a study in miniature

I have writer’s block.

Or, not writer’s block exactly, because I can still write. I can always write. But I’m bored with my own writing — as I’m writing it. I find it even more boring when I read it. It’s not that I find it boring to write. I just don’t find anything I say very interesting.

In addition to all the other half-started writings around here, I have five unfinished journal entries. And an unstarted one in my head about Thanksgiving and whether the turkey’s ass juices really make the stuffing tastier. But since I’m not writing any of that, I’ll see if I can keep from boring myself too much with mini-writing.

Spicy Things
I found something else to like about Pike Place market. On Sunday, P. suggested checking out World Markets, which we had seen on Good Eats. First, we discovered the hidden free parking that until now we thought was an urban legend. And, as luck would have it, the parking is directly next to World Markets. It’s on the west side of Western ave, just between the two pedestrian bridges (well, and also under them). Parking up to one hour is free. Of course, if you’re planning to hit the actual market, you’ll have to climb the stairs, which could take an hour on its own. But, we were just there for the spices. And World Markets has them. Tons of them. Everywhere. Whole or ground. And at around $1 per ounce (more or less). And for most spices? And ounce is a lot. I first asked for two ounces of rubbed sage (for that ass-juiced stuffing, obviously) and the girl behind the counter told me just how much that would be. Which was way more than what I needed. So, go there and buy spices. Or order online. And if you do order online, you send them a check after you get the package. I guess they figure there aren’t too many spice thiefs. Although they do say “Our lawyers make us say that we reserve the right to ask for prepayment on large orders (just until we get to know you better) or if your track record of paying us is slower than molasses in winter. ”

Icy Things
Last night, P. and I caught the end of this documentary on PBS called Touching the Void about climbers who got stuck in a blizzard on a mountain in Peru and somehow made it out alive despite all of the universe’s efforts. We missed a whole bunch of it, but we came in when one guy was trying to help another guy, who had broken his leg, down the mountain. Since the guy with the broken leg couldn’t walk down, they had put together a rope system where the guy with two good legs would anchor himself into the ice and then slowly lower the broken leg guy down the slope. Once he got to the end of the rope, the broken leg guy would anchor himself in, and the first guy would hike down to him, and they’d repeat. We came in at the part where the guy with the broken leg was slowly being lowered until he started going over a cliff. He yelled back at the first guy to stop, but he couldn’t hear or see what was going on. And so he kept lowering and lowering until he was out of rope. And broken leg guy was dangling 80 feet below the ledge. And the ground was really far away. Only the first guy didn’t know what happened. He only knew that he wasn’t getting the signal that broken leg guy was anchored in. So, he could only sit there. Only, he started slipping.

Meanwhile, dangling guy tried to figure out how to makeshift a way to climb up, only frozen fingers, lots of trying, dropping needed parts… it was very painful to watch. And stuck guy was slipping and thinking they were both going to tumble down the mountain and die and dangling guy kept waiting for stuck guy to slip to his death and come plunging over the ledge and then weighting him like an anchor and throwing him to his death too. Good times.

So, finally, stuck and now slipping guy cut the rope. So, only the dangling broken leg guy plunged to his death. Only not to his death exactly, more like to a claustrophic crevice from which there was no escape.

The next morning, the rope cutter hiked down, realized what had happened, but didn’t think to look down into the crevice to see if his friend might still be alive, and hiked back to camp. Where he told the guy at camp that their friend was dead and so obviously, they burned their trapped friend’s clothes.

Anyway, trapped guy did eventually find a way out and crawl over the glacier and down the rocks to camp, just before his friends packed up and headed home. And he was pretty pissed that they had burned his clothes, because what he was wearing had gotten a little smelly.

But what about the rope cutting thing? It’s impossible, really, to say what you might do, because they were sleep deprived, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and probably hallucinating. There is not much room for logic when you’ve got hallucinations to occupy your mind. Also, as a viewer, you know all the factors; rope cutter guy only knew that he was about to be pulled to his death. He didn’t think his friend was dangling over a cliff – he figured his friend was stuck somewhere and could use his help. He didn’t realize that he was “helping” his friend into a crevice from which there was seemingly no escape. And why didn’t dangling guy cut the rope himself as not to drag his helpful friend over the edge with him? Probably because it didn’t occur to him. His thoughts probably consisted of: “freezing. really really cold. also thirsty. could use some water about now. cold. can’t move fingers. wow this rope hurts. don’t look down.”

Anyway, they seem to still be friends. And even climbed that same mountain again in order to film for the documentary. However, you did not see them together at any point. Not that I’m saying they took separate helicopters up the mountain or anything. But they did burn his clothes.

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