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Not Even Once

I am always trying to learn new things about my new home.  One thing I noticed quickly was the presence of anti-meth campaigns in this city.

"Meth - Not Even Once" billboards, building posters, radio ads and bumper stickers are everywhere.

And rightfully so.  This is a pretty boring state, and when you have absolutely nothing to do all day, meth *could* make things interesting.

Some interesting facts I pulled from the Idaho Meth Project website:

• Idaho spends between $60 to $102 million annually to incarcerate and treat offenders
who admit to having a Meth problem—this represents between 32% - 55% of the Idaho
Department of Correction’s total budget
o 52% of Idaho inmates directly attribute Meth use to their incarceration
o 89% of female offenders in county jail in Idaho indicate they have a problem with
Meth—73% of these women indicate that Meth is their drug of choice

• During 2007, more than 70% of Federal drug offenses in Idaho involved

• Idaho ranks #4 in the country for past year Meth use by 12 – 17 year olds and 18 – 25
year olds

• Idaho ranks #7 for lifetime Meth use by high school students

Needless to day, meth in Idaho seems to be just as common as potatoes, mormons, and open wilderness.  Of all the drugs to do, meth seems to be Darwin's drug-of-choice to thin out the herd. 

Because I'm a helpful person, I have scoured the internet and found a few 'anti-meth' images that may be helpful in getting the message across.  Enjoy.

Now, drugs are no laughing matter, and it is truly sad when narcotics can destroy someone's life, or worse, a family.  But I *do* see a difference between something like marijuana and meth.
Marijuana is a plant, and you smoke it.  The naturally-occurring chemicals that are released cause the high, and the result is a buzz that subsides over some time.  Side-effects include laziness, extra hunger, and red-eye.

Meth is a completely different beast.  It is a combination of battery acid, paint thinner, camp stove fuel, drain cleaner, cold tablets, brake fuel and a dozen or so other toxic chemicals.  Anything that makes your teeth fall out, makes you want to tear your skin off, or turns you batshit crazy is not a good way to get high.

If you grow a marijuana plant, you need plant food, lights, and a green-thumb.  If you make your own meth, the countdown to your house exploding begins in 5....4...3...2...

So remember kids:


Movie Night in Idaho

I, like a lot of people, have and love Netflix.  I abuse the 'streaming' function and was stoked when I could finally use my Wii to stream movies on my TV.

I have an eclectic (understatement) taste when it comes to movies and shows I watch:

As you can see, movies like Pulp Fiction, Super Troopers, Casablanca and Office Space are movies I like.  TV Shows include Dexter, Invader Zim, Dead Like Me, Futurama, etc.  Witty, funny, goofy, classic, I like a wide variety.

When I moved to Idaho, I took notice of Netflix's "local suggestions" category.  What are people watching in Idaho?

Nothing from this century, it seems.  Westerns, 60's and 70's movies were the main suggestions.  I had to dig DEEP to find anything that included strong language, sexuality, or anything "suitable for 17 and over."

Don't get me wrong.  A good Clint Eastwood or John Wayne movie now and then is a good thing.  But the preferences of this town seem to be very narrow.

The #1 movie requested by Netflix members in this town speaks for itself.  According to netflix's judging on my tastes, I would give this movie a rating of 0.6 stars.  7 of the top 10 were 3 stars or less.

So, feeling a bit amused, I looked up what people in my old California town were watching.

Boobs!  Horror movies! Tim Burton!  Now that's what I'm talking about.

It makes me wonder if I went to the local movie theater and got a ticket for Opening Weekend for a movie that has violence, adult themes, etc. if the theater would be as empty as I think?

The Black Swan just came out.  It has lesbian overtones and other naughty bits.  Was the theater empty during it's debut?  Did people whisper their movie selection into the ticket booth, in hopes that people nearby aren't aware that you just bought tickets for a RATED R movie?

If the theater decided to do a "throwback" night, and show Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, or anything starring Dick Van Dyke, I bet it would play to a packed house.


Dreaming of a White Christmas (Be Careful What You Ask For...)

Being from Southern California, I have never had a true "White Christmas."  I was 28 before I saw actual snowfall with my own eyes.

In California, you GO to the snow.  In Idaho, the snow finds you.  And brutally rapes your soul.

Any time I spend with family is usually a good time.  So when they told me about cutting down my own Christmas tree, I was skeptical but decided to give it a shot.

I have never done this before.  I am used to having either an artificial tree, or going to "Tree Farms" where you pick out a pre-cut tree, the nice clerks bag it up for you, and you take it home.  Point, pay, and go home.  30 minutes tops.

A date is set for my inaugural tree-chopping: The weekend after Thanksgiving.  I'm somewhat excited.

Little did I know...

The days before Thanksgiving, it snowed.  And not just a little snow, it DUMPED.  Jack Frost took the biggest diarrhea-induced-snow-shit I have ever seen.

"Oh, that will just make it easier to get the tree back to the car!" they said.  "You can load the trees on sleds, and just pull them!"


Day of the trip.  Still a crap-ton of snow on the ground, but at least it's not coming down anymore.  We all group up, and 3 vehicles all carpool into the magical forest of Christmas Trees.

Why we had to drive 60 miles to find the "right" tree, when we passed hundreds of trees every minute, I do not know.  "Don't worry" they told me, "when you see where we're going, you'll understand."

I watched as tree after tree passed by.  Many of them Christmas-worthy, but we weren't at the right place yet...

We enter the forest.  Gorgeous trees everywhere.  I start to get a little excited.  "Not quite yet, almost there..."

Deeper into the forest we go, until we're practically in Wyoming.   When we park...

Trees!  Woo!  Time for chopping, yes?

"Not yet, let's hike a little deeper into the forest.  That's where all the GOOD trees are..."

Hiking I can do.  I was in scouts, and loved going out into the wilderness.  However, this wasn't your normal hike.  UPHILL, off the main roads, in loose 3ft deep snow, for about a mile and a half.  That's Idaho Hiking.

All the meanwhile, I'm seeing some damn good trees.  "No no, keep going.  Trust us..."  So I press on.

At this point in the story, I'd like to point out that I was ill-equipped for this trip.  I had just bought a pair of snow boots, and this was my "break them in" trip.  The snow was deeper than the boots, and I was wearing jeans, which quickly soaked in all the snow they could.  I was cold and wet up to my thighs, but at least my feet were warm and dry!

So we hike and hike...

And hike and hike...

Funny, but to the untrained eye, we were hiking AWAY from the trees.  The deeper we got into the forest, the less trees there seemed to be.  The ones that WERE around, were either 60 feet tall, or 2 foot saplings...

Finally, about 500 yards off the main path, we get to the "right" spot.  Families divide up and decide which tree they want for their given home.  Meanwhile, I'm tired, wet, freezing, and managed to twist an ankle hiking up a snowy hill in new boots (yeah, I'm a fucking genius, I know).

My girlfriend spots the tree she wants, and calls me over to cut it down.

At that point, I'm tired and limping, and just want to cut down the first tree she likes so we can start heading home.  It's kind of a sad looking tree (Charlie-Brown-esque seems fitting) but she likes it.  I grab the saw, and summon forth all the frustration and rage I have from this trip.

Man and saw prevailed.  I fucked that little tree up.

Now the fun part . Hiking.  Back the way I came.  With tree in tow.

We get back to the main trail, and I'm not doing so well.  My ankle hurts like a motherfucker, and this tree plus fighting the snow is just too much.  I swallow the last bit of pride I had, and asked my girlfriend to take the tree the rest of the way.

Some man I am, beaten by a Charlie-Brown tree, and forced to make my girl take it.

Her and her sister, brother in law, and nephew continue on, trees and all, back down the pathway.  I catch my breath for a few minutes before plodding down to join them, but they were already well out of sight.

Alone, in the middle of a forest.  Nothing but snow and trees in sight.  How far do I follow the pathway before I break off and start heading down the hill?  500 feet?  500 yards?  A mile?

I check my phone.  No reception at all.  FUCK.

And of course, to make things more interesting, my bladder goes "Hey.  Sup?  Howya doin?"

I take a few steps off the trail, and write my Last Will and Testament in the snow, in yellow ink.  Then I begin, what I think, is the way back to the carpool.  Limping, cursing, and hoping I find civilization before hypothermia sets in.

I eventually find my way back, and we all went home.  Most everyone was in a cheerful, triumphant mood.  Me?  I was glad to have survived.

End result was this:

It's not the best tree that has ever graced my house, but I *earned* that fucker.  I went into the forest-of-no-return, fought the elements, and cut that sonofabitch down.  This was MY tree.

Next year, I think I'm going to get my tree from Target.


So... This is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned-upside-down...

2010 was a hell of a year.

I lost my job in April, and the rest of the year was an absolute struggle.  High cost of living, combined with unstable work took its toll on me.  By August, I was at a breaking point, and by September, my girlfriend and I decided to pack up our belongings and move from California to Idaho.

Now, I'm a Cali boy, born and raised.   I have lived in and around the Riverside area since I was about 3.  Cali is what I know and love.  The free-thinking, open-minded, tech savvy culture is what I always called home.  30 minutes from the beach, 30 minutes from the mountains.  Vegas, Mexico, both 4 hours away.  I essentially had life at my fingertips.  Until... Idaho.

A friend of mine summed it up really well.  "Welcome to Idaho, the fucking time machine of the US."  Somehow I was transported back to 1992.

Half the town doesn't know what terms like "email" and "wi-fi" mean. 

High School Girls all have the crimped over-permmed hairstyles again.

And flannel was considered haute coture once again.  Not hipster-flannel.  Lumberjack.

Everything is "just so" in this state.  Idaho is such a red-state, bulls get pissed off and charge at it.  On the radio station, there are 8 country stations, 11 religion stations, 3 classic rock stations, and a small mix of others.  If you want to listen to music that was made in the last 2 years, you have very limited (and very censored) choices.  No hip-hop or rap allowed.

Best of all, I still have California plates on my car.  This labels me as a "liberal queer-o hippie" somehow, and gets me more sneers than I have ever expected.  It doesn't help that I drive a Ford Focus, while the majority of people up here are in pickup trucks (called "rigs" here, for some reason...)

Highlights in this state include:

 Potatoes.   Wooo.  Idaho is the Potato capital of the US, and the bane of Dan Quayle's existence.

Idaho is so damn proud of their spuds, it's the feature on their license plates...

Famous Potatoes?  Really?

There is even a Potato Museum in Blackfoot, a small town that shows it's "Tater Pride" every year with festivals.

Other Highlights of Idaho are....



I got nothing.

I moved up in October, and am doing my best to make the most of things.  Will I move back down to Cali, or will I forever be trapped in "The Gem State?"  Only time will tell...