May 02

Mark Twain

travelNils has a sausage, a fat two-foot-long link of marbled pork that he bought from a barbecue in Llano this morning while I was filling up the car. The place wasn’t even really open, but Nils knocked on the door and told the old man who answered that he wanted to buy some meat for the road, and the old man gave him a sausage in a white paper bag. Now, Nils sits in the passenger seat of my 1997 Ford Taurus and eats his sausage as I drive, chewing on thick hunks that he slices off with my hunting knife. It smells like chili oil and bacon grease, and it makes the vegetarian in me a little queasy.

……………..

We stop to eat just north of the Arkansas border, at a little roadhouse with a gravel parking lot. There’s nothing meatless on the menu, so I ask the waitress for the chicken burrito with extra beans, hold the chicken. It comes back to me smothered in bright yellow nacho cheese sauce, so much of it that I have trouble finding the burrito underneath. Our bill comes to 19.79. When I go to the counter to pay, the waitress scrunches her brow and stares at the check. Then she smiles.

I knew that number looked familiar. 1979 was the year my daughter was born.

We continue up into the mountains as the afternoon peters out. Occasionally we get a glimpse of the sunset as we round a bend or pass lookout points that open up into wide views of the Ozarks. Mostly, we’re buried in trees. Every couple hundred feet the road snakes into a series of curves or doubles back in a hairpin turn. I have trouble getting used to the sharp turns, and tense up every time its my turn to take the wheel.

…………..

Most of the motels we pass are owned by Christians. I know because they put it on their signs: HBO, Air Conditioned, Christian-owned. (I wonder what it means. Just that the owners are Christian, or that they only want Christian guests? Would they let us get a room there even though I’m a Jew and Nils is an atheist, or are we not welcome? Is that legal? If it isn’t, would the police stop them? Are they Christian-owned too?)

It’s too early to stop for the night anyway. By the time it gets dark, we haven’t passed a motel for almost an hour. We find one and stop, but when we knock on the office door, no one answers. I can see a faint light shining from behind the closed blinds.

We keep driving, along mountainside roads and dead empty stretches of truck stops and towns. I unbutton my shirt, crawl into the back seat, and lie there with my eyes closed. After a while, I feel the car lurch right and stop. Nils says he’s going to ask for directions and gets out. When I sit up, I see him talking to a police officer in a cruiser. He comes back shaking his head.

I think that cop thinks we’re gay.

What?

He said there’s a motel a couple blocks from here, but they only give rooms to married couples with good Christian morals.

I lie back down. (I wonder if Nils told the policeman about his eight inches of Texan sausage.)

The policeman gave Nils directions to another motel a few miles down the road. We drive past where it should be, check the odometer, turn around and retrace our path. We still can’t find it. (Maybe we made a wrong turn somewhere, or messed up the directions.)

(Unless?)

That fucking cop.

…………..

I hear Nils go WOAH.

What’s up?

An owl just flew right in front of the car. I thought it was an owl man.

An owl man? Like a man with owls?

No, a part-man, part-owl.

Nils, are you ok?

I will be as long as I don’t see an owl man. Then I’ll shit my heart out.

Nil’s eyes are wide, fixed into a static stare at some point far in front of us. They look bloodshot, and the skin beneath them has softened into dark crescents.

I think it’s my turn to drive.

I think that’s a good idea.

…………..

We resign ourselves to driving straight to Eureka Springs, sleeping in shifts in the back seat. I drive while Nils whittles at the sausage, shaving off flakes and curls of meat and tossing them back into his mouth.

Soon after, we pass an Econolodge in Rogers. The night clerk who shows up when we ring the bell has a heavy Indian accent. He asks us how many people are in our group, and whether or not we smoke. He doesn’t ask us if we have good morals, or if we’re Christian.

…………..

Nils wraps up the remainder of his sausage and brings it into the room to store it in the fridge. That sausage will last him through Arkansas, past Eureka Springs and across Missouri, all the way to our friend Nick’s house in St. Louis, where Nils will finish the last morsel and drop the grease-stained, crinkled paper bag in a garbage can in a Washington University parking garage.

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Jul 07

Dog Fences – Keeping the Security of Your Pets

pet securityWould you like to give freedom to your dog to roam around in your yard without worrying? Electronic Fences are best to install long the boundaries of you yard. What is an electronic fence? It is a kind of fence that serves as barrier. It is usually used in establishments to bridle people and animals from crossing in the limited area or boundaries.  It contains electric voltage and it can be adjusted to high power voltage. The electric shock may cause pain if people and animal come close to the fence and it can cause death. The electronic fence is commonly used today in an agricultural area to control animals from destroying the plants, it is also installed in the military base for severe security purposes.

There are benefits if you install electric fence, including:

  • It keeps the wild animals to enter in your private properties
  • It blocks and separates group of animals
  • For farm economic purposes, it gives boundaries to wild animals

This electronic fence will give protection to your pets as well as to you. Before putting electric fence you must determine first if it will not give health problem to your dog because some dogs are sensitive. If you have worry in installing the electric fence, you can ask for assistance to the company you prefer to buy the electric fences. You can also consult to the some website and learn how to install the electric fence.

After installing the fence, you must train your dog and it took a long time not less than a week. Some tips will help on how to train your dog. Dog trainers commonly use white flag because it is easy to determine by dogs. Make sure the flags are up, let the dog go to the edge boundary just a distance to hear beep of its receiver collar. As the collar beeps pull the dog into its safe zone and do this for several times.  If possible do your training with distractions so that it could be a must to the dog to listen to beep even there are distractions.  You must continue the training of the dog until he gets it perfect.

Shop now and decide giving security to your dog. For more information you can visit the website that offers Electronic Fences. Give your pet’s freedom to roam around your yard, give him the best dog fences that you can get online.

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Jul 16

Climbing, Climbing Everywhere!

I’ve been crazy busy with writing lately, and almost all of it has had to do with climbing. Besides the stuff I’ve been writing for Matador, I’ve recently started blogging for Outside Magazine. I started off with a pair of (I thought) really cool interviews.

The first was one with Royal Robbins, who did the FA’s of a whole bunch of classic routes in Yosemite, including Half Dome’s regular northwest face and the Salathe wall. The second was an email interview I did with Paul Robinson, who’s been tearing it up in South Africa. I’ve met Paul before, and I always enjoy hearing about what he’s got going on, even if it’s by email.

Outside of writing about climbing I’ve been…well, climbing. Did my first trad lead up at Devil’s Lake last week. It went well, mostly because I managed not to fall.

More super cool stuff should be going up at Sports this week. I’m also super-psyched about our new Radar feature at Matador. It’ll let us get out timely “news blasts” faster. I think it should free me from my desk a little bit – without having to upload photos, I’ll be that much more able to post by smartphone.

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Jun 05

The Pros and Cons of an Invisible Dog Fence

invisible fenceInstalling invisible dog fence is an ideal way of keeping your pet safe and secure. Pet owners living in communities and neighborhoods most likely prefer this option as an alternative of constructing fences. However, it is essential to know the pros and cons that come along with the installation of wireless fences. You can also have this fence professionally installed, check out invisible fence company.

Advantages of Invisible Dog Fence

  • Installing a wireless or in ground pet containment system is very cost-effective as compared to constructing physical fence. Likewise, it is easier to maintain as there is no need to nail down boards or patch up holes.
  • Burying the wires under the ground can prevent the possibility of rising complaints from neighbors because there is no physical fence that is visible.
  • You can also adjust the area in which your dog can roam around. Easy adjustment is possible if you will install the in ground dog fence. However, for a wireless dog fence you can adjust the controller according to the area that you want.
  • The correction “shocks” applied into your dog can also be adjusted through the switch built in the collar. This way can also prevent burn injuries and dog pain caused by the collar.

Disadvantage of Invisible Dog Fence

  • Using invisible dog fence can be challenging if the dog is not trained to stay in a containment area. That is why before deciding to use this option, it is necessary to ensure that your pet is well trained.
  • There is a tendency that your pet may cross over the invisible barrier by jumping vertically wherein no shocks are apparent.
  • The invisible dog fence can only keep the dogs inside the safe zone but not the animals outside. Likewise, it cannot protect your dog from thieves, and it will not work if you are living in an area nearby forests.
  • It may also cause your dog to be afraid of going back into the safe zone due to the possibility of getting shocked.
  • You can also try a diy dog fence systems check out flexpetz.com
  • Also watch this great video

Moreover, if you are planning to install invisible dog fence, as much as possible you should put a sign. In this way, untoward incidents can be prevented especially if you have children around. In the same manner, it is also important to ensure that the in the ground wire system will not be dig up and damage otherwise it will not function properly and worse may cause danger to your pet as well as the people around. This requires responsible decision or your pet.

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Feb 20

Untitled

Earlier this summer, I had the good fortune to have an article published in the first edition of 48 Hour Magazine, a really cool project that used new media tools to produce a magazine in just two days. My piece, “How to Lie Better,” ran in issue zero of the magazine this May.

Since then, I’ve been inspired by the 48-hour logs that writers who participated have written. With 48 Hour Magazine (now called Longshot, after a legal fight with CBS) putting together a second issue at the end of this month, I figure that now wouldn’t be a bad time to share a few notes from my experience.

So here it is, my 48 Hour stream-of-consciousness log:

-Around 3 PM EST, I get the theme–hustle.

-Immediately, the lyrics from “The People” by Common pop into my head.

-By 6 PM, I have a half-dozen or so ideas half-started. One is about product placement in rap, one is a last-minute interview with Cut Chemist, another is a feature on Colton Harris-Moore, the “Barefoot Bandit”.

-Cut Chemist’s publicist is on a business trip, and I decide that the Colt idea won’t cut it. Not all criminals are “hustlers.”

-It occurs to me that hustling isn’t about being an outlaw or committing outlandish crimes. Hustlers live off their brains, not their brawn, and they’re all about making money.

-10 PM: I’ve settled on writing about product placement in rap. I start my research by finding a couple of articles in Advertising Age and on MTV’s website.

I move on to the lyrics from the top rap singles on the Billboard chart, and soon discover that Caddies, Henny and Patron aren’t the only things that rappers push. Hefty bags show up in one song.

–I hit gold when I discover the song Zoosk Girl, by Flo-Rida. Have to double-check that it isn’t some terribly ironic joke. Nope, he’s serious.

-Around Midnight: Is there anything that rappers won’t try to sell? I pick a couple of products from Stuff White People Like. I quickly discover that khakis, North Face, and New Balance each show up in at least one popular rap song.

-2 AM: I submit my first piece. Have been in front of the computer for what feels like days. Am almost not conscious.

-Looking at the 48 Mag blog, I see a note that catches my attention: a lot of people have been submitting essays and fiction about prostitution and life on the street.

I have a pretty good idea of what’s happening: feature fever. Everyone wants to write the big, glamorous pieces, but no one pays any attention to the short, front-of-book-style bits. I write a lot of these for Matador. I figure I have an “in” here.

-3 AM: I remember a recent article in the Boston Phoenix about Karen Keester, a notorious identity thief and con artist from Boston. Con artists are perfect for this theme–all about know-how and street smarts, and we have a certain sympathy for the smart ones. I think of Anansi, and Loki, and tricksters in general.

-I’m willing to bet that, based on the blog, the editors would love to get their hands on some short, on-theme pieces. This is a lesson I’ve learned from working as a writer and editor: think about what the publication needs, not what you’d like to write.

-My first thought is to do a list: 10 Most Cunning Cons.

-Then, a better idea: why not write a how-to? I remember that how-tos don’t necessarily have to give practical instructions on how to do something, they can just as easily be vehicles for telling interesting stories.

-I make a list of the cons I know something about–Keester, Frank Abignale, that dude from Six Degrees of Separation–and look up more. I decide I need cons with good stories; Ponzi schemers won’t cut it.

–Around 5:30 AM: I finish drafting my second piece, a how-to on lying like a con artist, and give it a once-over before sending it in. The sun’s coming up. I’m so tired, I’m all but incapable of coherent thought.

 

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