October 31, 2007
By 8:00 in the morning we were in Antigua, the old colonial capital of Guatemala. We stayed in a hostle, like proper backpackers or something. Next to Jacob is Rune, he was on the Tikal tour and said he thought we were dicks when he first met us. Like I said, we were having fun, not allowed. But I think he changed his mind, we weren't dicks, just fucking idiots. Rune's been traveling for a while, check out his blog if you care.
Time for plan two. We took a shuttle to Pacaya to see some lava. I think Volcanoes are cool, I'm probably the only one. Our bus driver was like Mad Max, don't let that smile fool you, tough as iron. There were all these kids selling walking sticks at the bottom, but they take them back when you get down like little fucking indian givers. My favorite one is hot with eye shadow and lipstick. I predict a great future in a bus station.
I'm like the naked chef or something, getting back to basics. And by basics I mean lava. These were probably the best eggs I've ever had, what luck considering I kept getting burned by molten rock. I'm the extreme cook to the maxx. I carried that damn frying pan all the way from the states, but that apron is pure Guatemala.
This was our crew, people picked up like it happens on trips. I was too close to the lava, which is hot by the way. Then once again, a sunset. If only they had some SoCal smog to make those colors more vibrant.
We got back late, drank a bottle of baijiu, the next day I bought a wooden snake, and then a flight to the states. 3.5 days that I didn't have to waste, with money I didn't have to spend. I hope this wanderlust leaves me some day. Or maybe I don't. I'm really not sure.
October 30, 2007
I feel like I'm in a cage here in Riverside - I had to get away. So I absconded for a weekend with Jacob, a weekend in Guatemala. A red eye flight got us to Guatemala city, then an eight hour bus ride got us to Flores. Twenty minutes later we had it all squared away, a plan where none existed before.
We woke up at 3:00 and got on a shuttle to Tikal, some old ass Mayan ruins. As the sun rose over the jungle, the howling monkeys came out with a vengeance, with shouts that echoed off of the decaying temples.
I borrowed a decent camera and Jacob rented a lens for it, I think the whole set up was worth nearly $4,000, decent. A list might be in order. I pinched the ass of a hot little tarantula but not in a sexual way, I did some posing, and Yolanda walked up some stairs. We met her at the train station and she knew enough spanish to figure out that the chick next to us didn't need to be saved from the old man hitting on her. Who gets a prostitute at 7:00 in the morning? Aren't whores like beer, best to wait till after noon?
I had to climb it - they are tall, I'm a climber. Many were too decrepit to touch, but there were those few that are in good shape. I had to climb it. Fuck the stairs.
Like anything else in life, ruins get boring too. So Jacob got some hops and I climbed the few solid structures I could find. We got yelled at a lot by the workers, apparently having fun is illegal in Guatemala, so it basically felt like home. No one on the tour liked us, we weren't nearly morose enough.
Final shot - the sunset in Flores. Night to light then light to night, I don't do that often. Jacob and I went through 6 liters of beer before peacing on an overnight bus. Back down south.
October 24, 2007
October 23, 2007
SoCal is burning up - reports put the displaced between 500,000 and a million people. I really can't count that high, but I assume a million is larger than ten, the number of fingers I have. Wait, I can actually count to eleven, but it's still got to be bigger.
Jesse was forced out of Irvine by the smoke and slept on my floor last night after a marathon grading session. His kids get to answer a creativity question on their exams, update an ancient myth to a modern setting for a Hollywood film. I'd cast Leonardo DiCaprio as Icarus, a troubled teen from a broken home. If only someone can dispel his demons to find the young man inside. But then comes Prometheus (John Travolta), a gunslinger displaced in time, come to the future to save himself from the past he can not escape, even if it destroys us all. Only one man can stand up to him: Gilgamesh, played by Kate Blanchett, because you see Gilgamesh is really a woman who has been living a lie, a lie that weighs her down like the pendant she holds in her tired hands as she cries herself to sleep. Then Icarus flies too close to the sun and dies.
Times like this make me wish I could make some sweet biblical references to the folly of man's hubris, but all I have is this video. Something about it seems inappropriate given the circumstances, but by inappropriate I mean perfect. I've got a feeling our war would make it into Billy Joel's list if he ever gets out of his drug stupor and updates his song.
October 22, 2007
Since Riverside is a shit-hole, I had to get the hell away for the weekend. Yosemite was the place that found me. Saturday happened some bouldering with Justin, Peter, John, Shannon, Vicki, Taylor - like a Davis reunion or something. Things were tired on my end, so I took it easy. But baijiu came out in the evening, and I'm pretty sure I saw some head-butting, the baijiu rage speaks. I had to leave the bottle with Justin, I think he's found a new friend.
Sunday was the big one. Alex and I did Lurking Fear, that pink line on the far left of El Cap. The rig goes free at 13c, but we were french freeing it for the speed. 10 hours and twenty pitches, then the summit. And let me just put this out there: "aiding sucks." That's the moral of the trip. It's slow and miserable and not any fun.
While driving in the valley I saw a little black bear cub, and all I could think about was shooting it full of tranquilizers and cuddling with it in my arms. Where's my ketamine at?
I leave you to ponder this. I'm not sure either. Something about it is christ-like and something about it is gay. Here we go, the pose and Alex, in that order.
UPDATE: One final shout out to Alex for freeing the Salathe, linking the headwall. Sweet.
October 14, 2007
The run down today, a list: studied in the morning, ran up a big hill, climbed a fucking mastodon, ran back down the hill, drove to the quarry, climbed 11 pitches by headlamp on a garage sale rope, spotlighted by a ghetto bird, pulled over at a traffic stop, nearly shot by the cops while being frisked, ate a burrito.
Check out how shitty that dinosaur is. Rusty sheet metal, glad I've got my shots, a superman of sorts. And then there's the smog. SoCal is rad.
The cops had me on the ground, nearly in cuffs and called for the passenger to get out. Jake was trying to eat a burrito, and didn't want to get shot, so he yelled back that he was going to put the burrito down. The cops couldn't hear him, so hands on the guns till jake finally opened the door. I guess he found a place to put it.
My rope was a gift from my aunt who found it at a garage sale. Good enough for me. When you've got to choose between two devils and you know one of them is total shit, sometimes the unknown is worth it. I need to throw away all of my climbing gear, my old rope has about 40 meters left, duck tape is an integral part of my harness, my draws are over 12 years old, and of course my shoes have holes. I feel like a climber out of a dickens novel. Gear for the poor gov'na?
October 07, 2007
Some news from all over. Spending the weekend in Vegas to do a little climbing, some going outing, some studying, some ditching Riverside. Yesterday I did an endurance day at the gallery, over 12 pitches, halfway there to the top of Lurking Fear on el cap. That climb is going to be brutal. It doesn't help my psyche that I don't think I even finished anything yesterday, it was more like falling than climbing.
The reason for the poor performance, lack of sleep. I got suckered into teaching at 7:00 in the morning on thursdays, and since I don't sleep till 3:00 I wasn't left with much time to turn off. But my kiddies are great, all business majors that get my advice on business ethics. Looks like we're all a bunch of suckers. I don't know anything about business or ethics.
I need to figure out my students, so I asked them all to say their name, major, year, and something interesting about themselves. Typically it goes something like: I'm annie, this is my third year as a business major, and something interesting...I have three cats. But occasionally it isn't boring. One girl introduces herself: I'm Jamie, I'm a second year, a business major, and my mom almost had an abortion with me. That's to a teacher she doesn't know, in front of 25 students she doesn't know. It made for some awkwardness, but what do you say? That's intense. Next.
Free scotch at the casinos last night. That's suits on the strip. There's only one way to drink scotch.
October 01, 2007
I used to think my heart was a frozen wasteland - devoid of flora, fauna, and love. Then I saw Justin cradling a baby black bear and it all just melted. That is so fucking cute. It gets even better. The bear was drugged so they could tag it, so its little head was rolling back and forth in a super cute way because of the tranquilizers. Ooooooooo I want one! I want a black bear now daddy! They probably get bigger and less like a ball of fur though, don't they? Can I lease one? Cuddle with it until it gets big enough to maul me and then release it back into the wild of SoCal.
The picture comes from Justin's blog of course. He's my hookup in the Yosemite Forest Service, so if anyone needs, I don't know, help tracking a large animal, let me know and I'll see what I can do. He owes me a few favors; being a philosopher has its perks.