Thursday, May 31, 2007

These pics are from a fellow blogspot blogger.....
Interesting work.
This is my favourite so far...Prophylactic Equine

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Richard Cheese does some excellent "lounge lizard" style covers of recent hits.

The guys over at
Albino Blacksheep have made some movies using his stuff...
P.S. NSFW....


While on the topic, here's two more tunes I found interesting...


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Friday, May 25, 2007

Was talking to a bud recently about Matttracks. Here's a few pics.

Since he drives a Hummer...

They use this thing to test the northern ice roads. If it breaks through, the poles keep it from going to the bottom...

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This is Mount Hood, Oregon. (pic from Google) 11,250ft.

I climbed it yesterday. This shot (also from Google) shows the route.

The photos above also show little snow. We had nothing but snow and ice. The color change denotes where most people rope up for the more technical final ascent.

Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the mountain.

Got to the mountain at 1 am or so after carbo loading on huckleberry pancakes at a mountainside inn, parked in the ski lodge lot, registered, geared up, and began the long arduous march up the mountain, snow cats grooming the ski runs to our left. Our headlamps lit the trail in front of us, we followed in each other's footprints to avoid having to each punch fresh tracks which uses a lot more energy. There were two other three man teams climbing as well, we'd occasionally see their lamps shine as they looked around.

The view was breathtaking. Clear skies, no light pollution, the milky way above us, little wind. Concentrated on finding the ryhthm of pace and breathing that would allow a steady climb.

Got to the upper limits of snocat territory, found shelter from the increasing wind, had a quick bite and a rest, put on our crampons, drinking from our nicely chilled camelbacks.

Here, the terrain gets steeper, kicking your toothy steel front points into the hard snow to get secure footing and make the way a bit easier for your team becomes a necessity. The air is also getting thinner, making breathing while exerting yourself even tougher. My instinct is to push harder, but you can't. Getting sweaty is a recipe for hypothermia later on, and leapfrogging up the mountain does nothing but exhaust you. Pace. Step, breathe, step, breathe. Conversation stops.

Find the groove. I was feeling good. the steady pace keeping me warm, but not overheated, the entire landscape below visible in the pale moonlight, and the spires above becoming brighter and closer step by step. The entire sky lit with innumerable stars. Coming from the city where you can't see the night sky due to the light pollution, it is awe inspiring.

The sky to our right was getting brighter, eventually to the point where we didn't need the headlights. As we continued to climb, I glanced back, and saw that we had a pretty impressive shadow....

Climbing bud Cesar loving it....

As you can see from the pic above, we were climbing diagonally, as a direct ascent is really steep, putting a huge burden on your cardiovascular system and stressing your calves. So, we switchbacked up the glacier, occasionally finding old half buried tracks from previous climbers, which we gladly used, easing the burden somewhat.

The slight smell of sulphur was getting stronger, the winds were picking up. As we neared the crater, clouds rolled in, making it look a lot like....

The little black speck you see is my other climbing bud, John. The rock you can see is Crater rock, The most prominent spire on the face. It looks like a new dome forming, ala Mt St. Helens, but is actually part of the old crater rim. Despite what it looks like, we were going to the right of the rock, making our way to Hogsback ridge in the center of the crater.

We kept going, as the weather called for light transient morning clouds.

No pics from this section, the wind was howling, the air thin, the footing hard and crusty. Adding to the fun was a fumarole belching sulphurous gas, which the wind obligingly blew directly at us, filling our lungs with a mix which was at times I believed contained more sulphur than oxygen. Cesar had some bluish lips, I'm sure mine looked the same. Taking the camera out was not really an option. I can tell you how to simulate it, though. Take a sheet of white paper, close your eyes. Place the paper two inches from your face. Open your eyes. Just like that.

Finally passed the hateful stinkhole, and the sun came out. We were looking up at hogsback ridge. One final grind up the slope and we made it. 10, 500 feet.

Here's a look up toward the summit...

Shows the narrowness of the ridge trail and the cloud conditions pretty well. It's at this point where you trade in your climbing poles for your ice axe, slap on a helmet so falling ice/rock doesn't "crush your head" and rope together, placing your ascenders so you can climb out should you fall into a crevasse. We met a team here, they were one of those whose lights we saw so long ago. They were also huddled on the ridge, waiting for clear skies.

Not much else to do, I dug a shelf to get out of the wind a bit and took out my camera (After John handed me a much appreciated gift - a handwarmer).

Looking back the way we came, you can see the fumes emanating from the discoloured ground at the bottom of this shot...

Here's a self portrait...

Crater Rock from inside the crater...

Unknown to me, the lens cover froze partially shut, giving the following result. I like it, though, it reminds me of the reduced visibility there, both due to the weather and the required goggles/hood/balaclava gear that restricts full vision....
A better shot of my partners in pain....
While we were waiting, we saw a few guided teams come cautiously down from the summit. We asked, they said it was pretty thick up there. You can see how quickly visibilty drops off in this next pic. Somewhere in the whiteness beyond is a trail....
We ended up waiting almost 1 1/2 hours on the ridge. We had one window, but noticed three teams using the trail to descend at that moment. Then, the clouds came back in.

One of the curiosities of alpine physiology is the distinct lack of hunger. You just don't feel like eating, but you must because you're burning a lot of energy both by exertion and just keeping warm. My theory is that the reduced atmospheric pressure causes abdominal gas to expand, fooling the body into thinking its full. (And yes, that gas expansion causes some impressive flatulence. The rule is you don't apologize after 5000 feet.) We nibbled on energy bars and drank, but my camelback tube had frozen solid. Putting a tube of ice next to your warm belly on a mountaintop is not a pleasant experience.

Getting colder, we discussed the options. Being the most inexperienced, I said I was game either way. We communally decided to pack it up and head home.

From 800 feet below the summit.

It was the right choice.

We unclipped from the rope, stowed our gear, and started descending. I like descending. Plunge stepping is a technique where you drive your extended leg into the snow, compressing it until it can bear your weight, the you push off and do it again on the other foot. Fun, and so much easier that climbing up. We caught up to two guided rope teams at the base of crater rock. They were unroping, but were using their crampons to walk back down the mountain. There is however, a MUCH better way.

Glissading. French for sliding. You simply sit on your butt and slide down the mountain. Potentially dangerous, as you can easily gain too much speed, slide out of control and die, you need excellent self arrest skills and the sense to know when to stop.

You use the handle of your ice axe like a rudder/brake, digging it into the snow beside you to modulate your speed. You can also use your boot heels a bit, but you must be careful as catching a heel at speed can cause a tumble, that would be a BAD THING.

You must also be ready to spike in the tip and self arrest if you do get sketchy. We sat and slid.

Passed three-four descending teams and several more ascending teams, I don't know why we were the only ones glissading.

I stopped halfway down to take this shot of Mount Jefferson in the distance...

From this lower elevation you can see the cloud cover just hanging around the top, actually swirling. What did I think?

I was noticing that my climbing partners were sliding longer and more easily than I was. I blamed it on my "larger" size. The real reason? My slippery rain pants were not up to the task, and had given up.

I think they'll sell on Ebay. No wonder I had more severe "frozen butt syndrome" than usual.
The snow was wet and thick nearing the bottom, too soft to glissade. I was wishing for my snowboard, I think next attempt I'll bring it. We finally hit the parking lot, stripped down, than looked up....

Yep. Two hours after we left the top the cloud cover BROKE. Oh well, thats life on a mountain. Still, coming down was the right decision. The snow gets soft midday, increasing the chance of slides, and it packs up in your crampons, turning them into dangerous mini skis. Not good.

Our team....
We stopped at the same little inn/restaurant we'd eaten at 12 hours before, demolished the biggest burger they had (the Manburger -1/2 pound of beef), and traded off driving for the long ride home. Called our respective s.o.'s . Reported we'd tried, but not summited, but were alive and coming home.

Driving home, we rounded a turn, an Hood took one last opportunity to mock us....

Yep, that cloud sliding away from the mountain, leaving it crystal clear.

We'll be back.

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Theme - Odd animation.

First, The ChubbChubbs...(5:27)

Now for something completely different...Rabbit (8:20)


Found a site recently where people document their experiences with various psychoactive substances, For the most part an interesing read, but be aware it's mostly teens in their "trying things out" phase, so the writing, descriptions, and perspective are often skewed.

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Hallmark, of all companies, has some moderately amusing e-cards featuring Hoops and Yoyo.

Send a card in Russian, or just an anytime card, or like one of my favourites...

Happy Sunny Day.

All the Hoops and Yoyo cards can be perused Here.


Some odd glimpses into life from over at...SaintGasoline.


Use Google to find free MP3's....

Many people have libraries of tunes online in their own directories, being creative with Google's advanced search looks for these.

Copy and paste these modifiers into the search bar, replacing artist or song with whatever you want.

inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “artist or song”

Have fun.

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A work buddy and I were discussing his upcoming ski trip, he's going with a group called Sounds like a huge amount of fun. Th4ese are pics from their site of assorted trips.

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You know that annoying seatmate?

Here's a funny little skit you can act out to entertain them.

1- Open Your laptop.

2- Type in this address..

3- Silently raise your head to the sky and close your eyes, then hit the "go" button.


Share a laugh with your new friend.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Exit Interview.

That's all I'm saying.

Read the whole thing

by clicking here, of course.


You know how your Mom always said not to splash in puddles....yeah, like that. But better. Much better. Go Here for the full pic series.

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Y'all watch this....(4:33)

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Your tax dollars at work.....

Shaken, not stirred: bioanalytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis

C C Trevithick, research assistant, M M Chartrand, research assistant, J Wahlman, research assistant, F Rahman, research assistant, M Hirst, professor, and J R Trevithick, professor

Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C1

Read the whole text Here.

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Where's my flying car? Here you go....