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February 28, 2003

Life in fast forward...

This has been a great week. Rock climbing on Saturday, Ice Climbing on Sunday and snowboarding Monday through Thursday. Tomorrow I head off to the Alabama Hills to climb for two days with Bruce and Steve Schnell who's coming up to visit for a week. The snow has been great here with fresh powder runs almost every day. I'm not getting a lot done, but I'm having a good time and that can't be bad, right? Right? I'll write more next week.

Posted by wonko at 05:47 PM | Comments (2)

February 23, 2003

Finally, New Pictures.

I finally got my new digital camera and got a chance to use it. I've posted pictures of rock climbing in the Alabama Hills, and ice climbing in Lee Vining.

Posted by wonko at 09:58 PM | Comments (3)

February 15, 2003

Honesty and Social Expectation

The more I've written in my blog, the more I realize how often I censor myself due to my knowledge of who might read it. This censorship has caused me some grief, however, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I feel guilty for not being completely open because I've always felt I was the type of person that has nothing to hide. The harder something is to share, the more one gains from sharing it though. I often leave out details or don't even begin to talk about things for fear of hurting people who might read this. Hurting might not even be the right word.

It just goes to show the difference between image and reality. But why do we all have this difference between image and us. I think, though I'm not sure, that most everyone has a public face which is different (be it slightly) than their private face. I know others who are able to write much more candidly in their blogs. Is it because they don't care what others think of them, or that the rewards are too great to care. Or is it because the people who they wouldn't want to explain their candidness to do not read their blog. I'd like to be as honest and open as I can... But I don't want to hurt others or hurt others opinions of me.

Posted by wonko at 07:42 PM | Comments (8)

Just Illin...

Sorry there haven't been updates in a while, but I've been uber sick. My temp actually went up to 105 at one point. Not fun. It was bad enough that I went to the Dr... and for those that know me, you know thats bad. He gave me some antibiotics which seem to be working. Its been a strange couple days though, of being super out of it. I kept sweating then getting the shivers and so on. The good news is I'm finally getting better. The better news is, Greg (kasei) showed up last night. Hopefully, we'll have time to chat and catch up.

Posted by wonko at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2003

Avalanche 1

I've just completed an Avalanche 1 course and it was very amazing. It was 3 days long with half the first two days dedicated to classroom work and the rest of the first 2 days along with the entire 3rd day devoted to field work. The class was extremely educational. Now that I know many times what I knew, I realize how little I know. Avalanches are mysterious and scientific at the same time. There are no absolutes, only probabilities. We learned about the different types of avalanches, their characteristics, and how knowing the type of avalanche will help in searches for victims.
We learned about how snow gets layered through a myriad environmental factors as well as some various types of snow grains and what that tells you. We also learned about Avalanche victim search and rescue. We spent a lot of time doing searches with avalanche beacons. We worked on how to organize and carry out a search, probing technique, and dealing with multiple burials including scenarios where victims did not have beacons.
Finally, we worked on how to dig proper snow pits, check for layering, and perform specific scientific tests on how the layers are bonding and whether their bonds will fail or not. We learned the shovel compression test, the rocheblock test, and the schreadblock test. It was an amazing course which just begins to open my eyes to the features of avalanches and how to be safe. I definitely have to read more and, most importantly, practice the techniques they taught until I am comfortable and confident with them.

I've been thinking some more about the idea of becoming a guide. I'm still at the same point, where I believe I should head down the path of learning as much about mountaineering as possible, and if and when I get the adequate skills and experience, I will consider it seriously then.
I've also been having a disturbing thought about whether I really want to be a manager at P3 next season. Its a lot more work and responsibility, with little additional reward. Most of all, getting time off, and/or getting others to cover or trade shifts is a huge pain. Namely because there are only 3 real key people in the store and one of them has to be there at all times. I'm worried that this schedule rigidity will affect my training next year, again with little reward. We'll see though, its a decision that can't be made lightly.

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

February 04, 2003


People often talk about the importance of simplicity in ones life. Sometimes its in a nostalgic sense, remembering how much simpler things were. Most people agree that a simpler life is a better life. We often point to all our modern conveniences and to how much easier life is today with them. I often wonder how many of these advances really simplify our iife, or complicate it. Take an extreme, the car. The car certainly makes it simpler to go long distances. Its much easier to visit distant relatives, and see more places. Its easier to take a vacation. But on the flip side, now that everyone has a car, few people work close to where they live. So a lot of time is spent getting to work and back. So in a utilitarian sense, has the car really simplified our life. Thats not even getting in to car maintenance, payments, refueling etc... There are other modern things which make life simpler with little apparent consequence. Take the microwave. I have a tough time with this one. I hate to cook, I love the microwave. You just heat it up. We're past viewing micro-waving as unhealthy in and of itself. Of course, we eat a lot less healthy now that we CAN just microwave. So we have more time for loved ones because we can spend less time cooking, but we eat and feed our loved ones much less healthy. Its a tough one. Email is another tough one for me. Email has done so much to connect people. Instant messaging as well. I am closer to many people because of them. Its obviously helped society in many ways. But on the flip side, it has dramatically sped up the business cycle, perhaps more than anything else. Documents take seconds to send instead of days and because of that, you are expected to respond in a shorter time. Now, a manager can fire off 15 emails in 15 minutes with tons of work without ever meeting with people, in many ways, reducing communication by removing the benefit of face to face contact and dialogue. I have been thinking on the topic of modernity a lot, without a clear answer. I often think about Tolkien and his view of it. Tolkien vehemently denied there was any message in The Lord of the Rings (TLOR), but if there was, it would be a message of anti-industrialism. Looking at Tolkien's history and the themes in TLOR, it is obvious he believed strongly that creeping industrialism did more harm than good. But you can easily plot many futures which have it going both ways. Automation for example has long been touted as the best and worst thing for humanity. On one hand it elimninates jobs, on the other hand robots can work in much more dangerous environments than humans. Robots can work in the kind of horrible working conditions that humans are forced to work in today. That seems good right? It does to me, but would it just further polarize the classes once most menial labor can be automated? I don't know.

Posted by wonko at 07:49 PM | Comments (4)