honesty DOESN'T pay

Yesterday I went to REI to return a pair of Chaco's that I bought that I didn't like and to exchange them for a set of quickdraws that I need if I'm going to start sport climbing without Ann and Dylan. While I was there, I decided that I needed a new belay device to accomodate my new, thinner rope and a nut tool and a new bag of chalk and some fuel for my new stove. You know, 'cause I was there and everything. So, anyway, I return the shoes, and the clerk rings up my stuff and there was a balance of -$22 that he credited towards my credit card. I was walking out the door and I thought, 'That can't be right, right?' It should've been about a $70 debit on my card. So I looked at the receipt and saw that he had rung up the nut tool twice instead of ringing up the set of quickdraws that I'd bought. I stood in the parking lot for about a minute debating with myself about whether I should just keep on walking or go back in and correct the error. I decided I would feel guilty every time I climbed, so I turned back around.

He seemed somewhat surprised by my decision.


the girl's alright

Derek was kind enough to cart my pathetic butt over to the auto parts store so we could pick up a new heart for Bessie. After a thirty-minute, harrowing back breaking surgery, I'm proud to say that the new ticker is in and working wonderfully. She started right up and is running like a dream. Well, the dream of every teenage cheerleader in America who's anxious for her sixteenth birthday to roll around so she can finally get some new wheels, but she's running.


i really am a grown up


I put an offer down on a house yesterday. And, while, it really makes me feel like throwing up quite a bit, I'm also still pretty excited about it. They, of course, counter offered, so now I just need to decide if I want to accept their counter offer, or keep looking.

Being a grown up really makes my stomach hurt.

But I guess it's high time I stopped living like a 22-year-old.

the sport park

I met Colin through Mountain Project, both of us in search of a climbing partner, and we decided to try our first outing together today. It'd been a couple of years since Colin had climbed outside, but he's spent much of his climbing years, climbing trad in the UK, so he felt that he'd be pretty comfortable leading some easier sport routes. As I'm still relatively new to climbing, I'm definitely more comfortable on the easier climbs, sport or trad. After doing a small bit of research on the interbunny, we chose The Sport Park in Boulder Canyon, right outside of, you guessed it, Boulder.

We arrived at Surprising Crag at about 11.5a and found, much to our dismay, that a lot of the residents of Boulder had had the same idea as us. It was crowded up there.

It was all good though as we were able to get on the routes we wanted to climb without too much of a wait. We started off on The Touch, a nice 5.8 that delighted both of us and got us jazzed to try some of the other routes. Next, we moved over to what we thought was Dutch Oven, a 5.9 but discovered after we were done that we ended up on Wavy Gravy, a 5.10b that had an interesting lie back to get over the crux. It also had some really nice hand jabs intermixed with some slab and some gorgeous big hand holds. It sure didn't seem like a 5.10b. To either one of us. Then we moved over again to Chasing Sticks, a 5.9+ that had a couple of crazy stemming sections that climbed more like a 5.10. I made it up the first hard section without incident, but on the second stem, my left foot slipped and I slid a good little ways and left a not small amount of blood on the rock. Both of my ankles look like this:

Our fourth route of the day was Monkey Bob, a 5.8 that had a really nice roof problem that, of course, I made harder than it needed to be. But I made it up that one without incident.

After that, both of us had had enough sun and were feeling pleasantly tired and a little dehydrated, so we decided to call it a day. It was a nice area that I would be happy to return to and maybe even lead some next time.

We got back down to the car and for some reason, Bessie wouldn't start. Neither one of us could get a cell signal, so I decided we should try to pop the clutch. Here's where driving a standard has an advantage over an automatic. It worked. I got Bessie started and we made it back home. As Colin said, "I was afraid that was going to be epic." I had visions of having to trudge 12 miles back down the canyon to Boulder to try and find a tow. Luckily, she came through. Kind of.

I turned Bessie off after pulling into the garage and tried to start her again, but nada. It's been almost eight years since I bought her and I've never replaced the battery (I know, I know), so I think it will be a pretty simple fix. It would've been nice of her to give me a little warning first though.

It's not a good day unless you lose a little blood and have a little fear of not being able to get back home, though, right?


riding in arrogance

A friend of mine gets really angry whenever he sees one of those recumbent bikes. It's not the bike usually, he says that there's just something so smug about the person who's riding it. I never really understood what he was talking about until today. I was out walking the R dog and there was another guy walking his dog towards me and this old guy on a recumbent bike was coming up behind him and the guy on the bike started dinging this bell, repeatedly, even though neither one of us was in his way. It kind of made me hate recumbent bike riders also. Or at least that particular one.

i flashed it

Last night, I finally made it back to the gym to climb. I think it'd been three weeks, but it may've only been two. Anyway, it'd been a while. They put up some new routes so I mustered the courage to lead one of them without ever having climbed it before. I believe this is called an 'On sight lead', but don't quote me on that. And, guess what, I flashed* it. On lead. It was only a 5.7, but still. That's the first time I've ever done that.

*That means I climbed it without resting or falling.


portrait swap

Jeannette and I traded portraits for the Portrait Party. Her drawing of me is so much way cooler than mine of her.


being old sucks balls

The other day I stopped by my financial planner's office to talk about what to do with a cd that matured (I know. I have a CD that matured.) and the woman behind the receptionist's desk, who was obviously a substitute for the woman who is usually there, asked me for my home phone number. I told her that I didn't have a home number, just a cell, and she said, "Oh I should've guessed. It's the same with all of you college kids." I didn't even know how to correct her so I just said, 'Yeah.' and turned around and left the building.

Then yesterday, one of the other volunteers asked me what I was studying in college. And this isn't an unusual occurence for me.

Well, I may look young, but my body certainly isn't feeling very young. Today I'm feeling every one of my 36 years. Remember those commercials from the early nineties about the people who drank the beer that was crappier than Keystone Light® (as if there is such a thing) and it gave them this:

Well, that's exactly how my back feels. It appears that loving your mother is more painful than I imagined it would be.


i loved her and now i'm sore

No. Not that. Get your mind out of the gutter already.

Today, in honor of Earth Day, I joined a group of volunteers and Trees, Water, People to plant some trees at a new park that's being built on the west end of FC. We dug a lot of holes, hauled a ton of trees and many, many buckets of water for about five hours to get it all done. But we did it. And made the world a nicer, cleaner more environmentally friendly place. The volunteers ranged in age from 6 to about 60. It was great to see so many people out trying to do something for the environment, and it was especially nice to see the young kids out there.

Get 'em early I always say.

I had thoughts that I would go boulder afterwards, but I have absolutely no energy left. And I'm pretty sore. So I think I'll leave it for another day.

Grow up nice and strong little guys.


domesticity and naughty bits

Looking for your very first house to buy ever in your life, when up to this point you've spent the last 18 years living a fairly nomadic lifestyle—resisting the urge to settle down as if it were a rat infested with the Hanta Virus, is a lot like being addicted to internet porn. From what I've heard, I mean. Having never seen even an ounce of naked people on the internets myself, I wouldn't have any personal knowledge of what it's like to be addicted to the stuff. Swear.

But, looking for a house. like internet porn, consumes every waking thought, an extremely large chunk of your time and leaves you all sweaty and disoriented.

And, I haven't even physically looked at anything yet, I've just been surfing the MLS site like mad.

I swear I saw a flagstone patio in one of those somewhere. Where was it?


the robot said don't move dammit

'Please enter,' the robotic female voice commanded me.

'Please stand still. You will feel a puff of air.' It was more like a gust, but still, surprisingly refreshing and startling. And then a longish wait.

'Please exit and remove your shoes.'

I totally got scanned for possible bombs hidden about my person today. I found out this morning that I needed to leave town and go back to the Homeland, so I didn't buy my ticket until this afternoon. According to The Comedy Duo who were in line in front of me, the Special Security Line that's Equipped with the Puffer is standard issue for anyone who buys a ticket right before they're supposed to fly.

The funny thing about it is, they were so concerned only with the possible, hidden bombs that they ignored the fact that I had saline solution, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and shaving cream in my carry-on. And all of them were in much larger than 3-0z containers. It's laughable and really terrifying if you stop to think about it.

I got off the train at my terminal, made it to my gate and was puzzled that I was at a Northwest gate when I was flying on a United plane. I looked at my ticket again and discovered that I had been looking at my seat assignment, not the gate. You would think that they'd make the gate number bigger than the seat number to avoid this kind of confusion. I know the word 'seat' is printed right next to the number, but still. So, I turned around and got back on the train and finally arrived at the correct gate, where, much to my dismay, I found out my flight had been delayed for an hour and a half. So, I scarfed my dinner (and I mean scarfed—my stomach kind of hurts now) and went to another gate where an earlier flight was leaving. And, it looks like the Gods in Charge of the Travelers might be smiling on me because the flight attendant said I'd most likely get on. All because I didn't check any bags. For once it's paid to haul all this crap around the airport. Usually I'm a mad checker because I hate lugging all the stuff all over creation. I'm glad I strayed from my usual m.o.

I probably won't be blogging for a couple of days, so everyone have a good weekend.


3 bands, 3 and half hours, ten dollars

"We're either two of the hippest, coolest people alive on the planet, or we're the unhippest, uncoolest people alive on the planet."

"Seriously, there're like 20 people here."

"I know. It's totally awesome."

Last night Assistant Boss and I went down to The Bluebird to see the Trifecta: Stars of Track and Field, The Broken West and The Long Winters. For $10. It's rare that I know all of the bands playing a gig, and even rarer that when I do, they're all pretty good.

It was a pretty straight up rock 'n roll show. Stars of Track and Field opened. I still can't figure out why they (maybe?) named their band after a Belle and Sebastian song. Maybe because I'm pretty sure they all met each other at a Portland gay bar, or that they sport fake British accents, or that they like to wear ascots. Or maybe it's a 'chicken or egg' kind of thing?

Then the stand out of the entire night, The Broken West came out to blow us away with their Matthew Sweet style of songifying. I've owned their album since it came out in January and I was always a little on the tepid side about it, but man, after seeing them play live, I have to say, 'they kick it.' They easily topped the other two performances and I'm not really sure why. Exactly. I guess they just really seemed to enjoy being up there.

The Long Winters finished up the night and while I really, really like the two albums of theirs I've heard, watching them play live made me feel a little uncomfortable. Mainly because the lead singer made me imagine a college English professor who stood up one day in the middle of his lecture and said, 'Alright now boys and girls we're gonna tear this motherfucker down.' Awkward and kind of embarrassing. Although at one point, he asked for requests and Assistant Boss yelled out 'Purple Rain!' and he said, 'Yes. Purple Rain. We're not gonna just play the song, but the entire album. That was pretty funny.

It was a great night though. Three good bands (one of them outstanding) and for once the venue didn't feel like Imelda Marcos' shoe closet and did I say it only cost $10? $10!


love your mother

I just finished reading the latest issue of Outside magazine and all I have to say is sweet baby Jesus. We're all gonna die. If not in the massive heat waves that will be bearing down on us tomorrow or the cataclysmic storms that will wreak havoc on the coastal lands then our waste-drenched water supply will poison us all. Or we'll all starve to death because there won't be any seafood or untainted vegetables and dairy left. I've never read anything more Doomsday-ie and dire. Except for maybe the End of Oil.

I consider myself environmentally aware. Not activist. No. I don't chain myself to trees, or throw myself in front of harpoons meant for whales. But, I do what I can. I follow the three R's. I try to live a fairly minimalist lifestyle, I ride my bike to work as much as possible, I recycle just about everything and if I can't recycle it, I try to reuse it until it dies, I eat as much organic, locally-grown food as my wallet can bear; you get the idea. Apparently, though, according to Outside, it's not enough.

This, I guess, is one of those cases where ignorance truly was bliss.

So, anyway, just wanted to say it was nice knowing all of you.


a manifesto

Since I feel like one of these days, sooner or later, I will be diagnosed with Actual, Verifiable, Clinical Insanity, I decided to get a jump on the process and write my manifesto. I know that most of the crazies wait to do this as the Last Step in showing everyone else in the world that they are, in fact, crazy, but I figure that the reason most people don't pay attention to the crazy peoples' manifestos is that, well, they're written by crazy people and they don't make any sense; if I write it now, while I'm fairly sane, it might make sense and people therefore might pay attention.

So, here you go. It's mostly (ok, all) about how to ride your bike on Conveyeances of Public Means of Getting From One Place to Another, so if you want to just skip it altogether, please feel free, I won't be offended. Promise.

For People Who Drive Big Metal Vehicles Propelled by Internal Combustion Engines:
1. The bike lane is not a right-hand turn lane. When you use it in this manner, I have to stop behind you, unclip from my pedal and then after you are done turning (which surprisingly can take a really, really long time), I have to clip back in and start pedaling. This makes me feel like it's taking way too long to get where I need to go.

2. When you pull up to a four-way stop and there's a bicyclist at one of the other three stops, but you have the right away and are supposed to go first, don't sit there and wave me through. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that you are trying to be considerate, but believe me, I have judged the appropriate amount of time it will take you to get through the intersection and have allowed for that when determining how much speed I need to maintain perfect balance so that I don't have to unclip (see number one for an explanation about how annoying this is).

3. Stop running red lights. When you do this, you come dangerously close to running me over. And we all know who would win in that collision.

4. Just because I'm wearing a helmet, doesn't mean you have to be any less careful when operating your VPBICE around me.

For People Who Ride Self-Propelled, Two-wheeled Vehicles:

1. Sidewalks are for walking, not riding. When you ride on the sidewalk PWDBMVPBICEs become confused and don't know where you fit in the whole Rules of the Road Thing. Then they start treating all bicyclists like they are WMDs, which leads to what happens in numbers 1 and 2 above. there are plenty of bike lanes in this town. Use them.

2. Obey all traffic laws if there are any PWDBMVPBICEs around. Otherwise, they grow confused and it leads to number 2.

3. Put lights on your bike. If you don't, PWDBMVPBICEs can't see you and are likely to run into you.

4. Wear a helmet. Form is not better than function people. You will survive a couple of hours with helmet head. I promise.

Ok. I guess that's pretty much all I got.

Maybe it's less of a manifesto and more of a Rules of Engagement kind of thing.


eating out is dangerous

You know how every town has The Best Burrito Place in the World? Well, ours in FC is Big City Burrito. Some people would disagree with me and say that it is La Luz, but I don't know, there's just something about Big City that makes it better. I think maybe it's the church basement atmosphere. Or the fact that they drag the tortillas across this white, dirty marble counter while your burrito is being assembled and you're never quite sure if maybe, just maybe you might get some botulism to go along with your burrito this time. It's probably both of those things combined that make it so attractive. It's sorta like you're taking your life into your own hands every time you step through the door.

I used to make a point of eating there once a week, but lately, because I've been so busy at work I've only been able to go about once a month. I think that the body tends to build up a little tolerance because when I would eat there more often, The Aftermath wasn't so bad, but lately the past two or three times I've gone there, The Aftermath hits the moment I get back to the office. Don't worry, I'm not going to describe it in graphic detail. I'll just say that you still kind of feel the effects of a Big City Burrito a couple of days after you ingested it.

It doesn't deter us from going there though. It's that whole pleasure wrapped up in a little bit of pain thing.

Oh. And I'm really mad that Florida won last night. I couldn't watch any more after the first half was done. It was pissing me off too much. A disappointing end to an overall disappointing tournament. Not that they ever go the way I want them to, but this one just kinda sucked in general. No Cinderella teams. No really major upsets. A number one seed won the whole thing. Blah.


on the dl

So my left shoulder is pretty trashed. I tried to signal a right turn on my bike this morning and couldn't lift my arm higher than parallel to the ground. It looked like I was telling everyone that I was planning on going forward. I couldn't figure out a way to signal a right turn with my right hand so that it would make sense to fellow motorists so I just quit signaling altogether. I figured that was safer than confusion.


a banner day

I have no idea who this guy is, but I thought the picture might turn out kinda cool when I took it. Turns out it wasn't as good as it looked through the viewfinder.

Today Dylan and I headed down to St Vrain Canyon, not to be confused with South St Vrain Canyon which is where I thought we were headed. It's still just outside of Lyons only more south than South St Vrain. I know. It's confusing to me as well. Try not to think about it too much, your brain will explode.

We started off the day with an extremely scary rappel. At least, it was terrifying to me—Dylan didn't seem to care all that much. But we had to rappel, or at least we thought we had to, in order to get to the base of the climb—the only little bench that wasn't covered by a foot of water. So, yes, we rappeled down, just to climb back up it again. It was a 5.10d (yes. d.) called Introducing Meteor Dad. It took me two tries and I had to batman twice, but I made it up it. I can't really count it though because I cheated.

It was Dylan's idea that we go ahead and wade around the corner to get back to the trail instead of walking back the way we'd come, but then he decided he was going to rappel from another set of anchors on the other side. So, yeah, I ended up getting wet and he got to rappel down Pooh Corner. I was a lot more successful on this one, probably because it was a 5.8 and didn't have any moves on it that scared the crap out of me.

I pulled something in the same shoulder as last weekend, so after Pooh, I was done, but Dylan wanted to look another crag at the mouth of the canyon, so we headed down so he could try a 5.9+/10.a slab. After that, it looked like rain, so we headed home.