Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's never too early...

Yesterday the weather did this (it's hard to see, but those are snowflakes):

So I did this:

It may be a little early but I got excited so I started getting my skis ready. I was taking the bindings off and ripping the integrated plate off the skis so I can mount a pair of Fritschi Diamir Freeride Plus Bindings. These are super rad touring bindings that I've been wanting for a few years. I'll sell my current bindings and trekkers. This will lighten my set up by a few pounds and make touring a bit easier.

It really is never too early to get stoked for ski season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My First Post

I have started writing for the Backcountry Blog. I am super excited about it. It is run by a guy I work with whose name is Kendall (powstash). I am definitely appreciative of him letting me join the list of authors and contribute my thoughts and perspectives on the blog. I'll probably be posting monthly. You can check out my first post here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weekly Catch-up

This has been a fairly busy week with quite a bit of stuff going on. I was planning individual posts each night for each event we attended but that didn't happen so I'll be rolling most all of it into one post.

The first big activity of the week happened Tuesday night. The jazz great, Dave Brubeck, was in playing in Salt Lake for the last time ever. He is 86 years old and most likely won't be touring much any more. When I heard he was coming to town I jumped on the chance to get us tickets. I am a relatively new fan of Dave Brubeck. I first heard his music about four years ago and have been a fan ever since that first time.

At 86 Dave can still play extremely well. Here were a couple of highlights from the show:

-His 65 wedding anniversary is coming up. He told the crowd that his wife asked him "Dave, since our anniversary is next week will you play that song that you wrote for me". He told us he was going to play that song and that it was written so long ago that he said "Iola (his wife), if it's not what you remember, don't blame me!" It was quite funny, he was very cute about it.

-The Quartet played a series of three waltzes that Dave had written. He was commenting that they had recently been back to Vienna and that "I try to write a new waltz every time I go to Vienna, then I realized that is just stupid." He was quite funny.

-One of the biggest highlights of the show was watching these older gentlemen (sax player was probably in his 50s, the drummer and bassist had to be in their 60s, and Dave is 86) completely rock out. The solos were awesome. The sax player was extremely talented (you'd have to be to play with Dave Brubeck). The best part was the drummer. He really only had two solos during the whole show but he rocked hard! Imagine a skinny, tall, white-haired, old guy in suit, completely rocking out! It was awesome. When the time came for his solos he took advantage. I've been to a lot shows in my time (a lot) and this guy rocked the drums harder than anyone I've ever seen. During his solos Dave would stand up and lean on his piano and just watch. He'd start nodding his yeah, rocking out a bit, and saying "yeah, yeah". It was awesome! I wish I would have had a video camera.

I feel completely honored that I was able to go see such a talented man play. He has been touted as "one of the 5 greatest jazz musicians of his time" and "one of the greatest ever". His influence has been immeasurable. It was seriously amazing to see the man play.

Wednesday night we had a BBQ at my cousins house here in SLC. It's been a long time since we've gotten together so it was good to catch up. We ate some good food, hung out, slacklined a little, and had a good time.

Thursday night was the 14th annual Utah Avalanche Center fundraiser at Black Diamond. I got a ticket from work (thanks Adam). A ton of people showed up. We had a good contingent there from work. Rico's catered and it was delicious. I ate way too many tamales, rice, beans, and chips & salsa. It was nice to get out and show my support to something that is extremely valuable. I swear every year they face a budget crisis because of cuts in funding.

Last night was climbing with Matt. We went to the Storm Mountain area in Big Cottonwood canyon (yes there again) to do a little two pitch trad climb I had read about. I had read good things about it. The route completely sucked! I led the first pitch and it was a junk show. The climbing wasn't good, the quality of the route lacked, and there weren't many placements for gear and the ones that were there weren't that great. After Matt seconded the first pitch we looked around and saw that the top of Goodro's Wall was about 45 meters away. We got the half-brained idea to traverse over to the top of Goodro's, rappel, and the top-rope that. We thought it could salvage the crappy climb we just did. Well the traverse was interesting, included a little bushwhacking, Matt blowing a cam at the top of a short choss pile that was on top of the 100 foot cliff, and sliding down it 6 feet or so before stopping (he was on belay). By the time we got the rappel set up it was dark. I couldn't believe it, the route sucked that bad. At least we were climbing. Come to find out the first pitch does suck and the second pitch is supposed to make it worthwhile. Now I feel the need to go back just to do the second pitch, but I don't think I will.

After we got back from the canyon we went and pulled on some plastic over at RockReation. It was good time. I love climbing at the gym because you get so utterly burned that it hurts to open the car door, shift gears, turn the steering wheel, or turn a door knob.

This morning was quick run up Millcreek Canyon and then lunch with some of Jessica's coworkers.

Now that I am done blogging it's time to figure out what we're going to do tonight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Love Free Food

This post is a few days late but I am posting it anyway. During the day Thursday Jessica went to go do some "crafty" things with our friend Lisa. Lisa tells Jessica about some new restaurant by Target that is supposedly giving away free food.

When I got home from work we were trying to decide what to eat for dinner when Jessica tells me about this place. We decided to go and see what we could find. It wasn't too difficult to find, it was the only place in the area that had a line of people around the building. Turns out it is a newly opened franchise of Chipotle (who by the way have the worst website so check out the information here).

Since we had the good fortune of learning about the free food from Adam and Lisa we gave them a call and said "free food is on, get down here." The only caveat was it was 6:40 and the Chipotle staff were cutting the line off at 7:00. Unfortunately they arrived shortly after 7 and were denied access. They then came up in line with us to chat and the chubby, crabby owner approached us and said "if you weren't here by 7 you can't get food". We told him that was fine. The best part was Adam and Lisa hung out with us a bit and the employees kept eagle eying us to make sure they weren't going to get any food.

Jessica and I were able to partake of the food and it was delicious. It was completely free (well we did have to stand in line for an hour but it was worth the $20 in food we got). The burritos were fantastic and we even got a taco "for Penelope".

After we got the food we met Adam and Lisa on the grass by the parking lot. They had gone across the street to get Cafe Rio. We gave them the taco so they could have some free food too.

The free food tactic worked. It got a lot of people to the restaurant (I bet the restaurant gave out a few thousand dollars worth of free food), it got noticed by a lot of people, and they made plenty of people happy with free food. I think that we'll be heading back there again and will, of course, pay.

What I think will be interesting to watch is to see if the the quality of the food decreases or if they reduce portion sizes. The burritos we got were humongous. If portions stay the same it will be well worth the money. Unfortunately I've seen it happen too many times in the past. A new restaurant opens, the food is great, portion sizes are generous, and customers are happy. Once the restaurant gets rolling along, the excitement of the new restaurant wears off, things get a little tight, and the restaurant does one of two things: they either cut portion sizes or get lower quality ingredients. I can't think of a worse thing the restaurant can do. I worked for a restaurant that did exactly those two things (instead of other, better money saving tactics). It ultimately led to their demise. Luckily for me I left the restaurant a few months before they went out of business.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I like them thar cracks

Tonight I was able to get out and do a little trad climbing with my friend Matt. We went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Storm Mountain picnic area to go and sample of couple of 5.5s we haven't ever climbed. Yeah 5.5 is a really easy grade for us to climb but we didn't care. The routes looked fun and even though it didn't push our limits climbing it was fun and nice to get in practice placing gear.

The crux of the climbs was the approach. You had to traverse on this 3 foot ledge, about 15 feet above the river. It was a little crazy because neither of us had done it before and we weren't quite sure where to go. Then we had to do some easy fourth class climbing for about 30 feet to get to the base of the climbs.

Once at the base we had our choice of two 5.5 climbs. Both ascended crack systems. Matt took the first lead on the climb in the corner. The climb was about 50 long. I was to snap one pic of Matt on lead.

I lead the second route. It was about 50 feet of broken crack climbing. The climb was super fun. There were some nice jams and pro sunk really well.

While we were climbing the alpenglow on the mountains up the canyon was amazing. I was planning on snapping some pics after rappelling the first route but I forgot.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who listens to what?

Typically I'm not one to post random pictures that are found on the internet. Nor am I really one to pass them around. I had to make an exception for this one though. My friend Mike from work sent me the link to this one and I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. I showed it to Jessi, but she didn't think it was funny. Walt, another friend from work, thought it was great. I still think it's great.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Week in Words

The past week was an interesting one. It started with our Labor Day weekend stay up at Louis Lake. We had gone up their with our friends whom we do our yearly "Crab 'n Climb" with. It was an okay time. We didn't get out climbing like we wanted but we definitely had a good time hanging out in the mountains. On Monday we were treated with a high altitude thunder/hail storm. It was great to just be up in the mountains away from cell reception, the internet, technology, and the busy-ness of life.

Tuesday started the work week. I woke in the morning feeling a little off but chalked it up to being hungry and a little tired. I went to work but after a couple of hours I was feeling worse. I was able to talk Ben from the carpool into bringing me home. My stomach hurt, my joints were starting to ache and my skin was all tingly. When I got in my car to drive home it was about 100 degrees inside the car. While driving home I had a couple of shivers and thought to myself "that isn't good". I got home about 2:00 and almost immediately crashed for two and a half hours. When I woke up I felt worse than I did before. I full on had the shivers, stomach cramps, tingly skin, my kidneys hurt, my joints ached, and other stuff. I'm not sure it if it was food related or if it was a bug.

Wednesday I was still sick and worked from home. I incrementally felt better as the day went on but still felt fairly awful. It was nice because I was able to watch Penelope a little before the nanny came to pick her up. Since I was sick we had the nanny take Penelope to her house to watch her.

I woke up Thursday feeling somewhat better, the only thing really ailing me was stomach cramps. I went to work and was able to stay all day, which was good.

Friday was a little better than Thursday, only mild discomfort. I hadn't exercised all week and was feeling good enough to go for a short session at the climbing gym. It felt good to get moving again. Jessi and I were able to hang out after that, which is always good!

Saturday was supposed to the Mid Mountain Marathon but after being sick all week I decided it was probably better to not run 26 miles. Instead I went climbing with Matt. We went and climbed Pentapitch up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was a great morning for climbing and I got in my first full 5.8 trad lead! It was awesome! On our rappel down we decided to drop in and climb Sasquatch, this great .9+ finger crack.

While I was out climbing Jessi got together with Lisa for a little sewing project action (I'm going to let Jessi talk about it :) ). That night Jessi's sister and brother-in-law, Lisa (different than the previous Lisa) and Chris, were in town from New York. We went to eat at Tepanyaki, this great Japanese steakhouse where the cook in front of you, flip shrimp in your mouth, and cook incredible food. We had a great time catching up and spending time with them. They crashed out our place and then had to catch a 6:30, which Jessi was amazing about and took them to the airport. :)

Today we took my brother and sister-in-law, Zach and Alisa, some food since they had their baby a week and a half ago. It was fun to go and see little Aidan. It blows my mind to think that Penelope was ever that small. It was fun to hold such a little baby again and it did make me miss Penelope being that small. We had a good time "talking parent" with them. For once in my life I was able to impart some wisdom to my older brother!

After we came home we had a good evening together as a family before the week begins. We did the dished, played with Penelope, and gave her a bath. To end the post here are a couple of great videos of Penelope in the bath laughing her head off! The first is of her cracking up to me playing peek-a-boo with her rubber ducky and making it dance. The second is of her almost falling over whenever I would put one of her little piggy toys on the edge of the tub and flick it into the tub with my finger (you also get the bonus of hearing one of her growls). It was the best bath-time I've had with her so far!