Sunday, June 28


I recently watched the final episode of Prison Break. It is the only television show that has captured my interest for four years, not that that means anything when you can rent the DVDs and watch an entire season in a matter of days—without commercial interruptions. But convenience has its price. The show lost its edge after the first season when back-to-back viewing exposed plot redundancy—making me almost want a commercial break. It’s not their fault, the writers; they blew their load as soon as their butt cheeks hit the sheets, excited and eager to impress. I just wanted something else to look forward to, especially having knowledge of their potential. In the final hour, they resurrected the excitement of the first season when things were fresh, unpredictable, and thought provoking.

For a solid week, I thought about my four year relationship with Prison Break, and about the theme of the final hurrah: things are not as they seem.

If you’ve ever read the book Illusions by Richard Bach, or watched What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, or have any experience around or as a magician, you are familiar with this concept. Numerous circumstances in my own life have proven that things are not always as they seem. Situations rarely manifest the outcome I expected or sought. In the pursuit of one treasure, another unexpected gem turns up.

A two-week rafting trip in Alaska, for instance, serves as a significant example. I embarked on that particular trip to get chummy with Art Wolfe, a famous wildlife photographer. He offered me an internship that I dropped shortly after we returned to Seattle. The trip’s actual geode was a ride to the riverhead in a small twin engine aircraft, an experience that prompted my aviation career.

Even now, in the midst of acting out a profession that took years to acquire, I wonder if it really is the point. Perhaps the career merely ignited a system of placement, like a string of events that saves you from reaching the scene of an accident at the time of impact. Perhaps the real treasure has yet to be discovered. Just maybe, at age 36, this isn’t the end … but the beginning of something wonderfully fulfilling.

Please join the conversation in the comments section below by sharing a situation(s) in your life that has gifted unexpected treasure.

Sunday, June 21

This Aint My First Rodeo

“It’s the girls’ version of steer wrestling,” my friend offered after seeing the look on my face.

Having grown up a city girl in Seattle, I missed the whole—livestock—rodeo thing. Even as an adult my knowledge of saddles, steers, Wrangler jeans, and Texas bling, is pretty much nil. Within the past few years, however, thanks to a few country friends and the many Podunk towns my occupation has dropped me into, I have, at least, been to one.

“Poor little guy is no better than a sitting duck,” I pointed out during the goat tying event. Goat tying, if you don’t know, is basically baiting a rope with a goat. A kid is tethered to a stake in the middle of the arena with a rope no longer than 10 feet long. On top of that, the goat is held facing its opposition as horse and girl head full speed toward it. The handler releases the goat to let it squirm about before the rider jumps off her horse, runs to the goat, slams it on its back, ties all four legs together, throws her hands in the air to indicate that the clock can be stopped, and steps away. The goat must remain in this awkward, subservient position for six seconds. If it gets up … no points are awarded.

“Where’s the sport in that?” I asked, a question that would only receive a chuckle. But I honestly expected an answer. I know, each of us thought the other equally absurd: I with my sensitivity to animal welfare, and he with his right to slaughter cattle and hunt. Granted, goat tying is not a “match to the death” like bull fighting. They even swap out ducks, I mean goats, every third competitor. But perhaps the fresh meat satisfies sportsmanship more so than humanity. At least let the little guys make a run for it, for God’s sake.

It’s not as though I want to change the “sport.” Shoot (country explicative)! I don’t understand baseball either. But I sympathized with the goats, maybe because, a lot of the time, I feel hog tied too. By the time I wiggle out of one jam or knot, life has another headed straight for me. It’s just the way it is, a fact that emphasizes the importance of attitude and temperament. We can either lay down and assume defeat, or struggle to get back up again—repeatedly.

I want to be the goat that earns the name of “little bastard” and is the target of cowgirl vengeance. I want to get up despite the odds, piss off those opposed and inspire the disadvantaged ... in less than six seconds, of course.

Friday, June 5

Welcome to the Smorgasbord

In high school, I remember feeling anxious and abnormal for not knowing what I wanted to become. Ideas were plentiful; but that was precisely the problem. I wanted to be an attorney (oh, to be naive again), and a police officer, an astrophysicist, and a writer/photographer for National Geographic. I wanted to fly fighter jets and race cars and ... well, I'll spare you the thousand occupations that excited me.

One might think this handicap a temporary dilemma. But it was--and is--not. Sure, I pursued pilot certifications and followed my dream of flying airtankers, but that was an exception. The tanker goal came with complimentary blinders that I donned like a parade horse, and a carrot that I followed intently. Once I finally reached the carrot, famished, I found it bitter. (No doubt having spoiled due to the length of the journey.) Within the disappointment, however, exists a sweet motivation to taste other successes.

Writing is the one thing that allows exploration of eclectic interests, or so I thought. The more I plunge into this passion for the written word, the more people I find that discredit the notion. They say that a writer should have niche, that what they provide follow some sort of contrived theme, especially a blog. But I barely have the attention span to match my socks each morning. How can I focus an entire communication platform onto one subject?

Despite the advice of blogger professionals and Chocolate Dynamite's slim readership, I'd like to honor eclectics by exploring a variety of topics, relying on style to hold it all together. Think of it as a dinner party, where you are invited to move about and participate in conversations ranging from 41mm racing carburetors to killing house plants.

In the mean time, check out this race car powered by--like me--chocolate!