a rusted can. the thing almost fell out onto my arm!
this guy was about 5 inches long and after being held out of the water for a bit, he weaseled his way out of the rusted can top, plopped onto manuel's arm, and streamlined his body shooting straight back to the lakebed. after a while i went back to diving and i found the guy again skuttling across the bottom. i approached him and within about a foot, he started to rear up his claws and angled his head back to look at me, ready for a fight.
i really didn't want my nose cut off, so i left him alone. he continued skuttling into the murky abyss.

later on, wedged up in the pilings, manuel and i found a fiberglass boat! it was almost vertical, about 8 feet long with about a 20 foot rope attached.
we had the brilliant idea of hauling it some 100 feet to shore.
easy, no?
it was harder than fuck to drag along the bottom, so what we ended up doing was using the rope in a pulley system that also involved the horizontal supports on the underside of the dock.
we'd yank on the rope until the boat was within a few feet of the support, then we'd quickly unwind the rope and tether it to another support closer to land.
we did this about 5 or 6 times.
the funny part was that the dock wasn't a straight line to the shore, so we had to slingshot ourselves around these supports and pilings. we'd also have one person hold onto the rope, and another on the piling, then we'd grab hands and pull the person holding the rope to the piling when the rope didn't quite reach.
all this slingshotting made me realize why it's a lot easier to use the moon's gravitaional pull in your space shuttle, rather than using your own energy.
you're basically a turd in the water with a boat attached to you if it's just sitting on the bottom.
if you can get the momentum going and get it off the bottom, it's not so bad.
but once it's gone again, you're screwed.

so that was the extent of it. people were amazed at how much shit was down there.
once again, water can cover up everyone's mess, but it'll always come back to haunt you.

keep it clean, bitches.



life gives many chances to choose its path, but i'm too fucking lazy to choose, so it chooses for me. although i'm not so sure i appreciate what it does for me.
maybe i should take things into my own hands, but that'll mean a little bit of assertiveness on my own part.
i'm sure i can manage.
i just need a day of to clear my head.

i think i get one of those someday...



TV's kinda pissing me off.

before i left, i'd be able to cycle through comedy central, cartoon network, the history channel, or the discovery channel
and find something that peaked my interest or i could stand as background noise.

now that i'm back, it's all just uninteresting crap.
stupid TV. entertain me better.

fuck it, i'm reading.

you choose

which do you prefer me as:

a baseball player or an alaskan?


things i've learned since i've been back:

1. shaving rapes your face.

2. i'm forgetting petty things like my keys, timecard, and work schedule.

3. i put up with way too much unnecessary crap.

4. my jobs suck.

5. i liked what i was doing back in alaska.


hike at home

alaska has left its impression on me. maybe not in the way that amidy expected (or did it;) but when i get bored now, instead of staring at a tv or computer screen, i feel like getting out.

the other day i walked down the hill to where there's a bunch of construction going down on the overpass. they're doing something that necessitates taking chunks off the overpass and heaving them onto the road below. by morning they've picked up all the chunks, swept the road and prepared it for traffic for another day. leftover, however, is a mess of rebar that you don't think twice about when driving by, but looks a bit precarious when you take your time walking under it.

that day, that was as far as i got. enough excitement was going on there. i took a bunch of pictures, but for the most part they're all blurry cuz i didn't want to draw attention to myself with a flash. also. my computer's having issues. but that's another story.

so tonight i had that same bout with boredom. it's my saturday night (i get tomorrow off) and no one's around. nothing new, it's just hard to get used to again.
so i headed out for a walk. almost went north, but at the last second headed on down the hill again.
no construction work this time, so i went under the bridge and down toward fred meyer.

then i got an idea:
what about that strange knoll towering over totem lake? i could climb up that!
anyone know what i'm talking about? it's right behind fred meyer. those who grew up here should know it, but i'm more aware of it because everytime i took a break out with the smokers at blimpie's, that hill was staring me right in the face.
it was one of those things that i'd always wanted to climb, but never had/made the opportunity. kinda like that gravel barge that manuel and i eventually surmounted.... at a cost.

so i made it to the bottom of the mound, i went behind blimpie's and stared up at it.
fuck. blackberries. everywhere.
so. learning from my past mistakes, like on the aran islands, i made sure i at least semicircumnavigated the base of the hill. cuz at the aran islands, i came upon the back of this large stone wall. i immediately attempted to climb up the 20-foot vertical wall which, in time, i did do.
and after getting to my feet, standing up and brushing the dust off me, i glance straight ahead of me to see a fucking walkway that led right inside the circular wall.

however, in a sense, i somewhat enjoyed the struggle of conquering that wall. if i had casually walked through that walkway, i would have had a totally different view of that wall, and definitely way less respect for it.

so back here in totem lake i stared at those berries and said, "fuck it, going for it."
so up i went. luckily for me, i had the forethought to bring my headlamp with me. very smart. i clicked that on and was able to see most every thorn coming my way. but the slope was steep and the only way i could forge ahead was to grab at the non-thorned berry plants and pull myself up.
this was a very slow-going process at the beginning, but eventually the non-thorned berries vastly outnumbered the blackberries, however every now and then i'd get a good line of thorns across the chest or into my hand. i'd have to carefully unlatch it from my t-shirt across my chest or stop to pull thorns out of my skin.
the non-thorned berries got denser and each time i pulled myself up by a branch, i was forced to step on it to go anywhere.
eventually the berries turned to grass, which was nice, but very slippery. i chose the wrong shoes. boots would have been handy.
then through a bit more bushes came the trees on the top of the hill.
this is what i was looking for.
up top between the trees was a bit of a clearing. stuff that you'd expect to see was up there that showed signs of past human presence: junk food wrappers, beer bottles and cans, soiled clothes.
nothing too exciting, however, somebody had killed at least a 12-pack of bud and decorated the trees around them. it made it look like budweiser grew on trees! what a magical hideaway i found in the middle of the city!
for a moment i wish i had my camera, but i was glad that i had my headlamp instead.
cuz right then, up in the trees came some noise.
i couldn't tell what the fuck was going on, but it either shat or dropped something to the ground. it went from tree to tree and i eventually caught a quick look at it's furry white ass.
too big and not the right color for a squirrel, so i guess it was a possum.
i was hoping it was as scared of me as i was of it, cuz i really had nowhere to go if it attacked. it went to the right, kinda toward me, so i went to the left away from it.
that's when i decided the journey was about over. it took me awhile to get up there anyway.

so in the direction i was headed, away from that scary beast, i noticed i was following a path. so i continued on it and realized it headed on a fairly easy path all the way down the hill. it ended up at some office building complex on the farside of the hill. the side you can't see from the road/freeway.

sonofabitch. i got to the base and took an easy left. it led right to the parking lot where blimpie's and all that strip mall area is at.

just like fucking aran islands! i missed the easy way. however, once again i kind of enjoyed the tribulations that i went through to get to the top of that hill.
it made it feel like more of a journey. it made it feel like i conquered that hill rather than walking up it.
although i was also glad that when i was done conquering the hill, i was able to walk down it. going through those blackberries again would have pissed me off.
and i would have probably tumbled part of the way down.
going down is so much harder than going up.
luckily, going up is so much more fun.

and now on a tangent. those berry bushes:
i can see why they were domesticated... or at least cultivated to an extent.
i don't know how high the lake was back in the day, but i would have so lived on that hill.
you would have the defense of a natural slope, and you could have the additional defense of those damn berry bushes. they're kinda like a natural fence, like the palm tree-looking, 5-foot tall shrubs that the natives would use in guatemala to mark territory, but here, those bushes had a dual purpose to also provide nourishment. brilliant!
now that's good evolution. something that grew symbiotically with humans for mulitple reasons.
damn i miss only having to think about archaeology. i want to go back to school.
or i could bitch about getting a new job.
showed up two hrs late today on accident. they only made me make up 1 hr.
but i whined like a little bitch to go home after that hour only to sit here and get bored. but i guess it was worth it, but maybe i wouldn't have gotten bored enough to head back up to my workplace.

but still. fuck fred meyer.



i totally forgot about everyone in blogger land.
that's a first.

i finished up with all my pictures yesterday morning, i think it was.
manuel hooked me up with flickr, so now you can enjoy life in alaska as i did.
or to some extent...

if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know.
like... how far down did we dig? what time frame are we looking at in terms of thousands of years? where are the cultural levels? was the food good? etc.

all in all, it was good, and i kinda wanna go back. or at least continue with that lifestyle elsewhere.
fuck retail in its stupid ass. and damn the man!
sure there'll be politics in any job setting, but at least i'll enjoy what i'm doing.

maybe that's it. i could just get a new job...


first pictures of Broken Mammoth

I've got some pictures that were taken by a professional at the site.
He took quite a few, but i picked out the ones i liked best.

my pictures are still in the works.
hopefully i'll get around to posting them soon.
...maybe all on flickr.

or do people like the play-by-play that i usually do?
that shit just takes a LOT of time...



coming back home, i've been getting comments that i look slightly less... weighty.

the moment of truth came today when i went to the pool.
they've got that cool scale that goes to the tenth's place.
this is what it looked like the day before i left for broken mammoth.

today i stepped on the scale with the usual amount of clothing that i have on and it read 157.4. that's a good 5 pounds.
and a couple months before leaving it was more likely to read around 165-8.

now i'm just wondering where this weight came from, if it's from muscle, since i didn't get to lift as much heavy things in the field, or if it was actually fat.
people from camp commented that my stomach went away a little.
good for it.

i guess i was pretty active down there. hopefully i can keep it up here.
it was just so crazy up there cuz you could be active around 11 pm and you wouldn't think twice about it. down here it'd be dark and you wouldn't feel so willing to wander around if it was in a dark forest.

i guess i did lift and move a lot of heavy shit. it was about 8 cubic meters of dirt.
thats like 220 cubic feet of dirt.

i'm damn glad we worked in metric. it made things so much easier.


almost shorn

some people saw me last night with my fatty month-old beard.
i liked it, but my work didn't.

so in spite of them, i still complied with their regulations and got rid of the beard, but kept the 'stache.

i got many a second glances, and fellow employees were asking what the hell was wrong with me, and how long it had been since i'd last seen them.
i got accused of being a pedophile and pornstar within an hour.
other people said it made me look just plain old.

ran into keith's grandmama as she was paying at u-scan.
she turns around and sees me, and i quote:

"WHAT is THAT on your FACE!?! THAT needs to come OFF!!"
that wasn't the only face of disgust today. there were many more that preceeded and followed dear ol' grammy.

i was mario, i had dirt under my nose, i was plain disgusting.
...so if this is coming from people that know me, i wonder what the random customer might think.

which reminds me...
i stared at the same dozen women for the past month with exception of the few nasty, haggardly, crack-headed women that frequented the local "Big D" pub.
it's nice to be back in a world of variety.


back home.
i think the weirdest thing is seeing a dark sky.
people would warn me when i went that there'd be 2 - 3 hrs of night, but they didn't tell me it would only be twilight.
the sun barely dipped below the horizon.
it would be like what it's like at 9 pm around here in the summer.
you can read a book to the light that's still around.

closer to the point where i left, it did start getting a bit darker, but i did only ever see 3 stars in one night, and i think one was actually venus.
the moon and sun both had its spectacular moments at it's given times.
i got photos of both.
sometime i'll get around to sharing everything with everyone.

but until then, i have to go to sleep and remember what the real world is like at 9:15 tomorrow morning.

i so should have told them i wasn't going to be home until sunday night.