Jan 12, 2012

My Top 10

I've always enjoyed listening to music.  I'd listen to the radio and and buy the albums that were in the Top 40s.  It wasn't until after high school and into my early 20s that my music enjoyment evolved to an appreciation for music.  It was then that I started paying more attention to lyrics and emotions.

Over the past several days I've been thinking about my favorite albums.  First I tried to come up with my top five favorite albums.  That was tough.  I decided to expand it to my top 10.  These albums may not contain my favorite songs, but they are great albums because I can listen to them all the way through without skipping a track - I like every song.  Every song is lyrically and instrumentally great.  I could probably listen to the album over and over without having to skip any song.  Here they are (in no particular order):

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

All albums by The Decemberists are good, but as this one goes through the album telling a story, it just flows well.
Eddie Vedder - Into the Wild

Eddie was sought out to write the music for this movie.  All the songs help tell the story of Christopher McCandless' life.
Weezer - Pinkerton

After the blue album, Weezer released a different sound, Pinkerton.  At first I didn't think that I liked it at much.  It wasn't until years later that I realized that I liked Pinkterton more than their self-titled blue album.

I've not liked much Weezer has put out since this album.
Neil Young - Harvest

It wasn't until I married that I really listened to Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash or anything of that era.  However, I'll admit that I'd been missing out on a lot of great music: Neil Young being one of those.
Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs

If your like me and have never seen Andrew Bird perform live, you need to watch this video: Click here He is a very talented musician.
The Beatles - Revolver

This is another one that I didn't appreciate much until later in life.  As a matter of fact, in high school, someone gave me a Beatles album for Christmas and I think that I traded it away.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits

This is one of two albums that you may say I cheated with - Greatest Hits...    So many great songs by Tom Petty compiled into one album.
Everything But The Girl - Acoustic

This is the second album that is more of a compilation of songs from great albums.  But they're acoustic...
Green Day - Dookie

Okay, this one may be a little nostalgic for me.  Dookie was the first cd that I ever purchased.  It was the only cd that I owned for a long time.  Nonetheless, it's a great album that I'll listen and enjoy today.
The Killers - Sam's Town

This album did not get as much recognition as Hot Fuss, but I like it more.  It is a little darker than their first release, but has some great songs.

The above are my favorite albums of all time "today".  I am sure that most of them will remain in my top 10 for a  long time.  However, you never know what I'm going to listen to tomorrow that may become a favorite.

Tell me what your favorite albums are.

Oct 26, 2011

The Raleigh

I'm to the point of a love-hate relationship with the Raleigh.  It’s great to be riding a bike and getting the exercise, but my legs feel like they wont last much longer after commuting.  This week marks the one-month anniversary with the Raleigh.  It’s been a good month and we’re going strong, although I don’t feel that I’m getting any stronger.  To date, I've ridden about 260 miles.  In those miles with the Raleigh, I've thought about a few different things.

  1. The mornings are cold – I’ve commuted to work and home several times now.  At 6:30am, it is dark and cold.
  2. Salt Lake City streets are not very biker friendly – I’ve not spent a ton of time riding in SL downtown area, but the time I have, I've noticed that we don’t have many bike lanes.  On most streets, we don’t have any shoulder at all.  I found this pretty surprising as I thought we lived in a pretty biker friendly city.  Is that not the case?
  3. Some people are just not real courteous – I personally am always nervous to drive too closely to a cyclist when in my car.  However, there are many drivers that just don’t seem to care.  They will hug the white line as much as they can as they drive right by me.  That can be a little scary as the cyclist.  Please be considerate of cyclists while driving on the road.  They have just as much of a right to be on the road as a driver does. 
  4. Likewise, cyclists need to be considerate of drivers while on the road.  Cars are much bigger and need just as much respect as a cyclist demands from them.  I’ve seen too many cyclists yell or get mad at drivers because they’ve been cut off or a door has been open that causes them to swerve.  Remember, you don’t have any more rights than a driver.  Obey the rules of the road.   

Oct 4, 2011

A New Bicycle - Cyclocross

Six days ago I purchased this:

My original intentions of buying a bike were exercise, leisure and commuting to and from work (a couple of days a week).  As I was researching the bike to buy, I came across a sport I was unfamiliar with: Cyclocross.

Training has started. I hope to be ready for 2012-2013 season.  I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

Sep 1, 2011


If you're not using Turntable to stream music online, you're missing out.  Just yesterday I logged into this for the first time.  It's great.  You choose different music rooms to hang out in; you can dj and take turns playing the music for that room.  You can even create your own room of music.  

The downside: for those few that still don't have a facebook account (Candice & Jon), it is a must to log in.

Aug 11, 2011

i think that i'm a gear slut (with a little of Liz Helm)

anyone who knows me
knows that i like clothing.
i do not consider myself 
to be on the fashion cutting edge
but i think that i have good style.

my wife asked me
"if you had $300 to spend,
would you buy clothes or outdoor gear?"
my answer 
"outdoor gear."
then pam asked
"what would you buy?"
a new sleeping bag was my answer.

currently i own 3 sleeping bags
(among duplicates of many other things)
but, yes, i would buy another one.

to be honest
i dont even get enough use
out of the ones that i own.
i spend more time looking at gear
and wishing i had more gear 
than i do on using that gear.
am i the only one with this problem?

last week
i bought a pack.
a new gregory pack.

now i own 2 gregory packs:
the z45 (new one) & the z35-r

gregory makes a great pack.
they just fit
so comfortably.
i even convinced my brother-in-law
to recently by the z-55.
i think
that he likes it.

i currently own 4 packs.
i would like one more.
maybe next year.

i plan to use
the z45
very soon
and will have a review
for you.

Apr 5, 2011

Season of the Climber

Climbers in the Salt Lake area of Utah have a good 6 months when it is dry enough to climb outdoors.  The rest of the year of course one can go south, but places like The FrontRockcreation, and even Momentum climbing gyms stay pretty busy with those of us jonesing to put a chalk covered hand on the wall.

Mother Nature has teased us lately with a few warm, sunny days.  I was hoping the rock would dry out when boom! another snow storm.  So until the dryness comes, we enjoy climbing gyms and videos.  I came across the one below a few days ago.  It's a fun one.  Enjoy.

Apr 3, 2011

Passions in Life

Eight days ago good friends witnessed their close friend taken by Mother Nature: an avalanche.  They had been skiing in Utah's backcountry.  Over the past week, I have talked with my friends numerous times to see how they're doing.  Each of them, in one way or another, have expressed their gratitude to be alive and with their families.  I cannot even try to imagine how hard this has been for them and their families and my heart continues to go out to them.

Two weeks prior to this I had gone with these friends for the first time.  Not just my first time with them, but my first time backcountry skiing (actually, I snowboard).  I spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer, but had only been skiing on a resort until that weekend.  Backcountry skiing was very difficult and I felt like I wasn't going to be able to keep up with my friends that find much passion in the activity and get out once a week.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and after a long weekend and some thought, I was leaning toward purchasing all of the necessary equipment to start going winter 2012.

Since the accident, my friends and family have asked me if my friends that went through this heart-wrenching experience would continue to backcountry ski. Those that know that I went and was thinking about pursuing it, asked me if I would still do so.  I was unsure of the answer to these questions.  Then on Friday, the father of the man that passed mentioned in the funeral service how important it was to find a passion in life and go after it.  I personally have several passions in life and feel that I would not miss out if I didn't pick up backcountry skiing.  However, I know that my friends are more passionate about it than any other activity.  I'm not sure what thoughts will cross their minds next winter as they pick up their skis to head out to the backcountry of Utah.

It could be argued that every time we get in our car and drive down the interstate, we are putting out life in harm's way;  each time we get on a roller coaster there is always that possibility that our car comes off the track.  We all do something that could ultimately end in a bad way.  Is that any reason to not do it?

Mar 31, 2011


Although I had thought of this idea, this post is inspired by another blog that I read.

What are your favorite "outdoor adventure" movies?

Hollywood has made an attempt at making outdoor adventure movies like 127 Hours and even Sanctum.  Many of these movies are taken from real life experiences and other are just made up.  Even those that are taken from true stories are fabricated enough to entertain the audience.  Although some viewers might like the details of the Euro-Death knot or another knot used to climb, the general movie audience just wants to see the intense activity that comes after the knot is tied.

Many movies have been made about climbing and canyoneering: some good some horrible.  Below are my three favorites.

3) The Descent (2005): I'm sure that this movie is 100% fiction, but who wouldn't want to watch a movie about good looking women spelunking?  It's one worth watching.

2) Touching the Void: I've not yet had the chance to do any ice climbing, but hope to at least try it some day.  I will admit though, the idea of it scares me.  This movie is a true story of two guys that set out to climb Siula Grande in Peru and the challenges they face in their journey.

1) 127 Hours: for a long time I thought Aaron Ralston was an idiot.  I mean who leaves for a Utah desert trip and doesn't tell anyone where they are going?  I had read parts of Between a Rock & a Hard Place, by Aaron Ralston, and still thought he had made poor choices.  After watching the movie and giving it some more thought, I gained much respect for the guy.  Sure, he may have been dumb not to let anyone know where he was going, but it was his zeal for life and courage to push through that situation is what gained my respect.  Additionally, I was pretty impressed with the directors efforts in this movie.

There are some other good movies that weren't included here: Vertical Limit and The Cliffhanger.  I'm sure that there are even great movies that I've not seen.  Sanctum is one that I'd like to see, even with the bad reviews it's received on Rotten Tomatoes.

What are other movies that you would recommend?