All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

I’m much older in my body than my heart July 25, 2010

Filed under: Music — sendann @ 11:09 pm
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I went to see my one of my favorite performers, Konrad Wert aka Possessed by Paul James at Jovita’s last night. It’s hard to understand how people can get through his show without bursting into tears. I’ve seen him a few times now, and I always have to hustle out of the club or bar and breath deeply to keep from sobbing before I get to my car. He’s hilarious and absolutely wails on the fiddle, guitar and banjo. The show is so well done, I just get transported and shaken around then dropped back into my chair.

This is his closing song from the show last night. It sounds kind of ragged on the video, but rest assured it was glorious live. And come on, a sing along? I barely survived.

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De Neu!

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 9:44 pm
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Last week I got in a 15 passenger van with GLAM Climb of Austin for a road trip to New River Gorge! This third ever, but second official I think, Homoclimbtastic Summer Conference was the largest queer rock climbing event in the world, with about 70 people coming out (heh) over three days. I’d say there were only four or five of us straight groupies, and a few non-climbers around just looking to get laid. Regardless of the motivation for going, I think everyone left satisfied.

Group shot for DeadPoint Magazine, remixed with Rainbow Bright

I made amazing new friends, and climbed on the most glorious 5.10s on the planet – 90 foot orange sandstone walls with these sticky (even in the heat) crimps, towering over the lake.

And I surprised myself by nailing every move of a classic 13a called Apollo Reed on the first try. I wasn’t even all that pumped, although I fell about five times and couldn’t seem to make the last perma-draw gate to open. After five minutes fighting with it, turning it, trying the other way or another hand, I climbed past it a ways onto a knobby easy headwall. I still couldn’t get the gate to open, so I let out a string of expletives and took a huge, airy whipper into space, with twenty-five gay climbers applauding. Man, I am a sucker for an audience.

Me on Apollo. Those navy blue corduroy pants are from J.Crew outlet. I have them in gray also, and hoping they're flexi enough to boulder in all winter. They should hold up better than last year's Gap climbing cords (via Goodwill) did (but that's another post). The sports bra is from Academy, pack of 3 for $12!

I can be super sensitive to the scene at a climb, in a good or bad way. Usually bad. I tend to stick to climbing with one other person. Crowds freak me out. I never know if I should try to impress people or be impressed or what. I mostly just feel self conscious and embarrassed and leave, or get narcoleptic on a crash pad. But sometimes the right crowd is, like, all I need. When I got through the first crux, a random, awesome kneebar over a shield that gets you into the meat of the climb, all the gays applauded. I started laughing and kind of kept smiling the whole time. I cruised through the next few moves, made a few more clips, then threw for a ledge but caught a crimp and ripped off. It was the end of the day and I considered stopping.

That first little crux on Apollo. SO much fun. (Alex Chavez)

“Girl, boink up that rope right now.” So I did. With some beta from Mike Abell, who had flashed this pile the day before with that particular kind of determination and skill I associate with having lived in a rock gym since age 11, I got through the next section. The route is very similar to what I climb in Austin at Flat Creek. It was, if you know the area, like four Scapegoats end to end. It felt super easy and I wasn’t scared at any of the clips – a common stopper crux for me. I finished it up and lowered after my huge whipper.

The next morning at the group breakfast they gave out awards for the Homoclimbtastic Anti-Comp, to honor notable moments of fabulous from the trip. For what came out of my mouth when I still couldn’t deal with that stiff gate, I won a bag of Beta Clothing and Prana swag. I called my dad to tell him about it. He said he was proud but didn’t want to know what I’d said to earn it.


Talkin with Chuy July 21, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 6:29 pm
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Here’s video Blaine took of my progress on my Point Cove project from the other night.

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I got mixed up like that a couple of times at the very top, but I’m not worried about it. I was mostly thrilled to get that up-down-up-down traverse stuff together. The starting roof moves are pretty easy, especially after AO broke a big jug off of it.

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It eliminated a good hang spot but also forced the moves to flow better, so yay.

Next time I’m going to get on it first thing from the start, rather than waste good dry skin time warming up. It doesn’t feel very hard anymore.

These shots are from after the lights went out. Blaine had the lamp he and Ellen used to keep their chickens warm, which is brighter and awesomer than our standard halogen bulbs for sure, and made for some eerie images, courtesy of Blaine.

AO with the chicken lamp

Makin moves on Jesus

More moves. I tied the headlamp up with my hair so I wouldn't lose it in the water. Tricky, right?

Capt. Blaine with the chicken lamp.


The Prideful Hitch Hiker’s Tale of Lake Woe July 20, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 8:29 pm
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AO on a 2010 lake project. His heel-to-face maneuvers are so inspiring. (by Travis Vincent)

In Austin in the summer there are two options (three if you count “Colorado” as one which I do not): Dawn patrol at Reimers Ranch, and the lake. The lake used to involve floating on a noodle and hiking up juggy caves and short, vertical walls at Pace Bend. A few years ago it started to involve aluminum bass boats and exploring coves all over Lake Travis. The first boating year I was not into it, mainly because I wasn’t friends with AO, and he was the only one who had a boat.

Then last year more people had boats, but I had a hard time getting out anyway, because the boats were always full and I’m proud and uncomfortable when it comes to asking favors. After¬† summoning my nerves and getting let down a couple times, I let myself get discouraged and stopped asking. Hence, I almost never got out.

Finally I stumbled into a boat relationship that worked, with a dingy called Bastard Craft. Last August, Captain Bastard and I discovered that we could both go out during the week and that we could for the most part tolerate each other. I never worried too much about having a spot in a boat after that.

Me helming the Craft while Capt. Bastard climbs on Lake Travis. (March 2010)

This summer was pretty much the same, until Capt. Bastard got benched, and now boat time has been harder to swing. But now I’m pushing myself onto boats without shame, constantly asking to go out, ponying up gas money, trying to nail down this one line before the summer ends and I leave town.

It’s this roof problem, probably like v4 or 5 but pumpy and tricky, that starts on a huge tufa and climbs out about 10 feet of jugs and slopers in a roof, then some traversing on smaller holds, finishing on a nice crimpy headwall. It was 40 feet tall last year when the lake was alarmingly low, but now it tops out just 10 or 12 feet off the water. When it was first done it was christened “Talk to Jesus” I think because it was so scary and highball. I’m gonna call the lowball version “Talk to Chuy” and see if that catches on.

Got a ride in Blaine’s boat tonight! I’m so psyched to get out and try my moves with the lake a full foot lower than it was last time I was there. I think the cruxy part for me – the traverse after the roof – will be easier with more air to dangle in. We’ll find out!


4th of jew lie July 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — sendann @ 1:42 am
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I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I snapped this photo with my friend Erik’s camera while he was helping his daughter change (left). We were at the Elk’s Lodge in Austin. I was in a pretty dark mood that day, but trying to hang in there.


Mrs. Trooper July 8, 2010

Filed under: Cars — sendann @ 7:27 pm
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Yesterday I was cruising around in ATX heaven – from a girlfriend’s house to the springs, then soccer at Justine’s! It was a haiku of awesome, but then my car started to smell like chemical fire. I rationalized that the smell was coming from construction that I was driving by.

Ok here’s how it goes with me: I had a low mileage (75k) 2000 Toyota Camry that my mom gave me, and a 1991 Isuzu Trooper with 185k on it from my father-in-law.

What Would Ann Raber Do? Obviously she’d sell the Camry, stash the cash, and live out of the Trooper. Is this taking the vintage aesthetic too far? Perhaps.

But it’s been a great car so far, as rolling greenhouse death traps go. I have this fantasy of trying to do mechanical work on it myself some day. So far I have replaced the radiator cap, and the headlight (bulb). Both times I had to have AO coach me through it on gchat. From “where do I get a radiator cap” to “what do you mean ‘go in through the hood?!?'” It’s been educational.

Here’s the Trooper with Rick Rivera’s boat hitched to it. Living up to its name in a big way.

This is the Trooper in Hueco when Vinny and I broke the door, and the Hueco Rock Ranch dudes helped fix it.

And here it is on the way to Hueco last year.

A couple weeks ago it started doing this thing where it took a few seconds to change gears. Like from reverese to drive and back it struggled to get going. It was Saturday, so I had to take it to a non-favorite mechanic. They said the transmission has a leak in the gasket or pan, and to give them 600 dollars. I said fuggedaboutit, and had them top off the fluid. I’d lost 3 quarts of tranny fluid in 6 months! Ugggghhhhh!

Then I had the best mechanic and one of the best people in Austin, and also probably one of the best men on the earth, Mike Yost, check it out. I was gonna ask him what he thought of the idea of me doing it myself was. But then, as he was laying underneath it in the parking lot he goes “It’s gonna be a huge job to get in there.” I got down there too and he showed me how the transmission is up above the exhaust system, and that it will involve taking tons of other parts off to get to and change. So I didn’t even ask about my DIY idea.

We agreed that for now I need to just check the level regularly and be sure to top it off. I said, “I read online that if you overfill the transmission fluid in this car even a little, it catches fire. There was even a recall about it in the 90s. So I’m scared.” To which Mike Yost responded: “Get full coverage.”

Oh, and so after the soccer game (I don’t know if I’m more excited to see the German’s lose, Spain win, or Paul the psychic octopus be proved right YET AGAIN) I drove to work, and the fire smell started again, then a big noise, then the battery light went on and I couldn’t steer, and when I finally got off 183 safely, I saw a broken belt dangling out of the bottom of the car, and the whole inside of the hood was covered in this gross black mank.

Alternator belt. Replaced within an hour by the other Mike at Yost Automotive.

Parts and Labor, $82.



Swan Mnt. Road

Filed under: Uncategorized — sendann @ 4:22 am
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This is the road from Dillon, where my folks have a place, to Breckenridge, where I shop and go to yoga when I’m visiting.