Friday, April 30, 2010

Walk in the Woods 30 April 2010

One good thing about working the graveyard shift is that when the weather is nice you don't have to be inside at work like all the other schmucks(or in the case of one person I know, defending his thesis). Today I went to Shenandoah National Park again. First I went to Hawksbill Summit, which is the highest point in the park. I was gasping and wheezing like an asthmatic puggle, regretting the high altitude steep slope. A hiking group went by me in the other direction, and one of the people in that group said "don't worry it gets easier".

She looked like my grandmother with more gray hair.

Anywho, finally made it to the top. View was gorgeous. One of the things city folks like myself notice is how damn quiet it is. Quiet Quiet Quiet. There would have been more to explore at the top by a big section was taped off for Peregrine Falcons. Stupid endangered species.

After that I went on down to Camp Hoover, via the Mill Prong Trail. Camp Hoover is also known as Rapidan Camp. It was a presidential retreat built by(you guessed it) President Hoover. It was there Hoover and the Prime Minister of the UK hashed out the horrible scrapping and neutering of reasonable reduction in sizes of the major navies.

Trail is a 4 mile round trip with 3 stream crossings each way(this is important later on). During the first third or so I ran into two old guys, Bob and Jack(and Jack's Black Lab, Bonnie). Jack invited me to "sit a spell", mostly, I think, because he wanted to pick my brain about my VFW hat. Jack turned out to have served on the USS Richmond during WW2, which ran into a bit of trouble at one point (minor difficulties, as Jack put it). Bob worked in the Norfolk Naval Yard during WW2, "Fighting the war in the Norfolk Theater of Operations." My Grandpa says the same thing about Korea and Chicago. Jack warned me that the final stream crossing was tricky because of the arrangement of the rocks. He's old, so what the Hell does he know?

Well the trail at the third stream crossing kinda peters out, it isn't real clear where you're expected to cross. I picked what I thought was the best arranged rocks, and nearly slip and fell to my death. After I went down to look at the camp I decided to try crossing at another point. I got about halfway across when I determined that it was a worse choice than the other spot. I decided to use my fancy-schmancy GORE-TEX boot and step on a rock that was about an inch underwater.

Damn rock shifted and exposed a 2 foot hole.

Well, now I was up to my knees in water. What the hell, might as well just slog across. My feet were drier than I thought they would be though. Guess GORE-TEX really works. After I made my way back to my car I took the backroads back to Fairfax. I'll definitely be doing this again.

(Blogger seems to be limiting my photos today. I have a bunch more on my FB page)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Papers, Comrade

Unless you've been living under a rock(or not an American, I guess) you've probably heard about Arizona's new law that targets illegal immigration. It's worded in such a way that the cop can walk up to anyone who is "acting suspiciously" and demand proof of citizenship. Defenders claim that (1)It doesn't encourage racial profiling and (2)Doesn't give cops sweeping powers.

Those are bullshit claims.

Everytime I've gotten pulled over, without fail, I've had a exchange that went like this:

Officer: Where are you from?
Officer: Where are you from Originally?
Me:San Diego.
Officer: I mean, where were you born?
Me: San Diego!(thinking: You Fucker!)

All because of a speech impediment. Now, as pasty as I am, it's going to be a million times worse for someone a few shades darker. And if I may indulge in a little stereotyping for a moment, nothing is preventing the cops in Arizona going to Home Depot and harassing Day laborers...or the people who are hiring them. I imagine this is giving the Border Patrol a huge woody. While most Border Patrol officers are, I'm sure, hardworking and honest, my direct interactions with them have been uniformly negative. While local and state cops tend to take into consideration that they are serving the public, and maybe they shouldn't be assholes to everyone they come across, as far as the BP is concerned you are guilty until proven innocent.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My coworker...

...Is pounding down a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew(the regular green kind). Yesterday he was pounding down a different two liter bottle of Mountain Dew(the purple kind). He's a stack of pizza bagels and a game of World of Warcraft away from being pitiable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

South Park

I rarely watch TV on the TV anymore. I may put in a DVD or Blu-ray, but rare is the day when I sit down and watch a specific show on a specific time slot. More often than not I end up watching TV shows on the internet. One of those shows is South Park.

SP recently had it's 200th episode, which was basically making fun of SP being able to lampoon everyone and everything but the Prophet Muhammed. It also made fun of the fact that SP visually represented the Prophet Muhammed wwwaaaaaaayyyyyy back in early 2001, but is now forbiddon to do so again because some loons might get offended and try to kill the network executives(or the creators). The 200th episode was a cliffhanger and I was waiting for the 201th, expecting them to visibly represent Muhammed...

...Only to find out that that episode will not be shown on SP's website. And that the episode was extensively censored by the network when it was aired(possibly as a result of a death threat against the creators). In fact, the bleeps were orignally taken by many of the viewers to be part of the joke. Nope, they were intentional. Comedy Central even bleeped out Kyle's "lesson" speech about not giving into fear and thugs.

Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Book reviews

So, I just got finished reading A Walk in the Woods, which is a book about an attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish. Because I was bored at work(zero phone calls, your tax dollars at work folks) I decided to meander on over to and see what the reader reviews said.

The reviews are generally positive(which is my feeling on the book), but the negative reviews are hilarious. They range from Hiking fanatics who are disgusted that he didn't hike the entire trail,outraged Southerners at the description of the Southern mountain towns he enconters, and profanity(The f-bomb is dropped once). One review chastises the author for using "Jr High language when kids grow out of it in Sr High school."

I guess I never grew out of it. I did enjoy the book though, and recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

O Shenandoah...

Went out to Shenandoah National Park yesterday to try to hike out to Overall Run Falls, the tallest waterfall in the state. At a mere 90 feet off the ground it doesn't compare well to, say, Yosemite Falls, but I was interested in seeing it. I talked my sister into coming and bringing along her dog.

Unfortunately there was a haze over the valley that made the overlooks not as pretty as they could have been. According to a park ranger the haze was a result of pollution from the Midwest. Then when we got to the campground that was the starting point for the 6.5 mile hike we found that it was closed(gate to Skyline Drive closed) so we moved on to the next point. After some discussion we decided to try to hike in from there instead of Matthews Arm campsite, basically turning
a 6.5 mile hike into a 10.5 mile hike.

About 2 miles in the dog was ready to call it quits. I guess hiking in the mountains is much different than once or twice around the block at my sister and mom's house. Dang dog was a tick magnet too, which led to the hilarity of my sister having to put the dog in a sleeper hold on some asphalt while I picked out half a dozen ticks in her crotchel region. Good times.

I want to do it again!