The Squirrel Who Thinks He’s A Bear

I sat outside the other night.  A plate of nuts and olives, a bit of cheese, and a nice glass of Speyside scotch…all to go with a gentle breeze and the blue, blue skies you get only up in the mountains.  Six feet away from me, laying in the tall grass that stretches away from one side of my RV site, were two big bull elk, napping and being generally lazy.

It was the kind of night you get only when you are able to live in a place like Yellowstone.  Even back in Colorado — in the “southern” Rockies — you don’t really get those evenings.  And for those who just visit Yellowstone?  The pace to take advantage of the few days most visitors have in the park is simply too frenetic to allow a true slow-down, let alone a true evening just to sit back and soak it all in.

So, there I was, having the perfect evening…until my neighbor started in on me.  He started screaming at me, cussing me out in no uncertain terms, and letting me know just what he thought of my obnoxious habits.  Now, I’m a pretty big guy, and pretty fearless, so normally that kind of thing just sets me off…but not this time.  This 4A16391E-F17D-4FC6-925A-DA584E599F58particular neighbor, I should explain, weighs about 700 pounds and stands over ten feet tall.

Err…at least in his mind.

1B634BD3-C987-46FB-9C24-801F46481272In reality, he weighs about a pound, and stands about four inches tall…but you’ll never convince him of that.  In his own eyes, he’s the biggest freaking grizzly in all 2.2 million acres of the park.  I’m not joking about this — this damned squirrel is the most fearless, aggressive thing I’ve ever met.  Look, I’ve stood ten feet from a mother grizzly with a cub and been less worried about getting attacked than when this little bastard starts getting pissed at me…

And he’s found his way into my trailer.

Holy shit, this freaking super-villain of a squirrel is bringing the fight to me!

FE904BE8-E452-47A2-820B-8735A7D5C2EBI try to fight back, I really do.  I try to fight back, but I’m quickly turning into Carl Spackler.  I look up “squirrel fighting methods” and they do nothing.  I try something different, and still nothing.  So I pull out the stops and try something more serious, severe even…and Ernest Squirrelfeld just strokes his 9925265B-882E-4606-A168-FB7125BB1F0Dtiny white cat and laughs at me.  “No, Mr Human, I expect you to die!”


I can hear the little bastard taunting me.  Hell, right now as I write this, he’s up on a branch just out of my reach, chittering at me like a furry little demon.

Anyone have the number for the Acme Rocket Company?A3309762-8C2E-4348-B653-E79448F4B53E

The Devil Wins…Again

82ECF84F-56DC-4496-B0D9-4185AFE10F6FThat little devil came again.  You know the one I’m talking about, the one that sits on your shoulder and convinces you to push the “sarcastic jerk” button…

…or…err…tell me that’s not just me…


I went to a trailhead this morning, intending to do a short (6-8 mile) hike before settling down to write for the rest of the day.  I set out, but I forgot it was Saturday.  Saturday…in July…in freaking Yellowstone.  Now, look, you all know my, umm, distaste* for crowds on the hiking trails.  It took just one look at all those cars lining the road and pullout near the trail I wanted to hike for me to shake my head, turn around, and decide a bit of off-trail travel seemed like a REALLY good idea just then.

*It’s a whole lot like my “distaste” for syphilis, as a matter of fact.

I didn’t do a whole lot of off-trail travel, I should explain.  And I certainly didn’t go into any of the deeper, more inaccessible areas that I truly love.  No, I still was focused on a short two-hour stint to stretch my legs and get my brain working.  Up and down a few hills, across a couple of seasonal streams…even a bit of tramping through an annoying bog…

012699CA-BFDF-4B16-9403-E0F559F8F579…oh, and, by the way: FUCK MOSQUITOES!  Those little bastards just powered right through the damned spray I put on before I set out.  Harrumph!!

Anyway, I didn’t have a goal for this hike.  I was just wandering aimlessly.  I did, when you get right down to it, my best impression of a normal bison: “Hmm, that looks good over there, I think I’ll just wander that way.”  “I’m bored with this side of the stream, what’s it like on the other bank?”  “I’m still hungry — and horny — so let’s try the far side of that hill.”

I crested said hill, and that’s when the little devil popped out.

Okay, so the little devil never actually goes away for me, but usually he’s quiet enough to let me be at least it a little bit civilized and polite.

This time, however, sarcastic jerk was just too tempting…

There they were, below me: a small bison herd snacking and napping at the base of the hill…and a giant tourist herd bison-spotting and selfie-ing on the road just past the poor bison.

Angel: “Be nice!  You live here, you get to see and do things they don’t.  They just don’t know any better.  Go back and around the bison — like you’re supposed to! — then you can go onto the road and teach them about the wildlife and the really good places to see them.”

Devil: “Fuck that!  Walk out right through the herd and laugh at all their expressions!”

Ummm…score one for the devil.

Summer Solstice 2019 and It’s Snowing. Again.

It is officially the Summer Solstice as I write this.  It’s the longest day of the year, the official start of summer, and…well…there’s no other way to say this: it’s freaking snowing.  Again.

01f164abb6067094bdc3837a4bbba401Now, look…you all know me.  You all know that I love me some snow.  Heck, I’ve thought more than once about staying up here in Yellowstone through an entire winter (with our average of 20+ feet of snow), but even I have had enough of this shit.

How about some goddamned sun, for pete’s sake?!?!29627147917_b0d56ed5b8_b

Do I need to sacrifice some animal on the nearest pagan altar?  Because, honestly, I got lots of ‘em around.  I have bison, I have elk, I have tourists…01-Crowd_0544

Okay, so honestly, I’d feel better about the using the tourists than the poor, innocent bison, but whatever gets me some damned sunshine…

images-2What?  Grumpy?  Me?  Oh, please…I’m the soul of cheerful optimism!


On the other hand, most of the tourist kids are having snowball fights, are laughing and jumping and just generally having a great time, while their parents are grousing and complaining about the weather.  You gotta smile at that, even if just a little bit.

2c315dc867c5fac31f5ed5b3fee831bfThe animals, on the other hand, are absolutely loving this semi-weird weather.  Grizzlies are many things — they are fast, they are powerful, they are both awesome and fearsome to watch — but beyond everything else, they are also lazy as hell.  When it gets hot, they just want to loll around in the shade and go for the occasional swim in cool water.  When it stays cold like this?  They’re out moving around, eating and carousing, and in general just having an ursine ball.

And to a bison, with all that insulation?  Yeah, 8 degrees and 80 degrees feel just about the same.Tom_Szajner

It is in fact only us wimpy hoomins who are bitching and complaining that it’s “too cold” and “too wet” and “too grey”…

On the other hand: I’M FREAKING COLD!!


Other Duties As Assigned

Let’s get one thing straight, my hands were made for hockey, not for fiddling with tiny pieces of plastic.

I mean, honestly, my career as a brain surgeon ended sometime around the first fistfight, then things just went downhill from there.

So why, I have to ask, was it me who started to put together the tiniest little freaking Legos I’ve ever seen?!  Okay, a dozen pieces can be kinda fun…but 720?  Not 72…SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY!B6AFBA8B-7AC2-47BF-8AF3-942757D113C8

Just look at this picture of two of the pieces in my hand…I mean, sheesh.  Mission Impossible, here I come…

…umm, does anyone know if you can you get carpal tunnel from freaking Legos?

…an hour of this and I suddenly feel the need to get on the ice and check something…

3C8982DE-CF80-4ECA-80A1-2ADB557372A4I had a couple of ten-year-olds stop by when I was working on this “project”, by the way.  They helped…a lot.  That, of course, just made me feel worse — if you’re only as old as you feel, then right about now I’m pretty much 630.


I’d love to sit here and turn my little project into some blog post that is both profound and enlightening, but, well…7D6D7FF9-57EF-47DC-8CB8-040C83992645

At this particular moment, I’ve switched from Legos to this:

Sunny and 60s…writing on my iPad…drinking a good beer…and Yellowstone is — quite literally — just feet away…

Maybe being a grumpy, slacker of a writer ain’t such a bad thing after all.

img_0011Now where the hell did I put today’s chapter notes…?!