Friday, April 13, 2012


I have been experiencing a bit of the writer's block recently, so I decided to hop in my trusty 1977 GMC Motorhome and get out of town for a few days. Somewhere nice and remote where I can write undisturbed by all those invitations to parties and offers of deep, rewarding friendship that don't actually happen but the prospects of which still distract me. I decided the perfect place was a tiny mountain town called Winthrop, and I would drive there first thing in the morning.

Here's how reality unfolded for me:

1. I drive from Seattle to my hometown of Mt Vernon where the RV is parked on a friend's lawn. I discover that the friend's lawn is extremely soft, and the RV is hopelessly mired in the mud lurking under the grass. I spend literally an hour rocking back and forth, wedging things under the tires, spewing mud into the air and tracking it all over my carpets until I'm finally able to find a shovel and dig little slopes behind the tires so I can escape the pits the tires have dug. (sorry, friend's yard...)

2. It's now around noon, but I'm finally on the road to Winthrop! Huzzah! Yet something is puzzling me. Every time I try to put my destination into my phone or GPS, it gives me an insane detour route that brings the trip length from 1 hour to 5 hours. Assuming the GPS is just buggin', I continue on my way. But no. I am a man and the GPS is a machine, and I must learn to submit to its superior wisdom. The major highway that leads through the mountains to Winthrop is CLOSED. Just...closed. Like closed-for-the-season closed. Like just-go-somewhere-else closed. Like fuck-you closed.

3. So...I guess I'm not going to Winthrop. Need to make a plan B. I head West. I had planned on a weekend embedded in the comforting embrace of the deep mountains, but instead I find myself on a ferry over the Puget Sound--the OPPOSITE of being in the mountains. I eventually make my way to Port Gamble, a tiny little blip of civilization in the middle of a lot of open highway. It'll do! I decide to stop there but...hmm...there is literally nowhere to stop. No hotels, no RV parks, not even a couple residential streets on which to park my ass. (which is what I usually do when RV traveling.) It's getting dark now.

4. I keep driving, hoping to have better luck in the next town. I drive 15 minutes to the next town. It has nothing. I turn around, hoping to look a little harder and maybe find a hidden parking spot, but mostly just needing something to eat. All I've eaten all day is approximately 18 crackers. I'm starving. I saw a BBQ restaurant in Port Gamble. I'll go there. I go there. I park in their gravel parking lot. I approach the entrance.

5. There's a hand-written sign on the window that says SOLD OUT.

6. I go in and approach a waitress.
7. "What does sold out mean?"
8. "It means we're sold out."
9. "Of what? Like, the special or something?"
10. "Of food. All the food."
11. "So...this restaurant just doesn't serve food anymore? At 8:00pm on a Friday night?"
12. "Correct."

13. I leave in a huff. I try to pull out of the gravel parking lot. There is soft mud under the gravel. I'm stuck.

15. A few furious minutes later I've managed to free myself from the quicksand parking lot, leaving two deep, squishy ravines running through it. That'll teach this restaurant to run out of the sole reason they exist.

16. Ok ok. I'll go back into the "downtown" area to that place I saw earlier called BISTRO BY NIGHT. It looked pretty hoppin' when I passed it 20 minutes ago--


18. Ok fuck you Port Gamble. I'm parking right here in the middle of your touristy little waterfront street. I will accept your ticket. I will ignore your sheriff's knock on my window. I will sit here and eat my 19th-35th cracker for dinner and write a gripping log of my travails. A travailogue, if you will.

19. personal record for most fails in a single day? It was all worth it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Dear Photojojo Company,

I recently placed an order through your website,, for a macro lens attachment for my iPhone 4S. I received the package in the mail today, and was pleasantly surprised to find that, along with the lens that I purchased, you also included a small plastic dinosaur.

However, Photojojo, there is a problem with my order.

I am very much enjoying the macro lens attachment. It works exactly as advertised, allowing me to take very close-up photos of the objects that surround me in my daily life. Blades of grass, apple seeds, dead insects, fingernails, toenails, teeth, bits of discarded food, cola cans, rusty office staples, puddles of congealed fluid�any object, really. The photo attached above�a photo of a small plastic dinosaur lying on its side�was taken using this lens, and I am pleased with the results.

What I am not pleased with is the plastic dinosaur itself.

As you can see in the photo, the plastic dinosaur is lying on its side. This was the only position in which I was able to photograph it, because this is the only position in which it can be placed. To put it simply, Photojojo, the plastic dinosaur does not stand upright on its plastic feet. To put it even more simply, it falls over. To put it in the simplest way possible, it is defective, and I would like a full refund for my entire order.

I am not a lunatic, Photojojo. I understand that the plastic dinosaur was not part of my original purchase and was thrown in simply as a whimsical gesture because you are a whimsical company staffed by twee, frivolous, whimsical people. However, by including it in the package with the rest of my order, you have implicitly designated it a Photojojo product, an unlisted peripheral component of my order, shall we say�and as such, it remains a representative of your company and its quality standards.

Need I repeat, Photojojo, that the plastic dinosaur falls over?

How am I to trust the quality standards of your photography products after this fiasco with the plastic dinosaur? Will the macro lens attachment burn a hole through my iPhone 4S next time the sun comes out? Will it even take good photos? So far I have only tested it on the plastic dinosaur you provided, and the results were satisfactory, but will it fare as well on other small objects, such as denim fibers, Durex condom wrappers, or pools of bacon grease? How can I entrust the capture of my precious experiences�the birth of my first child! My child�s first steps! A UFO sighting! My child�s first erection! Aurora Borealis!�to a lens attachment made by the same company that makes plastic dinosaurs that fall over?

I anticipate no resistance to my request for a refund. But please be aware that as a matter of principle I will be leaving a negative epinion on regardless of your response.


Isaac Marion