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Patriotism is the new not caring about your country

I think I speak for everyone in America when I say: what a fabulous four-day Indendence weekend. God bless America. If you enjoyed yourself over the weekend to the extent that I did, you should take a moment to bow your head and thank our forefathers for their wisdom in writing the Declaration of Independence on a Tuesday so that future generations could justifiably skip work on Monday.

I certainly did, taking the opportunity to accompany Kelly, Marc, and Yvonne on a camping trip to Lake Roosevelt on the East Side. Besides being wonderfully hot and sunny (I now have tan lines, bitches), the following rad / interesting things occurred:

  • I finally learned to water ski, something I’ve been meaning to do since about the seventh grade. My first attempt to learn took place almost exactly a year earlier in Port Angeles, but that mostly resulted in my being drug brutally through the water for about a quarter mile while Kelly’s father laughed and sipped his beer. I did manage to stand up a couple times, but by that point I was so tired from my lake-water beating that these moments were short lived. This time, however, I stood up on my first try and even cut back and forth across the wake after a couple practice runs. I felt very proud. I should note that Kelly and Marc are both orders of magnitude better than me — they only need a single ski.
  • We drove Kelly’s boat (named “Boaty” for reasons that should be obvious) from the boat launch to our camping site, a strip of relatively deserted sandy beach about twenty feet from front to back. Lake Roosevelt is actually the dammed Colombia River, held up by the massive concrete edifice of the Coulee Dam. At this point in the year, the engineers at the dam are still filling the reservoir, which means that when power consumption drops during the night they just shut the sluice gates and let the lake rise. After the first night, we noticed that our beach seemed smaller. We took some measurements and discovered that the lake had risen over a foot during the night, climbing about 6 feet up the beach. Well, no big deal, we thought, we’ll just move the tents to higher ground and call it good. This was a wise move — the next night, the lake rose again, swamping the sand where we’d pitched the tents originally. I left that morning, but Kelly and Marc stayed an extra night to wake up to an inch of water in their tent. There is something to be said for camping in designated areas.
  • Because the lake is artificial, it has risen up to the base of some very sheer cliffs lining the Columbia River Gorge, making for some awesome cliff diving. I never miss an opportunity to jump off tall things, so we drove around in Boaty looking for the optimal spot to do so. Nature has provided spectacularly in this respect, tendering a triangular cliff face climbing to a height of around 50 feet with a slope gentle enough to walk up. A dozen or so people were jumping from various heights along the ramp when we arrived, and I wowed everyone present by going straight for the apex and dropping like a stone right onto a big floating stick. Fear not, I am unhurt. Marc and Yvonne both captured video of this event, hopefully forthcoming.
  • Huge houseboats are available to rent on the lake, and one of these moored at the same beach as us. Its occupants were very friendly, and we spent some time on the boat, first sliding down the built-in waterslide attached to the back and then later getting drunk with the older occupants up on the roof. The ringleader of this group was a very drunk, flamboyantly gay sales executive for Rainbow vacuums (basically a pyramid scheme selling a cross between a vacuum and a bong that costs far too much money). He kept telling us “you guys don’t even know” without making it clear what it was we didn’t even know about. I’m realizing that this story doesn’t really have a point, but it was fun.
  • Apart from being almost five hours away, Lake Roosevelt kicks serious ass.

    Last night I drove over to Banjo (Kelly’s houseboat on Lake Union) to watch the fireworks show taking place there. To get onto her street I had to sweet talk the cops guarding the entrance, then inch my way into what I think was the last parking spot in the entire city — my parallel parking skills are second only to my powers of self-promotion, but this spot challenged even my steady hand. The show was as spectacular as ever, with big, meaty sonic blasts flattening our internal organs with every burst of color overhead. You just don’t get that on TV. The only notable improvement over years past was the inclusion of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which now apparently passes for an uplifting patriotic anthem.

    It occurs to me that it’s summer now, fo realz. When did that happen? Let’s go do something out of doors.

    Posted in Musings.

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