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June 18, 2002


The role of unions has changed. Unions used to exist to defend those who did not have enough money and power to defend themselves. Now they exist to defend those whose actions are indefensible.

Posted by wonko at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

Software Sucks even in Utopia

"Why software is so bad ... and what's being done to fix it."

This article also appeared in The Technology Review, but I posted the MSNBC article because of the inherint irony.

The article covers the issue of why software is so flawed and how, unlike other engineering practices, software is apparently getting worse. I could go on about this topic for a long time, being a programmer. At the end, the author seems to not know that software makers are exempt from being sued for defects in their software. Clearly, this needs to change. Almost no other industries have this sort of protection.

This article reminds me why I don't like programming for others anymore. I still love to program, I just can't stand doing it for others. Mostly because I can't handle it to well. I take everything I do personally and want to do the best job I can. In programming, that really isn't an option. Quality comes last, behind schedule, features, and show. Unrealistic deadlines with constantly changing goals are just a few of what drive programmers crazy. Not to mention that fact that all of your hard work is almost always short lived. You're lucky if you're program will be used a year later, if its every completed at all. The above article mentions that 25% of contracted software projects were never completed. As a programmer, you are most often recognized when something goes wrong, not when you've done a good job. Those in charge rarely understand what they are asking for and do not accept technical answers which attempt to disuade them from disasterous courses. In no other industry does middle-management hurt the process more than in programming, because in no other industry are more middle managers as clueless in a situation where central knowledge and control is more important.

Now I'll revert back to my root-of-all-evil talk. I think most people agree that the problems in the software industry are caused by the pace of the pace of the software industry. There isn't enough time to develop good software? But why not? Why can't people just take more time? Greed, money, power, blah blah blah. This all goes back to my theories on why a free, utopian society won't work with humans. I'll probably go into this in more detail in another entry, but basically, its because of the 0 tollerance issue. Free is the keyword above. A society where people self-govern based on utilatarian/community principals... ie. doing whats best for the community. Let me give an example, I'll use a monitary based system in my example, but it works just as well with a barter based system.

Organization A opens in your community selling gardening products. We'll call them Green Gables. Notice I used Orgazination instead of Company (it works either way). Org B also opens up selling gardening products. We'll call them GroundWorks. Org B started to offer better products than GreenGables. GreenGables is now forced to make better products to survive, if they do not create better products, people will stop going there. Thats how its supposed to work. Org C starts a gardening org, we'll call them Soilent Green, but decides to use dishonest practices to thrive. First they defame GroundWorks and GreenGables saying that their products are faulty (which they aren't). Then they claim to be coming out with a new product that will increase gardening productivity by 300%, and works only in conjunction with the rest of their products. Then they lower their prices to below cost. All of this nearly drives GreenGables and GroundWorks out of business. GreenGables, seeing whats happening, realizes that if they don't fight back, consumers will no longer have access to truly quality gardening products, so they bend their own ethical rules to fight back... but its all for the good of the community of course. They too announce a new product coming out which increases productivity, and starts slandering the others. They also start buying cheaper materials so as to compete with Soilent's prices. You see the trend right? Of course the travesty is that GreenGables believed it was acting in everyones best interests the whole time, even when they started making decisions that were not helpful to their consumers.

The scenario above has been seen many times, and I hope we can all agree it has happened and continues to happen in almost all industries. The point in describing it is that it only took 1 organization to throw off said industry. There could have been 1000 gardening tool makers we were talking about and it would still only take 1 to throw it all off. Here's my point. If, by disaster or consensus, we did create some sort of free utopian society where people really did everything based on what was best for the community. And lets say that every single person really did follow this rule. How long would it take for 1 person to show up who was evil. There are evil people all over, no stopping it, there always has been, always will be. How does the community combat it without regulation. Anytime you introduce regulation, you introduce the possibility that an evil person becomes a regulator. and so the cycle continues.

I didn't mean for this discussion on software to go into social theory, but it has. Oh well. I'll talk more about my feelings on this in the future, I'm sure..

Posted by wonko at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Good article on Alaska and Global Warming

"Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag"

(Free registration required)

This is a good article on whats happening in Alaska due to the increasing temperatures. Perhaps the most interesting part was how the people in charge the alaskan pipeline (which supplies 17% of our nations oil) are having to reinforce it because of shifting ice and melting permafrost.

Hopefully you can see the horrible irony in trying to save the Alaskan pipeline from global warming. Its like making sure you're executioners weapon is loaded.

Posted by wonko at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)


I wrote the last entry on oil yesterday, but only now have been able to post it. But I wanted to clarify a couple things. First of all, I don't blame all of the worlds problems on America and/or oil. The current Israel/Palestine problem far preceeds America and oil. My point was merely that America's involvement and the hatred for America was based around the economics of oil and consumption.

Secondly, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe there are any global conspiracies, or trilateral comission, or whatever somehow controlling the whole thing. I believe its far simpler then that. Its just greed for money and power, thats it. There need not be organization.

Posted by wonko at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

Oil for Algernon

I'm sitting in my room at the Oakland Marriott. Tomorrow Sarah will take her board exams. I got to thinking while watching a documentary on the history of oil on the history channel, in conjunction with reading a little from Red Mars. In the book, the teraforming effort is in full swing. What do these two have to do with each other? Quite a lot.

It seems that over time we lose perspective of causality. Especially in todays world we tend to try and treat symptoms more than the problem. Often its just easier to pretend there is no problem, but sometimes the problem is just too far removed. This documentary on oil suddenly put a lot of our current plight into perspective. Specifically the two most pressing issues in our world today and how they are in fact related and may possibly share the same cause. These two things being our negative environmental impact on the world (global warming, lost species, etc..) and the current global/political tensions (ie. 9/11).

The history of the oil industry is quite interesting and I'm sure it fill smany tomes. Particularly of interest is how it was mostly started by America. We pioneered the finding, aquisition, and transport of oil. More importantly, we pioneered most of the ways oil is consumed. The rest of the world just followed. There were a couple things I found particularly intersting in this documentary. 1. Our choice of gasoline to fuel cars. 2. Our self-inflicted need to get oil outside of our country. Lets deal with them seperately.

1. It wasn't random that we chose gasoline to fuel cars, but it might as well have been. Up til the turn of the century, fuel was carosene. It was used to fuel lights mostly. A byproduct of carosene production (from oil) was a crude substance we called gasoline. For the most part, this gasoline was just burned as it was deemed worthless. It wasn't until someone figured out it worked great for fueling combustion engines that gasoline became an important comodity. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if some other fuel had been chosen. It took decades the the modern combustion engine to come into its own, just as it is taking decades for the modern electric car to be developed. If we had started developing alternative (less devastatingly wastfull) fuels for cars early on, who knows where we'd be. Certainly, we might have staved our impending ecological destruction of the planet as it once was. For, it was the combustion engine that really started the entire industrial revolution which was fueled by none other than oil. Which brings me to point 2.

2. Up until the 50s America did not seek out oil from any other countries. We mined enough oil to satisfy our need, thanks to huge oil deposits in Texas and Alaska. Now we can argue that we shouldn't have been using oil in the first place, but that was covered in point 1. Post WWII came an industrial leisure boom, where Americans had more money than ever to spend on ever more wastfull things, INCLUDING, the newly marketed, luxury car. With every American wanting these gas guzzling, tin lizzies, we needed more oil than ever. The problem was, we just couldn't produce enough for ourselves. The topic of post WWII consuption was briefly covered in one of my last 2 entries. I should go on in detail about my feelings of the false American Dream (especially in a post WWII context), but I'll leave that for later. Back to our insatiable need for oil. Where did we look (besides the ocean), the middle east. Prior to this point, we didn't deal with the middle east that much. We did some small time trading with them, but nothing big. We could live without them and visa versa. It wasn't until we needed their oil to keep our country running and they needed our money to keep their boigois comfortable that we began the mutually destructive relationship that has led to what happened on 9/11. Ok, I've made a huge leap there, but I think it follows without missing a beat. Almost all of the middle east's hatred towards us surounds our buttin in to their affairs. If we hadn't and didn't but into our affairs, they'd probably still not like us, but they wouldn't be openly trying to attack us... because, remember, to them, these are not attacks, they are in defense. Defense of us telling them how to live. Whether we're right or wrong is irrelivant to this argument. And our sole interest in the middle east, is oil.

So lets summarize. Had we chosen, or been wise enough to forsee the problems with choosing oil as our fuel dejour, we would not be here. Had we seen the problems with overconsuption and done something about it before needing to strip the world of its oil, we wouldn't be here. Where's here? A world where entire cities and countries are having to abandon their islands because rising water levels are threatening their lives. A world where America believes it is the moral/economic elite and the rest of the world wants nothing more than to be rid of us and shove our elitism back in our faces.

Finally, I want to post the question of whether we COULD have predicted this, and whether predicting it would have made a difference. What DROVE this whole thing. Money. Rockerfeller, owner of Standard Oil was the riches man in America. Many others followed. If there's one thing money CAN buy, its power and influence. Once people saw how much money could be made, no one could stop it. We were ENCOURAGED to consume as much oil, and as much everything we could find, as much as possible. By consuming, we stimulated the economy, making the rich richer, and the middle class richer (via trickle down economics) and the poor... well, they remained poor, only relatively more so. Had we know OIL would cause this much damage, nothing would have changed. By example, look at cigarettes. The 'experts' have known for 50 years how bad it is, but they also knew how much money could be made, and that proved more important.

On a seperate note, I started thinking about how I learn the most by linking things I'm learning that may appear unrelated. This made me think that we should be on the look-out for lessons such as we should have (and be) learning from our consumption illness which has brought about our current pestilance. I am reminded of the NASA programmers who, upon finding a bug, to intensive research into how that bug was introduced in the first place, and more importantly, how it was missed. They use that information to try and find other bugs they may have introduced or missed in similar fashions. We too can learn from our mistakes in this way. Its all probably academic though... few things change.

Posted by wonko at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2002

Life Change Goals

Oooh! Two entries in a day!

Well, since I have a few moments and I'm thinking about it, I thought I'd write down the different aspects of my life I hope to work on once I move. I've always been a proponant of constant self improvement. One should not try and attain some specific level of wellness, so much as be constantly aware and working on things that can be improved. I'm no exception :) Certainly the more hectic life is, the more difficult it is to work on the small things (or big things). But with my move to Mammoth, I'm hoping to have a second chance and start working again on the many things I hope to improve about myself.

1. Constructive Use of Free Time
This is something everyone talks about, but I mean to do :) I need to read more. I have lots of things to read, I need to turn OFF the TV (or better yet, not turn it on), and pick up the books I'm working on. I need to write more (like this). I find a lot of joy in writing. In reality, I find much more joy in reading and writing than I do TV. So as to not be misunderstood, I want to reitterate my position on television. TV is not bad. Its just a medium. It CAN do bad things. From a personal level, what gets bad is ones relationship with the TV. Its easy to just turn it on and not do anything else. So not watching as much TV is another one of my goals.

2. Climbing
I want to start a more focused training program. Up to this point, I've been just doing whatever and its worked very well. But now my improvement is slowing, but I'm good enough that focused training is more fun than painful. I also want to meet trad climbers and focus more on trad and mountaineering.

3. Alone time
I want to spend more time alone. I don't want to spend a LOT of time alone, just more. I like to spend time to just think. Solo hikes and backpacking trips are definitly the way to go.

4. Marriage
This list is not in order, cuz this item should be on top. Sarah and I have had this bizarre relationship for the last 5 years. We've never stopped loving each other, if anything our love has grown, but we just havn't spent much time together in a while. My friend Dennis told me that every few years you have to assume you don't know your spouse and start over. Because as time passes, you develop preconditioned responses to the other person. Over time as your spouse changes, these responses become dated and can actually hurt the relationship. So you need to forget everything you THINK you know about the other person and learn about them all over again. This can be difficult when you think you KNOW that person. Of course, since sarah and I haven't spent much time together, I can't say for sure that I DO know her well. I'm sure she doesn't know me well. I'm confident we'll both like what we find, but its only through effort that we'll find out. This means spending more 'quality' time together. Luckily we're both interested in spending our time in overlapping ways.

5. Friends
I've had unbalanced relationships with friends for a great many reasons. Too busy, too far, blah blah, etc. etc... I could go on about this, but you get it.

6. Health
I need to start eating healthier and treating my body better. More cardio, less junk food.

7. Cleanliness
Sarah and I have been slobs for years. Its time to change that. We just didn't have time to work on cleaning AND spend time together, so we rightly chose to use our presious few moments together. All that should change now that we have more time.

Looking back at my short list. I could spend pages on each of the items above, and there are many more things I left off, or didn't think about in the last 10 minutes. But at least its a start. :)

Posted by wonko at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Posessing Utopia

I haven't written in a while I know. Super busy packing and working. The move is coming up quick. Sarah and I are leaving tommorrow for SF for her board exams. Scary times. I can't wait for a time when Sarah and I can be like a married couple again, as opposed to just roomies. But more on that later.

For some reason I was thinking today about how each generation appears to be more liberal overall than the previous. Especially as it relates to the freedom to do what you want for education and occupation (among other things). You can also lump equality in there as well. Anytime I see a trend thats been going on as long as I can look back and doesn't appear to be stopping, I get suspicious (or at least curious). In my mind, the move towards a more liberal way of thinking as far as parents encouraging their children to do what they want and things like that is a positive move. So does that mean each generation has been improving in this way? Has this trend ALWAYS been happening? So I started thinking about through history to where there may have been a coultural shift in this direction. What I see is a shift around the turn of the century, becoming way more predominant post-WWII (post depression). Prior to the baby boomer generation, there was a practical reason to force your kids into specific fields and force them to work in specific ways. Namely, the need to provide the basic essentials (food, shelter, etc...). Prior to the industrial revolution, one had to work to get food and shelter period. There just weren't as many options for education and occupation. Post WWII that all changed. Our country was prospering and suddenly there were an infinite number of ways to provide yourself with the basic essentials (and then some).

But then I thought of one anomoly (among what I'm sure were many). John Muir. He didn't work hard or need money to survive. He just went out in the woods for months at a time and took care of himself. Suddenly my mind jumped to an ongoing conversation I've had with Kasei about the prospects for a true utopian society. Also in a flash I realized the NEED for classes in our current system. (classes in the cast sense). I don't use NEED in a positive way either. What I realized was that our current society relies on at least 3 classes, lower, middle and upper. A non-manufacturing society only requires 2 and only a system with no money at all could have 1. First lets deal with 2 class societies. In this case, there are the professionals and the workers. The workers do the menial stuff like build the cars, tend the fields, clean the houses, etc... The middle class does the taxes, writes the programs, practices medicine (though they are borderline upperclass). The lower class is needed to do the things mentioned about (unless those things where needed, OR... well'll get to the OR later). Societies that rely on LARGE scale manufacturing (such as any society that needs computers), relies on 3 classes. The upper class, in this case, is the only group that can bring together enough money to fund the initial development of the car, chip, material factories (that the lower class works at.) This would be the case even in a barter system (since bartering is just another form of tender), because the amount needed to barter to build a chip fab plant, for example, would be astronomical. It costs around 2B to build a chip fab plant. Now you can argue that there are really 4 classes, the 4th being an upper upper ruling class, but I'm just generalizing to 3. Middle class has SOME disposible income, but not a lot. Lower has no disposable income, and upper class has unlimited disposable income.

Now I've jumped around a bit here. Let me try and summarize my thoughts. Each generation is more liberal than the last, but it doesn't really matter because it doesn't bring us any closer to our utopian society. Most peoples definition of a utopian society is one without classes. Some people's definition is one without money. I believe you can't have a classless system without money unless all lower class work is automated by machines, and even then the economics of the system might not support it. Further more, you can not eliminate an upper class unless you eliminate the need for large scale manufacturing, such as computers and technology require. Final conclusion, you can't have a classless utopia without eliminating computers and high technology. Which brings us back to Muir. Theoretically, we could all live like Muir (theoretically). In that system, we do not need classes or money.

Lets summarize a differen way... through dialogue. *Liberal - Classes are evil. Why do we need an upper, middle and lower class.

*Socrates - But why do we need classes. What would happen if we all were equally paid for example.

*Liberal - Who would build the cars, houses, and computers? Who would man the fresh water plants and fast food chains?

*Socrates - You're assuming we need cars, houses, computers, and fast food.

*Liberal - But we need a governing inteligencia to create laws that protect whats mine and yours? To make sure the food you buy is packaged correctly and people do not steal your possetions.

*Socrates - You are assuming we need possesions and need to buy our food from super markets.

My little dialogue's conclusion is that posessions themselves require money, require classes and require governace.

Of course, this whole argument makes an even larger assumption (which I've always held). Mankind is unable to deal with posessions without greed. Its our nature to want what we don't have, some more than others. And any system without laws requires EVERY citizen to be a true citizen. Basically and small group can create their own goverment on the idea of 'protection' (ie. the mob). Maybe it wouldn't happen right away, but it would happen. It always does. There are ALWAYS evil people, that will never change. But perhaps there is a way, by removing the need for possessions? In reality, the cats sorta out of the bag. Technology is here to stay. Going back to what I said earlier. Only catastrophe will show us the error of our ways.

Posted by wonko at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2002

Response to Kasei's June 6 2002 blog entry

«Last night I spent up in the hills at Gary's place, chilling with some friends in the pool, and it bugged me. Not the people, or the conversation, but the specific lack of meaning. Or rather, meaning to me. And this is terribly selfish of me, but I've grown accustomed to, thrive on, and almost crave the nights when we sit around and talk. Talk about things that seem important.»

--"orangecreamsicle blosxom"

I too have thought above the above quite a bit. I enjoy almost nothing more than a heated debate about something thats IMPORTANT. Of course, part of relatavistic thinking is acknowledging that whats important to me may not be important to others, and visa versa. However, there clearly is dialogue about topics that are not important. Veg time. Veg time is ok, probably beneficial, but it I still feel the desire for the great debate. The problem is, it doesn't seem like my desire is shared by many others. One theory I had (based on coultural differences I noticed between America and other countries) is that people are so busy, and so wrapped up in the motions of getting by, that they don't have time or energy to even think about things outside of whats imprtant to deal with right now. Even I have been caught in this hole many times. As I said in an earlier entry, when theres always something to do, theres not enough time to do nothing. Its precisely this 'nothing' time, that allows the sort of intraspective thinking and debate that I crave. For, in order to have a debate, one must have ideas. If one never thinks about anything important, or anything outside of their little lives, one has nothing important to talk about. Whats somewhat ironic about this is that its only been for a couple generations that we as a people have been able to NOT have to worry about the basic essentials and deal with real issues as a people. Yet, it was this drive to eliminate the uncertainty of tomorrow that lead us to far in the right direction. Now, we work all the time for things which are not necessary at all. Its almost like we overcompesated.

So I'm moving to a small town (pop ~4500). One of my hopes is that the people who desire to get out of the rat race city life and move up here are exactly the type of people that have time for talk. So far, I've found it to be true. The people up here aren't completely wrapped up in their careers or laidene d with too much to do. They have time for leisure, vegitation, and debate. But the big question is... what will they talk about. Will they have any interest in the great questions and delving into figuring out the human condition, or will talk merely revolve around sports and gossip. Not that theres anything wrong with talking about the latest peak you bagged, or run you nabbed. In fact, the exchange of those types of stories gives me great pleasure. But will conversation ever wander to more intraspective topics? We'll see.

Posted by wonko at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2002

Long Wall Rewards

«There is so much in life one can thieve his way past, can wheedle over with guile and fancy talk, can ride out on the strnegth and toils of others. But not wall climbing. Nobody can climb so much as a single inch of one fo you, so the victory is all yours.»

--"John Long in Big Walls"

As a person who more often then naught gets by with guile and fancy talk, I take this comment to heart. As part of what I was saying earlier about the gained self confidence through climbing. Its one thing to gain confidence through recognition of a job well done... but often I've wondered whether I really had done that much... like when you get huge recognition for something that wasn't very difficult. You'll play along, but its not near as satisfying. Climbing is all you. You either make it or don't. If you do, it was your blood, sweat, and effort that got you there. By no means is climbing the only place or sport that this can be attained. Its just the only one I know intimately. Indeed, mountain bikers, kayakers, mountaineers, runners, all of these people take away similar rewards.

Posted by wonko at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

Foes of Focus

I wanted to expound on something I talked about 2 entries ago relating to the risks and rewards of climbing.
More and more I've been noticing a trend in the worlds best climbers, they all can attain a level of focus, completely blocking out anything else, which enables them to pull off their amazing, and sometimes deadly, feats.
Similarly, a friend of mine once told me about her friend who was a free soloer, meaning, he climbed without ropes or protection. She told me how he could not free solo when he was in a relationship with a woman.
He couldn't even have sex around the time he was going to free solo. The reason was because it complicated things... it put other stuff in his mind that took away from the focus required to do the things he does. I'm only now starting to see the tip of the ice berg on how you train yourself to focus your mind solely on the job at hand.
Attaining this state of focus is an intense experience. Things really are in slow motion. More than that, no matter what situation your in, what risks your about to take, it feels like your on the ground and totally safe. But I've realized something in my mental training. I will never be a great climber like Dean Potter or Both Rodden who can completely clear their minds of everything.
In order to have the focus they require, they can't really have any ties more important they climbing. ie. They can't have anything more important to lose if they got hurt, or wo rse. I on the other hand, am married. Its not so much the responsability of marriage (though I'm sure that plays a small part).
Its just the knowledge of how hurting myself would hurt my partner. That
fact remains a sobering force in my climbing which wix ll forever prevent me
from putting myself in too much harms way. However, this isn't a bad thing. Its a choice I've made. My marriage brings me as much joy as climbing. I wouldn't sacrifice either for the other.
So I may never be as good as some others, but I'll keep trying, keep improving, until it stops being fun, then I'll move on to something else. :)

Posted by wonko at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

When nothing is something

I want to write my thoughts on balance soon, and what I'm thinking about now relates to that... but for now I wanted to talk about always having something to do. From as far back as I can remember, I've always been forward looking and goal oriented. When I say forward looking, I mean I lived in the tomorrow and not the now. It took my many years to realize how unhealthy and unbalanced this was. i
Once I realized the importance of enjoying the now, I stopped taking the now for granted as much, or at least when I THOUGHT I had stopped taking it for granted.
Sometimes, important events which will be remembered for your whole life, are really non-events which in and of themselves would be quickly forgotten. Going to an REI party a couple months ago was just one of those events. What I saw at that party amazed me. It was a group of men and women, sitting in someones living room, listening to music, and talking. Thats all they were doing. Now this alone might not sounds remarkable to you. But it was for me. It was a shock to see such a group doing nothing and enjoying it. I couldn't remember ever having nothing to do. I ALWAYS have SOMETHING to do.
That doesn't mean I'm always doing something important, but because I always feel compelled to be doing something important, I tend not to enjoy it as much when I'm not doing one of the many things on my todo list. Its hard to enjoy yourself when you feel guilty for not doing other things which are more important.
The problem with this attitude is that it makes you miss out and whats going on now. It prevents you from living in the NOW. Once I realized this, did I change? No. Why? I'm not sure. Mostly because I still had a lot of stuff to do. Obviously, some of this is just mental... me just not being able to have a proper balance between work and non-work... but another part of this is that life is just complicated. I'm sure many people out there understand what I mean. Life is so complicated sometimes, its hard to keep a hold of it at all. Its the pressure to keep up something that causes the stress which prevents you from enjoying the now. I'm still not sure yet what to do about this... but what I'm hoping is to simplify life. That seams the obvious way to help this problem. Its easier said than done though.
Our current life wasn't formed in a day... it took a long time for us to become the person we are this moment that does this and that and has these specific responsabilities and priorities. Just as it took a long time to get to this point, so does it take a while to get to the next point. But I have hope. I'm going to just try and take it one thing at a time, one day at a time. Eliminating excess baggage and simplifying life. Because a lot of what worries people on a day to day basis involves the upkeep of things which may never really have mattered. The upshot of simplifying life, is the ability to focus on the things that really DO matter. Life my wife; and my friends.

Posted by wonko at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2002

Risk and Reward: Why I Climb.

I was reading an article by Lynn Hill (famous climber) the other day and I was thinking about why some climbers do such dangerous things. Things which could even result in death. Now there are many types of climbers. Many climbers never really ever put themselves at any risk. Theres nothing wrong with this at all. Why put yourself in more risk than you want? Then there are others who DO put themselves at varying degrees of risk. Most people think its because these daredevil climbers crave danger. Crave the feeling of cheating death again and again... thriving on the feeling of fear. In reality, very few climbers match that description. In fact, most climbers do not like being afraid and in some ways, would prefer not having to skate so close to death. So why then? The answer is in the experience. The rewards of climbing come from the experience, and there are many rewards.
First, theres the focus. In no other time in my life have I been as aware of my mind, my body, and my suroundings then when I'm climbing. I'm not always that focused, and when I'm not, I know it because I tend to climb much worse.
Second, theres the comradery. Intamacy is often used to describe a woman and a man, but the the true meaning of intamacy has nothing to do with whats implied by the context its normally used in. Intamacy between two people is really when two people completely let their guard down and are exactly who they really are. Even people who are completely comfortable with themselves tend to have a public face which is different from their private selves. But two people on a wall together must trust each other with their lives. They must KNOW who that other person is. This tends to bring ones true self out. The friendships one develops on the wall are unlike any other.
Third, theres the personal growth. Facing your fears, believing in yourself, suceeding on your own, these things build charecter in a super accelerated way. These things can be gained through many different things, but not so fast or noticeable. I personally have grown more in one year of climbing then any 5 year period of my life. I've gained a confidence in myself that I never had before. There are many more reasons why I and others climb. But why the risk? With great risk comes great reward.
The rewards justify the risk. So, I will continue climbing in spite of the risk. Of course I try and minimize the risk as much as possible, but its just part of the game.

Happy Climbing!

Posted by wonko at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2002

Here and there...

I'm in Mammoth right now looking for a job. We're moving up in a short 3 weeks. I have a lot to say right now, but don't have time to write it at this moment... maybe tonight. So, to help me remember what I wanted to talk about, I'm going to list the topics. I wanted to talk about climbing, why climb, how to justify the risks, and the idea of fatality being a risk of the sport. This further goes into the topic of risk vs. reward (with great risk comes great reward). I want to remember to write down the story of when I tried rafting in a canal and almost got into a lot of trouble. I also wanted to talk about the concept of relative balance and moderation. I'll probably talk about the above in a couple entries, so basically, this entry is just a waste of your time because it doesn't say anything in particular. Sorry.

Posted by wonko at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2002

The Journey

«At no time are we ever in such complete possession of a journey, down to its last nook and cranny, as when we are busy with preparations for it. After that, there remains only the journey itself, which is nothing but the process through which we lose ou»

--"Yukio Mishima"

I've had a vague feeling lately, which I have been unable to express. For whatever reason, this quote has helped me internally articulate that feeling. The feeling that more often than not, things are out of our hands. We merely believe (perhaps out of necessity) that we are in control, planning the future as a ladder of accomplishments, each built upon a tenuous pyramid of necessary prerequisits, such that if only a few predictions are found to be incorrect, the whole journey ends up going in a different direction, towards a different destination.

However, I do not believe we must immediately assume this to be all bad. Accepting the unknown is not nearly enough. We must invite and embrace the inevitable unknown which will meet, exceed, or miss our expectations. It is not by abandoning expectation that we can find contentment, but by accepting our future, known and uknown.

Posted by wonko at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)