I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

High of 26 degrees

I love me some good 'ole cold weather.

Things I love about the cold:

walking in it (short distances); wool jackets, synthetic insulation, fleece, polypro, DWR-nylon and all the other fabrics that come along with it; reading overnight temperature lows that don't make it out of the teens; scarves; turning my heat off when going to sleep, waking with a chill and taking a hot shower; the fact that my gas bill is included in my lease, should I opt to crank it; when the snow remains dry and light; when the valley is clear; when the foothills are snow-covered; the appreciation for the sun that comes along with chilly temps; icicles on my car; how good hot coffee tastes, especially when you walk to get it; sweaters; girls who ski in braids/pig tails under their hat or helmet; girls who ski; being reminded of living in northern New England; goggle/sunglass tans; red wine; watching others attempt to express their personality via interesting hats, scarves, gloves, etc.; when my mom wears earmuffs; having the snot in my nose freeze; having my nose sting; breaking small ice puddles; how my back door sticks in it; watching my breath; having that first burst of cold air hit my lungs; boots; fun, warm socks; watching others walk by my window, bundled up; blowing on my hands or into my gloves; ski boot heaters; snow crystals; drinking hot tea; listening to other people complain about it.

Of course, like everything else, consume in moderation.

Monday, November 29, 2004

27 in 24

Last night, I lay in my bed taking survey of everything that was overworked, bruised, or just generally sore thanks to soccer and four consecutive days on the snow (although two were mellow). In fact, aside from Thanksgiving dinner over a friend’s house, I did not go out or drink at all this holiday weekend, though the wine on Turkey Day was quite delicious, because I was just too fatigued.

Nearly three feet of snow fell on the Wasatch since Thursday with 27” of it falling in 24 hours, between Saturday and Sunday mornings. Only in Utah can you ski consistently thigh-deep snow in November. Yesterday was simply incredible and I am still tired.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Common Scents

Just returned from the Wilco show, which was pretty much incredible, incidentally.

It is amazing how a scent can evoke memories and bring things or people to life. The girl to my left at the show wore the same perfume that an ex-girlfriend used to. I loved that fragrance and tonight was no different; I was secretly happy when it drifted from her to me.

The really surreal thing about scent-based memory is just what it does bring back from the dead -- none of the bad shit, only the good. Specifically, every time the fragrance caught flight, I smelled the spot on the ex where her neck meets her right shoulder, a fine place to bury one's face.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Within a few blocks of my apartment, there are several dry cleaners to choose from. I like dry cleaners, not that I frequent any of them, as that would entail owning expensive clothing, being organized, etc. Nonetheless, they tend to be independently-owned small business, many of them having been part of this neighborhood for a long time, and I appreciate them soley for their existence.

I pass one of the larger dry cleaning shops on my walk home from the library (read: dork HQ) nearly every day. Unlike most of the others, it offers delivery and drive-through service. Drive-through dry cleaning service is pretty much the epitome of laziness in a town that is already saddled with it. Perhaps some who use this service would argue that it saves time. My retort: Very few people of SLC, if any, are that goddamned important that they cannot stop their car from idling and walk inside to drop off a sweater. Sometimes the general pretense of some Salt Lakers entices me to mention to them that they are not walking the streets of the Mission District; this isn't Los Feliz; we're not taking coffee in the Village or any of a number of other places. I digress...

The thing about this particular cleaners and my walking by it every day, is that I swear to you, just before I am about to cross its driveway, some Mercedes or Volvo or giant SUV being driven by someone (generally) no more than a couple of years older than me, with a coffee in one hand, the wheel in the other and a phone squeezed between ear and shoulder, makes a sharp right-hand turn, cutting me (the pedestrian) off and B-lining to the drive-through, generally without a look in my direction. Today, it was a BMW X5; my guess is that the driver was 27.

Man, two angry posts? Hmm, not sure what that's all about; I had a great weekend (skied three days in a row, saw some good movies, started an exciting book, etc.). Well, tonight, I head to see Wilco, probably my favorite band at this point, with my friend Kat, so things should improve as the 7:00 hour grows closer.

Kids these days

One of the wonderful things about skiing Solitude Mountain Resort, is that you can head up late on a Saturday morning and still never wait in a lift line and even find patches of good snow.

However, the lack of crowds means that you bump into the same folks all day long. Generally, this is a very good thing -- it leaves you feeling that you are part of the mountain community -- but sometimes, it is frustrating, like this past Saturday, for instance, when I found myself envious of 11-year-olds.

These little punks had it all... skis I would love to be on (in a longer size), other brand-spanking new gear, iPods galore, etc, as well as the attitudes to go with everything else. (Note: attitude is generally not permitted at Solitude; it is either thrown back on the UTA bus to head toward the next stop -- Brighton -- or, is directed toward the other canyon.) And of course the capper is that they are skiing in Utah. S-P-O-I-L-E-D!

Envy is a bad thing, but particularly when directed to a group of thigh-highs. Will these kids truly appreciate the sport and the mountain with everything given to them? Sure, I have decent gear, a season pass, an iPod; but to earn each of those items I had to scheme, break the bank, or (essentially) sell my soul, not to mention move three-quarters of the way across the nation to ski here, because that is what skiing is worth. And these kids will never know it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I know very little...

... (if anything) about Blues music. Luckily, in just an hour or so, I will be covering Troy's show. Yikes.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Skiing makes me happy.

And tired. Very, very tired. Especially on opening day.

I swear, it's like Christmas and I am a five-year-old kid with ADD and a bad sugar high. I never sleep well before opening day or the night before a big storm. Here's the kicker... I already skied a day this season, so technically, today wasn't even my opening day, but it was opening day at my mountain. Good times.

And I'll tell you, it was surprisingly darned good. Now, though, at 9pm, after not sleeping, waking up early for my show, skiing, taking an entirely too short nap (a tease, really) and then heading to my soccer game; I am beat. Beater than beat. I have two options: go out and see some live music -- it is Friday, after all; or sleep. The latter sounds much more appealing.

Either way, looking forward to heading up the canyon again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Red State and why I am still here.

“Missing you around here but heartened by your presence in a solidly red state.”

So begins an email from my friend Mark, one of those sensible Massachusetts folks that I grew up with. Let me point out, it takes a lot to get Mark fired up and his electronic mail message, mostly in response to my gay marriage post and how the 11 state gay marriage amendments turned out, was brimming with anger.

Although it is a fairly frequent occurrence in general, I spent a lot of time in the last week defending this strange place that is Utah; between quick rants of disbelief and confusion, explaining to friends in Mass., NYC, LA, here in Salt Lake, various other places, and even to myself, why I remain in Utah.

More or less, everyone I love is a two-day drive away from Salt Lake and I would have to spend about as much time in the car to reach a place where my views fit into the greater majority.

A little background: I moved here a year ago after a string of seasonal positions and varied zip codes, thinking that I would be carrying on the nomadic tradition with a layover in the snow-filled Wasatch and a pillow in Salt Lake City. I had been pressured by a couple of friends to make Utah my interim home since visiting them after the Olympics in 2002. Though I enjoyed my visit, there was always a reason not to pack my belongings West on I-80: school, a job, a girl, etc. Heading into the fall of 2003 with my then-current seasonal position ending, nothing really stood in my way and the promise of a new place complete with 500 inches of snow annually, a fresh set of friends and the support of a couple of old ones, was simply too tempting.

“I’ll probably just be here for the winter,” I told the world.

Well, I am still here -- have moved into my own place even! -- and while my great escape didn’t go quite as planned last April, keeping me in the land of Mormonism, I could have since left if I needed to, but, I didn’t.

I am a self-proclaimed adaptable person; a chameleon, if you will, only personified and minus the camouflaging survival instincts. Nonetheless, I grew to like it here, even after the snow had left. I also enjoy (usually) being part of the minority. Last Tuesday, 71 percent of Utah voters voiced their support of four more years of the Bush and Dick show. Utah supported the Dynamic Duo more than any other state and when this is all over (via nuclear proliferation, a move to Canada, the end of rampant homophobia, or however else it may play out), I can some day proudly say that I was one of the 29 percent who voted against them.

It is frustrating living here for many reasons, don’t get me wrong. There are several things about various other places that I wish could be incorporated into SLC life, but then, it wouldn’t really be SLC life. And really, the thing about living amidst such a conservative strong-hold while holding differing views on virtually everything, is that, while exasperating at times, it makes me feel stronger in my beliefs and more importantly, offers a connection to the community of those that share my views (I think there are 17 of us) that is impenetrable.

Not to say that Utah is my home -- I’ll probably just be here for another winter.

Monday, November 08, 2004

37 pieces of flair.

I don’t know what it is about Mondays, but I should really just discontinue working on them. Honestly, I get very little (read: nothing) done.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Music for a not-so-better tomorrow.

There’s really no need to comment on the elections; so many others out there more politically savvy than I, or at least with bigger mouths (or keyboards, as it were), already have. I do have to say though, while not surprised with either the presidential or local Utah elections, I was certainly taken aback by the Republican party extending its majority in both the Senate and House. That’s all that I will say… However, if I were to make a mix-tape today, this is what would be on it:

** The Post-Election EP **

St. Ides Heaven, Elliot Smith, self-titled, Kill Rock Stars 1995
Carry me home, Polly Paulusma, Scissors in my pocket, o. l. i. 2004
These Days, Nico, Chelsea girl, Polygram 1967
Everest, Ani DiFranco, Up up up up up up, Righteous Babe 1999
Something Vague, Bright Eyes, Fevers & Mirrors, Saddle Creek 2000
Blizzard, Say hi to your mom, Discosadness, Euphobia 2002
Paper snowflakes; Son, Ambulance; Key; Saddle Creek 2004
We have a map of the piano, Mum, Finally we are no one, Fat Cat 2002

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Thanks for voting. Here's your sticker.

I took part in my first Utah election day this morning and had a slightly shady experience, but nothing worth noting. Ultimately, I was able to cast my ballot and am ready for it all to be over with, both in terms of the presidential election and local politics. Tonight, I will go where the beer lives.

It is amazing though, the feeling that I am left with, if only fleeting, after coming out of that flimsy booth and walking back into a cold November. It's like I just did something important. I even have this silly little sticker to prove it. (Incidentally, I am pretty sure that Massachusetts does not provide voters with stickers. I laughed when the ballot judge handed me one. It makes me think back to heading to the dentist as a kid and getting a "prize" and a fluoride sticker after having my teeth cleaned.)

Now, Utah has worked hard to earn a reputation as an entirely conservative state. Me, on the other hand... I grew up in a very liberal area, though not necessarily in a liberal family, and attended a college where as the average straight white guy, between women and gay men, was essentially the minority. It is safe to say then, sometimes Utah and I just don't agree.

One of the craziest items on the ballot in terms of Utah politics, is proposed Amendment 3. Essentially, if passed, Amendment 3 would strictly limit marriage between man and woman, but goes further, essentially taking away any rights in any other non-married couple (not just gay couples). Several states' ballots today included a marriage amendment, but, from what I understand, only Utah included the second part, ensuring if passed, no rights between non-traditional partners (again, be they homosexual or simply just not married). Only Nebraska currently has a similar state law and interestingly, all three of Utah's Attorney General candidates, including Republican incumbent Mark Shurtleff, oppose Amendment 3 here in Utah.

Here is the kicker of Amendment 3: It is already written in Utah law that marriage can only exist between man and woman and it's not written in state law just once, but two separate times! Why not a third?

The Don't Amend Alliance worked hard to disseminate its message of, "It goes too far," referring to the second part of the proposed Amendment, while those in support of Amendment 3 argued that if not passed, it could harm the sanctity of marriage. I have spent the last month or so in awe that so many people want to take basic rights away from others based on sexual orientation and wondering how that justification differed from race-, economic-, or religion-based prejudices. Today though, after voting and having spent the last week being inundated by the television commercials and city billboards of the Yes on 3 Coalition (made up of Utahans for a Better Tomorrow, the Constitutional Defense of Marriage Alliance, Yes for Marriage and the Traditional Marriage Crusade), I really just thought about the incredible waste of money this whole ordeal was for the supporters of Amendment 3. After all, it's already written into law that a union can only exist between man and woman, so, in effect, the huge advertising and campaign costs that these people gladly dished out was aimed only to further discriminate against homosexuals in Utah.

Nonetheless, as I said, I am just ready for this all to be over. I think I may celebrate the end of this election season (for good or for bad) with the eclectic sounds of Devotchka at Ego's.