Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poetry and Punting...

It's raining; time to update the blog! Sadly, no pictures. One day I will get on the photography train and will make my blog shine with photography. Until that day I will strive to illuminate my blog with figurative language... ha.

Speaking of figurative language, today's poem of the day on poetryfoundation.org is worth me rambling about it and you reading. Go, leave this disorganized post and read it: "How To Be a Poet" by Wendell Berry. Now turn off your computer and take the screens out of your windows. Later come back when you remember it is raining and you are cold.

Now that you are back, hopefully with warm cup of tea, I can keep going. I don't write poetry often or do anything in particular with the poetry I write, except occasionally turn it in for a school assignment. But every time I struggle to write a few lines of verse I always enjoy the experience. Generally it takes me several hours and each word is chosen with the precision that might accompany an open heart surgery conducted on a roller coaster. But when I stop writing I am both exhausted and invigorated. For the next two days I have a triumphant belief in the power and language. It is basically like sending a climbing project without the loss of skin and desire to spray to friends...

Ah, now on to the good stuff (talk about a transition!). Rock climbing! This past weekend Cam and I went to Blowing Rock Boulders for the second time. On our first trip we only climbed on three boulders the Mushroom Boulder, the Smart Tom Boulder, and the boulder with Colt 45 on it. This trip I was psyched to get back on Colt 45 because I had done all of the moves on my first trip but had been unable to link the moves. Sadly, Colt 45 was wet. So, like all good boulderers I gave it a few goes before I finally accepted that you probably can't send a problem when it is dripping on you unless you are Daniel Woods. From Colt 45, Cam and I headed down to the 45 Wall at the suggestion of Tilley and Leif who we ran into at Colt 45.

The 45 Wall might be in the running for my new favorite boulder. We made quick work of the classic Center 45 and then moved on to some of the other rad routes on the boulder. I spend a good bit of the day working on Left to Center 45. I was psyched to make the powerful first move in an early attempt and then put together a tick-tacky foot sequence to get my feet to the starting foot of Center 45. From this point it was just a matter of making all the moves happen in one go... easier said than done. After several tragically strong attempts where I fell off as I went to match the second hold, I decided to be responsible and stop a problem that I could imagine re-aggravating my shoulder injury.

From there it was on to Stonehouse and Left 45. Cam sent them both quickly and moved on to the sickness that is Flagyl. After a bit of flailing I managed to finish Stonehouse, then move on to Left 45. The bottom section went fairly smoothly. I love me some crimps! Then I got to the top out...

Sunday I learned the meaning of the word punt. I have been annoyed this word for a long time. Sure it just means to chuck off the top of a boulder in an embarrassing manner, but it is such an ugly word and it sounds so much like that c-word many people abhor. All that said, the word punt has slowly grown on me. Another local blogger regularly posts "Punts of the Week" and I often enjoy these posts that feature folks I know chucking off of problems all Southerners know and love. But long story short, what I did at the top of Left 45 was punt. I had my right foot up like I was supposed to, I was pressing with my left hand like I thought I should, and I had a relatively decent right finger lock, but I couldn't move anywhere. I stayed in this position for what felt like forever encouraged by wonderful spotters, but was to no avail. I came down... and my next four goes, just the same. Hopefully, I'll send next time when I am less tired and more awesome.

By this point I was exhausted, but Cam wanted to go to one more boulder. We went to the Maddox boulder. Pretty rad! Cam quickly dispatched the traverse and I quickly realized I was to tired to use small greasy footholds.

Two word summary: Great Day! Met a ton of nice Boone climbers, sent some new problems, and got psyched on some new projects.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Fresh Face: Chaotic Ramblings About the Blog Facelift

So the old and unloved blog has gotten an update. I changed the layout a bit, I changed the font, and I changed the blog name. Truly, Railroad Safety made no sense. I had wanted to change the blog name for a while, but I couldn't think of anything better to change it to. Thankfully, the kindness of the universe rained ideas down upon me.

While wasting time on the internet last week when I was out of town, I stumbled across this gem of a blog post: Blochead and was smitten. I was entertained for an entire afternoon by the wit of "Dr. Sandbag or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grade." Honestly it's awesome right? ...well of course! I promptly posted the link on ye ol' Spacebooks so everyone could understand what sort of things in this world I find amazing.

Several days later when I returned home, my life got even better than I could have ever imagined! My terrific housemates had covered our refrigerator whiteboard with even more climbing-adapted movie titles. Many which rivaled the awesomeness of "Dr. Sandbag..."

I now give you the entertainment that you came here for:

-Eternal Send of the Spotless Climb
-The Beaner Identity (Supremacy and Ultimatum)
-Dances With Boulders
-Nightmare on Pumped Street
-I Know what you Climbed Last Summer
-The Quantum of Solos
-When Pumpy met Slopy
-The Good, the bad, and the Crimpy
-The Land Before Climb
-5.10 to Yuma
-Passion of the Crux (a personal favorite!)
-The Wizard of Choss
-Passenger 5.7
....and last but not least the new blog title: No Country for Weak Sends.

I figured "No Country..." would be a good blog title because I think it is hilariously clever, and because Cormac McCarthy holds a special place in my heart/brain after I had to read all of his novels in a McCarthy seminar.

Let's see... other changes of note and the glorious (perhaps boring is a better word choice?) stories behind them. Chelsea recently got a blog cleverly named "Crushcakes" as it will be a tasteful blend of a climbing blog and a cupcake blog. She and I were talking about her blog at Climbmax's Women's Night; I complained that the font was too hard to read and she told me she thought the font was awesome... I told her simple fonts were the only way to go. Then, less than 24 hours later I go to updating my blog and see this nifty little font that I just can't pass up. Ultimately, I have no good reason, or excuse for going back on my declaration about fonts, but I am blaming it on Chelsea.

Well that is a wrap for now... perhaps a more introspective post later on the end of the Rumbling Bald season, hopefully moving to Boone, and the results of some soul searching. Or perhaps just a post with some pretty pictures...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Slice of Chicanery

Although unemployed, I still fail to blog consistently....

However, I have started baking bread. And that is an event that warrants a blog post.
a delicious success.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 3-Star Project and How not to Behave While Injured

I always read things about climbers starting blogs or taking on other worthy projects while injured. I however hurt my shoulder a while back and fell off the blogging wagon.

Side note: I was also busy finishing my undergraduate thesis and graduating from college. I wish I could use that as my excuse for not blogging. But deep down I know that I was much to busy complaining about my shoulder to get anything typed other than my thesis.

First off, let me make it clear I am bad at being injured. For the first two weeks (with zero climbing!) I complained constantly. I am really not sure how I did not get hit in the face by a close friend at some point during this rocky period… luckily I survived with out any whompings from friends. Then for the next two weeks, while complaining for only about 50% of my waking hours, I proceeded to try to climb like I didn’t hurt anymore, like it had never happened. That didn’t work. I spent most of my gym session whining about my inability and lack of confidence when making big moves with my right arm. During this point, someone really should have stepped up and whacked me, but all of my friends were still too nice.

At this point, something amazing happened, Cameron suggested that I take part in his 3-Star Project at Rumbling Bald. The 3-Star Project is Cam’s goal to climb all of the three-star boulder problems in the Chris Dorrity guide. The 3-star list includes about 100 boulder problems ranging from v0 to v11. It does not include any problems established after the guide was published, regardless of how many stars they deserve. To make the 3-star project even more exciting, Cam decided he wanted to repeat all of the three-star boulder problems he had previously sent before checking them off.

For my 3-Star Project I am trying to climb all of the 3-star problems v0 to v6 (I thought about capping it at v5, but why limit myself). Addtionally, I do have a few higher v-grade goals for the season! Cam thought this goal would help me enjoy my time in the boulderfield more while I was still recovering and not up for climbing at my limit. It turns out this was a great idea.

After Cam made the requite Excel spreadsheets with a checkbox for each problem, we folded the sheets into my guidebook and headed to the Bald. I decided to include everything I have already sent this fall and winter, because I can’t resend Kung-Fu Grip for the life of me… obviously I need the early September friction back… or something.

With little more than a pad, a pair of Solutions, and a spreadsheet Cam was out of the gates and running. He started off the 3-star project by sending Clearwater, and repeating Brackish Water on his first day at the Bald after conceiving the project. I started off a bit slower, but did manage to send Brackish One the same day. Why I chose to even try a problem that starts with a right arm campus move with a hurt right shoulder I will never know…

In the Rumbling Bald trips since, Cam and I decided to visit a few areas of the Bald I had never been to. Our trip excursion was to the Far East. After a quick stop in the Middle East for Cam to either send or resend (I can’t remember) Grease Pit, we headed past the Fire and Ice Boulder to find Rift. Grease Pit is also on my list, but I was (and am) still working back to being confident on big moves like that.

Rift is a great v4. With the crux move just below the top-out it was just what I needed after two weeks without climbing. After getting angry that a v4 was going to take me more than just a few tries, I said a few words I wouldn’t say in front of my grandmother and managed to finish the problem. While at Rift, we climbed its neighbor White Rama, one of the Bald’s two 3-star v0 problems. It felt mighty hard for a v0, but what do I know…

We left Rift and walked over to check out White Ocean, a 3-star v5 face climb. The guide barely mentions the small details that the boulder is huge, White Ocean goes up the tallest part, and the hard move looks to be at the top! A worthy endeavor, but not for that day. Instead we went and climbed Forbidden City a v2 version of Dime Crack. This description has become way too detailed for anyone to care… so I’ll skip to my 3-star highlights in bullet form:

-Everyone should climb Clumsy Waiter, an awesome and forgotten highball v4 in the cluster area.

- The Egg is a damn hard v4 for me! I can only do the first move with an extra thin pad… nevertheless still awesome.

-The 3-star project involves some highballing! Super psyched to hopefully send DRTR soon.

-I got a Metolius Colossus for graduation. Although I am not used to carrying a huge pad, I am already used to landing on its rad 24 square feet of coverage!

-My New Year’s Resolution is to be a more positive, less competitive climber/person.

-And I am heading to Rocktown in a few days! Super pysched!

Also! If you think the 3-Star Project is as cool as I do, I just might be able to get you your own, limited-edition, 3-Star Project Spread Sheet! But supplies are running out fast!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I can't stop baking and cooking things. It is starting to get out of hand. This obsession started ages ago when I first started reading food blogs even though I know nothing about cooking. Finally, I have gained the courage/stopped being lazy and started making things that I think sound good.
Coffee cup for scale.. I guess

Most recently I decided that I wanted to make some kind of crackers, and had remembered seeing a really simple cheese cracker recipe on thekitchn.com not too long ago. I tracked the recipe down and managed to make a batch of these puppies with my really (really) sub-par food processor. I followed the recipe pretty much as is, no significant changes. However, I did run out of time to bake them the day I made the dough. Then was super busy for the next 3 days. The dough ended up chilling for 3 days in the fridge before I finally had time to roll them out, cut them up, and bake them. Luckily, their lengthy chill didn't effect them. They tasted great. I baked them Thursday evening and the photo above shows all that is left.

Earlier this week I also decided I wanted to make some fancy, but easy, snack to take to women's night at Climbmax. I chose an great recipe from Dorie Greenspan's blog for mustard batons. They were so delicious I didn't get a picture of them. So here is the picture from Dorie Greenspan's site:
photo from Dorie Greenspan
I did make a small change to the recipe. Greenspan calls for an eggwash on the top of the pastry to give it a nice shine and to make the sesame or poppy seeds stick. But Cameron is allergic to eggs, so I didn't want to use them. Instead, I brushed the tops of the pastry with butter. It didn't give the batons a nice sheen, but the seeds stuck and the top was nice and brown. 

This was a super easy recipe, since it uses frozen puff pastry and like 2 other ingredients. However, it has inspired me! Inspired me to learn how to make real puff pastry, that is... should be awesome!

In other food related news, I recently acquired a crock-pot. I have been slow cooking up a storm... a very slow storm... yikes, cheesy. But really, I made my first pot roast and pork with cabbage and apples. Tonight there is a split pea soup in the crock-pot.... and it smells so good!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Banana Bread Cookies and Hott Traxx (aka songs you should hear)

So I am not very good at this remembering to blog thing...

I made some tasty (and super simple) vegan banana peanut butter cookies last week that I fully intended to blog about, but then they all got eaten before photos were taken. However, they are good enough to mention now sans-photo.

These cookies started out with my intention to make flourless peanut butter cookies for my gluten-free housemate, but then when he told me he doesn't like peanut butter cookies I changed my plans to make cookies for my egg-allergic boyfriend (since the flour-less PB cookie recipes I found all had eggs).

Another limiting factor I had for these cookies was my desire to not go to the grocery store for any supplies.  Because of some rogue frozen banana puree in the freezer, these cookies landed in the hot spot.

The result was certainly easy and tasty. However, they taste more like mini quick-bread chunks than cookies. In other words if you like banana bread, you'll probably like these. If I was going to make them again, and was feeling decadent, I would probably heed the recipes suggestion and add some chocolate chunks.

Long story short, if you have everything for these cookies in your kitchen they are worth whipping up:

1/2 cup chunky natural PB
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium sized banana)
1 1/2  cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 pinches of salt

-combine PB and sugars, then add banana

-in separate bowl combine other ingredients, then add these ingredients to wet mix

-put dough/batter on cookie sheet in heaping tablespoons

-then bake at 375 (or 350 because I never really know how hot my oven is) for 10 minutes or until it looks like the bottoms are browning, not a moment longer!

Adapted out of laziness from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen (even though they are totally/deliciously not fat free)

In other news:

My current single-song musical obsession "Freak Out" from Tapes 'n Tapes. Get It Now! Its free (and legal) and awesome.

My last month single-song musical obsession: "Figure 8" from Lovers... also legal, free, and guaranteed to knock your socks off!

These bands also make great music that they aren't giving it away for free... check that out too!

Oh, and one more delicious morsel for your ears! El Ten Eleven's "Anxiety is Cheap." Sadly, just YouTube not a free version, but seriously its awesome. And if anyone with filming skills wants to record me sending my awesome new (yet to be determined project), this is my first choice for the music!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

‘Tis the Season… (aka Bragging and Planning)

…for southeastern bouldering!

I’ve often called bouldering the art of frustration. Takes a lot of work and a lot of failed tries for me to send a new problem, especially when it is at a new grade or a grade I am just breaking into. All boulderers have their own reason why they put up with the struggle. For me, I put up with it because of how awesome it is to stick a new move, to link a new sequence, and of course to send. (And other reasons not enumerated here). But I also have another (no so) secret reason… it is the hope, the hope that one day I won’t have a mediocre or good session, that one day I will have a veritable crushfest. I also hope that I am not the only climber that holds this ridiculous dream. But long story short: yesterday, for the first time in my bouldering career, I had one of those days. It was great to see how much I have progressed from the last time I bouldered at Rumbling Bald.