Thursday, September 28, 2006

Challenge Buttress

The rock was calling to us again.

On Wednesday, Justin and I picked up Maya from school then headed to Big Cottonwood Canyon where we met up with Curtis. It was 4 in the afternoon and the only people on Challenge Buttress were 3 ladies doing the climb that we had our eye on. So instead, we went to the west side of the buttress and tackled Hollow Man (5.9).

This climb has a couple of sections that bulge out and a couple of sections that are off-balance and tough for me! The first bulge (at about the third bolt) has always been my crux and ending point.

Justin was able to get past the bulge but was so spent that he only made it a move or two beyond.

This year has treated me well. I made it past the bulge (on the second attempt) then kept right on going. A couple of pauses on nice resting shelves to catch my breathe and shake out my arms.

My first attempt at the top nearly spent all my energy but there was no way I was giving up with only a move and a half left to finish the route. A few more moments of trying to get my heart rate back down. A lot more shaking of the hands and arms. Futile attempts to swallow saliva from my cotton filled mouth. I knew I only had enough energy for one more attempt.

I find my hand holds, spot my foot holds. Left foot up, right foot up, then lunge for the top with the left!

YES! Another 5.9 notched into my harness!

Maya had fun trying to climb (it was a bit scarce of good holds for her) and playing on the make-shift swing that Curtis made for her.

We timed our climbing excursion very well. As were finishing up, the wall started to get pretty busy with about 10 people climbing or waiting to climb.

Once we got off the 5.11 (Winky and Waxman) that Curtis worked out on (and Justin completed - although quite a bit off-route) there was another guy ready to jump on. And I do mean Jump! He flashed up the short 5.11 section like it was stairs then continued on to the upper 5.10d (unnamed). His belayer (and I use that term very loosely) was feeding out rope nearly as fast as she could in order to keep up with his rate of ascent.

That was quite a humbling moment. It is amazing to watch others who are so much better than you are. I struggle, sweat and pant as I barely complete my climb while this guy make his (which is SIX levels more difficult) look like a walk in the park. I don't think I will ever get to that level but I am pretty happy with the progress I have made.

Another great day on the rock.

Here are a few more pictures that Curtis and Justin took.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fall in SLC

The leaves are really starting to change here on the benches of the Salt Lake valley.

Isn't autumn one of the best seasons of the year!

I love the incredible changing colors and cool weather.

Here are a few more pictures.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Drive-In Movie

On Friday, we had another successful Elder's Quorum Activity. The kids (with the help of their parents) created amazing 'cars' out of cardboard boxes and 'drove' them to our 'Drive-In Movie Theatre' at the church.

We setup a projector and my stereo in the Cultural Hall of the church. We dragged in the couches from the foyers and enjoyed 'The Incredibles' on the big screen (aka - a big white sheet pinned to the wall).

The kids had a blast even though they probably have no idea what a drive-in movie theater is.

Luckily, kids already know that boxes are wonderful toys. Adding some decorations, wheels, steering wheels, and sun-roofs creates an amazing similitude of cardboard box nirvana.

Watching a movie while sitting in a box has an intrinsic value that is hard to top. Add on the allure of popcorn and candy and the evening was destined to enter into the books as one of the great activities in recent memory.

And I'm pretty sure the parents had a lot of fun too!

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Wish List Item

The Ultimate Price

So it seems that my body is paying the price for playing Glow-in-the-Dark Ultimate Frisbee.

The list of minor injuries just keeps getting longer and longer.

This is the third injury (in as many games) to my big toe.

The nail will be falling off soon!

Am I getting too old for this?


But my recovery time is getting longer and longer!

Virginia Sunset

Here are few shots of the Sunset that I took this week.

Unfortunately I missed the actual setting sun but I thought the colors were pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ahoy Me Fellow Bilge Rats!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day

Here are a few little known pirate facts about this land lubber:

My pirate name is:

Dirty Harry Rackham

You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

You are Ol' Chummy

You look old for your age. Hygiene is just that thing that happens to other Pirates. You like what you like. Taking a cannonball to the head in your younger days hasn't helped. Not one to take risks, you enjoy quiet evenings on your bunk. You're a collector. You like things. Not, "nice" things- just things. Some people think of you as a blight on humanity - a carbuncle on the alabaster skin of man. You think of yourself as a swell guy with lots of friend - just the one, but lots of him. If you weren't a pirate, but rather lived in the 21st Century, you would be the kind of guy who has played a computer game for four days without thinking of showering and living solely on Mountain Dew and Cool Ranch Doritos. What you lack in physical attractiveness you more than make up for in interesting skin conditions. What's the upside of all of this? With the Captain's lifestyle, you are likely to be running the ship in a week or two. Ahead! Warp Factor ONE!

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site.


2007 Federal Budget Graph

Have you seen this graphical representation of next year's Federal budget? I found it pretty intersting to see where my Federal Income Taxes are being spent.

Check out all the details on the Death and Taxes website.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Welcome Home Al

The only pictures I took this last weekend were of Al.

Al, is Jill's new snuggle buddy.

Jill's old teddy bear is starting to show his age and is feeling the need to pass on his wisdom to the next generation.

On Saturday, Jill and I brought home Al from the Build-a-Bear Workshop with his birth certificate in hand.

Al prefers to exist au naturel with only the accessories of a ribbon and a cap.

What a free spirit!

Hopefully Al will not mind if I sneak in a snuggle once in awhile too.

Photo Op

Photo Opptunities could be classified as moments that were incredible, unrepeatable and amazingly captured to relive the moments. Sometimes those moments really should not be revisted but that's a different issue.

Then there are opportunities that were missed forever and will only exist in our short memories. Sometimes were can retain those memories for a long time but it just is never the same as having a picture.

My fascination with photography has been increasingly stronger as the years go by. I'm not really sure why. Maybe I just enjoy capturing beautiful moments. Or myabe I enjoy people's reactions when they see the pictures. Maybe it is my way of documenting and journaling (along with this blog) my life. Or maybe I'm just realizing that I'm getting old and my memory is failing.

Most of my blog posts revolve around pictures. I would much rather show you what I did than describe my activities. Somehow (in my mind at least) my boring weekend can almost seem exciting if I am able to share a picture or two. When I don't take any pictures I struggle to think of things to post about.

Although the last two weekends were two of the best weekends in recent memory, I have no exciting list of activities and no pictures to spice it up. They were not filled with adventures in exotic locations but were spent with someone with I seem to be getting increasingly fond of. Those moments just don't lend themselves to the camera the same way as the adventures. So you will just have to take my word for it, they were great weekends.

But if you really want the laundry list for the last two weekends here it is: Multiple dinners and games with friends in Baltimore, sealings and endowment sessions, shopping (window and actual), church meetings, dinner at the Erickson's for Nina's birthday, CES fireside, naps, studying, laundry, car repairs and work.

Ok, now for the Photo Ops. Here is one that is both missed (for me) and captured (for Cami). It also illustrates moments that should never have been caputured (of me) or from the other side of the lens - a moment that Absolutely HAD to be captured.

Remember our recent visit to Mt Vernon where I did not have my camera? Well my sister has posted pictures on her blog if you want to see them. There were some silly moments that she managed to capture...such as me skipping with Jill's purse and giving Matt a big hug. It's fun to be goofy but sometimes but it can be quite embarrassing to see it documented. Oh well. In the spirit of being able to laugh at myself, here they are on my blog too! She also has some of our day at Great Falls National Park and our day at the National Zoo.

Thanks Cami (I think!) for having your camera!

This weekend I had another moment when I wished I had my camera. We were walking through Canton Square in Baltimore on our way to dinner with friends. The sunset was incredible. The remnants of the storm clouds were clearing out. There were amazing colors in the sky. The buildings on the square and the church in the background created a great frame.

Describing it does not do it justice.

As much as I carry my cameras around, there are plenty of missed photo opportunities.

Hopefully I will be able to capture more than I miss.

And hopefully, someday, I will be able to transition from quantity to quality.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blog For Sale

My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Maya has officially started Kindergarten this week!

She is growing up way too fast!

Good luck Maya.

I'm excited for you.

I love you.

I miss you.

Tank Crash

There were a few casualities from this last weekend's tank move. On Monday morning we noticed that the snails were all at the top of the tank and the two fish were swimming at the top and breathing really fast. I checked the temperature and salinity and they seemed fine. We just thought maybe they were stressed from being moved. I also did a water change the night before and maybe that was contributing to the stress since it has been a couple of months since the last change. I didn't test any of the other parameters and figured I would just wait and see.

The first victim was the blue damsel which the crabs and bristle worms quickly took care of. On Tuesday morning I noticed that the bristle star and the 3 stripe damsel were not looking well. After work I found that the fish, starfish, most of the crabs and snails and a lot of bristle worms were now decomposing with little to no cleaner crew left in the tank. I netted the fish and starfish out of the tank then starting re-checking all of the parameters.

The temperature was showing over 90 degrees!

This poor tank got cooked...again!

I adjusted the heater controls then did another water change in hopes that it would help cool down the water. It looks like some of the coral will pull through, but my nice blue ricordia and some of the star polyps are not looking good at all. The orange plate coral is looking questionable. Hopefully there are still some crabs and snails alive in there too.

Frustrating...I should have seen the temperature rising sooner.
Hopefully that is all that was wrong.

But my room is looking much better now!

Next projects include computer and stereo wire management and re-arranging the closet . Then I'll tackle the bikes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Unique Zoo Finds

Here are few pictures of some of the unique things we found at the zoo.

More Zoo pictures.