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We Had a Good Run

Posted on 2009.01.16 at 12:35

But in the end, you became irrelevant and you made my blog look like garbage. Goodbye LiveJournal.

The new 81trucolors!!!

So... who's comin with me?

Dear Westminster. Although we've had a somewhat tenuous relationship these past 3.5 years, you've stuck by me and I've done my best for you. You offered cheap land and a huge house.  I supported the Whole Foods oasis in the concrete desert of Walmart parking lots and crappy restaurants.

I will miss your ridiculous dolphin fountain, your obvious speed traps, your Mexican restaurant staffed entirely by Asians (in a hispanic neighborhood no less), and your penchant for letting people break into my car. I'll miss The Dude who lives across from me, who always tells me that I'm doing everything wrong and who then shows me the sores on his arm.

To you, I entrust my house. This is really all I own. Please be good to it.

What's up South Boulderrrrrrr??????!!

You know me well! I've shopped your grocery stores, TP'ed your neighborhoods, and hiked your trails. I am so so very happy to be back.

SOBO fo sho!


What I'm Listening To

Posted on 2009.01.04 at 00:27

Being on holiday, as the English say, has allowed a return to nocturnal Truman, the very sedentary creature rarely found without headphones and something Kentuckian to sip on.

The midnight hours are ones with few distractions. Here, with the world asleep, your guard begins to drop. Perhaps you treat yourself to an easy chair, a soft pair of pajamas, or candlelight that plays across the wall. With that in mind, here are three songs perfect for the night time, whether you're getting to know someone a little bit better or just burning the oil exploring wikipedia after hours.

Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul - YouTube

Although the song is slightly tinny for my taste, it has everything else. One of the absolutely crucial elements to a good night time song is the backbeat. This one's perfect. It's a low rolling snare, which keeps the listener awake, but in a mood that allows for a great deal of outside influence. Throw in Cee-Lo Green's plaintive lyrics and you'll be up long into the night, no matter what you're doing.

Portishead - Mysterons -  YouTube

With its haunting vocals and text book "trip hop" feel, Mysterons is vintage Portishead.  Surprisingly though, the song manages to remain one of their more underrated pieces, perhaps because it never builds enough to attract the mind's eye. At night though, you don't want the music to be overpowering. Slow opening chords and a beat that's quite similar to the aforementioned 'Soul' allow Mysterons to run the range of night moods: chill, sensual, even sad.

Ratatat - Wildcat - YouTube

Aside from being an absolutely awesome song, Wildcat is one of those rare offerings that can be, like T.I. says, "whatever you like." It's more upbeat than the last two but they can't all be slow and low at night or you'll just fall asleep. Part Manheim Steamroller, part Stiffler's Mom, Wildcat has the energy to keep you up but its ephemeral undertones don't allow you to go too far.


bad stories often begin this way

Posted on 2009.01.02 at 11:52

so after I'd been drinking a lot of good whiskey, someone brought out a bottle of Absinthe...


I lost my phone last night

Posted on 2009.01.02 at 00:26
so if you need to reach me, try email or carrier pigeon. Or you could always leave a comment...



Posted on 2008.12.26 at 16:01

I have a very wonderful family. I know this because they are always thinking about my well being. My Aunt Jo Lynne just gave me this soap for Christmas. It is handmade Patchouli scented soap from the Knoxville Soap Factory.

Now before you say, "Ew! Patchouli is for hippies," let me just quote a little off the back of this box:

"Patchouli reportedly combats acne, psoriasis, sunburn, skin allergies, eczema, dermatitis, fights athletes foot, jock itch, fungal infections, speeds the healing of wounds, controls perspiration and is a natural insect repellent. Patchouli oil diminishes depression and eases anxiety. It sharpens intelligence, improving concentration and provides insight. It is a stabilizing oil with aphrodisiac attributes."

WOW! What doesn't this soap do? This is truly amazing. I clearly have not used it yet but I'm expecting to emerge from the shower smarter, more insightful, less anxious and depressed, less sweaty jock-itchy, and buggy, and in a more concentrated form. 

Also, while the box itself doesn't say this, the soap's website assures people that my scent will remind them of the 60's. Lastly, I'm not sure which attributes of the oil are aphrodisiac but knowing that it has them, I'm expecting the oil to get increasingly horny. Stay tuned...


Fun at Janet's

Posted on 2008.12.23 at 23:28

photo Brian Miller

Although the hike up to Janet's Cabin proved to be vastly tougher than expected for all involved, the remaining two days were absolutely lovely.

photo: Molly Dougherty

After a great stir fry dinner, Matt took a guitar off the wall and began singing with Jess and Brian.

Soon everyone joined in. We sang every song we could remember.

The next morning we lounged, read, and lounged more. Although i didn't hike with Walker much, it was great to hang out with him for longer than the random hour or two that we'd been getting.

photo Brian Miller

Eventually some of us went to play in the snow. Matt, Molly, Brian, and I climbed a small ridge behind the cabin. 

photo: Molly Dougherty

The boys brought skis; Molly brought a griddle.

We skied up through a ground blizzard, hiked another ridge, and then carved our way back down!

That afternoon, Walker stoked the wood fired sauna and we packed all seven inside.


photo: Molly Dougherty

Then we got out.

The hike down valley was much easier and much more fun. We knew what to expect and how to use our gear. Molly figured out how to ski and we all remembered to eat and stay hydrated. Before we knew it, we were back at Copper. Good crew, good times.


Coming soon to a blog near you...

Posted on 2008.12.23 at 22:24

Janet's Cabin: The fun chillaxing part

all my photos here.

About 5 weeks ago, I accepted Matt and Jess's invitation to head up to Janet's Cabin for three days and two nights of winter wonderland. The timing looked to be a bit tight, but doable. We'd leave early in the morning after my last final in night school. This trip would be coming on the heels of my first successful winter ascent and I couldn't wait to get back into Colorado's backcountry. At the time, I had no idea this "moderate hike" would prove to be one of the most challenging and most emotional trips of my adult life.

As Thursday approached, I prayed for snow and then got caught up in finals, finishing my last one at 9:30 pm on Wednesday night. I should have gone straight home and packed immediately but I stopped by Harpo's for a drink or two with classmates and then Old C's for one more with close friends. A trip to the gear warehouse of Mom and Dad and a last minute midnight run for groceries before back to Westminster for an hour of work. I crawled into bed at 1:45a.m. and then back out at 5:45a.m. to pack.

photo Brian Miller

The forecast called for high winds and deep snows. After a quick breakfast and a morning fraught with delay after delay, the group finally got to Copper Mountain only to find that the lift we needed wasn't running. Our 11am start was the latest I have ever begun a serious hike, and before we'd even left Copper, I'd already snapped at the group to hurry up. Fortunately for us, a few awesome employees ferried us up the slopes on snowmobiles, eventually dropping us off along the Colorado Trail where we began the climb:  5.5 miles and 1,800 vertical feet up to Janet's Cabin, a massive 3,000 square foot cabin perched on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide. In getting such a late start, we completely disregarded the 10th Mountain Division Hut website, which advises would-be climbers to "estimate one mile per hour and an additional hour for every thousand feet of vertical gain."  According to them, it should have taken us nearly 7.5 hours to get to the cabin.

The late start proved to be only the first of many challenges our inexperienced group faced. The next was unfamiliarity with gear. Of the seven people in our group, only one of us brought our own gear. The other six, myself included, cobbled together a hodgepodge of borrowed or rented skis and snowshoes.

Large snowflakes began to fall as we headed down the trail. Molly, one of the girls on the trip, struggled right from the start. She had never been on skis of any kind before, and had elected to borrow someone's very skinny cross country skis. She gutted it out but she moved at a snails pace and fell a lot. I had trouble with my rig too. A few hours before my Wednesday final, I'd rented AT Touring skis and skins from Neptune Mountaineering, and had nodded my way through an explanation of how to use the unique bindings. On the trail though, I kept stepping out of my bindings and plunging into at times waist deep snow. Annoyed and worried about the late start, I shuffled along, putting as little torque as possible on the front clasps.

As we made our way up this valley, the temperature dropped into the teens, the headwind more than doubled, and huge snowflakes turned daylight to white out. We were able to follow the well marked trail but couldn't see much else. Matt and I decided to hike as quickly as possible to the cabin, drop our packs and come back for the group, which we had worked to outdistance.

I was tired but absolutely loving the gnarly weather! Head down, hood up, Matt and I climbed quickly, stopping only to gasp for air and grab handfuls of pepperoni, which I had shoved in my jacket. We had worked up a sweat and were losing a lot of moisture from our steamy breath but neither of us thought to drink from our water bottles, which were quickly freezing.

When we estimated that we were an hour from the cabin, Matt dropped his pack and headed back to help the group. I told him that I'd take my pack up to the cabin and then come back for his. Warm, but starting to feel poorly (I now realize from dehydration) I still managed to pass the last few members of another group before climbing the very steep last 1/4 mile up to the cabins. I set my pack down, took a quick swallow of slushy water, and headed down to get the other pack. Unbeknownst to me, I dropped one of the skins on the short descent.

photo Brian Miller

I headed back down the valley, stopping to encourage the rest of the group as I met them straggling up. Another girl had dropped her pack so someone else would be coming down as well. The group still had the steepest part of the climb ahead of them but I focused on how close distance-wise they were. Matt mentioned hot tea in his pack as I passed him but I misunderstood, thinking that he meant only that we'd brew some when we got to the cabin. He actually had a thermos full of hot tea sitting right in the top, which I never bothered to look for.

It took me a lot longer to reach Matt's pack than I had expected. The loss of a skin coincided with me having increased difficulty staying in my bindings. As I shouldered Matt's pack, I started to feel dizzy. I reached for his water but found both bottles frozen. The extra weight of Matt's pack and my increased clumsiness meant that I began stepping out of my ski about once every ten steps. Each time this happened, the pack would drive my leg deep into the soft snow. I'd then balance carefully on my one remaining ski and do a one-legged press (pack and all) to get my foot back above snow. Then I'd balance a while until I could get the binding back on, take another ten steps, and repeat.

At this point, I realized that attempting to cross-country ski for the first time up 8.5 miles all above 10,000 feet with no water and on four hours of sleep might have been a bit ambitious. All this coupled with the "malfunctioning gear" made me incredibly tired. Every time I slipped out of the binding and plunged again into the snow, I'd think about how easy it would be to take my pack off and go to sleep in the snow.

Night began to fall. I tried setting 30 foot goals for myself but repeatedly failed to travel even 15. I passed Molly's pack in the snow and excitedly looked for water but found only an empty bottle. Slumped over, head on my poles, I felt frustrated, exhausted, nauseous, and woozy. I began singing to myself, making up lyrics to urge me forward. I told myself repeatedly aloud, "I'm being tested. I'm being tested..." When that failed, I started screaming and shouting expletives as loud as I could. I  cursed my decision to try cross country skis. Finally I took the pack off and laid down under some tall pines.

But as I lay there panting, I knew there was absolutely no chance of me failing. I knew I was close to the cabin and that as a last resort, I could ditch the skis and the pack and climb the last half mile unencumbered.

I'd come so far and I wanted very badly to finish. If I didn't carry the pack up, someone else would have to. I gave myself two minutes and then began again. As I peered into the twilight, I saw two people approaching! Matt and Brian had come back for Molly's pack. They brought my other skin and a bottle of warm water. I chugged the bottle and rested while they put my skin back on. The water helped clear my thoughts. For the first time, I wondered if my ski issues might be attributable to user error. I started pulling on the bindings and SNAP!, a lever locked into place. OMFG, Are you serious?? I just hiked seven freaking miles without locking my bindings in?!  But as I kicked myself, I realized that now I'd be able to go much faster. The water helped immensely. I still struggled, but the nausea and light-headedness dissipated. Relative to my earlier pace, I fairly flew up the rest of the way. 25 minutes later, more tired than I can truly ever remember being, I opened the door to the cabin, sat down, and started crying.


What I'm Listening To:

Posted on 2008.12.23 at 12:09

New WILT format announcement:

Instead of putting some boring sentence in front of the three songs, I'll now be providing a little commentary on why these three make the cut. Ahem.

To kick it off, these songs feature three ladies proudly carrying the soul torch forward. Back in the day, Britney, Christina, and other "artists" had a leg up on legitimate soulstresses because they had access to massive production and video budgets. In the past few years, however, the interwebs have allowed more musicians to claim some spotlight.

Janelle Monae - Sincerely, Jane - YouTube

If you swing dance or if you are one of the six people (all dancers) who paid money to see Outcast's box office flop Idlewild then you are already familiar with Janelle Monae from the song Call The Law (NSFW). Just like Monae herself, Sincerely, Jane  is a little overly dramatic, a little deep space, a little Harlem high school musical, and a little crazy. But it's all soul and all awesome. What a voice! this song makes me think that the Quantum of Solace music director should have looked to Mrs. Monae instead of a slightly weak sounding Alicia Keys for the new Bond song.

Jazmine Sullivan - My Foolish Heart - YouTube

A steady driving backbeat and occasional Jimmy Hendrix-esqe guitar rifs compliment powdery but powerful vocals. An 08' I Will Survive, this song sounds like a lost Queen Latifah track. Nothing complex (although IMO it's hard to make down upbeat) but if you find yourself jilted, bitter, or you just need a new artist to complement your Nina Simone playlist, try Jaz.

Adele - Make You Feel My Love - YouTube

Adele proves that you don't need to be British AND abuse hard drugs to turn out good soul. Being British will suffice. Adele's soft cover of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love gives me goosebumps. There's also a Remot remix out there which adds some drums and base to her already great song.

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