Archive | August, 2010

An update on Danny – from the source

25 Aug

So after the original news was broke by Danny’s stepdad to me, and after significant time to speak with Danny, new information has come to light. It is simply this: no one knows really has conclusive information. Here’s what we know based on talking to Danny today: His face is/has been healing quite nicely, where there seem to be mostly 2nd degree burns. To say of his looks, think of a really bad sunburn. His arms and legs are wrapped. Danny called me today and said he never realized he was given a 50/50 chance at survival. Though I heard that was what the local doctors told his stepdad and Danny’s mom the night it happened. But Danny wanted me to stress that he’s not dying. The original post also made mention about a burnt ear and a wound over Danny’s left eye. Those appear to not be near as bad as I was told. Danny is holding food, he is mending well and did say he was in a lot of pain. Also, it seems, as he told me, that the doctors are thinking his skin will heal back rather nicely and he’ll have little to no scarring. He does have his phone and by tomorrow will have his computer. It seems he’ll most likely be back in Butte by sometime next week. Despite what is perhaps being said, the original blog wasn’t to mislead, I was reporting the only information I had at the time.


The meteor shower

24 Aug

A few nights ago I sat in my hot tub watching a meteor shower. I wasn’t expecting meteors. Simply I was thinking it to be a normal night soaking my weary bones, but that’s when I saw the first meteor. It took hold of my attention. A second one came shortly after – scouring the sky, just like the first, with its fiery tail as it entered earth’s atmosphere. A third one hit, and then a lighter fourth and fifth, for as with everything, meteors are not created equal. My eyes were glued to the beyond – as my thoughts went up to the sky and my body stayed buoyant in the warm water. I felt mentally separated from my body. I felt like I was witnessing a war of the gods, and I was but an insignificantly stretched soul caught in the middle.

I then began to think of love and regret; two topics that compromise most of human literature, film and lives. Yet, quite tiny topics when facing the universe – the universe that has never felt love or regret; it didn’t need such trite feelings to make the world. Then I began to think about death. What if one of those meteors didn’t burn up completely? What if one hit the earth while I sat in my lonesome hot tub?

I then thought of a question, one that has been asked many times in many forms. But I’m going to ask it yet again, right here, because this is what I thought: could I live with myself if I died tonight? That is an interesting, and perhaps the ultimate, paradox. Ask yourself that question right now: could you live with yourself if you died tonight? As meaningless as it seems, especially considering you’re dead, it does pose a potentially beneficial reflective surface. Perhaps there’s someone you need to forgive but you haven’t because of your inflated ego. Perhaps there’s something you haven’t accomplished because you’ve felt too afraid to try or you’ve been too distracted by society’s minute. Perhaps you’ve loved someone but have never told them, and now you regret it. With that I’m back to my original topics in the hot tub. It all comes back to love and regret; lack of love, full of regret. Or maybe not so much.

I’ll take that question one step further: what if you knew the earth was ending at 12:01 a.m. tonight? You had whatever time left to right any wrongs. I’m curious as to who would be your first call (as surely you wouldn’t text, would you?). What would you say to them? And would you go find them and hold them in your arms? That is the essentially the basis of my second novel – as yet unfinished. Perhaps I’ll regret giving that idea away. But I’m confident a million stories can be told from that one line alone.

So why haven’t you called that person yet? Better yet, why aren’t you holding that person? Or simply hugging them? The world is ending, don’t you know? Someday it’ll stop spinning. Sooner still, a meteor might hit us. Sooner yet, you’ll die.

I sat in my hot tub a few nights ago watching a meteor shower. Alone with the universe, I caught a rare glimpse into a colorful fight of the gods; I thought about how a meteor could simply not burn up, crash into the earth, kill us all. Luckily we’re still alive. Though there’s always tomorrow.

Danny and the fire

22 Aug

As many of you know, and some of you don’t, Danny was severely burned in a bonfire on Wednesday night (August 18). The accident happened when someone at the bonfire threw gasoline on it, when Danny was standing near. The fire flamed up and caught him on fire – he was knocked over and someone stamped out the fire on his body. Danny was conscious for the first hour or so after it happened and was taken to St. James in Butte where fell into a sort of coma. Though I wasn’t at the fire, I was told he was burned beyond recognition, where they used his personal belongings in order to call his mother.

The doctors stabilized him before air-flighting him to the SLC burn center – where he currently is residing. The prognosis was grim at first with near 40% of his body burned and only a fifty-fifty chance of survival.

Very fortunately, Danny woke two days after it happened, or on Friday morning. The doctors, much to Danny’s relief, were able to remove his breathing (trachea) tube. They were amazed he could breath on his own – as he did also inhale flames. He was also able to talk and remembered a great deal of the events that happened. He made an incredible recovery on Friday, and was even able to eat on his own. The doctors said he had advanced at least four weeks, possibly six, in one day alone.

This weekend hasn’t been as kind to him. He has not been able to hold down food or drink. The doctors say if he can’t keep his meal down tomorrow he will have a feeding tube inserted, which will be a digression, but will allow him some strength. The thinking is perhaps all the medicine he is taking in pill form is making it hard on his stomach, so they will begin to give him the medicine through his IV to see if that changes things.

For those who want to know some of the grim details please keep reading, if not, you are welcome to skip to the next paragraph. Danny was burnt on his face, chest, shoulders, hands, and parts of his legs. He cannot stand to urinate and so they have a catheter in him. The doctors were surprised that he couldn’t stand. They had to remove all of his dead skin, which they could peel off and cut with scissors. That will aid the growth of more skin though. He will start getting showers tomorrow, starting twice a day. I was told it would feel like sandpaper rubbing his body – so he is understandably not looking forward to this. He is very swollen at the moment, so much that his eyes are swelled shut. Though I haven’t yet seen him, I was told by his step-dad that one of his ears has almost completely melted off and his nostrils were fused together. Good news is: they have holes in his nostrils now and part of his ear will grow back. Also, when he was knocked over or when the fire exploded, he was hit in the forehead, above his left eye, causing a large indentation in his head. There are parts of his body where there is no skin and bleeds to the touch. The doctors are hoping he will have minimal to no skin grafts and that he will heal on his own. Skin grafts are famous for causing more infection (to do them they also take healthy skin from another part of his body). That will be the big issue for Danny is the chance of infection during this healing process. So here’s to hoping there’s no infections!

I’m happy to report that I spoke to him today. He is in pain – of which he told me, so they are giving him morphine when it gets too bad. He still sounds like Danny, which is awesome, and he has his humor about him (he told me he was filming a low-budget Backdraft and the scene got out of hand. I told him he should’ve had his stuntman perform the stunt. He stressed it was low-budget.)

They aren’t sure how long he will be in Salt Lake. But I’ll be heading down later in the week to visit him. If you have a card, gift or something you want me to bring Danny, let me know. Most likely I will be bringing his cell phone down as well (it survived the fire). Though he isn’t able to talk long or much without getting a very dry throat, and his hand gets tired of holding up his phone (on his left hand he can use only two fingers). He also would love guests and company, which seems particularly apt for the Danny we all know. So if you’re interested in seeing him let me know, I will give you the details of where he’s at and what to do. Or if you want to go down with me then that could probably also be arranged.

In the meantime, send him good thoughts and karma. He will probably be calling or texting many of you once he gets his phone.

Resist the urge to be molded!

5 Aug

We are not to be molded. We are to be unique – as we were once taught when it served a different purpose. As adults, we are no longer encouraged to be unique, free creatures who have, and move, to our own heart’s desires; that message grows foreign to adults who are molded to serve a corporation, or a capitalistic society – which thereby serves some entity (be it a government or again, corporation). Problem is, to work, one must mold the desires of the heart and the accepted concept of life (society) together; or in some instances, lose many of the heart’s desires all together. It’s akin to forcing the round peg into a smaller, more confining square – except in this case, instead of the round peg being made out of wood, it’s made out of clay – so as the round peg is going through the square, it’s shaving off all the qualities that made it round – or whole. Once through the square whole, the round peg is now square. A person does that with society. One confines oneself, changes oneself, loses oneself and in the end, comes out less than the person they started with. There are ways to avoid this, however. The first one would be the obvious, don’t go into the square; but most need to work in order to live. The next obvious answer is to not stay too long inside the square, but we’re still left with this concept of money. The one that might be beneficial is to make the square bigger – so the round peg can go through without losing its own form. That one is particularly beneficial to a society intent on constricting worlds – though it takes a particular amount of work. The best possible answer? Work for yourself, surround yourself with like-minded friends, break the mold of the square – resist the urge to be molded! Only agree to be molded if it’s what your own heart desires, and in that instance, it is no longer society molding you, but yourself into what you truly want to be.

Will you sign?

2 Aug

Dear Montana State Fair committee:

I had the extreme pleasure of going to the Montana State Fair this weekend. I bought food, melted in the sun, felt the rain, watched and betted on the horse races, checked out the animals and came across blatant homophobia and hate-mongering.

It seems anyone can rent a booth at the fair, and though I have seen this particular booth in previous years, I finally have to speak up about it. This particular group – I can’t tell if they are part of a specific religious group or a special interest group or something else entirely, has a booth that states, “What does the Bible say?” about homosexuals. Their table has pamphlets about this “sodomy” and the “depraved mind” of someone who “practices” homosexuality. In fact, as a gay male, I was completely unaware, and saddened in discovering the fact that my average lifespan was 42 years old (39 if I die from AIDS – of which this group seems to believe most gay men have). According to this group and their materials, my average percentage of “sexual faithfulness” is a pathetically low 4.5% compared to that of a straight male. I also have a high chance to becoming a heavy drug user.

After reading through a number of their “informative” pamphlets, I have come to the conclusion that the information in them is completely uninformed, illogical, ridiculous and worst of all, hateful. The people who run this booth are disrespectful and propagating ruinous lies about anything and everything to do with the so-called “gay lifestyle” – whatever that phrase really means.

This type of propaganda is not appropriate at any county fair, let alone the Montana State Fair. Is this what needs to be seen at a family event? I am insulted at even having to witness such ignorance on what was an otherwise fun day.

Would you, the committee in charge of running the state fair, rent out a booth to a group who was pro-KKK activities in the state? Or how about a group of men who were completely misogynistic and vehemently against woman’s rights and used the Bible as evidence (of which one could find plenty)? Would I see these types of booths at the fair? Perhaps there could be a whole row of hate booths next to one another?

Not only myself, but also my straight and gay friends were uncomfortable with this booth, as well as family members from previous years. I can no longer support the state fair in which hate and disrespect are so openly allowed. I will not be back to the Montana State Fair until this particular booth – and any others who are propagating hate and against the rights of others – are prohibited from sharing their message. Further, I will discourage all of my friends and family from attending the fair, thereby no longer purchasing food, gas, and lodging that supports the Great Falls community, until you have resolved this offensive issue.

I strongly encourage you to remove this booth from all future Montana Fairs so that everyone can enjoy the festival. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Justin Olson

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I am sending the following to key staff of Montana State Fair and perhaps an abridged version to the Great Falls Tribune. Do you want your signature to be added at the bottom of the letter? If so, comment on the bottom with your full typed name of how you want it to appear on the letter.