on the dl

No. Not 'down low.' 'Disabled List.'

Dylan and I went bouldering tonight and on my second attempt on the first problem I tried, I bit it. I fell about four feet maybe (Dylan ?), missed the pad, and landed on a rock. My ankle hurt, kind of, but I went ahead and tried the problem two more times, getting it on the second try. That didn't feel so good, so I sat out the rest of the evening, drinking one of the two beers that Dylan brought for us and watched Dylan try this impossible looking traverse.

Then I headed over to Urgent Care.

The doc said it's not broken, but I've probably bruised some covering that goes over the heel bone. He had some fancy schmancy scientific name for it that I can't pronounce, let alone spell. He said that I would probably be in some pain and somewhat gimpy for the next week or so. It's a good thing I'm headed to Chicago for a week and won't have much opportunity to do anything strenuous.

So there you go. It's what I get for being accident prone I guess.


dirty? maybe. if you're in to that sort of thing

Something that sounds extremely pornographic but isn't even in sneezing distance of being sexy: Hot Yoga.

Ann and I had been talking about trying out a kind of yoga called Bikram Yoga. Supposedly, according to Ann, it was started by an Indian with either the first or last name, Bikram. And also, according to Ann, he's a jerk. And makes people pay him a gazillion dollars in order to use his name when developing their yoga classes. So. This studio in town calls their version of Bikram Yoga, you got it, Hot Yoga.

Well. It was hot alright. As in temperature, not as in, 'Wow. I look really f'ing awesome doing this. People might want to pay to see it.'

We spent 90 minutes in a room that was 2,000º doing various 'postures' while listening to an extremely peppy woman telling us to 'push it just a little further.' Up to this point in my experience with yoga, the instructors have always told us to not do anything that hurts and to do things at our own pace. Well last night's drill seargent seemed to take some perverse pleasure in making us cause ourselves bodily harm. All with the happy disposition of a sadistic high school cheerleader on Pep Rally Day.

I'm exhausted. Still.

I'll definitely do it again.


may the force be with me

I made the mistake of buying the Cheddar Jack flavored Cheez-its® at the grocery store this weekend. I blame it on the euphoria and bliss inflicted on me from having such a good climbing outing which caused me to not quite be of sound mind. I made some other bad decisions at the marketplace also, but I shan't go into those. This one's all about the Cheez-its.

I swear I stood there for a while in the cracker aisle debating whether I should go over to the dark side, or just stick with the normal, reduced fat flavor I normally buy. Which aren't that bad, but once you get a taste of Nirvana, I'm not sure you can ever go back again. Here's why it was a bad decision: I think I've eaten almost half the box already and they've only been in my grubby little paws for one day.

I mean, if Jesus made crack with his own two hands, Cheddar Jack Cheez-its is what it would taste like.

I'm just sayin'.


i'm no longer a virgin

Dylan, Ann and I decided to go visit the Ironclads this weekend, primarily to climb, but secondarily to celebrate the past 35 years I've spent on the planet. We chose the Ironclads because it was one place we knew the R-dog could join us without having too many problems getting to the base of the climbs. She hasn't joined us on too many of our climbing outings because she gets so nervous while we're on the rocks that she just throws herself at them. We've been afraid that she was going to cause herself some serious bodily harm. I don't know if it's because she's terrified that we're going to leave her, or if she's just waaaay smarter than us and is trying to tell us to come back down before we hurt ourselves. She did really well this weekend though. The first day she was still fairly crazed, but by the second day she just sat there and watched. Or slept.

Saturday dawned gray and cloudy, so when I awoke from my splendid slumber I assumed that we weren't going. However, Ann called at 8a and said, 'Are you an idiot? Of course we're going. We need to at least try because we would kick ourselves if we stayed home and the day turns out to be sunny and nice.' And, of course, she was right, so off we went.

We arrived, set up camp and started up the road to the rocks. Two minutes later it started to sprinkle. Thirty seconds after that it became somewhat of a downpour, so we turned around and headed back to the safety of our tents. During the time it took for us to each down a beer (don't look at me like that, it was after noon), the rain stopped, the sun came out and we decided to head back up. Or at least Dylan and I headed out, Ann stayed behind to take a nap.

I won't bore you with too many of the details, suffice it to say that the most exciting thing that happened was that I led my first climb. Earlier in the week I had offhandledly mentioned to Dylan that I thought I was maybe ready to do so, you know, if all the conditions were right. I guess he took me seriously because after our first climb, he asked me if I was ready. I acquiesed and we moved over to 'Shaking Hands with the Pope' a 5.7 on Mount Boner. I know. I know, but I didn't name it. For some reason the climbing world is largely inhabited by immature, juvenile delinquents and they like giving the routes dirty names. I successfully led the entire thing, only falling once, with one hanging rest and one bloody finger. I was so jazzed when I got done that I made Dylan give me a high-five. Suddenly, I feel like a bona fide climber now. Instead of just a tagalong. I also think it's highly appropriate that my first lead had a religious theme.

Later that night, while I was cooking my dinner, my stove caught on fire. Luckily, since it had rained so much, the only trauma incurred was to my stove. Otherwise I could be writing this from jail right now. Anyway, back to my stove. It melted. My trusty stove that I've had for seven years is dead. So, I guess now it's time to buy a new one. Which, in all actuality, I'm not all that bummed about. I've been wanting one for quite a while and now I have a good excuse to go get one of the new, fancy ones. Like a JetBoil®.

I slept really poorly in spite of taking the miracle drug Simply Sleep®, and I was too tired to climb much today. Ann and Dylan, however, got in some good turns and I got to traipse around in the woods with an extremely heavy pack. Fortunately, they took pity on me and we called it at 12.5p and headed back home.


another day of productivity

I am supposed to be writing an ad for a premium checking account for our bank client. Yes. You read that correctly. Me. Writing the ad. It's a scary, scary world we live in kids. Once you get over the shock and the cold-sweat has dried up on your brow, realize that really, no one will see it, so it doesn't have to be that good.

Regardless, instead of writing the ad, I'm spending some time downloading the last ep of Rescue Me, going through my iPod and making sure that all albums have album art, rating all the songs that come up on shuffle (because for some reason, I haven't done this yet), and since I just read about smart playlists in iTunes, I'm trying to come up with reasons to make some smart playlists.

I don't know how copywriters get anything done.


of mice and men

Last year I was living in Missoula, Montana and I happened to have my birthday off of work because I had just recently quit my job, and instead of making me work for the next two weeks like normal employers would, the tyrant I had the misfortune to be employed by decided that he no longer needed my services. Since I had the day off, I decided to take the R-dog for a hike. It was such a great way to celebrate my birthday that I decided I would do that every year for the rest of the time I spend here on Earth (in this lifetime anyway).

Well the day of my birth rolled around this year and I took the day off with the Grand Plan of going to Indian Peaks State Park near Lyons, Colorado. I woke up at 8a and checked the ol' e-mail for any word about this freelance project that was due in the morning. Nothing. Then I talked to Ann who wanted to go with me and we decided that instead of an all-day, Indian Peaks trip, we would just go do Arthur's Rock in the afternoon. That would give me time to get the freelance project out of the way, and would satisfy both my need to be outside and my need to be kinda lazy.

My friend Nikki had called earlier in the week to see if she could take me out to lunch to celebrate the Big Day. I was noncommital since, at that time, The Grand Plan was still in place, but I told her that if I decided not to go hiking, we could definitely go to lunch. Well. Since we weren't going on an all-day hike I called her and made plans to meet her and Ann for lunch.

We had the all-you-can-eat buffet at one of my favorite restaurants in town, a Nepalese place called Mt. Everest Cafe.

It was already 200º outside when we left the restaurant.

The combination of my overly-full stomach and the extremely warm temperature made me very, very sleepy.

I didn't make it to the woods. Or even off of my bed for the rest of the afternoon.

Does it count as a tradition when you only do it one time? I don't think so. Next year I swear I'll go hiking on the ol' b-day. You can hold me to it.


takes a licking and keeps on ticking

Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Birthday dear MEEEEEE!


Thirty-six years ago today (in about an hour and a half), my mom gave birth to a 5lb baby boy who had all of his fingers and toes and most of his brain attached. I can't believe it's been that long. I mean, shit, thirty-six years is a looooooong-ass time. If you think about it. Not that long when compared to elephants, the redwood trees or the actual age of the universe, but still, a long time for us fragile humans. Anyway, thanks Mom and Dad for giving birth to me, feeding me, changing my diapers and the stellar performance at the difficult job of preparing me to leave the nest and fly on my own. I love you.

And thanks to everyone else for the friendship, the many beers, the good times and helping me along the way.

a show

Last night Derek and I went down to Denver to a venue called Cervantes to see Anathallo and Rainer Maria who were opening for a band called The Format that neither of us had ever heard of and had no desire to see really.

The venue was awesome. It is located in El Barrio—what I call the Hispanic neighborhood north of downtown Denver, which is actually one of my favorite parts of town, and it is the perfect place to see a show. The stage is high so there's no bad place to stand really, there's an upstairs loft that runs on all three sides of the space and they have a huge bar in the back for the getting of the beers. We tried a beer neither of us had ever heard of called Holy Grail, which I think is a great name for an adult beverage.

The show was fantastic. Streets to Nowhere, the actual opening band, weren't awful despite the impression given by their name. Before they even came out on stage, Derek said that they were probably a teenage-emo band. He was spot on. The lead singer is a Conor Oberst wannabe with a pretty good voice, albeit a little histronic at times, with fairly decent lyric-writing abilities.

Anathallo was unbelievable. I now want to buy every single one of their albums. They're one of those bands that just seems to have a lot of fun performing. And you'd have to be extremely talented to be a member as you'd be expected to be able to play a minimum of three instruments. They hopped and jumped and sang and banged and made beautiful, creative noise. There was one kid in the band who I dubbed The Red T-shirt Kid, 'cause he was wearing, you know, a red t-shirt, who just sold it for me. You could tell that he thoroughly enjoyed himself and must be exhausted after every show. They only got to play for 45 minutes and I could've listened to them for 200 more, but they're coming back in November so hopefully I'll be able to see them again.

Then there's Rainer Maria, who Derek really likes and I am unsure about. What I will say is that I enjoyed their performance more than I thought I would and wasn't sad that I saw them live. The lead singer has a nice voice and they know how to really rock the house. Nothing new really, but still a nice sound.

As I was done after Anathallo finished, and Derek was done after Rainer Maria finished, we left before The Format even started setting up. I don't know much about them, but judging by the largely teeny-bopper crowd who was really excited to see them, I don't really need to.

All in all a great night for only $15. Can't beat that with a stick.



Dylan and I headed back out to Rotary Park tonight for another try at the bouldering. It. Was. Glorious. The weather was perfect, the rock was gorgeous and I had a much more successful evening than I did last week.

We spent the entire time on the same route, a nice grippy traverse that kicked my butt, but I kept telling myself, 'Just make it one more move the next time.' And for the most part, I did just that. A lot of my problem was just working out the sequence, and now that I think I have it, I'm sure I'll be able to complete the entire problem next time 'round. Really. I'm sure of it.

It's nice to know I still have it. Kind of.



I just got back from a press check on The Sistene Chapel down in Denver. So far, things look good. Keep your fingers crossed.

For once, I have absolutely nothing on tap for this weekend. So. I think I'm gonna clean the shit out of my house. Pay some long overdue bills. Buy a much needed stuff sack for my new sleeping bag. Take my bike in for a tune-up. Wash the shit out of my car. Get my oil changed. Stuff my face with Cheez-its®. Freak out about the impending hot dog crisis. Maybe drink some beer. Take the R-dog for a couple of long walks. Maybe lift some weights. Definitely watch some cartoons. Oh. And read some stuff that's been piling up.

That's all folks. Have good weekends one and all.


peace has been restored

Ok folks. Sorry for my little temper tantrum yesterday. Things are much calmer today and back to their normal, idyllic state. It was as if a little thunderstorm just rolled through the Garden and now everything is fresh and clean again. Although supposedly I do have to run down to Denver sometime today to sign off on another press proof of The Sistene Chapel so that the darn thing can go to press. The printer absolutely refuses to print it without a signed proof. Even though we told him we would be happy with whatever came off the press. I'm sure he will call at 4p to tell me that it's ready, which means I won't get back to FC until about 7p.

I think I have resigned myself to the fact that, this week at least, work has taken my personal life by the throat and gutted it.

In other news, stop eating hot dogs right now. I've suspected for many years that they are probably not very good for you, but now there's confirmation. Unfortunately, the actual damage they cause could be much worse than we all thought.


it was bound to happen sooner or later

So today was the day that we got press proofs back from the printer on The Brochure from Hell that I have been working on since I started my new job, and it caused what started out to be a fairly decent day to quickly turn into a lumpy pile of three-day old dog shit.

Seriously, I'm not really sure why, but my boss has treated this project like it has to be the second coming of the Mona Lisa or something. And it's a brochure. A brochure pimping vacation time shares to insanely rich people. I don't know if it's because he's afraid we might lose this client, or if it's just a fairly expensive piece and we need it to turn out well, but I've never seen anyone, and I mean anyone nitpick something to death like he has this project.

Really the only downside to my new job is that my boss is a control freak. And when I say control freak, I don't mean the oh-could-you-take-a-look-at-the- color-of-that-type-again control freak. I mean the could-you-reduce-the- kerning-by-3-points-and-crop-that-photo-so-that-leaf-is-not-showing kind of control freak. Most days, I can let this slide right off my Wacom® tablet. But today, he started looking at the proofs and making all of these changes with apparent disregard to the fact that we have to get a final printed piece to the client by Tuesday. Not Tuesday the 29th, but Tuesday the 22nd. That means three days to print 1,000 brochures and then send them through this rather complicated binding process because, you know, this brochure is the next Guernica.

Understandably, I started to freak out a little. Because the changes he was making were rather complicated revisions that required master-level knowledge of Photoshop®. And he expected me to make them. Now I'm no slouch in Photoshop, but I'm certainly no wizard and I was uncertain of having the necessary skills required to fix the photos. Also understand that he's had a proof of the brochure for over a week, and I could've made these changes a while ago if he had given me the heads up. Or if I couldn't make them, we could've sent them to a professional and had someone more competent do it.

This is his thing. He doesn't look at anything until the last minute and then wants to make a ton of changes. A couple of weeks ago, I had to get a proof to the client by the end of the day and he started looking at it and killing photos and replacing them with ones that we weren't even sure were hi-res enough to be printed. So I ended up being at the office until much, much later than I wanted to be and then had to come in an hour early just to get the proof done. All when the pictures he was replacing had been in the brochure for more than two weeks already.

Anyway, he got really irritated with me for freaking out about the deadline and we had a little tiff. Nothing major, and I've definitely been through worse, I mean it's not like he punched the wall of my cubicle or anything. Not like He Who's Name I Do Not Speak. But still. It was the first sign that all will not always be well in Paradise.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not running out tomorrow to look for a new job or anything, and if that's the worse that ever happens this is still a pretty good job, but I just wasn't expecting it today, nor was I in the mood for it. It's Wednesday for Christ's sake—always, without fail, the worst day of the week.

Finally, I reminded myself that regardless of what the client thinks, no one is going to die if this brochure doesn't get done on time and my breathing came down from hyperventilating to just running a Carl Lewis mile.

Plus, I realize that most of this is just growing pains and once I get acclimated to the way he works everything will be a-ok.

Ok. Really long rambling rant over with.

I am kind of mad that I had to miss yoga class for it though.


the end of the world is nigh

Last night I had very apocalyptic dreams. I don't really remember them all that well, just that I didn't want to let the cat out of the house because the roaming bands of zombies would spit acid on her and she would come back diseased and try to eat us.

Um. I don't even have a cat.


that's what i get

I can't climb tomorrow night so I talked Dylan and Doug into going bouldering with me out at Rotary Park. Can I just say that it's a bad, bad idea to wait a really long time before you go back to bouldering outside. I sucked. I definitely couldn't get up the one route on the Penny that I've never been successful at, and I couldn't even get up another route that I've previously completed.

I guess all of the time inside hasn't paid off as much as I'd hoped.

The weather was perfect though and it was nice to be outside again.


a day of rain

Friday night I drove down to Denver to stay with Rachel so we could get up early enough to finish Grays and Torreys before the afternoon storms rolled in. When hiking 14ers it's necessary to get an early start so that you get back to your car and not get stuck on the mountainside in a lightning storm. After chatting for awhile, Rachel finally let me go to sleep at about 11.5p. The alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4.5a (there are very few things that will get me up at that time of morning and it's one of the reasons I haven't done too many 14ers) and we were on the road at 5a.

We arrived at the turnoff to the trailhead much sooner than we thought, which ended up being a good thing since Bessie couldn't go very far up the 3-mile, rutted dirt road. After lots of careful weaving and pretty slow going, we got about a quarter of a mile up the road before we just couldn't go forward any longer. Shockingly, the Honda Civic does not do well offroading. So we turned around, parked back down by the highway and added a total of six miles to our already 8.25-mile trip.

On the way up to the trailhead, we ran into Mr. Connecticut, a guy who had just moved to Denver from, you guessed it, Connecticut. He had only been in the state for a month and had already done six 14ers. I guess I have some catching up to do. While we were hiking up the road we were passed by a ton of cars and when we finally arrived at the trailhead we discovered that the parking lot was full to bursting. I kept calling it the Disneyland of 14ers because the trail was just packed with people. Usually, I don't mind sharing the trail, but usually the crowds seem to thin out and there are stretches when you don't even see anyone. Yesterday it was a pretty solid line the whole way up and the whole way down.

The clouds started rolling in at about 8a, but the weather held out until we got to the summit of Grays, then it started raining. Luckily, it wasn't a downpour, just a sprinkle. And it stayed that way for the rest of the day. However, that was really the only downside to what amounted to a really great day. The R-dog was a super trooper and we summited both peaks without incident. We arrived back at the car around 3p sore, tired and happy with only minimal whining on my part.

More photos


is this really necessary?

Apparently one of the 'perks' at the company I work for is a free monthly massage. So I just had my first professional massage ever. In my entire life.

She touched my bum.

I kind of feel violated. And oily.


go big or go home

The weather tonight was perfect for climbing outside, but Travis hates bouldering and there aren't too many places to toprope that are convenient to after-work endeavors, so we hit the gym for more time on the plastic rocks. I actually don't mind going to the gym. Some people hate it, but I figure practice is practice is practice. And I need a lot of it, so any time spent climbing is good time in my opinion.

I've decided to do at least one 5.10 (or higher) climb each time we go. I figure the only way to get any better at 'em is to just do 'em and see what happens. On nights past I've always waited until about the third or fourth climb before I attempted a hard one, and usually I haven't been successful at finishing. So, tonight I altered my strategy and tried a 5.10+ called 'A Lump of Coal for Xmas' on my second turn. Dude. I was sooo close to topping out before my arms just gave out on me. I had two more moves to go and I would've finished. I had to rest a couple of times, but still, I almost completed the damn thing.

My arms feel like what I imagine sausages feel like. Full.


probably because of the heat

This weekend was uneventful for me.

I did, however, get out on my bike for the first time since I injured my thumb. Unfortunately, nothing exciting occured because I just did the kiddie ride out by Dixon Reservoir. I didn't even take any interesting spills to tell you about.

I'll try harder next time.


the front runner

I can't decide whether I think this is really funny or mildly creepy.

Maybe both.


an observation

Vinyasa yoga (which, apparently, is all about the flow) makes your inner thighs really, really sore the next day.

(and btw I'm trying a new setting for the comments, so you should be able to now post comments without being a registered user. we'll see if this works.)


wtf? continued

And N Korea and S Korea are firing shots at each other? I've said fairly often that heat makes people crazy, but apparently there's something else over there in Korea that makes you crazier. Dim Sum maybe? And Israel just won't stop bombing the shit out of every country that shares its borders? See. Heat makes people crazy. And Iran won't quit trying to enrich uranium? C'mon Iran. No one in the universe thinks that all you want is nuclear energy. We all know you have plans to build a bomb and start WWIII. If you haven't built one already.

And none of the G8 countries seem to want to do anything about it. Especially us. Oh. We were all happy and excited to invade Iraq, a country that really, as far as I can tell, hadn't done anything all that awful. Yes. Yes. Saddam Hussein is an evil, evil man and he deserved to be ousted, but really, if you think about it, his evil only affected the people in his country, not the rest of the world. At least not as much as a frickin' nuclear bomb in the hands of a madman. Bush is so focused on keeping the Republicans in power that he can't be bothered with the rest of the world even though it's falling apart at the seams. Same with old Mr. Blair and Angelawhatshername in Germany. No. No. we wouldn't want to interfere when it's actually necessary. Only when we're trying to protect our oil resource.

Does anyone else think that as a collective whole we are just sitting in a bathtub full of lukewarm water, razor blade poised over wrist, trying to decide whether any of it is, in fact, worth it?


Fidel Castro might be dead?

I've always thought that he and Bob Barker would be the last human beings on Earth still tyrannically running their tiny little empires while causing as much mayhem and suffering as possible. And if you don't think that Bob Barker can cause some serious suffering, sit through five minutes of the Price is Right now that he's become a freakishly tanned skeleton.

Now we need another evil dictator to focus all of our angst and anger at. Oh. Wait. That's right. We still have Bush.