Friday, May 25, 2007

Bennies



Corporate kicked down some cool items for those of us who rode in on bike to work day. Logo emblazend reflective gadgets and a sand control device for having sex picnics at the beach. Also included was a very nice bike map of Seattle, which I am going to post on the wall of the San Francisco office so we can all use it for reference. I looked around for the free bike to work jerseys with the Rolling Stone cover image of John Lennon naked ... but no ... there wasn't any of those. There was a little hacky sack though -- that said "Real".

Anyone care to guess where I work? I never talk about my work on my blog. I am breaking one of my basic rules. "Thou shall not yak about one's work". It seems my readers want to know. They're curious.

So for the further curious, I work for Real, as a Transportation Consultant bike enthusiast. Technically, I am a Software Test Engineer, which means I listen to the music I download to my mp3 player, and if it doesn't sound right I write up a report. Otherwise, I continue to listen and try not to steal any one's scooter or drop any juggling balls on anyone's desk, or spill my granola into my keyboard, interrupting my game of COD. I ride a skateboard on the hardwood indoors to test the gain -- is it loud enough?

Since I am actually really a test and release engineer for the software tools that publish stuff (content) for Rhapsody™, mostly I write tests and build tools, take out trash, and do the dishes. I try not to think of release day as hellweek, but then again, sometimes you can crash when your riding a stolen scooter.

It's a cool job, in a cool spot, and seriously, I work hard, and hopefully, everything sounds better, looks better, feels better, because of it.

And now this recruiter over at Netflix is poking at me. But I am so jealous of the guy I met on the train that works at Flickr. Now that's a cool job. But me -- I work at the place where music lives, and I like it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh Yeah

I thought you said you had a bike. I said I had a broken computer on my bike. The car has a broken speedometer. My daughter borrowed the car. I had to try and register it. My daughter came home from college and she borrowed the car so now I am back on my bike. I have to get my truck on the road again, so I can drive too. My son is learning to drive. I get scared easily.

I miss the new Jane -- I saw her last week and that made me want to move. I have a brand new job, I work where music lives, and I listen to music for a living (not really, but sometimes I am actually supposed to listen to music). It's a good job if you can get it. It's a cool place where people juggle and wear headphones, and ride scooters around in the office, and there's free organic fruit, organic beer, and organic granola. It is less than a block from my old job. The company provides us with free copies of Rolling Stone Magazine. If you're my friend and I recommend you to work there -- they will give me money and I will buy you lunch. Then you can listen to music too, forget to shave, look like Peter Falk, threaten to grow your hair out again, and get paid with organic money. Unfortunately, I can't move right now. I have a new job.

But -- I thought you said you had a bike. Well, it's busy where music lives, and so I don't get to play on the blog quite as much. But, hey -- I still get to ride my bike.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Coefficient of Juju


So it started, a small idea for a little trip. A short pack trip. One night with a modest hike near Phoenix. Here we three are at the start, at the Reavis Ranch trail head. 3.5 miles up and a steep uphill -- to find this view --

and then we descend into Shawn's Garden, proclaimed to be so by me, because of it reminding me of Garden Valley. It was confirmed immediately by the Happy Hiking Guy™, and Dale was there to witness it, so now it is true, and I think the USGS is going to add the place name to the maps. You'll see another picture of it later, because, frankly, I liked it.



These are Beavertail Cactus of some sort or another. They are spiny and I think I still have some spines sticking out from my neck from when I smacked one with my face.

The descent into Reavis Creek was steep and despite a lot of preparation my right knee was threatening to disable me slow me down. Add vitamin I.

We saw this Horny Toad (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum, technically a Horned Lizard), which was cool. The horned toad has a very high coefficient of juju. One might ask, what is the coefficient of juju? This was actually Dale's terminology. I was talking about juju, as it relates to desert critters, like coyotes or lizards. I always thought juju was sort of like luck plus savvy. A lizard can run across hot desert sand and hide through camouflage, and then just when you've managed to get ahold of his tail, he breaks it off, combining surprise with speed to escape to safety. That's some large coefficient of juju. Man makes water from a desert mud hole and gets a desert survival badge. I was a bit worried the pain in my knee would lower my juju.



This is the Sierra Designs Light Year single and my home for the night. My playmates went off to find Reavis Falls while I looked around for an ice pack for my knee, made water and ate.

My legs were seriously cooked and my feet (dogs in the vernacular of Dale) were throbbing, which proved a bit difficult in the somewhat limited space of the SD Light Year.

The trip out went well.

This is the overview of Shawn's Garden. It is difficult to do this any justice with a camera. It might be the biggest collection of Beavertail cactus in one place in the world, who knows. Enlarge this photo and look at how many thousands of pads there are. Although I wasn't lame at all on the trip out, as you can see in this picture, Dale has my food bag hanging from his backpack, and I am following him like Pavlov's dog. Despite being 4 miles from the car, I am seriously ready for a bowl of screaming hot chili at Tortilla Flat. I stopped for lunch about 45 minutes later.

Me with Apache Lake in the background.

There's the car and two bowls of that chili.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gilded Flicker


Be sure not to miss the fledgling in the nest. This is really just a little tease I pulled out of about 400 images taken over the last few days.

Monday, May 7, 2007

On the Other Side

I made it out. It was great fun and I hurt in more than a few places. My thighs are burning and my feet are still throbbing, but right now I am looking for some Thai food and resting for the drive home. Some 15 miles in two days, with about 3000' of vertical, each way. I took a short recovery hike this morning.

I can't get the photos into the computer here at the Mesa Public Library, so you'll have to wait. There will be pictures in a few days.

Superstition Wilderness, Camp at Reavis Creek


Starring Dale. There was just a small amount of running water in Reavis Creek. This is Saturday after the 8 mile trek.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Colorado River at 80 MPH

Road Warrior

Palm Springs Native Flora

Ahhh, That's Better

Not Las Vegas, Please

Vineyards on Hwy 58 near Bakerfield

Mohave Desert

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Whoa, a Pile of Stuff.



So that's it -- everything required for a four day wilderness trip except the camera (which is in my hand). One has to wonder how we are going to get it all into a pack. I think I am going to need to hire a Sherpa. I don't have that great of a scale, but with 2 liters of water it is 48 lbs.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Packing


Getting Ready -- The Ten Essentials

Whenever you go on a hike, whether it's a short walk or an extended wilderness trip, you should always bring these with you. It's hard to foresee what may happen or what you may need. Know your gear completely before setting out.

10 Hiking Essentials

1. Water
Water is the most vital necessity in a survival situation. You can' t live long without it, especially in the desert where you lose water rapidly through perspiration. Your body loses fluid as a result of heat, cold, stress and exertion. Even in cold areas, you need a minimum of 2 liters of water each day to maintain efficiency. You can live for up to a month without food, but only a few days without water.

2. Map
So you can get where you're going or communicate your location to rescuers. If you get lost you may be able to find features on the map to help pinpoint your location.

3. Compass
Critical for navigation!

4. Flashlight or Headlamp
Walking in the dark can be dangerous. Not seeing a pot hole or loose rock can make your situation even worse. Don't forget spare bulbs and batteries.

5. Extra Food
To generate warmth and increase strength.

6. Extra Clothing
Temperatures at night can drop dramatically. Wet clothes can deplete your body of essential heat. Having spare clothes can save your life.

7. Sunglasses
Eyes are especially vulnerable to bright sunlight and damaging UV rays typical in the desert and mountains. These can help avoid eye damage.

8. First Aid Supplies
A ready-made, store-bought kit may not have everything you need. It is best to construct your own, based on expert advice. Some standard elements include, but are not limited to:

sterile gauze pads
band-aids
antiseptic
roll of 2" gauze
moleskin
tweezers
adhesive tape
triangular bandage
personal medication (if applicable)
Bandana
Anti-diarrheal
Ibuprofen

9. Knife or Multi-tool
Can be incredibly versatile in time of need.

10. Matches or Fire Starter
Being able to start a fire can be the difference between life and death. Be sure to keep them in a waterproof container. A fire starter, such as a candle, kindling or chemical accelerant, increases your odds of successfully getting a blaze going. If you must start a fire, be responsible! Wildfires are a real threat to the Wilderness as well as to victims and rescuers!

This list of ten essentials started from the list I found here on the Superstition Search and Rescue site.

Water Report for Springs located in the Superstition Wilderness.
Map of the area.
Route description.