Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tuesday's destination. Foreground ridge left to right, then straight up that gorgeous sloping skyline to the summit.

I want them to hate me
I want them to hate me

I don't feel so far away from you lately
Love me on the sly

"Music meme," via Don English: Pick a "most important album of the year" to you for every year since your birth.

1970 Duke Ellington, New Orleans Suite
1971 Miles Davis, A Tribute to Jack Johnson
1972 Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man
1973 Neil Young, Time Fades Away
1974 Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic
1975 Bee Gees, Main Course
1976 Steely Dan, The Royal Scam
1977 Steely Dan, Aja
1978 Marvin Gaye, Here My Dear
1979 Talking Heads, Fear of Music
1980 Steely Dan, Gaucho
1981 Talking Heads, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
1982 Donald Fagen, The Nightfly
1983 R.E.M., Murmur
1984 Thomas Dolby, The Flat Earth
1985 Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
1986 Elvis Costello, Blood and Chocolate
1987 David Sylvian, Secrets of the Beehive
1988 Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
1989 The Blue Nile, Hats
1990 Pet Shop Boys, Behavior
1991 Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Weld
1992 Sugar, Copper Blue
1993 Built to Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994 Ginger Baker Trio, Going Back Home
1995 Miles Davis Quartet, Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel
1996 XTC, Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977-1992
1997 Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Year of the Horse
1998 R.E.M., Up
1999 MF DOOM, Operation Doomsday
2000 Steely Dan, Two Against Nature
2001 Destroyer, Streethawk: A Seduction
2002 The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
2003 Radiohead, Hail to the Thief
2004 Madvillain, Madvillainy
2005 Nine Horses, Snow Borne Sorrow
2006 Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, Knives Don't Have Your Back
2007 Miles Davis, Complete On The Corner Sessions
2008 Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple
Friday, July 11, 2008
GUY WE THREW OUT TWO YEARS AGO: I wonder if you can help me! I'm in a jam. I'm working tomorrow and I can leave my tools -- [HOLDS UP GREASY TOOLBELT] -- all I need is $6 and I'll pay you back tomorrow when I come collect the tools.

CJB: How are you going to get paid? I mean, if you go to work without your tools?

GWTOTYA: Ya don't get me guy. I'm leaving you my tools my FUCKING TOOLS.

CJB: Yup. Out.


CJB: Fuckin' tool!

City of Lost Gloves

nb. #37, 42, the latter found in Vancouver and looking pretty spectral, if I do say so.

Solitary Man

Neil Diamond cover by Jay and the Americans, 1971. Strings and horns arr. by Mssrs. Becker and Fagen. Special guest appearance by Mr. Bluto Blutarsky.

Also up right now, two favorites and three deep obscurities:

The Second Arrangement

Here at the Western World

There Goes My Baby (arr.)

I Got the Bear

I Mean to Shine (no kidding!)

Overheard on the express bus:

PLAYER #1: What about [GIRL'S NAME]?

PLAYER #2: Fuck [GIRL'S NAME]! I've got more pussy than a no-kill shelter!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Anodyne Inc.

Previously unaccounted-for dividends and distributions:

TerraVest Income Fund (TI.UN): 1109 units x .04167/unit = $92.42 (15 May, June)

Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 3601 units x .105/unit = $756.22 (15 May, June)

Hart Stores (HIS): 1769 shares x .10/share = $176.90 (10 July)

Loblaw Companies (L): 217 shares x .21/unit = $45.57 (2 July)

Norbord Inc. (NBD): 1820 shares x .10/share = $182.00 (21 June)

Cash balance, $2663.38

Still hanging on as the wings shake and the engines drop off and the nose gyrates wildly up and down. I had always hoped to experience an honest-to-God bear market, and I guess I'm getting my wish. The markets and I apparently don't agree about much at the moment, and disagreement with judgement (any judgement) takes patience and a certain measure of humility. LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO WORRY ABOUT THE MARKET, say the big Skytrain station ads touting index funds, or "index-protected notes" or such similarly silly products. STOP THE MARKET, I WANT TO GET OFF. Frowning -- "thoughtful"! -- middle-aged faces shot in extreme close-up: the H.R. manager, the liberal studies prof, the accounts receivable supervisor. Take my money, please, and my worries while you're at it. I just want something safe, that goes up and up and up. Not this.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stylin' up the ridgecrest. Photo: dru

The author soaks up some Vitamin D, while Team Cat plots escape. Photo: dru.

Getting Denis' truck unstuck. Photo: dru.

Mount Baker and the North Cascades.

CJB, happy. Photo: dru.

Team Cat. Left to right: Denis, Doug, dru, Scat, Rose T. Cat.

North Nesakwatch Spire, 2008

South Illusion Peak Death March and Gear Walk -- 7 July 2008
(trip report shamelessly cut-and-pasted from

[ members] Dblair, burndug and I seem to be in a race to thrash our way up some of the steepest trails in Southwest BC. Two weeks back, we had the implausible idea of climbing Pelion Mountain from Sigurd Creek in a single day, a trip which, even when shortened by relentless dive-bombing bugs, bear scat, and the realization that six hours of mountaineering on top of ten hours of relentless elevation gain, slide alder crossing, and deep, fast-flowing creek crossing makes for a less than awesome day. The Sigurd Creek Valley is full of enormous old growth mountain hemlocks, waterfalls, and, according to the nice First Nations lady who signed us in at the Ashlu IPP gatehouse, two grizzlies. It is one of the most amazing places I have visited in SWBC, but I was not really able to enjoy it at the time due to, a/ exhaustion, and, b/ hordes of mosquitoes, black flies, etc. etc., and, c/ totally trashed knee.

We took last week off to recover.

This week, we headed out to the Chilliwack Valley with Dru and Dblair's pickup truck in tow. Our destination was "the poor man's Yosemite" of the Illusion Group, a long granitic ridge just north of Mount Rexford on the divide between Nesakwatch Creek and Centre Creek. The Illusions see little traffic; the small cairns on their summits suggest they are climbed only once every few years.

The Nesakwatch Creek road is pretty heavily cross-ditched. Denis' truck was useful in getting us back to the Mount Rexford trailhead, about 5km. in from the Chilliwack Lake Road. In particular, there are several major washouts and one huge, tank-trap style waterbar to contend with.

The Rexford Trail makes the Lake Lovelywater Trail look like a walk around the Seawall. It begins up a spur road, then ascends steeply through a clearcut, which at 9am was dripping with dew. We all got wet. At the top of the cut block the trail traverses south into old growth, crosses a creek (mega-views of huge, implausibly steep overhanging granitic walls high above), and then ascends steeply up a ridge (windfall; blowdown; unrelenting elevation gain). Soon enough you emerge into a rocky basin below North Nesakwatch Spire. The trail works its way up alongside a huge granite wall on the north side of the basin. Still lots of hard snow here, which was not suitable for boots and poles. We made our way up through rocks and scrub, then boulder-hopped our way across the huge boulder field of the upper basin to arrive at a col between North Nesakwatch Spire and the unnamed 2010m. bump to its north. We left the trekking poles here.

We traversed the bump, then descended into the steep gap between the bump and South Illusion Peak. 3rd class, minor routefinding difficulty, some exposure, lots of loose rock and hungry krummholz, which ate Denis' ice axe and helmet right off his pack and didn't want to release them. The easiest route we found was to drop off the right hand (eastern) edge of the bump, and to then cut back west (left) heading down. Lots of exposure on both sides of this non-technical line!

From the col, South Illusion Peak is another half hour of 2nd class boulder hopping and snowfield traversing. There are two summits on the ridge. The south summit is higher, but we climbed them both just to make sure. The full scramble of the ridge is intensely scenic and not hard.

North Illusion Peak is separated from the South Peak by a steep nasty gap. A supposedly aesthetic mid 5th-class route involving some rappelling exists here, but by now there was no gas left in the tank and we had no desire to descend the Rexford Trail by moonlight. Back to the col, up to the bump, down the boulder field, down the trail, through the clearcut, home to Chilliwack. The Vault Pub was technically "open," windows blacked-out, due to some live musical event. Friendly Mike's Pub has cheap good grub but isn't.

Some random notes:

1. Ibuprofen worked really well on my trashed left knee, enabling it to bear weight throughout the day. "Sore but not painful."

2. Ropes and climbing gear are heavy. Carrying gear-filled packs up steep slopes builds good physical fitness for more demanding trips.

3. Trekking poles and hydration bladders look pretty silly, but work really well.

4. A helmet and an ice axe might not be a bad idea for this scramble.

5. No bugs!

A great day out with good friends.
Sunday, July 06, 2008

Team Cat and friends are up above the world. Back soon!

(Photo credit: tomorrow's objective, the Illusion Peaks -- first climbed by my artist friend and occasional hiking partner Arnold Shives in 1961 -- courtesy dru and John Scurlock's wee yellow plane)
"A Steely Dan concert is akin to witnessing the passage of a single multiplex vehicle the size of a motorcade or convoy, its various segments comprising limousines, ice-cream wagons, hearses, lunch-carts, ambulances, black marias, and motorcycle outriders, all of it Rolls-grade and lacquered like a tropical beetle. The horns glint, as it rolls majestically past, splendid, a thing of legend, and utterly peculiar unto itself."

Via YVR's other Obsessive Fan, one of my favorite writers.

From the Ottawa desk:

"Artists can be quirky people, but ahead of last night's Steely Dan show, the group's manager e-mailed [Ottawa] Bluesfest artistic director Mark Monahan to request a police escort for Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

'We've had all kinds of strange requests,' said Mr. Monahan, 'but this was a new one. They said it was never a problem in U.S. cities. I said it would probably be a problem here, but I'd ask.'

Becker and Fagen, the legendary creative core of Steely Dan, arrived by private jet from Montreal and apparently wanted the royal escort so they could avoid red lights and other inconveniences of modern day motoring -- though on a Saturday afternoon in Ottawa, those inconveniences would be minimal.

Mr. Monahan contacted the Ottawa police who even for a fee turned down the request as 'an inappropriate use of police time.' Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen, who asked for separate SUVs to carry them from the airport, settled for a Bluesfest van to guide them into the downtown."

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