Sunday, June 01, 2008

Summer To-Do List

I'm roughly 45 hours away from the start of my summer vacation. The last day of school/graduation is tomorrow, and then there's one more day for the staff to close up show for the summer, expected to wrap up around 4:00 PM on Tuesday, June 3rd. All the grading is done from finals week, scantrons are bubbled - all the hard work is done, I'm already mentally on vacation. Now to make the most of my impending freedom, I think it wise to make a "to do list." What follows it that list.

  1. Investigate housing options in Davis/possibly (probably) move to Davis.
  2. Buy a bike. Use it.
  3. Devise & start a new training mesocycle. Goals: strength maintenance, bodyfat reduction (same goals as the mesocycle I've been running since late March, but I need to switch it up) + bringing up my back (an unassisted pullup? w00t!)
  4. Read some books. I need to assemble some candidates. I've no idea what to read right now. Work this year has taken the wind out of my reading sails...
  5. Summit a minor Cascade peak. South Sister? McLoughlin? (Shasta's nixed for this year due to poor conditions & under-training)
  6. Head up to Yreka for the fair weekend (the last weekend of my summer) & go tubing on the Klamath, go to the fair, & go blackberry picking.
  7. Brew again - it's been, sheesh, over a year? Weather will mandate a saison of some sort. Have my dad brew with me? (He expressed interest)
  8. Do some more farmers' market shopping. I'm especially interested in finding local meat.
  9. Buy some of Old Soul's bacon.
  10. Go on the ocean fishing trip some of the Yrekans have organized?
  11. Run the Mt. Shasta 4th of July race ('twood be my first race).
  12. Eat at Cafe Maddalenna, Billy Goat's Tavern, and Taylor's Refresher (should be able to take care of the last one when I'm at the Napa conference).
  13. Get "out" on a weekly basis lest I go crazy.
  14. This one always makes "the list," but rarely happens: paint!
  15. Update this list as the summer goes on?

All I can muster for now...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Community organization, rescindance, and other goings-on

I checked my e-mail on this fine, late-winter morning to find this comment had been left regarding my post, Bread, Circuses, and My Hometown:
I realize this is a pretty old post, but I stumbled upon it in some google search. I just want to let you know that you are not alone in wanting to see Yreka and all of Siskiyou county develop into its full potential. Please visit We can make a difference! It's just going to be an uphill battle and the older generation will only go along kicking and screaming! Yea for Siskiyou county! ...stop kicking back there and shut up!....

Soooo... I checked out Siskiyoutopia, and I have to say that I'm quite pleased. Looks like a Southern Oregon transplant to Siskiyou County has taken it upon themselves to try to mobilize some cultural revitalization there, and that the Siskiyoutopia blog is a primary engine of that movement. So far it looks like the primary content of the site is reports on local events, local shopping, local enterprise, etc. In general, things people can do in Siskiyou County that will establish and build some cultural momentum and economic revitalization. If I could make a suggestion to the voice of Siskiyoutopia, I'd say check out what the heck is going on with local agriculture: is there a farmer's market; who besides Hunter Orchards is producing some scrumptious, local eats; who can you go to to get some locally-raised, grass-fed beef? (I'm splitting a side of Townley beef with my brother and my folks)

Anyway, I'm glad to see there are like-minded folks living up yonder. Makes me think my eventual return will go much smoother...

BUT, the above comment prompted me to re-read my post, Bread, Circuses, and My Hometown. In that post, I said, "[mixed martial arts] is for troglodytes." Immediately after that, I said, "And I'm not going to back down from that statement." Well folks, I feel I do indeed have to back down from that statement, and here's why...

At the time I wrote that post, MMA was just beginning it's national resurgance. I wasn't quite aware of the scale to which it would permeate ALL of American society. It wasn't just Siskiyou County that saw MMA grow, it was the entire country. Now we see MMA on cable TV every night, and specials on the "fight science" of MMA on the "educational" cable channels. It's everywhere. And the fact that it's everywhere, and not just in Siskiyou County, makes me less scared.

Beyond that, honestly, my involvement in strength athletics (which began when I decided I didn't want to die a corpulent beast about a month after I wrote the post in question) has done a lot to make my more "okay" with MMA. You see, the MMA circle mixes with the powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman, and bodybuilding circles. There's a lot of cross-pollination. When I look for articles on Russian conjugate training, I inevitably end up at the same sites that publish articles on things like "lactic acid tolerance training for MMA." By spending enough time in these overlapping circles, I've come to better understand MMA as a sport, and to have a better appreciation for the rigors involved.

Indeed, as I've trained for my own athletic feats (first an attempt on climbing Mt. Shasta, currently a powerlifting meet, and up next, another attempt on Mt. Shasta), I've come to appreciate sport in general to a degree which I never achieved before (that's what happens, I suppose, when you aren't athletic as a kid). At this point, I have a hard time believing that I dismissed physical activity and accomplishments as much as I once did. I now thrive on the zen of physical rigor. In all honesty, little in my personal experience has carried the same potential for self actualization that devotion to sport does. And if some folks find this same experience through the brutal regimen of MMA, good for them. That said, a sport which almost inevitably involves facial disfigurement and brain damage is most definitely not my cup of tea, but to each his own, I suppose.

Beyond all this, I've encountered some more mundane reasons to be "okay" with MMA. My activities in strength athletics have brought me Sacramento's coolest gym (with the best music selection ever heard in a gym), Bodytribe. At Bodytribe, I've met folks involved in MMA and Muay Thai, and you know what? They aren't creepy. They aren't skeezy. They aren't really weird. They're actually really nice people.

But with all that said (and heading back towards the original topic of this post), should small-time MMA fights held on the Karuk grounds be the biggest and bestest thing to happen in Siskiyou County? Definately not. Siskiyou County can do more and should do more.

I'd love to say more, but it seems that duty calls right now...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Raw Youth - A reader's thoughts...

Recently I posted concerning the publication of my friend Tim's novel, Raw Youth. This past weekend I finished reading it, and I feel a need to talk about it a bit.

First of all, I must say that I respect the hell out of Tim for writing and publishing this novel. When we were in high school, idealistic and confused youths that we were, we voiced some pretty big plans for our futures. I dreamed of being a rock journalist or a guerilla artist or a socialist revolutionary - something provocative. Tim was pretty damned set on being an author, on writing "the great American novel." Nine years later, I'm teaching high school - valuable work, certainly, but it doesn't have quite the glory I'd envisioned myself to be destined for. In the meantime, Tim has lead a crazy and unexpectedly dramatic life, but he hasn't lost sight of that initial goal. Every step of the way from high school graduation to this very moment, he has been, according to my observations at least, focused on his literary aspirations. While I'm fairly happy with my life, the artist and dreamer in me envies Tim's clarity of vision and the cojones he has demonstrated in his commitment to his goals.

Now I'm not quite sure how to respond to Raw Youth. I don't know why Tim decided to push this manuscript through, as opposed to any of the others he has worked on. And to be completely honest, I was skeptical of the novel when he initially serialized the first several chapters on his blog - in that stunted and truncated form, I had a really tough time figuring out where the hell he was going.

And where was Tim going with Raw Youth? The novel consists of the recollections of a narrator who seems to be subject to paranoid delusions and hallucinations (in comments concerning the novel Tim has described the character as a paranoid schizophrenic) who is obsessed with the national traumas to which the American public has been subjected over the past 15 years (Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, 9/11, etc). Weird premise, eh? After reading the novel, I'm still not really sure what the hell Tim was saying about all this.

Ultimately, I feel somewhat unqualified to evaluate the literary merits of the novel. I'm not an objective audience. Reading the novel proved to be a rather odd experience for me simply because I am so familiar with many of the personal experiences and events Tim mined to flesh out the novel... Tony Roma's in Salt Lake? That's where we ate on our way back from seeing the Chemical Brothers at Red Rocks. I got food poisioning from that meal. But beyond that, I feel like I have too many preconcieved notions of Tim's psyche and intentions, and I'm not sure what I do think I understand about his novel is based on his writing, and not more than that.

That said, I need to describe what happened when I turned the last page and returned the novel to my bookshelf. I felt a longing. I wanted more. I didn't want to be done with the novel. I wanted the experience I'd had reading it to continue. Then I realized that Tim had done something very successful. He'd written a kick-ass, riveting narrative. Raw Youth was, for me, a page-turner. I enjoyed it greatly, and I eagerly await Tim's future writings.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

RIP, Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary, O.G. of modern mountaineering, has passed.

But let's not forget that his accomplishment, the first known summit of Everest, was shared with
Tenzing Norgay, who himself passed in 1986. The degree to which the role of the Sherpas in so many of Westerner's mountaineering accomplishments is overlooked will never cease to irk me.

That said, much respect to the both of them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


A certain eager & amorous neighborhood cat came to see me today upon my return home from the gym, and as I crouched down to pet it, it jumped up on my shoulders, settled in, and started purring.
Sigh, I need a pet...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Plug - "Raw Youth"

My old friend Tim has written and, finally, published a novel, Raw Youth. Follow that link or the button to your right for some preview chapters & a further link to purchase the book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Check one off my list...

... of life accomplishments.
Finding a "Zoltar" and getting my fortune told? Check!