Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I sleep. I sleep in the car on the way to the trail. I sleep in the car on the way back from the trail. I sleep on airplanes. I sleep on the couches. I sleep while sporting crampons and an ice axe halfway up the Palmer Glacier. I sleep anywhere, and I sleep everywhere. When the Siren’s song of sleep tempts me, I am defenseless against its allure.

Often elusive on the trail, sleep can make the difference between a bad trip and a great one. Consider the evidence: self inflating air mattresses, closed cell pads, down pack pillows, and sleeping bag contraptions to keep you glued to the mat. The backpacker’s sleep system is big business—and rightfully so! Any summit, trail or face is exponentially easier after a sound sleep.

If I have learned anything about sleeping outside, it is this: the rift between those who can and those who cannot is wide. The majority of my climbing/hiking partners have difficulty bagging a solid night in the backcountry. This fact, though not remotely my fault (I don’t even snore), often causes a great deal of angst to be channeled in my direction. In fact, I would imagine that I’ve already alienated half of you.

After one particularly restful night on a through-hike of the Oregon Coast, I awoke to the smooth sound of a coastal creek. On the previous evening, my buddies and I had discovered a heavenly cove on a secluded public beach. Even if we had desired to continue, the high tide prevented us from passing the headwall to our north. Rather relieved to be blocked in at such an unspoiled location, we pitched camp twenty feet above the beach on a massive outcropping of sandstone. This pristine paradise became the perfect venue for the Pacific’s evening light show. After a long day’s trek through the coastal forest, a shocking dip in the frigid waters, and a hot cup of tea in front of the campfire, the sunset’s sway proved too much to resist. I hit my bag and didn’t move for ten hours.

The morning was heralded by the cry of seagulls, and as my tent began to warm in the tepid July air, I awoke wholly rejuvenated yet pestered by guilt. I was certain my pals had not savored the same peaceful rest as I. Having slept through the surise (an unfortunate corollary of easy sleep), I emerged from my tent to see my sulking companions sitting on the rocks waiting for me to rise from my endless sleep.

We had entered the night harboring the knowledge that our morning departure presented two options: catch the low tide and circumnavigate the headwall, or climb back up the ridge from whence we came only to descend on the other side. The former was a much more desirable option. So when I arose and discovered our passage around the headwall was clear, it seemed only rational to move as quickly as possible and save ourselves the tedious elevation gain and subsequent loss. I ran back into camp yelling, “Let’s go! The tide is out! We can make it around the headwall!”

Let me say, that at this point, I began to recognize the deep-seeded resentment in my fellow outdoorsmen. After waiting for 2 hours for me to regain consciousness, they had no desire, whatsoever, to move quickly. Why would they—dragged from their restless sleep by sore hips, craned necks and cold feet—want to do anything at the bidding of the man who surfaced from his slumber with a stretch, a yawn, and a hearty, “What a great night!”?

But realizing the wisdom of my plan, they begrudgingly packed up their gear—still wet with morning dew. Feeling rather victorious as we rounded the headwall and set foot on the wet sand of the North Oregon Coast, we adjusted our hastily filled packs and set off toward our next stop – a family size, “carb-load” pizza in the next town. Our delicious ambition nearly proved enough to stifle the growing resentment in my companions. However, rather than closing in behind us, the ocean waters continued to ebb for the next four hours, and all hope of forgiveness went out with the tide.

As my understanding of my compatriots has increased, one might think my sleeping pattern would change. Unfortunately, I am not that compassionate. I still sleep. I still sleep in the car on the way to the trail. I still sleep in the car on the way back from the trail. I still sleep on airplanes. I still sleep on couches. I still sleep anywhere, and I still sleep everywhere. I will sleep again while sporting crampons and an ice axe halfway up the Palmer Glacier. But now I sleep on a mattress filled with the endless, good-natured heckling of my friends. Outdoor retailers could make a fortune on this mattress.


Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm going to be a skiist.

Jim and I went to the REI sidewalk sale for the Tualatin location (our second in a month). Once again, we decided to get in line 3 hours before the sale in hopes of grabbing some cool gear.

Let's analyze the purpose of a line. I feel it is safe to assume that most least in our society...understand the concept of waiting in line (or "waiting on queue," if you're British). Usually, a line forms when something desirable is in short supply or is offered for a limited time. In order to better their chances of receiving that thing, one might come to the location of offering before the time when that thing becomes available. When more than one person comes early, it is generally understood that the person who arrives first deserves the first opportunity to secure said thing.

However, there are cheaters. When Jim and I arrived at REI, there were approximately 15 people in line ahead of us...that is to say, approximately 15 people arrived at the location of the "thing" before we did. It would logically follow that when the time of the offering arrives, we would be the 16th and 17th persons to enter the sale. I would estimate that 40 people entered before us.

Now...I'm not anal-retentive, but something about the nonchalance and apparent lack of conscious haughtily displayed by 25 people CUTTING in line in front of me doesn't sit quite right. Especially when cheap gear is at stake. You might remember the Thompsonian analysis of the "gear-hungry mob" from the last sidewalk sale. Luckily, there were no elbows thrown or curses uttered (at least in my presence) at this event, but said attitude was certainly present.

Jim put me at ease with two simple words, "Gear Karma." Simply meaning, all those rude people would not find anything of note, and we (with Liberty and Justice for all) would find exactly what we were looking for at a price much better than expected. And it came to pass. I finally took the plunge and purchased downhill ski gear. I've wanted to ski since 1987 when my dad's planned winter trip was prevented by a torn ACL. The best part is...I got all I needed for $35.

I can't wait for the snow.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I'm extremely tempted to blog, "Oh sweet...beans!" over and over, but I will refrain.

Today is the first in a few weeks that I feel relaxed. Apparently I'm not the only one who plays golf in the winter. I've been overwhelmingly busy of late, and I was getting a little tired of it. But today is nice. I had a chance to wrap up many loose ends, and I even get to leave early to play golf today...albeit in the rain. Luckily, they make gear for that sort of thing, and lucky to another degree am I - working for a golf apparel company. So I will head out in about an hour and hopefully squeeze in 13 or 14 holes before it gets too dark to see the ball.

The best news of all, however, is that LOST is on again tonight. I can't wait to find out what happened to the tail-end Lost-a-ways.

"Oh sweet....Lost!"


Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh sweet…beans!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Man...I like golf. I went to the range last night and hit that borrowed club. It will be difficult to give it back. the midst of long and straight drives, my left big toe started feeling tingly. At first I thought maybe I tied my laces too tight and I was cutting off the circulation to el dedo grande. So I kept swinging. Then...BAM...I hit an especially powerful drive and it felt like someone stabbed the tendon on the top of my big toe.

The heck?? I thought maybe it was just a fluke, so I swung a few more. The...BAM...there it was again. A little disconcerted, I left the range and headed back to the car. As I was stepping up into the driver's seat...BAM! Again with the severe pain! I'm a little worried. I took off my shoe to see if I was bleeding. No blood. So I drove home hoping it would be fine by the time I got there. As I stepped out of the car...yep, there it was. Limping in the door I whined to my wife about my semi-severed toe, and proceeded to ice it and watch disc 2 of Scrubs - Season One with Becky.

I thought I'd be going to the doctor this morning, but it seems to be feeling better (though I am walking kinda funny to protect it). Hopefully it will all go away like a bad dream.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Harry and the Hendersons is a great movie!! I had completely forgotten about it, and the other day as I was hanging-ten, there it was on UPN. Awesome. I didn't know John Lithgow was in that movie! Crazy.

Aaaanyway. I bring this up because I've got "Bigfoot" on the brain. Nike Golf has a new driver on the market called Sasquatch. It is aptly named, as the size of the clubhead (aka footprint...clever, huh?) is enormous. Somehow they figured out the perfect mix of size, size, and size, and created the SQ 460cc driver. I all probability, I will not own one of these drivers for quite a while, but I was fortunate enough to have one loaned to me for a few days. Yesterday, I wanted sooo badly to go the driving range, but I had to work late, and by the time I got home, I didn't have then energy for anything but a 4 hour Scrubs marathon!

So today after work, I plan to head to the range, bomb some golf balls down the turf, and fight off covetous feelings toward all who currently own SQ drivers.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

This is PB broadcasting live from RG1010B (the cube next to mine).

Unfortunately, yesterday at 3pm, I was cursed with the "Blue Screen of Death." Apparently, I had an "immenent hard disk failure" and could not use my machine for the rest of the day. Thankfully, I was "Priority 1" at the help desk...but that does not mean much, as I sat around until 6 waiting for someone to come give a prognosis.

No one came until 9 this morning. It's now 11Am, and I'm just about to go back to my cube/home. Yipee.

I've yet to see how much data I lost...hopefully, none of the pictures of Eric are gone. I don't think I could handle that loss.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005 is like that scene in that Tom Cruise movie (I think it's Tommy??) where he's caught between two subway trains and holding on to the post...and his hair is all blowy-aroundy...and his face is contorted in concentrated agony...and his fingers are when the trains go by....

First off, I really shouldn't have played golf yesterday. I had way too much to do to leave work early. But who can blame me? You can't turn down free golf at Pumpkin Ridge (unless you're name is James Marr). Also, my knee pain flared up again. I thought I had rested, stretched, and iced enough following our run through "Coastal Temptations" but apparently not. I limped the last 4 holes because the grinding of joints and cartilage is not pleasant.

But today will soon be over, and tonight I will either sing the praises of or utter curses at J.J. Abrams.