Software developer, climber, and soon-to-be dad living in the Pacific Northwest. The blog is dead, but my web-based narcissism lives on over at Facebook.

Spokane, Day 7-10

I enjoyed the hospitality of my grandparents, Oma and Pop, for four days in Spokane. They fed me, gave me a comfy place to sleep, and talked with me for hours. My grandparents indulged my wandering ways and weren't too bothered that I didn't have much of a plan for each day. I'm glad I spent some time with them in their new home.

Screaming computer death

While in Spokane, I suddenly lost access to my email and this website. My computer must have crashed. Sure enough, I walked in the door two nights ago to the sound of a high whining beep coming from the office. A terrible rattling whine was audible behind the authoritative beep, warning me that something mechanical had torn itself loose. I mashed the power button a few times, but the machine wouldn't boot, just whine for a few seconds and click off.

Conducting an autopsy, I discovered that the fan cooling the CPU was rattling. The BIOS (software that runs before the operating system does) was set up to automatically shut down the machine when it detects that the fan is spinning too slowly to cool the valuable CPU. At least I didn't have a toasted silicon wafer in there—I hoped—it's just the fan. I figured I could pick up a new fan for a few bucks, slap it in there, and move along.

Central Oregon to Spokane, Day 6

I was intent on taking the long way to Spokane from Smith. It took me all day, with many stops along the way. Stop #1 was the Painted Hills:

Smith Rock, Days 4-5

The drive out of Portland grew cloudier and I felt justified in not climbing Mt. Hood. Then the mountain shone in the sun. I grumbled at first about missed opportunity, but shook off the doubt and took action. I had brought my skis, might as well use 'em. I spent an hour and a half skinning up to the top of the Timberline lifts and carving my way down. The sky's blue grew deeper as I climbed and the temperature was perfect for a t-shirt. The first couple dozen turns were effortless bliss. Even the slush gripping my skis for the rest of the descent couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

Portland, Days 2-3

Catching up a bit here on the road trip journal. Thursday and Friday last week I spent with my mom in Portland. I managed to squeeze in some work, but mostly we ate good food and hung out. We watched Karate Kid II, a big disappointment after the first movie. It just oozed that cheap Hollywood oiliness, from the overblown plot to the flat female characters. Japanese influence was the running theme; we ate Japanese food and visited the Japanese garden.

I bought a suit Friday for my upcoming trip to Japan. Since I'm just a technical guy, not a dealmaker, I suppose a whole suit is not strictly necessary, but it sure looks good. Mom says I am a good shopper. I was remarkably clear-minded that day. Walking around the mall didn't annoy me, like commercial oversaturation usually does, and like sitting in a Spokane Starbucks is doing now.

Leaving Town, Day 1

Packing and tying up work stuff took all day, so I left Seattle at the opportune time to get stuck in traffic:

A couple hours later, I was climbing some grippy sandstone in a friend's backyard and meeting the family goats. The trip was starting well. I kept my Mom up late waiting for me to arrive in Portland, but she welcomed me in, showed me where everything was, and stayed up some more talking with me while I ate all her leftovers. She's a good Mom.

She also gave me a book to read, on survival. I'm already almost halfway done with it. I spent this morning reading and thinking about trips to the mountains, accidents I've had, accidents I came close to having without knowing it. Then I read online about a friend breaking his leg in a climbing fall, just a few months after recovering from breaking his leg... in a climbing fall.

I get most scared sometimes when leading rock climbs just harder than what's easy for me. I get comfortable, have expectations of being comfortable, and then all of a sudden a hold is not quite as good as I'd like and a little pit forms in my stomach. When the climbing is consistently harder, I have more focus and more awareness from the start.

I'm reminded how important it is to be humble and aware. Driving, rock climbing, walking down the street—all can be dangerous if you're not paying attention in real time. Make a plan, but be ready to throw away the plan. Build confidence, not comfort.

The Springtime Working Vacation

While Betsy's at school in Colorado, I'm taking a roadtrip around the Northwest for two weeks. The short itinerary: Portland, Bend, Yakima, Spokane, Leavenworth. Climbing when I can, working when I need a rest. I'll post a travel journal here as I go.

I'm leaving in just a few hours. First stop: a "secret" crag near Olympia. From there it's on to Portland tonight to visit my mom.

USS Momsen

I met Matt in Everett to see him off on his deployment. He gave me a tour of his ship, ducking through doorways, down ladders, into the engine room. It was super cool and almost made me want to be in the Navy. Emphasis on the "almost"—don't worry, parental units.

I took some photos onboard and on the pier, occasionally dodging the police-type guy in camo. Come back safe, Matt!

Matt Deploys Thursday

Betsy and I spent much of this weekend hanging out with my cousin Matt, who deploys on the USS Momsen this week. I learned everything there is to know about being an engineman in the Navy while walking around Ballard with Matt on a sunny Friday afternoon. We all ate a huge pile of Japanese food, artfully dispensed in thousands of tiny dishes, at Maneki that night. Yesterday Matt squeezed some size-14 rock shoes on his feet and we went to Little Si, where Matt had his first rock climbing experience four years ago.

I'm going to his ship's send-off ceremony, with Matt manning the rails, this Thursday in Everett.

Sushi: The Japanese Tradition

I could watch this over and over, both for the comedy and the language learning opportunity. (Don't see the movie? Click here.)

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