24 August 2006


I am excited to say that I have very nearly finished writing and posting the story about my trip to Europe on my other blog website. In the four months since my trip I had every intention of writing a piece concerning the trip and all that happened. Unfortunately, I think the whole experience was a little overwhelming and I had trouble getting anything started. I didn't want to just talk about myself, didn't want to bore the reader with mundane details and was leary of conjuring up some story that had little to do with the myriad of experiences I had in Europe.

Four months worth of stopped up creativity finally broke the damn a few nights ago I wrote a piece that I actually liked. It flowed well and was written, as usual, as a stream of consciousness. From that initial start I was able to leap frog and create more, covering the topics I wanted to cover in enough detail to keep things interesting without getting bogged down in the minute boredom I had feared. When things seemed sufficiently described I jumped timelines and shifted my focus to events well before or after what I had just written.

Tying these two timelines together never occurred much to me but I knew it was critical to keep from confusing the reader. Honestly, I'm not sure if I've pulled that off or not. Being as close as I am to the experience it is easy for me to think that I'm being clear about a series of events, when in fact no one has any idea what is happening.

At any rate, take a look over the next few days and I'll see about adding photos to the text enable to make things even more interesting. By all means give me some feedback, and most of all... enjoy.

21 August 2006


“Oh my gosh, he looks like Bruce Springsteen.”

Sure enough, our loud-mouthed, ego-driven entertainment had donned a white button down shirt to compliment his red bandana just before tying in for his next climb. Ever moved was joined by a chorus of instructions for his belayer, standing some distance below and answering only with what must have been extremely curtailed enthusiasm.

We weren’t very interested in watching Bruce climb, but his attire was certainly worth a brief glimpse when you needed a good laugh. This and we didn’t feel like watching him deck, due either to his own gross overabundance of confidence or the supreme negligence of his belayer.

Standing at the bottom of Seismic Wall for the first time I look up at a series of routes on the far right face. I am terrible at reading real rock, but I can tell that all of the routes look like they’ll be a lot of fun. Slabby with big jugs, a few ledges and plenty of options for footwork will make these an excellent means of getting back into the swing of outdoor climbing. The last few months of indoor training have been paying off and despite what the purist might say, the benefits of gym climbing are numerous when you live in a city that affords a climber with no natural cliffs.

Rock Gal leads the first few routes and sets up top rope anchors so that I can ascend and clean the routes. My confidence soars and before long I’m contemplating my first outdoor lead. Then Bruce arrives, complete with requests for pictures and a phone call to “Mark and tell him to bring his video camera!”

We break for lunch.

Upon returning from Thundercloud for a tasty, air conditioned lunch we approach the wall with a desire to enjoy the afternoon and explore some new climbs. It doesn’t take long for me to warm back up and attempt a new climb on lead. We clip the first bolt from the ground and I carefully make my ascent. I have planned a few moves but by and large this is going to be nothing more than a learning experience about what can work. The ascent goes well, if a little slick, until I make my way off the first ledge. I know what I want to grab, but I’m having a lot of trouble getting there. Standing on a pair of slippery nubbins I reach for, and actually grab, my intended target. Upon so doing I realize that I had not planned much to happen after this and found myself slipping off, tumbling downward as my feet hit but rope slack sends we reeling backward. My belayer, Rock Gal had done nothing wrong in anticipating my sticking the move and paying out slack, I simply slipped and the angle at which I fell was awkward enough to make things look quite silly. It was my first lead fall, but to me it was more of a lead stumble twirl and fall on your ass.

After getting up, laughing and thinking about what had happened, I set to work at making myself stick. My second try rang true and the little horn I’d been reaching for was suddenly much easier to reach. Not only that, but the desperate grasp for the adjoining sloper shelf probably looked quite intentional from the ground.
My first complete lead came on Sunday, my final climb before leaving Seismic in peace for the weekend. Over Easy was a 5.9 that started slabby and finished with a little roof and some hard to reach anchors. The movement felt natural and I was able to confidently ascend the rock face without any hiccups. The roof section provides a good bit of fun as it becomes necessary to try a little drop knee or cross over for a nicely shaped horn above and to the left of a rather large gob of limestone.

16 August 2006


I also got pulled over on Sunday for not having a front license plate. Front license plates are ugly, but I put it on anyway. He let me go with a warning. It was kind of a silly reason to get pulled over when I see people backing up on the highway because they missed their exit, speeding through school zones and using the emergency lane as a lane of traffic.

I don't understand why people can't look far enough ahead to see the sign reading EXIT ONLY in reference to their current lane of travel... all three of the GIANT overhead signed telling them that their lane is a forced exit. And all of the sudden they think, "Oh, where is this taking me?" and then either cut into traffic or simply drive up the break down lane kicking up dust, freaking people out and nearly causing accidents.

But you can only pull over what you see, I suppose, and my lack of a front plate was enough to do it. Oh well.

I still need to build that custom front grill for the car...

I've been busy

Or atleast that's the excuse I am going to use for now. I haven't been writing much lately and I'm chalking it up to a healthy amount of other activities. Now, if I could just remember what those were...

I've been contacted by a gentleman with a website. He is wondering if I would like to do some freelance gear reviews for the site. Sounds cool, sounds like fun. We'll see where that goes.

Today I contacted TXWerks, a group of guys that build mods for the Mini Cooper. They have scales for corner balancing. I wrote them an email proposing that if they allow me to corner weight my car, I'll write press pieces or a brochure for them.

Rock Gal and I are climbing in Austin this weekend on the Greenbelt. I'm stoked. We haven't touched real rock since Enchanted Rock many moons ago. The heat will suck, the climbing will be an adventure.

My shoulder is tweaked. Last night on a lime green taped route, with a nice overhang, I got myself in a pinch. I think I was mantling when I did it. It hurt last night so I iced it, this morning it wasn't bad. I'm going to swim on it after work and see how it feels. Press on regardless, I'm not missing Austin this weekend.

Not much else going on... I've been much more positive while climbing and have been able to keep my evenings in perspective. Last night started crappy. I couldn't hold on to anything, couldn't make moves happen for shit on the first climb. Then, something happened. I decided that I wanted to use it as a challenge and continue to learn. Push through a tough spot and still learn something about climbing, myself and how to make moves happen. It worked.

I got a drink of water and decided to just screw it. I wanted to climb, I was mentally going strong but I was feeling like ass. I drank some Accelerade. Rock Gal climbed and then I was up again. I flashed my next route and came don feeling good. We swapped back and forth and before you know it I'm on a harder route pulling some nice moves, thinking about my footwork and really making it happen.

I'm ready for this weekend and willing to try any route we find. Grades no longer concern me. Reaching the top no longer concerns me. Learning, getting stronger and progressing are the only things that matter now.

03 August 2006


This happened last night on my way home from work. The impact was so violent it made me duck in the car... I never left the lane but it scared me pretty good. There was a lawn mowing tractor thing in the median so I'm guessing it must have kicked up a rock. I was in the far right lane, but still... I don't know what else to say about it.