Friday, May 30, 2008

Department of Commerce: NIST

So I recently started working for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST in Boulder, CO. It is a nice facility, right at the base of the flatirons, and an easy 2 mile bike ride from my house. In fact, I haven't driven here once. I figure that if I work at this location for a year, and ride my bike every day (or take the bus when it is snowing) then I can save $1800 in gas money simply by riding my bike. Thats a lot of money. Anyway, work is fun, and the best part is that I get to do multiple different tasks all day, and most of the time it is something different. That really keeps things interesting. Without change I get bored relatively quickly. I'm also going to be making enough money to continue skydiving throughout the next year, which is a definite benefit. I can't wait to jump again this weekend.

I guess the funny thing about NIST is that there really isn't any standardization whatsoever, despite the confidence building name. Yeah they do their part to control the clock with the atomic timekeeper they have here, and they are finding new ways to define the Boltzmann constant, but still, I had to use a typewriter today to fix a form that had to get scanned in and emailed... There's a serious clash of non-standardized technology right there. Oh well, at least I'm having a good time so far.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Slackline till you Flatline

So last week Andy flew in to Colorado here, and we slacklined really really hard for the better part of 7 days straight. I never knew so much slacklining was possible, but here is a glimpse into the fun that was had.

Andy showed up and we slacked for an afternoon, breaking some rules and throwing down some sick tricks and phat beats on the lines and guitars. I really love CU's campus because of the beautiful trees and great views. We had a fun time slacking and dealing with people trying to tell us why using the do not walk on the grass sign for tree protection was ironic. Whatever. We were slacking so much that we were rarely on the grass.

We headed to Moab the next morning and chilled with Terry, playing in his backyard. If anyone is ever headed through Fruita, CO totally stop by and say hi to Terry. He's the humble owner of the coolest backyard in the planet! With a 55' highline, a 105' highline under construction, a 100' chain, a 190' line that has to weigh at least 10lbs/ft and various other lowlines which fell victim to my slackline-breaking curse, this place kicks ass. We chilled here for the night after getting our slackline fill, then headed to Gemini Bridges in Moab the next morning.

At Gemini, we set up the Birthday Gap and fooled around for a while. At only 30' long, it is a relative easy line, and an extremely fun one! Complete with lots of intentional leash falls, backflips, tricky tricks, and the now-infamous naked freesolo, the day was filled with fun. Maybe I'll get to the level of freesolo one day, but I still have a ways to go. Mad props to Andy.

The next day we walked the B-day gap again, then set up the Dog Hole. Terry and Greg came out and met up with us and walked for a while. The Dog Hole is such a classic line, but the spectators are a little ridiculous. They were all so incredulous that we were about to walk the line that they didn't believe us until we got out and walked it. Andy got $10 from one dude on a bet. It was a fun day. We de-rigged and cruised out to the fruit bowl.

The next morning, we got up and walked the fruit bowl lines, crushed those but the more we walked the more we became quickly exhausted. Andy even free soloed the 55' Chickita line (increasing his height record 8fold over 2 days).. Walking highline after highline after highline, we got really close to just dropping dead. It would be a great way to die though, slackline till you flatline. I'd be happy with my life if I slacklined to death. Anyway, Greg finally crushed the Chickita line after almost making it 2 months ago. We were all really stoked for him.

We cruised back to Terry's place and walked his lines some more. Greg full manned the backyard line. Terry's line is really really beginner friendly and comes highly recommended. After Greg finally full-manned the line, we got to mess around for a while.

I got the chance to try juggling on the highline, and after that went down, Terry thought it would be a great idea to throw the balls at mine to see if he could get me to fall. Needless to say, I wasn't phased, and even pulled off the double back flip with the two birds attached to my fingers.

After that, we cruised back home and then slacked for another few days. I don't know about Andy, but this trip just about killed me, but in doing so, made me an incredibly better highliner. Can't wait for the next trip to Moab!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fun Jumps with the new license

I finally got my next skydiving certification, the A license. I can now jump whenever I want, with whoever I want, wherever I want. So much freedom! My rig flies beautifully, and I am becomming increasingly proficient at packing it. Here are some pictures of me jumping!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Moving in

Cacophonous creaks and groans as window panes, glazed
over from sunny respite, shake with the nodes of vibration
from the bus station in my front yard. 5:00am and the sun
rises over the only tree I can see and with a smile I roll over
and seek solace in the dark comfort of my lofty bed.

Floor squeaks and moans as calloused feet pass sweet
to the porcelain crow-footed tub that wouldn't even fit in the door
so they brought it in through the wall. Hot and cold knobs,
shoulders throbbing with anticipation of the emancipation
from my sore tendon fetters.

In the closet is a kitchen, petit and powerful. Four burners of
natural production creating meals for kings and bourgeious.
Water damage and decorations that would make M Stewart cringe.
And in this binge of simplification and eradication the only thing that
separates me from direct reality is the conscious effort to rise
from the comfort of my bed and leave this simple place and walk into
this complicated world.

Beep, beep. Alarms mean nothing when deep slumber inundate all

rational feeling. But I rise and go about my new, exciting life.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Slacker's Revenge

Friday Mary, Josh and I met up at The Spot to do a slackline demo for the Climbing Wall Association annual conference. It was really fun. We got to showcase our skills and tricks, and got some free stuff. I talked with Dan, the owner of The Spot, and we might start giving slackline classes/lessons if there is enough interest. Anyway, we met up with Damian Cooksey while we were there, and then rigged some lines with him today.

Last July Damian broke the world record for the longest slackline for the second time. He walked a 506' line in the pouring rain over in Europe somewhere. Pretty damn impressive. We were able to rig the 210' line without any of the anchors breaking (see previous posts) and got on it this afternoon. Damian cruised it without any trouble, did a bunch of tricks, etc. I had a lot of trouble on it but managed to get halfway. It has been a while since I've tried a long line!

We also rigged a short line with Damian's type A webbing from in Germany. It is really strong and really springy, but with a low stretch percentage. It was fun to jump around on, and everyone worked on the flips. It was really fortunate that we got to meet up with Damian. It isn't every day that you get to hang out with one of the best slackers in the world. Now it's on to finishing finals, and moving into my new place next weekend. I'm looking forward to practicing the longer lines again, and getting ready for the lost arrow spire. Still a lot of training to be done! I'm positive it will be amazing no matter what happens though.