tiger_spot: (sword)
Today I am thankful for my climbing gym. We took Morgan this afternoon, and they gave her a harness to try out even though she doesn't weigh enough to reliably come down when slack is given in the rope (it's okay, she wasn't climbing any higher than our heads anyway, so if she'd gotten stuck we would have been able to pull her down). A most excellent time was had by all, and Morgan leaned valuable lessons about things that are both scary and fun.
tiger_spot: (sword)
It's been a while since I did a climbing post.

Today I climbed things! Most of them were 5.11s! I feel fantastic! (Endorphins do things to your brain.)

I am really happy that I am back up to pre-baby climbing level and improving from there. I was worried for a while.

My life is so ridiculously awesome I cannot even tell you.

Imma go eat ALL THE PROTEIN IN THE WORLD now.

And then go hiking!
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
Friday night, a kid climbing the crack wall did a hand jam incorrectly and got himself stuck. They had to send up a staff member with a bottle of soap to slick things up enough that he could pull his hand free, and in the meantime he was in pain and also really freaked out.

So if you are climbing cracks, don't double your fingers over (as if you were signing the letter E in ASL)! It is a Bad Idea.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Today I went climbing for the first time in four and a half months. Boy, I needed that.

My unhappiest parts are my toes, which got unused to climbing shoes, and the skin on my fingers, which got unused to belaying. Calluses... I remember those....
tiger_spot: (Venus)
All last week, I was felled by Horrible Disease, so I did not get to go climbing at all. Today I am better, so we fixed that. While I was sick, my new full-body climbing harness arrived, so today was the first day I got to try it out.

I like it; it's not very comfortable to be lowered in, because the top part is quite loose[1] and therefore kind of wraps up around the sides of my neck when all my weight's on the rope, but it's definitely better for climbing and belaying right now than my regular harness. Whoo, no waist strap! I'm freeeeeee!

I was a little dubious about the fit, so when we got to the gym I asked the folks at the front desk to help me check it, and they got me sorted out and reassured me that the loose parts in the back were okay. And then I had my first instance of someone who had not explicitly verbally been informed of upcoming baby asking when it's due, because there really is only one reason to switch to a full-body harness in the gym.


[1] I had to get the larger size because of my thigh circumference, but every other part of me is smaller than the manufacturer expects given that measurement.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Yesterday, I warmed up on a 5.10c. (I had to cheat on one move -- I don't know what the story is there, because the angles just don't seem to work out without being a few inches taller, and they're usually good about keeping things possible for the under-six-foot crowd. Maybe a hold got turned; if that right handhold had been sideways instead of straight up it might have helped.) Then I climbed a couple 5.10ds, and a 5.11a, and a couple more 5.10ds, and finished off with a nice new 5.?, which turned out to have a broken hold and should have been labeled 5.PAIN because (later, after the broken hold) it violently separated part of the outer layer of my skin from the underlayer, so my index finger has a really nasty red blister thing and I had to tie my shoes mostly one-handed and get Andres to take the wrapper off the straw for my milkshake afterward. But I got to the top, so I feel very accomplished.

Getting up this morning I felt about 100 years old, but the stiffness is improving now. My hand is better too; as I predicted, now only the blistered part hurts when prodded and the rest of it has settled back down into being skin.

I retain the accomplished feeling, and I'm very curious about what they eventually rate that sucker.
tiger_spot: (Default)
I have been up to everything lately. Here we go:

Friday was headlamp climbing at Planet Granite. This is an event where they turn out the lights and have you climb with a headlamp. It is difficult, especially on some of the more challenging routes where to keep your weight pointed in the right direction you need to know where you're going next.

There was also a costume contest, which none of us entered. Most of the costumes were not particularly climbing-appropriate, so we thought of ones that were, which we might use next year if we feel like it: Peter Pan, any superhero, a telephone lineman, James Bond, a spider, a piñata (I thought of that one watching [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b get lowered from one of the really overhanging routes).

A few of the routes had chalkbags full of candy secured at the tops. I think they should do that all the time.


On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses, [livejournal.com profile] suzanne, and I went to some friends' Gothic wedding, which was great fun and very them. Lots and lots of people had cameras, so I assume pictures will be turning up on the Internet soon, and I can point you to them then. It was a visual spectacular! (The cake was really good, too.)


On Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I joined some friends to watch the San Jose Stage production of Cabaret. It was awesome! It's an intimate little theater, so there are no bad seats, and the entire cast did a wonderful job. Usually I would pick out particular performers to praise, but really everyone was great. Actually, I will single out the actress playing Helga, who also played the piano for the entire show and helped conduct. That was impressive and seamlessly done.

Later, we went to a Halloween party, which was also good fun.


Today [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00 and I took Galen up to Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, which has an off-leash area. We spent about an hour meandering around the off-leash loop. Galen had a good time checking out bushes and climbing over rocks and things. We found a random dilapidated staircase up the side of a hill, and he charged straight up it with great enthusiasm once we decided to go see what was at the top (nothing obvious, just some smaller, less official-looking trails). When we started out, he kept quite close to us and stayed on the paths, but by the time we headed out he'd used enough of his brain that he was kind of wandering off and getting more easily distracted by lizards and things.

On the way up to the off-leash part, we passed only two hikers, neither of whom had a dog, so trying it out on a weekday worked perfectly. I suspect it may get too crowded for Galen to be comfortable or safe there on weekends, but I will definitely go back when I have random weekdays off.

On the way back down, we found a car key lying in the middle of the trail. We took it back to the parking lot and tucked it under the windshield wiper of the car with the matching brand name. I hope the owner didn't get too stressed out between realizing it was missing and getting back to the vehicle.

Miscellany

Oct. 14th, 2011 02:46 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
We have entered the dark time of year.

Lately, I'm getting up on train-catching days before the sun is properly up and biking home in the last little trailing bits of sunset. That means it's time to start buying my lunch more often, so I can take it out to the park and soak up some sunlight while it's there.

The other day, I went and bought lunch at the Indian place around the corner from my office, as I often do. However, it was cloudy and yucky out, so instead of taking it to the park I sat at the counter and watched the kitchen go. I knew the place was busy, but I hadn't realized quite how busy. I was really impressed watching all the various cooks zooming around doing six things at once, fetching and patting and frying and passing things off to other cooks and plating and serving and generally doing the well-oiled machine thing. An overclocked well-oiled machine.

One advantage of getting up before sunrise is that I cannot possibly be woken up before the alarm by the chickens or wild birds or anything, because nothing whatsoever is stirring out there. The chickens have been slow with egg production lately; Norska and Phoenix are both molting, so they're out of commission for a while. I may give in and buy store eggs again to support my ice cream creation experiments / late-night chocolate cake needs. (The five-spice syrup, by the way, worked stupendously. Piña colada next!)

***

Lunch today was exciting. I made a new recipe, kale bread, which is a fried Indian flatbread with kale, coriander, and chilis in it. They came out fairly tasty, although next time I am going to knead by hand, not using the food processor, because the food processor isn't really big enough and just makes a mess to clean up. Also I put too much water in, so the dough was really sticky and had to be overfloured to work with properly. As a proof-of-concept they worked, but I think I can make them better next time. [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses helpfully fried them for me while I was finishing up the rolling and making a salad to go with them.

After the frying was done, the pan got a little overenthusiastic and set off the smoke alarm, which set off the dog, who remained agitated for quite a long time. One of the other alarms decided that ten minutes after the first one had gone off was a good time to start beeping for a battery replacement, which I'm sure reassured the dog not at all. He decided, after the beeping had in fact stopped, that the best thing to do was let himself out the front door. After being retrieved, he tried the back door (open to the screen to let out the smoke, so that one was easy). After being retrieved from there, he was not any happier about existence, and kept running around whining like something was making a noise I couldn't hear, although none of the other alarms were beeping or anything. After I sat out back with him for a while, he calmed down (and did a great job ignoring the chickens). Sunlight is magic, I guess.

***

I have noticed that some of my shirts are fitting differently in the arms and shoulders lately. I can only assume that I'm putting on muscle from climbing. In the abstract, this is good, but it is making it even harder to find shirts that fit, which I frankly didn't expect was possible.

Clearly I should only wear tank tops from now on.

***

The other day, coming home from the train station after Sociological Observation Shopping[1], part of my rear bike light fell off. I didn't realize it at the time -- I thought the noise was me running over a plastic cup or something of that nature. The next morning I checked the spot where the noise occurred (in the park) and found the light cover and the batteries. I reassembled the light and continued on my way. Unfortunately, the cover fell off again later in the ride, and before I could safely retrieve it a great big car ran right over it and pulverized the poor thing. (I did manage to get the batteries, which had not been pulverized.)

So now I have a nice new rear light. The screws holding it to the rack don't want to go in very far, so I'm a little concerned about its stability, but it seems to be doing okay so far.

[1] Sociological Observation Shopping is like shopping, but without the expectation (or in this case the fact) of buying anything (well, lunch and cream puffs, but those hardly count). It's much less stressful than the other kind. Oh, and we went to Paxton Gate, which I will have to take my sibling & sibling-in-law to if they ever come visit, because it is awesome. I wanted to buy them this lamp with chicken feet and a sort of bathysphere aesthetic and an anglerfish/lotus flower thing on a stem and a tentacle, but it was too expensive. (Aha. Not this one, but a similar one.) The website looks all respectable; this is a lie. The store is full of disreputably alarming things like mouse skeletons dressed up as cherubs and taxidermy unicorn heads and bowls full of penis bones and strings of dried pufferfish. Occasionally you get this feeling like you're being watched, and of course you are, by six things that have been dead for years and have their heads swapped around on the wrong bodies.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Went climbing yesterday.

Have this to say:

ELEVEN!

Ha!

[livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b made fun of my victory dance. :P to him.
tiger_spot: (Default)
I went climbing Wednesday and climbed many difficult things, leaving interesting new parts of my shoulders sore today. So my plan for today's climbing was to do easy things.

I was bad at following this plan... but very good at climbing. 5.10d! Go me!

(I really need a climbing icon. Somebody remind me to bring my camera next week.)
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
We climbed a long time this evening. I climbed many wonderful things, including one spot where I'm not sure whether the move I tried actually worked or whether I found some kind of clipping error in the physics engine of reality.

It turns out that Z Pizza is not, in fact, open after 10:00 on weeknights. Pho Hoa, however, is, and has a perfectly acceptable vegetarian pho. It also has many interesting beverages, including salty plum soda and various fruit smoothies. The smoothie flavors include jackfruit, avocado, soursop, and (drumroll please) durian.

Of course I tried the durian smoothie. Andres says it smells (and tastes) like something out of the compost bin; I think it tastes rather garlicky, with a sort of fruit aftertaste as the garlic fades. The trick is not to inhale while you're putting it in your mouth. I probably won't order it again, but I'm glad I tried it and I finished the whole thing.

I'll have to try soursop next time; I'd never heard of it, but apparently it is in the same genus as the cherimoya, and the cherimoya is a most excellent fruit which I recently had the pleasure of sampling for the first time. Cherimoya is strongly reminiscent of jackfruit (also tasty), with a kind of banana-pineapple thing going on. I bet it makes great smoothies.

Level Up!

Mar. 18th, 2011 11:06 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
Tonight I climbed a 5.10c! (Two of them, actually, but for the second one I leaned on the rope a bit toward the top. I should be able to do it properly next time.)

Then I bounced around and was gleeful about it for a while.

And I talked [livejournal.com profile] chinders into making custard! Huzzah!
tiger_spot: (Default)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00 and I biked over to Planet Granite for our round of climbing. [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b drove, with the bike rack, in case it rained or we otherwise wanted to bail, but it didn't actually start raining (although it looked like it was going to), so we went ahead and biked home, too.

It takes a while, so I don't know that we'll be doing it very often, but it's a nice ride.

(Also I climbed a bunch of 5.10bs and scraped up my elbows something fierce.)
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
We have entered that unpleasant time of the year in which I both get ready for work and come home from work in the dark. The cold, damp, unforgiving dark. I don't like it.

Must remember to go take my lunch to the park more often when I'm up at the office. Midday sunlight is not everything, but it's helpful. And speaking of sunlight, I have been a total hermit lately and should cut that out, so if you invite me to anything with sunlight in it, I will most likely take you up on it unless I'm working. Possibly things without sunlight, too, if they happen at a time when there is not otherwise sunlight to be had.

Today I am suffering what appears to be a repeat of the same cold I had earlier this month. This time I am resting the first day I feel sick, instead of trying to bull through to meet clumps of deadlines and falling over ded towards the end of the week. Maybe it will go away faster. Maybe not. In either case, I don't have nearly such a severe case of Urgent Deadlines Only I Can Meet this time, which helps with the resting.

In the opposite-of-resting corner, we the humans of the household have taken up indoor rock climbing. [livejournal.com profile] chinders started going with some of her friends from work, and sort of talked the rest of us into it. The first time I tried it, I got very freaked out about the part where you get lowered from the top of the wall instead of climbing back down, but having done a couple practice falls from much lower down, I don't mind it nearly so much now. (This was a useful lesson from teaching Galen how to freak out less about other dogs -- work under threshold. If you are already having the freaking-out reaction, no learning is taking place, so get comfortable with the troubling thing at a low enough level that you don't freak out, and then gradually you can handle higher levels without freaking out either. On our first recent rock-climbing trip, I did a lot of under-threshold practice at trusting the harness and belay system, and what do you know, it turns out to be pretty trustworthy.)

Speaking of the dog, he has a new adventure too. The two of us signed up for a beginning Rally Obedience class, which should serve many useful functions. I'm getting out of the house (see also, total hermit), the dog is getting an interesting mental activity (he loves classes; he doesn't always have the endurance to pay attention for the whole hour, but he always has a great time for the first forty-five minutes or so), and we will both learn many useful things about heeling. I was also thinking it would be useful for Galen and I to have an individual bonding experience -- this appears to have been wildly more successful than I was hoping, as he is under my desk right now, and has been otherwise lurking about much closer to me than he usually does, after just one class. Very odd. All his previous classes have been attended by all three humans, but [livejournal.com profile] chinders is taking a computer science class this semester and has No Extra Time, and [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b is hard to wake up before noon on weekends. Or weekdays, really, but especially weekends. The only other people in the class are a couple and their two Akitas, so we'll be getting lots of personalized attention.

There are some aspects of the class I'm less sure about. It meets outside, in an area at the Humane Society Silicon Valley's new complex that turns out to be directly adjacent to the large dog side of the dog park. During the first class last weekend, it rained on us the entire time, which made poor Galen terribly unhappy but also meant there were no other dogs running around being distracting. If Galen can cope with other dogs over there, it'll be really excellent practice at ignoring them, but assuming the weather is better this weekend (cross fingers, but the prediction doesn't look good right now) the presence of running dogs on the other side of that fence is going to be one heck of a challenge. I was concerned about the new location itself being distracting, but after the first lap around the fence, during which he acted like he'd never heard of heeling, he realized we were Doing Things and treats could well be involved and started paying attention. So that's all right. He refused entirely to lie down, but I wouldn't lie down on wet artificial turf either so I cannot blame him. We did the down exercises with a sit instead, and then tried them at home once we were both dry and warm and happy again.

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