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12.28.2003 - 1:09 p.m.


We were barreling down I-5 on Tuesday evening, a little south of Portland, when JB swore suddenly. "Shit," he said, staring in the rearview mirror. "That was a cop." Sure enough, we had flown right by a state trooper, who immediately swung in behind us and flashed his lights.

JB pulled over, and we sat in silence for a moment while the trooper slowly walked up to my window, where he aimed a flashlight around the interior of the truck before fixing his gaze on JB.

"The first thing I'm going to ask you is whether or not you are in some kind of medical emergency."

We are fucked, I thought.

JB dutifully shook his head no, and the cop went on. "I pulled you over for a couple of reasons. First, you were going way over the speed limit. Second, you were driving with your auxiliary lights on. You want to tell me why you were driving with your auxiliary lights on?"

"You mean my fog lights?" JB asked, confused. "Just to help me see the road better."

The cop leaned in a little, and I shrank back against my seat. "Why don't you just drive with your brights on then?" he growled. "Drive with your brights on and blind everyone?" JB opened his mouth but the cop cut him off. "Driving with your auxiliary lights on is ILLEGAL," he said, in a tone that clearly communicated the unspoken word "asshole".

"Now," the trooper continued. "You want to guess how fast you were going?" JB said something about how he didn't know he was speeding, and the cop barked "Well, you were FLYING BY EVERYONE ON THE ROAD! That might have been your FIRST CLUE!"

We are profoundly fucked, I thought.

The cop collected JB's license and insurance info, and stomped back to his car to run the data. JB and I passed the time pleasantly by staring straight ahead at the windshield and not blinking. When the cop returned, he looked even more pissed off. "Mr. JB," he said, "do you have your Oregon license with you?"

JB, illegally, keeps an active Oregon driver's license so he can shirk paying out of state hunting fees.

We are really fucking CORNHOLED, I thought.

"Um," JB said casually, then the trooper proceeded to rip into him. He went on and on about how you can't have TWO active driver's licenses and it was a FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR FINE and the whole time I was sadly waving my holiday bonus goodbye.

When he was finished with the business of the Oregon license, the trooper pointed a finger at JB. "I'm going to tell you what happens when there's a guy like you speeding on this highway," he said. "You're going too fast in the left lane. Well, there's cars merging onto the right lane all along this road. As vehicles pull into the left to let these cars in, you're going to have someone pull in front of you. You're speeding, so you can't slow down in time, and you hit them. Your vehicles are going to spin sideways, and cars will pile into you from behind. There's going to be fatalities. We come in to clean up the mess, and traffic is completely blocked for two or three hours. There you go, you've caused deaths, injuries, and you've RUINED PEOPLES' HOLIDAYS."

There was a pause, and I simultaneously envisioned both this horrible accident scenario and also the dollar amount on what was apparently going to be the world's most humongous ticket.

"But," the cop said. "I'm going to do something I don't often do." JB and I stared. No way. "I'm going to give you a warning."

And he smiled.

No fucking way.

He did chastise JB for the license thing and said he would check on that in a month and JB darn well better have taken care of it. He also lectured us that Keizer was coming up and the speed limit was 55, which he was positive we would be doing. Then JB and I were driving off, attending much more vigilantly to cruise control, talking excitedly about how we couldn't believe he let us off like that, and pointing out all the assholes who drive with their auxiliary lights on.

It was, no shit, a Christmas miracle.


Can I just say I got some great loot this year? Lynda Barry books, Preacher comic books, a beautiful handcrafted jewelry box, a subscription to Us magazine (shut up), Berkeley Breathed's "Flawed Dogs", fancy new silky underwear, and other assorted goodies.

My mom also gave me a writer's guide to editors/publishers/literary agents, which made me get all shmoopy, and was a way more thoughtful gift than any of the presents I gave her (one of which was a potato ricer, for crying out loud).


Photo time!

Back in '99, the bulk cargo vessel New Carissa grounded off of Coos Bay. It's pretty awesome to go out to the beach and check it out.

Also: do not FUCK with the New Carissa. Seriously.

This is Shore Acres park in Coos Bay. It's beautiful at any time, but especially magnificent when the waves are high.

Also: do not FUCK with Shore Acres. Kersploosh!

Same park, all lit up for the holidays.

JB and his brother Joe.

Me and JB. My jacket is very, very yellow.

This is Face Rock in Bandon, named for it resembling a disembodied head.

The Oregon coast? Gorgeous, but fucking WINDY AS HELL.


Random: I'm planning on plunking down a large vat of cash for a new digital camera. Any of you have any advice? I want something that can function more similarly to a SLR, with manual focus and so on.


Last things last: a Martha-y holiday tip from me to thee!

(Cue Queer Eye soundtrack)

Instead of throwing away all of the holiday cards you receive, or storing them in some box you never open again, why not cut out the cool front parts? Then you can use them again next year as gift tags!

All things just keep getting better!

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20 comments so far.

I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004

yay, diaryland