Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Backpacking with my son...

This Friday we're off to Southern MO for a couple days. It will be his first overnight backpacking trip and he's very excited about it. Today his mom is taking him out to buy some hiking boots and tonight and tomorrow night I will be doing an equipment check and shopping run for whatever we are lacking. This will be a fairly easy trip since he's only 8 and I don't quite know what he can handle in terms of mileage and difficulty. We're going to do a 15 mile there and back (7.5 miles one way). Here is a map I made using Google maps terrain feature and Paint Shop Pro. The red line is our trail... from the trail head parking lot to Rocky Falls where we'll camp Friday night, then return on Saturday.

Stegal Mountain has some very nice views of the surrounding landscape. About 15 years ago I took a trip where we actually camped at the top of Stegal and were rewarded by waking up to a phenomenal sunrise... the only catch is that there is no water at the top and we ended up running out of cooking water for breakfast and spent a thirsty morning going down to the nearest creek. Stegal is a decent hike up from either direction (the western summit is 480' above Kelly Hollow), but oddly enough, for me the toughest portion of the trip (I've been on this trail a few times) is going up the road from Roger's Creek to the parking lot at the trail head. You can see from the topo lines that it is more than 120' up and since it is a dirt road there are no switchbacks... just a very... very... steep hill. Of course the reward for climbing the hill is the car which makes it all worth it.

I am planning on taking the camera so hopefully I will be able to post some pics next week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So I've started a diet...

I am calling it an exercise promotional/motivational ploy to get my ass on the bike. I have been thinking about trying a diet along with exercising but the only diet I've done in recent years that worked was Atkins which really is not a good diet to coincide with strenuous exercise as it saps your energy badly... and really I have always acknowledged that exercise is much more beneficial than reducing caloric intake. So this diet is almost more to motivate me to exercise than it is to lose weight (just by dieting). The idea is that on days I do not ride my bike, I will limit myself to 1,000 calories... this will be in the form of 2 slim fast shakes and then <640 calories for dinner. I am on day two of the slim fast and right now I can tell you that I WILL be riding tomorrow even if there is an ice storm followed by a tornado. It isn't even that I am necessarily hungry right at the moment... I had a shake 3 hours ago and I will take one for lunch around 12:30... but it is the idea that I have placed limits on myself. It is totally my old nature that is causing me discomfort. If I could go eat whatever I wanted to right now I most likely wouldn't even be thinking about it... but since I cannot, I am.

Tomorrow though will be nice... actual food for lunch and I don't have to count how many Doritos I eat. I am arbitrarily dooming myself to this diet until the end of June... the tricky part will be to make sure I can ride my bike anytime we are doing something where I really can't effectively count calories... i.e. church potluck, or when I have the guys over for a movie and beer/food or when I go on a date with my wife. This Friday I'll have to ride rain or shine... fortunately it looks like even if it does rain, the weather is finally going to be within the normal Spring temperature range.

Actually I really like the idea behind it... I can eat whatever I want as long as I earn it by riding, and earn it I shall.

Monday, April 6, 2009

His name... is Crentist.

So I went to a new dentist this morning... by the way Monday mornings are quite bad enough without scheduling a dentist appointment at the front of them. I will have to speak with my secretary about that. ANYWAY as I was saying, I went to a new dentist. His name was actually not Crentist but as that is a reference to one of my favorite The Office episodes ('The Coup' if anyone is curious) I couldn't resist the post title. It was a nice office in the Transamerica building downtown on 11th and Main. Upon arrival I sat down in the waiting room and filled out all the new patient stuff that new patients are required to sit down in the waiting room and fill out upon arrival and then was led back to the 'chair'. The first weird thing was that I was looking out a large window at the side of another office building with several large windows... any one of which could have contained some sick voyeuristic sadist who enjoyed watching people in the Dentist chair. This thought in fact provided some mental distraction, albeit oddly uncomfortable distraction, from the inherent unpleasantness of having to sit in a Dental chair for any length of time. It has been a few years since I went to the Dentist but I am I think at least above average in terms of brushing and flossing consistency, at least according to the statistics I assume exist which show me to be just slightly above average in said terms. I don't have the time or inclination to fact check the statistics I have already assumed but they are probably about right. Anyway the nice young lady who scraped my teeth clean didn't seem too put out by the duration of the task. I often wonder if dental hygienists ever pretend they are paleontologists out in the middle of Montana on a dig and they are carefully scraping rock away from the fossil remains of some prehistoric beast from Earth's past. I bet some do... more likely the ones who dislike their jobs and need a good escape. Of course that fantasy is somewhat self limiting in terms of replayability. Maybe the dinosaur species could change from patient to patient...

I'm sorry I keep getting side tracked. What I really wanted to comment on was the fact that this Dentist office was really picture happy. We are talking about a severe photographic fetish (would that be called a homophonic alliteration?) Let's catalog the image reproduction that occurred between my arrival and my departure:

1. Four sets of bitewing teeth X-Rays (the ones where they stick 6" square pieces of cardboard in your mouth and then tell you to bite it.)

2. A full head X-Ray (This is where you stand still as a device circles your head and irradiates you from 360 degrees.)

[X-rays finished, now she pulls out a big digital camera]

3. Smile... head shot.

4. Big cheesy smile... extreme closeup.

5. Stick these plastic forms into your mouth which connect to your cheeks to spread everything out and then smile... this was the 'make your mouth look like a zombie skeleton' pic... we got this one from 4 angles.

6. Now stick this 3" mirror into your mouth and down your throat until just before you puke... Oh still with the plastic forms spreading everything. This one we got from the top and bottom angle and had a mid-photo-shoot break to wipe drool from the mirror.

At that point I was afraid they were going to ask me to try on different outfits and stand in front of various backdrops. Seriously what the hell was that all about?? I've honestly never had a dentist do more than the bitewing X-Rays before. Now I feel you've read enough to sufficiently empathize with my Monday morning. My only consolation was that I picked up a new bag of Ethiopian Sidamo from the local Kolsto coffee roastery which I shall get to enjoy tomorrow morning. Good day!