10.31.2006

just call me Scrooge


Ok. I'm admitting right here and now that I have an irrational hatred for Halloween. I really have no idea when it started either. I remember in college I used to really enjoy it. Getting dressed up. Getting trashed. 'Twas fun. But now, I can't stand it. There's so much pressure to come up with a cool, creative, unique costume. And, everyone seems to see being dressed up as an excuse to become either 1) a blithering idiot, or 2) a complete and utter jackass, or 3) both.

It's obnoxious really. For a while there I was still pretty excited to hand out candy to the kids, but for the past couple of years I've seen even that as a horrible bother.

Can you only imagine what I'll be like when I'm 80?

10.29.2006

yep

No rock climbing again this weekend. I hope this isn't the start of a rut.

Yesterday I spent most of the day at Pat and Derek's attending their annual (?) Pumpkin Carving Contest. I found out Friday night that we had to supply our own pumpkins so on my way over to their house I stopped at Safeway and purchased a not-quite-rotten-yet seasonal gourd. Since I was on my bike, I had to find one that would fit into my messenger bag which was more difficult than you'd think. And I didn't even end up carving the damn thing because by the time we broke out the sharp cutting instruments I was too drunk to handle one responsibly.

I never mind riding my bike to the place where I'm planning on imbibing, but I always find it dissatisfying on the ride back. Last night was no exception. 1) It was colder than I had planned on and 2) A car full of stupid, drunk frat guys started yelling idiotic things at me while I was stopped at an intersection. Things like, 'Nice helmet.' You'll be proud of me though, I refrained from flipping them off. Mostly because that probably would've resulted in me getting my ass kicked. I'll never, ever understand the appeal of yelling out a car window at strangers. And, weirdly, this happens to me more than I'd like. Mostly when I'm walking the R-dog.

Today I spent the day surfing the web mostly. I did manage to go to the grocery store and clean the house though, so at least I accomplished something. Ann called me at 6p and during the course of our conversation I realized that my appliances let me down. Both my phone and my computer forgot to set their clocks back and I was off an entire hour all day long. I feel like I could've done something hugely productive with that hour. Like Google something really, really interesting or something.

10.27.2006

down home

Last night I headed down to Denver to visit friends who are visiting all the way from Tonganoxie, Kansas. They have a son, who is five now, but was barely able to string three words together when I saw him last. Now he won't shut up. His favorite subjects in school are lunch and recess (he takes after his dad) and library's ok because they read stories to you there. He's read every single one of the Star Wars books and he has eleven cousins but needs to get rid of one so he'll be able to count all of them on his fingers.

I also got to meet their daughter for the first time. She's almost one year old and has to be the cutest baby alive on the planet. And when it comes to babies I call it like I see it. If you have an ugly baby, I may not say it to your face, but I'll definitely say it to other people. So you can believe me when I say she's the cutest baby on the planet.

Anyway, it was good to see some kids from the homestead and get caught up on all of the gossip about the peeps there.

10.25.2006

holy s@!t

Did you see this?

I don't know if you can believe anything you read on Yahoo! news (it's equivalent to USA Today in my mind), but still.

It's a good thing I'll most likely be dead before things become really, really dire.

Find out how much of the planet you're using up here.

10.24.2006

may the force be with me

I killed myself on the wall tonight. Seriously. But I am extremely proud to have finally made it up Jedi Supperclub without hanging. Remember the route I've been struggling with for, oh the past three weeks or so? Yeah. That's the one.

Then I exhausted myself on three more pretty difficult routes, but didn't make it up any of them without needing to hang. My last climb of the night was a 5.9 that was impossible a month ago, but tonight wasn't too hard (I only had to hang once).

I celebrated with a piece of Ann-made pumpkin pie when I got home. It was most delicious.

doing my part to save america

In Colorado they open up the polls a whole two weeks before actual Election Day for 'early voting.' I'm not really sure why, but I think it's because they're trying to entice people to get out and vote. They use 'shorter lines' and 'avoiding Election Day congestion' as selling points. Frankly, I'm always surprised that there are people out there who don't vote and that organizations have to expend any effort at all to get people to the polls.

I had lunch today with my friends Travis and Kyle and neither one of them had even considered voting. I was justifiably shocked and dismayed. Don't worry. I denigrated and harangued them and made them feel guilty for it. Until Travis had had enough and finally said, 'Ok already. I'll go vote.' Job well done on my part. Especially since both of them lean more towards the Democratic side of things and we need, like nothing else in the world, to get Marilyn Musgrave (who is the closest thing to Satan this side of the Mississippi) out of office. We also get the opportunity to legalize marijuana use for anyone over 21. This is important stuff here, kids.

How can anyone not be excited to vote? It's the one little smidgen of power most of us will ever have in terms of deciding how our country is run. And, there are so many people in the world who will never, not even once, get the opportunity to tell their governments what they think. It's flabbergasting really.

10.22.2006

lazy or productive? you decide

I was sitting here thinking that I just had a spectacularly lazy-ass weekend ( I think, mainly, because I didn't really spend a second outside), but I think, actually, that I got quite a bit accomplished:

After an amazingly shitty day at work, Friday night found me back at The Aggie for another not-so-good show. The opening act, Rocky Somebody or Other (I keep calling him Rocky Balboa, mostly because I think it would be hilarious to see Sylvester Stallone up on stage grinding his axe and grunting out poorly written lyrics) was pretty good, but I couldn't really discern the lyrics from the guitar so it's hard to say for sure. The headliner, Lucero, however was pretty bad. I was told they are alt.country, but in my mind there's nothing alt or country about them, as their influences seemed to come more from Meatloaf rather than Hank Williams. I left halfway through their fourth song and fell into bed around 12.5a.

Saturday:
I finally finished a pretty mundane book I've been struggling with for the past couple of weeks. I think I'm over my love of science fiction as a genre. I never thought I'd say it, but it's true.
• I read an entire issue of Outside magazine.
• I downloaded four new albums from eMusic. Which I know doesn't sound like it should take too long, but I spent about two hours trying to choose which ones I wanted to spend my October downloads on. I ended up with Dance the Devil by The Frames, Fort Recovery by Centro-Matic, Alejandro Escoveda's new one and Mr. Lemons by Glen Phillips.
• I watched two episodes from Battlestar Galactica, season 2.5.
• The R-dog convinced me to take her on a pretty long walk.
• I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen and vacuumed the entire house.
• I made cornbread. This time I bought an organic version that doesn't taste nearly as good as the chemical-filled kind, but if you drown it in enough red beans and rice, it doesn't matter.

Sunday:
• I read an entire issue of Paste.
• I added some new movies to my Netflix queue.
• The R-dog convinced me she needed another long walk.
• I raked up all of the leaves in the front yard. The back yard will have to wait until sometime later. Probably next year.
• Came up with some new ideas for a website I'm struggling with at work.
• Cleaned my bike.
• And, last but not least, I finally figured out the beginnings of the plot of the story I'm thinking about trying to write as my contribution for NaNoWriMo.

All in all, not too bad I guess. At any rate it could've been much worse.

10.17.2006

numbers

America's population reached 300 million this morning. How'd you like to be that kid? Wouldn't it be kinda cool to be able to say, 'I'm the 300 millionth person in America.'? Although, I guess the thrill would die kinda quickly when you met the 400 millionth person in line at Starbucks. Maybe the 300 millionth person could hook up with the 400 millionth person and give birth to the 500 millionth person.

That would be cool.

Ok. Back to Action Script and XML documents that are giving me a splitting headache.

10.15.2006

the palace still rocks

Ann, Dylan and I headed back up to The Palace today to get in another day of outside climbing before the weather makes that nearly impossible for the next few months. We planned on meeting Kate and Mark, two new friends Dylan met online, and Doug and Liz decided to join us after lunch.

Ann and Dylan have been pushing the benefit of using poles when crossing the river, so today I decided to bring the one I have. Big mistake. I took a pretty good dunking and ended getting soaked up to my elbows. We decided that it's best to use either two poles or none. Luckily, the sun was cooperating, so once we got up to the base of the climbs I took off my pants and my long-sleeved shirt and let everything dry. Never again will I wear cotton pants when attempting to ford moving bodies of water. Kate and Mark arrived a few minutes after we did, so they got the pleasure of meeting me standing there in my underwear. Fortunately, I didn't have on a leopard print thong or anything, but everyone did get to enjoy seeing way more of my skin than they had planned on.

Wet pants aside, I had a pretty good day. We tried this 5.9+ that had a weird, wide chimney that you had to wedge your butt into and then grovel your way up until you reached the next hold. Ann and I decided we couldn't do it and backed off, but I tried it again later and got through it. Then we got on a 5.10b that I had to fight and claw my way up, but everyone else seemed to find fairly easy.

Ann had a great turn on a 5.10c that I didn't have time to try, but the last climb I did was a nice solid 5.9 called, appropriately, Big Ass Holds. The next time we make it back up there, I may try to lead it.

It was nice to get outside, make some new friends and get in some good climbing. And I managed to make the second crossing of the river without getting wet.

10.12.2006

slugfest 2006

Well, it seems that all of my climbing peeps have dissed me for the evening.

I considered going to the gym anyway and bouldering, but man, I'm kinda afraid of the gym bouldering crowd. They're all 18 and very insular and they stand there and watch you make an idiot out of yourself on the bouldering wall while judging you very harshly in their heads. At least that's how I feel when I boulder at the gym. It causes me much performance anxiety.

So, then I considered going to the real gym and just lifting weights, but I haven't done that in about two months and am not really sure I want to go back there.

Plus, I just spent the day learning Action Script for Flash, which is much like learning a foreign language, only infinitely weirder because everything's in English, only it's f-ed up English because it's all in the wrong order. Like an alien who's really, really good at math tried to write his thoughts in English for the very first time and it came up all jumbled and fragmented. I know what it is, some madman combined algebra and English with the sole intent of torturing me.

i.e. It gave my brain much acheyness.

So, instead I decided to just go home and watch tv. Laziness wins out again.

10.11.2006

it's about time

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting, since I was about 10 for this day to finally arrive.

Now all we need is hover cars and I'll be all set.

vote for my shirt

So. I designed a t-shirt and posted it on this website called threadless.com. If it gets enough votes I could win $2,000 and threadless will sell the shirt from their site. So, do me a favor and go vote for it and maybe look around and maybe buy a shirt.

You can use this link:
http://www.threadless.com/submission/94304/Happy_Birthday

Or you can click on the handy dandy banner you see to the right of this post.

10.09.2006

finally

Yesterday dawned gray and gloomy and by 11a I was struggling with the urge to just hole up and stay inside all day. Instead I called Dylan and we decided to go to the gym and climb. I made it up two 5.10s, not without hanging, but still. I completed them. I think maybe I'm finally, slowly breaking through the 5.10 barrier. Something I've been struggling with since last spring even.

When I first started climbing last year, I saw quite a few improvements pretty quickly, and then all of my success came to a grinding halt. Most of the spring and all summer long I've been trying to do the 5.10s, but just couldn't make it up them most of the time. It feels good to see some improvement again, even if very minor. My motivation is back to a level that it hasn't been since March. I know it's different in the gym and I may not have the same success rate when we finally return outside, but for now, I'll take it.

Next up, completing an entire 5.10 without resting. Keep your fingers crossed.

10.07.2006

the poor bubba


I needed a good excuse to try out my brand-spankin' new Keen® day hikers, so, after discussing it with the R-dog, we decided that a walk up Grey Rock was in order. About a mile into the trip, the R-dog decided that it wasn't such a good idea after all and wanted to turn around and go back home. I, being the one mostly in charge, decided to poke, prod and drag her butt up the mountainside. However, by the time we reached the turnoff point where you have to decide to either summit or take the other side of the loop back to the parking lot, I, feeling quite badly, decided that I couldn't be cruel any longer and let us take the turnoff.

A map of our trip, if someone were to make such a thing, would look like this:



So. We didn't summit today and I'm not sure that the R-dog has too many more hikes in her. I keep forgetting that she is almost 63 years old and that I probably shouldn't require her to strain her poor, tired body like that any more. I should probably just let her enjoy her senior years with much food and sleep.

The good news is that, for once, the masses are right about something. The Keen shoes have to be the best shoes I've ever hiked in. No blisters. No hotspots even. I even forgot to change back into my flip flops when we arrived back at the car. Something I am usually fantasizing about even before I hit the halfway point.

10.06.2006

seriously? yes.

This morning on my way into work I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop. For alledgedly running a stop sign. I say alledgedly because I don't think I ran it. I slowed down. I was turning right. There wasn't even anyone close to the intersection. I was on my bike. I just wanted to ask, 'Are you fucking kidding me? Don't you have more important things to worry about? Like terrorists or something? Or the looming meth epidemic?' Asshole.

And, of course, he gave me shit for wearing my iPod while riding. Dude. That's my choice. It's not illegal. So fuck off.

As you can tell by the rampant use of expletives, it's made me extremely cranky. It doesn't help that I needed a spatula and a winch and pulley system to get out of bed this morning.

Thanks for ruining my Friday, jerk.

10.05.2006

i thought i was gonna suck

Today, Ann im'd me at work to say that she had come down with the funk and wouldn't be climbing. I know it was probably just the power of suggestion, but I immediately felt like I was coming down with something too. And, right before I was getting ready to leave I was this close to just skipping climbing and going home. But, I had left my favorite Nalgene® bottle at the gym on Tuesday and Dylan was there waiting for me, so I sucked it up and rode on over.

Since I was feeling kinda puny, I figured I'd have a pretty crappy experience on the wall, but I ended up having a spectacular night. I made it up Jedi Supperclub, a 5.10, with only two hangs. Plus, I made it halfway up the new arete climb which is rated a 5.11-. It took awhile and I didn't complete it, but I made it much further than I thought I would.

I say it a lot, but it always amazes me that I can start off feeling like the very last thing I want to do in the world is climb, but if I just make myself go, I usually end up having a really good time.

the girl's alright

I have three things to post about, but I'm too lazy to make three separate posts, so I'm just going to lump them all in this one.

1. I had to take Bessie into the shop yesterday. There's been a strange rattling/grinding noise coming mysteriously from underneath her for the past six months or so. I was thinking that maybe she just needed a bath, but, alas, no. A bolt that holds the heat shield in place had rusted through and was causing the heat shield to move around. The mechanic assured me that this is completely normal and then assured me that the Scotch® tape he put on there to hold it in place was just a temporary measure and if it started again, they would have to redo the entire exhaust system. That sounds like fun, no?

(I'm exaggerating a little here. They didn't use Scotch tape. They used some clamps or something. And I think the only reason he kept repeating over and over that it was a temporary fix was so that when it decides to fall off and the heat shield starts rattling again, I won't storm in there all pissed off and demand they fix it for free.)

She is back to her normal quiet, stealth bomber mode though. Which is nice.

2. While I was doing errands over lunch today I saw a guy put his front tire on his bike without reclamping the brake. I thought about saying something, but just as I was about to open my mouth, he took off, riding on the sidewalk. Instead of the nice, wide bike lane that was two feet and a curb away. Now this is probably the biggest of all of my many pet peeves, so a tiny part of me was hoping that his failure to hook his brake back up properly would cause him to crash headlong into a lamp post or something, thereby reducing the number of idiots who choose to ride on the sidewalk by one. Then, a little later, I thought that instead, he would probably crash headlong into a baby carriage or small puppy or a person in a wheelchair or something.

And kind of regretted my decision to keep my mouth shut.

3. Finally, I just took my first pair of rock climbing shoes in to get re-soled. Forty-eight bones. Yep. You read it right. 48. That's half of a brand new pair. I can't decide if it was worth it or not.

10.04.2006

i'm so excited


Let me say it again, 'I'm so excited!'

The Decemberists' new album, The Crane Wife, finally, finally arrived yesterday. I don't purchase much off of iTunes because there are way too many things about it that I don't like, but this album will probably never see the light of day on eMusic so it was either that, or, God forbid, purchase an actual CD.

I'll just say that while my delirious ecstaticness is probably clouding my judgment, the album does not disappoint. It's a little more pop-y than their other stuff. And it's a little more slick and studio-y, probably because this is their first release on a major label, but it is definitely an A effort.

I'm mostly just extremely jonesed that I finally, finally have new Decemberists to listen too.

P.S. I've been listening non-stop since I got it yesterday, and this album is vintage Decemberists material. Most of the album tells a story of a woman who was murdered by her husband and how he covered up the deed. I won't say that it's the best Decemberists album, I think their first one, Castaways and Cutouts, fits that bill, but it's better than Picaresque (their last effort) and it's a close second to Castaways. It's nice to know they still have it.

through his stomach and all that

So for the past 8 months or so, I've been slowly switching over to a more organic diet. You know, organic fruits and vegetables, organic cereal, bread, etc. so at this point I'm at about 80% (I'm guessing) which is probably where it will stay because I can't give up my Cheez-its®; I've tried organic cheese crackers (I believe they're called Cheese Bits or Cheese Squares or something equally bland) and, quite frankly, they're awful little dried-up husks that will never attain the glory that is the Cheez-it. Probably due to all of the yummy partially hydrogenated vegetable oil the real thing contains. Nor can I give up my Coke Zero®. I can't drink coffee because I dislike hot beverages and there is nothing on this big green and blue globe we call home that will get me to quit caffeine. Nothing. If the doc told me caffeine was going to kill me tomorrow, I would pull up a chair with a case of Coke and gulp it down until my heart stopped or my bladder burst, whichever came first.

Anyway, the point of all this is this: one of my favorite breakfasteses is waffles with peanut butter and blueberries, and this week the grocery store was out of organic blueberries, so I bought the regular, pesticide and hormone filled kind.

It's almost pornographic how big, round, full and plump they are.

And, weirdly, they're nowhere near as juicy.

Just an observation.

10.02.2006

ewwwww

If you're like me, you get about 5,000,000 spam e-mails in your Inbox every minute of every hour of every day. Almost every single one is about obtaining cheaper Viagra or some other medicine full of empty promises of longer erections or larger penises. I know that I should just empty my Spambox without even looking at them, but I have this sick fascination with the creativity employed by the authors to write subject lines that will get the e-mails through the spam filters unscathed.

Unfortunately, I may have learned my lesson because I just saw one that contained the word ejaculatte (pay attention to the last five letters), which made me kind of throw up in my mouth a little.

That conjures up all sorts of badness.

And brings whole new meaning to the term, 'with foam.'

10.01.2006

you can't win 'em all


I spent most of my day yesterday drawing King Kong for one of my freelance clients.

Then, we went to see Matt Nathanson at The Aggie. Very rarely does someone decent come to Fort Collins, so when they do, you gotta go. Otherwise, seeing good, live music usually entails at least a 45 minute drive. Each way.

It's not often that I feel this way, but I was really disappointed that I paid to see him live. In fact, I regret it. Derek and I decided that it wasn't our fault, it was his. He just didn't bring it. I don't really know that much about him, but the one cd I have of his stuff is pretty good. And Derek says when he saw him live a couple of years ago, he was more than decent. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case last night.

We should've known that the night was going to be a bust by the horribleness of the opening band. A not-even-good-enough-to-be Matchbox 20 (and that means really, really bad) band called Carbon Leaf. I'm wincing even as I write this. After an hour of sheer torture, Mr. Nathanson decided to grace us with his presence. I'll just say that he's one of those guys who should stick to the solo work. Don't bring along a backup band, dude. They turned your act into CheeseFest 2006. Imagine your high school math teacher popping in a nose ring and getting up in front of the entire school body on Assembly Day to 'rock it.' It was that embarrassing.

What almost made it worse was that the twenty or so other people in the crowd were largely underage and obviously didn't know enough about music to have developed good taste yet, because they seemed to not only enjoy themselves, but to really enjoy themselves. There was a fairly pedestrian stand up bass solo that they were somewhat rabid for, and a not so good drum solo that inspired a 'I love your drummer!' from some girl standing behind us. There was also this fairly creepy kid who we dubbed, 'White T-shirt Kid' who I swear, if he had had a gun, he would've killed Mr. Nathanson and eaten his liver, just so he could have a piece of him FOREVER.

'I haven't felt this uncool at a show since I went to see Richard Marx,' Derek said.

I think that sums it up pretty well.