Sunday, September 14, 2008

Travelling Oroville Villain

The closest I'd ever been to a methtown was hearing D*Pow talk about Kalamazoo, MI, but after a week near Oroville, CA, I can surmise that it's meth's kinda town. If I wasn't travelling and had my own computer, you would certainly see the above picture improved by hack-level additions of "Here be methheads fucking in the campground bathrooms" and the whole of Lake Oroville turned a red, toiling mess of chemical confoundary. Anyway, it's hard to do this place justice, but let me introduce you to some of Oroville's finest:

Vietnam Vet Guy
Rolled into our campsite around 7 on Saturday night, out for his "daily walk". Luckily, he bothered my coworker Matt (studying for the GRE) and not myself (sipping a beer, doing a crossword). He was crinkling his empty Busch Light can like a madman, seemingly trying to breath new life into it. Next thing we know, we learned all about Asian volcanoes, debris from Lassen Peak's last eruption, and how "the service" taught him how to be safe in a fire: "Just take a deep breath and run in". Likely the same advice given to the troops in 'Nam for navigating hookers. Guy left after he saw a truck slowly driving through the campsite, he proceeded to talk to that guy for about 15 minutes.

Meth Master Bathroom Groovers
A second batch of co-workers showed up late Sunday night, and Allison ventured to the bathroom. Unfortunately for her, what was labeled a bathroom was actuall a public-sex venue, and naked meth master came running out after her after she accidentally barged in.

Allison: (backs away)
Allison: What the fuck?
MM: Well, Iiiiii'm sorry (sarcasm dripping like mouthsores)
Allison: I accept your apology, learn how to use a lock (walks away).

The next morning, before I heard about this exchange, I was a little disgusted by the socks under the sink and the cig rubbed out on the floor. Now it makes perfect sense.

Meth Master #2
Guy had some shitty terriers tied to a tree, and told us jokingly to watch out for one of them, "he's a real terror!" By terror, he must have meant that it was going to bark all fucking night long and keep me from getting more than 2 hours of sleep. I know, bad owners, not bad dogs....but still, fuck 'em. Guy told Matt that he and his ol' lady were going into town later, with "my buddy Jim and his girl, we're just going to jump around, ya know, jump around town." Guy had some real fidgety hands, no devil's playground here.

Meanwhile, I was down at Miner's Ranch Saloon to catch Monday Night Football featuring God's Team, The Pack. Here I met....

Lynchian Old Person Folk Band
These guys weren't on the pipe, but definitely on the old. They consisted of two men and one woman, all over 70, playing mandolin, slide guitar, and vocals. You can imagine what people who can't hear sound like when playing an instrument like a slide guitar. Still, I give 'em props for rocking at that age, I hope I'm doing something remotely creative at that point.

I liked her style, she kept my drinks filled and gave me a basket of peanuts. She eventually grabbed a handful for herself, and the regulars said something about it, to which she replied "can't a woman eat her nuts in peace?" As expected, the reply of "I'd like to see that!" and "HAR HAR HAR" rang out. She mentioned how excited she was to go see Kid Rock on Saturday...twice. Then she played some Kid on the jukebox, I was pretty excited to have that fucking Cowboy song in my head for a day. I should have asked her if she had any Joe C...."3 feet tall, with a 10 foot dick!"

Reglar 'Merican
Lots of drunk talk from this guy to another pair of regulars, the highlight was when he said "California hands out felonies like Halloween candy!" to the agreement of the other pair. He'd only been in California "a couple months" before he got his, but it was all the fault of "that goddam bitch ex-wife a mine....but you guys have heard that story enough already." I should have piped up that I'd love to hear it, but didn't. I can only imagine the trumped-up charges that were involved, and I'll bet it was her loss to lose such a star. He kept saying he was just going to have one more, cause he had to go home and cook dinner for his dad....."sausage, bacon, biscuits, eggs, Texas Toast". "Oh yaaaa, my dad always liked breakfast too".

TieDye Meth Master
This guy was a real force, he tore up the joint with a quickness. First he bitched about the headlight on his motorcycle probably goddam ground fucking cops man one time gave him a ticket for riding his bike home from the bar.
Barwench: So, you talking to your brother yet?
TDMM: Yeah....if I see him (in a foreboding tone)
Barwench: You talking to your uncle yet?
TDMM: Yeah....if I see him (in a foreboding tone)

My man drank 2 screwdrivers, played a game of pool against another guy, and shot the balls around by himself, all in 15 minutes. Then he left, which prompted Barwench to comment "he's on something". Yeah.....LIFE!

Old Pill Master
OPM: (walks in w/ cane, leaves backpack by bathroom, comes out of bathroom, searches for backpack for 10 minutes, asks Barwench the time)
Barwench: 8 pm.
OPM: Give me a screwdriver.
Barwench: (pours drink that is 99% OJ, 1% vodka, gives it to OPM. Mentions out of earshot that he) "takes too many pills.....mixes em up!"

I don't know which of these characters was the most depressing, but I gotta say it made the people watching interesting. I really should have brought my camera to the bar, next time I'll know.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Last hurrah in the Sierra Nevada

Leaving for the mountains again for two weeks tomorrow, should be my last field work for the project I've been on for a year and a half. I'll miss being paid to explore the mountains, no doubt.

Last time up I wrangled ol' Matterhorn Peak, which left me sore for 3 days.

Here's a pic from below:

And atop, with Kris:

There was a drop of several thousand feet on one side of the summit, gave me that roller coaster stomach feeling:

I'm hoping to climb White Mountain next Friday, should be a nice long solo hike to let my brain think about the important things in life......