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Hike / scramble to Land’s End

27 Jul

At the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez there’s a rock formation called “The Arch.” There’s no point in sitting still in the world so last week we decided to see how close we could get without having to take a boat.

Starting on the Pacific side headed to Land’s End. This is just beyond Grand Solmar .

I should probably make it known that there is no swimming to where we tried to get. These waves are a bitch. We watched some crash so hard the spray went at least 2/3 of the way up this formation

 

 

 

Up and over

 

 

 

 

 

 

And on to Divorce Beach. Still on the Pacific side and definitely no swimming here.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a friend giving some perspective on the size of the rocks

 

 

 

 

To get from Divorce Beach to Lover’s beach there’s a trek across open sand. (The footprints are from people who got there by boat)

 

 

 

 

Then you get to this point on Lover’s Beach which is on Bahia San Lucas

 

 

 

And if you look close there’s a way through…

 

 

 

 

And on the other side you’re all alone on a tiny beach

 

 

 

We almost made it. Through the cut on the right is Divorce Beach on the other side and Lover’s Beach on the near side. The hole in the rock is in that point left of center.

 

 

 

We made it all the way to the beach on the right, but couldn’t get around to the arch. Due to another climbing trip up near Boca de la Sierra we couldn’t time the tides right
I’ve never actually seen the water as low as it is in this pic… supposedly it only happens every 4-6 years

 

 

And after all that we had to reverse it

 

 

 

 

To get back to the Pacific

 

 

 

 

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Yosemite trip – Heaven on Earth

18 Jun

Next summer’s epic hike will bring us back to the valley here, but there really won’t be a chance to see everything. So what’s one to do? Make two trips!

Mid may and the melt was in full force so all the falls were at peak flow. If nature is your thing then Yosemite needs to be on your bucket list.

I’ll post some more later as I get around to it – this is just what I pulled off my GoPro this morning.

These are in the order they were taken. It kinda goes from “Oh, that’s cool” to “Ooooooh, holy crap.”

First real view of the valley:

El Capitan under clouds. There’s really no sense of scale here because everything is so massive, but here’s an idea – this wall is is 3,000 ft tall.

Bridalveil Fall

Merced River

El Cap minus the clouds

Cathedral Beach

800 miles in 4 days in a Challenger R/T

View of Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

Midday drinks at The Ahwahnee

Merced River

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls (2,425 ft) – this is the 6th tallest waterfall in the world and the tallest in North America.

Lower Yosemite Fall (320 ft)- there are people on the rocks for scale

View of the eastern part of the valley from Glacier Point -Half Dome, Nevada Fall, and Vernal Fall out there

Western part of the valley from Glacier Point – that’s Yosemite Falls in the middle

Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove

And finally “Tunnel View.” Probably the most recognizable visual from the park

Hike pictures – Caprock Canyons Trailway (TX)

11 Mar

The Caprock Canyons Trailway is a 60 mile rail line that was dismantled and turned into a hiking trail. This is a 22 mile stretch from Quitaque, TX to South Plains, TX

 

“In September 2011, 80 descendants of the great southern plains bison herd were released to roam 700 acres of grasslands in the park”

 

The hike starts on top of the Caprock.

 

Random piles of railroad debris

 

The Valley of Tears
” According to legend, the name of the valley was suggested by some unknown person who heard the wailing of mothers and children who had been kidnapped by Indians and brought there in the mid-1800s to be separated from each other and sold”

 

Camp for the night was at the 10 mile point at the entrance to Clarity Tunnel. We got to watch bats fly all night and being surrounded by three canyon walls it was completely dark at night. The number of stars visible was completely insane.

 

Breakfast… there was bourbon and rain.

 

Heading through the tunnel in the morning

 

And this is the view we walked into on the other side. Completely different than where we came from.

 

Trundling is the practice of rolling large rocks or boulders down hillsides. It is discouraged in many areas, for reasons of safety and environmental impact. Its practice can be traced back to rock climbers in the 18th century in North America.”


 

Foot care stop. The original plan was to do 10 miles on flat ground the first day, hit the tunnel, camp, do another 8 the next day, then finish with a final short 4 mile trip the third morning. After the blisters started becoming a bitch and we realized we were making pretty good time we decided to power through and kill the last 12 miles in one day.

 

Coaxing Slider back from the edge with more bourbon

 

But the last few miles were back on top of the Caprock in the west TX wind. Fucking miserable.

And the first stop when we got back to FTW… a bar.

COTA pics – Rolex Series GrandAm race this weekend

4 Mar

Woke up at 530am
715am flight to Austin
Head to friend’s hotel to pickup my ticket from the concierge.
At the track by 9am
Get windburned and freeze my ass off all day.
On a plane headed back home at 640pm.

All in all not a bad day

Oh, and this trip reinforced my odd obsession with Aston Martin’s. The Vantages running GS are in my top 3 for best sounding racecar ever. Lots of these on track pics will be of the Vantages.

Main straight – These seats suck.

Turn 1 – Phil Hill

Straight coming out of Turn 2

Turn 3 going into the S section

Turn 4

Turn 12 at the end of the back straight – These are the section 15 seats. IMO the best in the house. You get to see the second half of the straight, turns 12 -15 (and the turn in of 16) and there’s a board right there so we were watching the live SpeedTV coverage at the same time

Turn 15

 

 

Anyway, on to the car pics.

And finally, the Vantage GS class cars

Also, if anyone is buying early Christmas presents I’ll take this Juan Manuel Fangio painting. Please and thank you.

 

No coddling here… you need fixin’. But you can do it.

26 Jan

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person/

 

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

By:

December 17, 2012

2013, motherfuckers. Yeah! LET’S DO THIS.

“Do what?” you ask. I DON’T KNOW. LET’S FIGURE THAT OUT TOGETHER, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Feel free to stop reading this if your career is going great, you’re thrilled with your life and you’re happy with your relationships. Enjoy the rest of your day, friend, this article is not for you. You’re doing a great job, we’re all proud of you. So you don’t feel like you wasted your click, here’s a picture of Lenny Kravitz wearing a gigantic scarf.

Via Upscalehype.com

For the rest of you, I want you to try something: Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here’s the catch — you’re not allowed to list anything you are (i.e., I’m a nice guy, I’m honest), but instead can only list things that you do (i.e., I just won a national chess tournament, I make the best chili in Massachusetts). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to fucking hate hearing it. My only defense is that this is what I wish somebody had said to me around 1995 or so.

#6. The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You

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Let’s say that the person you love the most has just been shot. He or she is lying in the street, bleeding and screaming. A guy rushes up and says, “Step aside.” He looks over your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife — he’s going to operate right there in the street.

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“OK, which one is the injured one?”

You ask, “Are you a doctor?”

The guy says, “No.”

You say, “But you know what you’re doing, right? You’re an old Army medic, or …”

At this point the guy becomes annoyed. He tells you that he is a nice guy, he is honest, he is always on time. He tells you that he is a great son to his mother and has a rich life full of fulfilling hobbies, and he boasts that he never uses foul language.

Confused, you say, “How does any of that fucking matter when my (wife/husband/best friend/parent) is lying here bleeding! I need somebody who knows how to operate on bullet wounds! Can you do that or not?!?”

Now the man becomes agitated — why are you being shallow and selfish? Do you not care about any of his other good qualities? Didn’t you just hear him say that he always remembers his girlfriend’s birthday? In light of all of the good things he does, does it really matter if he knows how to perform surgery?

In that panicked moment, you will take your bloody hands and shake him by the shoulders, screaming, “Yes, I’m saying that none of that other shit matters, because in this specific situation, I just need somebody who can stop the bleeding, you crazy fucking asshole.”

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“I don’t get it. Would it help if I put on a lab jacket? Here, one sec, let me just …”

So here is my terrible truth about the adult world: You are in that very situation every single day. Only you are the confused guy with the pocket knife. All of society is the bleeding gunshot victim.

If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it’s because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships. You arrived at the scene of that emergency, holding your pocket knife, by virtue of your birth — the moment you came into the world, you became part of a system designed purely to see to people’s needs.

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“Here’s that shit you needed. Now fuck off.”

Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.

Does that seem mean, or crass, or materialistic? What about love and kindness — don’t those things matter? Of course. As long as they result in you doing things for people that they can’t get elsewhere. For you see …

#5. The Hippies Were Wrong

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Here is the greatest scene in the history of movies (WARNING: EXTREME NSFW LANGUAGE):

For those of you who can’t watch videos, it’s the famous speech Alec Baldwin gives in the cinematic masterpiece Glengarry Glenn Ross. Baldwin’s character — whom you assume is the villain — addresses a room full of dudes and tears them a new asshole, telling them that they’re all about to be fired unless they “close” the sales they’ve been assigned:

“Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close.”

It’s brutal, rude and borderline sociopathic, and also it is an honest and accurate expression of what the world is going to expect from you. The difference is that, in the real world, people consider it so wrong to talk to you that way that they’ve decided it’s better to simply let you keep failing.

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“First graders, welcome to Mr. Baldwin’s third period art class — is everyone here? Well, I’m goin’ anyway.”

That scene changed my life. I’d program my alarm clock to play it for me every morning if I knew how. Alec Baldwin was nominated for an Oscar for that movie and that’s the only scene he’s in. As smarter people have pointed out, the genius of that speech is that half of the people who watch it think that the point of the scene is “Wow, what must it be like to have such an asshole boss?” and the other half think, “Fuck yes, let’s go out and sell some goddamned real estate!”

Or, as the Last Psychiatrist blog put it:

“If you were in that room, some of you would understand this as a work, but feed off the energy of the message anyway, welcome the coach’s cursing at you, ‘this guy is awesome!’; while some of you would take it personally, this guy is a jerk, you have no right to talk to me like that, or — the standard maneuver when narcissism is confronted with a greater power — quietly seethe and fantasize about finding information that will out him as a hypocrite. So satisfying.”

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I swear, if he mentions my hair, I’ll slap his face so har– Yes, sir, I’m listening. I’m sorry.”

That excerpt is from an insightful critique of “hipsters” and why they seem to have so much trouble getting jobs (that doesn’t begin to do it justice, go read the whole thing), and the point is that the difference in those two attitudes — bitter vs. motivated — largely determines whether or not you’ll succeed in the world. For instance, some people want to respond to that speech with Tyler Durden’s line from Fight Club: “You are not your job.”

But, well, actually, you totally are. Granted, your “job” and your means of employment might not be the same thing, but in both cases you are nothing more than the sum total of your useful skills. For instance, being a good mother is a job that requires a skill. It’s something a person can do that is useful to other members of society. But make no mistake: Your “job” — the useful thing you do for other people — is all you are.

There is a reason why surgeons get more respect than comedy writers. There is a reason mechanics get more respect than unemployed hipsters. There is a reason your job will become your label if your death makes the news (“NFL Linebacker Dies in Murder/Suicide”). Tyler said, “You are not your job,” but he also founded and ran a successful soap company and became the head of an international social and political movement. He was totally his job.

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It was the irony that many people missed from that movie.

Or think of it this way: Remember when Chick-fil-A came out against gay marriage? And how despite the protests, the company continues to sell millions of sandwiches every day? It’s not because the country agrees with them; it’s because they do their job of making delicious sandwiches well. And that’s all that matters.

You don’t have to like it. I don’t like it when it rains on my birthday. It rains anyway. Clouds form and precipitation happens. People have needs and thus assign value to the people who meet them. These are simple mechanisms of the universe and they do not respond to our wishes.

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“This is bullshit. I have a completely clean criminal record, and this is the thanks I get?”

If you protest that you’re not a shallow capitalist materialist and that you disagree that money is everything, I can only say: Who said anything about money? You’re missing the larger point.

#4. What You Produce Does Not Have to Make Money, But It Does Have to Benefit People

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Let’s try a non-money example so you don’t get hung up on that. The demographic that Cracked writes for is heavy on 20-something males. So on our message boards and in my many inboxes I read several dozen stories a year from miserable, lonely guys who insist that women won’t come near them despite the fact that they are just the nicest guys in the world. I can explain what is wrong with this mindset, but it would probably be better if I let Alec Baldwin explain it:

 

 

In this case, Baldwin is playing the part of the attractive women in your life. They won’t put it as bluntly as he does — society has trained us not to be this honest with people — but the equation is the same. “Nice guy? Who gives a shit? If you want to work here, close.”

So, what do you bring to the table? Because the Zooey Deschanel lookalike in the bookstore that you’ve been daydreaming about moisturizes her face for an hour every night and feels guilty when she eats anything other than salad for lunch. She’s going to be a surgeon in 10 years. What do you do?

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“Well, I’m fucking wicked at capture the flag.”

“What, so you’re saying that I can’t get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?”

No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they’re just being shallow and selfish. I’m asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don’t say that you’re a nice guy — that’s the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day. The patient is bleeding in the street. Do you know how to operate or not?

“Well, I’m not sexist or racist or greedy or shallow or abusive! Not like those other douchebags!”

I’m sorry, I know that this is hard to hear, but if all you can do is list a bunch of faults you don’t have, then back the fuck away from the patient. There’s a witty, handsome guy with a promising career ready to step in and operate.

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“Wait, I said I wouldn’t hit you!”

Does that break your heart? OK, so now what? Are you going to mope about it, or are you going to learn how to do surgery? It’s up to you, but don’t complain about how girls fall for jerks; they fall for those jerks because those jerks have other things they can offer. “But I’m a great listener!” Are you? Because you’re willing to sit quietly in exchange for the chance to be in the proximity of a pretty girl (and spend every second imagining how soft her skin must be)? Well guess what, there’s another guy in her life who also knows how to do that, and he can play the guitar. Saying that you’re a nice guy is like a restaurant whose only selling point is that the food doesn’t make you sick. You’re like a new movie whose title is This Movie Is in English, and its tagline is “The actors are clearly visible.”

I think this is why you can be a “nice guy” and still feel terrible about yourself. Specifically …

#3. You Hate Yourself Because You Don’t Do Anything

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“So, what, you’re saying that I should pick up a book on how to get girls?”

Only if step one in the book is “Start making yourself into the type of person girls want to be around.”

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“Come ooooon. I know I hid some vodka in here somewhere.”

Because that’s the step that gets skipped — it’s always “How can I get a job?” and not “How can I become the type of person employers want?” It’s “How can I get pretty girls to like me?” instead of “How can I become the type of person that pretty girls like?” See, because that second one could very well require giving up many of your favorite hobbies and paying more attention to your appearance, and God knows what else. You might even have to change your personality.

“But why can’t I find someone who just likes me for me?” you ask. The answer is because humans need things. The victim is bleeding, and all you can do is look down and complain that there aren’t more gunshot wounds that just fix themselves?

Here’s another video (NSFW):

Everyone who watched that video instantly became a little happier, although not all for the same reasons. Can you do that for people? Why not? What’s stopping you from strapping on your proverbial thong and cape and taking to your proverbial stage and flapping your proverbial penis at people? That guy knows the secret to winning at human life: that doing … whatever you call that … was better than not doing it.

“But I’m not good at anything!” Well, I have good news — throw enough hours of repetition at it and you can get sort of good at anything. I was the world’s shittiest writer when I was an infant. I was only slightly better at 25. But while I was failing miserably at my career, I wrote in my spare time for eight straight years, an article a week, before I ever made real money off it. It took 13 years for me to get good enough to make the New York Times best-seller list. It took me probably 20,000 hours of practice to sand the edges off my sucking.

Don’t like the prospect of pouring all of that time into a skill? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell — I got through years of tedious office work because I knew that I was learning a unique skill on the side. People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.

The bad news is that you have no other choice. If you want to work here, close.

Because in my non-expert opinion, you don’t hate yourself because you have low self-esteem, or because other people were mean to you. You hate yourself because you don’t do anything. Not even you can just “love you for you” — that’s why you’re miserable and sending me private messages asking me what I think you should do with your life.

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Step One: Get up.

Do the math: How much of your time is spent consuming things other people made (TV, music, video games, websites) versus making your own? Only one of those adds to your value as a human being.

And if you hate hearing this and are responding with something you heard as a kid that sounds like “It’s what’s on the inside that matters!” then I can only say …

#2. What You Are Inside Only Matters Because of What It Makes You Do

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Being in the business I’m in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they’re missing is that minor final step, where they actually fucking write things.

But really, does that matter? Is “writing things” all that important when deciding who is and who is not truly a “writer”?

For the love of God, yes.

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I’ve known “writers” who produced less content than what’s on this woman’s grocery list.

See, there’s a common defense to everything I’ve said so far, and to every critical voice in your life. It’s the thing your ego is saying to you in order to prevent you from having to do the hard work of improving: “I know I’m a good person on the inside.” It may also be phrased as “I know who I am” or “I just have to be me.”

Don’t get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside. Every bad thing you’ve ever done has started with a bad impulse, some thought ricocheting around inside your skull until you had to act on it. And every good thing you’ve done is the same — “who you are inside” is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.

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Notice how the camera is pointed up, and not at the base of the tree?

But here’s what everyone needs to know, and what many of you can’t accept:

“You” are nothing but the fruit.

Nobody cares about your dirt. “Who you are inside” is meaningless aside from what it produces for other people.

Inside, you have great compassion for poor people. Great. Does that result in you doing anything about it? Do you hear about some terrible tragedy in your community and say, “Oh, those poor children. Let them know that they are in my thoughts”? Because fuck you if so — find out what they need and help provide it. A hundred million people watched that Kony video, virtually all of whom kept those poor African children “in their thoughts.” What did the collective power of those good thoughts provide? Jack fucking shit. Children die every day because millions of us tell ourselves that caring is just as good as doing. It’s an internal mechanism controlled by the lazy part of your brain to keep you from actually doing work.

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“I just wanted to tell you that you’re in my thoughts. Good luck — let me know if that cured you.”

How many of you are walking around right now saying, “She/he would love me if she/he only knew what an interesting person I am!” Really? How do all of your interesting thoughts and ideas manifest themselves in the world? What do they cause you to do? If your dream girl or guy had a hidden camera that followed you around for a month, would they be impressed with what they saw? Remember, they can’t read your mind — they can only observe. Would they want to be a part of that life?

Because all I’m asking you to do is apply the same standard to yourself that you apply to everyone else. Don’t you have that annoying Christian friend whose only offer to help anyone ever is to “pray for them”? Doesn’t it drive you nuts? I’m not even commenting on whether or not prayer works; it doesn’t change the fact that they chose the one type of help that doesn’t require them to get off the sofa. They abstain from every vice, they think clean thoughts, their internal dirt is as pure as can be, but what fruit grows from it? And they should know this better than anybody — I stole the fruit metaphor from the Bible. Jesus said something to the effect of “a tree is judged by its fruit” over and over and over. Granted, Jesus never said, “If you want to work here, close.” No, he said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

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“And then a buffalo will stare stupidly into your soul while slowly chewing grass and softly farting.”

The people didn’t react well to being told that, just as the salesmen didn’t react well to Alec Baldwin telling them that they needed to grow some balls or resign themselves to shining his shoes. Which brings us to the final point …

#1. Everything Inside You Will Fight Improvement

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The human mind is a miracle, and you will never see it spring more beautifully into action than when it is fighting against evidence that it needs to change. Your psyche is equipped with layer after layer of defense mechanisms designed to shoot down anything that might keep things from staying exactly where they are — ask any addict.

So even now, some of you reading this are feeling your brain bombard you with knee-jerk reasons to reject it. From experience, I can say that these seem to come in the form of …

*Intentionally Interpreting Any Criticism as an Insult

“Who is he to call me lazy and worthless! A good person would never talk to me like this! He wrote this whole thing just to feel superior to me and to make me feel bad about my life! I’m going to think up my own insult to even the score!”

*Focusing on the Messenger to Avoid Hearing the Message

“Who is THIS guy to tell ME how to live? Oh, like he’s so high and mighty! It’s just some dumb writer on the Internet! I’m going to go dig up something on him that reassures me that he’s stupid, and that everything he’s saying is stupid! This guy is so pretentious, it makes me puke! I watched his old rap video on YouTube and thought his rhymes sucked!

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“When you get to where I am in life, you feel free to give me advice! Until then, you’re nothing but meat and guesses.”

*Focusing on the Tone to Avoid Hearing the Content

“I’m going to dig through here until I find a joke that is offensive when taken out of context, and then talk and think only about that! I’ve heard that a single offensive word can render an entire book invisible!”

*Revising Your Own History

“Things aren’t so bad! I know that I was threatening suicide last month, but I’m feeling better now! It’s entirely possible that if I just keep doing exactly what I’m doing, eventually things will work out! I’ll get my big break, and if I keep doing favors for that pretty girl, eventually she’ll come around!”

*Pretending That Any Self-Improvement Would Somehow Be Selling Out Your True Self

“Oh, so I guess I’m supposed to get rid of all of my manga and instead go to the gym for six hours a day and get a spray tan like those Jersey Shore douchebags? Because THAT IS THE ONLY OTHER OPTION.”

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“Way to leave ‘the hood’ behind, asshole. New house or not, you’ll always be white trash!”

And so on. Remember, misery is comfortable. It’s why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.

Also, courage. It’s incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don’t create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created.

It’s so much easier to just sit back and criticize other people’s creations. This movie is stupid. That couple’s kids are brats. That other couple’s relationship is a mess. That rich guy is shallow. This restaurant sucks. This Internet writer is an asshole. I’d better leave a mean comment demanding that the website fire him. See, I created something.

Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that part? Yeah, whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they’ll do it. Your drunk friends do not want you to get sober. Your fat friends do not want you to start a fitness regimen. Your jobless friends do not want to see you embark on a career.

Just remember, they’re only expressing their own fear, since trashing other people’s work is another excuse to do nothing. “Why should I create anything when the things other people create suck? I would totally have written a novel by now, but I’m going to wait for something good, I don’t want to write the next Twilight!” As long as they never produce anything, it will forever be perfect and beyond reproach. Or if they do produce something, they’ll make sure they do it with detached irony. They’ll make it intentionally bad to make it clear to everyone else that this isn’t their real effort. Their real effort would have been amazing. Not like the shit you made.

Read our article comments — when they get nasty, it’s always from the same angle: Cracked needs to fire this columnist. This asshole needs to stop writing. Don’t make any more videos. It always boils down to “Stop creating. This is different from what I would have made, and the attention you’re getting is making me feel bad about myself.”

Don’t be that person. If you are that person, don’t be that person any more. This is what’s making people hate you. This is what’s making you hate yourself.

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What are you going to do with it? Hunt witches or kick off the Olympics?

So how about this: one year. The end of 2013, that’s our deadline. Or a year from whenever you read this. While other people are telling you “Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!” I’m going to say let’s pledge to do fucking anything — add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don’t ask me what — hell, pick something at random if you don’t know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a porno. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Start a YouTube vlog. Write for Cracked.

But the key is, I don’t want you to focus on something great that you’re going to make happen to you (“I’m going to find a girlfriend, I’m going to make lots of money …”). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people.

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“Holy shit, by learning Spanish, I just gained the ability to speak to 400 million people I previously couldn’t.”

“I don’t have the money to take a cooking class.” Then fucking Google “how to cook.” They’ve even filtered out the porn now, it’s easier than ever. Damn it, you have to kill those excuses. Or they will kill you.

If you want to make note of your project in the forum thread or the comments and check in this time next year, knock yourself out. I’ll be curious to see if even one person actually does this, but if so we’ll look back, not just on whether or not we actually followed through, but why. You have nothing to lose, and the world needs you.

 

Our winter ascent of Mt Bierstadt

2 Jan

Woke up at 530am. On the road at 615am. Threw some Explosions In The Sky on while driving west out of Denver

 

We finally get up into Aprapaho Natl Forest around 8am

The road was closed so we didn’t get to drive to the trailhead. We strapped on snow shoes and had to hike 1.5 miles of switchback mountain road just to get on the trail. Notice the road sign behind me.

To cut a few switchbacks out we set off straight up a few hills. Here’s looking down one of them that w came up.

That peak way back there is where we were headed.

On the way we passed through the highest elevation marsh in CO

 

 

As we got higher the snow shoes had to come off and the cleats went on

We came from below that tree line on the lower right

Sawtooth Ridge in the background

We didn’t actually go all the way up. Because of the extra 1.5 mile run-up we were behind schedule. If we peaked then we’d be coming down by headlamp. With no competition and nothing to prove we turned around just above 13,000ft and went to a bar

Oh and here’s what it looks like when someone goes from 600′ (TX) to 13,000′ overnight.

Anyway this was the motivation. It’s amazing what a guy will do for a beer.

 

 

Other misc pics

Make it happen.

26 Jul

http://semi-rad.com/2012/06/the-importance-of-big-dreams/
 
 
I love this piece by Brendan over at Semi-Rad
If you don’t follow him, well, get your shit together.
 
 
For the past seven months I’ve been dwelling on something and thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it some more. I hadn’t really told anyone because I knew it would take some prep and not be a “next weekend” thing, and I don’t want to be the guy who talks a big game then never follows through. But after I read this back in June I knew I had to just make it happen. So I told my wife my plan, which she totally supports, and put the wheels in motion.
 
Now I’m starting the plan for my thru-hike of the John Muir Trail, with hopes of completing it in two weeks.
 
 
I’d like to think this kid’s book had something to do with me making it happen.
 
 
 
 
06.21.2012

The Importance Of Big Dreams

 
 


I have a copy of this children’s book that I take everywhere I go.
It’s called An Awesome Book, and everyone I know who’s had a baby in the past six months owns a copy, because I bought one for them. It’s a kids’ book, but I think the message is for adults too.

I like it because it reminds me that I don’t need things, but I need dreams, goals, things I decided I wanted to do one day when I was looking out a window somewhere scratching my chin and thinking about what my life should look like. And Dallas Clayton draws incredible unicorns and dinosaurs and bears.

My favorite passage in the book is this:

There are places in the world where people dream up dreams

so simply un-fantastical and practical they seem

to lose all possibility of thinking super things

of dancing wild animals with diamond-coated wings

instead they dream of furniture

of buying a new hat

of owning matching silverware

can you imagine that?

I like to buy books for my friends’ children because I think stories are more meaningful than toys, and more memorable. And that goes for adults, too, although sometimes we forget it because we make our lives so hectic.

If you do anything at all in the outdoors, somewhere in your mind is the capacity to dream big, or envision yourself doing something amazing. You want to ride Slickrock, climb El Cap or Mount Rainier, run the NYC Marathon or the Western States 100, or do a raft trip in the Grand Canyon. Maybe you just want to be a climber, or a skier, or a mountain biker. Or marry a beautiful girl, or see the Eiffel Tower, or write a book.

But we get busy. Too busy scrolling our phone screens, watching TV, catching up with all the mundane shit in life and we forget about our dreams. We say things like “I don’t have time,” and when we get frustrated that we don’t have enough time, we assuage that feeling of impotence by buying shit we don’t need, which we think will make us feel better. Granite countertops, leather sofas, sometimes skis, climbing gear or bikes we never use. Maybe that’s because we’re scared of whatever it is we’ve been thinking about for so long, or maybe it’s easier to buy something instead of doing something. Or maybe something we saw told us our dream was something different, and we bought into that.

A few months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and she told me she had always dreamed of going to Hawaii for her tenth wedding anniversary. I asked Are you going, and she said Well, we don’t know, for a number of reasons—a new house, some stress and financial things with a new business, et cetera. I said I think you gotta put that shit on a credit card if you can and go to Hawaii this year. We go into debt for tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most mundane things—houses, cars, sometimes furniture, sprinkler systems—but most of us have a hard time sliding our credit card or taking money out of a savings account to pay for what could be the experience of a lifetime.

If you start a sentence off with, “I’ve always wanted to …”, you either

  1. aren’t going to do it, which means it’s not really your dream, or
  2. just haven’t done it yet.

Procrastinating, putting it off is fine as long as you’re 100 percent sure that you’re not going to die in the next year. Because you’re going to die someday, and if you’re honest with yourself, you will admit that you never once as a kid said to anyone, When I grow up I want matching drapes, or a riding lawnmower that mulches too or a cozy living room. You wanted to be a cowboy or a polar explorer or Amelia Earhart.

The Beginning of a Long Journey… a looong 500,000 step journey.

17 Jul

Of all the travelling and random shit I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to do, I firmly believe the seed for this one was planted years and years ago.

 

 

“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mysteries, its melancholy and its charms.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

 

 

I suppose it all started the first time I went for a hike in Rocky Mtn Natl Park. I have always loved being outdoors and if I had my choice I would spend every bit of free time in the American West. From the vacations in NW CO growing up to the more frequent and recent trips to the FoCo area, Lake Tahoe, etc, I just can’t get enough. My wife tells people, only semi-jokingly, that she is the socialite and I could be content the rest of my life staring at a tree with a book in my hands.

 

 

So I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall when I found a copy of The Wilderness World of John Muir; a selection of entries from his personal journeys.

As a conservationist, John Muir traveled through most of the American wilderness alone and on foot, without a gun or a sleeping bag. In 1903, while on a three-day camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt, he convinced the president of the importance of a national conservation program, and he is widely recognized for saving the Grand Canyon and Arizona’s Petrified Forest. Muir’s writing, based on journals he kept throughout his life, gives our generation a picture of an America still wild and unsettled only one hundred years ago. In The Wildernesss World of John Muir Edwin Way Teale has selected the best of Muir’s writing from all of his major works—including My First Summer in the Sierra and Travels in Alaska—to provide a singular collection that provides to be “magnificent, thrilling, exciting, breathtaking, and awe-inspiring”

 

My job affords me the opportunity to travel. A lot. I have enough airline points to fly basically free in the US. I fly enough that my wife has a pass that gets her a free seat on any flight I’m on. I have seen some really awesome places in my years here and we have a long list of places we still want to see. All of this travelling, combined with my love of the mountains instilled by my parents has given me a bit of wanderlust.

Seven months ago I had a thought: “I want to do something memorable. Something big… something that most people only talk about doing while sitting around being lazy but never pull the trigger on. I want a fucking EXPERIENCE.”

 

 

“Anything that puts a sense of the miraculous in you… we should appreciate the fact that we’re alive. Anything that makes you feel alive is good.”

– Ray Bradbury

 

 

So here it is. The John Muir Trail.

The hike begins at the Happy Isles trailhead in Yosemite Valley.

 


 

It wanders generally SSE for 211 miles, passes through Yosemite Natl Park, The Ansel Adams Wilderess, The John Muir Wilderness, Kings Canyon Natl Park and Sequoia Natl Park.

 



 

and ends at the 14,505 ft summit of Mt Whitney

 



 

USGS has calculated an elevation gain of approximately 46,000 ft and and a loss of 38,000 ft when travelled north to south.

 



 

The official length of the JMT, as stated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is 211 miles (340 km). From its northern terminus in Yosemite Valley, the trail runs northeast, passing south of Half Dome and then on to Tuolumne Meadows. From Tuolumne Meadows the trail turns south, running parallel to the main range of the Sierra Nevada, through Yosemite National Park, Inyo and Sierra national forests (including the John Muir Wilderness and Ansel Adams Wilderness), passing through Devils Postpile National Monument, Kings Canyon National Park, and ending on Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.[2] From the southern terminus of the JMT at the summit of Mount Whitney, an additional 11-mile (18 km) hike on the Mount Whitney Trail is required to reach the nearest trailhead at Whitney Portal, thus making an end-to-end traverse of the trail effectively 220 miles (350 km).[3]

 

There will be lots of this:

 

But that’s ok, because that means there will also be lots of THIS:

 

 

Starting near 4000 feet and ending at the summit of Mt Whitney, it will be a good long trek. Nearly the entire trail is over 8,000 ft so for a guy from TX the first couple days probably won’t be that great. With that in mind I am giving myself a bit to prep for this. I’m halfway through my 28th year now. I plan to complete the hike, in one shot, as soon as possible after my 30th birthday (but in ideal conditions, not in January). This means that if all goes to plan it will be September 2014. In the mean time I have a lot of conditioning to do… it’s been a while since the peak of my cycling days. With an effective length of 220 miles I’ll need to cover 11 miles/day to get out in three weeks. It sounds easy, and I would love to complete it in two weeks (15-16 mi/day), but shit happens.

And though I’ve told two or three people about this plan (with a loose invite) over the past 7 months, I’m also thinking about doing it solo.

Thoreau on foot, if you will.

My wife, who is an incredibly supportive person has actually encouraged this, and even had another great idea. I’m a bit of a nerd [understatement], I love to read, and research is fun to me, so I might try to write a book after all of this. Part journey, part history lesson, part wilderness education. I figure I can channel a bit of T. Roosevelt and a bit of Muir and come up with something at least semi worthy of reading.

Also, her first book is being printed right now… so maybe I just don’t want to be the only one in the house (other than the dogs) without my own ISBN number.

Anyway, this is all pretty pointless at the moment, but I might pop in with some gear or training updates now and then. I have some wilderness medical training (NOLS), but I’ll need to brush up on my orienteering… I’ll be spending time/money on new gear (lightweight, obv)… It should be a fucking fun time. Also, I’m really bored in an airport waiting for a long delayed flight to bring me home. Any other day I probably wouldn’t have typed this for you people.

 

 

tl;dr
I’m gonna walk a lot. There will be trees. Maybe bears. Fuck bears.

 

 

Anyway, with all of that in mind, I’m off to form a plan. All updates will be tagged “John Muir Trail”

The Fundamentals of Small Arms

23 Apr

I did my CHL requalifying test this weekend so guns are on my mind…

As I was doing my range test one instructor, who is an Army soldier just back from Afghanistan, leaned over my shoulder and said, “Damn, guy… seriously?”

The other instructor who is former Air Force Security Forces, did private security and is now a police officer asked where I learned to shoot and why I don’t shoot competitively 😀 I was only the 7th perfect score he’d had in any of his classes.

I was kinda proud…

 

50 shots (ranges 3, 7, 15 yards at varying time intervals), 250/250 pts.

 

 

 

Anyway, since it’s on my mind here’s a good set of videos from the Army Pictorial Service.

 

 

 

 

 

Watson is growing

13 Mar

5 months next week… he’s getting big!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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