Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rock Climbing

I think rock climbing is one of my favorite out door activities, though I don't get to go that often. When in Denver my brother in law John (wife's sisters husband) and I went up to Clear Creek Canyon to do some climbing. This was my first time lead climbing. Mostly I've done top rope and boldering.

We gave rout A a try. Here's the climbing map if any of you (or I) are ever in Denver and have the chance to give it a try (again). And it's just cool to look at. I didn't get a picture of the key but there were a few inverted places that were fun. Most of the climb was a 5.10c/d.

I only made it as far as the red X's go then...

I lost some skin trying to hold on. It dosn't look that bad after I cleaned off the blood, but it sure hurt.

Anyway being in shape would have been useful. But for not having been in years I did pretty good I think. I'd like to blame the altitude difference (me living at sea level) but I just need to do it more often. I figure when Arwen and Noah are old enough I'll take them climbing...but that doesn't solve the problem of having no one to belay me (I don't think Sarah is heavy enough, unless I stake her down). Oh well.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Budoshin Jujitsu

We all know the stories about the Samurai. They were incredibly honorable, brave, and extremely skilled with the sword. However, what happened when they lost their swords. Did they just quit? Commit seppuku? (which was common in many cultures when a warrior faced defeat) or did they learn another way to fight?

During the Meiji restoration Samurai were prevented from carrying swords but that did not stop their quest for the ability to fight for those to whom they were loyal. To prevent death in battle they developed a martial arts that eventually became Judo, Karate, and Jujitsu.

Jujitsu translated means the gentle art. It is a martial arts more suited to women in my opinion because it teaches one how to defend themselves and cripple an opponent with minimal force. The movements are graceful and the combat is brutally direct. Students of Jujitsu Are subjected to these holds, throws, and restrained versions of attack techniques. The holds help increase flexibility in the wrist which can be useful in a life or death situation.

Why am I fixating on Jujitsu? I joined the BYU club and, by extension, the American Jujitsu Association. You only have to get followed seven blocks by a creepy guy at night once before you are afraid of your own shadow. A few weeks ago I was watching a Jujitsu practice and now I am practicing how to roll when thrown by an opponent and get up and face them all in one motion. Now I am learning how to block a punch and get out of danger when someone grabs my wrists.

My sensei is very patient in helping me learn my rolls, blocks, strikes, and throws. I would recommend Jujitsu to anybody but especially women because it just makes me feel safer and more confident. That would be reason enough but I am learning to protect myself. I am learning to use someone's superior strength and force against them and learning to hold my own. It is amazing. I am entry level now (not even a white belt) but I plan on working my way up to a black belt.

Now, a little known fact about many martial arts. They teach pressure points for healing as well as attack. To earn higher belt levels we are required to know how to heal various pain using massage and pressure points. Who knows, next time you all see me I'll test out my new skills :p. Anyway, for all the ladies in the family and the boys, look into jujitsu.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Review-Longitude

This is a great little book about the race of discovering a way to measure longitude while at sea. It is interesting and a quick read. I think everyone would enjoy it.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Book Review-In Defense Of Food

Another good read from author Michael Pollan. Admittedly not as fun as The Omnivore's Dilema and a bit more disheartening. It seems it is harder than I originally thought to find actual food but nevertheless it is possible! I enjoyed learning a great deal more about the food industry and food itself in this book. My small criticism is that he encourages not to eat alone but what about the single adult Mr. Pollan? I read this book in a few days, easy, fun, educating!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Circumhorizontal Arc

We saw one of these in the sky while driving through the mountains in Colorado. I've never seen one before (a little research said they are very rare).

This one is not mine as I didn't have my camera but looks the same.

These clouds are caused by light passing through cirrus clouds. They only occur when the sun is very high in the sky (more than 58° above the horizon) and the hexagonal ice crystals that make up the cirrus cloud must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.
When light enters through a vertical side face of such an ice crystal and leaves from the bottom face, it refracts, or bends, in the same way that light passes through a prism. If a cirrus's crystals are aligned just right, the whole cloud lights up in a spectrum of colors.

I'd add this to my short list of cool things to try to find in the sky:

Sundogs or Ice Halos (can be seen in day or my favorite at night with a full moon)
Moonbows (I saw one of these once at night with a full moon rising on distant storm)

Have any of you seen some rare natural phenomenon?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Art Dump

Here are some thing I worked on for fun in the years past. Picasso I am not, which is a bit depressing really as I really enjoy drawing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

One of my favorite Adventures

Going along with Michael's fun post on Nostalgic places I think it would be fun for us to each share a memorable adventure. The one I would like to tell is the time I hiked the Thousand Island Lakes Trail with Joesph, Matthew, Emily, Whitney and Nevada.

Hiking Thousand Island lake was definitely an adventure. I don't think any of us could forget the merciless mosquitoes! Poor Whitney seemed to get it the worst and had to hike around with a make shift burqa covering! After it was all over Emily and I had a competition to see who had the most bites. I don't remember who won but no joke I had 100 bites just on one side of my right calf. Even these wretched mosquitoes weren't bad enough to take away from the absolute beauty of this place. The greatest visual was walking over the crest to see the glimmering turquoise lake with the hundreds of tiny islands inviting you down.

The first night we camped we were all convinced there was a bear outside our tents only to find out it was fat Nevada snoring. When we reached the snow we all took turns dunking our heads under run off nearly passing out from the shock of it, then going back for seconds! Emily was brave enough to swim in the lake but I wasn't; it was so cold just touching it burned my skin. One of the brothers and Nevada switched off carting up two huge cans of Denizens Chili only to have it burned beyond eating because of the thousands of mosquitoes attacking me. I felt so bad, but it was still pretty funny. It was so much fun crushing the high altitude snow for my first time and watching it turn pink from bacteria. I think it is great how most of us had to put SPF cherry chap stick on our faces because none of us had sunscreen and we were so burnt. I loved hearing Matthew tell us his great idea for a science fiction story as we sat exhausted around the campfire. I think I remember packing a sleeping pad only to have it "borrowed" by Matthew both nights :), but to be fair he was carrying all my food. Thanks for the memories, I Love you big Brothers!
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