Forever and ever!
Posted by bbbach 8 years ago
It's been ages since I've been on linkfilter and I come back and it's nice to see the friendly but depressed robot in the corner of my screen. Good to know that some things just don't change.  
 
I mean sure, Facebook is fun and it's what I always thought was most important for a webpage -- ever changing. But with more then 80 friends on it I find myself giving up on following any more then whatever Facebook thinks I should see before clicking the "See more" button.  
 
And Twitter -- oh how I have loved thee. I can follow all those insane bicyclists racing in the tour de france and, not owning a TV, find out the results of the stages right on my cell. But even Twitter, in all it's glory, becomes tedious with too many posts. I made the mistake of following a teenage co-worker for about a day. "Going to biology." "Bell rang, off to geometry" "Hmm what should I eat for lunch?" "Does the teacher really like this stuff?" "Bell rang" "Ran into Fred in the hallway, said hi" "Mom really annoys me sometimes" "Free period. Should study but will hang w so and friends"  
Like OMG someone just shoot me in the knees!  
 
But then I come back here and people post info that is good. Blog posts are interesting and honest. Links are -- well all over the board. And best of all is the little sense of community that exists.  
 
Ok -- I should go off to bed. Long day tomorrow.
A Christmas Show with the MProvz
Posted by bbbach 10 years ago
I finally have a huge appreciation for music directors who have to put on an entire show. So many things to do and so many little worries. Our a cappella group sang at the coffee shop I work at last night. The goal was to have around 1hr of music (it ended up being close to 1.5 hrs) and part of it was a christmas sing along. It all went as well as could be expected with only a few minor hiccups.  
 
A huge thanks to Grace for being that calm voice -- her confidence as I was trying to take care of all the small details was a huge help.  
And of course the rest of the group -- Bradley, thanks for running and getting your sound equipment! Maybe we'll have our own mic's next semester and a little more gear. Travis -- thanks for coming with a smile and for the awesome idea of doing Java Jive. It was a huge hit. Lesley -- playing phone tag was fun. But awesome job on Chili -- you were right on pitch for those high notes (and trust me, I know). Eric -- of course -- you were hesitant about doing the show but I think you had fun. Thanks for your crazy energy and the use of your amp...  
 
I'm looking forward to next semester. Currently I'm arranging My Immortal and after that I'll look at getting (maybe) one more arrangement done before the beginning of the semester. Not sure if I'll try for an a cappella arrangement of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps or if it'll be Killing me Softly.  
 
Hi ho, hi ho -- off to arrange I go...
Year of the Environment
Posted by bbbach 10 years ago
So my school is celebrating "Year of the Environment" this year. Which they did last year and it was such a huge hit that they (whoever THEY are I do not know) decided to do it again.  
 
But the whole thing smacks me across the face like a great idea that blew it's budget on the advertising. Or maybe it's just me.  
 
See I recently moved back into what we'll refer to as Civilization. Not that I was living in a barbaric country or in an area so remote that I never saw anyone. No -- I lived in a National Park. Yosemite to be specific. Things that you city dwellers take for granted -- things I took for granted before moving -- I had to live without. 2 Hours to the nearest Taco Bell? 3 Hours to the nearest WallMart. How about gas prices well over $4. Limited produce in the small store that served the Yosemite Valley. Power that was sporadic at best in the winter months. Raccoons that liked to jump in front of bicycles. Bears that charged you ("The California Black Bear is a scaredy cat," we were told... HA!). But I digress. Back to the environment.  
 
Yosemite National Park has no dump. All trash and garbage that comes in has to go back out. That includes waste water, recycling, garbage, etc. You name it. So the company that runs the concessionaire, along with what I'm sure was a lot of prompting by the Park Service, decided to implement a full recycling program to reduce the amount of trash that was sent to landfills by the 5+ million visitors each year.  
 
We recycled EVERYTHING. The garage and restaurants recycled oil. You could drop off old computers, dead batteries, cell phones, tin cans, plastic of any shape or size, cardboard boxes, paper airplanes (or any other paper), glass shaped into giant carrots, soda cans, car tires and I'm sure there are some more that I'm missing. In every living area the trashcan was the smallest can -- with the glass, aluminum, tin and plastic cans being almost twice the size. When going on hikes on the well traveled trails, every time you saw a trash can they had a plastic recycling can right next to it. And when you were in even more popular areas they normally had a trash can set off to the side and a group of cans for aluminum, plastic and glass. THIS is what I grew accustomed to over the past year and a half.  
 
Moving to Simi Valley was a shock. My current job doesn't recycle at all. Not because they don't want to. But because the city doesn't provide anyplace for the businesses in the area to put the recycling (I'm working on figuring out how to get a recycling dumpster but even the Chamber of Commerce for Simi doesn't know how). But I was amazed at how well Santa Barbara implemented a recycling program on a recent visit to their Zoo and downtown. Any time I saw a garbage can there was a general-purpose recycling can right next to it. Amazing!!  
 
But back to my school.  
So it's the "Year of the Environment" Yay!!!!! I'm gonna be sick!!!!  
I have counted the number of garbage cans on campus. I've counted the number of recycling cans on campus (yes, I was bored yesterday). 127 garbage cans. 5 recycling cans. Uhmmmm.... instead of printing up those fancy posters and calendars for the Year of the Environment on paper that came from only 20% recycled product could you guys have purchased another 5 recycling cans? Heck -- I'm happy throwing in some paint so we can paint them with the words, "Year of the Environment" Seems like a much better use of the money, but what do I know?  
 
Stay tuned for more on this subject as I, an avid bicycle commuter, attempt to find a place to lock up my bicycle on a college campus that has decided this is the "Year of the Environment"
Back in School
Posted by bbbach 10 years ago
Yup -- I'm back in school. And not NOT fitting in as badly as I expected. Having recently reached my third decade of being alive I was rather nervous about the age difference. But it's going rather smoothly and I'm loving it.  
 
I recently had to cut back on my work hours so that I could fit in all my classes with an appropriate amount of study time. Most of the classes are directly related to my major with only two GE classes this semester. English and History of California are the two GE classes.  
 
It must be said that my History prof is amazing. To quote another student this morning, "She is like a female version of Merlin on crack." As she lectures us on the sometimes tragic history of California, she will use sound effects to emphasize a certain point. When the common belief is one thing -- but she disagrees strongly with it, she will pause, tilt her head to one side, stick her tongue out at the class, and make a loud error sound in her throat. Her class is informative and interesting -- which is great since it's my first class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  
 
English could be good but so far it's just been blah. I don't remember what English was like in the past but I remember having fun and learning stuff. So far it's been just talking about the books we're to have purchased but only about 5 of us in the class currently have.  
 
Then there is all the music classes.  
Music Theory  
Sight Singing  
Piano Ensemble  
Vocal Ensemble  
Applied Piano  
Repertoire Class  
 
I feel as though my second home is in the Music building (which also happens to be the oldest and probably oddest shaped building on campus... imagine two circles joined as in a figure 8 and you have the music building).  
 
Theory, thus far, has been review. Which has been easy except for the silly church modes which I never could seem to remember (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lidian, Mixolidian, Aeolian, Locrian -- did I remember them correctly? Hope so since I have a quiz later today on them).  
 
Sight Singing, the lab for Theory, is way too easy. In fact I think I made some enemies the other day when on the teachers second time around I raised my voice and said, "You played the last two measures differently the second time around." She looked at me and asked the rest of the class if they had heard it. They just mumbled and then she looked at the music and paused... "Hmmm. I don't think... oh wait. We'll do the easier one of the two I just played." At which point I had to pull out my eraser and fix it. But she pulled me aside and asked me if I had done melodic dictation before so I pulled out my staff paper and showed her melodies and songs I had picked up while in Nepal. She's trying to figure out what to do with me since the rest of the class is much farther behind. Ah well.  
 
Piano Ensemble is going to be fun. A class dedicated to two, three, four piano pieces of music -- or 4 hands one piano. I'm working on the Sabre Dance for two pianos which is super fun. That class caused me major headaches though. To be in the Applied Piano class I had to pick up Piano Ensemble. Only that conflicted with my English Class. So I talked to both profs and my English Class got moved to 1pm (from 11am) even though I'm still enrolled in the 1pm class (since both were full and he didn't want an opening to come up on the 11am class). Then for Piano Ensemble, it would still overlap by 30 minutes so they had to create a special class for me in the computer system (since the computer rules all) which says that I start 30 minutes early. But both professors and the administration were extremely helpful -- I was rather stressed as I would talk to one person who would say to talk to the next but they weren't in until the following day... etc. etc. It took a week to get my schedule all straightened out.  
 
Vocal Ensemble is awesome. I didn't realize how much I missed singing with good singers until picking up a Brahms piece and, without reading the words, sight read the 8 part piece. Sure there were mistakes here and there -- but for the most part it was super great. The teacher is new to the school and is trying to improve the (non-existent) vocal program. She's doing a great job so far and has asked us to attend this select class twice a week instead of the scheduled 1. Who ever heard of an audition level vocal class only meeting once a week? Sheesh.  
 
Applied Piano hasn't yet started for me. My teacher was out of town last week and the week before. My first lesson/class will be this coming Saturday and I'm super psyched. It'll be good to get some outside pushing to improve some of those rusty piano skills.  
 
So all in all it's been an awesome start. I could easily be a professional full time student. Alas the financial side of it all is much too tight to do that for more then the amount of time to get my degree. At least at this point.  
 
Yay for school!
Fall in Yosemite
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
So many friends and friends of friends have been begging me for a book of pictures from my stay in Yosemite. While I've finished one version, a second will wait until after I'm out of the valley and can fully digest the images -- as well as the new ones yet to be taken.  
 
However I have started working on the layout and wording for the different sections. I've decided to keep it simple and just concentrate on the seasons. Here is what I've come up with for fall....  
 
Fall in Yosemite  
A watched pot never boils, as the saying goes. And a season that you watch for never comes. In Yosemite, fall is such a season. It's not like you wake up one afternoon and it's suddenly fall. It is a slow almost tedious process that nature undergoes. A process of beauty through death.  
 
The first to go are the leaves on the smaller bushes. This is followed by the larger plants, then grass in the meadows. Lastly the oak trees change into their shades of deep orange and bright yellow. The days shorten noticeably. If you live on the south side of the valley you heave a collective sigh as the sun dips behind Glacier Point for the first time in several months.  
 
The animals are visible, as they rush around in the dwindling light trying to gather the last bits of food before the long winter settles in. As the season draws to a close many of the animals disappear as they go into hibernation. Those not dormant for the winter -- like the deer, tree squirrels and black crows are left with the valley to themselves. They share with only each other and the few humans who watch the leaves slowly falling like the snowflakes that are soon to come.  
 
The pulse of the valley slows, taking time to prepare for the coming months of cold and wet weather. But all seem to take their time. All pause to count the number of leaves left on the great oaks. All watch for the first sign of white replacing the brilliant orange, red and yellow.  
I walked outside and look what I saw!
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
This was two days ago...  
 
 
 
 
Half Dome and Clearing Morning Clouds  
Pictures from Yosemite
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
So I'm trying to get out and take more pictures... realizing that I'm going to be leaving this beautiful park in July and I want to document the seasons the best that I can.  
 
To this end my camera is once again in my backpack. We are currently being hammered by late winter storms. This is awesome because our snowpack in the high country is at about 40% of normal. These late season storms bring much needed snow up there which means spectacular waterfalls come the spring.  
 
The "best of" recent pictures can be viewed here:  
http://squeeek.com/brent/images/albums/2007-02-25_Yosemite/index.html  
 
Some of my favorites?  
 
Sunset on Hwy 41  
 
 
Snowfall from Thursday while crossing Stoneman Brdige  
 
 
Halfdome and Breaking Storm Clouds  
 
It's time for a BBQ!
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
The temperature is hovering around 14 degrees farenheit outside according to the gauge outside. The forcast calls for only a 30% chance of snow but as I look out the window it's coming down the heaviest I've seen it yet this season. The forcast for the night is for the temperature to drop below 0 and a possible high wind advisory.  
 
So the cooks decided to have a BBQ special for tonight.  
They're outside, hovering around the pit in their white little cooks outfits, blending in to the snow that is falling around them, bringing out tray after tray of meat to cook up.  
 
It makes me giggle to myself as I watch and listen to the snow sizzling as it hits the grill.
An Update on the Evil Raccoons...
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
Sure.  
They look cute.  
 
But they're out to get you.  
Have you seen the TV commercial where the squirrel runs out in front of the car and then the car crashes but meanwhile the squirrel is high fivin' it with his pals? Yah. The squirrel was played by a raccoon in a squirrel costume.  
 
After surgery to re-align the bone piece that got broken in my jaw I am in a halloween-esque setup with my jaw wired shut. Blended foods for me. Even soups that you would think I could do I need to have blended. The doc said to plan on loosing 10-15 pounds. And that I should try to eat 6 times a day. I'm not doing so good on that side of things. But I am learning to loathe the blender.  
 
Lets see...  
I've tried some crazy recipes.  
Enchilada sauce, tomatoes, refried beans, cheese chip dip, and olives...  
Bean & Bacon Soup, Vanilla Protein Powder, Worchestsour Sauce, and Tamarac...  
Liquid diets are all the craze but let me say that when you are forced on them and it's not by choice? They suxorz pretty much completely.  
 
Sucking things through straws is hard work for your tongue. Which, speaking of, I miss. Licking the envelope closed to deposit your paycheck? Yup -- better have a best friend along to do the 10 calorie duty.  
 
Talking sounds a lot like I've got a mouthful of marbles.  
 
But I'm back at work after almost 2 weeks off -- so at least thats good. A paycheck will help pay for the visit to the surgery room. And I smile and the kids all run away.  
 
4 1/2 weeks and counting!
BBBach: 0 - Raccoon & Asphalt: 1
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
So I was bicycling home last night from the Wellness center (a place for employees in Yosemite). It was raining so I was trying to go fast. A raccoon crossed in front of me, also just trying to get out of the rain I'm sure.  
 
Well I swerved to avoid hitting said raccoon and suddenly found myself sitting up. Shaking my head as that bright blue light receded. I stood up and gingerly took stock of where I was at and how I was doing.  
 
A cut on my upper lip. Check.  
A scrape on my arm. Check.  
A couple scrapes on my hands. Check.  
Hmm. What is this? I can't seem to move my jaw much. Dislocated possibly? Check.  
 
So I hop back on my bike to pedal the rest of the way home as it was around 7:30pm and there just wasn't a lot of traffic going by me at that time of morning.  
 
I just about to where Housekeeping Camp is and heard the terrible...  
"hssssssssssssssssssssssss"  
That bicycles make when a tube finally gives way and lets the air escape.  
 
I just thought to myself, "Crap -- now I gotta walk the rest of the way home."  
Meanwhile I discovered I thought I had a scrape/road rash on my chin. And my jaw was becoming even more immobile as I proceeded -- with more pain.  
 
After walking the final mile back to my tent cabin in curry I grabbed my phone, called work since I knew the switchboard operator on and told her my predicament -- and that I was headed to the clinic.  
 
A quick drive to the clinic later and I was helped out by a great nurse and nurse practitioner as well as the doctor. 5 stiches to the chin and one on my upper lip was all they could do for me there -- well beyond taking some x-rays which told them I had a fractured mandible.  
 
So today I'm off to Mariposa's hospital to go under the knife where a plastic surgeon will move the pieces back into place and let me get back to a normal life.  
 
Lesson learned?  
Hit the dang raccoons.  
But What Does it Mean?
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
In Yosemite National Park, the default, printer #1 is here at the Ahwahnee Front Desk. This means that we get all sorts of random stuff that gets printed out -- some of it boring emails -- some of it hilarious results to National Park Service inspections (bats in the bellfree???)  
 
But the best one came out the printer this morning...  
Obviously printed from a word processor as a note to be posted somewhere around the park:  
 
FREE TO A GOOD HOME...  
They were previously thawed  
and are now refrozen.  
 
What does it mean??? What are They? Ice Cream Sandwiches? Kitten Embryos?? Any other ideas???  
 
My First Big Kitty
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
Today I saw my first wild big cat.  
 
Now it's one thing to see them in the zoo where you can go "Wow -- thats a big cat!"  
 
It's another thing to see one running at you, being chased by 5 coyotes, and the sun isn't even up yet -- much less any caffiene flowing through the bloodstream helping fire those brain cells that are trying to comprehend if you are dreaming about your bikeride to work or if it's really happening.  
 
It turns out that the mountain lion had killed a fawn that had a broken leg near the Ahwahnee hotel and the coyotes were chasing it off to have their fair share of the meal.  
 
But it sure got me awake once I realized I wasn't dreaming and there was a 250ish pound cat hurtling down the same path that I was bicycling on -- with yapping and yowling coyotes hot on it's tail.  
 
It was so cute tho! I just wanted to scratch it behind the ears and make it purrrrrr......
New Yosemite Pictures
Posted by bbbach 11 years ago
Some pictures from my first 6 months of living and working in Yosemite can be found here:  
http://squeeek.com/brent/images/albums/2006-08-14_Yosemite/  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pictures from Yosemite
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Well I've been living here in Yosemite now for a couple of months and finally we have had some great weather. Not that the snow and rain wasn't interesting -- just hard to live/work in. But here are some pictures from the past 3 weeks. They are quite amazing in many ways. And the trees near the end -- the ones that are all bare -- they're quite lush right now.  
 
Enjoy!  
http://squeeek.com/brent/images/albums/2006-05-18_Yosemite/
"Best of" Pictures from Thailand, Nepal and Laos
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
So I finally went through all 5000 pictures (or so) and picked out my favorites. This doesn't include ANY of the film pictures from Nepal as those still need to be scanned/reprinted/etc. But there are some pretty good ones here. Beware -- there are LOTS of pictures.  
 
http://squeeek.com/brent/images/albums/2006-01-29_Thailand-Nepal-Laos
Pictures from Nepal!
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Not many -- but we're out of time to go through all of them (close to 1700 pictures from one month in nepal)... so here are some of our favorites that were spotted as we quickly browsed through them...  
 
http://squeeek.com/brent/images/albums/2005-11-01_Nepal/
Linkfilter Arrives in Bangkok
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
I didn't even realize what shirt I was wearing when this picture was taken... but LF has been in bangkok!  
 
We're off to explore the countryside today and then on to Nepal on Monday.  
 
Leaving in 2 days
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Hi all ya'll!  
 
Just a quick update from me. I'm at T-minus 2 days and counting until I leave for my journey overseas. As a friend described it, my life journey.  
 
I moved out of my place last weekend and this week has been solid between work and getting everything ready for 3 months abroad. I have a sherpa all lined up in Nepal (and possibly a porter...) and several contacts in Thailand to hook up with (including a guy who owns his own Island....).  
 
I'm startin' to get those last minute nerves -- do I have everything I need? Will I be warm enough in Nepal? Will I be cool enough in Thailand? My last minute last I came up with last night had about 50 items in it that needed to be taken care of. It's hard to think that in one week from today I'll have been in 3 other countries already. The plan is to fly to Bangkok, spend 4 days adjusting to timezone differences and relax. Then on to Nepal where we're going to do the Annapurna Circuit.  
 
That should take 20 days or so -- then back to Thailand to go climb and explore the country.  
 
I got my ears lowered yesterday (as my grandfather always called haircuts) and am in the final packing phases... meanwhile finishing up work (tomorrow is my last day) and then a group of us are going down to Berkley to climb at Iron Works and eat Zachary's Pizza...  
 
Yup yup yup. Too much to do. Too little time. And at the same time, time is going by so slowly!!!  
 
If I don't update here before I leave I'll catch ya'll on the flip side.  
Check out http://squeeek.com/brent/ for more updates while I'm out travelin'.
Changes and a Plan
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Hello Filter peoples!  
 
I've wallowed away in my existence here on the planet you call call Earth (and which I call the planet that which will not be named). So to bring things more in line with what I feel I need to do I have come up with a 2 year plan for myself.  
 
This involves a lot of fun things... like a 3 month (or so) "road trip" to southeast Asia and Nepal in September ... going on a road trip for another 3 months to film climbers and come out with a full length climbing video (yes -- our video that my brother and I entered won first place and I'm already getting emails asking if we are considering making a full length video and would I need help distributing it and such) ... living and working in Yosemite for a year so that I make no $$ ... and finally going back to school to finish up my music education degree. Computers are fun. But not THAT fun to be sitting at day in and day out -- programming away for a company that every time upper management sends out an email you just laugh. So I decided I'd rather make no money and enjoy what I do -- then keep whining that I'm not making ENOUGH money and disliking what I do.  
 
Along those lines I also need to consolidate where I have personal journals. I'm going to limit it to two while I'm off gallivanting around (as it was described to me). The one that will be public facing will be on squeeek. If you are interested in it let me know and I'll give you the link. There are many different ways to reach me -- and for the next month or so I will be off and on linkfilter -- probably with a few more updates here and there.  
 
I thought long and hard about where to keep postings to and ultimately it just made more sense for me to use squeeek rather then myspace or linkfilter. Mostly because if I want to post pictures I upload them to squeeek anywase.  
 
So thanks to everyone here on linkfilter -- it's been a blast. And I won't be too much of a stranger. But having 5 journals/blogs was just too many and too complex. And feel free to email me -- cause it'll be nice to hear from people while I'm off vanting my galli!  
 
--Brent
The Waiting Game
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
My brother and I entered a climbing video into the "open" category in a climbing video competition.  
 
We've been told by lots of people (but all just friends) that our video was the best that was up there. The competition voting period ended this morning. Officially the contest results will be announced next week in Salt Lake City at the Outdoor Reseller's Summer Tradeshow. But with a large cash purse as the first place .. and the possibility of sponsors for other climbing videos and maybe even a full length film... I'm impatient and want to know the results NOW!!  
 
No more of this waiting! I mean you can't just say "Oh yah -- the video comp voting ended this morning" and then not say "And you got n place" I mean they need to tell the top 3 people so that they can get to the trade show in utah right??  
 
*crosses fingers*  
*somps his foot impatiently*
Quickly Now...
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Work has sucked recently.  
Great way of wreaking havoc example:  
Know about j2sdkee expiration for 2 years.  
Don't make any changes for 400+ sites that are compiled and use this library.  
Library expires.  
All sites no longer are able to encrypt/decrypt passwords for logging into accounts.  
 
But...  
Went climbing outside at The Playground. It's a new area that is being developed up near where Secrets is. Not TONS of climbing -- but it sure was beautiful:  
 
 
My Chalkbag's Obituary
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
My chalkbag, which I will call Henry for the remainder of her obituary, lead an active life. She went through thick and thin with me -- always providing the needed rest -- the needed heat -- the needed chalk in crux situations.  
 
Henry came into my life at a ripe young age of 1. She quickly developed a great repor and replaced a smaller chalkbag which I donated to Vertex. The voluptuous shape that her model presented to me at the store was so appealing that I was quickly attracted to them. The colors seemed to compliment her shapely curves and I bought her on the spot.  
 
After Henry was introduced to the leftover chalk from my previous chalkbag, the two of us quickly became attached. She would provide me with a relaxing place to rest my hand -- and I would provide all the chalk that Henry could hold. She traveled with me on hundreds of great trips and thousands of awesome climbs. From the bitter cold days of climbing in Joshua Tree in January to the warm summer days of bouldering in Yosemite Valley. From my personal first ascent of Half Dome to a push up to the top of Mt. Whitney. She was there for my first trad fall -- and she was there for my first V6 boulder problem.  
 
During the cold winter months a pocket hand warmer would be added to the chalk -- heating Henry up from the inside out. What a glorious feeling that was -- on a cold winter day -- dipping your hand into the silky smoothness and caressing the heat emanating forth. What a welcome relief that was -- a way to warm your tips back up before grabbing the next who knows what above your head.  
 
Henry was always very soft spoken -- never saying a word while we climbed together. However I have heard it from several reputable sources that she was quite the lush while stuck somewhere because of foul weather. She did, however, have this air of confidence about her that would help inspire me to do my best and push my limits. I'd reach my hand around, dip for some chalk, and it was as if just knowing that Henry was there behind me, I'd try the crux moves I was facing with jittery legs -- my hands no longer damp with nervous desperation.  
 
In her ripe old age of 3, Henry was still all smiles and game for me working harder and harder problems. I fell on her repeatedly and she just kept giving -- never complaining. She found her way up a V4R in Yosemite Valley where I would have surely fallen if not for her giving nature. She found her way to the base of a V7 boulder problem and gave me the chalk I needed to on-sight the route. She even gave to others quite frequently as their own chalkbags fell decidedly short in volume.  
 
Sadly, around 6 months ago, her neck drawstring broke and it was a slow downhill in her structural integrity. But even then -- missing a vital organ to the proper function of a chalkbag -- she kept giving and was always there for me.  
 
Because of the broken neck drawstring I was forced to use the chalkbag strap to close her up at night. Thus causing even faster wear and tear on her delicate skin. The fabric coming apart at the seams. It is with a very heavy heart that I must say that it is time to permanently put Henry out of her misery.  
 
I've had a new chalkbag for a couple of weeks now but I am loathe to permanently retire Henry. I have become mentally attached to her sweet round buttocks and the pouting lips (caused by using the chalkbag strap to close her up). I have changed every other part of my climbing gear -- from harness to climbing shoes to belay devices. The only item I have not yet given up on is Henry.  
 
As the last remaining bits of chalk dust my fingertips from the deep wells of Henry, I will say adieu to her. She will be hung up somewhere that I can gaze at her voluptuous figure and smile with memories past.  
 
Thank you, Henry. May your next life be a comfortable shirt that is worn with similar fond memories.  
Let us all raise a pint of cider to the fond memories of my chalkbag.
A Cycling Rant
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Yesterday I road my bike into work. It was going to be a toasty day and I wanted to try pushing my mental and physical limit on my way home by taking a different route with a very steep climb in the middle. It was beautiful out. Just as I reached the countryside between cities the sun began to peek over the mountains in the east -- the sky turning a golden orange.  
 
I passed a group of chickens that had escaped from their pen -- they looked up at me as I flew by. Next it was cows. I looked over and saw my huge seventy foot shadow chase them as they looked around in confusion. A white crane stood in the classic crane pose -- balancing on one foot in the shallows of a small pond.  
 
The smells of fresh baked break wafted from a kitchen at a farmhouse causing my stomach rumble. I had left my breakfast sitting in the toaster.  
 
It felt good to get outside and let the legs get some good exercise in. The temperature was perfect. No perceivable wind. It made me all nice and relaxed once I finally got in to work.  
 
Bicycling home I went up and over Crane Canyon -- in over 100 degree temperatures. It was a challenge -- and I'm positive I looked like I had jumped in a pool just from the sweat pouring down my body. As I neared the top I started to feel the chills of heat stroke -- my bike seemed to take on a life of it's own as I weaved on and off the shoulder of the road. While the climb was not that difficult compared to others I had done, the temperature added a new degree of torture and my body was quite grumpy with me.  
 
A total of 51.2 miles were cycled ... and now on to the ranting!  
 
To the city employees repaving Petaluma Blvd: Why would you repave the road and NOT the bike lane? Have you seen some of the wheel eating cracks that live in this "bike lane"? I've mountain biked on smoother trails!!! If you are going to repave the road that is 2 feet over from the bike lane, repave the bike lane at the same time! Sheesh! I really dislike having to pay every couple of weeks to have my wheels trued just because the gaping maws of a crack in the road decided that it was breakfast time -- and my wheels were the meals.  
 
To the police, fire, and tow truck drivers: If you are going to clean up a car accident why do you just push the twisted piles of metal and broken glass over onto the shoulder of the road? While I enjoy dodging and weaving my way around the latest flak of natures furry, it's rare that I will get a flat if I do happen to run over a bunch of leaves or a branch or two. If I don't swerve out into the actual car lane to avoid the shrapnel left behind after the so called "cleanup" of car accidents I am guaranteed a flat tire (or two).  
 
To the drivers on Crane Canyon that waved at me: I was nervous bicycling over this road. I had driven it several times and knew that cars liked to fly over it. I don't know if it was because of the heat -- or maybe it was because you saw how much I was struggling -- or maybe just because you were nice people ... but thank you for waving at me. Thank you for giving me the thumbs up as I neared the top. Thank you for not running me off the road and actually slowing down when you saw my weaving in and out of the shoulder of the road.  
 
To the SUV driver that was putting on makeup while talking on her (non hands-free) cell: Uhmmmm. Nope. Don't even need to say anything do I.  
 
To the Golden Gate Transportation Bus Driver that almost took my head off: Dudes! Your bus has a bumper sticker on it that says "Share the Road" with a picture of a bicycle on it! Do you have any concept what that means? Lets ponder this for a moment. Share: Verb. To use or enjoy something jointly or in turns. The: Just an article to make a proper English sentence. Road: Noun. The pavement on which we are both on. Your passenger mirror was so close to my head that I heard the high pitch rush of wind that I only thought happened in movies as bullets whiz by.  
 
Do not get me wrong. I love bicycling to work. I enjoy the sights -- the smells -- the feel of the air as it rushes over my arms -- the knowledge that I just saved one sixth of my tank of gas. But come on people! The cal-trans people put up signs when they are doing road construction that says "Give 'em a break". The same applies to bicyclists!  
 
Get out of your cars -- get out of your SUVs -- get out of your trucks -- get OUT there. The world is an amazing place and you just can't experience it while trapped in a metal box traveling at high speeds and cursing the person who just cut you off. I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite bicyclists: "Shut up and ride!"
A 5.12a
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
I climbed a 5.12a tonight!!! Without falling!!!!! Just ask gymDan!  
 
How awesome is that?!?
Just a thought...
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
Who needs drugs when you can live in my brain?
Pushing Images
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
[12:12] bbbach: Just gotta finish copying images  
[12:12] theJoker: k  
[12:12] bbbach: I'm a pusher of images!  
[12:12] theJoker: then i would like to go over how to get the properties stuff going  
[12:12] bbbach: Here -- try these images man. They're kewl  
[12:12] bbbach: They'll make you feel all squishy inside  
[12:12] theJoker: *cough* good shit man
Pics from the Weekend - Climbing in Tahoe
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
A group of us headed up to the Tahoe region to climb this past weekend. We stayed at the campground at Strawberry, but after seeing the crowds a couple of us decided to go hit up some new spots that were in an old guide book I had found for Tahoe.  
 
Saturday found us in South Lake Tahoe climbing at the Pie Shop. This place was awesome for the easy approach, lack of crowds, and easy to moderate climbs. Just what I needed to get my head back into the game of leading trad. I hopped on a funny 5.7 corner (two pitches because of rope drag). Rob found a 5.8 to warm up on. I followed up with another awesome 5.8 corner. Just to the left of that was a 5.10a slab problem into a layback flake. Rob hopped on it and after a nervous first five moves he floated the rest of it. Our last climb at the Pie Shop that day was a 5.9 which I lead -- I never felt any 5.9 (except maybe at the beginning) but the top sure was run out. Climb 30ft, sling a chicken head... climb another 20ft, sling another chicken head. But it was awesome.  
 
We (Rob and I) had left at 6am Saturday morning so we were bushed -- headed back to camp, made some pasta and zonked out in a heavy food coma. I remember reading a book in my tent and making it to the last page before the end of the chapter. I'd doze off and dream that I was still reading the book. Then I'd wake up and be like -- but I was TONS of pages past this point, realize what happened, try to make it through the last page, and promptly fall asleep, dreaming a different ending to the chapter. I did this 3 or 4 times before just going to sleep.  
 
Sunday we got up, went to where the rest of the group was and made breakfast. Brad and Rob wanted to climb some more challenging routes and the place with the best concentration of 5.10-5.11 routes is at Eagle Lake. So it was back down to 'da lake, over to Emerald Bay, and up the trail towards Eagle Lake.  
 
The approach was easy -- the views were spectacular -- the Eagle Lake Cliff was formidable. We approached it and, while it was only 35 meters tall, we were awe struck by the awesome lines that just popped out at us.  
 
Rob and Brad both lead a 5.10b as their "warmup" route -- a very committing layback into a very loose set of flakes. I was glad I wasn't leading as every move I made sounded and looked like I was going to peel huge flakes of granite off the side of the cliff.  
 
Then they both lead a 5.10a which has to be one of the best 10a's I've ever climbed. Start liebacking one direction, reach a ledge, lie back the other direction, a short section of hand jams into a finger width traverse over the the anchor bolts. I could easily see myself leading that in the near future. For now I was happy following it and cleaning.  
 
Rob and Brad both really wanted to get on the 5.11c/d that was on the cover of the guidebook. A spectacular line with an amazing view. So I offered to run up a chimney to the top of a pillar sticking out from the rock to get some good pictures. Up I went. The chimney was protected by bolts but I didn't take enough draws so I was having to unclip bolts at my feeet to clip one above my head. But hey -- it was only a 5.9 chimney -- AND it was protected by bolts. Can't ask for a more chill way to the top of a pillar. Both Rob and Brad followed -- I think mostly to get a look at the climb they wanted to do -- but from above.  
 
Then it was time for da bidness.  
Rob was up first -- cruising through the first crux. Getting up into the narrow chimney, out to a finger crack and up to the second crux. The route was very beta intensive. It reminded me of climbing a route in the gym. If you didn't use certain feet and certain hands you were coming off. Rob fell just below reaching the next jug/resting spot. His gear was solid and the fall was really quite mellow. He got back on and after figuring out the foot sequence he was able to make it to the next cruxy pumpfest section. Again, without using the correct feet he came out and took a good fall on a small cam. It was impressive watching him just go for it. He figured the sequence out and flashed on up to the anchor bolts.  
 
Brad had a hard time getting off the ground -- the finger locks Rob had found were just a little wide for Brad's fingers. But once he got goin' he cruzed right to the same spot Rob fell the first time and took a fall. He rested a bit and fired up to the same exact spot as Rob's second fall where his feet picked and he took a nice fall. After another short rest and a study of the moves, Brad made quick work of the third crux and got up to the top without any problems.  
 
Both Brad and Rob were climbing HARD!  
 
My favorite pics from the trip:  
 
Rob and Shadow climbing a 5.10a slab problem at the Pie Shop  
 
 
Me committing to the layback on a 5.10b  
 
 
How far back can I stick my arm? (5.10a)  
 
 
Rob hitting the end of the 5.11c/d  
 
 
And Brad hitting the end.  
 
 
Look! I have a muscle!!  
 
More Pictures Here!
LF hookup in tahoe area???
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
I haven't heard or seen anything about a hookup in July -- do those of us in the area still want to shoot for July ... or August?  
 
Anyone interested in climbing in the Tahoe area during those two months just lemme know -- even if you're a beginner there's stuff out there anyone can scramble up!
Amazing...
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
I have been using the m-plugin for iTunes on Windoz for a while now. When iTunes 4.8 came out the plugin stopped working so I hopped online and found that a new version had been released for beta.  
 
I hopped on and quickly installed it. Only I ran into problems. I followed the forums and waited patiently for a fix but there were none coming. So I finally took some time, found a configuration file that had been left behind by the uninstaller, found registry settings left behind, removed both and reinstalled.  
 
It worked great!  
 
The main use that I just love is that it changes the title bar to the currently playing artists and song name. It has some other nifty features -- like being able to skin iTunes, create a .txt file that you can upload somewhere, change the fonts, etc.  
 
But then I saw this new option -- "Enable foobar2000 passthrough"  
I did some reading on the forums and the developer had commented that the new version of quicktime hadn't improved audio quaility any while playing back AAC or MP3 files so he was going to keep the foobar2000 option around.  
 
Improved audio quality? What is this?  
I hopped on the foobar2000 website and did some reading up. It's a media player which emphasizes audio quality. Well I thought I'd give it a shot.  
The latest betas (0.9) don't work but I finally installed 0.8.3 this morning (the last fully released version).  
 
It's a night and day difference between the quicktime decoder and the foobar2000 passthrough.  
 
So... if you are using iTunes on a windows box, check out m-plugin, install foobar2000 and let your ears feast on the delightful sounds eminating from your speakers/headphones.  
 
Links:  
m-plugin v0.8 Thread  
foobar2000
Slugs!
Posted by bbbach 12 years ago
I woke up and it was once again a drizzly day. The clouds hanging low around the trees up the hill from my family's house. I crawled out of bed and felt the cold hardwood floor under my feet groan as I moved toward the door to my room.  
 
The cold air blasted me as I opened the door. I went down the stairs and into the kitchen. A bowl of serial later and I was helping out at the sink doing the dishes. My mom looked down at me and asked if I'd help out in the garden. I just wanted to go ride my bike. But the parents were steadfast -- I had to help out in the garden first!  
 
My task in the garden you ask?  
Collect any and all slugs -- the drizzle was bringing them out in droves. Heards of the slimy brown creatures were making their way into and around our tomatoes, squash, and string beans. It was really quite rude of them. Nobody had invited them to feast on our growing plants. Nobody had invited them to leave their shiny trails over the dirt and leaves. So it was my job to collect them up and euthanize them.  
 
Well I was five. Playing with slugs? AWESOME!!!!  
 
So I put on the slicker -- pull on the rubber boots and head on out to the garden -- stomping in every puddle on my way down to the garden. I looked over at the goats and figured that after bike riding I'd go play with 'em. We had fun head butting in the mud.  
 
I picked up a bucket and started collecting slugs. They were all OVER the tomato plants and I quickly had filled the bottom of the bucket up with slugs. They were sliming and swarming all over each other at the bottom of the bucket.  
 
At the time I remember keeping count -- but the number escapes me now in my old age.  
After a good thirty minutes I had routed out all the slugs I could find in the garden -- the pail was alive with the slimy creatures.  
 
I headed back up toward the kitchen. After helping out with the dishes earlier in the morning I knew just how to end the poor suckers lives. And it wasn't going to be with salt -- watching them twist (and scream -- at least they screamed in my head) and slowly shrivel up into a hard dried out slugs.  
 
My parents were in a different room so I pulled over a chair next to the sink and slowly took the slugs out and put them into the garbage disposal drain. The entire drain was stuffed full of slugs when I flipped the switch.  
 
Those blades started turning -- quickly ending the slugs lives as they were ripped into thousands of little slug pieces. Then the unexpected happened. The garbage disposal started making funny sounds. You could hear the blades slow down as the gears spinning the blades around slowly gummed up with slimy slug guts.  
 
My parents, hearing the sound, came into the kitchen and were trying to figure out what was going on. Once they saw the bucket, the guts filling the bottom of the sink and heard the garbage disposal grind to a gummy stop... well they weren't none to pleased with me.  
 
They ended up having to call a plumber out -- the gears and disposal filled with dead, partially dead, and whole slugs. The plumber, having been a plumber for some 20 odd years, having seen many different types of plumbing disasters... this plumber... he said he had never had to handle anything as gross as a garbage disposal full of slugs.