Quality of Life

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for partying, being unhealthy and/or being inconsiderate. This logic has no place in a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Regardless of when you die, you want the life you live today, and tomorrow to be the best life you can possibly have. There is no excuse for not doing the best for yourself and the best you can for those you love. Even if I were going to die in six months, I still would continue my diet exactly as I do (if not do even better) because I want the highest quality for my life. The quantity is quite irrelevant.

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot

"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" ~ M. C. Escher

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

South Lake Tahoe

My friend Wyatt in South Lake Tahoe has internet, and we're at his place.

I forgot how we started talking years and years ago online. But he provided us with a free hotel room last road trip. He doesn't work the Motel 6 anymore though, so we're just gonna crash at his place. Donno if we'll be leaving here tomorrow or the morning after though. Headed to Salt Lake City from here.

I'm working uploading a new batch of pictures to myspace right now. Unfortunately I'm always behind on the pictures; I'm uploading the pictures from a week or two ago at this point. I got a few good ones of Lytenian though, which I'm happy about.

South Lake Tohoe is really beautiful; lots of evergreens, and a little snow at this time of year. Beautiful trails wind through the woods. Giant pine cones litter the ground in a pretty array of browns and auburn colors.

The original theme of this trip was power spots, places of supernatural activity, haunts, ghost towns, etc. But it seems to me as though the theme has become classic rock. I've certainly been learning a lot about it, despite my lack of interest.

As a random side note, I've been working on this digital painting and have finally posted it to my deviant art. It's a complete revamp of "The Mage's Gauntlet"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Tire & A Muffler

The conclusion from the previous entry.

We decided to turn around and go back the way we came, but when we punched into the GPS to head back to a city we had come from a long way back, it told us to take a slightly different route. We were thankful for this, because it didn't take us back through the mud we had gotten stuck in, but it became clear after a short time that the way it was taking us involved more snow.

We came to a sharp incline covered heavily in snow. My father sped up, clearly hoping to gain enough speed to rush up to the top of the incline. About half way up we stopped dead. Lytenian and I got out and tried to push, but it was no good. He reversed and went back a bit, but began to slide towards the dangerously close cliff side. I directed to steer more into the ditch on the opposite side of the road of the road; images of the car going over the edge running through my head unbidden.

My father angled the wheels towards the mountain, towards the 'harmless' ditch, and away from the disastrous fall to our right. He backed up a bit, and then tried to go forward, but when he tried to go forward it was no use. The front wheels slid, the back wheels remained in place, putting the car's front closer to the edge. I was panicked and began to yell (almost repeatedly) that he had to back up further towards the mountain. Perhaps I didn't believe that would get us up the hill at all, maybe I wanted us to get stuck in the ditch because that would be better than losing my father over the edge of the mountain.

And, if that was my desire, I got what I wanted. He backed up into the ditch. (This, of course, was after much moving around of snow, digging, salting, pushing, rocking the car, etc, on many occasions and on this occasion. We were then out of snow and my shoes were soaked through and my feet were freezing.) The car then was clearly not going forward and my father and Lytenian returned to pushing the snow around with the snow brush. (We didn't have a shovel.)

I wandered down the hill a little ways and turned away. My feet began to feel like someone was stabbing daggers into them. I was cold head to toe, but my toes in particular burned. I shivered, and looked unseeing out at the beautiful landscape. I couldn't recognize my surroundings anymore. I was inside a ball of freezing terror, unsure I'd ever leave.

Please let us get up this hill... Was all I had been thinking before, but I changed my tune then. Instead of trying to will the car to make it up the hill, I began praying for someone to come along and rescue us. I ran over our supplies in my head. We had a little to eat in the cooler and some snacks besides. We had plenty of blankets and gasoline to keep the car warm. We could wait...

Lytenian was terrified that we'd end up waiting. At one point he exclaimed, “We have to make it up this hill! How often do you think people come through here? It could be days!” He was worried he wouldn't make it to work today.

We hadn't seen anybody along that road. Not anybody at all. No houses, no cars, no signs...

I prayed, tears streaming down my face.

And then, after getting my face thoroughly wet, I felt a little silly and wiped my face and walked back to look at the 'progress.' I didn't see anything though. I remember turning around and walking back, but I don't recall seeing anything at all. Perhaps I just stared at my burning and freezing feet. Or maybe I looked at the car with my eyes out of focus. Maybe I looked at the top of the road and hoped someone would come around it. I stood there and continued to pray silently, feeling utterly small in the universe.

And then, miraculously, I heard a sound. My eyes lifted from there unknown focal point and looked expectantly at the top of the hill. A black vehicle comes around the corner. One that is clearly meant for this sort of road. Lytenian and my father stop whatever it was they were doing and then look expectantly up at them. We're quiet, clearly unable to speak as the vehicle approaches.

Two men come out. Virgil and... I can't think of the other man's name at the moment. One of them said, “In a bit of a bind, are you?” Lytenian says, “A bit, yes.”

My father presents them with our toe-rope. It's a darn-good thing we had one. They get it rigged to our car. And they pull us to the top of the hill. In the process, our muffler comes off. Turns out that it's entirely rotted out and a piece of junk anyway, but still...

We pull away and manage to not get stuck in the snow again, but the road was still rough and treacherous. It wasn't long before there is the sickening pop and then the uneven rumble that indicated a distinctly flat tire. A pot hole. Luckily we had a good spare tire (not just a donut). It was changed it due time, and we were underway again.

Incredibly, shortly before nightfall we arrived at a paved road and headed back down the coastal highway the same way we had come. I fell asleep in the car beside Lytenian and rested quite well.

Pictures and videos soon to come on my myspace.

My Father's Telling Of This Same Experience

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dirt Road & Beautiful View

So, late Friday night, nearly midnight, we departed (Lytenian, my father and I) for a weekend adventure north of Lytenian's location. I didn't realize, at the outset, how far we intended on traveling. Lytenian and I slept through the early part of the trip, and a little after dawn we woke up. We were along a coastal highway and had a marvelous view of the ocean. We stopped a few times to admire it's powerful waves.

It wasn't far into the day before the GPS directed us onto a remote dirt rode as being the 'fastest' way to a mountain of interest. (A destination we hoped to reach by nightfall.) Perhaps it needs a setting that says 'no four wheel drive' or 'car' vs being in a pick-up truck.

The winding dirt road was beautiful however. We didn't complain because of the dramatic scenery. Redwood trees rising up far, far, far above the car, and a glimpse into a forest so dense that it was completely dark when you looked deep within despite the bright sunlight. Gnarled white-barked trees covered in green moss that appeared to 'drip' from it's branches were scattered through the forest. Up and up we climbed, and still, the road remained ragged.

“Surely it will lead to a paved road soon,” we thought. We were in a national forest of sorts, and climbing the mountains, higher and higher. Over one foothill, and then onto a larger one. The road began to have more pot holes and more and more often we needed to slow down to ten miles an hour or even five miles and hour for them. The curves were often sharp and unlabeled with signs to warn us to slow down (not that we were foolish enough to go whipping around them), and there certainly wasn't any lines on the road. Thank goodness we did this in daylight.

We began to think of this mishap as a blessing because it was incredibly beautiful. We stopped for waterfalls, and springs and an overlook of a river. We climbed down rocks from the side of the road to examine some large moss-covered rocks more closely and then scaled those rocks as well. Lytenian helped me quite a bit with this adventure, even though it was (sort-of) my idea.

The coast was beautiful, the moss-covered trees and the red barks were wonderful, the rocks and the falls and river were nice as well. The road however, just kept getting worse, and the altitude just kept rising. We begin to see snow along the side of the road, to our surprise. We hadn't realized we were climbing that far up.

Now and again we'd see a little patch of snow on the road. I thought the snow intermingling with the moss-covered rocks was particularly beautiful. The road had essentially only one lane, but it didn't seem to matter since we were the only crazy people up there. We didn't see a soul on that dirt road out there.

We came across hills now and then were the trees had all been cut down. It made us quiet and sullen. It was easy to crack jokes and be merry about the dirt road when surrounded by red bark, green moss, white bark, green plants, red plants, turquoise creeks, gray and pale stones... But when surrounded by the sheer wasted forest stumps we were miserable and subdued, and it highlighted how far up and out of the way we were.

We even passed through an area where heavy machinery (clearly used for logging) was located on either side of the dirt road. The mud was so bad we had to rock the car back and forth to get through one spot. We began to feel a little worried then about how far out we were.

The inclines were often sharp, but not so much that it was troublesome... Until the snow was no longer in patches, but covering the road. At first it was only in areas with shade, and shallow enough that it didn't cause much harm. The trees looked like a postcard for Christmas. They were lovely evergreens, fifty to eighty feet tall I'd wager. Maybe taller, some of them.

The snow itself wasn't so worrisome. The dirt road alone wasn't terrible. The mountain alone was nothing new to us at all. But the three put together meant little traction, rough going, and a sheer drop to the side. It couldn't have been much further from ideal. Then, we began to worry in earnest. Surely this would end? We'd get over the peak and begin back down, wouldn't we?

We hit a patch of snow and showed no signs of moving forward. Without missing a beat I grabbed my shoes and began putting them on. Lytenian seemed a little slow on the uptake. I opened the door and climbed out over him (I had blankets piled in the backseat on the other side.) He followed shortly, and we got the car moving again. It wasn't long though before we were stuck yet again.

I had to drive us out of a couple because we needed both my father and Lytenian driving. Speaking of Lytenian, I believe he's gone to bed and is waiting for me, so I ought to join him.

So, cliff hanger: How did we get out of the mountains?

My Father's Telling Of This Same Experience

The Story's Conclusion

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Updated Schedule

February 20th – Departure
February 21st - 24th – North Carolina
February 24th - 25th – Georgia (Atlanta / White)
February 25th - 26th – Louisiana (New Orleans)
February 26th - 28th – Texas / New Mexico / Arizona / Joann
March 1st – Arizona (Grand Canyon) / California (LA)
March 2nd - 12th – California (Walnut Creek / San Fransisco)
March 13th - 14th – Oregon (Portland)
March 15th - 23rd – California (Walnut Creek / San Fransisco)
March 24th – California (South Lake Tahoe) / Nevada
March 25th - 28th – Nevada / Arizona / Utah
March 29th - 30th – Colorado / Kansas / Missouri / Kentucky
March 31st - 1st – North Carolina
April 2nd - 3rd – West Virginia / Ohio / Pennsylavania
April 4th – New York (Buffalo)


Arizona is amazing. The soil is often red, but it can also be all different shades of ocher, ranging from nearly white to a deep red. In the mountains you can find succulents growing up through snow. In the desert you can find petrified wood scattered here and there. The Mexican architectural influence is obvious.

We're arrived in Walnut Creek, California (near San Fransisco), and we'll be here for the next couple of weeks. I've posted my photos on my myspace roadtrip album. I'll write more about our adventures later.

Monday, March 01, 2010

New Orleans & Texas

Saturday, February 27th 2010 at 11:25am

We're currently in Texas, traveling towards San Antonio. We're about forty miles distant I believe. We're approaching San Marcos at this moment. I'm playing Nox Arcana out of my boyfriend's laptop speakers that he loaned me for the trip.
We slept in the car last night. My father only slept four hours I think. We've been driving almost straight since yesterday morning around nine in the morning. Yesterday at nine in the morning we were departing Atlanta, Georgia. We arrived in New Orleans last night a couple hours before sun set. We walked up and down the french district, and I bought a very awesome 'Living Dead Souls' trench coat that was marked down from it's original price.
Oh, and while we were in Atlanta, or rather, in White, Georgia we visited Childersburg, or was it Childersville? There was this interesting Native American museum that was also a preserved ground. Apparently in Georgia the Native Americans built large pyramid shaped mounds (with a 'cut-off' flat plateau top) for the purpose of building the chief's dwelling atop as well as temples and other important structures of the community.
Oh look! We're entering the San Antonio city limits right now... It's eleven-forty-three. I didn't expect it to be so soon. Not much as of yet to see. More bushes, more dead-looking trees, yellow and orange grass with patches of green. A mostly-clear blue sky with swipes of white cloud. It's quite warm – my father is opening his window.
Farms here and there. Patches of houses. Frequent exits that lead almost directly into gas stations. A plane in the sky, white and flying the same direction as us. The billboards are much more concentrated. Arrow truck sales.
Aha. The city proper I think... Many houses spread out to the right of us beyond a bunch of dry-looking shrubs. Ahead it looks like there might actually be a metropolitan area. Maybe...?
“I was under the delusion that were was a city here,” I say.
“Me too,” my father says. “But like I said, Texan cities can be forty square miles.”
“So perhaps we're just in a suburb,” I suggest. Then we pass under a sign that indicates that we're still headed to San Antonio. And jeez it's suddenly hot. I gotta put this heat-maker away.

Still on the I-10. Been on this thing since Alabama I believe. A long way, in any case. A little while ago a cop pulled us over again. Stupid DMV mix-up. He was nice enough to let us go.
There is a beautiful sunset before us. Dark blue and purple clouds swirl around a sky that is baby blue, and a powder blue that's nearly white, and a golden yellow with a slight pinkish tint.
Dad is still being irritable about being pulled over. I think he's angry with himself, and therefor wants to find somewhere else to pin blame and frustration – someone or something he can vent his anger on without being self-demeaning perhaps. That's one theory, anyway. We've pulled over and he's checking the car-bag. We've had it strung to the back (as it's intended to be strung) this entire time, but have decided to move it to the top of the car so that the license plate would be firmly attached to the car properly instead of dangling it off the bag. We figure that might somehow contribute to a future issue to continue to have it dangling.
My father's temper is in some ways, like Porcupine's. Not nearly so bad, but perhaps it was when he was Porcupine's age (twenty-eight, which is incidentally the same age as Paladin – not that you'd know it from the vast difference in their maturity levels.)
The clouds are just amazing. I wouldn't be able to capture them in a picture with their full glory. There is this effect as though a dark blue-purple dye was dripped into a pitcher of water. That's how beautifully the clouds are swirled throughout the sky. Towards the horizon, the sky behind the purple clouds, is white and gold-pink. Away from the where the sun is setting the sky is a powder blue fading into a baby blue.
Hills are appearing beside us. The ground has been flat for a long time and now hills rise up on both sides of the road, scattered with rock and little green bushes ranging from just a few inches squared (or rather – circled) to a few feet.
Today we stopped in San Antonio and looked at a couple of cathedrals (from the outside), and stopped at a grocery store called H-E-B I believe. I determined very quickly that indeed I would not want to live here. For one thing, no organic food. For another thing, way too damn hot and dry. For a third thing, too many Hispanics and their culture and influence. Between the country music and the Mexican music, and the country houses and country food and Mexican food and the country 'lifestyle' I think I'd about go insane.
Once again, I dislike Texas. I've never enjoyed visiting this state. The best part of it are the large empty parts without any people where this very interesting landscape flourishes on either side of the road. There are no trees, but lots and lots of shrubs, grasses and cacti. Some areas are entirely flat, and some, like the area we're in now, are quite full of hills.
It's finally dark enough that I've taken my sun-glasses off and put my regular glasses on. This is a comfortable amount of light. I almost wish I could somehow live at the north pole comfortably so tha the sun would always be on the horizon – well, except for that six months of darkness thing – I wouldn't be too crazy about that aspect.
Today we also stopped on Sonora. Some little 'historic' town in western Texas that had caverns nearby. Unfortunately we arrived about an hour too late to visit them. More unfortunate still is that they change to summer hours tomorrow. Funny timing we have.
Three-hundred and fourteen miles to El Paso. It's growing dark in earnest now. The sky to the right of me has turned into a dark blue; almost navy, but not quite. To the left it's still a light baby blue surrounding the area where the sun has just set.
Headlights. Night speed limit.