Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lee's Barber Shop

I went to the barber today. Lee's Barber Shop. Been there for 39 years. Lee's gotta be over 80. Hunches over from all those years of cutting hair. His ex-wife was named Holly Wood, before she married Lee. Anyway, Lee's got a single maroon, vinyl barber chair in the shop and an old twirly barber pole out front that doesn't twirl anymore. Inside, dozens of dusty model airplanes hang from the ceiling and old, metal miniature cars line the shelves. There's a black-and-white sign on the wall with illustrations of all the hair cuts of the day: flat top, butch cut, crew cut, fade ...

"That sign's from the 40s," Lee says, "All these wetbacks come in here, can't speak English, so I put that up there so all they have to do is point."

Over in an unlit sort of alcove, bills from around the world are tacked up on the wall.

"There's two Hussein bills up there," Lee says. "You know, Hussein. He's a dictator from Iraq. Guys like you started givin' me those things 29 years ago. These boys come back from the war over there and gave the Hussein bills to me. This redneck comes in one day and says, 'Why don't you sell me those Hussein bills' and I say 'Hell No.' They're worth a hundred bucks each. I don't care if the guy offered my a thousand bucks, I'd have to be the biggest asshole in town to sell those things."

Lee gave me a crooked haircut.

"How much do I owe you, Lee?"
"Thirteen bucks, guy. How's that sound?"
"Sounds good. Here. Just gimme five back."

The Road to Twin Lakes

I took this one from the side of the road on the way out to Twin Lakes, off Hwy 395 in the Eastern Sierra. I felt like I was in Montana or Idaho or something. That's Sawmill Ridge (not the Sawtooth Range) off in the distance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Super Dave and Cyril Mazibuko

Alright, until now, I've always thought that Super Dave was the master of invention, king of the big blue, world's greatest undercover agent of adrenaline. I imagine him taking on the anti-fun think tank (you know, the ones who put bumps on the public stair railings so you can't slide down them) all by his heroic self. But it looks like he might have a compadre in Cyril Mazibuko, the South African who built his first paraglider out of ... garbage bags!

Monday, September 17, 2007

20 Lakes Basin

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Eastern Sierra

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bread on the Barbeque

This is what happened when I tried to cook my bread on the barbeque. The pizza stone got so hot it burnt the bottoms to a crisp. But it's so damn hot down here, there was no way I was going to fire up the oven today.

The tops turned out ok, but I didn't mist the inside of the grill so they didn't get done enough.

Buckeye, Burners & the Eastern Sierra

On my final research trip for the Yosemite book, I drove through part of the Eastern Sierra and, after 10 hours behind the wheel and visits to nearly a dozen campgrounds, I still had time to get a little writing done. Actually, I pretty much was only able to stare at the computer screen for about a half-hour, feeling too tired and distracted by the wine and scenery. Near sundown, I soaked in murky hotsprings with a bunch of naked burners who were on their way to the Black Rock Desert. The water was better than the conversation. Sitting around with a bunch of Burning Man freaks while they rehash last year's party reminds me of getting stuck in one of those group conversations about the Brady Bunch. I never watched it. Anyway, the Eastern Sierra was mind-blowing. I've never been over to that side, and it felt like I'd left California altogether.