I can't believe college orientation already starts tomorrow. This summer flew by, and I barely had the time to step outside and enjoy the sunshine. We did take a two week trip to Yellowstone without even leaving our house...because we had to transcribe 27 files of 22 hours of audio for the Yellowstone magazine which will be released in spring 2016. We did this last year too, and we learned from our mistakes and created a much better schedule and system so it went much smoother this year than last year. Because of the crazy deadline, it was still very intense with little room for breaks or sleep. On top of that, we also had to transcribe a two hour long episode of StarTalk, which made the schedule even tighter. Among the people we transcribed there were wildlife activists, park rangers, ranch owners, and Native Americans from the Crow tribe. Some spoke passionately about saving grizzly bears and/or wolves at Yellowstone, others had that same passion for hunting them. One man got his face eaten by a mama grizzly bear protecting her cubs and nearly died. Some had grew up in the park and never lived anywhere else, and others had just recently discovered the treasure that Yellowstone is. Some came from different countries and had never before seen an intact ecosystem like Yellowstone with such abundance and distribution of wildlife. And some people had lost their homes or their cattle either due to people or creatures, and yet still remained grateful they had lived in such a beautiful place with hydro-thermal features, wildlife, vegetation, lakes, and geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
. One woman spoke of the intensity of Yellowstone's night sky, and the plight to map constellations among the overwhelming amount of stars. Newcomers spoke of traffic jams that lasted many hours long because of bear, elk, or bison jams, in which herds of wild animals would interfere with the traffic flow, and excited tourists who may have never seen a bear or bison would take many pictures while interacting with other tourists, park rangers, and locals. Many were doubtful that generations after would keep Yellowstone in it's present condition in the future because of political inactivity and a drive towards development in wild places.
After that project was completed, we had just a day to recuperate before we had to transcribe another episode of StarTalk. I loved this episode actually, the future of artificial intelligence in science was discussed and it even featured an interview of President Bill Clinton and a Skype interview of physics professor, Richard Muller. The most valuable thing President Clinton had for perspective in politics in the White House was a moon rock. In 1999, when the 30th anniversary of the walk on the moon was celebrated, President Clinton was given a vacuum packed, glass enclosed moon rock by NASA to keep in the Oval Office for the remainder of his presidency. The rock that was taken off the moon in 1969 was carbon dated at 3.6 billion years old. Bill Clinton put the rock on the table between the two couches and two chairs during the televised coverage of presidential meetings. When Republicans and Democrats, foreign world leaders, or people on two sides on any issue started to really get out of control, President Clinton would say, "Wait, wait, wait. You see that moon rock? It's 3.6 billion years old." And it worked every single time. This object existed at a time one could hardly imagine, and even in the White House, that cosmic perspective brought everyone and everything back down to earth.
To celebrate the completion of our transcribing and to just get out for one last hurrah before school starts for my brother and I, we took a trip to the Oregon Coast. We went to Seaside for my graduation, but that was a three hour drive and we didn't feel like taking that long of a trip for just a one or two night stay. So we went to Tillamook instead. Tillamook has the best ice cream and cheese in Oregon, but probably the worst Shilo Inn ever. Too bad we had to learn the hard way. It's one of the only hotel chains that is actually dog friendly, especially with large dogs and with two greyhounds, we didn't have very many options.
The drive to the coast was probably better than the stay itself. I love listening to music while staring out my window passing the creeks and streams, the cliffs and winding roads, the cows, horses, llamas, sheep, and farmlands, and above all the misty evergreen forests and the scent of the trees and of the ground after the rain. But while it was 99 degrees at home, it was only 74 degrees in the coast. Is was windy, but sunny and bright, and green and serene, and everything I remembered and dreamed it would be be.
Before we checked in, we went up to a beach in Tierra Del Mar, and drove our van in the sand and got stuck. We felt like the biggest losers on the beach as we kept digging underneath the tires and restarting our vehicle in desperate attempts to get out of that embarrassing situation. Everyone looked, but nobody helped. We called Triple A for a tow, but they wouldn't cover the tow because we were on the beach, not on the road. There was another car that also got stuck adjacent to us, and people were concerned about them, of course. Joshua and I walked our greyhounds along the ocean for a while before after an hour I heard, "THANK YOU, JESUS!!" from our dad, who was flooring the sandy van out of the beach. I was happy I at least got to get my feet wet in the freezing Pacific ocean before we drove to our hotel.
We got checked in at the Shilo Inn, unpacked, and ordered dinner at the nearby Shilo Inn Restaurant, which was possibly a bigger mistake than driving in the quicksand at Taco Del Mar...er I mean Tierra Del Mar. We ordered over the phone, and the cooks, staff, and manager were very rude to us and made us feel victimized. My mushroom cheeseburger was burnt and the bun was covered in charcoal, and we called to complain and as the phone was put down by a cook named Brandon, my dad heard the cooks and manager calling him a "fucking asshole," a "dick head," and other horrible profanities because he called them out when they were just about to close up for the night. I ate half the burger because I was hungry and didn't care, but I started feeling nauseous and having stomach pains soon after. They thought we were scamming to get free meals so they had us return all of the food, which was their biggest mistake that night. We stormed in there with our trays of food, and after being provoked again by a waitress there, the manager proceeded to tell us that the burger was not burnt, with we responded with, "Would YOU eat this?!" She looked at it and then was silent for a while when my dad then gave a beautiful speech that this was supposed to be our new place, our new stomping grounds, and they ruined it for us. He then called out the cooks for their appalling rude comments over the phone, the waitress for being a smart-ass to us, and the manager for assuming we were scamming to get free food. We then left, ordered Pizza Hut, then swam for an hour in their freezing cold pool before calling it a night.
The next morning, we were going to book another night to make up for the night before, but we saw all these notes posted about us at the front desk, and found out that the police were almost called on us, just because it hurt their pride to hear the truth. We were constantly being watched and stared at and I felt more like a prisoner than a guest there. The hotel was also very outdated, the beds were not very comfortable, and it had a wonderful view of the hotel parking lot.
We cancelled that day, packed up everything, went to get oyster shells for mom's gel candles, went to a seashell shop, and then went back home.
Here I was all this time wanting to go on vacation, go somewhere else, go anywhere else when I was transcribing, and now I can't be more ecstatic just to sleep in my own bed and live in my own room and be my own person without being watched by anyone except for the very people I love and trust more than anyone in the world, my family. However, dad's speech at the restaurant made that whole trip worth it, and I'm glad we came home before something worse would of happened like our van breaking down with no cell phone signal to call Triple A, and being hounded or possibly robbed by hitchhikers.
Now that I'm home, I'm gonna get the Led out because it's Robert Plant's 67th birthday!
(I didn't even have to Google it!
) It was his voice that hypnotized me during that first listen and that same drive through the Oregon Coast five years ago, and inspired me to write, draw, and sing throughout high school. While Robert Plant is notorious for his scream in the Immigrant Song and his high note in Black Dog, this is probably my favorite summer song that really shows the complexity and beauty of Led Zeppelin.
So, that was my summer in a nutshell. How was yours?