BAMboozled Find truth in youth. Thu, 13 Sep 2012 02:37:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Outside Lands Thu, 13 Sep 2012 02:30:27 +0000 danielb
* * * 1/2
If his set at Outside Lands was any indication, Beck knows what audiences want.  The unclassifiable rocker’s main-stage set was an energetic romp through all his best-known tunes, from classics like “Loser” and “Where It’s At” to new ones like “Gamma Ray” (from the criminally underrated Danger Mouse collab Modern Guilt) and a number of Gueroand Sea Change classics.  It was a setlist that sounded like it was devised by a panel of the cross-faded audience members who would otherwise shout the names of the songs into the air, and many of these songs (especially “Loser” and “Golden Age”) were thrilling to see live.  Yet I certainly expected an artist with such an extensive and genre-defying oeuvre as Beck to throw in at least a few deep cuts–or at least “Debra.”
* * * 1/2
South African crew Die Antwoord came on like the elevator full of blood from the Shining, unleashing trashy multilingual rave-rap and grotesque visuals of indeterminate blood-spurting objects upon a thousands-strong mass of stoners, ravers, and unfortunate souls simply trying to enjoy their sisig tacos.  Yo-Landi Vi$$er will still be dancing through my nightmares ten years from now, flaunting her age-indeterminate frame at me while making noises reminiscent of a Japanese schoolgirl impersonating Alan Vega.  Yet for all their unapologetic trashiness, their set still felt like a breath of fresh air.  This was truly a “who the fuck booked these guys” sort of set, with the band fully taking advantage of the festival setting to presumably scare the shit out of any non-psychopath who hadn’t come to Hellman Hollow specifically to see them perform.  Plus, Die Antwoord play the sort of music that was seemingly designed for the festival setting, with massive bass and lyrics that were generally comprehensible when they were sung/rapped in anything even closely resembling English.
* * * *
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra specialize in one thing and one thing only, which you can probably guess by looking at the band’s full name.  If their name is any indication, the extremely tight Brooklyn crew are an Afrobeat band for the sake of being one–but at Outside Lands, they played with a fiery energy that went far beyond the simple emulation of classic Fela.  If Antibalas wasn’t the most original act at Outside Lands, they were among the most technically adept and certainly one of the most fun.
* * * 1/2
Though they weren’t quite as spectacular as the first time I saw them at the Great American Music Hall in 2011, Washed Out (the most Pitchfork-approved band of the night) were nonetheless excellent, easily adapting their sunny electro-pop to the foggy climes of San Francisco.  As with Beck’s, Washed Out’s songs didn’t stray far from their studio versions live–which may have been a good thing, as evidenced by a rather dull, electric piano-driven version of “Feel It All Around” (“the Portlandia song,” as at least one audience member loudly noted).
* * *
I don’t know what about Justice’s set was so underwhelming.  They had the visuals in check, with the giant glowing cross and the Marshall stacks and the ‘70s-hard-rock-band attire.  With the exception of their unnecessarily drawn-out version of “D.A.N.C.E.,” every song sounded as powerful (if not more so, as was the case with “Civilization”) as on their studio albums.  The crowd was completely into it.  But for some reason, I left Justice severely wishing I’d listened to my friend’s 50-something dad and gone to see Neil Young instead (and not even because what I could hear of Neil Young was particularly good, though I’m sure his set was amazing).  I think the culprit was simply that I didn’t feel like dancing.  This is music that must be grooved to to truly be felt, and for whatever reason (excessive food intake, walking around, dancing during previous sets, not being on molly) I felt incapable of doing much more than a wavy dance.  (The rating here applies to my experience, not the music, which would merit at least three and a half by itself.)
* * * * 1/2
Prior to the festival I’d only just started getting into Tame Impala’s music, thanks to an earlier recommendation from Handshake’s Sam Forester.  The Australian psych-rock outfit’s excellent 2010 album Innerspeaker goes best with a bowl of weed and a snack, and at a festival where the quantity and quality of those two things may be unsurpassed, Tame Impala’s music fit perfectly.  But after a few minutes, I forgot all about any peripheral distractions, from the bowl of Indonesian noodles in my hand to the tens of thousands of people making noise around me.  Though seeing a band at a festival is generally not an immersive experience as a really good club show can be, no act at Outside Lands (with the exception of Sigur Ros later that night) made me inhabit the music as much as Tame Impala did.
* * * 1/2
As with Tame Impala, I saw Father John Misty after a recommendation from a member of Handshake–in this case, Evan Greenwald, who has recommended this particular act’s new album Fear Fun in my search for decent music this year.  The solo project of former Fleet Foxes member J. Tillman, Father John Misty was more uptempo and rock-oriented than the harmony-led folk of Tillman’s former band.  Even more lively than their grooves was Tillman’s stage presence, which had a certain awkward charisma that suggested he was new to being a frontman and thoroughly enjoying it.

* * * *
Big Boi’s set at the Twin Peaks stage at Hellman Hollow felt every bit like a main-stage set, with the Atlanta MC’s larger-than-life personality replacing the Jumbotrons.  Though not dressed any more remarkably than the various hypemen onstage, Big Boi completely dominated his set, tongue-twisting his way through OutKast classics and solo cuts alike with power and passion.  The best moment by far was “Ms. Jackson”–though Big Boi seemed to go for the nostalgia angle by screening the song’s video in the background, his rhymes were so tight and locked into the groove it was difficult to focus on anything else.  Without a doubt the best live hip-hop performance I’ve ever seen.

* * * 1/2
I saw the first half of Metallica’s pyrotechnic-filled set, and though Metallica is an unbelievably tight live band with an obvious flair for performing, their set didn’t thrill me quite as much as it could have, likely for similar reasons as my experience seeing Justice the previous day–I simply wasn’t really into it.  ”Master Of Puppets” sounded great, but it didn’t have much more of an effect on me than any time I’ve ever heard it on the radio, even with the benefit of fifty-foot flames shooting into the air from the stage.
* * * * 1/2
Sigur Ros was a different story altogether.  The Icelandic band’s set found them using the medium of live performance to augment the scale of their sound, projecting their biggest ideas across a suitably massive space.  Throughout their set, it felt as if a bubble had been cast over the stage and the audience, creating an isolated space where everything was reduced to inconsequentiality except for the music itself.  The band members themselves were barely visible, mere shadows against the giant projections of organic landscapes that dominated the stage.  But nobody came to Sigur Ros’s set just so they could behold Jonsi and company with their very own eyes–the music was, truly, the only thing that mattered.
* * * 1/2
I started Sunday a bit late.  There literally wasn’t a single act I knew of or wanted to see until Jack White, so when I arrived I ultimately decided to stay by the main stage and watch Regina Spektor’s set.  Though I can’t profess to be a fan of Spektor’s music, it was certainly interesting to witness her music in a live festival setting.  The setup was minimal–a cellist, a drummer, a synth player, and Spektor on voice and keys.  Yet every note sounded so crystal-clear, every word so effortlessly comprehensible, that it was hard to imagine this was taking place at a festival with over a thousand people in attendance.  On the subject of the crowd, the audience at Spektor’s set was among the most diverse of any I witnessed–within a few feet of me, there were joint-passing hippies, an old woman who must have been eighty, a face-painted raver girl on her boyfriend’s shoulders, and a number of people waving inflatable sharks in the air.
* *
Maybe I just didn’t give Jack White a chance, or maybe everyone had already been to his surprise set in the forest earlier, but nothing about the main-stage set by the man hailed by many as the savior of rock n’ roll stood out to me.  The sound was sharp and tinny, as if the sound people were trying to replicate a garagey Third Man production, and the session musicians played as if they were boogieing for the first time in their lives.  Even “Seven Nation Army,” which can be a behemoth live if the version on the White Stripes’ Under Great White Northern Lights is any indication, sounded flimsy and insubstantial.  It was a set that could have rocked tremendously, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t.
* * * * *
Of all the acts I saw, Stevie Wonder was the only one (aside from Sigur Ros) who thoroughly met my expectations.  I came to Stevie’s set expecting a lively, energetic set featuring some of the greatest pop songs ever written, as played by one of the most technically skilled musicians ever to perform popular music.  As Wonder is one of maybe four or five currently active artists who might play a show fitting the description, it’s safe to say I got exactly what I came for.  All the classics were there, from “Higher Ground” to the earth-moving “Superstition” to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” plus some deep cuts I’d never even heard and a truly moving tribute to Michael Jackson by way of “The Way You Make Me Feel.”  Wonder’s voice, keyboards, and band were every bit as funky (and frequently more so) as on record.  For two glorious hours, Wonder single-handedly made up for the rest of this comparatively sleepy day and every other less-than-satisying experience I had at the festival.
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An experiment on silence Thu, 12 Jul 2012 02:14:55 +0000 angela.g You can hear people speaking everywhere, as long as there are people around. Everyone takes it for granted; not many people appreciates the ability to speak.

Therefore, during the summer, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to stay silent.

Not for the whole summer, of course. I would like to do a whole summer, but my parents would not allow me. I took some time trying to persuade my father, who called this an “unnatural experiment”.

But anyhow, I did it for two and a half days. I was planning on a week, but unpreventable circumstances stood in my way. Staying silent is way harder than it sounds, unless you are mute.

It’s uncomfortable at first, getting used to it. People around you having conversations, and you just can’t resist to join in. Some stupid person doing some stupid things on TV, and you just can’t resist calling him or her stupid. Okay, so I admit that I accidentally slipped once or twice, but for the most part, I stay silent. After a while, you get used to it. The less you talk out loud, the more you start having conversations inside your head.

Anyways, it’s an interesting experiment. You should definitely try it in your spare time!

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Three pieces of fast inspiration Thu, 12 Jul 2012 01:55:26 +0000 jessica Prompt: Theft and loss

Time. It slips through your fingers, escaping your grasp, no matter how much you try to protect it. Try to keep it. That time, it left behind hundreds, thousands, millions cases of theft. What a criminal! They say that time robbed your youth, your energy and health. They say that time took away your memories, your happiness, your sadness, your emotions. It even steals life, for all must pass away with time. Oh time, do you steal, simply in revenge, for me loosing you in the first place?

Prompt: Old and new
Things old but new:

“Jimmy, what is that?”
“Oh, my new chair. I got it at a garage sale.”

“I’ve heard that you got a great deal.”
“Yeah. A new antique vase collection for just five hundred dollars.”

“Let’s open up a new bottle of wine.”
“Not that one! It’s a 1980.”

“Dad, is that…”
“Yep, a cotton gin. Never seen one before, have you.”

“I’ve just got a new uncle. He’s fifty-five years old.”
“Really? He’s old.”

Prompt: Something from the cafe-du-soleil

A bar, a bottle of wine, wine glass,
accompanying sadness to the brassy jazz.
A counter, swirling stools, and dim lights,
the turmoil emotions reach the heights.
Therefore, drink, my friend, drink!
Drink you despair away.
Don’t let yourself sink
into that mud of dismay
Because, as you see,
alcohol makes you spill out the truth,
and as you say it, I shall listen.
let the wine unwind your tongue loose,
let cheering you up be my mission.

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Review Thu, 28 Jun 2012 02:07:10 +0000 amanda Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 film directed by Mike Nichols.
Both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are at their best, starring as Martha and George, both emotionally spent spouses, in their forties. George is a history professor and married to Martha, the daughter of the president of the New England university that George works at. They return home from one of Martha’s father’s parties at around two in the morning, and spend their time fiercely arguing, or as George says, “merely exercising… that’s all. We’re merely exercising what’s left of our wits.”
Their incessant arguing doesn’t stop even when a young Ivy League-type couple, Nick and Honey, get caught in the crossfire. The party of “fun and games” thrown by George and Martha reveals things about their marriage and also that of Honey and Nick’s. Starting when Martha mentions their son, the fun and games escalates to where George, after warning Martha, announces that their son is dead, saying he got a telegram that their sixteen year old son had died in a car crash. Martha begs him not to “kill” their son, saying he “can’t do this.” Nick then figures out that Martha and George couldn’t have kids, so they imagined a son and invented his life for the past 16 years.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was groundbreaking for its profanity and sexual implication; it was one of the films that led the film rating system to be changed. It shocked people because it didn’t stand by the cookie-cut vision of ideal, immaculate marriages, instead showed intimate, intense arguments made by worn out spouses.

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Action Bronson “Dr. Lecter” Review Thu, 14 Jun 2012 02:56:25 +0000 danielb What more could a man need: delicious food, beautiful women, top-quality dutchie, and the occasional wacky misadventure.  The 27-year-old New York MC and chef (as in an actual chef) known only by the almost absurdly macho moniker Action Bronson knows rap listeners’ desires to live vicariously through hearing their idols’ visions of fortune and fame (or their recollections of current fame) and exploits that desire by gleefully moving back and forth between rap fantasies–pimp, john, gangster, rich man, Lothario, killer on the run.  Bronson is hardly convincing as a Mafioso, but this makes songs like “Bag of Money” all the more glorious as a vision of escapism–Bronson’s lyrics are detached from both himself and the listener, making none of them believable but all of them fun to imagine.  The entire record has the feel of a daydream–a chubby chef from New York fantasizing about living in a gangsta’s paradise between exhausting hours in the kitchen.

His debut album, Dr. Lecter, is not a “real” album in the sense that something like Illmatic is, but never once does it seem “fake.”  I am reminded of Tom Waits, who lived a quite comfortable life in the Central Valley suburbs before spending a career documenting the lives of downtrodden alley cats.  It’s only as real as the warm breath of a story.  My friend Kai, tiring of “vulgar rap,” dislikes Bronson because of his relentless profanity and misogyny.  But honestly, does he sound at all threatening, even when he’s making it very clear that “the bag of money’s coming with me?”  His pinched, Ghostface-like delivery is just too likeable.  And when he talks about women, he comes across more like your dad joking about big busty ladies, or one of the lovable guys from The Hangover posing with a bunch of anonymous strippers in a drunken photograph.  Furthermore, what single, horny, heterosexual twenty-something couldn’t resist access to any woman in the world?  We don’t reprimand each other for having our innocent little fantasies.

Even if Bronson’s vision of paradise doesn’t appeal to you, there’s plenty to be said about his abilities on the mic.  Bronson is one of those rappers that rhymes things like “glass filled” with “rap skills” and “Catskills,” or “apple off your head,” “tackle for the bread,” and “shackled to the bed,” with effortless flow and skill.  The only other rapper I can think of to emerge recently who pays such lavish attention to his rhymes is Nacho Picasso, the Seattle MC who released the excellent For The Glory last year and caught my attention in part for rhyming the same few syllables for almost entire verses but stringing his lines together so cohesively it sounds completely natural.  Yet while Picasso focuses the bulk of his attention on his rhymes and his nifty one-liners, the simple ease of Bronson’s flow makes his rhymeplay sound all the more dazzling.

What captured me most about this album during my first listen was the beats.  The production on each Bronson release so far has been handled by a single producer, and while his rap style often clashed with Statik Selektah’s (Well Done) and Party Supplies’ (Blue Chips) beats, Bronson finds a happy medium here with producer Tommy Mas.  Mas’s beats have the same urban-jungle swagger as RZA’s best Wu-Tang work, placing samples from jazz, world music, surf rock, and blues over bouncy, non-electronic drum loops.  They’re lean, hard, no-frills, non-progressive beats that eschew the dense impressionism that has become dominant in contemporary underground hip-hop production in favor of funky, muscular rhythms that give Bronson ample turf to exercise his flow.

People who have heard Bronson’s music before or read other reviews of Dr. Lecter may be aware of the major elephant in the room here–Bronson sounds an awful lot like the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah.  He has the same sort of pinched, nasal flow and penchant for bouncy, distinctly New York beats, and the main gripe I get from people trying to get into Bronson is how if they wanted to hear Ghostface they would just put on some Ghostface.  Luckily, Bronson has enough of a unique style and personality to offer something new to the rap game.  He’s his own character, a food-loving ladies’ man who spends his piles of well-earned money on the best food and the best weed.  And unlike Ghostface, whose every word seems credible no matter how outlandish his stories, it’s obvious Bronson is just putting on a fantasy.  On Dr. Lecter, Bronson comes across as nothing more and nothing less than an incredibly good character actor.

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flaw Thu, 07 Jun 2012 02:52:05 +0000 mia I want to know who you are

when you separate your skin from your tights

when the sun bathes in air, roused  like

the  indentations in your hips

I want to diagram the angles of the mark

where your bra clasped your back a little too hard

I’ve been told reason trembles like me before love

but because I don’t love you I have so many reasons

to want you.

I need to note where your body betrays you,

sandy beach grass hair on your lower back

rose petals thrown at your feet, stretched blister upon blister

if you were not a goddess, maybe I would answer your calls.

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Harlem Thu, 31 May 2012 02:41:05 +0000 danielb At one


Frodo must have looked back

on the Shire

on Bree

on the edge of Hobbitown

and thought “Man,

I am far from home.

I am on the crest of a fucking mountain.”


Home is where the heart is.

We keep the memories of Mary and the lamb,

Mother by the fire as we clung by our mouths to the bottle.


I hear Mr. Romney used to hit people.

His political futurehead would detach

“Don’t Step Over The White Lines!”

and they would fall to the floor

with red rhododendrons on their cheeks.


Soul Vocals are rising up on the tide.

Harlem from the distance is an egg custard.

Its thick shell rises up around a depth of gold

The gold glow of community

Comfortably nestled in the warm night

By thousands of skyscrapers and fortifications.


“Do you know what it would mean if we lost Harlem?”

President Obama was frantic on the phone.

We lost Harlem anyway;

a second term in the sunlight

could not stop the watchful Golden Eyes of Mitt Romney.

Harlem was safe in the realm of its art

Not the rebellious Harlem of yore

The one of freaky jazz and women dancing

On tables in the templates of fine loft restaurants.


It was a far cry from the rudimentary Haarlems of yore.

It was thousands of fierce eyes preparing for battle.

Do you know what a battle could be?

On these streets illuminated by glowing neon signs

An electric flash can rapidly illuminate the silhouette of a street fighter.

The hulking silhouettes

Of villains heading home for the night.

There was a casino-like air to these apartments

As thin as shotgun houses but decked out in red velvet.

They were thick with the smell of cigarettes

And the sound of Ragtime.


I’m High and Listening to SEXXX DWARF! This slap Kills! Soft Cell Only On 106.Never!

A skull nestled snug from the rain inside an alien lighthouse, and PIRATES WILL CONQUER (presumably accompanied by a clap of lightning).

Fuck Mr. Romney He is a Bumbled Ass! Hit Me Up for a Link to a Link to a Link to a Manual Salesman of Tijuana Bible Dealers.

Puta Madre (a sombrero-eyed robot in cold rainpaved stone)

At the base is a pile of skulls and crossbones,



rain-soaked Pamphlets dropped by those peaceful planes in the sky.

Red searchlights peruse the claustrophobic ruins of the City

skulking between old archways and unused boulders

piercing ancient carvings and making them shine with crimson.


Here are Four Different Siren Sounds:






I could hear each in the night.

One was a red trill of urgency on wings.

One was the low tremor of an airship.

One was the frantic sound of a tragic fire engine.

One was for night delivery.


I gingerly placed my hand on the grime

Wiped away the filth like hardened tears

and read the accounts of the hardened culture.

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Jade Wed, 30 May 2012 19:00:13 +0000 angela.g High, high above, beyond all

I look below

at the wispy clouds, drifting by

That obscures for one moment,

My sight of the ocean.

High, high above, beyond all

the clouds have passed

and there appears my ocean

A deep, dark green

Tinged with pearly luminescence.

High, high above, beyond all

a patch of land

It’s swirling down the ocean

Joining with the green

Soon to be gone.

It will leave no more than dust

On the tide of time.


High, high above, beyond all

I see my ocean.

Look. At its center

Is the dark green of secrets


A jade never tells.

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to the boy who flies on the wind - Thu, 17 May 2012 01:24:52 +0000 karin you never intended to stay, whether you knew it or not.
the sky was always,
always bright with the color of possibilities, the
tropical scent of catching,
catching sunlight with your wings.

i didn’t lose you between here and the ocean.
i was your breeze.

though the bitter after taste of our anticipated honeymoon has lasted,
still fly by my momentum.

the clouds were never too sultry for your tongue because
you never could see romance in the movement
only in your destination.

you don’t know it yet, but
the boy who flies too high loses his wings.

i hope you learn the grace of the rippling waves of air around
and i will be your repelling force -

fly home.

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Three Journal Entries from three days spent in the Wilderness without Food Thu, 10 May 2012 04:44:17 +0000 reilly Journal Entry 1

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I arrived at the spot to find it unsuitable for sleeping because of the large numbers of thistle growing thereabouts.  Found a small beach near a curve in the stream to place my bed-roll.

It is lunch time and all I can thank about is food.  This could be awful.  I am very hungry after the hike.  Attempted quashing my hunger by drinking quart of water.  Didn’t work.  Right away I feel lonely like I cannot do this.  Have decided to take a long walk up the stream bed to explore and take my mind off things.  My sundial indicates it is about 3pm.

It is about 5pm and I have returned.  My walk I noted numerous wild creatures. I will keep a log with some sketches.

Wildlife Log

4 tan colored lizards living in the cliff face along the river.  Several rainbows trout!  This river is very cold with significant shade making it ideal for trout and salmon.

In the evening about bats emerged from some crevice unknown to me and flitted about the river eating bugs.  Feeding started at 7:45 and ended at approximately 8at least according to my sundial.

They could also be sparrows or starlings.


Hundreds of century plants line the cliff face.  Stream is lined with thick bushes and grasses making navigation up and down irksome.  Small deciduous trees live here all the old growth burnt in the fire.  Even a few of the century plants are charred.

River bed is very healthy looking and contains a variety of grasses and mosses.


Journal Entry 2

Tuesday, April 3rd , 2012

Awakened at first light but stayed in the sleeping bag as there was nothing better to do.  When the sun climbed over the canyon the sundial indicated approximately 10a m.  As I lie in bed there are a number of interesting activities occurring nearby.

Walked to century plant and tied piece of tape.  I feel very hungry now all I can think about is food, drinking quart of water with entire lemon worth of juice to alleviate hunger.  This time it seems to be working.

Wildlife Log

Awake to find about 200 winged insects pacing the ground about my bed-roll.  I don’t know what they are, but they seem to have gathered here to mate.  here is a pen sketch (sorry I couldn’t include sketch).

Later I noticed a small turtle in the shallows near my bed roll.  When I went to tie the tape it moved away here is a pen sketch (once again I’m sorry).  The shell was dark brown with a light brown crisscrossed pattern of lines.  Underbelly is a light green.

Flies are extremely pesky!!!

I noticed a number of white and yellow butterflies.

Hunger returned with a vengeance a round lunch time.

approximately 1-2pm drank quart of water.  Feeling much better.  There are very large number of jet liners that have been passing overhead.  It seems there is a major flight path.  Are they servicing LA or Santa Barbara.

Startled a green snake with a yellow stripe in a stand of bushes.  It slithered away.

Saw an orange butterfly with black outlining its wings.

Honeybees are pollinating a tree along the river.  The tree is giving off a strange burnt odor.  Sketch of tree branch (sorry).

I feel like I am witnessing a spring awakening.  Everything is mating or being pollinated.  There are even little minnows swimming in the stream.

Jesus Fuck!! These flies are annoying!

Rainbow trout is swimming in the pool nearby my bedroll.

Journal Entry 3

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I was awakened today by the wind.  It was early in the morning, the Sun had not yet risen.  I don’t think I have ever been disturbed more by the wind before.  Suffice it to say that I could not get a second more of sleep and was forced to lie in my sleeping bag and listen to its ominous howling.  It didn’t die down till approximately 10am.

When I awoke I was in a severely weakened state.  I drank a quart of water but this did not seem to help things.  When I went to put up a new flag I noticed a bag of emergency food sitting on a log.  It was all I could  do not to devour it on the spot.  Now all I can think of is food!  Great feasts and bounties, that never end! Perhaps I shall right a story about this.

Wildlife Log

Spotted ten juvenile trout swimming in a kind of school near my camp.  Noticed a number of aquatic beetles that borrow in the sediment and river grass.  I still can confirm that the avians that feed on bugs are in fact bats.

Spotted a pair of chipmunks or squirrels chasing each other high up the side of s stepp hill they are no more than a quarter of a foot in length and probably only weigh less than a pound.

The wind this morning seems to have broken a number of branches clogging the stream at various places.  Oh curse the terrible wind!

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