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The Journey

The Journey

Charlie looked at her wristwatch. It was just past midnight, San Francisco time, back on Earth. Time didn’t mean a lot to her these days. Not even before she left Earth behind. Not since Justine had… Nevermind. It was best not to dwell on the unpleasant. She wouldn’t have wanted that.

Looking out the window of her ship, just the sheer vastness of space was enough to take her breath away. Without Earth’s pesky atmosphere getting in the way the view was unobstructed, unfiltered, and undeniably one of the most beautiful sights she’d ever laid her eyes on.

“We always knew you would make it out here someday,” Justine’s voice said as she wrapped her arms around Charlie from behind and rested her chin on her shoulder. “It was always your dream to explore.”

“I was supposed to be with you,” Charlie replied as she found herself tilting her head to meet Justine’s and finding only empty space.

She closed her eyes tightly and sighed. Justine wasn’t really there. She couldn’t be.

She opened her eyes and found Justine’s looking back. “Why do you still wear that silly thing?” Justine asked, gesturing towards the wristwatch.

“It-It’s the only thing I have left to remember you by,” Charlie answered, knowing full well she was talking to herself. “I had to leave everything else behind.”

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Jurassic Deli

It was a hot Summer Saturday in Portland, OR. The temperature was reaching the abnormal height of 102 degrees and there was no end to people complaining about it. Especially at Edelweiss, purveyor of fine meats and German food stuffs.
For Chris, the only solace to be found from both the constant horde of complaining people and the heat, was in the freezer. Beyond the whirring of the fan, the only sound in the freezer was his own breathing, and it was accompanied by the sweet, sweet chill air. He was never able to stay in the freezer for long, putting away vacuum packed sausages or fetching some miscellaneous frozen food item for a customer, but these small moments were always bliss.
Presently, Chris was behind the showcase trying to interpret the prattling of an old foreign woman. He had no guess as to the origins of this particular woman’s accent, but he knew it wasn’t from anywhere close to home. The only reason this customer was halfway bearable was because she was accompanied by a much younger, much more attractive woman, who he assumed to be the woman’s granddaughter. In deli lingo, this woman’s granddaughter was a Kiwi, and a particularly ripe one at that! He found himself quite entranced by her.
Chris was broken out of reverie by the old woman rapping her knuckles on the sneeze guard in front of his face and saying, “Sir, Sir!”
“Yes? What?” He was shaken up and hoped she hadn’t seen him staring at her granddaughter. “You said you wanted seven slices of frozen rouladen? I’ll be right back with that for you.”
As he walked away he was pretty sure he heard the woman mutter the word “ingrate,” but he chose to ignore it. Short of a trip as it might be, he was just happy that he got to go into the freezer again today. It was in the afternoon now and had just reached the peak of the heat for the day.
He pulled the door to the freezer open and the chill fog embraced him like a long lost lover. He smiled to himself and breathed deeply, letting the cold air flow in and out of his lungs. Then, just as he was about to reach up into the box of vacuum sealed rouladen, the freezer door opened again behind him.
“Slacking off in here, St. John?” Mac said jokingly.
Chris gave a wry smile and replied, “Nah man, just taking a quick breather away from that madhouse in there.”
“I hear that.”
The door opened behind them again and Jacob stepped into the freezer with them. “Party in the freezer?”
“You know it!” Chris said enthusiastically. “It’s the only sane place to be right now.”
“You might be right,” Jacob replied. “But at least there are some hot ladies in there today. Literally and figuratively.”
“Yeah,” Chris said, “I’ve heard Natalie call ‘Kiwi’ at the lunch counter like a dozen times already. Looked like they all got the sandwich of the day too.”
“Oh yeah,” said Mac. “What is the sandwich today anyway?”
“The Hearty Havarti. Roast beef with double Havarti cheese.”
“That actually sounds really…” Jacob started before he was cut off by a rumbling and the sound of frozen sausages vibrating on the shelves.
“Earthquake?” Asked Mac.
“I’m not getting trapped in the freezer by no earthquake,” replied Chris as he headed for the door, completely disregarding the old woman’s rouladen.
He pushed in the handle to open the door and pushed. It didn’t budge. He tried again, throwing his shoulder into the door this time. It still didn’t budge.
“Oh shit!” The three of them said in unison. Though they could barely hear each other over the progressively more aggressive vibrating of the frozen sausages and other such things. Some of them had already clattered to the floor.
“What are we going to do?” Asked Jacob.
“Something I’ve wanted to do since I started working here.” And with that he began to unscrew the door from the wall. It was a safety feature that had been added to prevent people like them from getting trapped in the freezer and dying the slow death that the freezing air promised.
When Chris had the screws out on both sides of the door he gave it a hard shove and was rewarded with the sound of scraping metal as he door was pushed out of its frame. It fell outward and landed with a loud crash as it fell on the shelf that had fallen over from the other side of the walkway. It was this same shelf that had kept them from opening the door from inside the freezer.
As the three of them stepped into the heat, Lily came out of the door that led back into the deli.
“What the hell guys? What’s going on out here?”
“We were trapped in the freezer,” Chris responded. “Did what we had to do.”
Lily surveyed the mess in the walkway, then nodded her head. “Tony’s gonna be pissed, but I don’t think he’ll have time to worry about this for a while.”
“Why?” Asked Mac. “What’s going on? What was up with that crazy earthquake.” The earth had stopped shaking about the time they had stepped out of the freezer.
“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but…” Lily was cut off by a screeching sound and a crash over by the dumpsters. Then suddenly a large, leathery looking bird came into view. It had a long beak and was using its wings to crawl toward them.
“Oh shit!” Chris exclaimed. “Is that what I think it is?”
“Well do you think that’s a pterodactyl?” Asked Jacob. “Because if so, then I would be inclined to agree with you.”
The pterodactyl gave another loud screech then lunged at them. The four of them dove out of the way, but it was a narrow walkway and the large gird was able to catch Mac by the arm and proceeded to drag him to the end of the walkway.
Mac yelled out in pain as the pterodactyl’s sharp beak drew a significant amount of blood. “Do something guys!”
Lily was the first to jump into action. She pulled open the door to the cooler, disappeared for a moment, then reappeared with three of the metal sticks they used to hang sausages. She handed one to both Chris and Jacob then said, “Aright guys, let’s get it! It can’t get out that way, the gate is closed.”
“Hell yeah!” Chris shouted, then the three of them ran to where the beast still had Mac’s arm in its jaws and was trying futilely to break down the gate by slamming its body against it.
Chris was the first to reach them and he proceeded to swing the stick as hard as he could against the creature’s back. It screeched in pain and dropped Mac to the ground. Lily and Jacob got there just as it was turning around to face its attacker. They didn’t give it time for a counter attack as the three of them started pummeling it with their sticks.
It opened ins beak in one final attempt to fight back, but Lily was ready for it and jammed her stick into its throat. Instead of a screech, it was a sickening gurgling sound, then collapsed into a heap on the ground.
All of them were breathing heavily at this point and Mac was still laying on the ground bleeding from somewhere near his shoulder.
“Attacked by a pterodactyl,” Mac said. “I can cross that one off my bucket list.”
They all laughed non-committally and Chris said, “How’s your arm?”
“I’ve had worse… Probably.” He stood up. “I don’t think it’s as bad as it looks from the outside.”
They all stood there catching their breath and looking at each other in silence. Then Jacob said, “What the hell is going on?”
“Well,” Lily answered, “I don’t think that was a normal earthquake.”
“No kidding,” Chris said sarcastically. “I vote we head back inside before another one of those things shows up and tries to make Mac the sandwich of the day.”
“I second that motion,” said Mac as he tore off the already ripped sleeve of his coat and used it to wrap his wound.
“You know there is probably gauze inside to wrap around that,” Jacob said.
“For something like this?” Mac answered. “If there are dinosaurs running around Portland then we’ll probably need that gauze for something more serious.”
“Valid argument. Now let’s get inside.”
The four of them headed inside, leaving the dead pterodactyl out in the walkway with the metal stick still jammed down its throat.
Once inside, Lily walked off toward the locker saying something about needing to call husband and check on her kids. The rest of them continued to the showcase up front.
The storefront was in totally disarray. Broken bottles, steins and candy bars littered the aisles. The customers, of which there were many, were mostly huddled together in the dining area. Some of them were nursing minor injuries, others were just sitting there weeping, and another group of them were staring mesmerized out the window. Tony was trying his best to keep everyone calm, but in the panic of the situation he had forgotten to take off his butcher’s coat that was still spattered with blood, so his presence seemed to mostly be having the opposite of his desired effect on the customers.
Suddenly Chris heard a scream above the rest of the chatter in the room and a woman’s voice yelling, “Grandma! Grandma!” Chris went to investigate the source of the yelling which was coming from the group focused on the window. He immediately recognized the owner of the voice as belonging to the Kiwi from earlier. She was pounding on the window fervently and looked to be on the verge of tears.
Chris ran up to her and said, “What wrong? What’s going on?”
“My grandma,” she replied, pointing into the parking lot.
Chris followed her gaze and saw the Kiwi’s grandma sitting in a car outside. It looked like she had been trying to flee, but when she had tried to back out of the parking lot she had hit what looked to be a triceratops! The creature appeared to be only mildly annoyed by the car, but the car itself looked pretty messed up. More importantly, it looked like some other dinosaurs were being attracted to the situation. Even more importantly, one of those interested dinosaurs looked like a raptor! If anything Jurassic Park had taught him about raptors was true, then that old woman was in trouble!
Chris could not sit idly by and let this Kiwi watch her grandmother die. He had to do something. So he did the first thing that came to mind. He ran back over to the showcase and grabbed up two of the fresh leberkase that were still practically steaming behind the sneeze guard. With these firmly in his grasp he headed for the door.
Steve was in the process of closing the outside doors of the deli, potentially barring the door from any dinosaurs that wanted inside. When he saw Chris approaching with his leberkase in hand he asked, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Somebody has to help that woman out there. Just hold off on locking the door for a couple more minutes.”
Steve looked skeptical, but nodded his head in approval. “Two minutes. In and out. If you’re still out there, you’re staying out there, with all of those things.”
With that Chris ran out the door and headed for the old woman who looked terrified behind the wheel of her towncar. As he approached the car he kept his eye on the raptor, and was unsettled to see that the raptor seemed to be keeping an eye on him as well.
“This is as good a time as any to test my idea,” he said to himself. Then he took one of the leberkase loaves and threw it as far as he could. The idea was that the raptor would chase after the freshly cooked meatloaf and leave him alone.
The loaf landed in the parking lot of the Bushwhacker cider house across the street. The raptor turned its head to watch the loaf fall, just as Chris wanted. He took the opportunity and ran to the car, practically tore the door off its hinges opening it, grabbed the old woman and yanked her outside. She was muttering something in a language he did not recognize and had a crazed look in her eyes.
“Run!” He yelled at her, and pushed her toward the door of the deli where Steve stood with the door propped open waving his hands at her. She did as she was told and ran. Chris, right on her heals, looked back and was alarmed to see the raptor was running at him at a very quick speed. He cursed and mentally chastised himself for thinking that his stupid plan was going to work. It looked like the old woman would safely make it to the door, but the raptor was gaining on him too quick for him to make it inside.
The raptor lunged at him, mouth wide open. Razor sharp teeth gleaming and eager to make him lunch meat. Chris reacted on instinct and did the only thing he could. He met the raptor head on and shoved his arm, leberkase first, into its mouth. The raptor was clearly surprised by this move, and before it had a chance to bite down, he yanked his arm back out, leaving the leberkase firmly lodged in its throat.
The raptor did what anything else that was choking to death would do. It panicked. It seemed to completely forget about Chris and started running around in a frenzy, clearly unable to breath. Chris took the opportunity to run inside the deli before Steve could lock him out.
Once safely indoors Steve quickly locked the door behind him. He looked back outside, through the bars on the door, and watched as the raptor writhed on the ground trying desperately to get some air into its lungs. Then after what seemed like an eternity, it finally stopped moving. Only then did he realize that he was holding his own breath. He took a deep breath and it was far sweeter than the air he had breathed in the freezer earlier.
Suddenly there were arms around him in a fervent embrace. It took him a moment to realize that it was the Kiwi!
There were tears in her eyes this time as she said, “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t believe you went out there and did that!”
Feeling especially cool, Chris replied with a casual shrug and said, “Somebody had to do something.”
She stared at him wide-eyed and said, “But you actually KILLED that thing. Who does something like THAT?”
“Just me, baby,” he said. “Just me.”
Glancing around the store he noticed that a lot of people were looking at him in awe, like they had never seen a grown man kill a dinosaur with a meatloaf before. And he realized that not only was it a particularly heroic thing that he had just done, but it was also amazingly awesome!
“You should probably check up on your grandma,” Chris said to the Kiwi.
She nodded and did as he suggested.
Oh man, he thought. If that doesn’t get me laid tonight, literally nothing will.
“That was quite the feat you just pulled off, young man.” A man’s voice from behind him broke him out of his thoughts.
“Thank you, sir. I…” He trailed off as he saw who it was that belonged to the voice. “Holy shit! Jeff Goldblum?!”
Jeff Goldblum just smiled and nodded, laughing to himself a little bit.
“What are YOU doing here, Jeff Goldblum?”
“Oh, I go where I’m needed. And this is definitely where I’m needed right now.”
“Wait. Do you know what’s going on here?”
Jeff Goldblum rubbed his chin and replied, “Well, it’s hard to explain. You, of course, know the story of how the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million year ago?”
Chris nodded his head in affirmation.
“What if I told you that that story isn’t exactly 100% accurate?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know how in the movie Jurassic Park I talked a bit about the Chaos Theory? Well, this is a similar concept. There is a very rare scientific anomaly that occurs every so often. I won’t go into an entire explanation as that would take far too long to make you understand, but suffice to say that the dinosaurs never went extinct. There was a time rift that swallowed them all up. And when all of a lot of very specific conditions are met, that time rift opens back up in the present and spits out those dinosaurs.
“I’m part of an elite team that was chosen to patch those holes in time back up and deal with the dinosaurs that made it through.”
“That,” Chris said in disbelief, “is completely amazing!”
“Yeah, I know,” Jeff Goldblum said with a shrug. “More importantly, based on what I just witnessed, I think you have what it takes to join this elite team. What do you think?”
“You mean you want me to join an elite team of dinosaur hunters?”
“Yes. I do.”
Chris rubbed his chin and thought a moment, then said, “One second.”
He walked over to where the Kiwi was consoling her grandmother, who looked like she might be in shock. “Excuse me,” he said to her.
“Yes?” She said, with adoration in her eyes.
Without saying another word, Chris pulled her close to him and kissed her full on the mouth as passionately as he could manage. The Kiwi practically melted in his embrace.
“I…” She started.
Chris put a finger to her mouth and said, “Shhh… Don’t say anything. There are no words.”
Then he walked back to Jeff Goldblum, leaving the Kiwi in silent admiration. “I’ll do it!” He said enthusiastically.

And so it came to pass that on that exceptionally hot Summer day, Chris quit his job at Edelweiss and became an elite dinosaur hunter.
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What a Year

So I just finished reading every post I made in 2012. What a mess of a year THAT was. Granted, I had some pretty amazing times that year. But the amount of crazy depressing things that happened and the way I dealt with them was almost overwhelming to read about. The one thing that hasn't changed much is my relationship with Amanda. We still talk on a regular basis, though not as often as we used to, but I would say we are better friends than we were about 2 years ago. There has even been talk of her maybe moving here next year. I honestly don't know what's going to happen between us if that becomes a reality. If I'm still single at that time perhaps we'd get back together and see where things go. Or maybe not. We're both very different people than we were in 2012.
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Running, running, running, running

Goodness but I've been busy lately! Too many activities to do this year, and so little time!
Joined a running group with Nick recently. Vancouver Run, Grub and Chug. They are some pretty rad people, let me tell ya. Run a quick 5k with them every Thursday evening, then go and hang out and get drinks and stuff for a couple hours. There is always some goofy theme or a color scheme each week. For instance, this week we're doing a pajama run, then a pub crawl afterwards. Last week the color was pink(but I guess that's what happens when you let a 5 year old girl decide on the color every week).
There is also a woman in this group I've developed a kinda crush on. It's her daughter that chooses the colors. She is silly and whimsical, and oh so attractive. With her as motivation, it is entirely possible that I'll be running a marathon in January... Can't wait! Although, I have some serious training to do before then. Gotta start running more than once a week. It'll go a lot better once I sell my car though. Then I'll be forced to ride my bike everywhere and get into better shape.

Other than the running. I've got other Nick's wedding to look forward to where Paul and I are both going to be groomsmen. Then a week after that Paul and I will make a road trip to San Francisco to go to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Then immediately after that we'll be leaving for Europe for 3 weeks! Still have so much planning to do...
  • Current Music
    Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds
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Updating for 2015(also Kevin)

Where is my life headed right now? A very good question, and one that I ask myself a lot it seems. I've got short term plans on lockdown. I'm pretty good at knowing what's going to go down in a nine month period of my future. Anything more than that is hazy at best.
So what has the near future got in store for me? A few beer festivals? Always on the menu. A stable job? At least until October. What happens in October, you ask? Well that's when Paul and I will be going on our trip to Europe for a couple weeks. Pretty stoked about that, actually. Are there in women in your life right now, you may ask? Why yes, I DO have a new lady friend these days. And where do you think THAT is headed? Honestly, I haven't the faintest clue. She DOES seem to genuinely like me, but she is ever so terrible at making time to do anything with me. 90% of the time we hang out together is after she gets off work(which is ALWAYS later than predicted), which leaves us with enough time to watch a couple episodes of Jack Of All Trades then go to bed. It's a little frustrating... But the question is, am I frustrated at her, or at myself? Mostly at myself, really. I'm good at making plans that rarely get followed through. I'm beginning to think that plans are overrated. I need to just live my life with a reckless spontaneity that is usually reserved for people who have the proper funding to BE recklessly spontaneous. What I would LIKE to do is trade my car for a van, pack only the essentials, and just abandon everything else. I don't NEED most(if any) of my books. I definitely don't need my TV. I don't need any posters, or nick knacks, or silly mementos of lovers past. So what DO I need? My mattress topper? Certainly helps in the sleeping department. My clothes and shoes? Obviously, but not all of them. My bicycle? Yes, it's a handy thing for getting around when I can't afford to drive everywhere.

Anyways, I'm done for now..................
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Anteloping

There has certainly been a lot of changes in my life since my last post. I guess I'll just start from the beginning.
Quit my job at Columbia Hydronics back at the end of September. Worked for about a week and half for ABC Transit before I couldn't take it anymore(didn't deal with that situation as well as I should have). The following day I hitch hiked my way to San Fransisco and went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival which was pretty amazing. That was definitely in the top 5 most adventurous things I've ever done. And I had a great experience! Met a lot of awesome people, and was certainly surprised when the majority of the people who picked me up were women. Swapped numbers with a couple of them. One in particular I would really like to see again at some point, so I'll have to plan on a road trip back to Cali in the near future.
Basically been unemployed and broke ever since then, but I think it was worth it. I've decided that I really need to downsize my life. I have too many things that I don't need right now. I pretty much want to be able to fit my whole life into my car. Or, if possible, into a single backpack. That being the case, I'm going to soon be getting rid of almost all of my books, all my furniture(already sold my bed, and sleeping on the floor really isn't as bad as I thought it would be), and most of my clothes as well. There are so many clothing items I own that I haven't worn in over a year. The hardest cut back that I'll be facing soon is Hyperbole. With where my life is headed, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep her around much longer. Hopefully I'll be able to find a new home for her. She doesn't really have many years left in her.
On the plus side of things, I just had an interview at the Country Inn and Suites for another shuttle driver position. This place is so much classier than the Ramada was. Just the fact that I'll be getting benefits and vacation time make this place 100 times better. I should be finding out later today whether or not I got the job. I think my odds are pretty good though. My shift would be starting at 6:30am. It's pretty early, but I like having the whole day ahead of me still when I get off work. I'll still be able to go to the premier screening of Wild, and I'll still be able to see Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas.

Speaking of Wild, it's a pretty good book so far. I'm glad I was able to go to the book signing event at REI. I'd never heard of Cheryl Strayed before then, but I figured a free event with free food and booze could not be passed up. Luckily Paul was able to get in too, even though he didn't RSVP. Though he DID have to wait out in the cold until everyone else got in first.

Anywho, that's enough rambling for now.
  • Current Music
    Rilo Kiley
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Playing Catch-Up

Well I've been been working a bit more on my novel as of late. Started going to Brewed Awakenings a few times a week to write. I'm well into the seventh chapter, though I'm not sure how I feel about it. When I type it up I'll likely change a good portion of it. I know the main points I want to address, its just the filler stuff that gives me writer's block.
Things with Amy have not progressed at all. Neither of us have really made any moves in a few weeks. It's probably for the best though. Work place relationships tend to not be the best course of action. I'm think of taking up the title of Barista Slayer once again and trying something out with this girl that works at Brewed Awakenings. She's quite nice and we generally have good conversations whenever I go there and she happens to be working. I'm going to ask her if she'd like to go see Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas next Friday. If she says yes then things may start looking up, and if she says no then I guess that's alright too.

In general, life right now seems just rather adequate. Started running a few mornings each week with Greg to get back into shape. Work is good. I still need to work on managing my money better. My credit is suffering due to poor management.

I'd like to write more, but I'm practically falling asleep at my computer. So I'll just cut it off here and get back to you later.
  • Current Music
    Portishead
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A New Update on Life

July has been a fairly uneventful month. But there have been a few noteworthy circumstances. Paul and I went camping with Ian and his GF and their kids on the 19th. It was a lot more fun than you would initially think having a 4 and 5 year old hanging around. It's children like Lyrah, Ian's daughter, that make me think that having my own one day may not be all that bad. Unfortunately the weather didn't stay super awesome that night, so our plans for going to the beach the next day were canceled. Instead, Paul and I spent the day in Astoria drinking beer, learning about all the movies made in and around Astoria(mainly The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop), and seeing an awesome concert at the Fort George Brewery. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Check em out, they're worth it.
This last Saturday wasn't too shabby either. Went to the Oregon Brewer's Fest with Amy and Katie from work. The beer and company were both great! Though Amy had just gotten over being sick, so we had to duck out a little earlier than I had hoped. I'm not entirely sure what to think of Amy. My initial instinct was to be flirty with her. She single and fairly attractive and she seems to like me a bit too. However, I keep getting mixed signals and she seems a bit lethargic towards a lot of things. But its early yet. We'll see what comes of all this. Katie, though happily married, is totally my kind of person. She is one of the coolest people I've met in a while. I do have quite a knack for befriending married/engaged women.

In other respects of life and such, I need to work more on my novel. I'm finished with the first five chapters, and that's a good start, but I feel like I would probably have finished that whole thing by now if I devoted more time to it. For goodness sake, it's my goal to get this thing published once it's complete. But that will never happen if I never work on it. I've got the ideas. I just lack the motivation and conviction.
I plan on having August be a slow month for me. I don't plan on going out much so that I can begin saving money to buy a PS4 in October. I should use my time instead to write. This means less time spent watching Netflix, which is going to be hard. It was kind of nice having no internet in my apartment for a good nine months. I feel like I'm spoiled now. There are too many distractions. I'm going to have to start going to Starbucks to write again. Or some other coffee/lounging place close by that has a pleasant atmosphere. I wish that the old taproom at By The Bottle was still open. That place had the perfect atmosphere. Maybe I can find another taproom close by that will cater to my needs...
  • Current Music
    La Roux