the terrible simply horrible nudge

Have you encountered the terrible nudge?

Expectantly nudging her muzzle

Into the kerfuffle

She expects me to pet her or feed her

Or give her some attention

But literally I just did all of those things

Like more than one time over

And i’m sitting in my rotating chair 

Criss cross like a precarious preschooler

With my noise cancelation 

my reading annotation

And suddenly I notice a wet nose

I look down, big brown eyes, a wet nose

Above my hip 

The cradle of ticklishness

A wet nose

I say “go on”

And point

The interlingual interspecies signal for go on

And she lies down

Maintaining eye contact

That’s weird 

Don’t do that

I look back at the book I’m reading

Nudging the nudge out of my thinking

And then my chair is spinning

The terrible nudge, simply by sheer force of will,

Spins my chair

Now I want to take this opportunity

Just to clarify

I know sometimes things are left a little ambiguous

and I think everyone deserves to understand

So I was literally sitting alone in my room with my dog

I sat in an office chair, criss cross

And this dog nudges me with her nose

Like with her nose

So much that my chair begins to spin

I don’t know about you

But for me

Wow

That’s a breaking point you know

Like oops it looks like it’s an outdoor dog’s life for you

Boom

Fleas

The dog house

The chain

Don’t go nudging

Bitch

So then I take the terrible horrible nudge’s collar off

And scratch where she normally can’t reach

And she promptly lies down and goes for a nap on my floor

Allowing for like half an hour of peace before she takes up the nudge once again

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Far from Home

“You need to fulfill your camping requirement,” the tall, built, bearded teacher who wears a Hawaiian shirt tells me. In order to graduate OVS, students must go to 2 campings a year. “You are going to Mount Pinos.” I don’t want to go.

Mount Pinos is located in the Los Padres National Forest. Its summit is 8,847 feet high, which is the peak of Ventura. I’ve been assigned to this Mount Pinos camping trip for 3 years. Relatively speaking, it’s an easy trip. Unlike the many backpacking trips that make you walk for 50 some miles. Once I went to Topa Topa backpacking trip last year and got bitten by a tick and had to dig a hole for bathroom. 

Mount Pinos still looks the same: the tortuous path, the fast-moving clouds, the pine trees… Good old Mount Pinos, here we go again. It gets bitterly cold when it’s dark, so we’d start a fire. Starting a fire is easy, but keeping it going is difficult. Taking one from warmth, from civilization, from your weekend… it just seems like masochism. I don’t get it. Do people actually go camping because they like to be tortured? 

Mount Pinos doesn’t have as much pine cones as it did in the previous trips. We only found 1 and a half pine cones this time. In the past, we’d burn all the pine cones we found and it would smell amazing. Maybe it’s because of the newcomers—there are way more campers than before. They would smoke stuff and play loud music. But Mount Pinos is still the same even without the pine cones. It still gives me the feeling of being far from home.

Photo credit: 100peaks.com

The Outside Ghost

In the past few years, I’ve developed a love for the outdoors that is indescribable, I live for the moments I spend in the backcountry. I yearn to lounge on my hammock, strung between two awkward trees, uneasy about my weight. I dream of not getting back into the vans, of staying near the spot where I dug my favorite latrine. But I have to say one of my favorite things about the outdoors is the chilling experiences.
The first one very vivid to me occurred nearly three years ago in the Eastern Sierras. I had gone backpacking with my school about 10 miles up into Little Lakes Valley, a quaint spot along the John Muir Trail, and we had set our packs down by a lake snuggled into a cliffside. A few of us, being the adventurous souls that we were, decided it would be fun to summit this peak, towering around 1,000 feet above us.  Half an hour into the climb, I had to stop, at our elevation, nearly 13,000 feet above sea level, wearing a heavy ski coat, I was winded. I was given a walkie talkie, water bottles to hold onto, and told to standby as they submitted.
Being on a neighboring peak, just slightly lower than the peak I originally set out for, I had a nice view of the three that continued on. As I sat alone, talking and singing to myself, using up 30 minutes of footage on my phone, I felt a sense of tranquility I hadn’t experienced since starting high school. Around 15 minutes into my time alone, as I carefully examined the pockets of snow that lay in the distance between the jagged rocks that covered the mountain where I would occasionally see the hikers jumping through as the continued to summit, something interrupted by solo jam sesh. In the footage, you can hear me rambling about a second rate animated movie from my childhood, and all of a sudden a voice maybe 40 feet behind me interrupts my train of thought. I hear the click of a walkie talkie as the gruff voice says, “OK hold up.” However, the walkie talkie sitting beside me remains silent.
Now at this point, two things are running through my mind, either there is a stranger hiking by his lonesome and he’s for some reason communicating with another hiker far another away where he needs a walkie talkie, or that there’s a ghost. Seeing as I have turned to face the source of the noise and there was no face to put to the voice, I quickly jumped to conclusions that it was the latter. Regardless, as my experience from horror movies dictates, if I acknowledge the ghost as a ghost, it will mess me up. So I narrate to the video what just happened, and QUICKLY change the subject so that the ghost believes I am just a naive little freshman, not worth the trouble. I increase the amount of panning shots in my video so I have opportunities to look around for the voice that is intermittently speaking, traveling, but maintaining a consistent distance from me so that I can keep an eye out for the ghost without it catching on.
A few minutes later the voice disappears completely, but as it does the weather takes a turn, I see the hikers running back as they indubitably saw the storm cloud moving in our direction, completely invisible to myself until the hikers were almost back. Now I’m not saying that the ghost made it dump snow on us for the next 12 hours, but if he did that was a pretty crappy move. Regardless, when we get back to camp I refrain from telling anyone because I am convinced I’m still within earshot of that petty man, so I go about the rest of the evening and kind of forget about it. When I wake up in the morning, sore from the number of times the gusting winds slapped the roof of the tent into my unsuspecting face, I hear stories that convince me that the ghost man didn’t like our group.
One tells of how he heard trailing footsteps when he went off to pee shortly after dinner but saw nothing, no indication that he was being followed. And the three girls all corroborated that in the night, in the worst part of the storm, when the howling winds would’ve prevented any sane man from leaving his tent, no matter what capacity his bladder was at, they heard footsteps circling their tent, unaffected by the storm, oblivious to the bitter cold, definitely a ghost. When we hiked out of that canyon the next day I vowed never to return, but I actually did a year later when I school offered the trip, and I had a really splendid time. However, everyone who went on the night hikes heard footsteps in the woods around them and experienced wacky flashlights malfunctions, which is to be expected when the ghost man is out there. That is precisely the reason I didn’t go on the night hikes, I knew about the aggravating spirit that lay waiting in the darkness, so instead, I elected to stay in my tent, on my phone, where I had downloaded a Patton Oswalt comedy special and had a very enjoyable evening.
Next week I got another doozy so keep an eye out for that one.
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Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

iCARus

if this car dings at me one more time

if another ding reverberates through my ears

i swear to god

have i missed something? does the whole world revolve around this car’s dire need for washer fluid?

well you know heckin what, car

i dont care that your washer level is low

i dont care that your tire pressure is a potential threat to my safety

i dont care that maintenance was required a substantial amount of months ago

or that your entire existence rests on trying to prohibit me from listening to Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

(finally some much needed radio silence, my normally needy car gives me a breather, i turn into 89.3 KPCC like any self-important masochist. ahhhh. how lucky i am to tune into the sweet sweet sonorous sound of the voice of Peter Sagal the host of NPR’s greatest and only radio game show. my car obviously understands the pleasurable tones created by the one and only Bill Kurtis, the narrator of this great weekly hour of radio. and my car picks now as the perfect time to send a certifiable fuck ton of alerts, ranging from topics as important as aforementioned washer fluid or that the car is in need of a software update, blaring through my car speakers. now quite honestly i didn’t know cars could even have software updates, let alone that they were so important that i should miss an important line of NPR’s most high-quality comedic banter, but i swear to all the gods that may be, if this self important piece of german engineering chimes at me again there will be a germany sized whole in the continent known as europe)

your chorus of chimes and beeps and brrrungs remind me the second i turn the key that my seat belt should be on. i was just about to put it on, but obviously im not quick enough for you and your quarter of a second delay.

a vehicle is anything that moves or transports. this car is more something that annoys me more than OSX updates.

(OSX updates that the lovely folks at apple think are priority numero uno, however we know this to be false, i have to put new windshield wiper fluid in my car.)

forgive me oh state farm for i have sinned i have wronged mine car. my car that moves or transports like it is meant to; that roars and tears into its intricacies, generating a herd of horses to move or transport me to and from school; that pairs, through the magic that is bluetooth, to my phone bringing me summer reading audio books as well as crosby, stills, nash, and young all the same.

my car which takes me to coffee and groceries, that supplies a warm butt in the mornings and cool AC in the afternoon.

you defrost thine own windows, you display thine own manual. you know thine own tire pressure, you never cease to tell me about it.

you’re a mechanical beast that does so much more than moving and transporting. you purr when you idle, content to cool and blast NPR. you roar when i press on the gas in neutral by accident. and you alert me with hope in your chime about the absence of washer fluid in your stores.

but you, oh vehicle of my dreams, oh vehicle my parents so rarely let me drive, you annoy me so deeply and to the core i am tempted to just walk.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.

Short n’ Sweet

I’m five foot three inches.

People think I’m five five.

I usually tell people I’m five four.

I’ve been embarrassed of my height for a while. I wear platformed shoes, I sit up as straight as I can, and I do exercises that supposedly help me grow. But, no matter what I try, I’m not going to get any taller.

I’m short and I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it, so why not own it?

Photo Credit: whiskeyriff.com

I’m short, I have a lower risk of cancer.

I’m short, I can wear children’s sizes and save a bunch of money.

I’m short, I can wear heels without towering over my date.

I’m short, I don’t have to worry about hitting my head on doors.

I’m short, blankets will cover my body and my feet, so no cold toes for me.

I’m short, I can fit in small places.

I’m short, I can fit in my dog’s bed and cuddle with her.

I’m short, I can beat just about anyone in a limbo competition.

I’m short, I have a higher life expectancy than taller people.

I could go on and on about the pros of being vertically “challenged,”

but I’m going to keep it short n’ sweet.