another day of doing business

I had my first 'business lunch' today. Well, the first lunch where I discussed business with someone other than myself. It didn't really net any business. But at least I get to write it off on my taxes.

So, to reward myself for all of my hard work, I went to the gym and bouldered for a bit. And got my hair cut. And drank a beer at Coop's while reading Harry Potter. I don't know if you're allowed to drink adult beverages while reading a book written for children, but I did it anyway.


a long, beautiful day

Today was a beautiful day for climbing. Especially in Eldorado Canyon. For the first time in I can't remember when, we climbed on a day when it didn't get above 90º. It was glorious. Colin made me get up at 6a so that we could leave about 7a in order to get to the canyon early enough to get done with the climb before the afternoon rains rolled in. I'm already getting used to the life of a slack—it was hard to get up that early. Then, after some confusion about which trail to take (I'm never ever going to lead the approach again) to get to the base of the climb, we finally arrived at what we thought was Rewritten 5.7 at about 9.5am.

It turns out that we did the first two pitches of Green Spur, 5.9 instead, but since those two pitches ended up in the same place as the first two pitches of Rewritten, we ended up not being too far off. Thankfully, Colin led first, as I had some trouble getting up them even on toprope. It was hard climbing, I fell a lot and lost my kung fu grip. But, amazingly, I still really enjoyed it.

Then I led the third pitch which had a somewhat scary chimney that took me a bit to figure out. I was trying to climb it facing left and struggling quite a bit, but then I decided to turn around 180º and it ended up being pretty easy.

I kinda don't remember the rest of the climb, just a pretty exposed traverse which led to a pretty exposed arete and then some slab climbing to the end. I tried to lead another pitch in there, but was too tired and shaky and had to back off.

We were on that climb for almost seven hours. A lot of that had to do with the really long times spent at each belay station while waiting for other people to climb up the damn thing already. This guy cut in front of us and then climbed really slowly. By the time we finished, Colin was a little pissy about it.

Now, I'm at home, eating chips and drinking beer.

And the best part? I don't have to work tomorrow! Kind of.


how [not] to be a layabout

8a - wake up, lie in bed for a while thinking about what you're gonna do today

8.5a - get out of bed, take the dog for a walk

9.5a - eat breakfast

9.75a - turn on tv

10a - check e-mail

10.05a - check plethora of blogs that you read on a daily basis

12p - eat lunch

12.25p - start building illustration website

4p - shower

4.5p - head to the gym to boulder

6.5p - eat dinner

7p - finish up website

9p - drink a couple of beers

11p - go to bed



I got canned. It's awesome. 'Nuf said.

So, I'm starting my own graphic design business. If any of you out there need something designed, or know someone who needs something designed, let me know.

Here's to sleeping in, bouldering whenever I want and pimping myself out to anyone who has cash.


people stayed in my house

So, every year my friends and I get together on one of the days between Christmas and New Year's to celebrate a magical made-up holiday that we have dubbed Feastival. Since we all left Lawrence about three years ago, we've been celebrating this wondrous event at Elissa's house in Newton, Ks. Mainly because we're all close to there visiting our families for the holidays, but also because Elissa's house is a really nice place to hang out.

About a month ago, Tina, Laura and Matthew decided to coordinate some trips to come and visit yours truly in good ol' FC. And with that, Seastival was born. They arrived Thursday night and the festivities commenced. Friday, we just tooled around town, but then Saturday we headed up into the mountains to get to the real reason everyone came to the Rockies—camping and hiking. I had decided that I would introduce them to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area —it's close by and it's got some incredible hiking being that it's just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. And the best part is, you don't have to pay to visit. After consulting a couple of forest rangers via telephone and looking at a couple of guide books, I chose Camp Dick as our destination point.

I tried to make a reservation at one of the camping spots, but all of them were full by the time I got around to it. Even though it seemed doubtful that we would get a spot, both of the forest rangers assured me that there were plenty of non-reservable spots that were available on a first-come-first-serve basis and if we got there early enough, we'd be able to camp. So, we got there around 4p and the place was a madhouse. Every spot had at least three cars parked in front of them, and two or three tents or a monster RV. After touring through the entire camp, we had the bright idea to stop and ask the campground host if he/she knew of any available spots in any of the other campgrounds. After some hemming and hawing, she told us that we could just camp off any of the fire roads and we probably wouldn't be bothered. Then she recommended a spot a little further up the road that was 'by a bridge.'

After driving a bit, we found the bridge and headed up the trail. After about 50ft we came upon the most glorious camping spot ever invented by man. Big enough for four tents, a huge firepit and close to a little creek we couldn't have asked for a better place to spend the evening. Somehow, I grabbed the wrong tent poles and ended up having to rig up my tent with the rope I'd brought for the bear bag. But that was the only mishap and quite a few beers and a lot of laughter erased any discomfort I might've had about sleeping in my droopy tent.

The next day we got up, packed up camp and headed up Lower Buchanan Trail. A fairly easy eight-mile round trip that gave us gorgeous waterfalls, beautiful wildflowers and picturesque peaks. We arrived back home satisfied and happy and spent the evening drinking beer on the back porch. After a late brunch at Lucille's Laura and Matthew headed back north to Montana and Tina and I headed down to Denver to spend the afternoon at The Tattered Cover and Twist and Shout. The Tattered Cover recently moved from Cherry Creek to Colfax Ave and I have to say that a place that was once my favorite bookstore in the world, has turned into something that's no better than a garage sale at Bill Gate's house. But as that was the only disappointment in the entire weekend, I am happy to say that the first Seastival was a resounding success.


it's even awesomer than i'd imagined

Ok. So you know how I won't shut the hell up about this? Yesterday, I received my first three albums from the library:

In case you can't discern what they are from these tiny thumbnails, they are Eric Bachmann, To the Races; Albert Hammond, Jr, Yours to Keep and Page France ...and the Family Telephone. All unobtainable through eMusic.

See? I told you the Denver Public Library had an awesome music selection.

i don't know why it's funny. it just is

The best headline I've seen in a long time:

It's not easy to avoid products from China

Beware! They're lurking around every corner ready to jump on you the minute you cross their paths.


music your ears want you to buy

By the time I heard of The Polyphonic Spree, they had something like 200 albums out already and it was too exhausting to try and figure out where to begin. So I just didn't. I ignored them. I pretended they didn't exist.

Then, for some reason, the other day I just decided to buy their latest, The Fragile Army. Now, I'm kicking myself for treating them like a redheaded stepchild. I don't know if all of their albums are like this, but Fragile Army is a rollicking good time. With really, some pretty decent lyrics. It sounds like they have about 50 people in the band who all play on every single song. You would think this would make for cacophony, but it really doesn't. They all work well together to produce an upbeat, punchy, beattastic album that's just about the most perfect thing to listen to when it's too hot outside to breathe.


daily commute #8

This 'shop' is about two doors down from my office building. It makes me inexplicably sad. I never see anyone in the parking lot or in the store. I kind of want to offer to make him a new sign as maybe a more professional look will make him appear more trustworthy and might generate some cashflow.

Doesn't it look like the place televisions go to die?


something of an epic

So even though nothing bad really happened, for the first time that I can remember, I had a really shitty day on the crag yesterday. It started off with me putting my harness on, loading it up with all of the gear I would need, hooking Colin up to belay, only to realize that my harness was twisted. It took nearly fifteen minutes and having to take off all of the gear just to get it back to rights.

Then Colin led the first pitch, about 20' up in the air before he could put in any pro. See that flake off to his left? That was the first place he had that he could put any gear in. You couldn't pay me to do that. I was extremely nervous and I wasn't even on the wall. The guys following us up Pear's Buttress 5.8+, said that they had seen a guy take a fall on that traverse and break every bone in his feet.

So then I got to lead the second pitch. Which, of course, was another long, scary traverse with not very many places to put in pro. Frankly, it pissed me off. Mostly because I just really want to get to the point where I'm not so scared to lead. 'Cause this wasn't even that difficult and I still wanted to turn back and make Colin do it instead. But at least I did force myself to finish. I guess.

The third pitch was a long, probably 50m, crack. Which I just wasn't in the mood for. It wasn't extremely hard climbing, I just wasn't in the mood for all of the necessary feet and hand jamming. Plus, by this point, I just really wanted to be done and having to crack climb was not my idea of fun.

The fourth pitch was pretty much ok. But I was still pissed off about the crack that I couldn't find it in me to enjoy it all that much.

Finally, the fifth pitch. Which was really short and had a really fun roof at the end. Usually, I don't enjoy roofs all that much, but this one had really awesome handholds and one really great foot. So at least the climb ended on a positive note.

Just as we got back to the base, it started to sprinkle, so we packed up in a hurry and raced to get back to the car. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it and ended up getting drenched. And hailed on. I was glad we got done when we did though, 'cause I most definitely would not have wanted to be on the wall during that.

One good thing did happen in that, this time we brought along a little backpack for our shoes and water. MUCH better than using the rope bag. I hardly even noticed it was there. And, looking back with the perspective of 12 hours difference, I got to spend the day outside and look at this:


i'm chatty cathy today

If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard that Stereogum is offering up an album of various indie artists covering songs off of Ok Computer, OKX: A Tribute to Ok Computer, then go here to download it. I haven't listened yet, but the lineup looks pretty indietastic and I've read really good reviews. Plus, Stereogum is letting people download it for free, so what have you got to lose?

In other music news, eMusic just released a re-release of M. Ward's debut album, Duet for Guitars #2 that I did not yet possess and I have been listening to it all morning in a state of bliss. It's probably, dare I say, his best album ever. God. I love him.

p.s. If you don't have an eMusic subscription yet, and I really don't understand why you wouldn't, let me know and I'll send you an e-mail to sign up. That way I can get free downloads. You know. Help a brother out.

holy crap

I so have not been paying close enough attention to the calendar. I just realized that today is Friday the 13th. Dangit. I knew I should've just stayed in bed this morning. I hope everyone has an evil free day.

daily commute #6 (?)

This building used to be some weird interior design store that I never, ever stepped foot into, 'cause who needs that crap? All I remember about it was that they had a sign out front which advertised classes on how to 'faux' up your house, so that was enough of a reason for me to avoid the place like it had rabies.

Anyway, just this week a do-jo(sp?) opened up shop there. And the best part?

NINJA SCHOOL! If all of the other people in the class weren't five years old, I would totally sign up for Ninja School. How awesome would that be?


what the hell happened

It's Wed already? Jesus. I really have nothing to talk about, but thought I should post something since it'd been a while. Look at this crazy bike I saw the other day. I'd hate to fall off that thing in the middle of a busy intersection. Do you think the owner has magical levitation powers to get on and off?

Of course, if s/he had levitation capabilities, probably wouldn't need the bike. Unless s/he doesn't want to be discovered as having levitation powers and thus rides a bike around as part of his/her disguise. But then why not just get a normal bike so that you would draw less attention?

It's so confusing.


the wind tower

It was so frickin' hot today.

In spite of that, Colin and I headed back to Eldorado Canyon to try our hand at two routes on the Wind Tower. When we got there, two Austrian guys were getting on the first route we wanted to try, Wind Ridge, 5.8 so we decided to start on the second route we were looking at, Calypso, 5.6. Colin led the first pitch and made it a little more difficult by doing the Calypso Direct 5.8 start which put him too far over to the left to get to the anchors which would've set us up perfectly for the second pitch. So, I hemmed and hawed, but finally decided to lead the second pitch which made me traverse waaaaaaaay over to get back on the route. Can I just tell you how terrifying it was? It was terrifying. I used so much gear by the time I was almost at the belay ledge that I didn't place any gear for about the last 20' or so because I was down to one quickdraw. Luckily, the climbing was super easy and there was a fixed pin at the top, right under the ledge. A couple of my placements weren't so good and popped out due to rope drag, but the anchor I set up was 'bomber' (according to Colin).

Then we got on Wind Ridge where once again, Colin decided to do the hard start, upping the grade to a 5.9, which I was thankful for because god, it was beautiful climbing. Really nice juggy handholds and fairly good feet too. But we still needed to do the second pitch. I was supposed to lead, but I chickened out. I was really exhausted. Probably a combination of being out in the sun all day, not drinking enough water, and the insane amount of adrenaline that had coursed through my body on the other pitch I led. So, Colin, being the gracious guy he is, gamely led up the second pitch without any complaint, and I trudged up along behind him. Still really good climbing, but man, it was good to finish.

Hopefully, one of these days soon I won't be such a wuss about leading. I think it will just take some more practice and probably a little time until I feel more comfortable.

Now I'm tired, kinda dehydrated and drained. Very drained. So, I'm gonna turn on the a/c and lie on my couch and watch a crapload of tv.

Oh, the other exciting thing that happened today was that I bought my first four cams. For only $100 (brand-new they would probably cost about $200) from this guy who was camped out at the mouth of the canyon selling a bunch of gear. I would've bought more, but I was stone-broke yo. A little at a time. Here's a picture of my new toys:

Aren't they pretty?


there are no words

I really don't know how to write about what is quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I discovered interlibraryloan. I knew they did it for books, but I just found out that they also do it for music. And the Denver Library has what is probably one of the most kickass music libraries I've ever run across.

I'll wait for a second while that sinks in.

If you're still confused as to why this is such a miracle, let me remind you that things you check out from the library are... free.

Now do you get it?

But I've made a pledge to only use the library if I can't find it on eMusic. I swear.

Even with that though, my list is already 50 albums long.

I think I probably just wet myself.


really. i know it's all my fault.

Remember those days, a while back, when your body could metabolize every single ounce of alcohol you ingested? When you could get so drunk you passed out and then woke up four hours later, bright-eyed and ready to kick the world in the balls? Yeah. Neither do I, but seriously, either my tolerance is waaaayyyy down, or my metabolism isn't what it used to be, 'cause I just feel plain shitty.

My head feels fuzzy and my eyeballs hurt. Damn you PBR and all of your red, white and blue deliciousness. And damn you America for making us celebrate your birthday on a school night. We asked you if you could wait until Friday, but you, being the brat you are, just insisted that we acknowledge the actual day of your birth. Next year we're totally not listening to you. No matter how much you whine.

It totally feels like I'm at work on a Sunday today. All in all I'm having a craptacular day and can't wait to go home and lie on my couch.

happy birthday amerrrika

I apologize for being late with your gift, but you're really gonna like it, I swear.

Colin and I went up to Boulder Canyon yesterday so that I could get some practice at leading trad. So, I redid the 5.5 route I tried a few weeks ago and I kicked its ass. All over the place. It was a wet sobbing mess by the time I got done with it.

Colin did an amazing lead on a 5.10 after that, but since this post is mostly about me, I'm gonna skip ahead to the good part.

After that, I decided to try to lead I, Robot 5.7. Everything went along pretty well until I got to the crux, which was really just a blank section of rock with a thin, thin crack running up it. I stood there for a while trying to figure out what to do and then went up, and then came back down and then went up and then came back down about three times until finally I just went for it and got through it and up to the top. I even set up my first anchor without assistance. I was seriously jazzed, or stoked as the kids say, when we got done. Now I guess I'm ready for the big time.

We ended the day on a ridiculously hard 5.9 that Colin took a pretty big winger on while he was trying to work through the crux. About halfway through the climb he looked down at me and said, 'This fucking sucks. I think I'm gonna have to come down.' But then he gave it one more try and just got the thing done. Even on top rope it was definitely one of the toughest climbs I've ever done. For the first time this summer, I had to leave two pieces of gear behind. Luckily, they were only nuts.

The best, and most surprising, thing about it all was that we were THE. ONLY. ONES. THERE. It was pretty unbelievable really.

I ended the day getting kinda drunk at P & D's bbq. But at least I was drinking PBR. Is there any more American beer than that? I mean, it comes in a red, white and blue can for Christ's sake.


well, there's one more thing that he's done wrong

So, I've been ignoring the news for oh, pretty much the past couple of years because everything about W's administration just makes me really, really angry. A prime example is this. I happened to stumble across it just now and I am infuriated. I don't know why I'm all that surprised really, as W does whatever he wants, the law be damned. Let's let all the criminals go unpunished for their transgressions. Will it never end?

If you don't hear from me ever again, you know the minions came and took me away.Wish me well.

daily commute #6

You've probably guessed by now that I ride through the industrial part of town.


eldorado canyon

Colin and I headed to Eldorado Canyon yesterday with the intent of climbing around on Cadillac Crag. But we got to the mouth of the canyon and discovered, much to our surprise, that no one was on Bastille Crack 5.7, which is fairly unusual I guess since it's one of the most 'popular climbs in the country.' So, we jumped on it.

P1. A pretty nice ride. You start off climbing up a flake and then traverse over to a crack that has pretty good holds on the face for your feet. There's a couple of bolts above a tiny little ledge to belay from. The traverse gave me pause, but once I tried a couple of different handholds I got it figured out.

P2 Even though this pitch was rated a 5.6, I thought it was the hardest of the five. The chimney was too wide to really use effectively and the holds on the face weren't the greatest, but really the only option. The roof was nice though and the sloping ledge for the belay was a comfortable place to take a rest.

P3 I don't even really remember climbing this part. I do remember the ledge I had to belay from though, as it wasn't a really great place to stand.

P4 The traverse from the belay station to get over to the crack was probably the worst part about this pitch. If you fall here, you're gonna take a swing. Then the first half of this pitch is all on awkward, leaning, sloped out holds that just weren't very comfortable, but definitely not hard.

P5 This was my favorite pitch of the whole route. Colin ignored the chimney and just used the face, but I decided to have a go at the chimney and really enjoyed it.

Once again, I decided to bring a rope bag up with me, filled with our shoes, a bottle of water and the guidebook. I gotta find a better system. That thing swung around like a chimpanzee on meth and when it wasn't doing that it decided to either strangle me, or grab on to holds or wedge itself into cracks. And don't even get me started on pulling it up the chimney. Overall though, I really enjoyed the climb and can see why it's so damn popular.

By the time we got back down to the base of the climb, there were three other groups on it. Apparently we were in the right place at the right time.