Wednesday, December 22, 2004


i found this, and i like it a lot, and this "I prefer the solace of specificity, space and devotion, not of wishes, heat and crowds." in particular.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

new bike!

well, not really new, i have been collecting the bits for a while, but it's finally done. here's a picture.

those of you paying attention may have noticed that the bike is lacking a few things, like brakes and gears, that's because it's a track bike (although i do ride it on the street).

here's more information than you probably want about it:

frame late 70's lugged steel fuji track frame
wheels vintage high-flange campagnolo pista hubs laced to velocity aerohead rims, 4-cross pattern
cranks vintage 165mm sugino super mighty track cranks
bottom bracket sugino 75 superlap
pedals vintage campagnolo record pista pedals
stem sr 100mm road stem (will be replaced with a nitto negative-drop track stem at some point)
bars nitto b123 cro-moly 38cm track bars

speaking of bikes, i have a problem (let me qualify that a little, some people might think i have a problem). i have a lot of bikes. five and a half to be exact.

but let me explain:

bike #1 is my road bike, a 2003 masi,

bike #2 is my old road bike, an early 90's dave scott centurion which i rebuilt as a winter/rain bike. it's sort of become n.'s bike because i'm trying to turn her into a crazy bike person.

#3 is my fixed-gear around-town bike, which i built uding the frame from my first-ever 'real bike', which i bought from performance bicycles back in the mid 80's.

#4 is the track bike.

#5 is a 1974 raleigh grand prix which i bought to convert to a fixed-gear, but it turned out to be too big so i'm going to sell it.

and the half-bike is an early 70's gitane frame that i got to convert to a fixed gear instead of the raleigh (i should note that if i ever build another fixie i'll sell the performance frame).

see? all perfectly reasonable and not-crazy.

Friday, December 17, 2004

never trust a personal trainer

i should know, as of this week i am one.

brief recap: about a year ago i signed up for an outdoor, early morning, core-strength 'boot camp' thingy; one of those 'get-up-early-run-around-outside-and-do-lots-of-exercise things. it sounded like fun, and because i'm a freak it was fun. after i'd been doing the class for while the folks who were running it asked me if i wanted to teach it, and i said sure. i figured since i was doing it anyway i might as well get paid for it, plus, if i was teaching it would be harder for me to slack off.

since i had never done anything like this they sensibly, suggested that i get some training, and to that end i went to sacramento for two days on a weekend to take a class from a woman who runs an outfit called 'outdoor action fitness'. other than the unfortunate acronym, the instructor's predictable blond ponytail, and somewhat creepily over-worked-out other people in the class it was fine. none of the information was especially earthshaking, but a lot of it was good, and she brought up a few things i wouldn't have thought of on my own.

most of the other people in the class were certified trainers of one kind or another, and after talking to a few of them it seemed like it would be a good idea if i got some kind of certification too; it would allow me to work for other organizations if i wanted to (most of which require some type of certification) and to get insurance if i ever decided to go into business for myself.

after some looking around i decided to try to get my a.c.e certification; it's pretty widely accepted, and they offered tests in my area every three months or so. so is sent them a bunch of money so they’d let me take the test, bought their textbook, and started thinking about studying.

and that's what i did, i thought about studying. i probably thought about it at least once a week. i think i actually opened the book twice.

when the test day came i went running instead, and then sent them some more money so i could reschedule, promising myself that i'd study this time, especially since i had 3 months until the test.

this time i studied for at least 90 minutes. almost all of that studying was done while sitting in my car waiting for n. to feed her menagerie, or to run an errand, or while listening to the end of a particularly interesting npr story.

so i went and took the test with 2 hours of studying under my belt. and this week i found out i passed. it's a little worrying to me; i mean, i like to think i'm a pretty smart guy, but...2 hours?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

trad leader

i went to vegas on friday to go climbing for a few days and MAN was it
it good! we (j., m., jh., and i) flew out of oakland in the morning, and were out at the rock
by about 1:30, where we did some easy sport
stuff to get used to climbing outdoors again.

on friday evening we decided that we'd try a multi-pitch trad route the next day, and after a little research we decided on one called geronimo, which is a 4 pitch 5.6.

we set off from the car at about 7:00 the next morning, and, after getting lost only once, we arrived at the base of the climb around 8:15.
it looked great; low-angle, with huge, juggy holds heading up a nice deep crack. since it looked so good/easy/safe i offered to lead the first pitch, and after a quick refresher on anchors i was off on my first trad lead.

it was great; not too hard, plenty of places to place pro, and exciting without being pants-filling. before i knew it i was at the belay station, on a huge ledge with plenty of space to spread out, my first trad lead successfully behind me. woo hoo!

once i got set, i belayed jh. up, then j. led, followed by m., who cleaned the route.

j. led the second pitch, i led the third (although i got confused about where the top was and set up a belay station about 20 feet below the real top of the third pitch), and j. finished off the last (short) pitch which had an exciting start onto an airy, crimpy, (compared to the rest of the climb) face.

we had lunch on the top, and then started the process of getting down. 4 rappells each, and a couple of hours later we were on the ground, just as it was getting dark enough for headlamps.

sunday we did a bunch of single-pitch trad, and i scared the poop out of myself on a horrible, slippery, 5.5 dihedral.
m. and jh. were working on putting up a 5.4 to the right of it, and had all the gear, but i was freezing and wanted to climb something to get warm, so i grabbed a set of nuts and headed up. the first placement i found was about 30 feet up, and it seemed pretty tenuous, and the rest of the climb was worse; very few placements, slippery rock, and tiny holds. i desperately groveled my way up it, terrified out of my head, stopping at one point to talk to myself -- out loud -- in an attempt to calm myself down. i was glad to reach the anchor bolts.

dinner was at pin-kaow, the best thai food in las vegas, bar none, and then we headed to the airport to drop m. and jh. off.

monday morning j. and i headed out to the red rocks loop for more trad, where i led a single-pitch 5.5, and attempted to lead the first, short - 5.6 - pitch of a two-pitch climb. i got within about 8 feet of the anchors, and had to back off. i would have had to make two pure crack moves to get there, and i just don't have enough crack experience to feel safe on lead.
j. finished the route off, and we packed up. before we left we spent about 45 minutes bouldering, which was a ton of fun, and a great way to finish the trip off.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

florence margaret pewtherer
11/01/1916 - 12/04/2004

goodbye grandma, i'll miss you a lot.