Monday, August 29, 2005

reading good, tv bad

there is probably nothing more sickening than watching the news. yesterday i watched a local denver newscast and for the first ten minutes every story was bad news. someone was robbed, shot/murdered or was scammed out of their money in almost every story. not to say that canadian tv news is any better but there is more sensationalism behind the american broadcasts than back home. and of course we are all aware that summer tv is about the worst thing ever to be put on the airwaves. it is no secret that even at the best of times the programs that are put on the air simply rot our brains.

and so over the last three months i have endeavoured to try to watch as little tv as possible and by doing so i have probably read more books and magazines than i have in the past five years.

it all started back in the winter when i watched the Everest expedition on the discovery channel. i was in awe of the mountain and the people attempting to summit Chomolungma (the Tibetan name). from there becky had bought me Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer for my birthday and i read it in a week. next i read Alive, the story of the rugby team that survived a plane crash in the Andes and survived by eating their dead teammates. once we got to boulder i started to read every copy of backpacker, national geographic adventure, and outside magazine i could find in the library. from there i moved on to Krakauer's book Into the Wild and since then i have read two books by Dr. Ken Kamler. in his book Dr. on Everest, Kamler talks about his experiences while attempting to climb Everest and the events surrounding the 1996 disaster (also the premise of Into Thin Air). and i have just completed his book Surviving the Extremes which describes the ability of the human body and will to overcome some of the harshest conditions on the planet.

all this is to say that i have come to realize yet again that an imagination, a good book and the desire to get outside is all i really need for entertainment. i have even decided to give up playing hockey this year in order to take some mountaineering courses that will stretch my understanding of my will and abilities as a person.

Waterboy and Sugarloaf

We've known for a long time that Kai is a fish. This was reaffirmed on Saturday evening when we went to our new church's pool party/dinner/member's meeting (a fun combination indeed!) We're not members (at least not yet), but the entire church was invited so we joined in.

The event was held at a pool that we've seen before, but never actually used. It's right in the middle of Boulder, and it's very large, with a very big waterslide. We had no idea that 2-year-olds would be allowed on the slide, or that our 2-year-old would love it so much! After every ride we would get "C'mon c'mon c'mon! Up up up!" as he dashed off ahead of us to the stairs.

Yesterday we climbed Sugarloaf Mountain, which is a 20 minute drive west of Boulder. This mountain is a much easier climb than Bear Peak, with only +470 ft of elevation gain from the trailhead to the top at 8917 ft. There was a fire on the mountain back in 1989, and there is still ample evidence today in the form of charred tree trunks. It made for a very ominous landscape.

We have many more photos of both events, all on the shoppers website.

Friday, August 26, 2005

someone is going to get punched in the face

so help me God, but if someone calls me mr. mom or says that it's nice that i am babysitting my own kid again, i'm going to lose it.

for some reason there is still this stereotype that exists that fathers aren't capable of caring for their own children. "oh you change the diapers, you gave him his bottles!" is there some unwritten law out there that states that since i stay at home my masculinity has diminished. well like i said, i'll show them some masculinity in the form of a beat down, man or woman it won't matter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Toilet Wars

My office at work is on the third floor of the northeast wing, and the washroom on this floor is a unisex one. No, not an Ally McBeal chat-comically-with-the-opposite-sex-while-you-wash-your-hands-and-they-use-the-facilities kind of unisex restroom, but rather a one room/one stall place with a lock on the stall that no one uses and a lock on the outer door that everyone uses because the room is far too small for two people.

The toilet is possessed. It has a sensor on the back wall that is supposed to flush when you stand up and walk away, but it often doesn't have the patience. It will frequently flush while a poor unsuspecting person is still seated. At one point, I thought that leaning forward (to retie a shoe, to scratch one's ankle, etc.) triggered this premature flush, but I've learned that it will also occasionally go off for no apparent reason. All this has led to its nickname: "the bidet".

Because it's a unisex washroom, half the time the seat is up. This means that if and when you put the seat down (with a foot, natch), in the time it takes to turn around to arrange yourself to sit down, it flushes. To combat this and the bidet treatment, there is a stack of post-it notes attatched to the underside of the toilet paper dispenser, that many patrons have been using to cover the sensor, opting to manually flush using the button on the wall beside the sensor (also with a foot, natch.) Some cite environmental reasons - i.e. water conservation. Others just don't like the sensation. Not long ago, a larger post-it note was left beside the sensor asking people to "please do not cover the sensor because then it doesn't flush". Ah, the drama.

Monday, August 22, 2005


In the words of Dora the Explorer, we did it, we did it! On Saturday morning, around 9:30 AM, Keith and I arrived at the top of Bear Peak, the highest peak in the Flatirons. The Flatirons are a series of very rocky mountains at the southwest end of Boulder. An educated guess is that they get their names from their shapes: huge flat faces that jut out of the earth at a pretty severe angle ~ around 70°.

We were both sore yesterday - mostly in our quads, although I also felt it in my triceps (we used ski poles for stabilization.) They're those good achey feelings, though. I was definitely pushing the limit of my abilities, but Keith's breathing was barely changed by the exertion. I have no doubts that he will be able to tackle Long's Peak next year. Myself? Not so sure...

Anyhow, as Keith predicted, we have a bunch of pictures that I've put up on the Shoppers site, although not a single one of us - together or separate - at the top. I think we were too tired from the climb/distracted by the view to remember to do that.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I knew I voted liberal for a reason

I'm a big fan of midwifery, as many of you know. I wasn't brave enough to attempt a home birth, and as it turned out, due to minor complications I would have had to go to the hospital to have Kai after all. Regardless, I was very pleased with my entire midwifery experience (pre-, mid- and especially post-delivery) and am grateful to a couple friends who spent time sharing their personal midwifery experiences with me. I, in turn, would strongly recommend to anyone that she consider the midwife option, and that she do so early in her pregnancy (i.e. immediately after the stick she pees on gives the appropriate sign) as there is a generally a high demand for midwives. Which brings me to why I'm writing...

I just read a short article in the Toronto Star indicating that the Ontario government is going to hire 50 new midwives to "address the growth of midwifery in the province". Although it was suggested that part of the motivation is that births attended by midwives result in lower average hospital stays for mothers and newborns, thus a financial incentive, I'm pleased to see the Ontario government is noticing that the demand for midwifery is growing. I doubt 50 midwives will have a big impact on the overall system, but it's a step in the right direction and it will make a difference for many women who would otherwise be turned away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

feeling ill

there isn't anything i dislike more than vomitting. nothing happened but it sure felt like my breakfast was coming up on more than one occasion today. kai on the other hand did just that a couple of weeks ago. i can clean it up but i just don't like doing it myself.

on the weekend becky and i will be climbing bear peak. the elevation is about 8500 ft. our starting elevation will be about 6100 ft. the east face is steep and has lots of rock to hike over. we tried the northwest approach with kai once but with his weight in the backpack and then his complaining because of our insistence of him going back in the backpack after breaks just got to be too much. so on saturday we will be leaving him with gary and nancy hornbrook while we try again. he does love his time in the mountains though.
pictures will be posted on the shoppers site on either monday or tuesday. if anyone doesn't have the link to the shoppers site let us know and we can give it to you.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

big boy bed and mountain man

a few weeks ago we bought kai a twin size bed. over the last few days he has been sleeping in this new bed at night. and then when i put him down for his afternoon nap, he gets up walks downstairs and with a smile on his face tells me that there are monsters in his room. he doesn't appear to believe it but he knows that i will give him some attention. he gets one more chance to sleep in the bed and if he gets out a second time he has to sleep in his crib.

yesterday i informed becky that i was going to attempt longs peak next year. the following is information about the mountain from i will be doing a non-technical climb, maybe if i get some training in i will attempt a technical climb later.

Quick Facts
Trail #1 - From Longs Peak Ranger Station Trailhead (16 miles round trip)(est. time: 14-16 hrs)
Highest Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and the only peak in the park exceeding 14,000 ft at 14,255 ft. (4,345 meters)
Park officials estimate that 15,000 people try to reach the 14,255-foot summit of Longs Peak each year and that about 9,000 are successful.
This year alone (2000) to date (Sep. 5), 3 people have died on Longs Peak. There have been 55 fatalities on Longs since 1887.
First recorded climb was in 1868 by John Wesley Powell and party, but certainly climbed earlier by natives.
Best climbing months are June - September

Friday, August 12, 2005

this will have to do

just getting this thing started and i have to go and take the dog out for a crap. ah the poop scooping.