Camping and Counting: A profile of Carl Haken
Carl hiking in California during the summer of 2011. Photo by Beth Haken.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 2:51pm
What superpower would be the most useful today and why?
Just today...well I don't have fitness today. For a fitness day I could say the ability to not feel pain or something like that. Probably fly... fly home instead of taking the bus because taking the bus is boring.
What fad do you think was the most overrated?
Twilight in its entirety.
Did you even read them?
I didn't. I'm not one of the people who assumes that it's the work of the devil or something, but it's just too much.
What is your favorite section of the grocery store and why?
Cheese... wait that's not a section. Dairy, I guess.
Why is cheese your favorite food?
It tastes good and it goes with orange juice, which I also really like.
Okay, I've never heard of cheese and orange juice paired.
Yeah, I really like cheese and orange juice. Maybe I'm just weird.
Where is the strangest place you have been stranded. What is the backstory?
I got stuck up in a waterfall in Havasu Canyon . It's sort of an off-shoot of the Grand Canyon and we went hiking down there. It takes about eight hours to hike in the sun, but the waterfalls are beautiful there and the one that we climbed up it was sort of like a cascade going over these, well the water there is very mineral heavy so it makes these cups almost, where there will be sticks in a semi-circle then a little build-up of stone over it just from mineral deposits from the water. And so you can just kind of climb indefinitely all the way up there. After having done this for a long time, it was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, but we kind of got stuck up there because it was still pretty steep. And then at the very bottom of it there is just a straight waterfall, after a while we figured out how to get down.
Tell me about your family's hobby of unicycling.
Well, this is something that my dad and his five siblings started doing when they were kids. There are pictures of them on each other's shoulder and unicycling. I have cousins, particularly in Colorado, that do this all the time, that are really into their mountain unicycling. And then I have some cousins who live here who learned how to do it. Near the end of my freshman year I decided that I finally needed to learn how to do this, because all of my cousins could do it and all of them were going to unicycle in this parade and I would feel really left out if I didn't.
What is the strangest comment you have received while riding your unicycle?
It was the first or second time I rode alone. The first time I rode to school I just had Soren [Rasmussen] bike with me and give me a shoulder whenever I fell, which was a lot. But the first or second time I rode alone I was going across a block, so not next to a street on campus, I can recognize the place, but I cannot remember the street name. But, there are these two parallel sidewalks, a bike path and a sidewalk, and I was going down the bike path and there was a guy in a really fancy suit holding a briefcase looking really pretentious walking down the sidewalk opposite me and he sees me coming by and he just stops and gives me the evil eye. 'What is this freak show doing on the campus?!' Most people are usually amazed or whatever, but I think this was the only guy that was legitimately offended by my hobby. But that made my day.
Tell me about your cutesy voice.
No! It's not my fault. I don't try to do it. It's not my fault. I don't want to think about it.
What is the first thing on your bucket list?
Downhill snow-unicyling with my cousins. [...] I have cousins who live in Conifer, Colorado which is really close to Denver, but up in the mountains and it snows there for many, many months out of the year. But never during the only months that we ever go there, which is near the end of the summer. I want to go there when it is snowing, to do downhill snow-unicycling among other things.
Isn't that really dangerous?
Yeah sure, but who cares?
If you had a year off to do whatever you wanted with an unlimited bank account, what would you do?
I would probably become a pro-gamer, if I could actually do it. Play video games professionally.
So you would actually be making money so you wouldn't need the bank account.
Yeah, you know if I was actually good at it, which is doubtful.
What was your favorite book when you were little? Any memories attached?
I think my favorite book when I was little, the first book that I remember looking at or reading on my own - this was when I was really, really young - it was a book about house construction and house remodeling. So it had all this stuff about walls and electrical stuff, pipes. There was an entire page about the different types of PVC pipes, and gutter pipes, and all these different types of pipes, and I really loved that page. I can still see it. I could probably draw it. But I just loved that page, because I loved pipes when I was a kid.
When did you find out life is not fair?
Probably earlier than I remember.
What alien race would you like to study in their natural habitat?
That's a hard one... Vulcans, because you know a [I'm a] Star Trek fan and kind of a nerd.
Where do you see yourself in fifty years?
I see myself retired doing some kind of work, entirely because I want to do it. Come up with some brilliant invention when I am twenty-five, then retire almost immediately. That's sort of my ideal life goal right now.
As little work as possible?
Yeah, do something brilliant, but get it done and stop working right after.
If you do not know the answer on a test, what do you write down? You can tell me about cow extra credit.
I think it had to have been freshman year, because it was Mr. Buck who never gave any extra credit on our math tests, so Charlie [Bullock] and I would draw these little extra credit cows, which were these little things that did not even look like cows. But, we would draw them all over our papers when we were done pretty early, asking for extra credit. He never actually gave us any extra credit, even when we turned in like six pages of extra credit cows that we had drawn up during previous free periods for our final exam of the year. It was really sad.
What would you say is your biggest flaw?
Probably not doing things.
Not doing things?
It's just having the opportunity to do something but just preferring to be lazy or play video games. Missed a number of things that way. Several Fourth of Julys.
What is your first memory regarding your birthday?
I was either walking to or from school and my mom was trying to get me to invite three boys and three girls from my class. And I already knew who the three boys were, because they were my friends, but I was trying to rationalize why I would need three girls. And I just thought that she was crazy.
If you could communicate with one non-human thing what would it be and why?
Because she's really cute and pretty, but she is also a total spaz, and I sort of want to know what's going on in her mind. One moment she will be running around or sitting really still, then the next moment she'll just flip and freak out and run somewhere or just sort of fall down and roll around on the ground. And she can't sit down either. She'll just be standing up straight, then falls over on her side. I don't think she knows how to sit down like a normal cat.
If you could be a fictional character of any variety, who would it be and why?
Gandalf... either that, or what is that show that my younger siblings watch...Avatar. The Airbender, the Nickelodeon series, not the blue people one. But, probably Earthbender or something.
If you were to have access to a time machine, where and when would you travel to?
I don't know. I've thought about this before and every time I think about going many hundreds of years back I come the to same conclusion that life must have sucked back then. Lack of basic hygiene and other such things. So probably just earlier in my life to give myself some test answers among other things.
For the impending zombie apocalypses what would be your strategy for survival?
Charlie [Bullock] and I talked about this a while back. You get a truck, you get some people, you get some chainsaws or shotguns or whatever, and there is a place we have gone camping a number of times called Fruita, which is this valley with a river in it where people have been growing things for hundreds of years in the middle of an enormous desert surrounded by mountains. So, basically it is as isolated as it can get and reasonably sustainable. So I would try to make it out there, if you can, and go from there.
And just hang out there?
Depends what kind of zombies they are. Hopefully they die off after five years if they don't have any more people to eat.
If there was a fortune cookie company that was omnipotent, what would your fortune read? In poetic form.
Work in moderation will leave you a happier person.
Was coming to Uni the right choice for you?
Absolutely. I wasn't going to, my parents told me that I had a choice, told me I had to apply for this. When I did get in, I thought about it a lot and finally decided that I didn't want to go. And then they just said no and made me go. But I am really glad they did because I love it here.
Alright the final question; how do you feel about being interviewed?
These are not the questions I was expecting. I have to go back to history and see what movie I have missed part of, I think he said that it was Ferris Bueller, but I've already see that.