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April 30, 2003

Perfect Day

Today was probably the most perfect snowboarding day I've ever had. It snowed heavy 2 days ago and so few people are up here it STILL isn't tracked out. We got run after run of fresh powder on a perfectly sunny spring day. You could see all the surrounding Sierras with unlimited visibility. Later in the day dark clouds rolled in over most of the surrounding peaks, but still didn't seem to affect lower visibility. Rode with Rusty, Tom J. Doug, Steve C., Brad from Nitro and others who I'd meet up with then lose throughout the day. Mostly rode with Rusty and Tom. Started taking more cornice drops and natural rock drops today, feeling more comfortable than ever before. I was able to keep up with Steve C. and Rusty all day even though they're way more seasoned of riders then I am. For the most part I took all the same drops and jumps they did and mostly matched their speed. I felt totally comfortable doing it too. There were lots of great stories, and 'incidents' today, like Steve C. going to the hospital to get stitches in the gash that brads board laid into the back of his leg, but in the end it was near the perfect day.

Posted by wonko at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 28, 2003

Jobless and Hopeless, Many Quit the Labor Force

This NYT article (on Yahoo News) confirms what I've been questioning for quite some time. Our 'unemployment rate' is slightly skewed since it only considers unemployed people who are actively looking for a job. The problem is, a lot of people have given up looking for a job and started looking at other options. Many have stopped looking for a job to stop the hemorrhaging of their self esteem, choosing to wait out this 'dry spell', believing the economy has to turn a corner at some point.

One man said, "The economy has sideswiped me." I found this comment very revealing as I'm sure a majority of the people who were negatively affected by the downturn felt the same way. What that implies is that people thought things would just keep getting better, or at the least, stay the same and spent their money accordingly. More so now, then in any prior American generation, there are no financial guarantees. You really do have to minimize your guaranteed monthly expenditure in case something else unforeseeable happens. Its like all of us younger, middle-classers have to start thinking a little more bohemian, which is probably good anyway. Its all about the necessities, with a very narrow definition of necessity. Its also about making sure you're enjoying life now. Things will get better and then change for the worse again, such is the way of things. The only thing you can count on is uncertainty. We need to learn to structure our lives so that it is not heavily affected by economic upswings and downswings. I think we'll all find this leads to a more self-sufficient, satisfying life overall anyway. With the exception of peer pressure. There will always be those around you that put you down for not having nice things. There is a good friend of mine, who agrees with me about not needing much of what society says. His wife agree(d|s) as well. But her friends keep bugging her about how her husband isn't making the big bucks yet, providing her with a nice car, house, clothes, etc... Its tough on her to fight this constant bombardment of criticizing her chosen way of life. This may sound like I'm talking about myself, but I'm not. My wife and I continually agree on this topic.

So what now?

Posted by wonko at 05:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Shasta Postponed

Well, it looks like the weather outlook for Mt. Shasta is not conducive to a successful climb. We're postponing our trip temporarily. Hopefully we can do it within a week or two. I think its important for Bruce and I to do some difficult trip before Rainier so we can get a better feel for how we work together. Rainier will require excellent group dynamics if we are to succeed and be safe.

Posted by wonko at 01:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2003

Me 2.0

So I finally redid my site. Please check it out and tell me what you think. I also have a new About Me page with impressive RandomPic®

Posted by wonko at 08:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2003

Nuclear Weapons: What you don't know, could kill you.

I just watched The Core and realized we really DO need Nuclear Weapons! I'm no scientists, but all of the recent movies where we use nuclear weapons to save the world made me realize. While they have the potential to kill millions, and probably will, what happens if we get rid of them only to find out we needed them to save the world? What would we say then? So kids, before you go off and join green-peace, trying to save the world through nonproliferation, remember isn't the death of millions a small price to pay to save the world?

Posted by wonko at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 24, 2003

Pondering The Hours

I just watched the movie The Hours. Besides all the trouble we had watching our bootleg VCD, and besides Derek talking and being frisky with his g/f during the movie... it was a great movie. I definitely need to see it again, and you should too.

After the movie I had a strange, but not uncommon, sensation come to me and I was finally able to identify it. In some ways I miss being depressed. The more I analyzed the feeling I realize it might not be the actual being depressed I miss, so much as the intensity of emotion that comes with depression. That type of intensity fosters creativity.

A while ago I wrote this as a reply to THIS blog entry by Kasei.
"I too can empathize. I have often grimly wished I was hit by a car and paralized because of how that would force me to feel and take action with my life. I recognize the world is fucked and wonder at my lack of emotion for it or people on it. I frequently feel guilty for not feeling more, but I do not feel much in general. I crave forced emotion as an alternative to no emotion at all. That said, I find meaning and solice in the rawness of nature. Being confronted by the elements, with my own insignificance and inadequacies forces a sort of realism I do not get in the 'real working world', interacting with 'real' people. Hanging on the side of a rock face, I am confronted with the importance, or lack thereof of my own mortality. Confronted with my fears. I come out of these experiences humbled, but more whole. I believe in myself and recognize I have to work on my inadequacies. I am the alien in nature. It is not mine to have the power over. The facade of control in the 'real world' is just that; a futile attempt at convincing ourselves we are in control with the help of modernaty and technology. The world is... outside. "

As I read that I have a hard time believing I actually agree with it, but since I was the one who wrote it, I must have meant it.
I'll leave you with an apropos quote from Swingers that Kasei just reminded me of.

"Everyday you wake up the pain is a little less. Then one day you wake up and the pain is gone. But its like you almost miss that pain because, you know, you lived with it for so long. "

Posted by wonko at 11:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hello, I'm a drug dealer. Can I get my tax stamps?

This blog entry talks about this document from the Kansas Department of Revenue and its associated FAQ. It is truly astounding how dumb politicians can be. Kansas is suggesting that drug dealers purchase tax stamps based on the type of drugs they are selling, and place those stamps on the drugs they sell, much like cigarette tax stamps. There is no end to the logic holes this leads to. For example, the FEDs can seize property that was bought by money gained through drug sales. By collecting tax on drug sales and using those funds, isn't the gub'mt doing the same thing? Beyond the whole issue of how the law appears to legitimize drug sales while still saying their illegal. Not even going in to the issue of how, even if Kansas could get drug dealers to pay taxes on their drugs, wouldn't the government be inclined not to go after those dealers as it would be detrimental to their budgets? Turns out, there are similar laws in many states.

All i have to say is, good luck getting those drug dealers to keep receipts.

Posted by wonko at 12:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I go sleep later then that in my sleep!

Posted by wonko at 12:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2003

USA Today: City, suburban designs could be bad for your health.

This article in USA Today talks about how, since the 50s, they have been designing communities with the car in mind, not the pedestrian. Many cities are sorely short on sidewalks and crosswalks. The American dream became buying a big house with a big yard at the end of a cul-de-sac in a big, friendly neighborhood. Indeed, zoning regulations ensured that shops were not allowed in these suburban sprawls. The problem is, you can't walk anywhere. You have no choice but to drive. In this respect, living in a big city, where things are closer together and it is often easier to walk than to drive, may have quantifiable health benefits. There seems to be a correlation between cities which are very pedestrian unfriendly, and cities that are disproportionately (to the US avg) overweight.

This issue is very similar to the decision in the 30s-60s to REMOVE mass transit in many major cities, assuming most people would just drive. LA used to have an efficient light rail system much like San Francisco's. Why bother when we can just drive? In hindsight, I wonder how much of this was youthful naivety given the newness of the technology, and how much as premeditated lobbying on the part of those who would benefit most. I don't know the answer, but would not be surprised if the latter were true, given those same industries records today. I'm appalled at the connections with big oil, big auto, and big pharmaceutical in our current administration.

The end question of the article intrigued me most as it dealt with whether Americans would even WANT to live in an environment that was more pedestrian friendly. As it turns out, the American dream MAY be driving home in your gas guzzling SUV and living your home life as a couch potato. A chilling thought in its likeliness.

Posted by wonko at 06:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I have much in common with this man.

Have you ever read something so funny you couldn't continue reading due to the volume of tears in your eyes? Read Anal Dash's 'Razor Sharp' blog entry.

Posted by wonko at 01:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


When I was 14 I found a King Size M&Ms wrapper in the sand on Selana Beach. I used half of it as a bookmark for the book I was reading at the time (The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien). That bookmark remained my main bookmark for 4 or 5 years. At some point I lost it, or threw it away.

Posted by wonko at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 22, 2003

Business in America

As some in my life ask and wonder when I will start my next business, I must admit I am VERY jaded. I believed, what most believe, that America is a country where an average person can start a business and become successful. Indeed we see this every day. However, just as frequently, if not more frequently, the average individual has no chance of making it at all. That's because, if they choose to go into a field, already inhabited by larger companies, those companies will leverage their money to drive them out of business. If they create something new, showing an untapped market to be lucrative, another large company will enter the sector and drive them out of business.

I was recently given a great example. In the 90s a company called Breath Assure released a breath mint in a pill which supposedly worked very well. At the time, Listerine was the #1 breath aid at the major drug stores. Breath Assure, a private upstart, took that #1 spot angering the owner of Listerine. Over the next 5 years Listerine sued Breath Assure repeatedly for anything they could think of until Breath Assure was out of money to defend themselves and had to go out of business.

You probably think what happened isn't fair. But 'fair' is determined by society and the law. In America, what Listernine did would be considered shrewd, but is certainly not illegal or immoral. They won against a competitor with their unique advantage, money.
Something is wrong with a system that encourages this type of behavior.

Posted by wonko at 10:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 21, 2003

Dream: Hidden Agenda

I had this crazy dream where I was in school, but somehow found out about something that wasn't going right. As I started investigating it, I became aware that the powers that be were on to me. Thus began both the actual chase and the information battle. Since I knew they were on to me, I had to somehow convince them that my investigation lead to me believing what they had wanted someone who investigated the issue to believe. A school official of some sort approached me as if by accident, just to ask how things were going. It was this that gave away they were on to me. Instead of waiting to be asked, I immediately told him about how I had read something recently about the school and that my conclusion was that the school was right. I wish I remember what the issues were. I knew I would have to be more secretive in my investigation, while at the same time putting forth an image of what I wanted the school to believe I was up to. I remember casually walking away from the official so as not to arouse suspicion. Thats the last thing I remember.

Information theory is very interesting. I tried reading the Cryptonomicon, which covers this topic in great detail, but could not get through the terse boredom. I may have to revisit it at some point.

Posted by wonko at 11:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2003

Venice, CA

[previously written]
I had the opportunity of walking around Venice today for the first time in a long time. When I left the boardwalk and walked toward the actual ocean, I actually got goose bumps from the rush of emotions I felt. Venice has such deep memories for me, some vague, some specific. It really is one of my favorite places on the planet.
First of all, you have the natural beauty of the place. Today it was sunny overhead, but cloudy at at sea and over the Santa Monica Mtns. The birds were out, the ocean was beautiful. It was green all around. Perfect temp with just a little breeze.
Then there is the human element. In Venice you can watch so many types of people from all nationalities and of all sanity levels. In a place like Venice it is hard to tell who is sane and who is insane, including oneself. There are just too many types of people represented, most just out for a good time, enjoying the sun. There are so many things to see, from the paintings, to the insane street performers, to the hand made art, to the huge wall murals painted by R. Cronk.

Just visiting Venice makes me wonder whether I will ever reconsider my assertion that I could never live in a big city again. Truthfully, I could see myself living near Venice again. I have memories with so many people in Venice, especially Derek. Derek and I used to spend a lot of time in Venice together, mostly just to hang. We would go there all day sometimes, or just after work when no one else was around.

Posted by wonko at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2003

Upgraded Moveable Type

I've upgraded my MT to 2.6.2. I'm not done making it all look nice, but the biggest new feature you will notice is the search feature on the right tab. Its pretty fast too.

Posted by wonko at 05:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 18, 2003

Roomy Troubles

Recently, one of my roommates has been acting a little strange towards me. It reminds me of how I used to treat my mother in Jr. High, where anything she said was immediately stupid for some unknown, irrational reason. Its a sort of sarcastic condescending thing. I know he doesn't read this blog, so I can talk about it. I'm not sure I can even call it recent, but its been much worse recently and again, I don't know why, nor what I should do. So I'm looking for advice. It could be just the stresses of living together, which would fix itself when he moves out next month, but I don't think it is.

Here is an example. I came home yesterday and there was this nifty looking, electronic grey box on his desk, connected to his computer. Clearly some sort of peripheral, though not immediately obvious what. I thought he might have bought something, so I exclaimed in an excited voice, "What's that?". He replied in a sarcastic voice, mocking my enthusiasm, "Its a hard drive." It took more coaxing to get him to tell me why it was there and that it wasn't his. It definitely felt like he was trying to talk down to me.

We haven't had any arguments recently, nor can I think of anything I've done to him recently. But it seems to be getting worse nonetheless.

Any ideas on what I should do?

Posted by wonko at 09:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 17, 2003

Me, Myself, and Greg

The last time I visited LA, I had intended to spend some time with Greg, but it didn't turn out. So this time I wanted to make sure I met with him, but with my fam in town, I wasn't sure it was gonna work. Well, it did work, late Saturday night was the only time we had though. We met up at a sweet Coffee house in Venice where we had a long talk about politics, the media, and the dumbing down of America. Or was it that America was never that bright to begin with. We then decided to take a long walk on Venice beach (at 1am) where we got into a long talk about various areas of philosophy and religion, from creationism vs. evolution, to rhetorics vs. socratic logic and reason. Our dialogue definitely ran the gambit. We talked about what Greg wanted to do with his life and such of the sort. Somewhere along the way, it was obvious to both of us, what I'm sure we had both suspected, that we were more alike than we'd previously thought, at least in how we thought. Obviously, I'm going out on a limb here assuming Greg's position on this matter, but it appeared that way to me. At points it almost seemed scary how similar we were, though it did appear that we handled things differently and came to different conclusions often. There is always some comfort in knowing that there's someone else who has similar struggles and thoughts. As we drove to Santa Monica to attempt to break into our old office building, we had an enlightening conversation about our relationships with others and how we dealt with our social selves.

When I was a kid, I felt different than the other kids. My parents assured me that all kids felt different during their younger years, but that I wasn't that different after all using as evidence the fact that we all had in common the fact that we all felt different. When I grew up (as in reached my 20s), I realized that in one respect my parents were right, we all DID feel that we were different. However, I also learned that I really was different, (and still am). Some might view this comment as egotistical, or ego-centric, but it really is not meant to be, nor do I believe it is. While I've learned to interact comfortable in social settings (quite a feat), I still most often do not prefer to go through the effort. I question everything, and think about every angle of every aspect of my life, all the time. You can ask my wife about my obsession with efficiency. Its not that I'm anal either, I just think about everything, and I mean everything. Greg is probably the only person I've met who obviously has this same history and present. I also think we both suffer from seeing others as flawed for not being cynical enough.

Neither of us have close friends, though we both have friends. We aren't exactly sure why we don't have close friends, but it probably has to do with how others do not think about every minute thing as much as we do, so it is easier to be alone with our thoughts than with others often. But there is the ever present issue of the need for acceptance and how that plays into our personal happiness. I think we both struggle with accepting ourselves in a world where we may really be different and thus not in the inner circle of most of our friends. I think I've managed to strike some sort of balance between my social self and my inner self, which by necessity, are different. Its not that I'm not myself with others, its just that it takes effort to relate. I spend time with friends outside of work, and always have a good time. I honestly believe that my friends now like me and accept me for who I am, even though they aren't sure what to make of me most of the time. Its taken a lot of effort to realize that social acceptance is in many ways a necessity for personal happiness.

As we worked for an hour or two to figure out the best way to break into the building and upon finding it, attempt its execution, we talked about the issue of happiness (among other things). We both felt that the pursuit of truth is probably our greatest source of unhappiness. We also both agreed that the pursuit of truth was too important a thing to discontinue just for happiness. Given this belief, I used to believe that happiness would always remain just out of reach, if I were to keep my integrity. I've been obsessed for quite some time on the issue of being responsible for any question you know to ask, whether you know the answer yet or not (I think I've written in my blog about this before right?). I'd sought my unhappiness and found it, but found there was nothing I could do about it and reasoned it was my lot to be unhappy most of the time. At some point I took a different approach though and instead of trying to solve my unhappiness issue by rectifying the source (a logical hypothesis), I decided to seek after happiness. It sounds subtle, but given that one direction had led to a brick wall, the second option opened many more doorways. I also realized that being happy actually aided my pursuit of truth (paralleling my discussion on divorce and being a more productive member of society when you are not tortured). The issue is that happiness is a self-centered issue that can never be ignored. Even after you admit you will always be unhappy (something I believe is a flaw now), you still can never come to full terms with it. It takes a lot of brain power being unhappy and thinking about that unhappiness... brain power that can be used for better things.

As I've stated before, I'm happy now. Its no one thing, more a combination of things which intertwined have lead to this. I still have my interminable issue of pursuing the truth at all times, but I've managed to augment it with things that bring me happiness despite of its weight. I do not feel I compromised my integrity to achieve it either.

Even though we eventually found the safest way in to the building, we never made it in. The same cop car had driven by twice and it was obvious that we looked suspicious. We decided to wait for another time. In many ways, it was this conversation that helped me put together all of these thoughts into a single meaning, which had evaded me previously. Part of the pursuit of truth is realizing there is an infinite number of questions and an infinite number of answers. While figuring out how to be happy is significant, it is just a milestone, I realize this. For years now I have been pondering Greg. Knowing that he is my mirror in many ways helps me put some pieces of the puzzle together, but as obsessed with answers as I am, I still have not found the answer of Greg. It is my sincere hope that he finds happiness. I believe he will.

Posted by wonko at 05:09 PM | Comments (2)

The Trip: Just Another Social Hour (bustin' in to 225)

What a great trip! Got to see my family, my new nephew, lots of friends, and my old haunts. Spent a good amount of time in Venice, which it turns out, is one of my favorite places on the planet (but more on that in a subsequent blog).

By far, one of the highlights of the trip was the traditional Cnation social hour on Monday at Sunset Bar and Grill on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Social Hour was always one of the best times of the week. I think we started it in 1997 and it continued until Cnation imploded in 2001. The last time I went to LA, almost everyone showed up. This time it was a pretty small group. I felt this was a possibility, but insisted on making the best of it anyway. It would be easy to let the small turnout get me down by thinking the old group was finally really falling apart, but I don't think thats the case. Sarah, Matt and I got there at 6 to find Greg already there. Once we were in to our first pitcher it started to go downhill (in the good way). It began with a discussion on cannibalism where we all agreed we'd definitely eat a human given the chance. Then it went further downhill as we began asking each other embarrassing questions about our various sorted sexual histories. This fell into a dangerous game of who could tell the most sexually embarrassing story about someone else at the table, here-say or not. Then David and Richard arrived. They were immediately dragged down into the maelstrom with stories and questions directed at them.

Another strange thing that happened... In all the years we've been going to Sunset, we were always the strangest people there... until now. While we were at Sunset (upstairs as always) strange people started showing up 1 and 2 at a time. Some had bells on, some looked like magicians. By the time we left there were a good 30 bizaro people upstairs with our small group of 6. Turns out, they represented 3 separate performance groups getting ready to perform on the promenade.

We left Sunset and decided we need to break into our old building (225 Santa Monica Blvd) on the corner of 3rd and Santa Monica. Greg and I had attempted this 2 nights before and knew it could be done (but thats another story for another blog). We broke in, all but Sarah and Richard who went to the bookstore. We had a terrific time exploring the gutted building and sharing memories. "Good Try!" could still be faintly seen where it was written in permanent marker on the wall of one of the Elevators. We explored the empty building, eventually climbing ladders, taking us to the old elevator control room in the clocktower itself. More ladders took us into the heart of the clock of the clocktower itself. From here we could look out over the city and the ocean, it was very beautiful. We called Richard and Sarah and had them step outside of Barnes and Nobles so they could see us sitting on the clock, 12+ stories up. We waved to them. :) Luckily, no one else saw. We then climbed up the fire escape from the 12th floor to get on the roof. Then we explored the roofs of the surrounding buildings, which we could get onto by climbing out of windows. Finally, we all snuck out the way we had come.

It was very fun, lots of memories. I was very surprised that David went with us and did all the things we did. Climbing those ladders, so high up, is definitely not an easy thing to do. I know I'm proud of him.

Posted by wonko at 01:37 AM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2003

LA again...

I'm in LA again and this time we brought the books. My parents happen to be here this weekend as well, so its a bit of a family reunion. Planning on lots of fun.

Posted by wonko at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)


I recently ran into a friend of mine in LA whose been dating the same girl for many years. The problem is, they really aren't good together, at least thats what I and all his friends think. Specifically, she blames him for most things, and he takes the blame whether it's his fault or not. I've only ever been around her when she's with him, but I'm willing to assume she is much worse to be around when she's with him than when she's with her own friends. This trait of hers is very personally destructive, while painfully destructive to her boyfriend as well. He enables her to continue this destructive behavior, to his detriment. As the relationship goes on, they both become worse for the wear. These observations made me once again think about my position on divorce.

Growing up in a strict Christian household, I was always taught that divorce was wrong in all but the most dire circumstances, ie. abuse or infidelity. Later in life, as I began re-evaluating all my beliefs I came to disagree with this learned belief by reason. Whether you believe that life is short, or that life is long (as I believe), I hope you agree that we should make the most of the time we have. I believe that part of this is our duty to help our fellow man. To be good community stewards. To give even more than you may get. People who are in destructive relationships tend to personally degrade to where they are in no position and have no desire to help their fellow man being internally tortured by their own life. If you know people in very destructive relationships, you know what I mean. At this point, I believe, it is better in a utilitarian way, to leave your partner and move on with your life, contributing to society, than to struggle in stagnant torture to do the 'right thing'.

Posted by wonko at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2003

More Training... (Sarah's a badass)

Went out last night, went to bed at 3am. Sarah got me up at 7:30, after she had gotten back from the gym from 6am. I was VERY surprised to hear that Sarah wanted to come with me on my grueling training run (sans 60lb pack). I didn't think she'd make it to Mammoth Rock, but she did, in good time too. I moved a little faster so I kept going up the steep rock chute to the lookers left of Mammoth Rock. Made it above MR and on a ridge which I followed some ways further. Eventually I came down on the VERY steep and deep lookers right of MR. Sarah waited for me there. As the day wore on and it got warmer, the snow became softer and post-holing to your thigh or hips became more frequent. She had a tougher time getting down, but made it with a smile on her face. All told we hiked for 3.5 hours on very steep terrain with irregular snow conditions. Very good training run. I'm feeling stronger by the day.

More importantly, I was super impressed when Sarah expressed interest in coming. Little did I know she'd actually make it. Her own training is really paying off.

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

April 08, 2003

The Training Begins...

So, on the topic of discipline, I exhibited precious little last night when I stayed up until 3am, for reasons I don't even know. At 7:45am my alarm went off. I'd had plans to train this morning. At 8:15 I still hadn't moved. The logistics of what I wanted to do required having a car, which Sarah needed to get to work and to the post office. She told me she'd be back to work at 9. So, finally at 8:45, after nearly convincing myself I had just cause NOT to get up, I got up and rode my bike to Sarah's work, getting there just before 9. I drove home, got my plastic boots and drove out to Snow Creek, the development closest to the Sherwins. There, I put my plastic boots on, as well as a 60lb pack and proceeded to hike up to Mammoth Rock. The first part is flat, but then quickly gets steeper and steeper all the way up. I gave myself an hour to hike up. Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it to Mammoth Rock in an hour on my first try, but lo and behold, I made it in 58 minutes. The top section is almost all 40 degrees and the snow got progressively deeper, but in the end, I didn't die, as my lungs were trying to convince me I would, and I had a good time. Now lets see if I'll make it again tomorrow.

Posted by wonko at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2003

Discipline and the road to Denali

I can't remember if I've covered this subject in my blog before or not, but I feel I want to cover it now, given what's ahead of me. Basically, my belief is that discipline is a holistic trait that can not be solely associated with one area of ones life and still be attributed to discipline. For example, I wanted to start writing in my blog more, that takes discipline. I also want to train more, which also takes discipline. I've been doing better about my blog, but haven't committed the necessary effort to training. Therefor, I am NOT disciplined in my life. Rather, usually if we are disciplined in one area and not in others, the things we are disciplined in didn't require that much effort or discipline to begin with. To work on ones 'discipline' is to work on all areas. Discipline is a holistic trait that determines whether you will do what is necessary in a given situation, regardless of what you want to do or not, regardless of what that thing is. Obviously, discipline isn't an 'on, off' kind of trait. There are various levels of discipline, but to work on ones discipline is to work on it in all areas.

It helps when one has internalized his/her priorities on different matters. Bruce and I are going to climb Mt. Shasta in 3 weeks and Rainier in 7 (the beginning of June). We've picked very difficult routes up both peaks and I know it will take everything I have and then some. Bruce tells me I'm ready, but I don't feel that I am. I feel technically capable of doing everything we need to do to summit. I also feel mentally ready to deal with the exposure and fear. But I am not positive about my cardio or endurance. A week ago to put climbing above snowboarding and now I've decided to put training above climbing. Whether I AM ready now or not, I need to focus on training if I'm going to feel more comfortable about my abilities.

The route we've picked up Shasta (The Hotlum Glacier) will be difficult in terms of endurance, but not necessarily technically difficult. I say not necessarily because there is a variation we are planning to do at the top called the Hotlum Headwall that requires some 5.8 rock and vertical ice climbing (in our mountaineering boots, with crampons, good for the ice, not ideal for rock). But we do not HAVE to do that variation if we climb the Hotlum Glacier. There will be the challenge of roped travel and avoiding crevasses, but in June, most will be filled in.

The route we've picked on Rainier (The Liberty Ridge) is very different than the route up Shasta. It is a committing route where you can not go back the way you came. If bad weather roles in, you need to just hunker down and ride it out. There's also some technical rock and ice near the top. It will be a very steep route that will require a tremendous amount of endurance and mental fortitude. I hope I'm ready. Only one way to find out though. :)

I feel that I need these climbs at this point in my life. I've been moving in this direction for years and I feel the need and capability to move on. I know how much stronger these adventures make you, both physically and mentally, and it is time for me to grow again.

Posted by wonko at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

REAL War Links

Its amazing how using safe, yet suggestive words, the media can get us to believe anything. Like, for example, how for the third time during this war the media has told us that we've found chemical weapons (the smoking gun). Each time they used NEAR certain (though not completely certain) words to convey their certainty. Citing sources as supporting their claim that the US had definitely found something which might be found to be chemical weapons. Of course, no one likes to be wrong, especially the media, so while news of the finding of these potential WMD was sprayed loudly and often, news of their correction usually falls through the cracks. How do you find all these stories that have fallen through the cracks?


Posted by wonko at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2003

Blog Notification

I'm using the latest and greatest Kung-Log to write my blog entries. I love this application. The intuitive drafts features have encouraged me to write more. Also, Kung-Log has an email notification feature, so if anyone wants to be immediately notified when my blog is updated, please email me at adam@ninth.org.

Posted by wonko at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

The simplicity of raising children. 2

Those who have raised kids might look at my title and say, "he's obviously never had kids." They, of course, would be right. Nor do I want them anytime soon. But I do wonder how children fit into my current ideals of the importance of simplicity in ones life.
In my last blog entry I spoke about how happy I am in my current life. Part of my happiness stems from the freedom that comes with lack of responsibility. I believe my happiness is a positive thing for, not only myself, but those around me. Happiness is contagious, as well as being a good motivator. I tend to do more positive things with my life, when I'm happy. This may seem obvious, but isn't when you're not happy. Lack of responsibility means I do not have a lot of stress. Stress is bad (again obvious), and leads to unhappiness. Not all stress is bad, but too much normally is. How much is too much? It depends on the person and the type of stress. When, in my analysis, I asked myself how long I could maintain my lifestyle, the answer was indefinitely, until I thought of the idea of having children someday. :-|

Children are a tremendous amount of responsibility. Of all the things to consider when contemplating having children, more important than money, housing situation, etc.. is whether you're ready for the responsibility. If you are, then you can work other things out. If not, you're going to mess your kids up. Ok, maybe thats a little bit of a generalization, but you get the point. Given this, its safe to say, not everyone should have kids. I'm pretty sure I have no real excuse not to have them someday. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, kids are most peoples biggest contribution to society. For some, it is their only contribution, but if they raised good kids, that may be enough. I want to contribute, and I see having kids as a way I can. Here's where the dilemma starts.

Stated simply, I find that large amounts of responsibility makes me stressful and unhappy as my life becomes complicated and I am unable to do the things I want. Kids require a large amount of responsibility. You see where I'm going with this. So in an attempt to reconcile these issues I came up with a theory (while watching my brother interact with his newborn).

I think I may have been too quick to equate responsibility with complication. I thought the more responsibility one had, the more complicated ones life is. What I think I've found is that it depends on the responsibility. For example, I think there is such thing is unproductive responsibility. Work is often that way. You can have a lot of responsibilities at work which do not positively (or negatively) affect your life in any way. We all have some of this and its something we have to learn to deal with. However, the more of this type of responsibility we have, the more difficult it is to 'deal with'. Different people have different tolerance levels for this type of responsibility, and obviously it depends heavily on how idealistic the person is. I am very idealistic, so I don't seem to be able to take a large amount of this type of responsibility. I just can't make it make sense at a certain point. Children obviously do not fall into this category.
In fact, as I was observing my brother I realized that in many ways children FORCE you to simplify your life. Simplicity in life is often a matter of how clear ones priorities are. For most people, they are not always completely clear. At least, even if the order is clear, the amount usually isn't. When you have kids, it becomes immediately clear. Your highest priority by a good 2/3 are your children. You must provide for your child, both on a macro and micro level. From working to make make money, ensuring you can provide for your children, to actually feeding your children when they are hungry. The complicated part is (or should be) fitting the rest of your life in with your children (not the other way around).

Given the above, I believe having children fits in to my ideological views of life. For me, it means that someday I must consciously make the choice to put my priorities aside before having kids. Once the decision is made and internalized, then having kids will not add 'complications' to my life, but rather will change what inspires me to keep my life simple.
One of the things that helped me realize this was Mono County Search and Rescue. I had contemplated joining and even went to their annual recruitment meeting intending to join. At the meeting it became clear what a HUGE commitment it was in time and responsibility. It wasn't a simple matter of weighing pros and cons either. When I did that everything pointed to joining being the correct course of action. When I weighed the other factors I decided not to join. I am new to Mammoth and new to this new way of life. I do not feel ready to make the commitment required to be a valid contribution to them, or them to my life. Different from the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well, some things are ONLY worth doing if you WILL do them well. However, at least with search and rescue, you can be wrong and change your mind. With kids, your decision must be final. "Is that your FINAL decision?" Even more so than marriage, you must be completely sure, and once done, not question your decision further.

All of THAT said. I am not ready to join search and rescue, if you know what I mean. :)

Posted by wonko at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2003

Happiness, guilt and retirement

I love living in Mammoth more and more each day. I feel very lucky and very happy. I'm probably the happiest I've been in my life. I think about it every day as I lead, what I view as, a fulfilling life. I do not have many responsibilities. This is very intentional. I do take the responsibilities I have very seriously though. I attempt to make my life as carefree and simply as possible within reason. I also try and have as much fun as possible, within reason. But as I've mentioned before, I often feel guilty, wondering if I am 'wasting' my life by not doing what is expected of me.
What is expected of me? I guess that I get a 'real job' and make 'real money'. Or that I 'apply' myself and use my talents. Implying my current job is a waste of my talent and intelligence. Or that I make a strong effort at 'making a difference.' My idealistic self, while agreeing my current job does not challenge me in any way, believes that there is much more than ones job. Why is it that we (Americans maybe) feel funny about people who are having a lot of fun. It just doesn't seem right. We all want to have fun, but life just isn't fun for many.
One argument has to do with retirement. You can't just have fun because what happens when you get old, can't work, and do not have money for retirement. You should work hard now and save heavily for retirement. This argument does have merit, but also some flaws. First of all, most people get to a point where they can't work anymore because they didn't keep their bodies in shape. Many people just deteriorate once they retire. Retirement is also often a big deal to people because, in order to save for retirement, they were in a job they didn't really like anyway. So getting to the point where they don't have to do it anymore becomes very important. It is a HUGE letdown to find out you haven't saved enough to stop doing what you were doing, even though you hated it. So you work from 22-65 so that the last 10-20 years of your life can be spent not working. What if you tried to do it in reverse. First of all, make sure you are enjoying life to its fullest now from 22 on. I don't mean enjoying life through over indulgence. Physical wellness is more important than financial security. Sarah had a difficult time with that last statement. Here is the example. You work hard now, sacrificing physical wellness on a macro scale to ensure you can retire comfortably (financial security), but when you retire, (right on time at 65), you are unable to fully take advantage of your freedom due to physical inability, was it worth it? On the reverse, if you made physical wellness a priority and as a consequence could not retire on time, but could continue enjoying life much longer due to your physical ability.

I want to stress the difference between enjoying life and over indulgence. Money is a powerful thing that can forcibly steer your life in many directions. Debt is bad, there is no doubt in my mind about that. Freedom in life can easily be equated to freedom from debt. It is important to be a careful and wise stewart of your money. It is important to save. These are all true, but life must be lived and enjoyed.

I also want to stress the importance of happiness on physical wellness. Stress, for example, can cause a tremendous number of physical problems, as can depression and apathy. Whether by how it affects your eating habits, how it affects your desire to stay in shape, or how your temperament can affect you physiologically. Unhappy people tend to not be well over the long term.

So given all the above, why do I feel guilty and why are others pressuring me to do something other than what I'm doing? Firstly, obviously, its because others, whose opinion I care about, are pressuring me. Secondly, our society seems to, at the least, disapprove of my behavior. Most view my behavior as overly idealistic. Some would probably call me a hippy, a punk, a dissident, lazy, or immature. I've tried to evaluate the intended meanings of these types of insults and I'm not sure I agree. Rather, I think there are ranges of accepted behavior which I seem to fall outside of. Social relativity, if you will.

As to 'making a difference'. I still struggle with the meaning of that one. Most people seem to go through life with their only contribution to society being negative ones (not intentionally). Especially us American's who use 40% of the world's resources. I do think I have an obligation to contribute as an enlightened member of society. Enlightened in that I realize we are all in this together and that it is the obligation of every member to contribute in a positive way for the sake of the whole as well as posterity. Most people's only real 'contribution' are their kids. Though not always a positive one.

Along these lines, as I look into the future, the only thing that seems to throw my ideas off, ARE kids. I am going to write about this dilemma in my next blog entry, but just to emphasize this again, I do not want kids anytime soon. Even while I am getting more comfortable and confident in my ideological ideas of how I should spend my waking moments, I am still pondering the question of how I can make a difference. I'll tell you as soon as I know. :)

Posted by wonko at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)