Sespe Hot Springs Hike Sespe Wilderness, Calif. October 2011
"Remember the days when an adventure almost always entailed biting off more then you could chew? Time to get back in the habit. Time for an adventure. Time to stretch tired legs and a tireder soul. Time to make new stories, sing new songs, and spin new yarns. Its time for a long over due walk in the woods. See yah when the whiskey's gone or the legs are happy, whichever comes first."
That was what I was thinking when I first set out. I should have bit my tongue, knocked on wood, etc. etc. etc. If an adventure doesn't start until everything goes wrong, this was one heck of an adventure cause everything went wrong. The map was wrong, the temps reached well over 100 degrees by 9am, I had 7 blisters after the first 2 miles, the poor dog over heated, food spoiled, water dried up, a 35 mile 3 day leisurely walk turned into a 2 day slog thanks to the dog eating a skunk our 2nd night, I could go on and on but I digress.
Im glad we went out, I'm even glader we are back home sitting on the couch with a cold one.
New Doc Project Day 2 Ventuckey, Calif. Summer/ Fall 2011
Cool thing #107 about being unemployed continued...
After successfully testing the furnace and smelting process it was time to sand cast the very first prototype. This is to be the fist cast in a very long process of casts in order to complete the final test piece. Because of the intricacy of the final device, the limited tools available, and the quirks of sand casting it is altogether impossible to fashion a model of the final device and use that model to cast the prototype. Instead the model of the prototype must be built up layer by layer by melting and casting aluminum over and over again.
This first cast will start to simply give a basic shape to the device. Once cast it will be drilled and sanded down to a finished shape. Then that shape will be built up in essential areas in order to serve as the model for the next cast. Future casts will build on this shape, each following cast adding a bit more to the original shape. Eventually after a series of upwards of a dozen casts the hope is to have a finished model with which to cast the actual prototype. It is thankless work but you got to start somewhere.
The Matilija Damn has been a sore source of contention since I first came to California 7 years ago. The damn was built in 1947 for flood control and water storage. Critics claim the damn construction was flawed and unnecessary from the very beginning. The damn destroyed what was once a flourishing steelhead trout area. It blocks the flow of silt downstream, effectively limiting local beaches much needed material to replenish themselves after winter storms. Today the old damn is crumbling under an estimated six million cubic yards of built up silt and sediment deposited along its length. The last decade or so a group of environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, fisherman, and surfers have been working towards its destruction. With costs to tear down the damn estimated at over $140 million smackers and the fact that the damn straddles a fault line, it is unlikely it will be torn down any time soon.
As a not so silent protest, anonymous activists rappelled down the face of the damn in the dark of night to leave a cutting statement. Weeks later still no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the brilliant graffiti. Soon after the mysterious shears appeared the local media was abuzz. The graffiti was featured on the front page of the local newspaper and even got its own write up in the LA Times. With all the commotion, Tess and I decided to head out and take a walk to see what all the fuss was about.
New Doc Project Day 1 Ventuckey, Calif. Summer/ Fall 2011
Cool thing #107 about being unemployed; having the free time to develop personal projects. Its been way too long since I have been able to develop a long term personal project. In fact while working for the man that was my biggest complaint. I spent so much time chained up in the office I never had the time to work on any of my own ideas. I get laid off and voila, free time galore!
Just a few miles from Patagonia's Old Iron Works headquarters another climbing visionary Jacob Tester is working on a revolutionary new climbing device. Like Chouinard out in the now famous woodshed, Tester spends hours working and reworking aluminum casts to get the perfect lines for his idea. Smoke pours from his backyard when he is working. The air is full of buzzing saws and ringing hammers. The smell of charcoal and burnt metal greats each curious visitor.
I cant say too much without giving it all away though suffice to say if successful this new device could easily change the climbing community for the better. Tester has spent close to 10 years developing his idea to get to this point. Now it is time to actually build the prototype and test out his design theories.
The first step Tester combed through local thrift stores to find the necessary elements to build a back yard furnace. For about $20 he was able to find the necessary parts to piece together the furnace with which to melt aluminum. The first day we met up he was putting the final touches on the furnace. When everything was ready he lit it up and attempted to melt test ingots. These test ingots are made of scrap aluminum. the firing process will burn off much of the impurities and collected dirt of the low grade aluminum. Later these ingots will be re-melted and used to cast the first prototype.
Though I can't show the entire development process until after the prototype has been fully developed, tested, and patented I will try to post a few shots here and there outlining Tester's progress.
Cool thing #13 about being unemployed; relaxing in the back yard on a sunshinny beautiful SoCal day, beer in one hand camera in the other, and watching random fly-bys of vintage airplanes performing down the road at the air show. Who doesn't like air shows? Granted being unemployed I do have to temper my activities. Actually going down and watching from the runway is an extravagance not in the budget. Chillaxing in the back yard though under the palm trees to enjoy the show isn't that bad of an alternative.
Saints Preseason Training Camp Oxnard, Calif. Aug. 24th, 2011
Cool thing #9 about being unemployed; playing hookey to watch the NFL's 2010 Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints practice in sunny Oxnard, California. Are you ready for some football? Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Jonathan Vilma, Mark Ingram, Tracy Porter-- enough said.