down the rabbit hole to HELL ITSELF!!

It’s a go-to crutch….the empty head option….the “keep the blog string going”….moving towards 1000 posts….with another cycling video.

A trip across the whole country by bicycle….the whole UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (!!!)….in real time….is pretty boring….even for someone who might be obsessed with that sort of thing.

A video of it….in real time….is even more boring.

It’s boring to watch a video about doing something.

It’s a lot more interesting to actually do something.

Now….in searching for a video that might be shorter and more enticing, I came across this….another video about cycling in Amsterdam.

That’s a cool city….lots of bikes.

I knew that already.

It’s cool in Amsterdam.

We live down the road from some cool places, though.

We live by the road in a cool place.

Hah!! We already live in a cool place!

I’m planted….and… I’m blooming.

But….there’s so many cool places in the world.

Amsterdam is another of them.

All those bikes, though, push it over into a cooler zone, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m digging all these bikes.

Check out this video about some of the free things in Amsterdam….


Now you’re talking.

(I was kidding about the HELL stuff….Amsterdam looks kind of cool….although, some might think that some of the permissive attitudes there push it over into the “Sodom and Gomorrah” category….but ALL THOSE BIKES (!!!!) are what I’m seeing….not the proximity to the Dark Place. It’s the bikes….not the Devil. It’s the bikes. That’s probably just the Devil pulling the wool over my eyes….blinding me with the phantasmagoric panorama of a city filled with bicycles….blinding me with the diversion of two-wheeled fun….blinding me. Darn Devil…, that’s not strong enough….DAMNED DEVIL. The Devil doesn’t ride a bicycle.)

our clothing….our choices….our world. here comes the buzzkill.

I rarely look beyond what something “is” to what it actually costs.

I don’t mean that I’m not aware of the price tags….I know what something “costs”….and, usually, I’m shopping at places where all the t-shirts are $1.25, anyway…so even then, I don’t really keep track of what the original “cost” was.

Why would it matter to me? I turn away when the sign says that t-shirts are $2.50.

“Cost”….that’s kind of a weird concept, anyway.

Things cost what people are willing to pay….and if the marketing is really good, we’re hoodwinked into paying more than something is worth, sometimes.

That’s the money side of cost.

That’s the easy side to pay attention to.

We pay attention to things as deeply as they affect us financially.

Why should we go any deeper than that?

This video is about changes in clothing….changes in design and changes in how clothing is produced…..and an awareness of what our choices “cost”.

It’s about an awareness of the damage that traditional clothing production does to the environment.

Watch for the section with the person talking about clothing being dyed in China….and why she stopped enjoying watermelon that she was buying locally there.

Research why Patagonia went to using organic cotton.

It was more than just a marketing concept.

How we produce the things we wear….or the things that eventually make their way to the $1.25 t-shirt rack….really has a damaging effect on the environment.

Check out the lady growing “fabric” with bacteria and yeast cells.

“Bio-engineered clothing”.

That’s pretty wild.

We can go beyond what we know now.

And, as far as the “what people are willing to pay” thought goes, I guess that maybe we’re willing to pay as much for what we understand….as for what we don’t have to know about.

A “blood diamond” is beautiful…who needs to know about what it cost to dig it out of the dirt?

Who needs to know about the damage that producing anything costs?

Knowing any of that stuff makes it hard to be a joyful consumer.

Thinking about “damage” is a real buzzkill.

Go to the mall and look around.

I’m amazed at the stuff that they can pile into a “small corner” of my world.

There is a lot of stuff vying for my attention at the mall.

Now, go to the thrift stores and look at the huge amount of stuff that’s at the other end of the consumption chain.

By the time clothing makes it way to the thrift stores, it’s usually lost its lustre for the original purchaser.

It’s something that’s a couple of steps from being in the landfill.

Look at the amazing volume of stuff that is being sold at the other end of the process.

That’s pretty bizarre that we’re surrounded by so much stuff.

I’m a sucker for books.

I worked in a retail book store.

I love books.

But, except for what the book “is”….what’s inside the book….the information it contains….a book is really kind of worthless….unless someone decides that it’s “collectible”….and then it’s worth what people are convinced they should pay.

Check out the book sections at the thrift stores.

And….like clothing….it’s the tail end of the process….one step from the landfill.

That’s pretty amazing.

We have a lot of stuff in this world….and we’re making more of all of it….every day.

Where are we going to put any of it?

Our closet is too small as it is.


A guy talking….about some important things

Rick Ridgeway.

Rick Ridgeway talking about some important things….talking about some things that make a difference.

Of course, we’ve worn used clothing for years in our family.

It’s how we roll.

Our children know their way around a thrift store.

But, the attitude of “consume less….consume “better”….make good choices….help the environment by making better choices” is one that needs to be explored and internalized.

Some of the environmental problems we face are hard to fix.

I’d say that most of the big problems we’ve faced for years are pretty darn hard to fix.

The choices we make in what we consume might be a small start.

No great revelation there.

Every generation of parents wonders what will be here….in this world….for the generations to come.

We wonder what will be here for our children.

It’s a responsibility and a privilege to at least pursue an awareness of what we can do to try to protect our environment and our future….and maybe make things better for the generations to come.

Awareness is a starting point.

I guess that action comes after awareness.

I don’t have time for anything other than small actions, anyway.

I’m no politician, right?

I’m not the guy who’s going to change the world….



alex honnold

If I was able to do anything like this, the last thing that I would want around me would be a newscaster like Lara Logan asking me questions like, “So….if you fail….you could die? There would be no saving you….it would be certain death, right? You would die, right?”

That would suck.

Of course, I can’t do anything like this.

I can’t even jump around at the top of the rock after finishing the death-defying feat.

I’m too afraid of heights.

My fear of heights is not a very well disguised trait, either.

I don’t even like to get up on my roof to clean the chimney.

I don’t enjoy that….but I do it anyway.

What a hero.

When I was working at camps….and “teaching climbing” (teaching a bunch of kids how to tie a bowline knot, really)….I climbed some…but there was a lot of discomfort to push back and through.

I wouldn’t “get high” for enjoyment, that’s for sure.

I can’t even watch my children run around at the top of the rock….it freaks me out.

I enjoy this guy….laid back and mellow….living in a good van.

It’s refreshing to see an athlete who carries himself with this kind of humility.

Maybe it would have to be in a sport like climbing….where the majority of America has no idea what these guys are doing…..or how they’re doing it.

What this guy is doing is HUGE.

And most people don’t even know who he is.

Maybe that’s what lets him sleep in his van….nobody knows enough to ask him for his autograph….nobody “bugs” him.

Awwww….I may be wrong, but he seems like a good character.

Good for you, Alex Honnald.

subliminal totem

P1050835Oh, man…..I’ve got a good costume going.

Scruffy and unkempt….worn in and comfortable.



Nah….I’m a grownup….with all the tics and worries of the average mature man.

And….I clean up real nice.

These PF Flyers are just about right, though….just damaged and dirty enough to suit my needs….and looking at them, I realize they remind me of so much without it all really coming to the forefront of my consciousness.

They are part of my subliminal totem….something that lets me hold on to something important somewhere in my past.

I wonder how much rubber I left on the road….wearing PF Flyers as a kid?

Probably enough to build a couple of tractor tires.

Wearing these is kind of like eating red licorice….just something that still feels right after all these years.

(Of course, Jenny told me that the red dye in the licorice causes cancer….so I do try and dramatically limit my intake….but it’s fun food and I’m hooked and sooner or later, I’m going to want to eat some. At least I never smoked….)

We went down to the river yesterday….Jenny’s good idea….and the kids played while I took pictures…


There’s something mighty fine about playing in the water on a warmish day.

It’s funny how much fun you can have in a river that most days is just something you have to use the bridge to get over.






It’s funny how much water a cloth diaper can soak up, too.

I guess that’s what they’re designed to do…so it shouldn’t be something surprising that they can hold more than their weight in river water.


It looks like these are pretty saturated.


Soaked with a different fluid, this time.




It’s time to make some cinnamon rolls before we head down to ride our bikes on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

It should be a pretty nice day….eating some cinnamon rolls, wearing my PF Flyers, going down South to ride my bike…..

and hanging out with my family.

That’s a recipe for a pretty good day, I’d say.









“Elective suffering”.

I like these guys….they remind me of a lot of my good friends.


We live down the mountain from a camp I worked at for 6 summers….and from our porch, I can see the counselors returning for another year….driving their Subarus and Toyota trucks….roof racks loaded with kayaks and mountain bikes….vehicles stuffed with climbing and camping gear.

I was part of that tribe.

I know a funhog when I see one.

That’s what I say to Jenny as they drive by….

“Funhogs. Look at those funhogs.”

I keep any wistful inflection to myself.

These guys are Super Funhogs.

There was something that I don’t hear voiced a lot that the guys in this video said that I really appreciated.

They commented on what a privilege it is to be able to engage in this “elective suffering”….to plan and carry out a demanding trip like this….to choose something hard as a diversion.

You don’t hear that attitude really often.

It was a decent way of looking at the situation.

I appreciated how they could tie the trip to their social activism, too…helping bring solar electricity to the Navaho.

Good guys.

Now…I’m gearing up a little so that my family has a chance to be “responsible funhogs”….doing some biking….trying to get back into camping….getting some boats to put out into the water….get our feet wet.

That’s a good thing for a parent to do….and something that I kind of dropped the ball on a little, in the past….to instill a solid love of adventure in your children.

It is a good thing to never reach the end of what demands our attention and curiosity.

I’m not sure how to keep the “mystery of it all” coming for these kids.

Maybe that’s not my job….maybe that’s something they figure out for themselves?

Maybe I’m too hard on myself….our life has been a constant adventure.

What’s the saying about adventure coming by chance and poor preparation?

If that’s true….about the poor preparation….I’ve done a lot to help cement my family’s adventurous experience.

Be sure and check out the section of the movie a couple of minutes in when Alex Honnold is free-soloing Half Dome.


Funhog to the extreme….the most extreme.

The most terrifying extreme.

My palms were sweating.

Like I said before….I’m blessed to have friends like these guys.

Funhogs are….fun to hang out with.



Thankyou, Mr. Martin

Ah, mannnnnn….Martin Sexton!

So great.

I’ve posted about him before….and I’ll post about him again….but here’s another nice little live performance that shows what he can do.

I appreciate guys like this so much….in these days of ProTools and autotuning and never knowing what you’re hearing when you listen to anything on the radio now.

I got up late this morning….so there’s no time or need for a rant about not trusting what I hear now.

Rants get old, anyway.

If all you have going for you is a quick triggered semi-righteous indignation…..that’s not so good….not so great.

Martin Sexton deserves more than some middle-aged (!) dude ranting about the music industry.

He’s so consistent….so funny….such a good writer.

Just great.

Check Martin Sexton out….he’s one of the good ones.

move the cord


“Oh, no. He’s telling that story again.”

“Mom….he’s telling that story again.”

Well, of course I am.

That’s the beauty of a story like that….it hangs around forever.

That’s a good thing.

When my daughter was born….20 years ago today….the doctor held her up after a long delivery….a delivery that completely wore me out (I’m kidding….Jenny did all the hard stuff)….anyway….the doctor held her up and asked, “OK, Daddy….what did you get?”

I couldn’t tell.

There wasn’t any pink bows.

The umbilical cord was in the way.

The umbilical cord was obscuring the identifying features.

I tentatively said, “Ummmmm…..a boy?”

That’s when the doctor cut me a break and moved the cord….and I knew the answer….


I am a rocket scientist.

I won’t go into great detail about how I figured it out.

Jenny would have helped me if I couldn’t have gotten the answer right….anyway, I only had two options, probably….I would have gotten it right sooner or later.

20 years ago today.


My little girl is turning into a LADY.

That’s crazy to think what time does.

I guess that she’ll always be my little girl, though…time doesn’t change everything.

No matter how much of a lady she becomes, she’ll always be my little girl.

And, I’m the only one who can really say that.

Anyway….big day for my daughter today.

Big day for my daughter….big day for me, too.

20 years.

That’s a good chunk of good time!

Thanks for that, Zoë!!

“benedictus” 2Cellos

a pile of good….


I love Patagonia products.

I love the catalogs that advertise their products.

I love how they’re promoted….how socially and environmentally conscious the company is….how the clothing looks….how long it lasts.

It’s a cool company.

But, dang….it’s so expensive.

That’s some expensive clothing, man.

Check out the surfer in this video who says that his beloved board shorts probably ended up costing him about a penny a day.

A penny a day!!!

For something that he loved wearing!!! For a “treasured friend” of a piece of clothing.

That’s pretty cheap.

I watched this video and a couple of the comments really stuck out….

The first one was the organic farmer who waxed euphoric over his favorite jacket….which happened to be a Patagonia jacket.

He talked about how durable it was….and then, at the end of his comments, mentioned that the jacket looked as good as when he bought it at the yard sale …. years ago.

The other one was the comment where the older fellow talked about the choice between a brand new fleece jacket….or one that was worn by your father …. hitchhiking in Nepal….and then was gifted to you years later.

He asked, “Which is more valuable? I could tell you right now…which is the most for me…”

He also says that the most responsible thing you can do….clothing wise….is to buy used clothing.

“OLDER FELLOW”? Hah….that older fellow is Yvon Chouinard….the owner of Patagonia clothing!!

He’s definitely one of my few “business heroes”….probably because he’s not the typical businessman.

(Great book…written by Yvon Chouinard….called “Let My People Go Surfing”…..)

Remember….this is a company that makes its money selling clothing.

This is a company that says, “buy this…it’s made to last…you might have it forever….and enjoy it while you have it…”

What kind of business model is that? How are you going to sell new stuff when the old stuff lasts and lasts?

We bought the little kids a big plastic pool yesterday at the “Liquidation Center”.

I’m not such a curmudgeon that I’d rail about the negative aspects of a big chunk of plastic that we filled with water so that they could swim around in it….while they were swimming around in the cool, clear water.

I’m not that big a jerk…I’m not that big a buzz kill.

But…..that’s a big chunk of plastic!

A big, cheap hunk of plastic….six feet around…..that, until it cracks and becomes useless….is going to be around here….filled with dirty water….grass clippings and plastic toys floating on the surface, sometimes….and probably, for most of the summer, screaming and laughing little kids.

That’s worth a lot…..laughing little kids.

That’s pretty priceless….but….that is a giant chunk of cheap plastic.

Cheap plastic should be illegal. It should be illegal to profit from something that’s so damaging to the environment.

I said the clothing was “expensive” earlier.

Maybe it is….at the beginning of its “use run”…..but when you have something that you enjoy for a long time, the money you spend is long forgotten….and all you’re left with is the enjoyment the product gives you….the pleasure of using something that just feels right every time you put it on.

I appreciate a company like Patagonia….one that’s willing and able to promote its clothing like this.

I appreciate a “dirtbag” like Yvon Chouinard….a climber caught up in something big (like a wildly successful clothing company) because he made the things that he needed himself….tough clothing that stood the test of time….clothing that could be used for years….and treasured for the memories it holds.

I still have my original tan pile jacket….and the kids have all worn the little blue fleece jacket that Jenny bought used when the older children were babies.

Good for you, Patagonia….and thankyou.


life wish

Dean Potter died the other day.

I suppose that some people would look at the type of activities he did and think that he had a death wish.

Watch that first video…he didn’t have a death wish.

Maybe what he had was a “life wish”….and death hung around in the background while he was doing some heavy living.

I guess that death is hanging around in the background for all of us, though.

Nothing too morbid about that, really.

It’s just the way things roll.

Lately, I feel like I cheated something when I can get out of the grocery store without some kind of meltdown.

And….that’s just me.

Forget the meltdowns that the babies might have.

I guess that we all have our ways of pushing limits.

No one would want to watch a video of me trying to calm the kids down in Walmart, though.

Dean Potter was a great athlete….out in the world….having fun …and pushing limits.

I don’t think I’ve heard yet what really happened on that base jumping trip.

I don’t know if anybody knows what happened yet.

Man….this dude “ate life”, didn’t he?