Webster Web Design, your guide to the perilous waters of the internet

Tacoma and Gig Harbor Web Design

an artist life in high tech

webster web design

online journal


Your guide to the perilous waters of the internet

Note: my wordpress blog is more active than this journal


I started my vacation at Squamish with Lisa and Sue. We did the usual roundabout along the base of the Smoke Bluffs for a couple days until Tim showed up and they left for mountain biking at Whistler.

Sue left with them on Monday night to go back to work. I slept in the rain at the powerlines then met Marty Tuesday afternoon. He stayed through Saturday evening. We did our usual circuit, plus added some new lines like Coronary Bypass, which is a 10a roof right of Octopus Garden. I led Flying Circus twice, once with Sue, and once with Marty, both times clean.

We also climbed Banana Peel. It has an 80 foot runnout, which is even dangerous for the follower. I'm never doing that again.

Highlight of the trip was doing the entire Smoke Bluff Connection. I hung on both of the 10b pitches, but I think I could send them cleanly on a good day.

Lolo and Aaron showed up the morning Marty left and I on sighted a 10c at Murrin Park called "Little Testis". It has a very awkward bulge that can be easily top rope protected, with a big rest at the crux.

I met a guy there named Stewart. Lolo and Aaron left Sunday night, and after dithering around a couple hours I left too. When I crawled into bed that night at midnight, Sue cuddled up to me and said "I like you better than my hammer". She keeps a hammer by the bed when I'm not home.

I messed around the house until leaving for Smith Wednesday morning. I couldn't find a partner until Thursday night when I met John Tully, a PA from Utah. We did a one day romp along the dihedrals including Phone call and Fridays Jinx. That first pitch never gets easier, but the pro is pretty good, or it's easy. Second pitch is dreamy.

Pam and Stewart showed up Saturday morning and we had a good time climbing lots of stuff, though I got shut down on Moonshine, not sure why. I did very nicely on Tammy Bakker's face.


With grown kids, and aging parents I'm sort of in the middle of the age curve. Dad's been having some challenges and it got me thinking about how simple life was when Dad was in perfect health in his fifties and we were in our late twenties.

He was strong, smart and on top of his game, still working for the Supreme Court in Olympia as the Baliff. Sue and I were young and pretty, as our kids are now. Dad was taking care of grandma (across town), who didn't need that much help, living in her own home alone until she was 99.

My biggest challenge back then was finding and keeping a good printing job. I was always working because printers were in high demand. But getting promotions and day shift work was difficult. If I was willing to work at dead end jobs, on swing shift, I had no problems, other than balancing a budget on $10 an hour. That was the eighties though, and with both of us working it was do-able.

Any time things got really tight, I could call mom and dad and borrow a couple hundred dollars. I did that so many times I started to feel guilty and traded them framed paintings for the cash.

Last night, after dad had to suddenly move, again, to a facility that could better handle him, Sue and I drove down and picked up all 5 of those early paintings, and some of his other valuables. He doesn't have room yet for them in his new place.

He feels that he is in a prison because the doors are locked. But his memory is so bad lately that his caregivers won't give him his freedom. We both feel really bad about this. On his good days, he could probably still drive his car...but on his bad days, when family is not around to keep him stable...he gets in conflicts with staff members who are simply doing their jobs and trying to keep him safe.

I think I will start another portrait of him when things slow down a little. He would love the company.


I painted 3 paintings in jtree. Two landscapes and one portrait. I thought they were awesome, as did everyone that saw them, except Sue, who saw the flaws and was honest. I tweaked them and posted them online, but no one cares. I may have to sell them to get my "validation". I like them so much, I don't want to let them go. They remind me of a time when I beleived in myself, even if it was only for a short while.

I am a painter, I am not a painter. I write, or I can't write. I can teach, or I'm just a poor pretender who can't get a real job. Nothing is for sure, and I want it to be. I'm a spoiled brat, or I'm a middle aged has been, approaching old. I've not seen England, and I've never flown, and I want to do both, but I can't afford it. My best friend from high school, Ted, just retired.

I have enough money to retire for two years, but then it's all gone. I need to get good enough to paint for a living, but I'm too busy earning a living to practice another one.

It sucks to be back at work, after a long vacation. I get too much time off. This much time allows me to live two lives, and the culture shock between them is startling.


The road is calling me. A siren song of freedom. No one to see, no where to be. Leave the job behind for a while. See who I am. Woke up at 4 thinking about that long highway to sunshine.



If you think of time as a conveyor belt, and self reflection as the speed control, then you can pull time backward and forward.

I was looking at old family pictures from 150 years ago. Their faces have parts of me, and my children, in them, not only in the bones and smiles, but in the dreams and lives they led.

Pull the conveyor belt of time forward and there is my grandma at 16, looking just like my daughter at 16…the face, the smile, perhaps even the dream, different, but  so very familiar.

100 years fast forward to today, and here I am, on my own little patch of time. I feel that belt moving, the inexorable creep of time. One of the few things I've found that can stop time is painting. Paintings live outside of time. They are like a signpost, stuck in the ground alongside the conveyor belt of time. I was here, I saw this beauty, and I painted it.

It’s dumb to wake up at 2 AM and think about this stuff.  It must be the artist I keep locked in a closet somewhere in my head.  He sees vacation coming up in a week. “Dude! Look at that light, we got some time, can I come out and paint?”

"Nope, going climbing."

"Ah, come on, you climb all the time. Fair is fair, I deserve some time. Think about the conveyor belt dude. Climbing is totally pointless. It's self indulgent, painting is real. I create beauty...something that lasts outside of time. That climber guy, all he does is trash the body. Bloody finger tips, dangerous downclimbs. Whats the attraction?"


What is the nature of creativity? How do you make it happen? I struggle with this a lot. I have to write another 20 pages in my textbook for my web design class today (Saturday). These pages will finish out my quarter. But the nature of teaching means that I will have to do this over and over, as long as I teach. There are good years, where I can avoid a lot of unpaid work weekends, but then there are years like this.

I have enjoyed writing this book. It feeds *some* of my need to be creative. And really, though I don't get paid directly for the time I spend writing lesson plans, I do get 9 weeks of paid vacation. That is worth a lot. Time is all we really get, in the long view.

I dream sometimes about simply going to work for someone, getting a paycheck, living with two weeks of vacation a year. I would miss the good parts of teaching though...helping people change their lives is pretty cool.

I just watched Cafe *http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Cafe/70135629?trkid=8380775* while riding my 1985 Schwinn Airdyne. It's a weird movie. I stopped in the middle...got frustrated with the plot line. I'm glad I came back and finished it out. It has an awesome message. Beautiful acting and filming.


This quarter is taking a heavy toll on me. Since September 19th, I've taken one day off work.I climbed at Index with Sue that day, and ran into Kyle and Lisa, who did Princely Ambitions with me. I also climbed at Smith with Kyle and Lisa, though I rode down with Fletch and Lisa G. But I worked five hours on the way down, and 6 on the way back. While down there, I sent Karate with one hang at the top to place gear for Lisa.

Another reason I'm so tired (other than writing 80 pages of a new textbook) is I am teaching two new classes I've not taught in 4 years. We've been hiring them out to adjuncts, but our enrollment dipped so low we couldn't afford them anymore. Instead of a double load of two easy classes, I have 4 new ones, 3 and a half of which don't have useable curriculum. They are Web Principles, (rewrote completely new) Dreamweaver (50% new), Flash 1 (90% new, old lessons sucked) and Photoshop, new unseen book, which is bad (not horrible), but I have no time to rewrite that one too.

Every night I'm staying up late working on lessons. This means recording camtashia performances, editing them, and exporting to quicktime. On the weekends I write my textbook in Adobe InDesign...just barely staying ahead of the students.

I feel like someone sucked all the fun out of my life, and I'm left with a burned out shell. That's a slight exaggeration, but I like the way it sounds :-) I have to say though that the students are loving it. They can see that I really care, and the lessons are clearly brand new. They have probably never seen a teacher work this hard, to create content this good. If I can just make it to Christmas without going down in flames I'll be fine. After a nice long break I can start in again with a much easier load. The only new class will be Flash 2...I can handle that one.


We are having merger talks with another web program on campus. It's complicated, but should improve both our programs. They do a lot more heavy programming over there, which means students enter the program who are excited about programming, instead of fearing it. I will still teach the creative suite, but as a cross over teacher between two departments. Nothing will happen until spring at the soonest...

Sue and Lisa hiked the enchantments traverse in one day. It is 22 miles + or -, with about 6000 feet of elevation gain. While they were doing that, I climbed with Christine (meatgrinder, dogleg, paydirt, trundle dome cliff), Richie and Karen, then Sunday I switched to Merica...but we got baked off after a few pitches. I did a decent job on Poisen Ivy, one hang at the crux. I got spanked on Planet of the Eights. The footholds seemed far too small, which usually means I'm rusty. It was nice to hang out with my family while at the same time seeing my climbing friends.

I have to rewrite large parts of my two web classes before this fall quarter. I need to either find a better book, or create the classes from scratch.


Went to a party at Fletches last night. It's difficult for me to hear at parties with one deaf ear, but I did have some good conversations with a few friends from the gym. I could never remember Jake's name, but I think I've got it now. He is "married?" to Angelas (&Bobbys) sister. He works as an electrician in Tacoma. Bobby and Angela are so cool to talk to. They are all positive energy. I told Angela that I met Sue in 1976. Her animated response was, "Oh my God, I was born in 1976!". She is super fit, and a bundle of energy. Bobby is a very lucky man, and a great climber.

We had a bunch of conversations at work about how to improve our program. Our dean has told us that we need to improve our completion ratios, meaning we need to get more people to finish our program: less drop outs. Plus, I need to rework my web principles and Dreamweaver classes. I need to focus more on concepts like float, and less on completing a 4 page site. Bruce wants me to continue to teach one tables site, and he wants me to bring back my optimizing lesson. I need to update my pdf's to fix the missing imageready problem, and the missing background td problem.

We could build the psd, slice it, assemble in Dreamweaver tables, then rebuild it using the "holy grail" approach. We could also build it with expandable top navigation. Somehow I need to bring in some custom wordpress (CMS) stuff somewhere in the curriculum.

Fletches party was frustrating because I really wanted to play some live music, but all everyone wanted to do was talk. Playing music is not a priority for that group. I need to hook up with some other musicians who make playing a priority, rather than socializing. Fletch would have got around to it, but not until midnight or later. I left at 9:45, hoping to catch Sue before she went to bed, but the house was dark. So basically I had kind of a big zero for the night. I think I'm just frustrated from this long challenging quarter.

I had a long argument with a student about how it was somehow my fault that he didn't pass my class. Even though my attendance records show him showing up 5 times of the 11 days of the quarter. His excuse was that he had business he needs to attend to, rather than come to school. I told him that it sounds like he is not in a place in his life right now where he can come to school, but maybe he will be in the future. He said that he needs to pass my class to get his degree. Basically I'm standing between him and a sucessful life. His attitude was that it was all my fault that he failed my class. Never mind that 80 percent of his fellow students got A's, passing my class with ease. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Sigh...


Tonight I finished up a big jquery project for a client. It's an interactive map that features 23 clickable buildings. When the buidings are clicked, an animated slideshow pops up with pictures of that building, and the people inside. You can also press buttons to show the various parking lots for different types of visitors. This clients facility covers a couple city blocks. I will link to it once it goes live, but until then I must use discretion. All the animation runs in jquery.

Also, I built another version of the same map, but smaller and tighter for smartphones. I've tested it on Androids, iPhones, iPads and all computers. It works everywhere. But for Steve Jobs and his anti flash attitude, I could have done all this in Flash. It's funny how things keep changing in the web business. You learn something, and a few years later it's all useless because something else has replaced it that is better or cheaper, or both.

I tried to climb 2 weekends ago but got spanked in the Pinnacles. I've never had that happen before. Probably it is related to the OT I've been pulling on this freelance project. You could also compare it to taking night classes, since it makes me a better web designer. You either learn the new stuff, or you rapidly become a dinosaur. I need to build a class around this new animation technique. Perhaps on my vacation I can study it a bit deeper and get better...come up with some lessons.

My dean told us today in a meeting we need to meet our students where they are, and bring them forward from there. Rather than expecting them to be something they aren't. It's a good point, and one I will have to think about. We need to have a staff meeting to brain storm.

I've been avoiding writing in my journal because of my new motto: "Every minute spent online is a minute of face to face time lost forever".

Still, writing helps me to clear my brain. It's not so much that I want to pour my soul out onto the internet, instead of talking to Sue...for example. I just like writing things down. Maybe I will delay posting this to help stay away from the online aspect of writing here.


I just watched a movie called The Shunning. It's a movie about a teenaged Amish girl. It reminded me a lot of growing up in the strict Presbyterian faith. Our church kept us very insulated against the wider world. I was in that church 3 days a week and aproaching confirmation...which is a sort of spiritual ceremony that 16 year olds go through as young adults entering the church officially.

And then I met Devi Unsoeld in high school. We shared an interest in bicycling to school. Her father Willi had made the first ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Everest. He had been to the white house, and shook hands with President Kennedy. When I started dating Devi, his lovely blond haired daughter, Willi was in semi-retirement from mountain climbing, working as a philosophy teacher at Evergreen State college. Dan Evans was the governor.

Willi's dinner conversations turned into philosophy arguments about the relative validity of Bhuddisum versus Christianity. He slayed all the lessons I'd learned in Sunday School. It wasn't willful destruction, he simply wanted me to see both sides of the issue. I ended up leaving the church...not that leaving solved any problems for me. I sunk into a spiral of aimless searching that lasted 3 years.

By that time I was living in a tipi and going on long walk abouts, and month long hitch hiking journeys across the nation. It was 1972 and hippies were everywhere. We all had the same question: what is the meaning of life. Without our parents religion, things got weird. We were anchorless.

At the end of that turbulent time, I realized that, while I still had questions, I needed a steady job and a marketable skill. That was followed by a 28 year career in printing leading up to 2001 when I got into web design. I had a nightmare last night about printing. I haven't printed in 12 years, but in my dreams I'm right back on the press, trying to run it but forgetting critical procedures. It's weird how the mind works in dreams.


I've been studying Jquery. It is the alternative, some say the successor to, Flash. The language, or at least the front end of the language, is remarkably tame. It reminds me of Actionscript 2, before they corrupted it to AS3. The logic makes sense, and the jargon has been minimized. There are still logic loops, but many have been dumbed down.

I watch 3 online classes at Lynda.com, and bought a book. The combination of all of those resources is getting me close to the skill level required for a new client project. Simultaneously, I need to cut down on Flash, and bump up my Jquery curriculum to reflect the changing web environment. So this new knowledge quest is a win-win situation all around. The only thing suffering is my hobbies. All this studying is making me tired.

I drove to Leavenworth with Craig, Fletch and Vladi. We did the regular route on Careno. I was so rusty I had to aid the first pitch, and the last 20 feet of the third pitch were horribly hard. I came up the crack to where it blanked out to a dome finish and freaked out. Craig, Fletch and Vladi were up on the ledge. They saw me come up to the crack crying for mercy. Instead of running over with a rope, they ran over with cameras. I would have gladly tied in to a top rope, but instead they filmed my full scale melt down.

I thought I was going to peel off and zipper my gear to a ledge fall. I didn't fully trust any of my gear as the crack was shallow and flaring...and that ledge at the bottom was waiting. Instead, I did the only thing I could do, which was keep climbing higher, above the bad pro, trusting my rusty skills to get me through the mantle move. They took pictures and video of my piteous whining and whimpering.

Next time I go over, I need to start on Midway and saber. By working my way up through the grades I can prepare myself for a normal season. Craig and Fletch are always hot, but I start cold. Monday, today, I was super tired. I guess the OT combined with a long one day weekend was too much.


I was granted tenure last night at the technical college where I have worked for the last 10 years. It was a three year process and it is nice to be past it. I enjoyed my meetings with my tenure committee. They were very supportive people. What really matters though is nothing has changed. I am still constantly upgrading my skills. The latest challenge is learning to shoot and edit video. I've been writing more often in my wordpress blog here: wordpress blog


This was not a good weekend. First we got the text from Clint late Friday night. He and Craig had driven up to Mt. Baker to ski for 2 days. Craig had already given up and was resting in the lodge. Clint made "just one more run" as the lifts closed. He loves to ski trees and jumps. His bindings had been popping off during his jumps, so he had tightened them down.

He said later that he was tired, and a bit cocky as he skied down through the trees, typical of a hundred runs this season. He hooked a tip in a branch. His binding didn't release as he was stopped by the hung up ski, which forced his foot around backwards. Some kids asked him if he wanted a ride down in the sled, but he declined. He limped the hundred feet out to the main run and flagged down a snowmobile making a last sweep, who let him ride on the back down to the first aid station.

They taped him up in a cardboard splint. Craig drove him down to the ER room where Clint works. He entered as a patient instead of a nurse. They were a bit slow so everyone was playing jokes on him. His friend B, a nurse, showed up at his bedside with a catheter and said, "Well, we'd better get started".

The social worker wrote him up as indigent, and several other pranks. But it was a serious injury, though very common in soccer and football. We don't know the full extent of it yet. I've heard a bunch of alphabet ligaments mentioned. Lisa drove him out to the house last night and he was limping around with a big leg brace.

I went up to the gym with Fletch, Lisa and Marty. I was talking to Lisa while Marty tried to climb the off fingers crack. He was a good 30 feet up so I moved under him to point my good ear at Lisa, who is an excellent belayer. I normally wouldn't stand under a climber, but it was crowded and Lisa and I were talking about a friend in crisis.

Suddenly I felt a crushing blow on my head. I heard my neck (skull?) cracking in several places during the impact. I was stunned and momentarily dizzy, though I didn't fall. I could tell it was a potentially serious blow. When you toprope a long climb, there is a lot of rope stretch possible if a climber falls low down. When Marty fell, the rope stretched out as Lisa caught him. He was just coming to a stop, but still moving fast, when his butt collided with the top of my head. Marty said it felt like a glancing blow, rather than me catching him with my head.

I climbed immediately after the incident, but now it is the next day, and my neck is sore. Hopefully it is nothing. I wish I could say the same thing for Clint. I could almost predict that happening. He was getting so good, and skiing so confidently in the trees and steep slopes. Base on my experiences (broken foot climbing) and others, it does seem like the sport you love the best bites you in the rear. But that early accident, if it doesn't kill you, makes you a much safer athlete in the long run. You know what it feels like to get hurt, and will avoid big risks in the future. No amount of parental warnings about risky activities will slow you down like a real accident.


Had a great vacation in jtree. Read about it in my wordpress blog linked above or at websterart.com/wordpress. I've been kind of down since returning. Living the climbing life is my dream environment. Coming back to work is a huge let down. Not that I don't love my job...this is the best job I've ever had as far as benefits and time off. Plus helping the students who want to learn is hugely satisfying. But the stresses of the constant budget cuts and gloomy letters from the state governor make it hard to feel like we have much of a future here.

I met a new partner at the gym and have high hopes that she could become a reliable climbing partner. She is very strong and graceful, has a good job and seems to have a lot of integrity. Plus she is firmly addicted to climbing...a primary requirement of any climbing partner. It's strange how partners come and go. I married the best one I ever had, but she has back problems, and can't climb as much as she used to. I thought I had raised a couple partners, but they have lives of their own, and I can't force my hobby on them.

If I were to make a list of partners, it would stretch all the way back to Will Greenough (now into sea kayaking) in 1978. Followed by Paul DeHope, who died of stomach cancer in 1999. After that it was Fupp, now working as a teacher in Colorado and into baseball and surfing. Then there was that guy who helped me put up my Cocaine Connection route, but he was only a summer partner.

After that we enter the 'climbing with kids' period and partners get more spaced out. There was Craig S., who stopped climbing after hitting some hard times. There wer a few people who I met in print shops...but they never lasted very long. Mark L. has been an off and on partner over the years...but he gets distracted by family and jobs and tends to drop off the radar screen.

Mark H was a partner for a summer, but he also dropped off the radar due to family distractions. Oh, and then there was Dave G. who is still around, but he stopped climbing when he went to Iraq. On his return...he sort of got out of shape and never picked it up again.

Then we come to the gym years. I've met a bunch of partners there, starting with Austin who moved to China, and Paul who fell on his head and is now blind (didn't have a helmet on). Christine and Fletch are still around, but she is having babies, and Fletch is very busy with his family...though he does climb quite a bit.

Marty is around, though like Mark L. he tends to drop off the radar and does not make climbing a priority. Phil is an awesome partner, but he is more into the alpine and big wall environment. I do hope to make some trips with him this season...when he surfaces again. Merica is a great partner, we had a fun time at jtree...perhaps we can take some trips this summer. And Randy is always fun, but with his new girlfriend it's unlikely I will see that much of him. There are a bunch of other casual friends at the gym who I know and like, but we are more aquaintances than partners.

So that's my partner story. A long tale of friends who come and go over the years. I wonder how they think of me? They probably remember me as that old friend from back in the day who is still climbing...isn't he bored with that stupid sport yet?



Gave in to the brainwashers yesterday and bought the new Motorola RAZR smartphone. I had the original Droid from two years ago. It still works fine, great even and I had no logical reason to upgrade. Doing so cost me $360 including an otterbox case and committed me to another 2 years of $30 monthly data payments. Lisa and I crunched the number last night on our family plan at Verizon for 4 phones. We pay a total of $200 a month for 4 phones.

If you subtract my $30 data plan and divide 170 by 4 you get $42.50 each per phone. So I'm paying $78 a month for my RAZR. (I added $6 a month in phone insurance). I'm firmly hooked by the smartphone bug. I still haven't sold my ham antenna. Should get 300 for that, which will help. I got over my cold...mostly, but now Sue has it. It is bad timeing to get it the day before thanksgiving.

I was up until 1am last night throwing together an aluminum belt case for the RAZR. I made this one with a fixed aluminum belt clip. It doesn't clip, you have to manually thread your belt though a solid aluminum strap that is riveted to the case. This is much more secure and will never fall off, as the old clip style has done many times, especially in the car. I think I can even wear it in the gym. It's quite large because I have the phone in an otterbox case already, but the otterbox is open on the face, other than the screen protector over the gorilla glass. The case I made from metal is two simple sheets of 1.7mm aluminum, bolted together with long stainless steel bolts around the perimeter. I padded one of the inner sides, and slide the phone in with the screen against the padded side. The padding is more to hold the phone in, than the protect the glass. The otterbox already has a raised lip around the glass.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I'm looking forward to seeing the family.


I caught a bad cold last weekend. My friends Ed and Mindy were coughing so much I started calling them the tuberculosis twins. Friday night I didn't sleep so good and by Saturday morning I was in the midst of a heavy cold. I have zero energy and was coughing.

I spent the day vegging out with Netflix videos. I think I watched about 6 of them. Truly a couch potato day. This morning Sunday, I woke up feeling a little bit better but still had zero energy. I spent a couple hours wasting time surfing the net reading about the new Google Nexus prime cell phone. My droid is 2 years old and is pretty boring. Droid razor is already out and the Nexus prime is coming out in a month or two. I've been obsessing about both of them which is an indicator that I'm bored and completely brainwashed by the advertising blitz. I got my Martin guitar out for the 1st time in a year and played a couple songs. My obsession with cell phones disappeared completely. There is nothing like the pure ringing tones of a real musical instrument to make you realize that this obsession we have with cellphones is just that: an obsession.

Feeling better, I went out and prepared some pastel paper. It comes in white, so I have to paint it gray, the gray paper gives me a neutral ground to which I can add white and black pastel, using the gray paper as the medium tones (neutral ground). I'm also doing a little lesson planning learning the Jquery programming language. After that I think I may try to start another painting, and maybe I'll even go to the gym if I feel strong.

11-10-11 finished Self Portait

I finished my three quarter view self portrait. It's not perfect, but it's as good as I can make it. I'm looking forward to starting another one, but I'd like to draw someone else. Getting someone to spend 12 hours over 4 or 5 sittings is going to be almost impossible. Perhaps I will draw my hand instead. I've always wanted to do a good hand…maybe combine it with a series of closeups of difficult features like lips, eyes, nose, ear, hands. I love having a drawing going out at the easel. I come home from work, eat dinner, read a book for a while, and then head over to my easel. Painting is so much fun.



Put the color on my drawing today. I had some moments of magic, but most of the time I was frustrated by my inability to paint accurately. I see too much green in the skin. And shadows are a mystery. And something is wrong with the lips...but they say that is the definition of a portrait: a drawing with bad lips.

Changed the oil in the truck today at 155,000 miles. I was in a dither to get either a new cell phone or a Kindle, but both won't have the latest model out until the middle of the month. I don't need either. I'm totally sucked in by the advertising. Just another chump buying something he doesn't need at all. If I was strong, I'd get a dumb phone and an iTouch for music and calendar reminders. But the smartphones are such cool toys, and it seems like a harmless addiction: only $30 a month more than a dumb phone.

The Kindle is harder to explain. Julia had one at the City of Rocks. It looked like a cool way to read. Digital books is a good trend. No more baby trees have to die. Authors still get paid for content, and we can read them in bright sunlight. Cheap too, just $100 for the new Kindle coming out.

I should have gone climbing with Phil. He is back at Vantage, probably climbed Sinsemilla today. But I needed to spend some time with family, do some things around here, and paint. Painting is very important. In the long run it is much more important than climbing. By continuing my education, even when my paintings go badly, I am learning the craft...or should I call it art? In my hands, it feels more like a craft.

I read somewhere that art in any form, be it painting, writing, dance or music, requires not just talent, but work. You have to WORK at it. Or, in the words of Jack London: you can't wait for inspiration to strike, you have to go after it with a club.


I've been working on another self portrait in my studio. I have a mirror by the easel and I've been painting the man reflected there. He is a strange looking old fellow. In my heart I'm still a young man, full of wonder at this great mystery they call life. But the man in the mirror is middle aged, old even. And yet I see something of myself in his wizened stare. He has a slight grin, and a twinkle in his eye. Apparently he finds some humor in the situation.

I should be painting someone young and beautiful…but here we are, together again…I guess we find each other convenient. Strangely though, each hour I spend on the painting, I feel more of myself in the image, as if I’m transferring energy from the living man to the painting.

 I'm transitioning from a finished black and white drawing to a color painting tonight, and the excitement is growing,. The pastels feel almost electric under my fingers as I stroke them ever so carefully across the sandy surface of the Rives BFK.

I feel very fortunate to have this rare gift for painting. This is most definitely the best portrait I've ever done…and it's of me…how cool is that? I don't want to post pictures yet, you will have to use your imagination. When it is done I will post the progressives. I'm taking photos of the painting every hour or so and should have most of the color in place this weekend.


Phil and I had an awesome weekend at Vantage. Saturday we climbed the Seven V.... route. Phil wanted to warm up on something easy and Seven V... is a nice 5.7. After that we walked over to the Air Guitar area where we did a nice fist crack called Pony Keg. We had both Phils rack and my rack so I was able to bring up 4 blues and 4 yellows, plus a couple greens and reds for the bottom. With enough big gear, Pony Keg feels just like Classic Crack: a fun cruise up a lovely crack climb.

After that we both led Air Guitar, which felt harder, but still very do-able. I was expecting it to be a give-away, but had to fish around for the correct moves at the bottom. Pony Keg is very straight forward. You climb the crack and go, but Air Guitar starts out with a combination of thin finger jams on tiny cams combined with not so obvious face holds. I soon got myself sorted out and sent the rest of it fine.

We led a few sport routes that day as well, with Phil finishing out the day on Bushido 10C. That thing was very pumpy. I don't think I will ever have the muscle power to lead something that long and pumpy. I also need to take some practice lead falls outdoors to get my head ready for falling on bolts.

Sunday we walked up to the Sinsemilla area. We did a two pitch sport route there as a warm up and noticed a nice looking crack climb off to the left. I inspected it on the rap down and realized it might be within my abilities. We pulled our gear off the sport route and I led Corner Pockets cleanly. It was rated 10B trad and had a one very difficult move where you had to move up on a ring lock. It was a one inch crack, green camalot sized: too small for a hand jam, too big for fingers. The only thing I got was a ring lock where you wrap your thumb around your index finger. I had to pull down on that and a bad hand jam, friction my feet in the tiny crack in the corner of the dihedral and throw for manky jam higher up. The move felt very insecure. I was almost certain I was going to fall, which seems to be normal on 10b. I had good gear at my waist, and as soon as I moved up, I stuffed in a perfect yellow #2 camalot. It's so cool to onsight new hard climbs.

After that I led Throbbing Gristle. Phil led Shady Corner, a very cool 5.7 like the 7V.... route, but much cleaner. You are in between three columns, over a lot of air. It's a very cool route, worth doing again with a better camera. My Lumix does not handle extremes of light and dark well.

On the rap down we inspected Split Beaver 5.9 and found it to be a lovely hand and finger crack. We both led it and loved it. It starts out with user friendly hand jams and good stems and goes at least 60 feet like that. Then it changes to very clean finger jams in excellent rock for another 35 feet to the top. Several of the moves in the finger section are committing, but there is always protection above you if you need it.

On the way out of the campground we saw a couple campsites where people were cooking dinner around their campfires, getting ready for another night under the stars, followed by more climbing under the sun. I'm thankfull to have a cool job that pays the bills, but it does always seem like the weekends are too short, especially when I am climbing as well as I did this last weekend.


I wrote this in response to this:


Well written article! And the comments that follow are equally entertaini­ng. I've been happily married since the seventies. I'm no expert on dating, but I have learned some things about relationsh­ips. We both love the outdoors and met in a club. We each needed a reliable climbing partner. There were a few times when we had disagreeme­nts, but I needed a climbing partner that weekend, and she was easy to find. We'd get up there on the cliff, and I'd look over at this irritating woman and realize she was beautiful, problem solved. In our 50's now, we've both stayed in shape and I have no regrets. Doing stuff together that you both love works for us. But we also cut each other a lot of slack. If I want to climb, and she would rather hike, we split up for the weekend, but we come back together for the work week. If I had to date again, I would jump deeply into one of my passions: something cool, like climbing, landscape painting, back country skiing, something that involves a lot of skill, and/or deep aerobic exercise. It needs to be something so cool you forget you are lonely. Once you get deep into these things, you meet others on the same journey. Find your passion and pursue it. I've always been a painter and a musician. Being lonely adds power and beauty to both, and the pursuit therein can have surprising results. Why do birds sing so beautifully?


I've been making more entries here at http://www.websterart.com/wordpress/ but today I don't feel like working in the wordpress environment. For one thing, it's restrictive. It's a public journal, so I can't let my hair down as much. This one is private, unless you know how to hack flash, or someone sent you a link.

I climbed two weekends in a row, first with the trad group, which included Phil, Marty, Mark, Alice, Laura and Ed, then with Sue and Lisa. Jim joined us Saturday in the Pinnacles. We stayed home this weekend and I'm bored. I need to go out to the garage and do some painting, but I'm resisting it... I want the pleasure of the finished product, but not the work.

I also need to uninstall my ham radio antenna wiring harness from the car so I can sell it. I pulled the $400 antenna off the truck when Sue and Lisa were backpacking at a trailhead with car prowls. I never put it back on because I found I didn't miss it. Driving and talking on the radio was just as bad as using a cell phone. Also, despite the technology, I got better reach with my modified hamstick. Antennas are all about height, and anything that is short just can't compete with height. Now I need to pull the wiring out so I can put it up for sale. Hams are a wealthy group, but also into penny pinching. I think I will have no problem selling this antenna online, especially considering it is still under warranty.

I'm thinking about selling my Yaesu radio too, which is also still under warranty. I'm bored with the whole Ham thing. It turned out to be a total waste of time. Cool at first, just like prospecting was, but once I talked to Russia, and realized that most hams are only interested in talking hamspeak, or fighting for rare contacts, I lost interest.

The technology is cool to learn, but boring. Painting and climbing are so much more interesting. Climbing is exciting, social, with lots cool photography to look at afterwards, and painting is satifying in a way that is hard to explain. Painting at my easel touches a chord somewhere down in my dna that surpasses anything done with electricity. The reasons why I avoid it are hard to explain. If I am working, painting in my off time feels almost like more work. Painting on vacation is easy, it feels like fun. But painting while I am working, on the weekend, feels almost like working overtime. I know I should, since I feel like I am abusing my "gift" by not using it. Having talent and not using it is like letting your japanese garden get overgrown with weeds.




I think I've found a solution to this journal problem. The problem is that this static journal is not as much fun as the interactive environment at facebook, and www.cascadeclimbers.com. I am working out the details of how to make this journal interactive, while keeping it appropriate for a teacher who has a public presence. For now, I am developing a wordpress blog, which you can see here at . I will probably still write in here, and may even duplicate in here what I put on wordpress. I'm not sure yet. This one is password protected, but it is far from secure since the password is only in flash.


Looking back over the last two weeks I remember climbing one day each of the two weekends. And both times at Private Idaho, first with Austin S. from China (and jtree) and then with Sue and Lisa last Sunday. Austin and I did Rattletale crack, a lovely 10- hand jam and a 9 at Private Idaho. Sue, Lisa and I did the 5.7 on the right, and two nines. I had to hang on both nines, actually had to aid the second one, but I was getting tired by them. I rubbed my knot down to the core getting lowered for some forgotten gear. That was our brand new $230 rope.

I've been painting in both pastel and Photoshop. The nude is a cool 16 inch plaster model. It's slightly racy, in a goofy, tribal/modern sort of way. The cyborg is a lesson plan for my Photoshop 3 class. It's a self portrait, with 16 hours of trickery.

I started rollerblading again, that has been fun. Put some new wheels on my old blades, love those things. It is a lovely movement on good pavement.

After cursing my Droid data plan for 2 years I've started drooling over iPhones. First I tried ham radio...that didn't pan out. I don't even have it in the car anymore, it was a distraction, and just not my cup of tea. I don' care about the size of the antenna of some fat guy in Minnesota. Nor to I care what radio he is using, or how big his ampifier is. Ham radio is full of boring fat guys who have nothing to talk about but their equipment. They are like a bunch of corvette owners, but even less interesting.

I was crunching some numbers, figuring out if I could get a dumb phone and save some money by avoiding the data plan. Here is how it breaks down:

  price extra line
24 months * 10ea.
data plan
24 months * 30ea.
tom tom total      
iTouch 250 240   220 130 840 3 devices    
iPhone 220 240 720     1180 1 device    



I don't have a solution for the longevity of this journal. If this was a business, I'd close it down for lack of profitability. Facebook, and www.cascadeclimbers.com have become the places where I do my online writing. They are both interactive, involving people I know who respond to my writing, and it's two way communication process.

This journal is old school. Still, who can say whether facebook will stand the test of time. I know this journal will survive as long as there is a hard drive (or a web host) where it can be saved. Hence my occasional entries here in the form of a non-interactive "diary". My memory is so bad that I can't remember what I did more than a couple weekends ago.

Working backwards from today, last weekend Sue, Lisa and I went to Leavenworth where we climbed 2 routes at Planet of the Eights on Saturday. Sunday I led Dogleg and Meatgrinder very cleanly, best in years actually, but then they got hot and wanted to leave early. I ran into Fletch and Chris, and joined them at JY crag.

The previous weekend I painted this still life. It's just the under drawing. I will add color to it soon. It sits out in the garage on my easel, waiting for my interest to return. Painting feels like work, even though I know it's not. I love being in that moment, the painting moment. But it's hard to get my head there. It's so much easier to veg out with a book on the couch with Sue, we read together, different books, or zone off with a netflix video on the laptop.

On the other day of that weekend two weeks ago Sue, Lisa and I pedaled from downtown Olympia to Steamboat Island, a total round trip of 43 miles. That daughter of mine has legs of steel. She doesn't even slow down. Sue turned around at Evergreen. Lisa and I kept going, and going, with the full knowledge that every mile ridden had to be reversed on the way back to the car. Sue has a new $800 bike now, but I'm still riding my 1972 Sekai 3000.

I used to do that 43 mile commute on that very bike when I was 18, commuting from my tipi to the printshop 3 days a week. Lisa and I tried to find the farm where the tipi used to be in 1972, but too much has changed.

Clint climbed Mt. Rainier with some friends from the hospital last weekend while we were in Leavenworth. We've not seen his pictures yet. I had mixed feelings about it until I talked to an experienced climber about the "DC" tourist route. He said that you just follow the trench, and as long as you get some basic training in ice ax, crampon and crevasse rescue, it can be safe; he did, and it was. Clint said that if he decides to pursue more mountains he will take a proper course in climbing, and not just hire a retired guide to babysit him up a large, dangerous glaciated mountain again.


Looks like this journal is falling into disrepair. I climbed at Vantage with Ed, Minday and Mike (Micahs boyfriend). We got rained out of Leavenworth but had a great time at the Feathers, where I climbed all the hard routes without hangs. Sunday I led George and Martha clean, so it appears I am as warmed up as I ever get. I spend more time on facebook and cascade climbers.com that write in this journal. This journal is not interactive, so it's boring. But I do like the concept of a diary, if for no other reason that I will one day not be able to remember my life, other than in these pages.

Here is something I posted in a note in facebook:

I popped the hood in North Bend, on the way back from Vantage and saw a mouse scurry along the engine compartment into the wind shield wiper tunnel.

He wouldn't come out, so we got back on the road and I forgot about him. I dropped off Ed and Mindy in Sumner and left the hood open, certain he would run away.

While I was still on the freeway in Gig Harbor I saw what looked like a leaf popping up at the base of the windshield. It was dark out so all I saw was a silhouette. It would pop up, and then disappear. It did it in several different locations though, which was freaky.

Passing under a streetlight, it happened again and I saw it was the mouse, staring right at me. He was having a little stroll in the moonlight along the base of the windshield. I could see his little head, and his beady eyes, and he could see me in the glow of the instrument lights in my Rav4. We stared at each other for a while, traveling along at 60, him on the outside looking in, me at the wheel. I wonder what he was thinking? Not your average Vantage boulder for sure.

That was quite a ride for the little fellow. I'm wondering if I will have to set a mouse trap. Don't want him dieing in there.


Trip report here.


Driving home from 9 days of climbing at 8000 feet in the City of Rocks. Good friends, sunshine, awesome trip! Our car is covered with an asphalt like chemical the Idaho Parks department sprays on the gravel roads. I don't know if it will ever come off. It turns the dirt roads into a rock hard like substance. It sticks to the paint in a very hard sandy film, like it was glued on.

We left Gig Harbor at 7 AM Friday morning and arrived in Smokey Mountain RV park at 9 PM where Pat, Julietta, Ed and Mindy were camping on BLM land up the rocky road just to the right of the RV park. There are showers there, as well at the Almo General store. We drove in on Highway 77directly to the town of Almo. Oakely is the town with the grocery store, not Almo. Almo is where the Rock City store is, along with the Steak Restaurant. Julia said they butcher a cow in the morning, and surve steaks all day until the meat runs out. I wondered if there was a cow out in the back yard with a tag on the ear that says: "Tomorrow".

On Saturday, Sue and i climbed at Bumbly dome, and Flaming Rock on Rain Dance, Kevin Pogues nicely bolted 5.7 slab route. At the top it was windy, and we asked some top ropers if we could rap from the rap station they were using for top roping Tribal Boundaries. They hollered up that they had one more person to go after they lowered down the beginner who was sobbing at the anchor.

The next person started up and I started to get worried because we were in shorts, it was evening, the sun was down and the wind was howling at 7600 feet in the City. Sue wasn't feeling as patient anbd shouted down at the top ropers: "It's freezing up here!"

Fortunately there was an experienced climber in the party and he told the top ropers to back off and let us ride there line down, since we got to the anchor first. Sue had a melt down on Rain Dance. I had incorrectly assumed that she was ready for a gentle 5.7 slab climb, but the exposure got to her, combined with that jet lag from the long drive th day before.

We are driving back as I type this along the Columbia River. We just passed the John Day Dam, 100 miles from Portland. We plan to drive by REI in Portland to get a new rope. My 5 year old green and white rag is so furry it jams up in the rappel device and makes Sues back hurt. We will also stop and buy some more Yumm sauce if we have the energy. Driving along the Columbia Gorge brings back memories of the 9 years I spent down here wind surfing. I burnt out on that sport, but I still rock climb. Weird how such a dangerous sport would hold my interest longer than something as exciting as spanking along the tops of waves at 20 miles an hour.

Saturday night, after rapping down from Rain Dance a storm rolled in and it poured down rain all night. We woke up Sunday morning to more rain, wind, and a big alpine cloud sitting on the City. We drove down to Rock City and the Ranger station where it was sunny. Off in the distance on the level plain of the valley we saw some clean domes taht turned out to be Castle Crags. I bought the guidebook and we climbed all the moderates on Castle: 5.6, 5.7, 5.8 and 5.9. Sue wouldn't let me drag her beyond 2 pitches up, so I will wait until next trip to see what the summit looks like. Ed, Julietta, Pat and Mindy showed up around 2 and joined us.Castle has close bolting and feels very safe.

Monday Sue and I climbed the long 5.6 on the front of Bath Rock, then we did the 5.8 and the 5.9 trad line on the West side of Bath. The 9 had an awkward flaring chimney where I had to hang. The true route skirts that on the right, but I didn't read the description until afterward.

When we drove up Monday evening Merica and Julia were there with their two dogs, Lyle and Dakota. They were tired after a bit of an epic the night before. They had manually entered the wrong co-ordinates into their GPS. It led them to the middle of a prairie two hours away from City of the Rocks. By the time they got to Almo, it was 5AM and they crashed in a hotel room.

Tuesday Sue and I climbed Carol's Crack, a cool 5.8 finger and hand crack at Decadent wall. It has a cool green pool on top and I was wishing I had someone up there with me to pose in the emerald pool. I also led the 3 bolted lines on the left edge of upper Decadent wall, Bread Loaves restroom parking lot.

Wednesday the 4 of us, plus their two dogs (me, Sue, Merica, Julia) went to Elephant Rock where I led Wheat Thin, Columbia Crack and the bolted line on the crag in back.


Jim Showed up Thursday evening while I was leading the slab route at Bloody Fingers. I led Bloody Fingers next, and did well, sending it clean. I need to remember to bring all 4 yellow number 2's, plus both greens, and save a green, red and yellow for the top crux. You have to step out onto a dime size dike for the right foot, and jam the left foot into the crack. You step up to the next dike ledge and plug in a touchy green camalot, with a long sling. Then you can stand up and get some good finger sized cams in before the finishing moves which aren't too bad. But the move up to the green cam is protected with two cams in a 7 mm crack, neither of which is very inspiring. The next peice is 12 feet down, so it would be a scary 30 footer if you peel and pop the cams.

Friday Sue, Jim and I hiked up and climbed Theatre of Shadows on Jacksons Thumb, or Steinfelds Dome. Four pitches of 5.7, very closely bolted by Kevin Pogue. Youcan get off with one 60. There is a mid rap belay station after the overhang rap, which is only about 60 feet. We got down around one and went over to Parking Lot rock where I led the scary buttress on the left edge. The first 3 bolts are 30 feet apart, and from the ground it looks super hairy. Once I got up on it though I found the climbing to easy, and the run outs were a non issue. As long as you can keep your head out of the game, run out climbing is like free soloing 5.2.

The upper bolts were safely bolted and very enjoyable 5.8 climbing. The hardest move is at the top where it domes over, but the bolt is at your waist when you make the friction move.

Saturday Sue, Jim and I hiked into Stripe Rock from the same Circle Creek trailhead of the day before and climbed Cruel Shoes, 2.5 pitches of closely bolted 5.7, also by Kevin Pogue. The first pitch was intimidating, and not just because of the herd of wild cows guarding the start. The route is very steep for a good 80 feet, and looks like a 5.10, not a 5.7 But once I got on it I found it to be lovely. I'm not sure either route is worth the 40 minute approach, though I did enjoy the solitude, great views, and exercise.

Saturday afternoon Jim decided to drive back to Leavenworth, so Sue dropped me at Bath Rock where Merica and Julia were hanging out. We drove over to Parking Lot rock where I led Norma's Book, a cool 35 meter 5.5 open book that ended on a windy summit. I pulled Merica up and we both proceeded to slowly freeze as we took summit shots and rigged the double rope rappel.

Sunday I took the three women back to Decadent Wall at Bread Loaves where Julia, Merica and I took turns leading the routes I'd done a couple days before.

I've got my days mixed up somehow and I'm too tired to sort them out. Yesterday we went back to Bread Loaves where I led an overhanging 9 or ten open book with one hang. I also climbed the 5.6 to the right of Randy's dyke crack, with Julia following. Yesterday afternoon we hiked down to Bumbly Wall where the girls each tried to lead Mystery bolter. Julia got the highest, clipping the fourth bolt before handing off to me.

I got up to the crux, around bolt number 12 and got nicely gripped thinking about the 20 foot fall I would take if I blew the clip. You have to commit to the friction moves on the steep face, and not get sucked into the arette, which is a dead end. When I finally stepped onto the steep footholds and committed, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Thgere are really only about 3 scary steps, but they were the hardest moves of the trip.

We left Sunday night at 7:30 and got to a campground near La Grande Oregon at 3 AM. It was a state park just off the road about 3 miles past a rest area. I was so tired a crawled into the back of the car ontop of all the gear and flaked out for half an hour. Sue's whining woke me up and we drove another 15 minutes to the campground where it was already getting light as we fell asleep, me on the pavement, and Sue on the picnic table. We left 4 hours later, arriving at Yumm Sauce and REI around 11 AM.

I bought a $239 Maxim bi-color 70 meter 9.9 rope, some biniers and chalk. Sue bought a pair of Chacos and we hit the road for Gig Harbor. We just hit Tacoma, and I am typing as she drives past Fort Lewis. We have to stop and hose off the mud at a car wash, and then we are off to the house.


Sue, Lisa and I took dad out in his canoe yesterday. We paddled out to the middle of Boston Harbor where he dumped mom's ashes in the sound. They formed a plume under the water that hung suspended, and I half expected to see them form up into mom's outline under the water. But this isn't Hollywood, it was just my poor old 87 year old dad dumping his wife's ashes into Puget Sound, which has surely suffered worse abuses over the years. The canoe leaks, and the keel filled up with water. When Lisa and I tried to lift it onto his car (all 100 pounds) my gimpy left arm blew out and I dropped it. As it fell, we shoved it onto his Toyota where it broke off the mirror on it's way down to the ground.

You can buy 52 pound canoes, but they cost 2500. No one wants to paddle that old beast anymore, it's going to hurt someone by either sinking, or crippling someones back. But he would rather give money to grandkids than spend anything on himself. Nevermind that he used to drop thousands on trips to China or England, god forbid that he spend some money on canoe.

At work I've been getting into Jquery. It's a new alternative to Flash, thanks to the prevalence of the stupid iphone. Either way you have to write script, but Jquery seems to be a direction the web is headed, since it is open source and free, as opposed to Flash which costs $800.

My new Tarheel antenna can reach out to Mississippi. It still has a lot of noise while driving. I need to do some more bonding work to cut down on the static noise. I have to push button band switcher that moves the antenna up or down to make it resonant on the various frequencies. It's kind of cool, though I don't have much patience for monkeying around with it. I guess ham radio isn't that important to me. It's cool, but not even half as exiting at painting, which is only half as fun as climbing.

We paddled over to Cooper's Point where there is a long sand spit off some rich dudes mansion and beached out boats for half an hour. Dad almost fainted when he got out. He had us a bit worried as he leaned over the canoe, holding on for balance. Finally we but a couple pads down on the sand and he lay down. I was glad Lisa was with us, she didn't seem too concerned, and she saves peoples lives all day long in the ER room.

I got paid by both my boss, and my client for the map. I put $650 into savings for taxes, $1200 into my visa card, which left me with 1200 in checking. I'm going to work on my car top rack board today. I have to fiberglass it to make the other half waterproof.


Called in sick today. Spent the whole night up with a piercing stomach ache. I barfed a couple times towards morning. The night before I ate a couple bowls of Costco Waldorf salad for dinner. I was thinking that it was all fruit, so it would be a healthy dinner, but after last night, never again.

I finished out my freelance project, coming in under bid at 57 hours. 60 hours was my bid. The check should be in the mail soon. I can't link to it for a while as I'm keeping it on the low down. But it was an excellent opportunity for me to combine my artistic skills with animation on a state of the art project for one of the biggest companies in Tacoma.

I've basically already spent all the money. There was no way I could work that much OT without a carrot at the end of the stick. As soon as the last remnants of this stomach ache go away I may try to mount the new tarheel antenna on my truck. Right now my stomach feels bruised, and I'm in no mood to even walk around.


Sue and I have climbed in Vantage and Leavenworth since I last wrote. We had a nice time climbing with our old friend Jim P. two weeks ago. He climbed with us both days, and we enjoyed staying at his awesome house on the Icicle. I can still remember a night 30 years ago when Sue and I were falling asleep by the campfire after a hard day of climbing. We were camped at Rat Creek, across from meatgrinder where there was free camping. We heard a hello from the darkness and Jim walked up to our campfire carrying a bottle of wine.

We were all so young back then. But time goes by, and now Jim is 70 and we are 57, instead of 27. We still climb hard, and even do the same routes. But the feeling of time and distance adds a new dimension to the experience that wasn't there back then.

I have a new client, and have put 40 hours of work into his project. I was hesitant to show it too him. All of the work was after hours, and I made some huge progress working all weekend, so getting feedback after working that far out on a limb was outside my comfort zone. But all is well, he likes it a lot. We have work to do, but lots of time before the June deadline. I'm thinking about blowing the money on a car antenna, probably the http://www.tarheelantennas.com/little_tarheel_ii_photos

The news from the legislature has been all bad, so who knows what the future will hold. The education business has to be self supporting without the governments support, and it's not, so we will see...


Spring break has been over for a couple weeks, and I am just now getting around to writing about it. Drove down to Portland on Thursday afternoon, arriving just before the ham store closed. I bought a couple ham sticks (20 and 40 meter), a humongous 3 magnet magmount, and some more Powerpole connectors. I hooked up with Dave Friday and we climbed together until Monday, when Sue talked me into coming home a day early.

The bivy crowd has moved into Terry's house, where Dave, Cathy, Ashlie and I joined them for a small party Saturday night. It was good to blow the harp again. I followed "whereever I may roam" in a hail storm and got very cold. I had to grab some bolts on the traverse, which was covered in half an inch of ice. I led both the Outsider and Tammy Bakkers face cleanly.

Down in the gorge I followed some 10b's, and led a new 9, feeling very strong. The following Sunday, last weekend, Sue and I went to Vantage where I led the hard 10a just to the left of the tunnel on the sunny side of the feathers. That was the first time I've sent that thing. I was unstoppable for a while, climbing everything in sight. It's nice to 'turn back the march of time' once in a while.

I've managed to succeed on my 'prison camp diet', dropping from 174 down to 159. I eat 2.5 cups of food at dinner, and snack on a cup of something healthy during the day....maybe nuts, or carrots. Deep and painful hunger is the main feature of this diet, and success seems to mean making hunger my friend, instead of something that needs to be fixed. It's kind of like having a new toy, in a way. I feel the hunger and think, cool, that's my friend, reminding me that I am loosing weight.

Sue and I drove up to Point No Point at Hansville, East of Poulsbo, where we hiked a mile down the beach and I set up my ham radio. I talked to people in New Mexico, Texas, LA and Georgia on 17 and 20 meters using my Buddistick vertical antenna.17 meter (18 Mhz) was much less crowded with contesters, and had better clarity than 20 meters (14 Mhz). I had several long conversations with friendly hams.

It was so cool to be standing there on the beach, far from the car, operating a fancy transceiver. Just like when I am painting, people stop and ask what I am doing. I would tell them I was a ham radio operator, and they'd say "what?". Ham radio is so rare it has fallen from the public conciousness. It was easier to just tell them I was a Russian spy, that made them smile and walk away.

I still have not got my radio to work in the car, or with my dipoles at the house...big learning curve ahead of me there still. At work I am learning OOP Actionscript 3, and teaching it to my flash 3 class. Finally found a good book that explains it well.


This weather is getting old. It's 3 days until spring break and it looks like even Smith is going to rain. I'd really like find some dry weather somewhere closer than Las Vegas. Fletch, Justin, Susie, Craig, Phil, Sue and I climbed at Vantage yesterday. It was frigid in the morning while we did a few beginner climbs at the feathers for Sue.

We got so cold climbing those two routes that we were forced to hike out to Sunshine wall just to warm up our frozen toes. Once there, we roped up just in time for the rain to start. It tapered down to a steady drizzle and I led a 5.8 just left of Air Guitar. Because of the rain direction, it was only wet at the top, which had good gear for the step left to the chains.

I brought my radio and antenna. I'd planned to set up and try to make some long distance contacts in the evening, but I was too tired to bother with it when we got there at 10 PM. I've got a bad case of cabin fever that has been building since I returned from sunny Joshua Tree.

I don't have the energy to drive to Las Vegas where it is sunny. And anyway with my bad luck it would start to rain once I got there.

I still haven't made any long distance contacts with my ham radio. This hobby is very frustrating. I may hike down to the water at Pt. Defiance today and see if I can use the saltwater to make some HF contacts. I need to find a place to park right on the water...so I guess that might be Purdy. I could set the antenna pretty close to the water, while sitting in the car where the radio would be dry. Or I could maybe use an umbrella. Sue might be interested in hiking down to the Salmon Beach area with me today after work.

I need to make some progress before I get so frustrated I put it all up for sale on ebay. All the youtubers make it looks so easy, but I get nothing but empty air when I try to talk to people. I can hear them fine, they can't hear me. It's true that I've not tried my new extended antenna yet. I added 12 feet to my buddipole antenna with some cheap aluminum tubing, and I've not had a dry day to test it.

I could spend the end of this week installing my ham radio in my cars, possiby making a half size rack board, and studying flash 3 stuff. I need to figure out what I'm teaching next quarter, and there hasn't been time. I could hit Vantage with Phil and or Sue Saturday to Tuesday, and have time for studying actionscript and ham radio...that might make more sense than doing an epic $400 drive to Indian Creek for 4 days of sun, and 2 days of solo driving.

No matter what, I need to stop throwing money at ham radio. I need more skill, not more hardware. I've done the reading, now I need to get up high, or on the salt water and do some testing of my buddipole antenna system.


4 days ago I lumbered up onto the scale and saw 174. I'm now at 164 and my new diet is working great. I eat two cups of healthy food for dinner, and nothing but coffee and water all day. I get very, very hungry during the day, but after the first day, the hunger pains begin to seem normal, and not so much pain, as just the normal state of being.

I've read that hunger is healthy, as long as it isn't long term starving that starves you of things required for life. I don't want to get scurvy for example, like the sailors during the 1600's, or the prison camp inmates in Germany and Japan during WW2

In fact, I'm calling this the prison camp diet. But those poor souls would call my situation a life of luxury. I'm hungry by choice, and I can choose to be thin, or fat.

The earthquake in Japan is now being called a 9.0. The photos are startling. They got a real psunami in Brookings, Oregon all the way from Japan. Killed one guy, and damaged a bunch of boats at anchor. The boats that road it out at sea were fine.

I went to the hamfest at the Puyallup fair yesterday with James. I bought a Buddistick, and ordered a magmount from HRO(ham store in Portland) who had a booth there, plus the antenna that screws into the cartop magmount. I also bought some wire and some PowerPole connectors, plus an old 4 way antenna switch for $20. I spent more than I shoud have, but less than I brought. I think I'm getting to the end of my spending spree on ham radio.

Getting into a new hobby is always expensive. I'm still not even sure I like it. 85% of the ham radio attendees were obese men over 60. I generally avoid hobbies liked by fat guys. James and I were discussing that weird demographic and he speculated that women avoid the hobby because, while they love to talk, there is no body language to read. I do find it very challenging as I climb the knowledge curve. I've heard it compared to fishing.

As a beginning fisherman you spend a lot of time fishing, and never catch anything. I've had zero long distance contacts, though I can hear people from as far away as Japan. I learned some cool things about my antenna farm out in the yard, things I've done wrong. I will work on those and see what happens.


Vange broke her ankle today in Joshua Tree on Toe Jam. Ashley was down there with her. Breaking an ankle almost seems like a rite of passage in this sick sport. I broke mine in '79ish.

I climbed up the tree on the north side of the yard using the three story ladder. It was dark, and snowing, from about 8 PM to 10. The neighbors kid came out with a flashlight when I was at the very top of the ladder, drilling my last protection bolt, which is also the antenna hang point.

"What in the f. are you doing up there?"

"Climbing a tree, what does it look like?"

"Why are you climbing a tree, in the dark, in the snow?"

"I was bored, and it's better than watching TV."

"That is just wrong, what are you really doing up there?"

"I'm having fun climbing this tree, is there something wrong with that? But really, I'm hanging an antenna."

"That makes a little more sense than just doing it for fun...do you need any help?"

"No, I'm pretty good. I've got my harness anchored to the girth rope, and a bolt with my auto-locking Cinch belay device. But you could go wake up my wife. She is supposed to be checking on me, and she went to sleep. I tried to call her but got her voice mail."

After getting the north end of the 95 foot dipole antenna 35 feet high, I put a pole under the middle to support the center, so the whole thing is about 30 feet high. Sadly, if you do the math: 468 divided by dipole length in feet = Frequency in Megahertz; you realize that the antenna needs to be half a wavelength long, and at least half a wavelength off the ground. The target wavelength is 60 meters, to my antenna needs to be 30 meters tall, or 90 feet. So I need to climb that tree 3 times as high, which isn't going to happen. They are fir trees, with no branches until 80 feet. It's scary up there, and I don't want to use climbing spikes, as that damages the tree even more than the bolts I put in every 15 feet.

I need to invent a tree jumar, one similar to a rope jumar, which does not damage the rope as it climbs up. It would also have a safety trigger that would allow it to go down, since I suppose I would be rapping from a bolt and rope girdle at the high point. It could be cammed with a flexible chain belt, or possible some kind of rope belt. I don't know how to create a cam that big...

Using the Radio Club of Tacoma's repeater, I got my home brewed 2 meter (148Mhz) antenna to work, making my first CQ (Calling any party) contact today. It was an old gentleman named Bob, parked in his car in Tacoma who heard me, and started a very nice half hour QSO (contact) about his life in ham radio, the 1939 Ford he was driving, and what he was doing. He seemed very interested in me, and the fact that it was my first contact over the air. He asked me many questions about why I got into ham radio, where I worked, what I did, etc. It was nice. He was a real gentleman. An old guy, with plenty of time on his hands, welcoming a new guy to the hobby.



Got my ham license a week after taking the test. But I can't make my transmitter work. I can hear people all the way to Arkansas, Florida and up into Quebec. I'm thinking that supporting the center of my dipole antenna with a metal pole, even though it's insulated, might be blocking my outgoing signal. I'm going to hang the wire higher tonight and remove the metal pole, so the dipole antenna hangs free in mid air between the two trees. That might help. My automatic tuner has indicated that it can't balance the SWR, or maybe I just don't understand it. I should have bought a manual tuner with arrows. I don't know what my SWR is, because my tuner is so automatic. Tons of work to do, I need to get off this blog.


I have passed the General (practice) test using the online testing website at hamtestonline.com. It was a tremendous amount of work There are 300 extremely technical questions about things like ohms, farads, henrys, resistance in series and parallels for resistors, inductors and capacitors (which divide by a reciprocal).

There is also more information than you can imagine about all sorts of bizarre antennas including diploles, half dipoles, the required antenna length in feet, meters and inches of those styles of antennas for the various wavelengths from 160 meters through 0.23 centimeters. Oh, I didn't mention the variations on the dipoles like yagis, loop yagis, cubicle loop yagis, and delta loop yagis. The director on most of these is either a half dipole (wavelength divided by 2) or, in the case of the loop yagi, the continuous wire around the loop measure the length of the radio wave. So, if it is a one meter wave (300 Mhz) the loop of antenna wire to extract that radio wave from the ether measures exactly one meter in circumference.

I have had no life at all other than work and studying for the general exam. And now I am getting scores of up to 100% on the general exam. Simultaneously I have continued to study the 300 technician questions where I am also getting 100% scores.

The test is tomorrow. I've not solved square roots since I was in Trig with Guy, way back in 1999. It's kind of fun doing it, and finding it easy, but whether I can perform at this level while taking the FCC test in a strange environment, with pencil on paper tomorrow at the Tacoma ham radio clubhouse is unknown.

I forgot to mention that Saturday Sue and I drove to Portland where I bought the following from the Ham Radio Outlet store:

Yaesu 857d all band radio. A Samlex switching DC power supply, and an LDG AT-200Pro antenna tuner, plus another $100 worth of ladderline wire, 30 feet of coax, a balun and some insulaters. In short, I have an entire Ham Radio station, but still haven't passed the FCC test to get my license, which allows me to use the equipment. So you could say the pressure is on. I've not even unboxed it yet, figuring that if I can't pass the test, I'll simply return it all. Failure is unlikely though, after all this arduous study...but the proof is in the pudding.

On a sadder note, in the last year we lost my mom, at 88, my uncle Dan, at 90, and now I just got a letter in the mail saying that Uncle Dans wife Nita died. It's so sad when old age starts to slay our elders in sucession like that. I know dying (and being born) is all part of the natural cycle of life. But that knowledge does not lessen the pain. Nita was a very sweet woman, always interested in what I was painting, or doing. Just a classy lady, and now she is gone. Rest in Peace.


I have mastered the Amateur Radio (Ham) Technician test questions, all 300 of them. I've been doing practice tests at hamtestonline.com. When I tell it to give me random questions, I got 3 perfect scores in a row on the 35 questions. When I tell it to only test me on my weak points, I usually miss one or two. I decided to start studying for the next license, which is General. It is much harder, but the testing software seems to be preparing me. I can at least give it a shot. A guy at the Tacoma ham club said to plan to fail the hard math questions, and squeak by with a passing score (26 out of 35 questions). This removes some of the stress of having to memorize all of the high end math, which involves memorizing formulas concerning square roots containing multiplied variables. It allows you to solve a question like this: What is the total resistance of 3 resistors in parallel when 150Watts are applied to a load of 50 Ohms. The formula is Rt = the square root of Volts times Watts....or something like that. I have no possibility of memorizing this virtual mathematical madness.

The test is on the eigth of February. I can't wait to get that over with. I've been obsessed with cramming for it, and it's getting old. It is fun to learn new stuff, but the amount of material is daunting.

We skied in whiteout conditions at Paradise today: me, Sue and Lisa. It was great exercise, and we got in a few good turns, but mostly it was like hiking and skiing in the middle of a big puffy cotton ball. Flying by instruments.


Bicycled with Sue and Lisa from the Fred Meyer on Cirque to Day Island, back to Freddies, and then up to Pt. Defiance. Lisa is great fun to ride with once she gets some exercise and gets in cruise mode. She is a very bright young lady, and understands her grumpy old dad. I've been totally wrapped up in teaching and studying for my ham test. Rather than write a lot of meanless prose here, I will paste in a comment I made at www.worldwidedx.com. This shows what is on my mind right now, and I can go back to studying my ham book:

---------------------------------------------begin forum post------------

Howdy, first time on the board. Studying for my technician test and drooling over new toys...what to buy for my first radio? Sorry if this is a bit long...

A little background:

I got interested in ham for a few reasons:

  1. I'd really like to stop paying for cell phone bills. I love my Droid, but over the last 19 years I've spent $12,000 with Verizon ($50 a month, do the math). The cell industry has me sold on the idea that I have to have constant communication. But before 1992, I did just fine without a cell phone.
  2. I'm a climber, mountains, glaciers, cliffs, backcountry skiing, and some hiking. Never any cell coverage out there. Communication between climbing parties, and the outside world, can be critical. Why don't cell phones do walkie talkie?
  3. The ham radio technology is fascinating, I always wondered how electricity works, I love learning new things.

I really don't have much interest in rag chewing as a hobby. I've got lots of friends and family in town, and as a teacher of high tech, I talk all day long. And there is always facebook.

I was initially interested in the small portable HT (Handi Talkie) ham radios like the Yaesu VX-8R, and the Icom 92AD. They would allow me to call my wife to arrange car pooling in town (Tacoma, Wa.), and communicate with her in the mountains via Simplex mode where there is no cell towers, or even receivers. I frequent the mountains around Mt. Rainier and Leavenworth, Wa, Joshua Tree, CA, and Yosemite, Ca.

But she would have to take the test too, and that is unlikely at this point. She sees this as just another hair brain hobby, like my macro photography.

Photography, Webster Web Design

So I would have one HT, and no one to talk to other than folks on repeaters, and I've heard that can be pretty empty. Yes, I could do a patch to call the wife, but from what I've read in the license manual, you aren't supposed to compete with "normal" communication modes: ie:cell.

And there isn't much learning to do with an ht, after the first couple months.

So, maybe an HT isn't a good first ham radio. I started looking at mobile rigs that can double as a base station in the house, will entertain me in the car on the commute, and are light enough to maybe carry up a mountain for some SOTA fun.

Summits On The Air - Welcome to SOTA!

Now that looks fun! Exercise, beautiful views, and new high tech toys.

I kept coming back to the Yaesu 857d because it is durable, not too large, and seems to have room to grow when I get my general license. But then I realized it is a 6 year old radio...I don't really want to buy something outdated.

So I started reading about the Icom IC-7000. That looks nice!

I get the whole argument about how D-STAR and talking through repeaters is not really pure ham radio. Reaching out long distances on your own equipment and know how...that would seem to me to be a worthy quest.
Not sure I would get actually get into it, but it seems to have grabbed many of you, and I suspect it would me also.

So here is my question, finally Is the IC-7000 a dumb radio for a noob who is not even sure he will like this new hobby? My wife will kill me if I spend $1400 on that thing, plus assorted accessories I don't even know I need yet. The nearest ham store is 4 hours away in Portland, Oregon.

I did go to a meeting of my local club, and that looks hopeful, but jeez, those guys are so old I was wishing there was a geriatric nurse on standby. It's true what they say about hams being mostly old guys. Not that there is anything wrong with old guys...lot of knowledge there...I respect that. But we are worlds apart in lifestyle.

I hang out with kids in their twenties (climbers) and they think hams are dinosaurs. They can't understand why I am getting interested.

To me Ham radio looks like a way to cut the cord with Verizon, and still retain some limited communication abilities, and learn some cool new stuff about a 100 year old hobby.

If you got this far, thank you for your patience, and I look forward to any feedback you can offer. I'm open to any and all suggestions.

--------------------- end forum post---------------------


Realized I've not written in a month again. I've been writing on line here and here. Jtree for xmas was great. Sue came down, and we met Craig, Cameron, Ashley, Vange, Mark L., Ed and Mindy, Pat C and his wife, Sam and Reed from Smith, Dave D. and Heather's brother Brentley...plus Steve T and James. Had three days of bad weather and explored Cochise Canyon where it was sunny. Fell off Bearded Cabbage again, must do more pullups.

I'm working on getting my ham license. I'm going to drop my Droid and go to a cheap pay as you go phone, hopefully spending about $7 a month, instead of $50. I will use a handheld ham instead. I will buy one used, and one new and talk Sue into getting her license too....she doesn't know this yet. We can communicate around Tacoma, Paradise and Leavenworth, and I may explore the other aspects of Ham radio too, like listening in on the world frequencies. But first I have to get through the book and take the test. It's fascinating stuff. Cell phones are really just ham radios dumbed down and smoothed out for the average joe, with weaker transmitters, and disabled walkie talkie functions. Of course, cell phones are encrypted now, and hams broadcast on public frequencies, so there are major differences.

Skied paradise with Clint, Lisa and Sue. Clint has a randonee setup. That boy can ski! He needs to take an avvy class so he stays off steep slopes. We had trouble reining him in. He doesn't seem to care that there is no avvy control in the back country.


Spar varnish dries slow! I found this out while varnishing my new home made car top rack. It measures 44x60 x 3/4 ACX plywood. It will be attached to my RAV4 with homemade forged brackets that I made from iron bar with a butane torch. I was going to buy a rocket box, but we spent so much on studded snow tires I needed to economize. I also don't like the cheapness of the plastic rocket boxes. They are flimsy. There is nothing wrong with tieing stuff to the top of the car as it's been done since the days of stagecoaches. You just need a good board with some ring bolts for attaching the ropes and bungy cords.

I've had a cold that turned into asthma for a month. Finally going to see the doctor tomorrow to get it looked at. I'm also repairing our old snowshoes so friend and family without skins can go skiing with us. Took forever to find the neoprene lacing. I need to buy some more of it so I don't run out. The stuff is awesome. If I had just searched for Sherpa snowshoe repair to start with...

Looks like Craig, Cameron, Ashley, Vange, James, Dave, Sue and I will all be at Jtree. That should be fun. Looking forward to the sunshine. I need to figure out how to attach a bundle of skis and poles to our new rack. It's a flat sheet of plywood, with ring bolts. I'm thinking of sewing a "body bag" from thick neoprene. Make it 7 feet long by 2 feet around with a half zipper. Then we could stuff the gear in. It would need some straps to bunch it down tightly to prevent flapping, but then it could be bungy corded to the roof and we would be good to drive.

I also bought a new freeplay windup weather radio, but it couldn't get our weather channels. It was built great, but a bad antenna is a deal breaker. I ordered a similar unit from ccrane. Clint should be getting his skins soon for his new fat board, then we can all go to Paradise like old times. Climbed with Fletch, Craig, Cameron, Lisa G. and Emily last night. Or at least I saw all of them. Plus Nick, Andy and Ken at the desk. That is such a great gym. We have a little community of friendy climbers hanging out there. It was Lisa and Fletcher the lecher on the ropes with me. They are a lot of fun. We've been friends for a few years now and have many climbing trips behind us.

Lisa and I were talking about how we missed Christine. We know she is busy being a mom, and we are happy for Thomas that she is being a great mom, but we both confessed to a little confusion as to why she didn't come out climbing this summer. Kids and climbing are a fine mix...about the same as dogs. Dogs cause problems at the cliff, and so do kids, but with common sense and some extra partners and or baby sitters it works out fine.

We never stopped climbing while we were raising kids. Sue was out climbing at 5 weeks with Clint. He was so tiny, but we didn't want to leave him behind. Lisa has been a full RN for a couple months now and is getting used to the schedule. She had her first code with a stroke patient recently as the RN in charge. Her Charge Nurse knew it was her first time being the RN on a critical code so she sent in the floater nurse, who happened to be Clint. I'm so proud of those kids. I have no idea how they turned out so good. I felt terrible about being the absent father for so many years. Seeing them only on the weekend made me feel like a real jerk. But the printing business is grim that way. Even Pollard finally closed this year.

I need to start boning up for my classes next quarter: Photoshop 2, Illustrator 2, Flash2 and Illustrator 1. It will be awesome to have Bruce back. I miss him when he is gone winter quarter. I'm only half the web program, and it can be a bit of a burden to be the only web guy around. Tony just got hired by cobalt in Seattle. That is our third student placed there.

If you have a mac, and you need to have read write privileges on a pc formatted external hard drive (harddrive), you will need some software that allows the mac to access and change the files on that pc formatted hard drive. I think I used this, though I'm not sure.



This journal is sort of withering. It's not that I've stopped living, it's just that I've become more of a social media writer, rather than a journaler. Last Monday I went to work with a snow forecast. I began teaching lesson Dreamweaver Lesson 7a, where we add flyout menus to our website. At break, Laura came in and said she was very uncomfortable with the snow that was falling and wanted to go home.

Only 5 students had showed up in my class, and only 2 returned from break. I realized I was having a "snow mutiny" and told the class it was a lab day. The college closed at noon that day. On the way home my car turned into a sled on a long hill, and I barely missed another sledding car in the left lane.

The next morning the college was closed. The following day, Wednesday, was a furlough day, and Thursday and Friday were Thanksgiving break, so I basically had the whole week off. I spent the time sewing a pair of goretex bibs for backcounty skiing.

The bibs took about two full days to sew. Not having sewn a garment before, I learned a lot. Most importantly I learned that seams should be sewn 3/8" from the edge, or the size will be too large. Also: don't make wear patches from heavy nylon, or the pants will be stiff, and the patches don't need to cover the whole seat, just the wear portions.

I also should have taken Sues advice and pinned the pants first to make sure the the pattern fit, before sewing the final seam. I could have easily taken up the inseam, had I tried them on. But instead I finished the seam with a top stitch before trying them on...a typical beginner mistake. It's not that they don't fit, they are just baggy. Still, I've sewn a $400 garment for $45, so I'm not complaining. I think I will try a Goretex parka next.

We bought 4 Nokian Hakkapeliitta SUV 5 studded snow tires. I tried to get just two, but it would have involved a lot of deception with the retailers. I've had just two on three front wheel drive cars, against the experts advice over the last 25 years. But perhaps that is why I've had to drive cautiously: the back end tends to break loose.

We skied deep powder at Paradise Saturday with chains required. We didn't chain up, and our 4 wheel drive Rav4 felt like it had chains going up and down. I didn't push it, and was sure I was going to crash a couple of times as I breaked hard on the sharp corners on compact snow and ice. My chest filled up with adrenaline when I saw the corner coming up with too much speed on. I guess I was remembering previous cars, as the Rav4 never broke loose.

Lisa was just starting to do the odd telemark turn 4 years ago when she started nursing school. She stopped skiing with us other than once or twice. She was with us Saturday and suddenly figured out her turns. I gave her the same instructions I've been giving her for 17 years, and suddenly she got it, linking 3 turns perfectly. We were so excited for her. That was a huge accomplishment on 1977 skinny skis and low, wimpy leather boots.

Sue also nailed her turns in the deep, flawless powder. Visibility was marginal, especially up near Pan, where it was almost a total whiteout. We could barely find the ridge down the skyline trail, it was a full on blizzard. I also replaced a deadbolt and tried to repair an old pair of snowshoes. The deadbolt had security screws, which meant I had to drill them out to replace it. It took about 2 hours to get the darn thing removed. I need to get a plug in drill. My old one died, and this battery powered one is crap for serious work.

Oh, I also climbed at Vantage with Phil 2 weeks ago. We did Air Guitar and George and Martha (one hang). It was warm over there, weird that it snowed the next weekend in town.



Spent the day on the couch yesterday. Had a bad cold and my nose was totally stuffed. Bought some software called Dragon dictate. It was very expensive, $165. But it allows me to type by just talking to my computer. I wanted to veg out yesterday so I watched some movies. I used Netflix to watch Conair with Nicholas Cage, and I watched "the thing called love" which has Sandra Bullock in it before she got famous and River Phoenix, who apparently died.

I couldn't shake the feeling that I was getting really sick so sitting around was good, but I felt guilty I wasn't doing anything. I have so many things I need to do. I need to grade the finals my students handed in, I need to sew some goretext bib overalls, and I need to finish a handout for my Dreamweaver class. We upgraded to CS5 and all of my handouts are bad. I'm rewriting them before each class and giving them out as PDFs instead of paper printouts. But now it's Sunday and I feel better so I'll try to get some work done today instead of being a vegetable.

The plot on the movie "a thing called love was really nice". It has singer coming to Nashville with her guitar and trying to play in a coffee house. It was open mic but if you are good you got selected to play Friday night with the band. It took the singer almost the entire movie to come up with a song good enough to qualify for the Friday night band.

She had to have her heart broken before she could write a really good song. That seems so true with artists, real art comes from the heart, not the head. There's a song on there called Walkaway Joe, by Tricia Yearwood, and it's a heartbreaker. I'd heard it before but I forgot how good it was so I bought it on iTunes. You can also hear that song in a music video for free on YouTube. I watched it there first and it was so good I had tears streaming down my face...I don't why. Maybe I'm still a little sick. But I've always loved tearjerker songs anyway. I love this new Dragon dictate software, it's really good. It's like talking to a friend. You can let your mind flow with the words, and not have your typing skills interfere with the flow of words.


Craig and I had a great time in Vantage this weekend. We slept at the bridge creek bivy spot and there was no one else there, which was very strange as that place is frequently so crowded you can barely get a parking spot.

The reason bacame apparent when we drove down to use the Bridge Creek campground head. I had assumed it would be gated off like 8 mile campground, but the sign said: "Bridge Creek campground is free but with limited services." The outhouse was open, but there was no water.

We drove into town and went into the climbing store where I bought a pair of BD Ascencion skins. I turned around and Craig was whipping off a whole passel of pullups on some rings in front of the cash register. I asked him later why, and he said they offer 10% off if you do ten pullups: 10 for 10.

The clerk was very buff and friendly, and we later decided she won the "hottest babe of the weekend" award.

The rain looked like it was not going to stop so we made the drive to Vantage where it was just barely sprinkling and climbed a bunch of stuff in the feathers. I led a 10a on Satins' pillar with 2 hangs, and Armed forces arete clean.

Sunday it was sunny and I led clip or skip em, Air Guitar and Tangled up in Blue, all clean. I didn't feel strong enough to lead George and Martha, though Craig led it nicely, and then TR'd Red M&Ms' with no falls. The warm sunshine was lovely after all the rain we've had lately.

Dinner was a huge steak and two coolers. I think my weakness Sunday was related to the dinner. I should buy less meat, and more potatoes. Steak and potatoes would make for better nutrition. And I need to start doing pullups.

When everything else is raining, Vantage can be just fine as a climbing area. I shun it all year do to the rock fall but when winter arrives, it's Vantage or nothing. Tangled up in Blue is one of the cleaner routes there. The crack is not spintered, and as a very technical start. The crack is too big for finger jams, and too small for good hands so you have to supplement the bad hands with awkward stemming on the smooth walls. This goes on for about 20 awkward, muscular feet until you get to the first hand jam where you relax a little, though you still have to bridge to get a decent rest...cool climb!


Our union decided to give us 4 furlough unpaid days to save the college money. It's a Friday, but I couldn't find anyone else who could take a sudden three day weekend. Or at least, posting on facebook didn't work. I've got things I can do at home anyway. Clint came over and borrowed my telegear for an overnight at Paradise. He's never done an overnight in the snow before like that. I would have liked to train him first in some of the dangers, but he became interested in it so fast there wasn't time.

He doesn't even know how to use a compass. Tried to show him on the kitchen table, but I could tell it didn't soak in. I've had to rewrite some of my Dreamweaver lessons to match the newest version of the software. I suspect I will be doing that all quarter. In the web prinnc. class I came up with a new lesson that shows them how to change the header image, which google can't index, into a header image in back of a hidden h1 tag. The viewer sees the image, but google sees the h1 words. I worked through the conversion one step at a time, and they seemed to get it. It was nice to bring in fresh content. And none of it was written down, it was one of those "you have to be here, and you'd better take notes" kind of lectures.

Joe Puryear just died in the Himalayas. I didn't know him, though his face looked familiar. He left behind a wife, but no kids. There has been a lot of talk about how he died doing what he loved. It's the old: "I'd rather die like a lion, than live like lamb" story. I prefer somewhere inbetween. I like living like a lion...but scaled back a bit from the edge. A cautious, experienced lion, who knows that certain things, like mountaineering, are just too dangerous. Been there, done that and nearly died.

It snowed a meter at Paradise, and many people went up there skiing, Clint included we think. If Craig doesn't decide to climb, Sue and I may go up as well and ski around on the road and the smooth hill.


A month went by without writing here. I guess I sort of forgot about this journal.The new quarter had me very busy, as did launching a new website for creeksidecare.com.When i wasn't involved with either of those things, I was climbing. I climbed last weekend with Craig, Dave D., Chris DM and Vladimir. Chris D and I led catapult, bone, angel, brass balls and damnation. I hung 4 times on brass balls, but I did at least pull all the moves, sometimes placing more gear on the hangs. I thought I was better than that.

That night we ran into Lisa G. and Melanie, who shared a campfire with us up at the Starwars boulder. Sunday we climbed the regular route at Careno. I backed off the first pitch and Craig finished it. Super hard! Marty says the route to the right is much easier approach to the nice climbing above. There is a good rap station on the descent that avoids some of the 4th class scrambling.

I also climbed both of the previous weekends with Fletch, Melanie or Sue. On the one before, we did Rainy Day traverse, in the rain and it was quite dry, though it hasn't seen much action recently and needs descent anchors.

I have a ton of work to do this weekend. Tonight Sue called me, said the doornob was broken and we couldn't get in. I bought a chisel at Home Depot, borrowed a hammer from the neighbor and persuaded the door to open. The new door nob is unlikely to be so easy, I hope it lasts a lifetime, as it says on the box.

Lisa's old Costco computer died. I tried to revive it with a $220 copy of Windows 7. No luck, total waste of money. She bought a 13 inch macbook pro two days ago. We are still configuring it with software and hardware, but it appears to work great. I hope hers runs as great as this one does.


Spent most of the night lost in a nightmare about earning a living as a wanna be printer. I was back at J.L.Darling trying to run that old KOR. I couldn't remember how to set up the feedboard. The paper wasn't moving through the machine correctly. If I got the paper moving, I forgot to add water and the ink printed wrong. My foreman Dave kept coming by, very irritated with me for forgetting how to run the press. He had hired me off unemployment as a gesture of friendlyness for an old employee, but I was just not cutting the mustard.

The dream went on and on, despite waking up several times. I have no idea why these nightmares occur. It's been a couple months since I've had one this disturbing. It might be because I am on a three week vacation, and this week I have nothing to do. We are back from our climbing trips to Smith and the City, and I have nothing to do but work through some bills, work on cars and clean up the garage. Oh, I may do some sewing, and some painting, if the weather cooperates. I guess I could do a still life. I am probably suffering from boredom and simply need to get busy doing something productive.

Climbing trips are like a job: you always keep looking for something harder, something you can conquer. Sitting around home with nothing really pressing to do is boring. I need to walk away from this laptop and do some of the things on my todo list that I have been putting off for months.


Driving home from Smith. We got rained out Sunday and left early. Saturday I climbed Bookworm with 2 cams. I have a bad habit of swarming up hand cracks and forgetting about pro. Suddenly I find myself looking down at a 35 foot runnout. I guess it is like climbing up a tree on really big branches. You know you are safe, but suddenly you realize just how high you are. I had not brought my full rack down that day as I was poaching for partners and hoping to meet others with racks. I had a 4 and a 5 cam that would fit, so I just walked up the 5 and ended up leading it on 2 cams. Still, I felt safe, and it was unlikely that I would fall on that climb.

Next my partner led the second pitch of Bookworm to mesa top where I discovered he had a bad belay hand, and had never belayed from the top. I was off belay about half the time as he managed the rope. Climbing with pickup partners is scary. I gave him some belay pointers, and made sure he remembered how to rappel before rapping off to clear the line. Next I led Bookworm 5.9 bolts. I've always thought that was dangerous and hard, but it felt only mildly thin, no doubt a result of climbing full time for two weeks.

It began to pour after that and we bailed. Zack played standup base (double base) in orchestra for 9 years. He said I should search the web for standup base solo music, that it was even better than cello. Jasmin the cello player wasn't at smith this weekend. I miss her. Her music made the evenings at Smith a very special time.

I've put the whole fall vacation into a flash slideshow with music by St*ing.


This is the longest I've gone without writing in this old journal since starting it in 1997. I blame it on finals week, and a re-awakening of my painting muse with a two week climbing road trip tacked onto the end. Randy is driving his minivan though the little town of John Day in Eastern Oregon in transit between 6 days at City of Rocks Idaho and Smith Rocks. I started this road trip on September 4 by spending Saturday through Friday at Smith Rocks with Dave D. We climbed Zebra Zion 5.10a. That is a route I've been dreaming about since first setting eyes on it's lovely lines back in 1978. Paul Dehope and I spent a week at Smith and looked up at Zebra Zion in wonder. I wondered if I would ever get that good. It took 33 years, but we finally climbed it.

Dave and I returned to Tacoma on Friday the 10th. I spent one night at home and left in the morning for City of Rocks in Idaho with Randy R.. City of Rocks was awesome beyond description. After just one trip it has become my new favorite destination. It has reserved camping at $12 a night. Cement outhouses, water from hand pumped wells, uncrowded routes (mid week) short approaches. The rock is ultra solid granite that is similar to jtree but with deeper wacos made from the desert patina that has none of the sandy corroded crystals of jtree. Rock at the city is solid!

Other cool things about the City is that there is far more rock than jtree, and the bolts are much closer. We quickly discovered that any route put up by Kevin Pogue was likely to be closely bolted. As with any climbing area, you have to carefully examine the cliff for bolts and determine whether it was put up safely or by someone on an ego trip.


Sunday: Rain Dance 5.7, Mystery Bolter 5.9, Too much fun. Monday: Rye Crisp 5.8, Columbia Crack 5.7, bolded 5.9 past Elephant Rock. Tuesday: Intruding Dyke 5.7 bread loaves, bolted 5.8 arete, Circus Roof 10c. Wednesday: Bloody Fingers 10a, Theatre of Shadows, 5.7 Jacksons Thumb, Rock City Almo for beer. Thursday: Bath Rock 5.6, Fred Rasmuson 5.8, Wheat Thin 5.7 elephant Rock, unknown bolted 5.9past elephant. Friday: Skyline Rock 5.8 on Morning Glory Rock/Incisor.


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