Archive for April, 2007

h1

Ridiculous Sunset

April 29, 2007

I think it is abundantly clear from past blog entries that I am not much of an outdoorsman. This makes sense. I barely have the city figured out, why would I have nature? That is why when Paul and Kelli asked me to go hiking/backpacking with them, I was skeptical. Especially when they started throwing phrases out there like: “Bear canisters,” “If you see a cougar…,” “Some places make you bury your poo in the ocean,” “We’ll have dehydrated food the first night,” Don’t worry, we’ll have a rescue whistle.”

But they quelled most of those fears for me and lured me in with phrases like, “Custom made trail mix,” “Smores,” “Easy hike along boardwalk,” “Hotdogs,” “Sea caves,” and my personal favorite, “Butterfly crackers!”

So with the promise of some Pepperidge Farm Butterfly crackers, custom made trail mix and beef hotdogs, I said yes.

Before this trip, I had never been backpacking before. I never saw the appeal of hiking somewhere with all your gear, setting up camp, and hiking out with all your gear. I much preferred car camping, with its unique ability to have everything you would ever need right in the car.

P & K are experienced backpackers. They have been places where you have to poo and bury in the ocean. Where you have to filter well water before drinking it. They have even backpacked on insanely steep trails and paths in Iceland – I kid you not… they have been to fucking Iceland for a backpacking trip! I had heard these stories and I thought I could never roll with them on a trip. But they assured me that the hike to Cape Alava would be easy, mostly on boardwalk and that they have pit toilets – there would be no shitting in the ocean.

Cape Alava is simply amazing. It is located on the peninsula in the Olympic National Park. And with the power of google maps, you can even see a map of the 3.1-mile hike to ocean. From the trailhead, you hike toward the campsites and if you stand still about a mile and half in on the trail, you can hear the quiet roar of the mighty Pacific Ocean.

From the time we got to the Ferry terminal in Edmonds early Friday morning, it rained. Over the Hood Canal Bridge it lightly rained. The drive to the Port Angeles ranger station had rain. As my Honda powered through the tight corners around the beautiful Lake Crescent it continued to rain and it rained while we at lunch at the sleepy little “drive in” in Clallam Bay. But most disappointedly, it rained the hardest the final twenty-one miles to the trailhead. Weather.com had let us down. It was supposed to be cloudy with periods of showers through the entire weekend. Not a steady rain. When we got to the trailhead, it still rained lightly but we decided to press on and hope for the best. Here are a couple of photos:

Photo of me driving in my Honda on the way to Cape Alava. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 and courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Photo of me driving in my Honda on the way to Cape Alava. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 and courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Photo of us at the start of the trail at Cape Alava. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 and courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Photo of us at the start of the trail at Cape Alava. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 and courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Photo of the boardwalk trail. From the photo you can see how thick the rainforest is. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

Photo of the boardwalk trail. From the photo you can see how thick the rainforest is. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

This being my first hike I didn’t have the right gear. I didn’t have fast drying pants, I didn’t have waterproof hiking boots, and I didn’t have a completely waterproof coat. So after the three miles through the rainforest I was soaked. But the worst part was the muddy trail to the beach. The last part was filled with slick mud and steep edges. My hiking pole was the only thing from keeping me from falling. I was miserable and I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into.

We set up the tent and I quickly got in. I took off my muddy and soaking wet pants and put on my slightly damp pants. I took off my completely drenched socks and t-shirt and put on clothes that were wet from the water that seeped into my pack. My shoes were a complete muddy disaster and they sat under the rain fly to hopefully become less dry. I lay in the tent vowing not to come out until the rain stopped. And I was afraid I would be there all weekend.

I read my book for an hour and half and then I noticed something. It was quiet. The rhythmic pattering of rain against our tent had stopped and it was safe to get out. I put on my wet shoes and headed down to the beach to catch up with the group. And from that point on, it didn’t rain again on our trip. After dinner, the sun began to set and something amazing started to happen. The clouds in the sky contrasted against the setting sun and we had the most beautiful sunset. I think this was truly the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.

Photo of the the best sunset I have ever seen. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

Photo of the the best sunset I have ever seen. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

I couldn't believe that I actually took this photo, it was so beautiful. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

I couldn't believe that I actually took this photo, it was so beautiful. Photo taken on April 27, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA.

The next day, more friends came out and we hiked down the beach to the Ozette River where we had lunch. Along this hike, we saw bald eagles, seals, otters, starfish, sea enemies, urchins and other animals that made you think you were at the Woodland Park Zoo. Paul surprised us all later that night with a bottle of champagne and we passed around whiskey as we huddled around our driftwood fire. In hindsight, Weather.com was truly wrong…for the good. After the rain, we had three amazing beautiful days. On Sunday, the hike was easy and dry. And I was sad to leave. It was so beautiful and the trip was amazing. We missed the ferry back to Edmonds but we weren’t in a rush. It will be hard to get back to work tomorrow. I will be thinking of that ridiculous sunset Friday night. Check out my picasa album for more pictures.

Here is a photo of us looking out at the waves crashing against the rocks. Photo taken on April 28, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA. Photo Courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Here is a photo of us looking out at the waves crashing against the rocks. Photo taken on April 28, 2007 at Cape Alava, WA. Photo Courtesy of Kelli Larsen.

Advertisements
h1

Consolation Prize

April 20, 2007

I knew if I hadn’t planned an activity as friends with Marisa Tomei (I have decided that this will be her identity in my blog), we would never see each other again. I think people offer the friendship card as a consolation prize to ease the blow of rejection. I know I have done this. There have been times when I never wanted to see a person ever again but I stupidly said lets be friends to ease the blow of rejection.

With Marisa, something was different. I honestly believe that she does like me and wants to be my friend. She is cool to hang out with and we had many laughs over our three dates, so why not give it a try. We made plans for Wednesday evening. We met at 7:30 and I thought the coffee shop closed at 9:00. But it closed at 8:00. So after a quick conversation, I asked her if she wanted to walk through the neighborhood. And we spent the following hour walking and talking on the Burke Gilman Trail.

As we talked, I came to some important realizations – 1) I did get caught up in things. I entered this coffee date with a step back and mild apprehension; And that allowed me to see objectively why would not work out. 2) However, I saw what attracted me to her in the first place. She is smart, funny, outgoing, a little crass (not more than me by any means), sarcastic and very pretty. And on some level, she understands that she is solely responsible for her own happiness and she is not afraid to jump into something, eyes closed, and search for that happiness.

It was almost completely dark when we finished our walk together. Our cars were the only ones left in the parking lot. We crossed the street and there was a medium sized puddle in my path. Marisa walked around it; I decided to jump it. As I jumped over the puddle, my right calves exploded with pain. I landed and began to limp. She told me that we could take a break – our cars were literally 25 feet away. I said I was fine and pushed through the pain. She gave me a hug and by the time I limped to my car and looked back, she was gone. I don’t know if Marisa and I will remain friends. We are still in the phase of a friendship where it takes work. Where it is easier not to call, than it is to call. But we’ll see. It is hard to make friends in the city, especially away from work and school. So maybe Marisa as a friend is not consolation prize after all, but a new opportunity.

h1

Marisa Tomei Punched Me in the Face

April 11, 2007

The third day when I was in Aberdeen, I drove to the ocean. It was a gorgeous day. And this was truly remarkable because it always rains in the Harbor during spring. There was sunshine in every direction I looked. When I got to Ocean Shores, I drove along the beach and found a place to park. While the sun was out, the wind was unforgiving. I quickly walked to the jetty and starred out onto the ocean. Watched as the waves crashed violently against the rocks. It was remarkable. But between the combination of the wind and the sand blowing in my face, I only stayed for a few minutes. I reached to take a photo of my rental car (a dijon yellow PT cruiser) on the beach with the ocean in the background but the batteries on my phone were completely empty. As the sun was setting across the horizon, it looked like the perfect car commercial photo – oh well. I got into my car and drove back into Ocean Shores.

Here is a camera phone photo of my Dijon Yellow PT Cruiser. The educator from Aberdeen High School who I had been working with, loved the car when she saw it, so did my Aunt. I then gave up the idea of buying one. Photo taken on March 22, 2007.

Here is a camera phone photo of my Dijon Yellow PT Cruiser. The educator from Aberdeen High School who I had been working with, loved the car when she saw it, so did my Aunt. I then gave up the idea of buying one. Photo taken on March 22, 2007.

I decided that I would eat in Ocean Shores. Pick a nice restaurant (within a reasonable price range) and read my book, the before mentioned The Year of Magical Thinking. Couple this with a few beers and you have a recipe for a great night in the Harbor. I pulled into a place that I ate at when I was a kid with my parents. It had been so long ago the only thing that was familiar was the shape of the restaurant – it looks like a deformed octagon tent.

I tell the waitress that I want to order a couple of drinks and then I would order dinner. This surprised her. She so badly wanted to take my dinner order. I just wanted to read and kill time. I finally order my dinner and I get the oven-baked halibut with a baked potato. She asks me if I want onions, sour cream, butter and bacon on my potato and I reply with a big fat yes.

I get my fish and it was perfect. You always hope for great fish at the shore. But there was something different with my fixings for my baked potato. Sure, it came with onions, sour cream, butter and bacon but it came combined together as one spread. One Spread. I kid you not. It was combined as one delicious, mouth-watering spread.

Now I had been chatting with this girl online for a few days. And it was going well. She was funny and I found her very interesting. She studied film in New York and had worked on some TV shows. But her passion is her art. She is does both painting and photography and I should mention that she is really smart and very well read. Anyway, I wrote to her and told her about my fixings for my baked potato and she told me if they sold that in the store, she would buy it by the vat. I was sold.

As I was leaving the Harbor for good on Friday, I had planned a date with her for Sunday. We had drinks and saw a movie and I had such a great time getting to know her that I asked if she wanted to get more drinks after the movie. And we did. We shared a piece of cheesecake and talked for a longtime. It was one of the best first dates I had been on in a long time. She mentioned to me that I should come to her gallery for First Thursday – a Seattle based art walk where all the galleries stay open late on the first Thursday of each month.

Two days after our date, I left the worst message I have ever done in the history of messages on her phone. Here is what I remember of the message to her, “Hi, it’s uh Nick and I just want to, uh, say I had a good time the other night. I was thinking on Friday we could have dinner, there is, uh this great Spanish restaurant. Uh, um, I’ve never been there, but uh, um, some friends I know have and, they, um… said its good. So let me know if, uh that works for you. Also, I would love to see your place… I mean art gallery! So uh, letmeknowifthatworksforyouandgivemeacallbackat… Nick. It literally was like the movie Swingers when Jon Favreau calls Nicki from the bar and leaves a horrible series of phone messages. Luckily, I stopped with one horrible phone message.

But thankfully for me, she saw past that. I went to her gallery on Thursday and we had a great time. I saw her art, which was really cool. We had some wine, hung out with some people from her building and spent the night laughing and eating pizza when I should have been in bed for my early day at work. On Friday, Seattle had a record temperature day. It was 78 degrees in Seattle. And it was a perfect temperature for a birthday and a third date. When I picked her up, she looked fantastic in her black dress and matching heels. The place I took her for dinner was incredible. Great food and great service. P & K’s recommendation did not let me down. We had a great conversation over dinner and our waitress even put a candle in my dessert for my birthday.

Before our date on Friday, I told my friend Brian that she was so great and I wondered why she would like me and wanted to go out with me. And I told him that it reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where George finally goes on a date with Marisa Tomei. And Marisa asks George why is a man that is so funny, bald and stocky still single. And George tells her that he is actually engaged and she then punches him in the face. I told Brian that I was waiting for Marisa to punch me in the face.

I took her back to her place and she showed me around. And as I was leaving and hugging her goodbye, we kissed. She walked me down the stairs and I held her hand as I left. She was flying out of town the next day. I said goodbye and as I drove home that night, I thought to myself that I just had a ‘top three’ birthday.

Yesterday, I left her a message about a date idea I had for this Sunday. She called me back an hour later. She told me that Sunday sounded great but there was something she wanted to tell me. She said that she didn’t feel a romantic spark after we kissed. She wanted to tell me on Friday but she didn’t want to ruin things – my birthday. I was caught completely off guard. My heart sunk, as I heard those words. Marisa Tomei had just punched me in the face.

Ten minutes later, I called her back for clarification. What was it about the kiss? And she told me it wasn’t the technique (a mild victory) but that she simply didn’t feel a spark. And I asked her for a second chance and she said no. She said that she really wants to be friends with me and that I was one of the coolest people she had met in Seattle.

Upon reflection, I wonder if I had missed the signals. If I had been so caught up in things that I missed the subtle clues of a relationship not working out. I think about the day in Ocean Shores when I emailed her about my baked potato. That night was perfect foreshadowing of what was to happen next. A beautiful sunshiny day that was coupled with wind and blowing sand. I know there will be other girls, more dates and other exciting and embarrassing stories. But this one stings. It makes you question yourself. It raises doubts and bruises your ego. These past few months seem to point to a new direction in my life and its possibilities makes me excited. So I will remain hopeful and see what new adventure is coming around the corner.

h1

Now Serving Zero Seven Four

April 7, 2007

As I have gotten older, I have noticed that birthdays become one or two week extravaganzas. First, you have family obligations. This can be as simple as a card from your aunt to dinner with your parents. Second, you have friend obligations – dinners, phone calls, text messages, parties, drinks, brunch, more dinners, etc. Third, you have work obligations – cake, lunch and the mandatory “from all of us” card. Finally, as a result of technology and the internet, there is this new phenomenon of myspace and facebook birthday greetings. Random people you have met as friends along the journey of life can now send you a quick birthday greeting because myspace reminds people of your birthday. All of these events cannot possibly take place in one day or a couple of days – thus creating the weeklong extravaganzas. I remember in the first grade my birthday party consisted of five friends (I even invited a girl, quite shocking for that age) having cake and presents at the local McDonalds after a soccer game. A simpler time indeed.

Now that I am officially twenty-five, my weeklong extravaganza has not concluded. I still have a couple of dinners planned, a present from my family and a few calls to return. Well, besides being a quarter-century old, twenty-five marked another rite of passage for me – a trip to the Department of Licensing.

Now I don’t remember for sure, but I think I lost my license when I was twenty. The DOL had just shifted from every four-year renewals to every five years. If I had not lost my license, I would have been issued a horizontal license when I turned twenty-one. But that never happened. I lost it and I was issued a vertical license (a vertical license is a quick reference for id checkers for legal drinking age), which didn’t come due again until 4/6/2007. I remember looking at my new license in March of 2002 and seeing the renewal date of 4/6/2007 and wondering how much different my life would be five years later. I remember specifically thinking if I would be married, have a “real world” job, where would I be living, etc. Five years later, I have my answers.

Last week, I tried going to the DOL while I was at work in Federal Way. But the wait times posted online said 1:45 minutes. This was infuriating to me. Because I checked the wait times of Seattle, Kennewick, Spokane, Auburn, Yakima and even Aberdeen and they on average had wait times of less than a half hour. Not one hour forty-five minutes. On Thursday, I tried going to the Federal Way location before they opened. And when I arrived, the line was wrapped around the building.

My license expired yesterday. And when I was rear-ended a few weeks ago, the State Patrolman scolded me for not updating my address (it still had the 1918 McMurray St address – my mom sold that house four years ago). So to avoid any possible run-ins with the law, I hopped on the 48 this morning to Greenwood to get a new license.

It was packed when I got there an hour after they opened. I pushed the button by the front of the door and got my number, 074. As I looked for a place to sit in the small office, a computerized voice came on over the loudspeaker and said, “Now serving, zero three one.” I couldn’t believe it, there were 43 license renewals in front of me!

Because I was riding the bus, I had brought a book along with me. Which saved me from boredom. But I probably would have been okay because the DOL is a great place to people watch: The father who took his son to get his license for the first time. The angry man who said “fuck this shit,” to the DOL employee and then apologized to the room for his language as he stormed off. The DOL employees who only give you only seconds to stand up and come over when the computer announces your number – they skip to the next number like nobody’s business if you don’t come. The five-year old Vietnamese girl who is getting her id card for the first time.

I am reading The Year of Magical Thinking, and it is a great book. It is so great that I got so engrossed in the book that I completely blocked out the computerized voice calling out numbers. As I finished chapter 11, I realized that I had not been paying attention. I panicked. Seconds later the voice called out zero six five. I was safe.

I sat anxiously as 069, 070, 071, and 072 were called and did not show up. They must have decided to “fuck this shit,” too. 073 was a middle-aged woman who got the DOL employee who I deemed to be mean. Moments later the computerized voice said the magical words – Now serving zero seven four. I got up and bolted to the station.

I looked at my freshly printed temporary license and I scanned to the expiration date – 4/6/2012. I realized that I would be 30. And I had all the same questions that I did when I was twenty. Would I be married? What kind of job will I have? Where will I be living? What will my life look like then? A driver’s license is truly a marker into the past and into the future. It allows you to reflect on your life and dream about tomorrow. You can imagine all the possibilities and laugh about all the memories. The process of getting your license renewed is not an easy one. But for all the reflections and dreams I had while sitting on the 48, it was well worth it.

h1

Everything Changes

April 4, 2007

Friday is my birthday and I have been thinking about my life lately. And thinking how different it is just one year later. Compound the normal life changes (school, work, apartment) with the random fateful things (car accident, eharmony, justin moving away, getting a new drivers license, etc.) and you see how far you can grow in one year. How despite your best laid out plans, everything can change.

Anyway, I bought a new car. I got a 2004 Honda Accord. It is not quite as fancy as my old car was – no power leather seats or a sunroof. But it is pretty cool regardless. I think we will have some good times together as long as Ryan Berg and Light Poles can stay away from my car. Here is a picture of her.

Here is a camera phone photo of my 2004 Honda Accord. This is my second car from Toyota of Kirkland in less than two years. Hopefully it will be a long time until I see them again. Photo taken on April 4, 2007 outside of my apartment building.

Here is a camera phone photo of my 2004 Honda Accord. This is my second car from Toyota of Kirkland in less than two years. Hopefully it will be a long time until I see them again. Photo taken on April 4, 2007 outside of my apartment building.