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Thursday, 06 March
Sands That Are Happily Not Named Julian

You know, I don't keep meaning to do this to you, tens of readers. It's just . . . well, I've been getting a little on the side. I didn't want you to hear about it like this, but . . . well, I've been seeing Oregon.

Not that I haven't been fantastically lazy about updating, but the wife and I did recently take some time off to go hang out in Cannon Beach. Because if there's somewhere you want to go in early March, it's the Oregon coast! In truth, we had originally scheduled this trip in--you'll like this--last November, which is the second most popular time to visit the Oregon coast, but that had to be rescheduled when torrential rains wiped out large swaths of I-5 as well as peeling the roofs off of hotels all up and down the coast like so many lepers' fingernails.

And so! We gave the old car the usual checkup before leaving, and upon being told that the old car needed the mystical ministrations of Dr. Strange before we could ever dream of driving it for more than six miles or so, we promptly rented a car and drove to Cannon Beach! (Did you know that there exists a little gutless thing called a Chevy Stratus? Did you know that Chevy still makes cars? I'm not sure they do even after renting one. Renting this car was like renting a Zen koan. If a car makes no sound, was I really there to rent it?)

Interestingly, we weren't actually staying in Cannon Beach. We were staying in Arch Cape, which is only four miles or so south of Cannon Beach, except for the part where we found out that we were actually staying one mile south of Arch Cape at he Arch Cape Inn, which therefore put us five miles (of pretty twisty road) south of Cannon Beach, which is, in itself, no metropolis anyway. But it was cool--it wasn't like we were right off the highway where you could hear logging trucks screaming by all night, except of course we were, but at least we did have a convenience store located about 100 yards away down the highway, which was pretty exciting walking down, especially when the giant trucks howled by us and gave us incredible wind-wedgies and fucked up our hair, and anyway the convenience store was closed the whole time we were there anyway.

The Oregon coast! You're stupid if you don't go in early March!

But I'm making it sound as if we didn't have a good time; we had a glorious time. For one thing, any time away from 1. work and 2. one's normal house is a glorious time. It's good to get away. And Cannon Beach is pretty much away, particularly in, well, early March. We soon discovered there's like six places to eat in town in the off season, and three of them advertise "burgers and pizza." Oregon's native delights. We settled in at a place we had visited before, the Drift Wood Inn, which is sort of like a Cheers where everyone wears gum boots. We were to discover that the Drift Wood Inn also had improbably fantastic food, given the proletariat atmosphere; the wife had a ridiculously creamy filet mignon while I tore into some absurdly flaky tempura shrimp with two types of cocktail sauce. Meanwhile, yards away, some locals fed video poker machines with the same kind of fervor that you see people in Jerusalem tucking prayer slips into the Wailing Wall.

At night, we would retire back through the twisty dark road to our rather out-of-the-way hotel-thing. It was not really a hotel. It was a series of little connected self-serve bungalow things where you checked yourselves in; when you coughed up the cash online, they gave you a door code. Can nefarious people discover our door code and rob us? I wondered, and then immediately dismissed the idea as ludicrous, as we are worthless. Any robbers or kidnappers or mountebanks or whatever would steal up in the dark of night, filled with malign intent, and then would immediately spy the Chevy Stratus rental in our parking space and then disgustedly tiptoe away to break into the abandoned convenience store to see if anyone had left behind a roll of quarters.

Ensconced in our roughly bed-shaped room (there was an entertainment center whose doors, when opened, prevented one from opening the room door), we then proceeded to enjoy the creature comforts, including a lovely little sea-stone fireplace with the newspaper and kindling all set up and ready to be lit for a comfy fire! I looked quizically at it for a moment, as it seemed that they had stacked a rather large log on top of the newspaper and then thrown kindling on top of that, like a careless pasta dish, but I figured: Aw, they know what they're doing. I lit the paper, which burned merrily for a few seconds until it died out abruptly; the large piece of firewood continued to squat stolidly atop the ashes, its haunches unscathed by even the merest hint of scorching. The kindling, far above the fray, was not even warm, and victoriously keened with Elven voices into the maw of the chimney above.

We tried again, with similar results. Then we realized a key problem: the firewood was wet. Not "wet" as in "left out in the rain for a bit," but "wet" as in "unseasoned, green wood that might have been a boat keel last week." We would have no fire that night, unless you count the FIERY DIALOGUE BETWEEN JUSTIN LONG AND BRUCE WILLIS IN LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD! Which, of course, we do.

You see, we also watched a bunch of movies. The wife wondered aloud at one point if Cannon Beach had any sort of taxi service in case we wanted to spend a night at the Drift Wood Inn "getting loaded;" I just laughed weakly. It's like asking how many ATMs there are in Chicken, Alaska. No, it was movies for us, and fortunately for us, we adore horrible movies. To wit: 30 Days of Night, a movie that dares to ask the question, "Can we make this even stupider than the terrible comic book?" Thrillingly, the answer was a resounding YES. This movie did feature a bracing sort of schizophrenia where the laughable overacting of the WAMP-EERS was perfectly balanced out by the reliably affectless performance of Josh Hartnett, who can at least boast that he perhaps contained more moisture per cubic centimeter than, say, our firewood.

That same night--because we are fearless and fucking crazy, I guess--we also watched the astonishingly witless Beowulf, a movie so barking mad that it assumes that the viewers do want to see Angelina Jolie's alarming, nipple-less, motion-captured tits, but does not want to see Ray Winstone's alarming, presumably leathery, non-motion-captured penis. Beowulf is essentially 300 for people who worried that the latter was too realistically homoerotic.

Aw, there I go again, making it sound like we didn't have a good time. We did have a lovely walk on the beach under iron skies, a good half mile or so from the city center to Haystack Rock, which the wife informed me was the "third-tallest monolith in the world." But thanks to a series of childhood ear infections, the seaside wind was wreaking havoc with my pathetic auricles, so I ignored her, opting instead to point at a scuttling (read: completely motionless) hermit crab in a snail shell that I spied in a tidepool. The wife picked up the creature and cooed at it; the beast waved a tiny feeble claw in some sort of parody of defense. I hunched miserably against the wind and glared at the basalt-colored clouds bearing down on us from the sea.

It rained like Thetis' own vengeance on us all the way back into town, and we of course stopped by the Drift Wood Inn for a warming beverage before returning to roadside Lilliput to watch terrible movies, and of course we wish we were still there.

Roam | Skot | 06 Mar, 2008 |

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Comments

I've been to Cannon Beach. Many moons ago. In January. The two of us were pretty much alone in the little town, but BUT BUT we were invited into the local American Legion for polka night and dollar cans of PBR. That's right, Skot. Cheap canned beer, veterans, and fucking polka. Win. My girlfriend at the time thought it equally worthy, which is why I probably should've knelt among the peanut shells and proposed to her right there.

Comment number: 016956   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on March 7, 2008 05:00 AM from IP: 152.17.55.16

Haystack rock? Hey, i been there!

http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?p=1338

if we'd only stayed 7 years more, we might have run into you!

Comment number: 016957   Posted by: cleek on March 7, 2008 11:18 AM from IP: 66.162.205.50

Mock all you want, but my Chevy Koan™ gets such great mileage, it defies all attempts at rational analysis!

Comment number: 016958   Posted by: flamingbanjo on March 7, 2008 01:54 PM from IP: 216.231.38.72

Okay, apparently the "TM" symbol comes out as a series of Norwegian dipthongs.

Comment number: 016959   Posted by: flamingbanjo on March 7, 2008 01:55 PM from IP: 216.231.38.72

*sigh*
I have always wanted to go there. It looks beautiful and strange from florida.

Comment number: 016960   Posted by: Alyxmyself on March 7, 2008 07:26 PM from IP: 68.201.0.251

I'll have you know that the proper technical term is not hotel-things. It's hotel-thingys. My wife, the Diva Drew, has instructed me on this many times. And now I have passed this wisdom onto you.

Comment number: 016962   Posted by: Bob Wayne on March 9, 2008 11:19 PM from IP: 75.72.103.62

Um. Skot? Chevy doesn't make a car -- gutless or otherwise -- named the Stratus.

Dodge, however, does.

But yeah, Chevy is still in the car business. In fact, the Chevy Malibu won Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show this year, and Consumer Reports likes it too. (And no, this isn't spam; I'm a regular reader and have commented before.) Is the design incredibly bland? Heck yeah. But my sister likes it, so it clearly appeals to a certain demographic. And it is honestly a pleasure to drive, and I am one of those annoying "driving enthusiasts."

Anyway. I find your blog very disturbing. Keep it up! You make me homesick for Oregon even though I've never lived there and currently live in Germany (where I work for Opel, the equally-unpopular German equivalent of Chevrolet). I'm dying to check out your Olive Avenue taco stand.

Comment number: 016988   Posted by: Zoe on March 26, 2008 12:59 PM from IP: 84.168.206.17

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