Sorry to be MIA again. Work gets busy, and with Benjy home this week, my evenings have been filled with other things.
I won’t lie — I love having him home. He’s been hard at work weeding the flower beds and catching up on gardening and yard work that I can’t really do. We’ve visited my parents in their new home so that he could have a chance to see them. My brother and his family came over, too, so the cousins were all together. Good times.
So, I'm behind on Breaking Point already — I’m disappointed with myself but not surprised — but I hope to catch up. And what music am I listening to?
I started out noodling around on iTunes looking for new music and had a preliminary playlist going. That has morphed a bit with some new downloads and now it looks like this:
Beautiful by 10 Years
Landing In London by faves 3 Doors Down & Bob Seger
Santa Monica by Theory of a Deadman
Believe by Staind
Save Me by Shinedown
Call Me by Shinedown
Breaking Inside Shinedown
If You Only Knew by Shinedown
Beautiful Day by Saving Abel
Drowning (Face Down) by Saving Abel
Oye Como Va by Santana
Suite Española, Op. 47: Asturias by Pepe Romero
Not Afraid by Eminem
Wherever You Will Go by The Calling
This Is Baghdad by Bruce Cockburn
Blow Me Away by Breaking Benjamin
I was listening to My First Kiss by 3OH!3 — they’re local boys for me — but it was a bit too happy for this part of the story. (We're going to have some exclusive 3OH!3 stuff in our paper soon when their new CD comes out.)
There's some Nickelback tossed in there, as well as Hinder and Hoobastank. The Bruce Cockburn piece is really evocative because he visited Iraq before he wrote it and the "war zone" element is reflected in the song, I think. (I interviewed him about it when he came back; he is amazing.) Even if Zach and Natalie aren’t in the Middle East, they’re definitely in a war zone... especially right now.
And because so many of you have said you need a fix, I searched through the 68 pages I've written and pulled out something I thought I could share without spoiling the story.
Yes, I'm posting an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Breaking Point! I won't be around much till next week, so hopefully this will tide you over. In the meantime, I wish my American readers a happy Memorial Day in memory of those who have served. To everyone else, have a happy weekend!
From Chapter 3 of Breaking Point
“Zach, wake up! I think they’re coming!”
Zach jerked awake.
Men’s voices grew nearer.
Gritting his teeth, Zach dragged himself upright, more aware of Natalie’s fear than his own discomfort or dread. He fought to catch his breath. “It’s okay … Cárdenas isn’t here yet. They’re … coming for me… not for you.”
“It’s not okay! No matter what you’ve done, you don’t deserve to be tortured or chained up like this. You are in chains, aren’t you? I can hear them when you move.”
“I guess they figure… I’m more of a threat than you are.” And then it hit him. She thought he was a criminal. Not surprising, given their situation and how little he’d told her.
In that instant, the door was thrown wide, daylight spilling across his blindfold. Familiar voices joked in Spanish about Natalie.
“She is pretty — and shy. Look. She doesn’t like it when I touch her.”
Zach thought he heard Natalie gasp, her shoes scuffing on the floor as she backed away from the door to her cell.
The men laughed.
“I hope El Jefe shares her when he’s done with her. Oh, she makes me hard.”
“Do you think El Jefe would mind if we fuck only her mouth?”
Anger and disgust burned through Zach, reviving him, clearing his head. “Cárdenas will feed your dick to his dogs, you stupid chingadero.”
That got their attention.
Zach heard a key slip into the lock of his cell door.
“Eh, cuñado, are you ready to talk? Or do you want to die screaming?”
He ignored the taunt. “You should feed her. Do you think your Jefe wants a weak, half-starved bag of bones? And if these scorpions sting her and make her sick — I wonder what El Jefe will do to you then?”
The odor of alcohol and sour sweat assaulted Zach’s nostrils as someone leaned down and spoke directly into his face. “Shut your mouth before I cut out your tongue, you stinking son of whore.”
His manacles were unclipped from the chain, then he was hauled to his feet, one Zeta on either side. He stumbled blindly forward, wishing he had the strength to fight them. He’d tried it on his first day here, but he hadn’t been able to get his cuffed hands in front of his body fast enough to pull his blindfold off so that he could see the men he was trying to fight. That’s when they’d broken his ribs.
Now, he barely had the strength to stand upright.
“Zach!” Natalie’s voice came from his right. “I’ll pray for you!”
He dug in his heels, fought to stand his ground for just another moment. “Listen to me, Natalie. Don’t let Cárdenas inside your head. Nothing he can do to you can change who you are. Remember that!”
“Stay alive, Zach! Please!”
“If I don’t, I promise to haunt these bastards for the rest—”
Then he was shoved roughly forward, pain splitting his side, stealing his breath. Sunlight hit him full in the face, cool stone giving way to familiar hot gravel beneath his bare feet. Every muscle in his body tensed.
I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country…
He started to recite the code of conduct, trying to prepare his mind for what was to come, but a different thought replaced it. It was nothing much — just a name — but it seemed to put steel back into his spine.
So there you go!
And this just in...
THE GOVERNOR JUST SIGNED
THE SHACKLING BILL!
I think I need a drink.
THE SHACKLING BILL!
I think I need a drink.
There's just something about a sexy man in a pair of jeans. Combine sexy chest with butter-soft denim, and you can make a woman’s heart melt. Unzip those jeans just a bit, tug them down over narrow hips...
Is it hot in here, or is that me?
What is it about blue jeans? I find them much sexier than a pair of tailored slacks or gym shorts or pretty much anything a man can put over his nether regions, apart from, say, boxer briefs, or, preferably, wet box briefs...
Tanned skin, rippled abs, pecs that fill my palms... Dress it up in blue jeans and go commando. Am I the only fan of the commando style? That’s what Gabe wore under his jeans, remember? Absolutely. Nothing.
Wow, and now I’m jealous of Kat.
This gentleman appears to need help getting his jeans off. Any volunteers?
Happy MTM, everyone! Hope this got your heart pumping and your hormones flowing.
Today is a happy day for me, for sure, because my younger son comes home from Ithaca, NY, tonight. I’ll be picking him up at the airport and bringing him home where he belongs. If you sense a mother on the brink of publicly hugging the stuffing out of her son, you’re right on.
I finished Chapter 5 of Breaking Point this weekend, and Natalie and Zach are now unchained. That leaves me only three full chapters behind schedule. Uh-oh. This is what always happens! Except that it can’t happen this time. Ah, well.
Enjoy the view!
A while back, I promised you an interview with a true powder hound, someone who skis the way Gabe skis — in defiance of gravity and as often as possible. I work with a guy like this. He writes for the outdoors section of the newspaper.
Extreme skiers, climbers, etc., are not an endangered species in Boulder; in fact, meeting people who excel in sports like skiing or telemark or skateboarding or rock climbing is just part of life here. People like Isaac come to Colorado, and to Boulder specifically, because of the thrills it offers.
Isaac has been writing for the outdoor sports section of the newspaper for almost eight years now. (Can you believe that, Isaac?) He works freelance, going on fun outdoor adventures and then writing about them, or testing outdoor gear and sharing his experiences. When I met him, he had a girlfriend and lived for adventure, his life focused on chasing powder during the winter and hitting the singletrack during the summer (i.e, mountain biking, an obsession it in our outdoor-crazy city).
Isaac knew a few things about Gabe and Naked Edge from the beginning, because I shared passages of the story with him, either because I thought he’d find them funny or because I wanted to run the lingo by him to make sure it sounded authentic. Rock climbing lingo is part of my family’s speech; skiing lingo… not so much. Oh, sure, everyone in my family skis, but no on snowboards. And no one has ever lived in his or her car driving to the places where snow is falling like true powder hounds do.
That’s one thing about Isaac’s writing I love — he writes the way those guys talk, whether it’s skiing or mountain biking he’s covering. He was writing about the impact of bicycle seats once and used the term “manberries,” which I stole outright for Unlawful Contact. (Dude, I’m giving credit where credit is due.)
I asked Isaac if he would mind answering a few questions. The guy is now married with a wee son (who is adorable) and a full-time job. Despite that busy schedule, he agreed.
Pamela: Isaac, thanks for agreeing to visit my blog. Can you tell us how old you were when you slid down your first snow? Was it love from the beginning?
Isaac: I was actually 10 when I took my first turns, prior to that I was a Cali kid, skatepunk and BMX shredder. I moved to Vermont and remember thinking as I watched the local Vermonster’s ski that I was TOO OLD. Funny, washed up at ten. :) Then I got a pair of skis at the local ski swap took my first turns as was hooked! I’ve been lucky enough to log a 1000+ plus days since then. Still trying to perfect glorious art of the Telemark turn. Practice, practice!
Pamela: I never learned the Telemark turn. I did master the Telemark face plant, though. I have that down cold. So what brought you to Colorado and to Boulder, specifically?
Isaac: Sun and light dry powder, which Seattle where we lived previously had approx NONE. Viva Colorado!
Pamela: Describe the most powder-houndy period of your life.
Isaac: Lived in Bozeman, MT, for a year and ski bummed at the righteous Bridger Bowl in 1992 (damn, I’m old). Skied 100+ days and worked the night shift at Dana Design backpack checking seams. Lived on $110 a week. Those were the days...
Pamela: Don’t complain about getting old to me, please. I’m 11-1/2 now, and that’s awful. How long have you been mountain biking?
Isaac: Got my first mountain bike in 1988 (that’s actually rocking my world as I type — sheesh!) Thumbshifters and canti brakes. Mongoose IBOC Pro — but pro I was not. LOVING mt biking more with every passing year, just signed up for BC Bike Race for my 40th birthday — 500km over 7 days of rocks, berms, bridges and hopefully a few cold adult beverages. :)
Pamela: That sounds so fun! What is it about crashing down rocky mountain trails in defiance of death that appeals to so many people here? I mean, when your bike requires shock absorbers and you have to wear a kind of motorcycle helmet — is that what God intended when She created the bicycle?
Isaac: We all know SHE shredds :) I thinks it’s the totally focus that is addictive. No time/way to contemplate the bills, the laundry, the meaning of life. Just raw caveman/women ripping through the woods. We ain’t engineered to sit under fluorescent lights all day!
Pamela: I have to agree with you there (as I sit under fluorescent lights). How do you feel about alpine climbing, rock climbing and ice climbing, which are my family’s addictions? (Except for me, of course. I’m still recovering from my near-fatal bout of Rapid Deceleration Syndrome, as you know.)
Isaac: I like to climb but um, well, SUCK. I get the Elvis shake-y leg syndrome pronto. Glorious sport, but in Boulder, the comp is pretty high (no pun intended).
Pamela: Can you define some terms for us? Gabe and Marc used some of these in the story: “shredding the gnar”; “sick terrain,” or sick powder”; “epic”; “catch air”; “snow farm,” “face shots.” (As a side note: Do you think it’s coincidence that there’s an overlap between porn slang and outdoor sports slang and the fact that most of those who pursue outdoor sports on a hardcore level are young males? Never mind. You don’t have to answer.)
Isaac: Yes, it’s true that the bro/brahs of the sports world do sometimes speak in tongues! Maybe related to lack of oxygen at altitude??? LOL. In sum, the sick-er, gnarly-er, etc., the better-er!!!
Pamela: Did you have any epic days this year? Do you have a skiing memory that stands out for all time?
Isaac: Skied Jackson in mid-March with my best buddy after 20 inches of powder. It was a dream trip to the “White Room.” It doesn’t get any better, and let’s just say that all the powder/orgasm analogies are right on the $. Unreal.
Pamela: Thanks, Isaac, for your time. I love having your work in the paper. You’re great to work with. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without a smile on your face. And thanks for being willing to hang with us today and for sharing links to your ski vids.
Here’s a clip, filmed by Isaac, that shows his buddy Doug Telemark skiing glades at Eldora. The trick about skiing glades is, well, not hitting trees and killing yourself. Doing it Telemark is even tougher. But there’s even more than that. Tree wells, hollows of snow around a tree’s trunk, can trap you and lead to a nasty fall and/or piercing by branches. Or you can catch your tips or tails on a trunk/well/branch and wipe out, perhaps hitting wood. To ski the way Doug and Isaac are skiing here, you have to be good. We get a glimpse of Isaac, who is filming while skiing, as he turns the camera on himself.
Here’s a clip he filmed of some buddies Telemarking. Note the face plant at the end. That is my only true skill when it comes to Telemarking.
And here’s a glimpse of mountain biking. This location, Walker Ranch, is about 25 to 30 minutes from my office. It’s just above Boulder. And this gives you a good idea of what Boulder Mountain Parks land looks like, i.e., where Gabe would have worked. One of my ranger buddies lives in at Walker Ranch. Lucky SOB.
OK, well, I hope you enjoy watching these. I’m spending the weekend with Natalie and Zach, who will finally be unchained very soon. I need to catch up on writing so I won’t be around much. But I do read your posts and enjoy them. I hope you have fun with this!
Incidentally, if you’re interested in mountain biking or skiing videos from Colorado, YouTube is loaded with them. You can probably Google all the places in Naked Edge and see them there, i.e, Redgarden Wall where Gabe was climbing, Boulder Mountain Parks, the famous Third Flatiron, etc.
I’m adding this link to another YouTube video because it offers a great little overview of my hometown, together with some mtb (mountain biking) how-to. It made me laugh. You get glimpses of our bike path infrastructure, as well as Boulder Canyon, where, I swear, I grew up with my dad climbing those canyon sides with traffic whizzing by below.
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- Selection 2010 - Jonathan Waud
- Selection 2010 - Robert Buckley
- Breaking Point play list — and excerpt!
- Selection 2010 - David Rich
- Selection 2010 - Stuart (Irish Wolf)
- Selection 2010 - Kerry Degman
- Man-Titty Monday: Men in jeans
- Selection 2010 - Bruno Santos
- Interview with a true powder hound -- Updated
- Selection 2010 - Jonhathan Rhys Meyer
- Selection 2010 - James Lafferty
- Selection 2010 - Jean Galfione
- Things to look forward to this summer!
- Selection 2010 - Matthew Fox
- Get a Grip! It's Man-Titty Monday
- Selection 2010 - William Levy Poulter
- Selection 2010 - Eric Martsolf
- Graduation weekend reading
- selection 2010 - Zack Jonathan Vazquez
- Selection 2010 - Carlos Moya
- Selection 2010 - Charles Dera
- A real happy ending — 2nd UPDATE
- Selection 2010 - Rusty Joiner
- MTM goes on a dig
- Happy Mother's Day
- Selection 2010 - Ryan Barry
- Remembering to breathe
- Selection 2010 - Derrick Davenport
- Shackling bill passes Senate!
- Selection 2010 - Adam
- Selection 2010 - Tony L
- Shackling bill on the Senate floor UPDATED
- Just another manic Man-Titty Monday
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