A * thrilling * expose on:.

Hot Spring Junkies and the Troopers who Cite Them!

The decision was made several days ago, to drive out to McCready Hot Springs with a friend today, out Highway 58 in Lane County, OR.

Not far down the highway were two late '60's Chevrolet Caprices, one fastback coupe in decent shape and a rough-looking convertible. They are for sale if anyone wants them...

At or around SR 58 MP 15, near Dexter Lake and the reservoir, a tool of the robber barons swooped down upon me and demanded a week's pay as penance for my exuberant velocity. Despite this inconvenient declaration of war against my person, I was determined to treat the incident in a Zen-like fashion. Calmness and stoicity ruled the day.

The springs (located 40 miles off I-5) were marvelous. About a dozen people wandered in and out during the 2-3 hours we spent there... the water was toasty and invigorating. The river is still snowmelt, so it's good for quick plunges but not for swimming... the lower Cascades were covered with a blanket of snow.

We received word that an acquaintance was still living in the area, off in the woods somewhere - a fellow soaker told us that she had been at the springs the day previously. Small world...

I spent three hours today repeatedly firing shotguns at small clay targets as they zipped through the air. Quickly finishing off beers before it was my turn to hurl pigeons off of the roof of the trailer home. Screaming and dancing all the while savoring the sound of each blast ricocheting through the surrounding hilltops. Making obscene comments and occasionally debating which persons grasp of classical mechanics would predict the outcome of a vast cornucopia of trick shots.

I’ve been a friend to people whose business practices fall well outside of the written law for at least five years. People who could be considered petty criminals with college degrees have comprised the majority of my friendships. Smart folks who can’t stand the grind of a nine to five or just can’t stay still long enough to do what someone else demands them to accomplish. I never really intended it but I came to the realization that I cannot connect with people who cannot fathom taking risks or living outside of any established rules. There I was, slightly drunk and looking down the barrel of a loaded shotgun at a blaze orange clay pigeon and thinking that I prefer the company of brigands and rogue scholars to people with legitimate ways of living.

And with the company I keep come interesting offers and schemes that if executed present a minimal amount of risk with huge returns. The only catch is that you may have to explain your actions and the evidence against you to a stout white man with an oversized black robe and a gavel. Though when you could completely eliminate all of your student loans and have enough left over to travel all over the globe for a year the thought of one hours work of extortion looks very tempting. Especially when the work you might do is against a low-life miscreant instead of someone innocent.

So I’m on the corrugated metal roof of a trailer home getting the subtle third degree concerning my mental fortitude and opinions on incarceration. Stupid and innocent little questions or comments carefully hiding their true intent but put in such a way as to be “talking” without really “talking”. Just thinking about the whole thing makes tingle in strange new ways. It’s cliched all to hell but you really only do live once.

The only memories I have of living are the reckless ones or recollections where I did what I wanted to when I wanted to because I possessed the knowledge that all of the insignificant details and mindless trappings of society mean absolutely nothing. Humans need excitement and exploration and since I don’t have access to a multimillion-dollar lab or access to a large radio satellite array I need other excursions to fill this void. You never hear about the “great literary critics of our time” or “The Ultimate Officious Meddler” because doing counts a lot more than quiet observation and cynical debates about pointless abstractions with other pedantic knuckleheads.

My needs dictate determination, creativity and a powerful lust to devour all that is good about being a psychotic naked ape traipsing his bald ass across this weird existence.

A Tale of Two Letters?

I guess there’s a lesson everywhere if you look hard enough or are just plain lucky enough to just stumble upon it. Sometimes the distance between tears and laughter can be very small indeed

The Tear Part

For any of you who might’ve read my previous daylog, you’ll know that I was hoping for many things. Even though most of ‘em were of a pretty simple nature, sometimes the most simplest of things can either turn to the most complicated or, in the absence of that, can be the most enjoyable. This weekend probably falls somewhere in the middle of that equation and if I’ve got my priorities in order, that’s a pretty good place to be.

The day started out easy enough. Well, that’s only if you consider boxing and sorting upwards of 150 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and making the necessary deliveries. Yeah, I know that’s not exactly the kinda thing that spy novels are based on but it works for me. We wandered around the neighborhood going house to house, dropping off the munchables, making small talk and collecting proceeds. After resting up for a bit and having a bite to eat, I was hit by (what was for me) a little dose of inspiration.

I’ve got a very good friend who’s a professor of geology at Ohio State University. He has traveled the world, written various articles and is in the process of getting his book published. His wife is a grad student who just returned after about 5 or 6 months in Mexico where she was living off a grant she had received in order to study waste management.

I thought a nice dinner was in order, we’d catch up on recent travels, have some cocktails and me and borgette would hear some stories about the world and its people.

After the plates were cleared, I tried to steer the conversation in just that direction. I asked the prof’s wife about how her recent journey to Mexico was, what their feelings towards Americans were, how they felt about George W. Bush, the war in Iraq and other matters of what I thought might of general interest.

I guess borgette wasn’t finding all of this adult talk too stimulating. Oh, she listened politely and all that but I could tell her mind was on other matters. I asked her what was on her mind and she replied that she’d like to look at old pictures of me when I was a kid. I wasn’t really feeling up to taking a stroll down memory lane and I thought my company would find the topic boring. In fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite.

She climbed up on a chair, took down and old photo album that consisted of black and whites ranging from the 1930’s through the mid 1960’s. Interspersed amongst the older ones were pictures of me in baseball uniforms, football uniforms, first communions, graduation from grade school and many others. She was flipping through the album, asking questions about who certain people were and when the photo was taken. I noticed that my company, to their credit, was also taking notice and was waiting to hear answers and look at the photo’s from a time in my life that I thought I had long since forgotten.

This went on for a while until we came across a picture of my father later in his life. Along side the picture, there was a folded piece of paper. It was a little creased and yellowed by age. We took it out and carefully unfolded it. As it turns out it was a letter he had written to my mom a couple of days before he died. Here’s what he had to say.


Dear Ruth,

I have no pain whatsoever. I promise to love you forever and a day. If I am asleep in the morning, please don’t awake me.

Yours from here to hell and eternity.



I hadn’t seen that note in at least 10 years and I kind of welled up. When I do get around to thinking of him, it’s usually not with the fondest of memories. I guess that over the years and through the tears my heart had somehow hardened to the point where I couldn’t say or think anything nice of the man. Maybe it’s a little bout of selective memory on my part. Maybe it’s the scared words of a dying man who was for once, looking for some peace. It’s a shame he didn’t say that kind of thing more often.

Needless to say, the conversation kind of ground to a halt for a little bit. It was getting late, people were getting tired and it was time for my kid to go to bed and for company to go home. As I escorted them to the door, I apologized for the trip down memory lane. As it turns out, no apologies were necessary. They said they had a great time and thanks were exchanged.

Wanna know what I think?

Here I was, expecting to be regaled with stories of world travels and different cultures and we wound up talking about distant memories. I think they were actually relieved to hear stories from somebody else lives than to tell some of their own. I think they might get tired of doing that. Sure, it’s interesting, informative and educational but it might lack the personal details that are the basis for forming friendships. I somehow felt closer to them and I hope they feel the same towards me. I guess sometimes the best stories are those that come from close to home rather than from far, far away.

The Laughter Part

The house was now quiet and I was alone with my thoughts. I cracked open a beer, took a look around and decided that inactivity would not be a good thing. I put on some music, did the dishes and was in the process of doing some general straightening up when I came across borgette’s journal. There’s nothing of a private nature contained in there so I didn’t feel like I was violating her confidentiality or anything. She’s got another stashed away for those sorts of things.

Anyway, I was idly thumbing through her selected writing when I came across one that caught my eye. By the looks of the penmanship, it must’ve been at least a year or two old.

Hi Journal,

I’ve been at my moms house. We were in the yard and a skunk came up. I wish it would have peed on my mom.

That was it, the end. No details about what prompted her to write that and no further explanation in the following entries was forthcoming. I was left to hazard a guess.

But first I gotta tell ya, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard even though it was mostly to myself. Being the single Dad type, I sometimes feel that I’m the one destined to play the villain. Turns out, an eight year old kid can make villains out of just about anybody at the drop of hat.

I’m sure she’s forgotten about her entry much the same as I had forgotten about my fathers note. I was considering asking her about the circumstances which prompted the missive but I think I’ let sleeping dogs lie. Maybe she’ll stumble across it years from now in circumstances similar to those in which I found my father’s note and maybe it’ll cause her to think. And to smile...

(Somewhere John Prine must be laughing his ass off…)

My mother calls me and often tells me to call her back as soon as possible. Often times it is nothing major, just wanting to say hi or ask how we are doing. I told her to let me know the importance of her calls and I will call her back accordingly. A call that is important doesn't require me to drop everything and call her. So this morning, at work, I miss a call and it goes to my voice mail and its my mom saying its an emergency.

Upon calling her back, I learn my grandmother, her mom, and my last grandmother has died unexpectedly today. Talk about a shock, everything else today seems pointless, very sober. I guess is a good thing, she was in a nursing home and had Alzheimer's Disease and hardly recongized us. Now she is in a better place and free of disease.

He left yesterday. I put him on a bus to the airport and sent him back across the ocean, 6,000 miles away from me. I miss him already. Hell, I missed him as soon I left the Jerusalem central bus station.

It was incredible having him here. For once in our crazy relationship, we were actually in the same city. We have been dating/going out (however you want to put it) for one year and almost two months, and have spent more of that time apart then together. In these last two weeks, I think we have gone on more actual dates than we have in our entire relationship.

Not that we haven't been communicating. We have rediscovered the long lost art of letter writing. We exchange emails often twice a day. And thank whatever powers that be for the invention of the telephone. (Alex Bell, you rock!)

But all of that pales beside the feel of his hand in mine. Talking to your lover on the phone is nothing, nothing compared to looking at your lover's face during that very same conversation. And no matter how hard I try, the memory of his arms is barely a whisper next to waking up beside him in the morning.

But now he's back home. And he's in production on his thesis, so that means I won't get to talk to him as much. I don't care. I still love him. I'm still in love with him.

I hope this lasts forever.

Running Log

Monday, Mar. 8 ........ 42 min
Sunday, Mar. 7 ........ 41 min
Saturday, Mar. 6 ..... 40 min
Friday, Mar. 5 ........ 38 min

Monday, Mar. 8. 5:20 a.m. starting time. I’d left running shoes outside so had to run in wet and heavy running shoes. Builds character? The shoes, Saucony Jazz 3000s, are beginning to look muddy. I'm finally getting back to the good old all-terrain, all-weather mudrunning days. Ah, the memories.

I’d also left the Oxford Book of English Verse out there, which was the real pity. Now it’s soaking wet. I went into full mourning about that.

Full moon. When I got to the bike trail I heard a hideous scream between what sounded like a goose and a fox. The scream was far enough away so that I couldn’t see the commotion, but it sounded like the goose was putting up quite a struggle. The running itself was relatively easy.

I wasn’t using controlled breathing. Controlled breathing is when your breathing pattern is, for example, (in)(in)(out)(out)(out), timed to your strides. This requires you to think about your breathing while you run. I wasn’t thinking at all today. Was able to catch a second wind on the way back. Back was good. Knees were good, although the right knee had a few sharp pains for just a few strides. Not too much chafing between thighs. I can tell I am going to have to pay attention to arm motions from here on out. My hands usually hang waist level. But when hands are held at chest level you can run with less energy and less trunk rotation, and that usually makes for more efficient running. Will have to begin to consciously do this in the next few weeks. I ran to the W&OD milepost 13.5 and then ran back.

Sunday, Mar. 7. An oh-darkhundred hike in the Shenandoahs took 3 hours: Little Devil’s Staircase. It was more vertical than horizontal, a steep incline rated “somewhat strenuous” by the trail guides, crossing a series of small waterfalls and a stream flowing down a ravine. This was a challenge for my knees. But it was finished in good time. Afterwards I stretched out a blanket in the parking lot and read more of The Royal Physician’s Visit and a bit of Christopher Marlowe’s Hero and Leander poem – great courting lines, guys, for that special girl you’re trying to woo – and then I drove back. Got back home, changed immediately and ran 41 minutes in the early afternoon under incredibly warm and blue skies.

I have to admit to suffering a momentary loss of will about 30 minutes into the run. On the return run I wanted to stop for no good reason. The slacker part of me was saying, "That's okay, you deserve it." The slacker part is well-connected with most of the other pleasure centers of my brain, so this little voice, which sounded so sweet and reasonable, was quite compelling. However, an equally compelling voice, the internal Dr. Phil voice, was saying something like "You don't deserve to stop, lardbutt. Your fat ass is so big it could cover small South American countries. You can stop when you run so hard you puke, and you're not even close, you sniveling whiny weasel." My own brain was yelling at me. It was good no one else was around. I felt like Steve Martin's character in that movie where Lily Tomlin took control of his brain. After lurching around a bit I continued, and Dr. Phil rewarded me at run's end by having me weigh myself, where the needle dropped a tiny micron below 220 lb. I am taking this as a victory and declaring my new weight to be 219 lb.

Saturday, Mar. 6 This beautiful rainy Saturday morning was wasted attended a 5 hour officer training meeting for a local volunteer organization. The meeting had gone well for the most part, but ended badly. For that and a variety of other reasons I was in a confused and upset state. Arriving home still upset, I immediately changed into running clothes and sought emotional refuge in the cool outdoors. This morning’s early rains had left the bridle trail muddy and soft and creating an excellent running surface. My left knee has gotten stronger with the gradually increasing abuse. Rather than hurting more, it’s hurt less with every passing day. An earlier bit of trouble with bronchial wheezing has now almost completely disappeared. I can finally breathe fully, without pain. It is a delightful feeling to run healthy again. All this wonderful confluence of health ought to have led to a euphoric mood. However the mind is a wonderfully perverse thing. I wanted to punish myself for screwing up so many things, and to rid myself of the accumulated anger that lay so close. Forty minutes of hard running. It never felt so good to run angry.


I see no more w/us are being accepted in the virginity,my loss of node, but reading it unfortunately made me remember, in great sensory detail, my particular dealing with this milestone.

I met him when I was fifteen and he was about to turn twenty. He was admittedly, very smart, but had decided not to go to college because he was going to write a novel, which, as far as I know, he never wrote and never showed me. He told me my writing was formulaic and crappy. He told me that if I broke up with him, NO ONE else would date me because I was plain and had braces, and wore glasses, and I should actually just be glad I had him. He smoked three packs a day, and whenever I was with him I smelled like smoke.

My mother and father HATED him because of what he did to my personality. I was always on the phone with him, and he would literally cry if I did things with my family instead of his. After all, his family had so much money, and was so much more important in the community! He wouldn’t dance with me at either my junior OR senior prom, and insisted we left about twenty minutes after we got there because ‘he had a headache’. (his constant malady). He wouldn’t come see my plays because they were boring. Wouldn’t go with me to church on Christmas Eve (my favorite church day EVER), and was upset when I went without him.

Anyway, when I was seventeen, we went to Niagra Falls for the day to celebrate our anniversary of dating. (two years I think). He told me in the car on the way up there “I’ve waited long enough. When we get home tonight, you and I are having sex”.

I was nauseated. I absolutely did NOT want to have sex with him. This was about the time when I was realizing I was stuck with a nightmare of a guy I absolutely detested but who gave me the attention and devotion that I thought I needed. I tried desperately to get out of it. Tried the classic “I don’t feel well” and I even offered him a blow job in lieu of intercourse.

No go. He told me I owed it to him. He even made ME go into the drug store and buy the condoms, since he 'didn't care if I got pregnant or not'. He locked the door of his bedroom (he lived at home, his mom was downstairs), turned up the t.v. REALLY LOUD (some Vietnam movie was on), pulled out a Polaroid camera and took pictures of me naked “just in case I decided to leave him”. He knew I liked bondage stuff, so he used it against me and handcuffed me to his bed, awkwardly, on my side, so I was staring at the t.v. He told me to close my eyes and think about a ‘white candle burning’ because it was going to hurt. “You don’t want to come anyway,” he said “so I’ll be quick”.

I watched the movie while he did it. And I cried, and apologized to my mother and father who weren’t there, and I wished and prayed that I’d never talked to him ever, never agreed to go out with him, never kissed him. It was awful. I’ve never felt so gross and ugly and disgusting. Ever.

I broke up with him a few months later (after being forced to do this many times) and he went right to my parents and told them I was a whore, who was sleeping around, but mostly with him.

And when I tried to plead my case, they just shook their heads and said,

“I wish you’d just tell us the truth.”

To this day they don’t believe me. They are disappointed in me for ‘failing’ as a role model for my sister, and they had a loooong discussion with me about whether I should be allowed to wear white at my wedding. If I type any more about that, I'm going to cry. I wish I could cut him out of my head.

I've been thinking that it'd be cool to have a nodermeet here in the Metro Phoenix area. Looking at Walter's writeup, the closest any E2 Gathering has ever been to here was the one in Sin City. You'd think after five years, there'd be at least ONE nodermeet in the U.S.' sixth-largest city, but no such luck. Maybe it's the weather?

Of course, part of the problem is that they're simply aren't many noders around here. If we take the Everything People Registry to be accurate, then there are precisely six Everythingians in the area that are at all active (i.e., have logged in in the past month). Most of the rest of the Arizonans on the list are inactive as well. It's rather depressing.

However, I'm not giving up hope. I'm sure there have to be Arizonans here that aren't on the registry. Besides that, I figure there are probably noders from out of state (at least from New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and southern California) who might be interested in going.

So, uh, finally we get to the point of all this rambling: If you think you'd be at all interested in a Phoenix nodermeet sometime during the summer, /msg me. I don't as yet have anything specific in mind, but I figure if enough people are interested, we can plan from there. And such. Yes.
My church hosted Columbus's annual B.R.E.A.D meeting tonight. BREAD stands for Building Responsibility Equality And Dignity. The organization has existed since 1996, and it is community activist group interested primarily in literacy, inner-city crime and economic development. We've done some good locally, initiated a 'card report' system that allows people to turn in crack houses and dealers without getting fingered as a snitch, and we have developed contacts with the local police that have boosted patrols, and cut response times.

But the real bread and butter issue is education, in particular getting poor kids to read. It's no secret that you can't get anywhere economically if you don't have good reading skills. I'm a construction worker, a blue collar job. In my job trailer i have three project specification books, each thick as a big city phone book, plus five or six other volumes of equipment specifications and details. Plus the blueprints, which also have to be read. An illiterate can dig a ditch, but he can't do my job. Which means an illiterate is never more than a step or two out of poverty.

In order to make this happen BREAD has supported and promoted a specific teaching technique called direct-instruction. I am not as up on the details as I'd like to be, but the organization's research, (and i know a couple of the researchers) suggests it works very well with inner city kids. Certainly it has worked well in the two pilot schools here in Columbus. The percentage of kids passing the fourth grade proficiency test is up over 500%.

BREAD is a pretty big organization, and about forty Columbus churches and synagogues belong. My church hosted it, partly because my pastor, Rev. Tim Ahrens, is one of the founders and president. We're also a pretty good sized chuch, capable of squeezing in about a thousand. And we have a history of rabble-rousing.

First Church started out in 1853 thanks to a split over slavery, with us on the abolitionist side. The underground railroad used to run through the church cellar. Later the Reverend Washington Gladden used the pulpit to become one of the foremost promotors of the social gospel during the early part of the twentieth century. A few presidents have sat in our pews. And finally, we know how to throw a party.

So we packed 'em in. It was standing room only inside. As i was passing out schedules, I knew we were full. My church choir warmed up. That in itself is worth hearing. The Beckerath Organ is fully E. Power Biggs rated, quite capable of making your earth move. We have a few singers from opera Columbus in the choir. This people nail every note and sing with amazing purity of tone.

But BREAD has a lot of black members, and one Zion AME church brought their choir too. Traditional gospel style singing, the sort of choir where Chakka Kahn got her start. They knew how to wail too. So we brought the high-cream natural vanilla bean ice cream and they brought the hot fudge with the cherry on top.

Folks, it doesn't get any better than that. The church rocked!

But the real highlight of the evening came when one of Zion's Elders, a Mr. William Polley was asking questions of our school board Superintendent, Dr. Jean Harris.

Now superintendant may be an appointed position, but don't let anyone tell you the job isn't political. Anyone in that job has to be a politician in the sense that they have to be able to get other people of fractious mind to work with them. So Dr. Harris knows a thing or two about evading questions she doesn't want to answer.

But Elder Polley knew a thing or two about asking them. He asked nasty questions, and wouldn't let go. I could hear the sound of political mackeral wriggling around as if it was trying to escape Gollum's clutching little fingers. He pushed and pushed, and all the while a thousand people sat politely, but looking the good superintendant in the eye. Mr. Polley's smile never cracked as he politely pointed out that she had a budget problem and she might like some help when the next school levy comes up. Say, in November.

If you want to understand what political pressure is all about, this would have been a good place to be, because her constituents were sitting there watching, and they weren't acting like the clueless fools who so often insist on embarassing themselves in front of the school board. Polley knew the school board was in a budget crunch, that they were talking about laying off teachers, and he knew where $5 mil might be found, if only we applied.

I liked it. Afterward, i wanted to shake his hand and tell him 'well done'. Oh, he didn't get the hook all the way through her cheek, but she felt it.

People often feel like they can't make a difference, that the world is fixed by the money men and whomever else. That really isn't true. You alone can't accomplish much unless you've got a billion or two backing you up. But if you join with like minded folks, keep your eye on your objective, act smart and don't back down, you too can make a politician wriggle like a fish.

nothing has worked i am a loser and a failure in my own life nearly 44 without anything to show for it. no distinctions. no stature. no successes. no accomplishments. no money. no abilities. no friends. nothing that proves i an worhtwhile in and of myself. nothing to separate me from the numb herd of humanity. no wisdom. no smarts. i am not anyone someone could point to and say, "oh, he's a great guy. really good at (anything). and he has a great job as (whatever)." those sentences would never be sent my way. i am overweight, out of shape, stupid, unintelligent, stuck too long in a job i despise with no absolutely no hope of ever getting a better one. job/career: regardless of any classes/certifications, i doubt i'll ever get any job paying more than i am getting now. let alone one that i enjoy, am good at or is mentally challenging. no experience, not enough knowledge. can't get a job to get the experience. not enough time to get enough knowledge. and let's not kid around: i'm probably not smart enough, simply too stupid, to make it in any remotely vague programming position. once again: the tone-deaf trumpeter with a passion for music. and he is the last to know. the fact that for the past four years i've put all my eggs in this basket but have barely scratched the surface speaks to my high level of inadequacy in this field. i am a joke. a loser. a fake. nothing has worked. nothing does work. my life is a series of poor, no, horrible choices and worse decisions. she is the best decision i've ever made, but i feel sorry for her choosing me since she could have and should have done better. it's good to know she can go on without me. the boys are the next best decision. they are the only ones keeping me from going on to the big vacation. i could never do that to them. it would fuck them up forever and they would carry that bitter baggage all their lives. but what do i do? when i am at the end of everything. i am so tired of being so close to crying all the time (like now). i hate that i hate being awake.

Hokkaido, Japan
from the foreign female perspective
Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

After a late start due to skipping a night of sleep before we left, Aaron and I set out for the day around noon or so. We had no specific agenda other than to see the touristy sights of the city and take pictures. We stopped by the JR札幌 Tourist Info Center to pick up a map and set off in the cold.

While we were in the station, Aaron caught a scent he called "breakfasty," which he described as an almost burning smell given off by hot stoves, usually associated with diners. We followed his nose to a restaurant specializing in お好み焼 ("As you like it, cooked"), a wonderful food that's like a cross between a pizza and a pancake. You're given a bowl of ingrediants, which you can choose, and after some vigorous stirring, you dump the whole concotion onto the stovetop in the middle of you table and treat it like a pancake with pizza (minus cheese and bread) ingredients. If you're so inclined, it's traditional to put mayo on top along with special sauce, but I hate mayonaise and always skip that step.

After our late breakfast, Aaron was dying to go back to an office supplies store we had visited the night before to buy a backpack he had seen there. I admit, despite the slightly inferior quality of materials, the thing was a steal at Y980, plus the name of it was "The Ranger," inspiring Aaron's imagination to its usual heights.

After purchasing the backpack, we continued walking around the city and managed to get horribly turned around and confused even with the easy-to-understand, predictable arrangement of roads and addresses. We had decided to walk to the Sapporo Factory, a huge shopping complex, and believed we were headed in the right direction. We passed a quaint looking building, small and almost lost among the skyscrapers, but every passerby was stopping to take a picture of the comparably unimpressive structure. I snapped a picture in passing, asking Aaron if we should stop for a closer look to see what exactly the building was, but he insisted we should keep moving until we found the clock tower.

After another twenty minutes of confusion, we discovered the unimpressive building was, indeed, the clock tower.

He felt like a goof, I laughed.

Now that we had our bearings, we easily located the Sapporo Factory, and spent a few hours perusing the multitude of shops inside. Almost every single store had a display of Hello Kitty keitai ornaments and keychains, and it got to the point where I was sick of seeing them. I never thought I would tire of their irresistible cuteness, but I suppose even my vulnerable heart has its limits. I did buy a mandatory keitai decoration for myself, however. I learned my lesson though - always shop around, even when the merchandise in question is Hello Kitty. The Sanrio store was the most expensive place of all the shops, but I was too excited to consider the fact that this is Japan and other stores besides Sanrio sell Hello Kitty.

We headed back towards downtown for dinner, eating in the same huge "Pleasure Land" underground arcade complex. That place is absolutely massive, and there are several other divisions and sections that we didn't even enter. I had some sort of curry omelet at a place called L'omelette, and Aaron had a similar version of the same thing.

After dinner, we wandered the huge shopping center, which extended from the huge underground mall to seven stories of stores, up to the JR Tower rising 30-some floors over the city. We stopped by the movie theater on the 7th floor to check what was showing, but even though Once Upon a Time in Mexico with Johnny Depp (Aaron adores him even more than I do) was starting in ten minutes, I was not in the mood to spend $20 on a movie. I can't believe it's so expensive in Japan - in the States, I could buy the fucking DVD for $20 and watch it ten times a day if I was so inclined. But even the DVDs here are twice the price they should be. Perhaps the inflated prices are meant to cover the costs and effort that has to go into translating and dubbing or subtitling the film, but still. I will not patronize such insanity.

So we returned to the hotel a little before 10pm, and early night. We spent a few hours vegging in front of the TV, watching a reality show about a Chicago children's hospital, which starred a super smart yet horribly condescending young black doctor as the chief source of explanation and background information on the different cases that were presented.

And that concluded Day Two of kaytay's Hokkaido adventure.

Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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