>I just wrapped up reading Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales. Wow. What a thought-provoking read it was. In a nutshell, it tells stories of various horrible accidents in the wild, and why in most cases they really aren’t “accidents.” Very interesting stuff, especially if you have any interest at all in how the brain works in stressful situations.

I guess what strikes me, as someone who likes to get outdoors a lot and make forays, however brief, into the wild, is how close we are at all times to something really bad going down. I tend to be almost anal about being careful; I’m the guy chiding a companion for wanting to try and jump over a deadfall rather than walk around it, that kind of thing. Maybe it’s because the bulk of the injuries I’ve sustained, generally sports-related, have been when my guard was down. Like stepping wrong when walking back onsides after a big run on the soccer pitch and rolling my ankle; it never happens during the run, never in the heat of action. That kind of thing. Why take an unnecessary chance has always been my opinion.

I don’t worry about myself so much because I am pretty careful, but I worry about people I care about. I used to have nightmares about my son and nephew falling off of Hungry Horse Dam, or falling off a cliff on a hike I used to take in the Missions. The week between Christmas and New Years we were in Tucson; one afternoon we bought some sandwiches (from Greasy Tony’s on Speedway, mmmm. . . . ) and drove out to the desert to have a picnic. We picked our way through the cactus and climbed up on this big rock to have our feast. While Sid was standing up and walking around on this thing it totally made me paranoid. Once he sat down I was fine, but I was extremely nervous again when he and Julia made their way back down off the rock.

Nothing happened, but one night after reading Deep Survival at bedtime I was laying awake running all these scenarios about what would have happened if Sid fell off the rock; broken leg, landing in cholla, all that. It was terrible. I finally fell asleep, but it was a restless night.

The book was great, though, despite triggering my own weird little fears and obsessions. Very enlightening, and helpful. It may add a pound or two to my backpack for even the “safest” of trips, but it will be worth it when it comes to peace of mind.



>I’m finding my mood to be a little sour this afternoon. Probably the result of a couple weeks in a row of vacation, sun, and some culinary indulgences that have been few and far between of late. Now it’s back to the usual routine, and it’s making me irritable. And it’s been snowing all afternoon. Normally I’d like that, but not today, for some reason. Here are some other examples of things driving me nuts over the last couple hours.

1. Soreness

I enjoy working out. Over the past 4 days I’ve played an indoor soccer game, ran a couple miles, gone on a couple 8 mile virtual bike rides at the gym, hit the weight pile a couple times, and did a heavy bag/jump rope workout. After a couple weeks of missing “traditional” workouts, it’s left me feeling a bit sore. What sucks is it would be nice if fat would get a little sore when it melts away, but it doesn’t. Yeah, sore legs and all are great, but I can cop a feel on myself and know my legs are bitchin’ly muscled . . . what about my prodigious belly? It just seems to stay the same. The only time it gets sore is when I do something heinous to ADD to it! Like ice cream. Or greasy meat.

2. This friggin’ cat

I liked her better when she avoided upstairs because of the dogs. But now she thinks she’s one of them, and she’s always on my desk, just like in this picture, bothering me. Friggin’ little beast.

3. This friggin’ dog

Because of certain bad behavior, during the winter she has to wear a dog diaper in the house. So she always comes in here and rubs against the back of my legs trying to scrape it off. That and she now and then chases the cat. Which causes an uproar.

Both of these pets have been seeing the business end of my water spray bottle today, the little bastards.

I’m just glad tomorrow’s Friday.


>I posted a new piece on my NewWest page today about reading books. You can dig it here. It already has three comments, which is kind of unprecedented for me.

On a completely unrelated note, while strolling about a trendy, upscale mall in Tucson, I ventured into an Apple store for the first time. Wow. I’m totally obsessed now with getting one of these:

I don’t consider myself much of a geek, but these new iMacs are as cool as it gets. I would love to have one. I thought the original ones were kinda klunky, but this one just blew me away.

Speaking of that trendy mall, here is a grainy still picture I took of Sid outside that very store. I have video too, which I will try and figure out how to upload as well.

>This Amuses Me

>I was reading this article in the Missoulian about a big pot bust in Missoula (the address appears to be near my friend and musical sidekick Jim Rolle‘s house too, I might add). The bust itself wasn’t funny to me, though it seems like quite an expensive undertaking for an operation that should be legal anyway, but the ad that randomly appeared on the same page struck me as hilarious:

Get it? Pot bust? Fresh cookies made every day at the Good Food Store? Okay, so maybe I’m easily amused, but I still got a kick out of it. . . .

First Trip of the Year

Just to see what it looks like, I’m going to kick this thing off with pictures from the first trip of the year — I went to San Diego for a couple days last week. These shots were taken at Pacific Beach. It’s pretty cool what you can do with a couple hours to spare on the way to the airport, even if it means for a damp, sandy ride on the airplane afterwards.