Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Qaaarch, Qaaarch, qaarch!

What the hell is that noise? I had the phone tied to one ear and taking at least half of my attention. I couldn't figure out what that bizarre noise was or where it was coming from. The noise stopped before the phone call did.

Hours later, in bed, while drifting in a pleasant snooze I heard it again. Qaaarch, squaaarch, Qaaarch! Ye gods! What is that? The noise promptly stopped again, but I got out of bed and investigated anyway. Patrolling through my living room in the dark with a flashlight.

The only thing out of ordinary was the new pile of crap I brought back from the summer office. Was it a phone in there somewhere? A smoke detector? BP_ was using some CO2 detectors for one of her recent projects, but how would one of those have ended up in a box of paperwork? I had to investigate. On top of the pile was a camp chair borrowed from the office, I dragged it out to it's intended home on the porch and when I opened it something fell out and landed on my bare foot. It moved. I jumped. It jumped. I made the noise this time, "Eeeearch!" and made the tippy toe -- eeew I have something alive on me -- dance back into the house and slammed the screen door closed.

With wits back about me I investigated again with flashlight, and the little gray lump that had fallen from the char was a frog. Cute little guy, about an inch across. Amazing that the little thing could make such a loud and obnoxious noise. I Googled frogs and guessed that it was probably a pacific tree frog, not poisonous, and put myself back to bed. It took a while to fall asleep again, and I dreamed of vicious spiky attack frogs.

The next morning the little guy was still on the porch, climbing the legs of the camp chair, the home I had obviously co-opted and transported many miles from it's source. Now instead of having trees and grasses and wild lands close by, the little bugger was stuck on a second floor balcony. The only wilderness being an oregano planter and the scattered beer bottles on the neighbor's side of the divider.

I did more Googling. The little guy is going to need water and heat and bugs to eat. Either that, or a safe place to hibernate for the winter. I feel bad for taking him from what was probably a nice home back at the office porch and moving him to a city balcony. I gently rearranged the camp chair to a better spot on the porch and put out a dish of water.

After a morning of running errands, I looked in on froggy again. He was out of the chair and sunning himself on the porch. I sat down to watch him for a while and he made a tentative hop. I was admiring his froglike grace and wondering weather he would be foolish enough to jump off the edge when he made another, bigger jump. "Aiiiiie!" I cried out as he went flying off the edge of the balcony. I peered over the railing until I spotted his little gray lump in the lawn below. I knew I had to resolve this frog issue once and for all.

I fetched a Tupperware and lid, added a splash of water and went down to the lawn below. He appeared unharmed from his mighty leap and it took no effort to coax him to hop into the little container. I held the lid over top, askew so air could get in and walked him to the little pond a couple minutes away.

In a shady spot next to a tree I put the container down, removing the lid. I sat next to him for a while and took stock of the nearby water with lots of algae and bugs and the muddy shore with grass, reeds and willows. There were ducks, turtles, spider webs and life all around. I worried a little about birds and cats and other critters that could eat frogs. I actually thought about scooping him up and taking him back home. But this was a good a place for him.

Strange the way the universe can pick us up and put us down again so far from where we are born. Sometimes fate gives us a nice landing spot, sometimes you end up in a cage, and sometimes there are predators and challenges to overcome. Even with my good intentions I don't know if I ended up helping or hurting the little frog that chose to live in my chair.

After we sat together unmoving for a while I got tired of waiting for froggy to take the initiative and hop away. I picked up the Tupperware and shook the little bugger out onto the ground. Sometimes, even if you don't do anything the universe will push your ass around anyway.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Air Guitars

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grammar Police

Are you driving back to Missoula tonight?
Well, drive safe.
I will. I'll drive safely too.
And don't let the grammar police catch you.

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