Bouldering Again

I’m back to climbing and my right ring finger is bleeding already.  I stopped bouldering at the end of 2013, $80/mo was entirely too much to spend on the membership and I had bills to pay.  After nine months of remembering dramatic dynos and embarrassing failures, I came to an important realization: I missed climbing.  My life was dreary and held no interest for me, let alone anyone else.  So I’d rather pay off my loans a month later than I’d hoped and make life worth living in the meantime.

So I re-joined EarthTreks last night.  I told the girl at the desk that I left because of the money and came back because I missed it.  She seemed to understand both reasons.

The gym was crowded and after an evening of falling onto the mats I sent two V3 problems and can feel the callouses forming already.  It will take some time to regain strength and get back to V4s and maybe V5s, but I’m excited about the road ahead.  It’s still expensive, but it’s quite nice to return to something I really enjoy.

Garbage Picking- Update

This thing is as done as it’s going to get.  I took the bike off the curb a few weeks ago and it looked like this:

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I then spent hours cleaning the frame, degreasing the drivetrain, removing unnecessary pieces, and re-wrapping the handlebars.  I had to chisel the ancient goo on the bars off with a screwdriver and may have used a hammer to bang some pieces back into place.  After all that, and $70 worth of tires, tubes, and pedal straps; it looked like this:

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As you can see, I followed the All Black Everything theory of design.  The 1983 Fuji looks much cleaner, is much cleaner, and everything more-or-less works.  If I wanted to throw more money at it, I would buy a better seat and fix/replace the rear derailleur since it’s bent out of alignment (not because of the hammer, that was the rear brake).

The frame is too small, the 27″ tires are difficult, and the bar-end shifters are ridiculous.  But as a $70 bike that works well enough, it’s great.

Detroit

I left the hotel, turned right on W Lafayette Boulevard, and followed my feet.  I wandered around Detroit alone, and learned a lot about the city.  The sleek new buildings and revitalized stalwarts turned into construction zones and eventually, emptiness.  With no planned route and no knowledge of the city, I got slightly lost.

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You know that feeling when you’re in a known dangerous place, and you end up meandering down a street?  And the burnt out buildings, the fragmented sidewalk, the fact there’s no cars around, broken glass underfoot, trash fluttering in the breeze, and a pervading sense of desolation convinces you that you shouldn’t be here?

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On my travels, I was asked for $5, $1, my credit card, and drugs.  An enterprising gentleman tried to sell me a gold necklace as I was crossing the street.  I saw some good graffiti but mostly bad graffiti.

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There are so many abandoned buildings, empty lots, and quiet streets.  It reminded me of a post-apocalyptic world, when nature starts to reclaim the forgotten cities.

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And I’d still like to live there someday.

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Garbage Picking

I rescued an old road bike from certain death.  It’s a 1983 Fuji S12-S LTD made of rust and grime.  I hope the diseased brake hoods aren’t contagious.

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It’s good to have a project again.  I plan to repair the existing 18 speed drivetrain and roll around on this vintage Japanese steel frame.  This is what it looked like 31 years ago.

Young, Wild & Free

I’m not young.

I have many grey hairs and my back hurts.

My knuckles have always looked wrinkled and my elbows click.

I’m not wild.

The drunkest I ever got was at a casual get together with some co-workers back in college.

I’ve never stayed up all night, been to a concert, or done any drugs.

I’m not free.

But there’s no shackle on my ring finger nor an intrusive space heater taking up half the mattress, so I’m freer than some.

I live behind bars individually labelled: Debt, Obligation, Weakness, Fear.

Eat Pray Love

Contains the best description of the life-changing effect good pizza can have:

So Sofie and I have come to Pizzeria da Michele, and these pies we have just ordered–one for each of us–are making us lose out minds.  I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return.  I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair.  Meanwhile, Sofie is practically in tears over hers, she’s having a metaphysical crisis about it, she’s begging me, “Why do they even bother trying to make pizza in Stockholm?  Why do we even bother eating food at all in Stockholm?”

The book is such a good example of throwing oneself into pleasure, devotion, and balance.

Now I’m on to “The Remains of the Day,” another book recommendation I’ve received.  I can’t believe there was a time in my life when I couldn’t find things to read.  Now the pile just gets bigger.

Humanitarian / Hip Hop

Both require that you pour your whole life into it.  Both require you to do it for free (in the form of either mixtapes or volunteering) until you can convince a major label/NGO to pay for your efforts.  Both have a powerful effect on the larger world and change the lives of many.  Both demand hard work, sometimes in difficult circumstances.

Neither is necessarily a well-respected career choice.  Neither guarantees stable progression.  Neither can be done halfway.  Neither requires formal accreditations, although they can be helpful.  Neither will let you stay where you are forever.

Both draw people who wouldn’t want to do anything else.  Both require heart.