Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year

Today’s Music: Ray Charles – Song For You

To each and every one of you, may the fondest dreams of you and your loved ones all come true this year.

Hope all of you catch every last wave this year, and forevermore.

Thanks for hanging out, and Happy New Year.

(If the above is too sappy and you’d like something a bit…zanier for your new year wish, I give you this.)

– El Guapo

Friday Foolishness – New Years Edition

Today’s Music: Harry Chapin – Circle

Going to start on a serious note here. But don’t worry, it’ll degenerate right after into the silliness.
Since it’s the New Year, many of us are planning on celebrating in the traditional manner of drinking ourselves into a blind stupor that will leave us busy until next new year trying to recover from/remember/live down what we did.
Excellent. I approve.
And to make this all easier on us, and less guilt laden, many AAA chapters are offering pick-up service for those (like me) who drink too much, or (like me) lose their keys again, or (like me) swallow them.
Here’s the link.

And on to the Foolishness.
Last week’s poll brought something new – More “Other” answers than pre-made choices. Wonderful!
And here are those answers to For Christmas, I’m going to leave Santa (italics are mine).
– a subscription to Jenny Craig and some celery sticks.
Well, it’s the thought that counts. Was the celery for Santa or the reindeer?
– Cuban cigars and 14 year old Scotch
Perfect! Santa couldn’t see when he crashed the sleigh because of the cigar smoke, not the scotch, officer!
– CHEESE! I tossed the landlord’s repair bill too! (lizziecracked)
The repair bill should go IN the cheese, lizziecracked. That way he can’t claim he never got it!
– A sensible snack. And possibly a three-month trial membership to Jenny Craig.
This is a popular sentiment. Santa would prefer more scotch
– … a Jenifer Aniston blow-up doll
this might be whatimeant2say , who seems to be quite the Jennifer Aniston fan. Hey, I completely understand, but I don’t think Santa needs an extra person in the sleigh be able to use the HOV lanes…
-All of the above!
Heck yes. It’s Christmas. Indulge!
– All of the above – too many to choose from!
One of these might be Jacqui Murray who suggested an all button on the polls. It will be there today, I promise.
– alone, but I’ll return soon.
Ooh, mysterious…
– and find work that’s not so seasonal.
…Pretty sure (with the one above, that this is a disgruntled elf…but good luck with the search, and my hopes are with you.
– Naked pictures so I can make the naughty list. -flame
Betting The Flame Inside will be inundated next year with emails from people claiming to be Santa…

And the winner is…
tidings of comfort and joy, wishes for a Merry Christmas, peace on Earth and a good night.
I think I feel good about that!

But now we’re looking at a whole new year.
So with that in mind, this weeks Friday Foolishness poll is coming up.
But before that, a reminder – please leave some sort of id with your write-in answer. Or not. Just a suggestion…

And as the sun sets on 2011, I wish you all, regardless of the calendar you follow, a cycle of joy, peace, happiness, and incredible amounts of laughter and fun.
And strong stomachs. Because the Harry Potter limericks are comin’…

Well, that about covers it. Happy New Year to all of you, and Rock. On.
And of course, enjoy the below til our paths cross again…

A Literary Limerick – Gods of Asphalt

Today’s Music: Willie Nelson – On The Road Again

Those of you that have been around some of the blogs on my blogroll have already heard of H.E. Ellis first book, Gods of Asphalt, Book 1 (or availablehere)

There have been several reviews around the net, all of them good (as they should be). There have been many accolades from other bloggers to H.E. (as there should be).

However, in all my Googling, I have not found a single limerick tribute.
That’s just wrong folks. Or rather, the limerick I am about to present is just wrong.

Those of you who have read the book can see how this fits. Those of you who haven’t should go read the book, then come back and read the limerick (cause I want the site hits). (And the book is pretty damn good.)
Just so you know, H.E. knew nothing about the posting of the limerick. If she had
– It would have been much better
– I would be in traction from massive damage from her running me over in her Jeep. Even though I’m on the 16th floor here.

And so, with no further apologies (since I really can’t make enough of them for this travesty), the Gods of Asphalt limerick:

Playing ball was Sawyers dream in this world
Confronted his dad in a big ugly whirl.
At Gus’ place he learned
How the road twisted and turned.

Drove off with dad to serenade the girl

Really, I don;t know how you people read these limericks. I think I hit a new low. In the head. With a brick.

Anyway, go check out the book. It will do wonders towwards cleaning out the bad taste in your brain from this.
You’re welcome.

An Adventure – Learning to Climb – Part The First

Today’s Music: Pink Floyd – Learning to Fly

Quick note – All Rock Face pictures copied from Mountain Project
Walking in for an opening shift at the restaurant one day, the conversation went like this:
Me (walking in): Hi Fred. Good weekend?
Fred (the bartender, doing his opening tasks): Real good. Went Rock Climbing.
Me (stopping): Sorry – what’s that again?
Fred: I went climbing up by New Paltz.
Me: You’re kidding.
Fred: No, It was great.
Me: You’re kidding.
Fred. No. At the Shawangunks
Me: You’re kidding
Fred (beginning to back away): We had a great time.
Me (bug-eyed): Wow!
Fred (smiling again) You want to go next time?

That’s all it took.

So two weeks later, we piled into Fred’s pickup and headed up to New Paltz. After a quick stop at Rock and Snow to rent my climbing gear, we hit the cliffs.

Conquering the cliff isn't the point. But it sure is fun.

Fred did an excellent job explaining the gear – Harness, shoes, carabiner, ATC (Air Traffic Controller – what your partner uses to prevent you from becoming jelly when you come off the cliff face).

Guys, the harness won't look good or feel good. The ATC will prevent unscheduled landings.

We get to the Gunks and hike up to the face. Fred gives me a “hi-how-ya-doin” on the basics of climbing, and then he shimmies up Dirty Chimney.

A nice simple shimmy up the chimney.

I follow. It’s like scrambling up a very steep hill, using your hands and feet. And you know what? It’s pretty damn cool.

So we move on to Classic – a 5.6.
(Climb difficulty is ranked as “5.x.” 5.0 – 5.1 is like Dirty Chimney – easy, some scrambling. 5.14 is the most difficult rank – like hanging upside down from a fingernail. Just one.)

It has all the elements of a classic climb, including the short roof by the climber.

Up we go. Fred climbs and places “pro” – protection. These are the bits that anchor our climbing rope to the cliff. I stand at the bottom, playing out the rope and making sure he has enough slack to move, but not so much that he’ll hit ground if he falls. He gets to the top and secures himself. It’s my turn.
I double and triple check that I’m tied in correctly. And off I go.

Here is the approach to climbing I’ve learned: Make sure your security is bulletproof. Make sure the rope anchors are bulletproof. Make sure your harness and atc are bulletproof.
Then climb like they aren’t there.
I put my hand on the face and find a spot for my foot. “Climbing” I yell up to Fred as I shift my weight, my other foot leaving the dirt floor. I’M CLIMBING!
I find little nubs of granite – think of pressing your hand down on a table dusted with sprinkles – that shouldn’t be big enough to hold a fly. But they’re big enough to support my weight as I lean into the cliff to lift my foot.
The tacky rubber on my shoes is enough to grab tiny outcroppings of rock, or even better, to do a “smear”.
A smear is splaying your fingers out against the rock, and pressing your upturned toes as hard as you can against it. Since climbing shoe rubber is very soft, it will grab the uneven surface of the rock.
If you’re on anything less than a 90 degree vertical, you should hold.
The problem is, the only way to test it is to put all your weight on it. Kind of a Pass/Fail thing. And I didn’t believe it would work until it did.
I make the first few moves with no problem. I’m about 6′ tall, so I can reach from hold to hold. I learn to extend my arms and support my weight by my skeleton as opposed to my muscles, which lets me last longer before getting tired.

I make it up, cleaning as I go. See, the rope is clipped into the protection, and I’m clipped into the rope. When my clip gets to the rope clip, I have to take the rope out. I also pull out the piece of protection that anchored the rope. That’s cleaning.
Don’t worry, the person on belaying (holding the rope in case you fall) is anchored in, and the rope anchors along the way aren’t necessary anymore.
So I make it up my first real pitch and as my big stupid grinning head pops over the small roof, Fred is grinning back at me just as hard.
“Fun, right?”, he asks nodding his head.
A loud belly laugh is my only answer.

That’s the what. The Why will be posted soon.

Merry Christmas To All

Today’s Music: Bob Dylan – Twas The Night Before Christmas

No matter who you are, what you celebrate, or what you believe, peace, happiness, joy (and a little sparkle) to you and yours.