Friday, December 21, 2007

A recent forwarded message

A friend forwarded this on, and I thought this was interesting... it made me think enough atleast to think it might be interesting to other people.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably,if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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Monday, November 26, 2007

What I have learned about owning a home so far...

So, I have been a home owner for almost a month. So far, so good. I have learned a few things:

  • The roof will always leak. If its not leaking where your looking now, its leaking somewhere else.
  • Plaster is a pain to repair... and the holes get bigger so easily.
  • Appliance shopping makes you feel incredibly domestic... and almost sick to your stomach.
  • Any project can not be solved with a single trip to Lowes... you must make several trips before you even start.
  • A case of beer does not last a whole weekend of "working on the house".
  • You will never put a shopvac filter on correctly the first time, and you will shoot dust all over the house.
  • Bulbs in the basement always burn out when your trying to catch a bug, carrying something heavy, trying to avoid the water overflowing from the washer.
There will be more... this is all I can think of from a foggy Monday morning.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Designers are idiots too.

So I bought a house... yeah, yeah... shoulda done it a while ago. Now I have a house and a boat... still no car. Because its getting cold, and Maria has blood circulation problems, and I love fire... I am looking at a fireplace for the back. I kinda dig this one, but there's an issue with it. Can you see a possible problem? I don't know if people sometimes design these things, and never test them out... because some things are just stupid.

I guess the process works like this... you pull the lid off, stick some logs in, light a fire... put lid back on so sparks and stuff don't burn your friends. Everything is cozy for about 30 minutes, then the fire starts to die down a little, so you want to add more wood. First thing you have to do is grab the metal handle thats been sitting over a hot fire for about 30 minutes! Now you have a nice logo of the manufacturer burned into your hand... and you have managed to toss the hot screen onto one of your friends, ruining their night. Surely someone must have noticed this.

Nope... guess they all think that is a good idea.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Box to live in?

Today is the 29th and I have to be out of my apartment by the end of
the day Wednesday! I have been working on buying a duplex near
downtown, but we were supposed to close last Friday and move over the
weekend. I didn't close an we didn't move.

Theoretically I will be closing tomorrow and then having a midnight
moving party Tuesday night. But if not, I guess we'll be testing out
those cold weather sleeping bags, and insulated cardboard boxes.

Always lastminute.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Maria and I just finished a climb-a-thon charity event for the Red
Cross. It was held at the Urban Krag. We climbed 2025 feet combined,
Maria climbed 15 more feet than I did, and harder climbs too. We
raised $257 for the Red Cross.

Here's a photo of our friends Kansas and Eric.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Now I need a car... and a dog.

I am being booted from the apartment... so I needed to find a place to live. My buddy Paul is wanting to sell his RV, and I came real close to buying it and living... anywhere. My biggest worry was coming home one day and finding my house towed. I imagine the tow-fee's are huge with that. And... where does the pizza guy come to deliver the pizzas? As you can see, there were just too many issues with that.

I could find an apartment downtown somewhere... but then I sign a lease, and just keep handing someone my money all the time. I am sick to my stomach with the amount of money I have given to the Lofts where I live now, only to have them kick me out when ever they feel like it. I guess when someone has power over your living situation, history doesn't matter... only what they feel at that moment. If I had to sign a lease, I might puke.

If I was to sign a lease, it'd be for a year... and the chances of getting out of that are slim. So, my options came down to puke on some nice landlord, or buy a house. I chose... buy a house... and be the landlord, running the risk of someone puking on me.

There's a nice little historic area called Southpark near to Downtown... not quite walking distance, but there's a pub on the way. There's a main street on it, with some really nice houses, and a grocery store not far away. Its an up-and-coming area... with a home-a-trauma on it next week which usually boosts property values. Basically, a nice little area.

Instead of just a house... I bought a duplex, with one side already rented. In the end, I will only be out of pocket about $150 a month to live there... and will own property in one of the areas seeing the most rise in property value in the county. Closing is in 2 weeks... if everything goes well.

In the last 6 months, I went from owning just a couch, TV, bed, and a table... to owning a sailboat, and a house... narrowly avoiding an RV. Anybody know of a nice car I can buy... if I am going to do the "I'm American, and I am in debt to everyone" I might as well get a car. A dog would be a nice companion too.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

State of the apartment

So... its been a little while since I have made a post to the blog, haven't been sailing in a while... have been trying to deal with a few other things lately.

About a month ago, I noticed that the apartment building took down some doors I believed were there for fire-protection, or smoke barriers. These doors sit at the bottom of the main fire-egress path for the entire 5 story apartment building. I have lived in this place since I have been in Dayton... otherwise known as "too long". I mentioned it to the landlord lady, a insert-bad-word-here woman named Carol. She argued with me about it, saying a fireman had told her it was ok to remove the door. Not to say that fireman don't know what they are doing, but its not their place to authorize the removal of fire-doors. Not that its my place either, but I was pretty sure the doors were at least smoke-barriers.

I came to work that day, a bit perturbed that the landlord of the building would be so frivolous with life-safety. I grabbed our code-book, and spent some time going through it to find the pertinent passages of code which would tell me that door was likely there for fire protection, or a smoke barrier. Yup... found them, basically, the fire stairs need a 2-hour enclosure all the way to the outside. Removing those doors would violate that. NFPA 80 states that fire-doors shall be marked with the ratings and things, and that tag should not be painted over... if the tags had not been painted over, then the fireman would have known that these doors are needed for life-safety.

I gave Carol copies of the codes, showing her the likelihood that these are protective doors. Her response, "this is incomplete." Anybody that knows anything about building code knows that it references its other parts everywhere. Carol in essence wanted me to give her an entire copy of the code, with all the research needed to prove these are fire-doors. I offered to do it, for a fee. The original architects already did this, and they got paid for it... I should be paid too.

I gave Carol's boss a call, to inform him that she had done this, and that she was being non-responsive to my pointing this out... and she was down-right rude, and condescending. He was not there, so I left him a voicemail.

Lets say that there's a fire while these doors aren't there. These doors protect the main path people would try to use to evacuate the building. Removing these doors may lead to a tragic situation, and at the very least much more property damage, and loss. If someone did die, there would surely be an investigation, which would lead to the discovery of the removal of these doors, and to the discovery that the landlord was made aware of the nature of these doors, and yet didn't do anything to restore the building to a safe condition. I am sure the insurance company for this place would have an interesting response, and all survivors would have a pretty simple case to sue the owners for their losses.

So, perhaps me pointing this out to the lofts helped avert a tragic situation, save them a huge hassle, and helped their parent company from facing a massive financial burden. You'd think they would be a little thankful that I helped avoid some of this for them. Instead of being thankful, they have decided to kick me out!

A few days after calling Carol's boss, she left me a nice little note on my door, giving me till the end of October to pack up and leave. I mean... why would they want me around, I am a trouble maker... who wants to live in a building that follows building code, thats just crazy.

Right now, I am in a search for a new place to live. There are alot of things to consider, so who knows where I will end up. When I find a suitable place to rest my head, this blog will know.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Starbucks... on your iPod!!!

Starbucks just opened a store... in my pants!!!

iPod touch features.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mystic Venture trip report - 2007-08-18

Last weekend, Maria and I headed to the boat for our first time sailing with just the two of us. We arrive Friday evening, and got the boat ready to set out in the morning. Saturday we left around 10 or so in the morning... nice and casual. We only needed to make about 20 or so miles, so we had time to be lazy.

Saturday was the kind of day that makes everything worth while. The sun was out, the weather was amazing, the wind was decent... everything was awesome. We had an amazing sail from Salt Ponds to New Point Comfort. We anchored in a sheltered cove, hiding from the north eastern winds. We inflated the dive-yak... and went for its maiden voyage. Turns out, this thing is huge... and stable... and slow. It was like paddling a barge. Good work-out, but didn't get far. Maria saw phosphorescence for the first time... and it was pretty bright. It was an awesome evening.

For as awesome as the day was, the night, and next day was the opposite. Around midnight, the wind shifted to the south, and picked up to 15 or 20 knots or so. Our sweet little sheltered cove became a bumpy, un-sheltered, windy cove. I didn't really sleep that much, as I don't fully trust the anchor on the boat... but she held, without a slip. I was pretty impressed... but I did have allot of line out, I think I was 10:1 at that point.

Sunday we left the anchorage around 8 or so, and headed back. Because the wind was coming from right where we wanted to go, we decided to motor. I did some calculating based on the fuel gauge, and the distance and hours needed to motor and figured we had enough fuel. Turns out I was wrong... whoops. We bumped against wind and waves for hours, and were about a mile from the harbor entrance when the engine started to cut out. We shut her down, and raised a sail. I figured that with the boat rocking like it was, it cut the engine a little early and we would have enough fuel to get to the dock... this time, I was right... barely.

We cleaned her up, and headed home. The 9 hour drive home was not fun... and was made less fun by me completely missing our exit, and thus driving by Lexington KY on the way... only adding a few hours to the drive.

Saturday though... made it all worth it. What an amazing day.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch - New York Times

"there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.”
Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch - New York Times

I just started play World of Warcraft... and I played it while watching the Matrix the other day... did our opperator laugh at that? Or are they too smart for humor anymore.

"David J. Chalmers, a philosopher at the Australian National University, says Dr. Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis isn’t a cause for skepticism, but simply a different metaphysical explanation of our world. Whatever you’re touching now — a sheet of paper, a keyboard, a coffee mug — is real to you even if it’s created on a computer circuit rather than fashioned out of wood, plastic or clay."

There's nothing to see here folks... move along.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008

Its almost one year till the Beijing Olympics.

Here is a video protest made by the Students for a Free Tibet at the basecamp of Mount Everest. China is planning on taking the olympic torch up Mount Everest, attempting to give legitimacy to China's occupation of Tibet.

These protesters have since been detained, and not heard from.

Here's a blog from Lhadon Tethong, the executive director of the SFT (Students for a Free Tibet), and her attempts to speak with the International Olympic Committee about China's humanitarian issues, and occupation of Tibet.There is an open letter to the president of the committee concerning failed Chinese promises. Since she has been in Beijing, she has been watched by Chinese police and apparently has been detained... nobody has heard from them for about a week.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why architects don't design cars

Zaha Hadid was recently commissioned by art dealer Kenny Schachter to design a car.

As is typical with some architects... while it looks pretty cool, and is shiny and smooth, there are some basic car criteria missing... like headlights. I guess thats what happens when you get an architect who built a firestation too small for the firetrucks.

Check out this page with more info and images.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Joovc Doovde player... please.

This is one of the funniest videos I have seen in a while

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Two more photos of the Mudaritaville carnage.

A fun time was had by all.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Mudaritaville 2007

This last weekend saw Mudaritaville 2007 Mud Volleyball for Epilepsy. It was an amazing event, which sold out this year, for the first time in the 16 years its been running. Our team won only one of the 6 games we played but we had a blast losing... we left before the afternoon session as most people on the team were burnt out by then.

A great time was had by all, and I will update this post, or add another one when the foundation finds out how much help we gave to the cause.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Mystic Venture indeed.

Wow.... what a trip. Alot of people doubted that 4 people who don't know how to sail, on a boat which is completely unfamiliar, for the boats first trip of the season, and in waters completely unknown would live to tell the tale (or write a blog). Not only are we alive, have all of our limbs, and are better friends than before... but we had an awesome trip.

The crew for this journey are some friends of mine whom I met through climbing. TJ (now known as Consonant J), the legendary Aaron Taylor, and Kansas (who laughs in the face of adverse conditions... literally).

It wasn't all smooth sailing, infact, it didn't start out smooth at all. Our first night was spent sleeping in the parking lot of a VW dealer, which bumped our schedule off a bit... but in the end it was a good thing.

We arrived at the boat Saturday night, and proceeded to unload the tons of gear we brought. To set the mood for the trip... Aaron grilled some steaks to perfection, and we opened a specific bottle of wine... which we shared with the transom of the boat in a slightly ritualistic way. This was the first night spent on the boat.

Sunday was spent preparing the Mystic Venture for the journey ahead. We came to her with 7 bottles of wine, and by the end of the day, we were down to 9 bottles of wine... after drinking 3 since our arrival. We put her name on her, filled the galley with necessities, stowed all the gear, cleaned her inside and out, filled the water tank, bought some spare parts, and enjoyed the thought of the journey to come.

Monday was the sea-trial. The broker showed up, and was much less than helpful with the boat. We started the engine, ran her around the river, checking out the electronics, and being sure everything was operating as listed. In total, this "sea-trial" lasted 10 to 15 minutes because he had to get to another meeting... I would not recommend him to anybody.

Monday afternoon, with the right tide, we finally untied the Mystic Venture from the slip she was in, and moved her to the ocean. We stopped for fuel along the way, spending a total of $22 to fill her tank. The first night we spent on the hook in a little cove called Horseshoe Cove in Sandy Hook Bay... its something amazing to be on your boat, on the hook for the first time.

Tuesday morning, the crew and I woke up as early as we dared venture with the light, and made our way north into New York Harbor for the maiden voyage around the Statue of Liberty! Its quite something to cruise your own boat into NY harbor, and up to the Statue of Liberty for her first voyage! It is something that neither I nor the crew will soon forget. We then made our way to Manasquan inlet to spend the night. We sailed for some of this time, but mostly motored as we were heading right into the wind, and needed to make the miles.

Manasquan was not the prettiest place we stayed. We had to anchor in the harbor due to there not being any transient slips open in any of the marinas. We managed to find a tiny cove to anchor, with some help from a local. This "cove" was a bump in a river in the town... it felt like we were in a parking lot, rather than on the water. The train ran so close that the conductors would wave at us... and we could see which color Slurpee people were buying from the 7-11 across the way. Not an ideal place... but it was semi-secure anchorage for the night.

The next day, our plan was to get to Absecon Inlet, the inlet for Atlantic City. We woke a little late, and attempted to do some sailing, even though the wind was against us... which meant we had to do some tacking to make any headway. We headed about 7 miles offshore at one point, to see if we could find a different wind, which we didn't. We ended up not being able to make it the whole way to Absecon, and instead had to stop in Little Egg Inlet. The weather on the way took a turn for the rougher, and we ended up powering through 4 to 5 foot seas... but the boat handled it with no problem. Water came over the bow a few times, and washed over the deck, but I felt confident in the boat the whole time.

There aren't really good charts for Little Egg because the shoaling keeps changing here... which makes it tricky to find a place to anchor. Once in the inlet though, we spotted a couple of sailboats anchored up for the night, so figured that would be a decent place to go. As we were motoring over to them, we noticed a change in the water color likely indicating a shallow spot, but it could have been a current change also (strange currents in some of these inlets). We crept up to it, keeping a sharp eye on the depth gauge... once we realized it was shallow, we put the boat in reverse, and managed to only tap the keel into the sand bottom. There are two types of sailors, ones that have run aground, and ones that will. We spent the night on the hook here, where the boat sat strangely as the current and wind were in opposition to one another.

Thursday, we had to make up some ground... or water, as we were off our schedule some. The weather looked to be a bit rougher, and wetter. We motored for the entire day to make it to Cape May, NJ. The seas were not as rough as they had fore casted, but there was rain... and we had to don our wet weather gear for the first time. We made it all the way to Cape May in plenty of time, where we re-fueled, bought some fresh crab, and then made our way across the Delaware to a safe harbor on the other side. As we crossed the Delaware, we came across a huge pod of dolphins, probably 30 or 40 or so. They were tail slapping, jumping, and playing. We coasted close enough to see them, and they came over to see if they could surf our bow wave. We anchored that night in a beautiful cove, very protected, with only slight current. It was an ideal location... and would have been a nice place to get in a little earlier, and hangout at. Maybe I have to go back another time.

Friday was a day we expected to do alot of sailing. The wind was supposed to shift to a more desirable direction, and be generally nice for sailing. Turns out the wind was very light, so we decided to power on for most of the day... we had a plan of covering 65 miles that day... which is a big day. Our destination was Chincoteague... and I wanted to be sure to make it there before dark, as this is another inlet where local knowledge is needed... and we didn't bring any locals with us. We ended up finding a cool little spot to drop anchor, and had a great evening.

Saturday turned out to be one of the best sailing days on the whole trip. We woke up early, and began our 70 mile journey to Salt Ponds, Virginia, where the boat will be docked for the next several months. We motored for a while, until the wind picked up. Once we had a decent enough wind... I gave the order to raise sails, and we shut down the engine. We sailed for most of the day, mostly running with the wind, but with a few hours of beam reach. I had grown comfortable enough with the boat that I was tuning the sails at the same time as piloting the boat, while most of the crew lounged, read, or made meals. This was the day that made it all worth it... and the kind of day I hope to live again an again. We made port in the evening... crossing the Chesapeake with hardly seeing any other traffic. I was surprised to not see many others out as the wind was great, the water calm, and the sun warm.

The boat is now safely docked in her newest home-port... waiting for Maria and I to take her out. I can not imagine being able to do this without the amazing friends I took as crew... they all did an awesome job, and it wouldn't have been possible without them. My only regret is that Maria was not there for the trip... but, she and I will have many, many more miles in the Mystic Venture.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Island being formed.

I found this while wandering around the internets. Apparently, this couple were cruising the South Pacific, and came across some floating pumice... volcanic rock. Strange... but as they kept moving, they saw smoke coming out of the ocean. When they got closer, the discovered it was an island actually being formed right infront of them. How cool.

So, my question is can you claim it as your own... I mean... just walk up, (or sail, or swim) and stick a flag in it (once it cools off a little)... write the UN, and say...

"Dear United Nations,

I'm Russ, and I just found an island thats not anybody elses... so its mine. I am calling it... Larry the Island. Please send me the papers I need to sign for to be President and Ambassador.

My address is:
King Russ
#1 Main Street
Larry the Island.

Thanks... I look forward to meeting my neightbors, and coming to the UN's yearly ice-cream social for ambassadors. Tell Fiji I said hi when you talk to them... and to send those palm trees we talked about when they get the chance."

Amphitheater... up again.

Just a quick note that the infamous Springboro Amphitheater is re-assembled again. Everyone involved is anxious to see what fails next. Now its my first professionally designed project, first professionally awarded project, second actually built project, first collapsed project, and first re-built again project! Hopefully this is the last time this project gets built... again.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mystic Venture Maiden Voyage - The Plan

Is this crazy?

Next week I will be captaining my new-2-me sailboat, the Mystic Venture, from Fair Haven (sounds like a postcard) New Jersey, south to Hampton Virginia. The trip is 258 nautical miles. I have never sailed before. This is the first time I will have been on this boat. I don't know the area we are sailing in at all. The boat will have been in the water less than 24 hours when we start this trip. My crew has had little to no sailing experience. Oh... and again, never sailed before.

Never mind... I answered that question.

Somehow, I have found 3 friends who are excited about coming on this trip... I even had to turn down several people who thought that this sort of thing sounded fun. I didn't lie to any of them about my experience... and no, they aren't getting paid! Maybe thats crazier.

Either way... this coming Sunday, 3 friends and I are going to cut the dock lines, and begin our 3 hour tour... or I mean our 5 day cruise down the coast to Virginia. The whole trip has been charted, and planned out to the best of my ability... so either this will be a boring trip, an adventure... or some sort of epic, where this blog entry will serve as a court document. I personally am hoping for somewhere between boring and adventure.

Here is a map showing our intented trip... along with where we plan on anchoring along the way. The fish icons just show other areas we can pull into if we need to escape a storm... or each other. I hope to be able to blog along the way... and upload some photos... so stay tuned via the rss or subscription box on the side.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

First Trad Lead

So... I have been climbing for not really that long. Mostly seconding up a climb someone else lead (for those who don't understand... a lead climber takes the rope up with them, clips it into the wall (either a bolt or some device they put there) as they go... its scary and more difficult). I do lead too... when its a sport route (or pre-bolted). This last weekend I did my first trad lead!

Trad is where you take various devices (nuts, hexes, cams, tri-cams... yada yada) and find a place in the wall to put them as you go, so that if you fall, you theoretically fall to where you last placed a piece of gear. This means that you fall on something you have put there... which if you don't have the right thing, or place it badly, then you can fall allot further. Basically... its one of the scariest climbing styles, but can be one of the most rewarding (for me at least).

I have been collecting trad gear for several months now, but it is expensive, I just bought a #4 Black Diamond Camelot... and it was $80 (its pretty sweet)!!! I have seconded and cleaned gear on alot of routes lead by different people, so I could see how they placed their gear. This is a picture of the route I lead, but that's not me, its stolen from Basically... it was one of the scariest climbs I have done, even though its fairly easy. Its rated at 5.4, but that's an old school rating, so my weak self would put it at 5.7 or so. Maybe its easier, but when your freaking out, everything is harder.

I didn't fall, so I didn't get to see if my gear would have actually held. My buddy BJ went up it after me and told me that I pretty much would have died if I fell on some of the stuff I placed... good thing I didn't fall. Some of the gear was totally bomber, some was way sketchy, and some was just not ideal. Guess I need more practice... this is a huge step for me, and my climbing career though.

Oh, and we camped on top of Bed Time For Bonzo again... not a bad place to pitch a tent. The "we" was Maria, BJ, Kansas, Eric, and myself. Talk about an awesome weekend... I think I climbed 6 or 8 routes... including Party Time again, which is always fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I hate the first day of work

Maria and I spent the last week in Belize at my folks condo with them. Oh ya... I am dating a girl named Maria... let me introduce you to her. Here she is standing at the end of the dock... note, this is not a pose, one leg is actually 7 inches longer than her other leg. Don't make fun of her, she's very sensative about it (and when she reads this, I will also have one leg shorter than the other I am sure).

Anyway... we had a swell time. Spent most of the time just chilling out in the sun, fighting a mostly chemical warfares battle with bugs. I did some scuba diving, saw some sweet stuff. There was kayaking, snorkling, fishing, and much hanging out, we spent a day cruising around San Pedro... which is actually not that cool, its very old-folk-touristy... many floral "I'm-on-vacation" shirts. Caye Caulker is much more interesting. Go to my Flickr site to check out all the cool photos. For those who are lazy... there are some below.

Note: Maria shot herself in the head with a beer, thus she ended up a dead body floating in the water.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

14 Years

14 years is a long time to own anything. Yesterday, I finally sold my truck to a buddy of mine (TJ) who is looking to either repair, or to replace her engine.

This was my 2nd vehicle, and I owned her new when I was 18 years old. We had traveled around the US several times... and she kept me safe the whole way, for 200,000 miles. I will miss her terribly.

Good night sweet truck.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Bailey

Bailey's birthday was yesterday... he turned... one year older than he was. I probably should know this... but then, there are alot of things I should know. Here's the birthday boy in Vegas.

Happy birthday Bailey... I miss you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Closing time...

Today, April 11th, is the official day of closing on my boat. Not going to lie... its a bit scary.

Now I just need to get some work done, and find a home for her.

Monday, April 02, 2007

1st weekend of season in Red River Gorge.

This last weekend, a bunch of friends and I went climbing in KY's Red River Gorge. We went down on Saturday morning, early... way early. I was not in the best condition, due to the celebrations of buying a boat the night before. That made Saturday's climbing not so good for me. I felt good until the middle of the first climb... then I was pretty much dead.

We did 3 trad routes on Tower Rock, including the most amazing Arachnid which is an left facing dihedral crack, to a roof, then out to an offwidth crack up to anchors. Awesome. I was pretty much exhausted though, so I was sleeping at the bottom of the route, woke up to do the climb... fell back to sleep when I got done. Felt like a dream, so I like to say I climbed it in my sleep. Ofcourse, I didn't lead, but some day I will. Thats a photo of the route... borrowed from

Sunday was a much better day for me climbing. We went to Pistol Ridge and climbed 3 sport routes (a 5.7, 5.8 and a 5.10a... my first lead of a 5.10!), and a few trad routes. I did not second any of the trad... because I was tired, and do not have good crack skills. We then went to Roadside crag where my buddy BJ climbed the picturesque Ro Shampo which is one of the most amazing climbs. The moves are not hard, about 5.10, but the wall is overhung by 15 degrees... and its pretty long. Then we went down the path for an easier route for me to lead (90 foot 5.8).

Some mexican food and we headed home. People are going to wonder about the scars on the backs of my hands from climbing.

Now the hard work

So... I bought the boat on Friday. Not going to lie... a little scary. Usually the greatest experiences start as being scary.

Guess I should learn how to sail!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Jersey for a few hours

The purchase of the sailboat has been moving along a little slowly... waiting for the weather to get itself figured out. On Monday, I spent the day (a crazy travel day... barely made it there, and then barely made it out) on the boat with the surveyor. It was quite the educational experience.

The boat is a C&C 34, with a centerboard keel, which means the main part of the keel is not as deep as a fin keel, but it has a centerboard which you can lower down for better performance. The advantage of this is the ability to get into shallower areas (she draws 4 feet, instead of the 6 feet of a fin keel)... the disadvantage is performance. Since I do not plan on racing her, I am not concerned about the 1/2 a knot of windward performance loss. This picture shows the system to raise and lower the keel.

The surveyor was generally very impressed with the condition of the boat, and her systems. For being 25 years old, she is in awesome shape, and is very strong. There are a few issues with any boat this age however, some of them being more of parts just worn out, others being about bringing her systems up to code (for insurance) and some things have just broken. There was some water-infiltration around this fitting on the deck, and has infact shown to be leaking into the cabin. The leak has caused a high moisture reading for about 3" or so around the entire fitting, but it does not appear to have weakened the deck much. The leak can be simply corrected by bedding this fitting properly, however, the deck will likely not be able to be dried out significantly.

There were a few stuck sea-cocks, a broken shower pump, and a few minor things. The biggest area of concern for me (however the surveyor did not see it as much of an issue) was that there is some separation in the rudder. It sounds like the fiberglass on the rudder has separated from the core... likely due to water in it. It has not caused it to change shape at all, and there doesn't appear to be much effect on structure of it, from what he can tell without drilling holes.

The sail inventory is impressive. It has a new mainsail, a backup mainsail, 3 genoas (110, 130, and 150), a cruising spinnaker, and a racing spinnaker. Only the 130 is setup for the roller furling, so I might have the 110 cut for the roller furling, but that is something for down the road.

Now I am just waiting for the survey to get back to me... but this is a good boat for her age/price, with some issues that the broker and I are going to have to address to get corrected. The deal is not done yet, as it depends on the survey and a few other thigns.

There is a video below that I shot from the deck of the boat... this will give you an idea of how big... or actually, how small this boat really is. This will be like living in a small New York studio apartment, that rocks back and forth. Its a real paradigm shift in lifestyle if I choose to really go forward with these ideas. I am not going to lie... I freaked out a little thinking about this being my home for the next few years... but I think if I didn't getting a little freaked that'd be bad.

I have decide to name her the Mystic Venture. Mysticism from the Greek (mustikos) "an initiate" is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Venture is a wonderful undertaking, synonymous with Adventure. Thus... the Mystic Venture is a wonderful undertaking to discover the ultimate reality... or maybe just a way not work in a cube anymore.

If you want to keep up with just news of the Mystic Venture, click and bookmark this.

(The knocking you hear is surveyor's high-tech, german engineered, instrument testing for hull integrity)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sailboat update

So... there are some out there asking the stage of the sailboat and stuff... so here is a little update.

Originally the acceptance date was February 24th, and closing date was March 3rd. Before I accepted the boat, I needed to have a survey done, and insurance and financing lined up. To get a survey done, the boat's hull needs a moisture test to determine the integrity of the hull... and the low temperature has to be above freezing for a few days, for this to occur.

Ofcoruse, it has been cold near the boat, but it is warming up... so there is a survey scheduled for next Friday now.

After this, it will be a week for acceptance, and another week for closing... and then I will be a yacht owner. After that... comes the real work.

Before and after

Monday, February 26, 2007


So... I thought I would share something a little interesting with the small number of readers of this blog.

The Springboro Amphitheater was my first project I designed professionally. It is the first professional project I designed to receive a design award (AIA Dayton unbuilt award), and it is the second project I designed to be constructed (first being McCormick building). On Sunday, it became the first project I designed to have a major structural collapse!!! The lower canopy is now sitting in shreds on the stage.

Cause is being investigated... I am sure it will be some time before we know everything that happened.

As Sergio always said... "better to fail spectacularly than to succeed at mediocrity."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Furniture 2.0

Pretty sweet.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Stage 2...

Just a little post to let the readers of this interwebloggy thing know that the seller of the sailboat below and I have reached an agreement on the purchase price of the boat. I now have until Feb 21st to arrange for everything I need arranged, including insurance, financing, survey, blah blah blah... and agree to the purchase.

Its all very cool, and awesome.

She is currently docked in New Jersey... I plan to move her to a more bikini-friendly location this summer.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What parachute?

Life is filled with defining moments. Yesterday was the start of an elongated moment which will last a few months, and propel me into an even longer life experience... perhaps. 3 or 4 years in the making, and I have finally a concrete step towards an idea sparked forever ago... finally made a move towards a personal paradigm shift.

I made an offer on a sailboat yesterday, and I have to say, it feels awesome, and makes me nervous at the same time. Awesome due to finally moving towards the idea I have dreamt of for a long time... nervous because I don't know how to sail.

Here are a few images from Yachtworld's listing of the boat... she is a 1982, C&C 34. C&C changed some interior elements for 1982, which made me think this is the right boat for me. She is a centerboard design, rather than the fin-keel... which means she has a draft of either 4'-0", or 6'-11" depending on board position.

The process will take some time, but by the end of February I should either be taking ownership, or finding something else to consider. There will be some work needed to get done on her... I will be adding a refridgeration unit, possibly a water-maker, and some solar panels.

I will be holding interviews for deck-hands (bikini clad girls get an automatic second interview).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Christmas / New Years slacker...

So, I have not been such a good blogger... or friend. I think the rule is that I am supposed to post some stuff for Christmas, and for New Years... and I didn't. Now that the first month is half over, I will attempt to fix that. As my first offering, here is my nephew's version of Jingle Bells... too cute.

Merry Belated Christmas

More to follow.