Monthly Archives: May 2023

The Holy Grail & Lessons from Teeth

The Holy grail cup placed on a rock in a cave, with a beam of light shining on it from above.

I’ve been chasing an ever-elusive thing my entire adult life, and it’s beginning to feel like a lost cause.

My Holy Grail? A fulfilling life where I’m healed, not struggling in poverty, with love, and meaning. I’ve failed at all of these quests. I’m tired of just surviving.

“The Holy Grail (French: Saint Graal, Breton: Graal Santel, Welsh: Greal Sanctaidd, Cornish: Gral) is a treasure that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature. Various traditions describe the Holy Grail as a cup, dish, or stone with miraculous healing powers, sometimes providing eternal youth or sustenance in infinite abundance, often guarded in the custody of the Fisher King and located in the hidden Grail castle. By analogy, any elusive object or goal of great significance may be perceived as a “holy grail” by those seeking such.”

Source: Wikipedia

My previous job was very close meeting all my needs. It was work I could do, and I was good at it. The hours were reasonable, I eventually had harmonious work relationships, I was able to grow by making mistakes and learning from them, I was able to heal part of my attachment issues, and I was modeled mature communication. Having a free source of weed was a nice perk, too, then. Having fun work relationships was nice. But it’s over. I can’t physically handle the work, and I’m not that person anymore.

I want a lot more out of work.

I have to take what I learned and use it going forward to the next thing.

Whatever that ends up being.

The math assessment.

Yesterday I took a Math assessment test as required for college class requirements. I got a score of 14 out of 51, which placed me in Math 081 classes, well below the level I would need to register for Math 116, the class I would take in my first quarter in college. I do have two more free attempts, but doing this test brought up resistance.

There is no worse feeling than realizing that you are going to fail because you aren’t skilled enough at something. I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t remember how to do basic math. I completely forgot the formulas and abilities of how to solve geometry, fractions, some algebra, and addition/subtraction/multiplication/division without a calculator. I once knew and was good at all of these basic math subjects. Now, I look at them and draw a blank.

I don’t like math. I had decent grades until I stopped at precalculus because I was going to culinary school. But, since I went to college for the first time, and the previous time I went back briefly, I’ve loathed doing math. I don’t remember how to do a lot of the math I did growing up. It was useless for my time working in the restaurant industry. For any of the work after that, all I needed was basic math and a calculator.

I hate taking math classes in college because:

  • 1) I have to pay for it, or it takes up previous student grant money
  • 2) I feel it’s taking hostage classes I’m actually interested in
  • 3) I don’t see how it’s relevant in the psychology career path I’m going to college for.
  • 4) I don’t want to relearn stuff I will not be using again.

Such as fractions. Fuck fractions… The only time they’re somewhat useful is for measuring cups, but even then, once you know the metric weight or general ounce amount, they become annoying.

I understand the importance of math in society, needing to learn it growing up and be well-rounded once you enter the work world. I acknowledge that it plays an important part in science and many careers. There never has been a time when it would be great if many people had critical thinking skills and could analyze the information they are presented with on the news.

The point of college is finding work with a higher salary than not going to college.

Taking the math test isn’t about math. It’s about me facing failure and my inadequacies in the subject.

I’m sensitive to rejection because of ADHD.

Inadvertent gold from my long-time dentist, Dr. Phi.

Today, I went to the dentist after taking the math placement test. Going in, I assumed that it would be a regular cleaning or possibly something terrible as I spotted a dark spot on the top of the second to last tooth in the back right of my mouth. In my immediate family’s history and dental history, it equals DOOM.

Not the fun classic PC game where you slay demons on Mars with various sci-fi guns.

Surprise Pc GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Doom, as in drills, pulled teeth, root canals, and tooth crowns. While I had not had any dental problems before, it’s become a source of fear because my mother has had an awful history with her teeth. This is because she used to crack hazelnuts to eat the nuts as a kid. As a result, she’s had problems because of that. Which has become a lifetime worth of fear of the dentist. She has taken care of her teeth since then, but the root canals, crowns, and other unfortunate teeth-related things she and my brother have faced created a deep fear in me regarding the dentist. Even when our family dentist is incredibly skilled, kind, funny, and a good dude.

Enter yesterday. To start, my long-time dentist, Dr. Phi, is amazing. This is a man who went to dental school in Vietnam, immigrated to the US, went back to dental school again to be able to practice here, and has been doing this work for over 20 years. There can’t be many dentists like him with this much experience and training in the world. It’s nice to know I’m in good hands. Plus, he’s kind and funny. I need to remember the latter to laugh and breathe through my nose when he’s cleaning my mouth.

I say at least 20 years because he told me today that I’ve been going to see him since 2001. Wow, I feel old. I haven’t had many conversations with him, one because it’s not possible at the dentist, and two because it’s his vibe– he and his staff are friendly, and I feel comfortable, but it’s small talk. How are you doing? What are you coming in for? How’s your family? Why haven’t you been in in a while? Kinda thing.– To be frank, I’m not great at scheduling regular teeth cleanings. I care for my teeth well and do not need extra dental care. For once, it’s nice not to worry about a health issue.

The results of the dental visit?

Cat with cartoon eyes and mouth with human teeth, mouth wide open.

The teeth assessment.

My teeth are great, and the one concern I had going in was nothing to worry about. He said something that was exactly what I needed to hear:

He said, playfully: “You came in all worried about a bunch of things that you had nothing to worry about.”

He then explained to me what to look for in unhealthy teeth. You don’t want the teeth or dark spot to sink in. What I had was a scar from a baby tooth that broke to give way to the adult tooth. I had a stain on top of the scarred tooth.

While waiting to see if I had to pay, he opened my file, held the x-rays of my lower right jaw, and nodded. It’s the same as it was 22 years ago. No cavities, no problems all this time. I’ve had clean, healthy teeth for many years in a row.

All of this is because I have been consistent with dental hygiene. I don’t have perfect teeth. They aren’t pearly white (which doesn’t mean they’re healthy and have to use chemicals to appear that way), My bottom row of teeth is not lined up, and I have uneven gaps on the top row, and I’m working on flossing regularly. I could get braces to make them perfect, but I don’t care about that.

The point is that this part of my life is successful and healthy because I have kept at it every day to ensure health. I control what I can and keep at it. When I saw a potential problem, I scheduled an appointment with an expert, someone I trust to see what was up.


I was reminded that sometimes your worries aren’t founded. My anxiety has gotten worse in the past 16 months because of Long Covid. It is natural to be stressed out and anxious to be worried about a new health condition that is barely understood and in the process of being studied by science. Adjusting to this new normal has been challenging. It’s why I had to change careers.

I resigned from a job where I had worked the longest I ever had at any one place.

I realized I needed a different career path and wanted to find it in college. I’ve only been to community college and not to a university before. I am pretty sure this path is psychology, and I want to become a therapist. At the same time, I have not had the opportunity to explore what I want. College is the one place where you have many paths available to you and can easily change it.

What was my point again? Oh yeah.

I’ve been stressed out these past months because there have been massive changes that I initiated.

So, I need to stop stressing about what could happen and the negative outcomes and instead just do it. If I fail, then start over. Even if I don’t know everything and why I need to do something, have some faith and trust in those who know what they are doing. Have faith in yourself that you will be okay whatever happens. Success is small progress every day over a long period. Sometimes it may come quicker, and sometimes you may fail fast.

I must become comfortable with the unknown and become comfortable with failure again. Once I do, I’ll get where I want. A successful man is comfortable with failing because he knows he can handle it and move forward.

I’m anxious and stressed because it appears my future is unknown and I don’t know what I want to do for work in the short term or long term.

Failing at math or other subjects in college is far better than failing at a minimum-wage job.

A Series of Changes

Siamese cat laying on a bench next to a partially opened window. It's bright and sunny May day outside.

I am unemployed and going through an Existential Crisis

Once again, I am going through a transformation period in my life. I feel unknown to myself, and the future feels murky. Some of these choices are my own. Some were not, and I had to decide what to do.

The upside to this is that I can receive unemployment again. Unlike the last time I received it, during the Pandemic Shutdown of 2020 and into early 2021 with the extensions, I have to apply for work every week. I really don’t want to look for work right now. I acknowledge that I can’t live this way forever and have to get work because that is the world’s cruel reality. Like most of my fellow millennials, I feel that I will not ever be able to retire. If I somehow do, it sure looks like the rising sea levels from the ice caps melting from climate change will ruin the future. Unemployment is the only vacation I’ll get. Which, as anyone unemployed for an extended period will tell you, is not a vacation. It’s stressful and not relaxing. I haven’t been able to enjoy any of the time to myself because I have been so stressed about the future. Yes, I will have some money for the future, at the cost of applying to 3 jobs a week that I don’t want. I hate working. This last job was the closest of meeting my needs until it didn’t.

I really would like to have work that meets my needs. I know it’s impossible to not work, so I’d rather do something that is meaningful, pays decently, and doesn’t drain me. I’m tired of numbing myself and avoiding reality because life sucks. Because I’m not living in alignment with my values and not living a life that makes me want to escape reality.

Black text on painted wood: May you have the courage to break the patterns in your life that no longer serve you. From Reddit.

I am very different than I was the last time on unemployment.

The difference? Long Covid. It’s going on for 15 months, and I’m still dealing with this. This is the main reason I quit my previous job. While there were other reasons, all of them I could handle while working or finding similar work in the field. But, my body gave out. Chronic fatigue is a bitch. No matter how much I tried to make it work and how much work tried to accommodate, it didn’t work out. More on why in the posts below:

On the positive side, I have changed in the two years since I was unemployed. I’ve done a bunch of healing and inner work from the books I read while working and from going to therapy. I healed through osmosis at my previous job by going through tough situations and being around good people. I have to give credit for the good too. That workplace became a complex relationship.

Another positive is that I haven’t consumed pot in over three months and only had one cocktail during that time. I made a margarita last week. While delicious, the hangover and depression the following days were awful. I may have to face the reality that I can’t drink again. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt awful after drinking. Now, because of my health conditions, I’m even more sensitive to it. I chose to stop both for health reasons and was told by my doctor that I’d recover. Now that I’ve recovered from Serotonin Syndrome (I think), and been sober, I feel much better despite the lows.

During those lows, I was on the edge of existence but held on and turned to help.

So, I am stressed out and frustrated because I likely can’t work in my previous fields of work. I can’t physically handle working full time anymore, and I don’t want to commit to a job because I plan on going back to school for the Fall college quarter in September.

The plan for the future… For now.

I am not 100% sure that I want to become a therapist by going back to school. While I have had a special interest in psychology, how relationships work, masculinity, and self-help topics to understand myself and heal myself, doing it for work to help others is a different thing.

I do like helping others who are struggling. I do like the idea of contributing to a healing industry. I like that I could be a small part of guiding people and healing societal problems. Maybe contributing to current psychological research.

I dunno. This kinda feels like I’m going through the motions because I have to make money at something. Yeah, while going to school I could change majors if it doesn’t work out, but that is an expensive gamble. At the same time, I do not want to do any more blue-collar work or “boot camps” because those are tied to heavy corporate or business-related careers. Work has been a chore I have to do to survive. Occasionally it has been fun because of coworkers, but not because of the work itself. I liked what I could do alongside the work, such as listening to music, audiobooks, or watching videos.

I could simply be biased by recent feelings and my existential-colored glasses.

Maybe I’m tired of betting on career potential.

Well, doing something is still better than staying the same. 😮‍💨 🤷

On a separate note, it feels like the traffic on the blog is dying. I haven’t made this easier as my post times have become inconsistent. I’ve also questioned lately whether I am still interested in continuing to do this as I don’t want to play the SEO game or do the other little things that are required to make this blog relevant in the eyes of search engines or others. I don’t know why I’m doing this anymore, as it is a lot of work to write this to the quality I prefer, and it is disappointing that this blog isn’t growing. Maybe this is the best I can expect for a personal blog with random topics that don’t consider the audience or me following the rules a blogger needs to do for success. Maybe this is just me externalizing my feelings of feeling lost and pressured to find the next thing that pays the bills. Or my drive to feel like I have accomplished something in life and produced something of note. I don’t like feeling like a failure or a loser in life. But it sure looks like I am one at 37 in my life. The one thing that I have complete control over, I fail.

I guess I could continue with this random post schedule without doing SEO stuff (and it’s not worth it to hire someone for a tiny blog with a limited audience such as this blog) and doing the little advertising I do. A big reason I started blogging is to connect with others. It’s very frustrating to work hard on a post after blogging for three years, and nobody comments or likes it. I know that I can’t force y’all to do it, but I’d really appreciate it. I’m way too isolated as is.

Chop wood, Carry Water

A living tree that is in the lake shallows and horizontal to the water.

The problem with telehealth therapy me.

Recently I’ve been more depressed than usual. I’ve had depression for years now, and lately, I’ve felt that maybe I have to accept that this will be my life as long as I live—Ditto with Autism and Long Covid.

While I am seeing a therapist, she’s primarily a coach and has said so. It seems to be a design of the app I get telehealth therapy from, Ginger. Since she and my previous therapist are coaches, clients are supposed to be a max of 10 visits or less.

While I am struggling with life, I’m not sure I want to continue therapy. I need things outside of it which are fulfilling such as relationships, activities, emotional support, and meaningful work.

Hi, my name is Reilly and I’m an Internet addict.

I don’t want to do Zoom or telehealth because I’m addicted to scrolling social media and spend all of my time online or watching something. I admit that I have a problem. I meet my physical needs with porn.

The only way I could stop would be to switch to a non-smartphone, get rid of my PC and laptop, and use a computer at my local library for everything else. I’ve tried to stop many times to return to my previous habits. The allure and learned behavior are too strong, and I’m helpless against it.

You know it’s bad when you don’t enjoy doing it much, but continue anyway.

For the time being, I need in-person therapy only. For the time being, the mental health place that my insurance referred me to has Zero in-person openings across multiple Seattle locations for the next week. So, call back next week to seek openings.

The problem is that there is no easy or reasonable solution to this. This addiction isn’t like, say, Heroin, where you can go to a group, and there’s a support structure. You need the internet in this world. The last time I tried to get help, the only treatment center in 2020 was $30k for a three-month plan. (Which was the only internet addiction treatment center around then.)

And then?

Say that I do get this support, then what would I do with all that time? I’d likely need to make a lot more money. The yearly cost of monthly internet service and the few subscriptions I have are incredibly cheap. I don’t buy or play video games much anymore. The rare times I do, are ones I bought before.

The total cost I pay for that is $70 a month. This doesn’t include the other ways I can view content online if you’re savvy.

I am incredibly privileged to have low rent thanks to living with my mother and being very scrupulous with money. It’s not realistic. If I paid average rent plus expenses in this area, I’d likely have to pay a minimum of an additional $1400 more each month if I lived on my own. I do not want to live with roommates. If I cut all extra expenses out of my current income, I still wouldn’t make enough. What I could cut back wouldn’t be enough. I’d have no money to go out and do anything.

It doesn’t feel like an improvement to change. All this is assuming a best-case scenario where I am set up with a therapist that meets my needs, and we get on issues right away. Which, in my experience, has been a mixed bag.

I have to do something because I’m not happy, I’m lonely, and my needs aren’t being met.

I am the only person responsible for making this happen. Despite my bitching, I’m not doing anything different. I’m choosing this lifestyle.

I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of hating myself.

To be fair and kind to myself, I must acknowledge that I’ve worked hard to reach this point. I’ve given it my best each day, whatever my best that day was. I’ve made extraordinary progress because I’ve hung on and not given up. I wish I were much better than I am, but this is who I am. I’m a flawed, imperfect human being with strengths and weaknesses. I am enough.

Chop wood, carry water.

Quote from:

Grey again

Grey dune and a grey sky

Grey again

Once again I’m lost.

Alone at home on a sunny May day.

In an inner prison I can’t escape.

Do I really want to go back to the pill bottle?

To risk my life to clear the grey?

Paltry savings, not enough to escape the hamster wheel.

I ain’t nothing in the red white and blue without the green.

Body of old man.

Grey taking me over.

37 feel 67

Empty within.

Not that I’m anything.

Nothing fills the void.

Still unable to be loved by a woman.

Maybe they did, but I screwed up.

I don’t understand why any woman would want me.

Bluepoint Siamese cat purrs as she curls on me.

The end of The Doors movie plays on my laptop in the black room.

Wish that women wanted me like a rockstar.

All I am is an indiscriminate. grey rock.

Just another day in the haze.

Just another man-child in a cave.

Mary Jane’s Last Dance & Disappointment

Layers of crashing blue waves against a blue sky, beige and black sand, scattered driftwood.

The end of one trip, begins another.

Song 1: Mary Jane’s last dance by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Monday, I quit. The job was alright. It seemed to be a typical workplace in the cannabis industry. Though I wasn’t as fast as the other trimmers, the company would have let me stay, though the people were cool and the pay was lower than I expected… It wasn’t the same.

I don’t want to trim another gram of cannabis bud. I can’t physically do work in a noisy factory environment. I don’t want to work in a corporate business or the industry any longer. I feel I was able to do this longer at my previous company because I had a sense of purpose, fit in, and liked the people I worked with.

Sure, I did meet some great people and made friends. Sure, I did have some fun experiences and challenges. Sure, I did have phenomenal personal growth from working a job I’ve done before as an assistant manager. What once felt like a sure thing is not anymore.

It was what I needed for the past few years. Being promoted to assistant manager and being part of a management team was the culmination of a past dream. Long ago, I dreamed of becoming a chef and owning a restaurant. While that was a taste of that since I was part of a small business instead of owning one, that period was long enough for me to know that I don’t want to manage anymore or have a small company where I’m in charge or have to lead others. I work better by myself or go to a job and do the work and leave.

In short, I’ve changed.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Sometimes it all comes together at once.

Sometimes you feel weird or anxious when starting a new job. At first I thought that this was true for me as well. As the week went by, as I learned new things from reading and observation, my mind changed.

Last week, I was relistening to The subtle art of not giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and listening to The creative act: A way of being by Rick Rubin. Trimming is was a perfect activity to listen to music or audiobooks while working.

First breakthrough

Black man with dreads staring into the distance with a breakthrough as maty equations fly by him.

Years ago, I first listened to the subtle art of not giving a fuck because I became a fan of the author, Mark Manson and his website. I discovered him by chance through google/Duckduckgo searches. I can’t remember the exact phrase, but it was a thought I had at the time as I was struggling with mental health issues and seeking help however I could. Mark Manson blogs about a bunch of different things, with the aim being self help.

“There are only so many things we can give a fuck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While
money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience.”

From The subtle art of not giving a fuck summary on audible.

After reading this book while listening to it while working last week, I slowly began to realize –and it took until driving to work the following Monday morning– that I don’t give a fuck about working in weed anymore. I felt myself pressing through the work last week to even meet my previous speed.

In Manson’s book, he has a chapter about when he was younger that he dreamed of being a rockstar. He imagined himself playing on stage in front of thousands and imagining himself living that glamorous lifestyle. This never came to be because he didn’t enjoy the suffering or daily choices it required to have a shot at becoming a rockstar. He didn’t want to suffer through the pain of learning by practicing hours every day and gaining mastery. He didn’t want to do the work of finding bandmates, finding gigs, or grinding through the creative process.

Manson didn’t want to do the solve problems in the ways that a rockstar lifestyle requires. He didn’t want to fail forward to reach the point that it takes to become that. To practice thousands of hours to have a realistic shot at achieving this. He just dreamt of being a rockstar.

Everyone has a finite amount of time alive and because of this, you can’t do everything. You have to say “No” to some things so you can say “Yes” to other things. Everyone has choices and choosing not to do something is itself a choice. To choose is to reject alternatives.

As if this wasn’t enough to convince me that it was time to move on, I had a second Deja Vu moment of randomness from the universe.

Deja Vu scene from The Matrix.

Second breakthrough

Song 2: Chop Suey! By System of a Down.

From a blogger who wanted to become a rockstar to a superstar music producer.

The creative act: A way of being by Rick Rubin, is a book I saw released on audible and after reading the description, I put it on my wishlist to read later. I hadn’t used my credit for April on audible, and it felt like the right choice for my next book to read.

Disclaimer, I’m still in the middle of reading this book. My impression so far is that it’s a collection of advice and experiences from Music Producer Rick Rubin. Almost like a modern take of: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius remixed by Rick Rubin.

The Creative Act: A way of being delves into the creative process, how to make something, and the psychology behind it.

Two chapters from it inspired this post. The first, called “Look for Clues” is about the concept of being open to inspiration from things happening around you in your life, such as a line in a movie or overhearing a conversation by someone else when out in the world. The key is to recognize when it happens and write it down for later to use in your current work. While this is not a new concept for creative work, this helped me feel certain on my new path. Rubin ends the chapter with an exercise of opening a book to a random page and see what your eyes are drawn to. What is there might not be relevant or inspirational, but allowing yourself the possibility of something may lead to something that does help.

Last year I saw a documentary on YouTube about system of a Down where Rick Rubin used this method to help System of a Down singer Serj Tankian with writing their hit song Chop Suey! Serj was having trouble writing the song, and Rubin told him to pick a book at random from his bookshelf to a random page, and see what you find. Serj Tankian did this to choose The Bible and saw:

Father into your hands I commit my spirit. Which turned into:

Father (father)
Father (father)
Father (father)
Father (father)
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit
Father, into your hands
Why have you forsaken me?
In your eyes forsaken me
In your thoughts forsaken me
In your heart forsaken me, oh

Source: Chop Suey! By System of a Down.

This moment changes the meaning and impression of the song to have a Christian angle despite the artist not being so.

Before I get to the chapter in Rubin’s book where this happened to me, heres some sources about this event and more on Rick Rubin.

The second chapter which inspired the second breakthrough:


As I’m writing this post in my car on Thursday, May 4th, in the Seward Park parking lot, I’m resistant to completing this section and committing to the world that I really have chosen to stop working in cannabis. I’ve already written so a couple times in this post.

Once again, Rick Rubin helps in his book in the Completion chapter (italicized parts from the book):

There’s nothing left to explore or add.

It’s time I let it go and move onto the next chapter in my life.

I need to step away, reset, and return with a fresh mind.

I haven’t been happy doing that work for a long time.

This is done because I feel it is done.

I can’t go back because I’ve changed. I have different needs and that career doesn’t meet it intellectually, emotionally, physically, or financially.

I’ll make do with minimum wage for the time being to pay bills, but in another type of job.

The work itself says it’s time (it’s completed).

Onto Disappointment. Cape Disappointment that is.

Cape Disappointment

Tricked ya! The disappointment is Cape Disappointment, and as a friend said on Instagram: “Soooo not a disappointment.” Agreed.

But first, a short story about the drive there.

Song 3: Come as you are by Nirvana

Aberdeen county, WA fits the musical sense of Nirvana. It’s one of those places in the world where you play music from artists who live there and think: “Yeah, this makes sense. No wonder Cobain had demons and Nirvana played in the style they did.”

Highway 101 is the faster route to reach Cape Disappointment. It’s like 1/3 farmland and 2/3 forests. But not scenic. It looks and feels like most rural places outside Seattle in the state. The same style of houses and generic small town america with corporate chains. I’d know, because I spent 8 months as a trucker delivering Coca Cola products. The places start to blend together.

The forests aren’t old growth due to logging, so it doesn’t feel natural. Worse, there were stretches of clear cutting where everything was pulled up and left on the surface for miles like a pile of severed tree corpses. Depressing. Aberdeen is simply there, you want to leave, and listening to Nirvana is the perfect soundtrack to get through it. Once you cross into Pacific County and further is when you start to see the ocean again and natural beauty.

As a metaphor for the long drive to Ilwaco, Washington at the southeast corner of the state, I left this section for the end of this blog post. To get to Cape Disappointment state park requires a 3 to 3.5 hour (without traffic) drive from Seattle depending on which of the two routes you choose.

To start with, why the fuck is this place still named Cape Disappointment? This place is breathtaking. I’ve lived in the northwest my entire life, and never experienced a place like Cape Disappointment state park. While it may have traits of other places in Washington state or Oregon, none that I’ve been to have the same combination or feel. Because of the long drive and my physical limits, I wasn’t able to see everything at this park.

Cape Disappointment earned its name when Captain John Meares failed to cross the river bar in 1788 (Wikipedia)

Needs a rename… The following link provides some history about the area:

Some of the largest waves on the West Coast slam into the bar, dissipating energy born in distant storms on the open seas. The forces of wind, current, and tide create a seemingly impenetrable wall of white water. Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition gazed with “estonishment” at waves breaking “with tremendious force in every direction” (William Clark, November 18, 1806). Even today, when protective jetties, periodic dredging, and modern navigational equipment have made the channel less lethal than it once was, mariners still approach the Columbia bar with caution and respect.

Most early sea captains simply looked at the foaming water and passed on. Spanish naval explorer Bruno de Hezeta (also spelled Heceta) identified the inlet as the mouth of a great river in August 1775, and marked it as such on his maps, but an outbreak of scurvy among his crew forced him to leave without further exploration. British Captain John Meares (1756?-1809) searched for Heceta’s river in 1788 but couldn’t find it. He named the area Cape Disappointment and sailed on. It was not until May 1792 that the first non-Indians crossed the Columbia bar, in a ship commanded by American fur trader Robert Gray (1755-1806). Gray plowed through the breakers despite the fears of his crew, some of whom thought him completely mad. He gave the river its current name, after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva.

Now I’m disappointed at the name of the cape and the river. Both need to be cancelled. This same website has a section where the Native Chinook tribe that lived in this place for 2500 years could cross the untamed river and river bar in canoes. That is impressive. Who were of course wiped out by white people and disease by American colonizers. Ugh.

Despite this, it is a park and a place worth visiting. Id recommend camping versus a day trip so you can see everything and relax from the drive.

This is a playlist of three short videos I made while there.

Maybe I’m still heartbroken from the previous job breakup I chose? 😮‍💨