cellos, really?

Last night Baby Africa called me and invited me out on the town with him, Derek, and a couple of their friends. We planned to meet at Surfside 7, which I had always thought was a store that marketed to the 'What's up Bra?' crowd, but actually is a snooty hipster bar in the vein of The Replay Lounge, a snooty hipster bar in Lawrence where I used to hang out. A lot. So Derek and I were the first ones there and since the waitress couldn't be bothered to stop at our table, I decided to serve myself and headed to the bar.

I actually got the up and down from the bartender and she waited about five minutes before she would acknowledge my presence and deign to serve me. Ahhhhhhhhh. Feels just like home. Finally, once the cool kids arrived, the waitress decided we were worth her time and we were able to order food.

After devouring two huge pizzas and consuming a not small amount of Fat Tire and Skinny Dip (which at $2 a pint, how could we not?), we headed to The Aggie, a once-upon-a-time-movie-theater-turned-concert-venue (also reminiscent of another Lawrence hang out, The Granada), to revel in the music-making of Matson Jones, a local band consisting of two cellos, a stand-up bass and some drums. Are you thinking we've gotten old and stodgy and now prefer the symphony over rock? Guess again. These kids tore off the roof. With cellos. It was awesome. Check 'em out on e-music. Of course, I'm a sucker for any band that can kick it with stringed instruments, so I've something of a bias.

The only downside was that I ran into someone I really didn't want to talk to, a guy who works for one of my company's clients. I mean, don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy and all, but I barely know him and it's weird when people you only know in a professional setting see you outside the office. It's like they've caught you standing there naked or looking at inappropriate porn. So, he comes up, shakes my hand, we chat for a little and then. Insert awkward silence here. If you know me, you've probably come to realize that I'm a social retard. So, normally when I'm in this type of situation, I like to breeze in, make a little small talk, and then find an excuse to bail. Since I was the one with the established post and he was the one walking by, I figured he would be the one to move on. Um. No. He stood there by me, not saying a word, for what felt like a really, really long year. Or two. I tried. Really. I did. I asked him all of the questions I could think of, and then, nothing. Thankfully, Baby Africa came along and saved me. That guy can talk to anyone.

In spite of that one minor issue the show was great and fun times were had by all.

I'm gonna go take a little nap now.


another night inside

The temperature outside tonight is perfect for climbing. Unfortunately the steady downpour is a pretty big deterrent, so Travis and I head to the gym for another night of scrambling around on the plastic rocks. I redo a few routes that I had tried out last Thursday with much more success tonight. I also try out a new 5.11 that's really stemmy and quite challenging. I surprise myself by getting about halfway up it before I just can't go anymore. I'm excited to try that one again.

The nice thing about climbing inside this time of year is that no one else is there. The rain drove quite a few other people inside tonight, but it was still pretty empty.


oh that thing you do

We all have them. Those tiny little things that people do that just absolutely fucking drive us nuts. And there's no explaining, really, where they come from. They just are. Like the Buddha. Well, one of mine is the sound of people chewing. Especially crunchy things like potato chips.

Guess what my boss just did?

Yeah. In my cube, standing behind me while reviewing the brochure from hell that I've been working on since I started here. And I couldn't say, 'Dude. Stop that right now or I'm gonna throw up on your shoes.'

'Cause, you know, he's my boss and all.

Ten minutes later and my teeth are still on edge.


one thing i'm really good at...

I had pretty much planned on not climbing this weekend since Ann and Dylan were taking off on Friday for adventures unknown (to me). Then, Ann called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that they had ended up near Drake, a small town about 20 miles up Big Thompson Canyon, and that I should join them in the morning. We planned on meeting in Drake and then driving up to the trailhead. However, around 9p last night Dylan called to ask if I would mind just meeting them at the trailhead instead, as it would be easier for them, and gave me these directions:

At Drake, turn right on Devil's Gulch Road
Go .3 miles to Forest Road 128
Turn right
Go 5.2 miles to where they're camped

Oh. And there are a couple of 'lefts' that you have to take, but they're pretty obvious.

And we figured since his phone was working up there, then I could just call if I got lost.

So I make it to Drake without incident, but there is no Devil's Gulch Road. After driving through town three times (which took all of five minutes), I finally stopped and asked for directions. The guy I bothered (who had an inordinate amount of nose hair) told me that Devil's Gulch Road starts in Estes Park and ends up in Glen Haven which was about 8 miles away. Hmmmm. That can't be correct. So, I decide to take the only right I can, which is Highway 43. I clock the .3 miles and end up at a road that has a bunch of mailboxes planted by it which makes me think it's a private road where camping can't possibly be allowed. Right before I decide to drive on, I see a brown sign about a quarter mile up the road. So. Even I know that brown signs usually mean trailheads, forest roads, state parks or at least something outdoorsy, so I figure this has to be it and drive on. And. Even though, it's called Storm Mountain Road, not FR 128, I plunge on fearlessly.

Umm. It leads me to what is basically a suburb on the side of the mountain. I come to the first left and it is obvious. Then there's a curve in the road that goes off to the right and there's another road off to the left. However, it's a little narrower than the one I'm on, so I figure it's a driveway and take the curve to the right.

Yeah. Mistake number one.

After winding my way through and dead-ending in a couple of people's driveways, I end up back on Storm Mountain Road and find the place where I made the wrong turn. Unfortunately, by this point I had lost my mileage count and couldn't rely on that to tell me how far I had to go, until, eureka! About 3 miles up the road I see a sign that says FR 128. Whew. I found it and I'm only 30 minutes late.

So I force Bessie up this kind of bumpy, rutty road that dead-ends at FR153. A road that doesn't allow motorized vehicles. And no sign of Ann and Dylan. So, feeling a little frustrated with myself because I obviously can't follow directions, I sit there for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. Finally, I come to the conclusion that I should just turn around and go home. I can't call because Sprint® sucks and I can't get service and driving around aimlessly will do me no good.

When I get back to Loveland my phone starts working again and gives me the voicemail ring, so I log in and there are four messages from Ann and Dylan. Apparently I passed right by them, they tried to chase me down and I didn't see them.

Lesson learned: I obviously need landmarks to find things, and it's probably best not to rely on me being able to find things based on compass directions and street signs, as one thing I'm really good at is getting lost.

The bummer for me is that I don't get to climb today. The bummer for Ann and Dylan is they don't get the frosty cold beers I brought with me.

Oh well. There's always next time.


it's raining, so...

Because of the badly needed inclement weather, Travis, Kyle and I decided to hit the gym last night instead of Rotary Park.

It had been a while since I had climbed inside and I was actually a little bit nervous. I guess I was afraid of failure. Performance anxiety is a terrible mind game. Most of climbing is mental and if you're not in the right frame of mind, it can really screw you up.

I warmed up on an easy 5.8 and that got quite a bit of my confidence back, so I did another 5.8 with a sweet overhang. I was a little shaky on that one and already feeling it in my forearms, but I made it up without falling or resting.

Then I attempted a 5.11, but after five tries and not getting past the third move, I gave up and moved next door to a 5.9. Unfortunately, my arms and grip were completely shot and I couldn't complete it.

After a nice, long rest I did a 5.10 that was challenging, but not too difficult. It was really pinchy at the top and my hands were complaining pretty loudly, but I bulled my way up without falling.

I ended the night on 'Mr. Stretch.' A sweet 5.9 that usually I can complete without any problems, but I was too worn out by the time I attempted it tonight and couldn't finish.

Overall a really nice night. It was good to make it up the 5.10 as I haven't done too many of those and it's been a barrier that has me perplexed.

This morning my thumb is crying Uncle, but I think if I just stretch it out and ice it some it will be ok.

a conversation. again.

'I really like that shirt.'

'Thanks. For me, it's ironic.'

'What. You don't dance?'

'Oh God no. No one needs to see that.'

She laughs. Somewhat loudly. 'Well, at least you know, right?'

'Yeah. I only do that in the privacy of my own home.'

She laughs some more. 'Well. AT LEAST YOU KNOW. Most people don't.'

'I guess. Alright. Thanks. Take it easy.'

'You too. Thanks.'

This is the exact conversation, almost word for word, that I've had twice now with the lady who works at the Fort Collins Food Co-op, where I occasionally go to buy an organic snack to get me through the afternoon. This is the second time I've gone in there while wearing my 'Will Dance for Food' t-shirt.

Either she wants really badly to flirt with me about something and this is all she's got, or she just really, truly likes the shirt.

I guess that's what I get for wearing 'funny' clothes.


no way am i ready for that

Last night I took another yoga class. The whole thing was focused on progressing towards the head stand. Uh. I can barely stand on my feet, let alone my head. It was a disaster.

Next week (if I go again) she wants to progress to the hand stand. I repeat: I can't stand on my feet most of the time, why on earth would I want to try to stand on my hands?

I might come up with a convenient excuse not to make it.


i did a bad, bad thing

Today, Ann, Dylan and I went back up to Vedauwoo to attempt another day of climbing. Dylan's dad, Dan, and his stepmom, Sarah decided to join us in order to celebrate Dylan's impending birthday. Ann and I figured out that it had been almost six weeks since any of us had been attached to the business end of a rope. That's almost unheard of and pretty unbelievable even though the math is right.

So, after about an hour's walk through the woods, we made it to the rocks. Dylan led, I followed and then Ann raced up after us. Even though it was a 5.5 it felt more like a 5.8 or 5.9, probably because we're all out of practice. It was a nice, challenging route that was a ton of fun, and I got to practice some new moves. It was also probably one of the longest routes I've ever done. Then Dylan did a pretty amazing climb on a 5.11b. It's so awesome to watch him climb, he's so good at it and can make even the hardest routes look pretty easy.

We decided to go the long way back to the cars, which proved, for me, to be something of a mistake. Dude. It was hot out there today and I was pretty wiped out from the one climb I did. It took about an hour and a half to get back to the car. I was pretty far ahead of the rest of the group, and didn't really feel like waiting for them to arrive, so I left a note on Ann's car and headed back home.

Now one of the things I like to do after a long day of tramping through the woods is get a nice, big soda. There aren't many options for soda-buying on the way home, but there is a McDonald's® and if you can get the chance, a fountain soda is like the Holy Grail of sodas, so I was all too happy to stop. Ok. So here's the bad thing, while waiting in line, the sudden urge to get a fat-fried, fake-meat-product dinner overwhelmed every other thought in my brain.

For those of you who haven't been keeping tabs on my eating habits of late, and I can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't be, this is a pretty rare occurence for me. Probably something like once a year I consume fast food. I mean, have you seen Supersize Me? Anyway, it was supremely delicious and more than satisfying.

Immediately afterward I was consumed with guilt - for the Amazon rainforest, the ozone layer and any lingering effects on my cardiovascular system.

I think I'm gonna just lie here and moan.


watch out donald trump

I just bought my first ever stock. I am the proud owner of 45 shares of Proctor and Gamble. By the time I'm 85 it might even be worth something.

Stay tuned for constant obsessing about where the market stands and how my stock is doing.


i am in fact 85

Today, exhaustion reigns supreme so I beg off of the ritual bouldering with Dylan. Plus, it's wicked hot outside which makes me even more tired just thinking about being out in it jumping around on rocky surfaces.

I'm gonna be lazy and watch movies instead.



Dylan and I finally made it out to Rotary Park at Horsetooth Res. to boulder tonight. It was sprinkling a little on our respective rides home from our respective places of work, but we decided to head out anyway in case it blew over. It blew over, the sun came out and we had awesome weather for the bouldering.

My muscles are pleasantly tired, my fingertips are super shredded and I didn't damage myself or cause anything to bleed. Even my thumb seems ok. Of course, we specifically stayed off of anything pinchy and just worked on some slab stuff.

It was nice to get out on the rocks. I think I'd almost forgotten what it feels like.

round 2

Last night, Ann invited me to attend a yin yoga class taught by her friend Alan at the Old Town Yoga Studio in downtown FC. Good times. Good times. I guess with yin yoga you hold the poses for longer periods of time than you do with, uh, normal(?) yoga. All I have to say is my lack of flexibility is frankly pathetic.

I'm not sore today, however, and it actually alleviated some lower back pain I had been experiencing since going to the gym on Sunday.

everything is illuminated

I thought they did a good job of telling the story of the Rigid Search, and the guy that played Alex was perfect. However, I was really disappointed that they didn't tell more of the stories from the village. I guess they didn't really have time, but still, that was the most interesting thing about the book. Plus, I thought Elijah Wood played Jonathan as Frodo in Coke bottle glasses. When I read the book, I didn't get the impression that Jonathan was such a whiney, pathetic wuss.

My favorite character in the whole thing was Sammy Davis, Jr., Jr. She made me laugh out loud. A couple of times.

Rating: ****


holy crap

I ended up not being as lazy as I thought I would yesterday because I decided to try, drumroll please, yoga. There's a beginner's class on Saturdays at my gym that I've been wanting to check out and I had time yesterday, so...

All I have to say is, 'Dear. Sweet. Jesus.' For the first half hour she had us practice our breathing. Now, like almost everyone whom I know, I've been breathing my entire life and didn't really think it was something I needed to practice, so the entire time I was thinking, 'Well. This is pretty stupid and a huge waste of time.' Then she led us through the 'poses.' By the end of the second half hour I was sweating my ass off, had fallen over twice, and my entire body was shaking so badly that I didn't think I would be able to finish out the session. Thankfully, the last fifteen minutes were 'shishanas(?),' where you lie on the floor and relax and breathe and, if you're me, take a little nap.

Also, it's still raining today, so I have an excuse to be a lazy-ass bum. 'Cause I'm a wee bit sore...


curses. foiled again.

Ann, Dylan and I made plans last night to go climbing today up at Veedauwoo (pronounced vee-da-voo) which is located somewhere near Laramie, Wy off of I-80, so about an hour and some change to get up there.

I wake up this morning and it's grey. Grey. Grey. As far as the eye can see. And, it's even sprinkling a little. I think, 'Well, just wait and see. It'll probably burn off.' By 9.5a it still hadn't gone the way of the National Parks system (if W. has his way), so I give them a call to see if we're going.

Yep. We are. Even though I would much rather stay inside. I've been grumpy and tired all week and the clouds remind me that I could just as soon stay in bed. I'd have an excuse.

A and D are staying the night, so we drive separately. After rocking out (and I mean rocking out) in my car to 'Burn the Maps,' an excellent album by The Frames for the entire hour (mostly listening to the same song, 'Finally' about twenty times in a row), we arrive to discover that it's just as gloomy and gross in Wy as it is in Co. They decide to be industrious and go for a hike. I decide to be lazy and go home; agreeing to meet them back there tomorrow morning if the weather's better.

So, two hours and a not small amount of fossil fuels later with nothing to show for it. Maybe it's the Higher Power's way of telling me that I should be staying off of my injured thumb.



In the vein of SNL's commercials for fake products. Man. Wouldn't working at The Onion be the best job ever?

finally, dang

So I finally watched Transamerica. I don't really know what to say about it other than, wow, what a good movie. It caused me to experience some empathy for a group of people that have a much harder time of it than most of us do.

The humor used to lighten the heaviness of the subject matter reaffirmed that in order to make it through life, you have to be able to laugh.

Especially at yourself.

And, seriously, what's not funny about a transsexual who discovers she fathered a son 17 years ago, and now has to figure out what to do with him?

Rating: *****


happy birthday america

I'm currently sitting at Starbucks® drinking an iced coffee that I really don't need and eating a cranberry almond bar that I really, really don't need and paying $6 an hour just to use the internet. Hopefully, if there is a god somewhere, I will have the interbunny back at the house sometime this week and will no longer have to subject my body to such travesties in order to satisfy my internet jones..

Anyway, I tried out my new sleeping bag this weekend. Result: It's frickin' awesome. The Thermarest® loops? Worth every penny. You know how when you try to sleep on your side in a sleeping bag you end up getting strangled by the hood? Well, with loops to hold your Thermarest in place, your bag doesn't slide around and you can sleep on your side in complete comfort and are able to breathe the whole time. Bonus.

On Friday I got the word from Baby Africa (Dude. I have no idea. He actually requested that I call him this in the blog) and Derek that they wanted to come on my backwoods adventure with me and I spent most of the day Saturday getting ready for the trip. Saturday night Baby Africa invited me to a bbq at a farm north of town with the promise that we 'wouldn't stay very long.' Umm. Yeah. I got to bed at 1.5a Sunday morning. Somehow, in spite of the late hour, he was able to convice our friend Paul to come with on the trip. I think it's because they were both drunk and not thinking clearly.

Sunday morning they arrived at my house, kind of bright-eyed and somewhat bushy-tailed. At the last minute we decided to go for Browns Lake instead of Twin Crater Lakes because the distance was shorter and two of our party were a tiny bit, uh, indisposed. It ended up being the perfect distance and a really beautiful hike.

No mishaps really except about a mile into the hike I realized that I forgot to lock my car so had to run back down to the trailhead in order to keep the backcountry theives from stealing my most valuable possession - my iPod®.

We got to the campsite so early that we really didn't know what to do with ourselves, so we all decided to take a nap. Later, Baby Africa and Derek provided an awesome fajita dinner and the myriad mosquitoes provided us with some after dinner exercise. The only bummer was the no campfire due to the fire ban. For the first time ever, I put the R-dog in the vestibule instead of letting her sleep in the tent. Thank you whoever you are who invented the vestibule. Thank you. That and Simply Sleep® gave me the first good night's sleep I've ever had in the great outdoors. The whisky I drank probably didn't hurt all that much either.

The next morning we woke and got moving in enough time to beat the afternoon storms that rolled through just as we got back to the cars. And even though we had to listen to Baby Africa whine about not getting his oatmeal the entire time, it was still a pleasant walk through the woods.

I was really surprised by how uncrowded the campsites were considering it was a holiday weekend, but I guess that's one advantage to hitting the backcountry instead of just car camping. Fewer people are willing to walk that far. Even in 'rado.

I'm still pleasantly tired (albeit kinda jittery from all the caffeine and itchy from all the mosquito bites), and very happy that I got to get outside, try out new gear and spend time with friends. A perfect way to celebrate the birth of our country.