A rear ender

Posted by on June 26th, 2019  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

I wrote this in response to a story in the New York times today.

There is a fine line between hitting on someone and simply being social. Beautiful women of any age get hit on so regularly that I feel like my safest choice is to ignore them. Later, if and or when we become friends socially, they’ve told me they thought I was shy, or awkward.

My wife used to complain about all the men hitting on her. She has always been very fit and curvy. One of our climbing friends used to talk to her, but he would rarely look in her eyes, preferring the view of her chest. Guy was a jerk, but we put up with it because he and his wife were reliable climbing partners.

And yet…one of her proudest moments is when she was in her twenties with a new pair of rollerblades. She was skating on a bike path next to a road in Seattle wearing her favorite pink running shorts. A car slowed down to enjoy the view. She turned to see who the creeper was, and watched as another car slammed into his rear end, causing a bad accident.

Now that she is in her sixties, when someone hits on her it makes her day. “I was getting my coffee and this old dude started talking to me. He was totally hitting on me! But he was really nice,” she’ll tell me later, with a big smile. Beautiful people of either sex are lovely to look at, like a rare sunset, or a rainbow. But as my wife frequently reminds me, “It’s ok to look, just don’t stare.”

Sue in 79

Sue in 79

Sue in 79

Built a custom WordPress theme

Posted by on June 19th, 2019  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

I teach wordpress at work, and last quarter I had a student who wanted a really fancy wordpress site. She didn’t like any of the free themes. I told her I’d been tinkering with a custom theme for a couple years, but had never tried to use it on real, meaningful content. I simply had too many questions about how a custom theme worked in real life.

She was willing to put in the time, and I was being paid to teach…so we chipped away at it in the afternoons for a few weeks. Her website ended up looking so good I decided to try my hand coded custom theme on my 9 year old wordpress site. You are looking at it now. It’s a reasonably close match to my main www.websterart.com website, which is all handbuilt, not using wordpress. I’ve yet to try getting the PhotoSwipe plugin to work. Well, I did get it to work with my theme, but it caused problems.

WordPress, by default, puts thumbnails in definition lists. But PhotoSwipe requires them to be in figure elements. And I’d like to style the figure elements in variable column-count columns. However, there is simply too much code going on with his switch from dl’s to figures, which happens in JavaScript. More on that later.

There is a lot going on here. As far as explaining it, I don’t even know where to start. I may write a tutorial on it later. If you’d like to get the zip file of the theme, it is here. Be forewarned though, a lot of what goes on is in the form of widgets, menus and plugins that get added after you activate the theme in the wordpress dashboard.

The Whippers

Posted by on June 8th, 2019  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

“So Chris, you need to be ready, I’m probably going to clip the last bolt, climb up to the top and jump off.”

“Give me a lot of slack, like, have the rope practically laying on the deck. I don’t want it tight because I might whip into the wall.”

I carefully tied my knot with a very long tail so I could do a clean, half a grapevine back up knot. Before I pulled the figure eight tight, I clipped a round bodied metolius locker into the bottom loops of the knot. This makes a locked up knot easier to untie.

Bobbi saw me do it and gave me an evil grin: “I know what that means”.

Chris said: “I’m not really a huge fan of these intentional falls, seems like it’s needlessly stressing the system”.

“Bobbi can belay me, if you don’t wanna’ do it” I said.

“No, no, I’m fine”

“Ok, just be ready, and keep a lot of slack in the rope”.

“Ok, so if at any time you say you want to take or rest on the rope, I’ll just let you fall”

“Yup, that’s only fair” I said.

I climbed smoothly up through the dozen clips to the top of the wall, being extra careful to clip each bolt cleanly from secure stances. I watched each biner clip closed almost in slow motion, my focus absolute. I knew that I could not make a mistake. Every move was calculated and accurate.

As I clipped the last draw I still had some power in reserve on the steeply overhanging white 5.10. I climbed up to the top of the wall where the lowering clips were and simply grabbed on. I looked down at Chris, who I could clearly see was exactly where he should be, in brake position, with a long loop of slack.

I looked down at my tie in knot, with it’s backup knot to make sure everything was fine, and then let go. I quickly accelerated to a speed that felt far too fast, falling freely through the air at least 20 feet. I had very little panic, secure in the knowledge that the system was secure. As the rope caught me 30 feet off the ground, most of the people who were standing around on the floor jerked their heads up, sensing and hearing the noise of the draws banging on the wall as the rope came tight, and the body falling from high above.

Chris lowered me down carefully, to the watching climbers, who slowly turned away now that the show was over.

“I never would have guessed you had that streak of wildness,” he said.

“Yeah, somewhere inside me I’ve got a little craziness going on. But those whippers are really fun!” I said.

Bobbi: “I think it makes you a better climber,  you know you’re safe so you can relax.”


Pedaled to work

Posted by on June 1st, 2019  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

It’s been sunny so I pedaled to work twice in a row this week. The route is nice because there are sidewalks the entire way. Some of the sidewalks are dirt, but there is at least a raised lip on the pavement, which will hopefully alert a wandering driver that they are leaving the road. Biking to work means you’ve already had your aerobic exercise for the day. Then you get it again on the way home. The route is becoming increasingly familiar as I find all the fastest sidewalks in the 40 minute pedal. Sections that used to seem long now seem easy and short.

I love my old Sekai ten speed. It’s a direct link to my distant childhood. I bought it while I was living in a tent on a farm out in Tenino back in 1972. I had a part time job as a busboy, and another part time job as a printer. Other than my 1967 harmonica…which barely works, that old bike is my oldest possession. Those chromoly frames last forever. It’s been across the Cascades, up Vancouver Island and on many, many dirt roads long before mountain bikes were invented.

I’ve replaced most of the moving parts such as wheels, rear free wheel, rear derailleur, brake lines and countless tires. The frame, handlebars, pedal arms and smaller front sprocket and front derailleur are all original…as is the paint.

V, Alex and Kristi and I all went to Index, Lookout Point last weekend. It’s a great place to get away from the Private Idaho crowds.