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I’m playing the guitar again – May 2012

Me playing my guitar in 1979
Me playing my guitar in 1979

After a 3 year dry spell, I’ve picked up the guitar again. I go through periods…long periods, where it just gathers dust. I have no idea why it suddenly occured to me that playing guitar again would be fun. There were a couple campfires where my climbing friends were playing guitars, and I envied their talent, and the beautiful music they created.

So maybe that’s it. It’s Spring, I am feeling creative, and guitar is my way to express that creativity. I have a box full of sheet music dating back to the seventies when I first started playing. I’ve boiled that down to a 3 inch binder, but really, I only play about 12 songs, and focus on about 3: Yesterday, Stairway to heaven, and an original composition I wrote 10 years ago.

I prefer instrumental guitar, primarily because Sue has to leave the room when I try to sing….yes, I’m that bad.

I love to work complicated progressions, and I’m slowly transitioning away from flat picking to finger picking. It’s very cool to nail a long progression. There is a beauty in a perfectly played melody…it’s almost a zen thing.

Playing the guitar is a nice break from computer work. I’ve been teaching myself some new programming languages for a freelance project. When I get tired of making things pretty on the computer, I switch to my wooden guitar, and make things pretty there…it’s a nice mix.

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Climbing in Leavenworth 5-11-2012

Fletch, Mindy, Ed, Pat, Marietta and I all climbed in Leavenworth last weekend. We climbed R&D to Cocaine Crack, Bobs Wall, The Snag, and Hobo Gulch. I got shut down on almost everything I tried to lead Saturday…but it was still fun. In the evening, we played music around the campfire. I’ve picked up the guitar again after a 3 year break. Here are a few photos:

Fletch topping out on R&D
Fletch topping out on R&D, Icicle river in the distance below
Fletch on Bob's Wall, Leavenworth
Fletch on Bob's Wall, Leavenworth
Ed watching Fletch play guitar
Ed watching Fletch play guitar
Fletch playing beautiful music

 

 

 

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Purdy Spit

Sue and I hiked the Purdy spit this morning. There were big geoducks sticking their necks up in the air by the dozens. We could have easily dug a couple up for dinner.. We had to be careful not to step on the poor little guys.

Geoduck on the Purdy spit
Geoduck on the Purdy spit

Not sure what this was, but it had pretty colors:

star fish?
star fish?

 

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jquery freelance project

Almost exactly a year ago a client contacted me. They wanted an interactive map built in Flash. It was a great learning project for me. It forced me to update my skills, and move out of my comfort range into unexplored territory.

Client work is a win-win for me as an instructor. I benefit from being forced to stay current, and my students benefit from the knowledge I acquire working for clients. I pass that knowledge on to my students…or at least as much as they can absorb.

The same client contacted me this spring and asked me to expand on the interactive map, but not in Flash. They wanted it to work across all devices including IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch), Androids, and even some of the smaller smartphones. I watched a few tutorials on the new programming language this required…but was not able to ‘jump in and swim’.

I found I needed a broader base of understanding of the language. I broke down and bought a book, read half way through it and the light came on. I got it very very close to working…but came up against my lack of knowledge again. I showed it to a programming friend who is  a graduate of our program. He came up with a better solution…and half an hour later I had a working rough draft.

I really like web design. It reminds me a lot of printing. There is trouble shooting, guessing at solutions, throwing things at the wall to see if anything sticks, and finally knowledge, followed by production work. There is an instant payoff when things work…in printing, we had to wait for hours before seeing the finished product. In web design, if you program it right, you press F5 and there it is instantly.

Sue, Lisa, Tim and I went up to Vertical World today and climbed for a few hours. I started strong, even finished a 10a out across the roof, but ran out of steam quickly. Still it was a good time for all. Afterward I went to Glazer’s Camera shop and bought a new lens to replace my 18-250 Sigma that broke after 3 years. I think I might be done with Sigma. A $500 lens ought to last more than 3 years. It was made from mostly plastic, even the moving parts. I did a little reseach on the problem and it looks like it would be too expensive to be worth fixing. Instead I opted to buy some higher quality glass…professional quality…hopefully it will last longer.

The OT I’ve been working has worn me out so much I’m not even excited about finally replacing my broken lens. Maybe tomorrow I will feel refreshed.

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Regular Route, Careno Crag, Leavenworth

Fletch, Vladi, Craig, Merica, Karen and I climbed the Regular Route on Careno Crag in Leavenworth Sunday. I was very rusty and thrashed the first and last pitch. The middle pitch was fun, though climbing past the rattlesnake in the crack was hairy. The snake was right where we needed to put our hands, so we had to hope he wasn’t in a bad mood as we climbed past him up the crack.

Here are a few pictures.

Merica on top of Careno Crag Leavenworth
Merica on top of Careno Crag Leavenworth
Karen on Careno
Karen on Careno

 

I’ve been studying Jquery for a client project that is due in June. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s hard work on top of my regular teaching  job. Still, I needed to learn it, and it  will be awesome to share this new knowledge with my students.

Being deaf in one ear is similar to using an avalanche beacon.  I can’t tell what direction sounds are coming from. A great example of this is when my cell phone rang this morning. I walked through the rooms of the house trying to find where the sound was loudest. I walked into the living room and the sound receded. Nope, not in there. I walked into the bedroom…getting quieter. Oh, let’s try the kitchen….aaah, sound is louder, phone must be in here somewhere. I still didn’t know where it was, even though it was in the room…but at least I could search for logical locations…like in my work pack.

With our old avalanche beacons, you walk a criss cross pattern in the avalanche debris, listening for where the sound is loudest…just like having a deaf ear and looking for a ringing cell phone. I lost my left side hearing 12 years ago when I got Menieres disease in my left ear.