Posted on September 07, 2013

I have always wanted to do some backcountry camping. The main obstacle has been to find a good lightweight tent. One day,  I had stopped into Atmosphere to get some items for our ultra comfort otentik camping at two jack, when I impulse purchased a north face rock 22. Since we’ve returned I’ve been acquiring additional odds and ends I’ll need and researching some hike in sites.


First lets make a check list of what I’ll need…

I bought this North Face Akila years ago. Turns out, this is a women’s pack! That might explain why it’s just a fraction on the small side? I’ve made efforts to pack light and plan only a wknd trip, so this should suffice. Looks like Tamara is going to get a new pack!

Large zip lock bags
For storing clothing to ensure everything stays dry.

Food Storage Containers
Not planning on having any leftovers and I’m going to eat freeze dried food. The site has bear bins for storage of scented items and food.

Sleeping Bag
Mountain Hardware. Lightweight. I’ll need to also sleep in something warm.

Sleeping Pad
I’m going to go without on this trip. I saw one on DX dot com I may buy in the future.

Food/Cooking Stove
Picked up an MSR pocket rocket and some light weight pots I can cook in and eat out of. Also bought 1 Mountain House Grilled Chicken and Mashed Potatoes for dinner and 1 Mountain House eggs and bacon for breakfast. I’ll also bring some extra food in the form of gels and energy bars in case of an emergency.

First aid kit
Water Bottle and Camelback
Extra Clothing
Rain Gear
Candle and water proof matches

Now, will all this fit in my backpack? Let’s lay it out!

Doesn’t look like much, lets start loading!

I’m going to load the items I will need least at the bottom and heaviest items closest to my back.

First In

Empty camelback into the hydration compartment. Not sure if this is a good idea? It may be difficult to fill when the pack is loaded? Tent poles and hatchet loaded parallel closest to my back.

Second In

Freeze dried food. Will not be required until after camp is setup, so it can go to the bottom layed flat. Next is the footprint on top of the food to provide some protection. Then the rain fly gets loaded parallel with the sleeping bag jammed in the bottom horizontally now between the tent poles and the rain fly on top of the food and footprint.

Roughly half full now. Hmmm.

Third In

Tent on top of the sleeping bag. I had setup the tent in my basement to make sure I had everything. Then rolled it up tighter to ensure it takes up less space.

Things are getting tight. With two bulky item remaining and some bits and pieces.

Fourth In

Down vest, rolled up and compressed as much as I can. The mountains are cold at night so this is essential. Rain poncho on top.

Cramming things in now. Not looking to bad…

Fifth In

Stove, gas and pot.

Remaining essentials that need to be accessible are in theback pocket. Map and first aid, along with tent pegs, cutlery, matches and fire starters. Bear spray and compass will ride in pant pockets.

This bag is crammed so tight I could barely get my headlamp into the side pockets. Not to mention, I haven’t loaded in spare clothes yet. Diagnosis is I think I can make this work for a first time one nighter, but I will need a larger pack.

Now lets weight it in. Currently at 22 lbs. This is without water. I think I will take some walks this week with it and see how it feels. I’ve had the pack for years, but I’ve never really hiked with it.

Soundcloud Mix

Posted on April 21, 2013

Here is a mix of tunes found on s0undcl0ud

[soundcloud id=’5009430′ format=’set’]



Finding Inspiration

Posted on April 07, 2013


Life is a never ending ladder of challenges, accomplishments and failures. Right now I’ve been trying to get back to a level of fitness that has evaded me for the last few years. In addition to diet, exercise and focus we often neglect inspiration. It’s important to keep that tank filled.

I found this on American Net Flix today. Loved it. Immediately wanted to go out for a long run after watching this.



Gizmo discovers paint for cats

Posted on August 01, 2012

I downloaded this new app and Gizmo loved it!



Here is the completed work!

What do I want to do?

Posted on July 25, 2012

So, I’m getting older. Two things have driven me most of my adult life. Anxiety and my career. Really it was more the anxiety that drove everything and gave itself focus on my career. Which is pretty sad really. If my anxiety had been worse I may now be Bruce Wayne and not the low level technical consultant I am. Anxiety left little time for me to think about who I am and what I want to do. My career has settled into a very comfortable place with great work life balance. I’ve found myself in a place where I have the unique thought, (to me) what do I like to do? What am I interested in? It may sound strange, but the low level of anxiety I’ve had my whole life kept me on the edge. There wasn’t a lot of enjoyment in life. I wasn’t happy, I was sometimes sad and generally always flat lined. Now that the anxiety and depression are managed I have this image of the person I’ve always wanted to be. Now I feel I have the freedom to be that person. There have been a few things I’ve put off for sometime that I’m going to list here.

  • Learn to golf
  • Focus on mind body health
  • Rock climb
  • Bike
  • Train for another half marathon
  • Write a book
  • Learn to fish
  • Archery
  • Photograhy
  • Crossfit


This is not just a list of things I may do in my spare time. These are things that will challenge me. As my job is comfortable, I’m no longer really looking for the next big step in my career. I’m comfortable where I am and have no desire to get to the next level. I hope these activities will help me channel and focus that energy that will otherwise fester. This post is really about accountability. So if you like to golf or rock climb, give me a call.

I’m quitting P90X…for now

Posted on April 16, 2012

Today was day 1 of P90X and I’m quitting. Don’t laugh. I’m not quitting because its too hard, and it is. I just don’t think it is the program for me right now. When I was going through the nutrition guide on the weekend I started to wonder if this was the right time to do this? Currently I weigh 187 lbs. This is huge for me. I was 190 at xmas and was down to 180 in February.  I accomplished this initial weigjt loss by counting calories and exercising.  I tried to maintain a calorie deficit to support a weight loss of 2 lbs per week. So i’m going through the P90X nutrition guide yesterday. It’s walking you through the basics of finding your RMR and calculating calories required in a day. Then it advises to add an addition 600 calories that you will require daily to complete the p90x workouts. OK, I get it. You need to replenish calories. If the deficit is to large you will bonk or your body will be in starvation mode. That occurs when you do not feed yourself enough calories. The body reacts by storing energy as fat reserves.

So there is nothing in the guide to “tweak” this to support weight loss, and probably rightfully so.


“Following the guidelines and maintaining an eating discipline will optimize your energy level and fat-burning ability throughout your p90x workouts.”

“The p90x Nutrition plan is designed to optimize energy and fat loss while working with your exercise plan to build strength and lean muscle mass. This dramatic change in your physical composition means that you might not see a big change on the scale because you’ll be trading fat for lean , strong muscle..”

So now I’m starting to see what this is about and who it is for, but there is an important misconception to clarify. You cannot turn fat into muscle. I’m not indicating  that the above statement is supporting this popular misconception. The people at beach body are way smarter and in way better shape than I am. I merely want to clarify to anyone who is reading this and has this common incorrect belief. Your body is either anabolic or catabolic. That is you are either building or breaking down.

There are tons of really good advice in the guide regarding food journaling, cooking methods and the importance of listening to your body and the program is great! Is it for somebody like me looking to lose 20 lbs. No.

The program is about building muscle. Which is great. The addition of new muscle alone can greatly enhance weight loss. The nutrition program will help build new muscle. That is muscle is created by damaging and rebuilding with a supporting calorie excess. To build muscle you need to eat more.   Also that process of building and repairing muscle will help burn more calories. The new muscle created also requires additional calories to support it. So I’m not saying the program will not help with weight loss. It will, and you will kill yourself doing it.

I went to the beach body website. There are many sections for there products. There is one for weight loss and another called “extreme”. This is where the p90x and insanity videos are. The program is for people who are already in great shape. People who may be on a plateau and want to go from 17% body fat to 10%. I also found some websites of p90x users. One guy is identical to me in body composition. How much weight did he lose? 9 lbs and he still looks fat. No doubt underneath that fat is some sexy muscles. If he cuts it he will look great. Best get a treadmill pal.

So I’m going to watch what I eat and enjoy running in this great weather we are having. I will be back p90x. See you when I am 20lbs lighter!



Posted on April 14, 2012


So I’ve been keeping an eye on Danzig’s website for the past few years. He rarely tours now, I’ve been thinking about taking a trip when and if possible.

So Tamara calls me a few weeks ago. “You like Danzig right?” Um yeah. Understatement. Being a heathen I hate it when Tamara blesses me when I sneeze. I’ve instead encouraged he to say “Hail Danzig”.  Her brother like me, had been monitoring the Danzig intertubes for dispatches from  Glenn. He finds this…

26 Sat. 


Performing songs from The Misfits, SamHain and Danzig. And guess what? I’m in Vegas that week. Snagged a flight to Irvine for $70.

So yeah, tix purchased. Epic




Posted on April 14, 2012


I’ve become increasingly aware over the past year just how incredibly plugged in I am. It was only 2009 I had bought my first smart phone that I still have today. An IPhone 3GS. Last year I bought an IPAD2. These devices along with a variety of social networks, email, txt, voice and IM combine together to form a giant virtua communication juggernaut. All of which which greatly appeal to my OCD. I compulsively checkin to every location I can with foursquare, track my entertainment consumption with GetGlue and frequently update friends and family with inane details of my day to day life via Facebook and Twitter. Also I use a variety of apps to track diet and exercise. I am a dataporn addict.


All of this is a real change for me from just a few years ago.


12 years ago cell phones were just becoming omnipresent in our culture. I had refused to get one. Thinking they were annoying, why do I need a cell phone? If I’m out with my friends I don’t need any other distractions? If anyone needs to get a hold of me they can leave a message for me at home on my land line. (I don’t even have a land line now)By 2003 I was now a senior resource at the help desk. We had a high turnover and there were many new faces coming through every day. All junior entry level and cheap. All needing training. In addition to helping train the noobs I still had my own job to do.  Between email, phone and people walking up to my desk, I didn’t need another way for people to interrupt me. Then they wanted me to start using IM. I resisted. What happened to that guy who was trying to have work life balance? Back then you didn’t have to be a genius to see that all this technology could be a liability as much as benefit if not managed properly. Now in 2012 I have MS Lync on IPhone and Ipad. I am very reachable. Always available and most certainly stressed. I have significantly less hair than I did 12 years ago. Most likely genetics, but I like to blame work and Tamara.


I like where I work but sometimes they have an issue respecting boundaries.

It was August 2011 and it had been a very busy year and there was no sign of slowing down. I had two weeks of vacation and two weeks of TOIL time in the bank. It was decided to request the month of December off for a much needed break. I had no plans to go anywhere. It was just me at home with Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Batman Arkham City. During this time off I had a real issue disconnecting from work and could not resist checking my work email. It’s a good thing I did, the disk on one of the systems I monitor filled up and was dangerously close to shutting the system down. In addition my main client was experiencing a major melt down that resulted in a few phone calls to clarify a some things.  I had nothing but confidence in Brendan and Bryce to resolve my clients issues, which they did very well.  Despite making efforts to ensure my Brendan  was prepared by  updating  some documentation and coming in on my first day off vacation to get them up to speed I still had management calling me to make sure I would be in town until the issue was resolved. Would have sucked if I was out on the ski hill enjoying myself and they couldn’t get a hold of me. Not that I could have helped anyway. Compared to Brendan I am borderline retarded.


I should recognize that approaching this vacation my management made no special requests of me. It was the first time in two years I was not been asked to be reachable or bring a laptop with me. That was appreciated, but to ensure neither my mgmt. or myself would be tempted to contact me or check email I decided to unplug completely. My goals for this vacation were simple. Hang out on the beach and read a few books. My Ipad is heavily leveraged as an ereader of both books and comics. There were a few books on my shelf that had been given to me as gifts that I had been meaning to read for a while. This is analog. I would be banishing myself to a digital black hole where 1’s and 0’s could not escape.

No Ipad, IPhone or internets. No social networks, games or podcasts. Total blackout.


The first thing I noticed at the airport waiting to get on the plane was how I kept meaning to reach for my phone to check something, then realized I didn’t have it. It was reflex. I had become accustomed to using my devices to distract and entertain whenever boredom struck. When we arrived I became accustomed to the fact that I had no device and would take checkpoints throughout the first few days of what I felt I should be doing. Foursquare checkin on Kaanaplai beach? I wonder if there is a mayor yet? Quick easy Instagram photos to quickly post and instill jealousy of all our friends? I had instantly decompressed on this trip and quickly entered vacation mode much quicker than if I had some technological attachment to home and work. I was more present without the constant digital static.

The other benefit was I didn’t have to be concerned about any extra charges that may be incurred from using my cell in the United States. One time in SFO a few years ago we had been forced to use google maps and GPS on Tamara’s cell when we were lost. And another day Tamara had thought she was connected to Wi-Fi while waiting for a plane coming home. We came home to a $300 plus cell phone bill. Anyway, I will never take another vacation again with my devices.  Technology puts up walls in our life. It’s a tether to something or someone else that is not there with us at that current moment. That can be  a great help, but many times we really don’t need the interruption. This interruption has become expectation and habit. I would encourage everyone to try this. You don’t have to be on a tropical island. You just have to be stressed and a little fed up.

San Diego 2011

Posted on August 28, 2011

Comic Con:
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San Diego Zoo:
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USS Midway:
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Maui Pictures and Video

Posted on January 10, 2011

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