After a week in the office at the new job, I definitely see why my brother is so attracted to this company. The office isn’t anything spectacular. It’s a little two room suite on the far end of the RPI campus. It’s a very academic type of office. Random switches, routers, phone testers, cables, and etc are strewn about the office. I have a nice big desk a few feet away from my brother. I can quickly roll over to his desk to ask him a question, or help him out with something.
During the day, the Mogul is on the phone almost non stop. It’s hard to imagine he gets any work done. But being on the phone is work that’s part of the job. He is talking with the sales VP, he’s talking with potential customers, and he’s talking with his lawyers and accountants to deal with the day to day business operations. Me and my brother get to reel it all in. It’s like being in Business Entrepreneur 101 for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
On Friday he made a deal with a phone reselling company. Currently they deal with the big players, but they are very interested in our product. The deal is for setting up 20 new systems for the company itself and a continued strategic partnership for resale. That’s a lot of dough. More deals are in the works as well. We are building a demo for a company in Saudi Arabia. The demo is due in 10 days, although based on the Mogul’s phone calls I’ve been hearing, it seems they were wanting to buy even before making plans for the demo.
And now for something completely different…
Between the job, the RPI outing club, the RPI juggling club, the RPI entrepreneur club, the RPI bouldering gym, the regular rock gym, and random other bits of things, I’ll hardly be home. It’s all worth it though. That’s what good old Crutch did (a guy from the AT). He slaved away at his microbrewery for a couple of solid years of his life, sold the business, and now has the freedom he wanted. Although I’m not particularly slaving away. This is the first job (other than me and my brother’s business) that completely envelops me. I’ve been getting pretty tired from work. My brother says that goes away after a while, he got it too. I get in, and start coding. Eat some tasty snacks throughout the day (apples, grapes, and some oatmeal bars). Work some more. Get some lunch, and then work some more. After I get home, one of the first things I find myself thinking about is what I’m going to be working on the next day.
My old job was all about taking things leisurely. Who cared if you were overdue or over budget, you get complained to no matter what, so what’s the rush? It’s the type of job my dad always recommends. Something you can just disconnect yourself from when you get home. But that sort of job isn’t going to forward your career. Even though I work non-stop, it’s great work. I’ve learned so many new things in the past week it’s nuts. I’ve used things I’ve never used before, and I’m learning them quickly. It’s what I do best. I even tend to plug away at some pending projects when I’m home.
My brother’s friend invited us to join her to the “Empty Bowls” gathering in Troy. It’s a fund raiser community event raising money to feed the less fortunate. They get together a bunch of local pottery specialists and they make bowls. You pay 10 bucks at the door, pick your favorite looking hand made bowl, and then go to any of the 20 someodd tables to get 20 someodd different types of soup, for all you can eat. I tried Grilled Veggie Soup, Italian Wedding Soup, Tomato Spinach, and I can’t remember the names of the others. The veggie soup was awesome, by far my favorite. It was a little spicy, but it had just the right amount of spice. It wasn’t fiery hot and it didn’t overpower the other flavors. I tried one soup that was insanely hot spicy. My eyes watered and I was coughing for quite a bit afterwards. I washed it down with my brother’s favorite soup, Chicken Pozole.
I hope I remember the Empty Bowls for next year.
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We finished packing on Thursday and loaded up three nice wheely duffel thingees with camping and climbing gear. Me and my brother also had a backpack each, and I also brought my camera (pictures coming soon).
We woke up at 4am, loaded up the car, ate breakfast, took one minute showers, and were off… almost… where did the itinerary go? And where are the directions to the airport that I printed out last night. Err, we should have woke up earlier, it’s now 4:30 and we have to catch a 5:50 flight. I ran down to my computer and reprinted the directions and itinerary. As I run back upstairs, my brother hands me the printouts from the night before that he found lounging around on the couch (how did they wind up there? I don’t remember putting them there). So now we’re off!
My mom was driving us since my dad would have to have woke up at 2am and had his dozen cups of coffee before he would be functional enough to drive. She likes to drive exactly the speed limit even when everyone else is going 10mph faster and passing her on a two lane road. Why not save a few minutes?
Baggage check and security took all of 20 minutes and we arrived at the gate with plenty of time to spare.
After takeoff we got to watch the sunset and I tried to read a bit. I wound up napping after a few pages and we touched down in Atlanta for our three hour layover. I sent John a quick text message about our arrival. Seconds later my phone rings, John asks which airport in Atlanta are we at? I said “I dunno, the Atlanta one? I think there’s only one.” He said he just got into Atlanta too and asked for our gate number and stopped by. Originally he told me that his layover was in Texas, but apparently it was Atlanta, since he’s here now. Turns out he is on the same flight too (Which makes since since it would have been a little weird if there were two Delta flights going to Colorado Springs from Atlanta both leaving at exactly 12pm).
I got a good amount of reading in on the second leg. What’s with airline food these days? They used to give you a nice little meal if your flight was more than an hour. I remember getting chicken fajitas on the way to Florida a bunch of years ago. All we got was a quaker granola bar and some apple juice.
Baggage pickup took all of 10 seconds after the carousel started and we headed over to get the rental car. The guy convinced us to get a mini suv for $5 more per day, it was totally worth it. I would never buy one myself, but it was a 2007 Kia Sportage LX… it was really really nice and really really new, totally worth the 18 dollars a day. We loaded up the rental car, stopped at a sporting goods place to get fuel for the stove, and headed off to Shelf Road.
We got to the campground and there were a few people there already. We set up the tents and by the time we got everything situated it was around 5pm. Not really enough time to climb, maybe do one route if we were speedy. We decided to hike over to Mensus Prow, figure out what routes we wanted to do the next day and take some pictures. We hiked to the top of the Mensus Prow mesa and had an awesome view. It was pretty good that we hiked instead of climbed, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten the nice view and a ton of cool pictures.
Back at camp the rest of the crew had a nice fire going and were chowing down on dinner. We worked on rustling up some grub as well. We didn’t hang out at the fire for too long since we wanted to get a good sleep for climbing on Saturday. There were some new arrivals, some new people and some I’ve met previously, a good crew.
Friday night was the best sleep I’ve had in a really long time. There’s nothing like sleeping outside on a cool breezy night. We made some oatmeal and raisins in the morning and headed back out to Mensus Prow. I found an unoccupied 5.8 and headed up. I set up the anchor for a toprope and John and my brother climbed it as well. There were some people on a 5.7 on the California Ethics Pinnacle who asked to trade topropes, so we climbed that route too. I also did a 5.9 on the other side of the pinnacle which is a really cool route. The idea for today was to climb the regular warmup routes and then get on some stuff we haven’t done before (so much for that idea). I wanted to do the second part of a route next to the pinnacle which starts out at 5.10d and then at the anchors turns into 5.11a. I toproped it last year and I was interested in leading it. I was feeling pretty good and I’m definitely a lot stronger than I was at this time last year.
I don’t think we did a long enough warmup. The 10d really kicked my butt badly. After the first few bolts I was resting on the rope after pretty much every move, aughh, terrible. I was in no shape to even think about doing the 11a section, so I set the anchor and came down. My brother had a good attempt on it and John passed. It was getting pretty hot in the sun and it was lunch time so we headed back to camp. The plan was to make some lunch and then head over to the Dark Side. It gets shade all day long and has a ton of really really fun routes.
We never made it out of camp. We sat in the shade of some juniper bushes and helped a fellow shindigger make chili. Me and John chopped onions and peppers, and my brother stirred the dutch oven over the fire pit. The shade was so nice and comfy. We were all pretty beat. It was probably a combination of 15 hours of traveling, the dry climate, the higher elevation (5500 feet), and the hot sun. I just wasn’t feeling up to climbing more. I did have energy to climb, but if we climbed more, we probably would be finished for tomorrow, so we just lounged around until the chili was done, and chowed down.
Sunday was a great climbing day, really really good. The morning was unusually cool and very cloudy. It warmed up a little bit but was still really cloudy, nicely protecting us from the sun. We headed over to Cactus Cliffs since that usually gets baked in the sun all day long. The clouds will be a nice change. We did a really cool short crack route for a warmup and then headed over to Spiney Ridge.
We did four more routes at Spiney Ridge that were really really fun and then headed back over to Cactus to do a 5th and last super cool route. Climbing with a party of three always takes way longer, so we didn’t get as much climbing in as we could have, but we had a good time nonetheless. It was about 6 (and it gets dark at around 7:30) so we headed back to camp, made some dinner, packed up most of our stuff, and hit the sack.
The morning was bitter sweet. The day was turning into a lovely fall Colorado day. Cool, breezy, and just great. It felt so good to be back in Colorado and it was bugging me we had to go back to work on Tuesday. The flight back was uneventful. I got a ton of reading in and baggage pickup was really fast again. We got back in Albany at 11pm and our parents picked us up and gave my brother the lovely news of how much it cost to replace his muffler that weekend (before the trip his muffler kinda… well, just fell off).
Next year we should stay a week or something, so we can get a good solid warmup in, and a good amount of climbing.
This past weekend was the annual ADK younger members camping extravaganza. Thursday night me and my brother packed up some food (we should have packed more), and made a list of food we need to buy. Friday morning I threw some gear together (should have got up earlier and put more gear together) and then busted out to work. During lunch I went across the road to do some shopping and got our weekend goodies of: block of Monterey Jack cheese, two boxes of nature valley oatmeal/granola bars, four packages of single serving turkey coldcuts, organic dried banana chips, organic dried pineapple/papaya mix, and some yogurt covered raisins. That mixed with stuff we already had: a pound of pasta, various seasonings, some bagels, oatmeal, and powdered milk should hold us over for the weekend.
I got home from work and we started packing, ideally we wanted to leave around 6-6:30. It was currently 5:30. I got most of my stuff together: tent, groundcloth, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp chairs, stove, fuel, pots, cups, my spork, headlamp, hiking clothes, change of clothes, rain jacket, climbing gear (in case we have some energy to climb on sunday), and I think that’s about it. My brother got his stuff together and we threw it in the car. By the time we finished packing and eating dinner it was 8 and we hit the road. Two hours later we get to Heart Lake and find our camp spot, set up everything and passed out.
In the morning it was pouring rain. We got up and met the rest of the crew. Dave (the fast guy), Porsche and her guy friend, Laura and her guy friend, Heather and her guy friend, and us. For some reason I only remember the names of the girls. We found out that the plan was to hike Gray Peak. We would take the trail from the ADK Loj to the four corners and then bushwack to the trailless Gray Peak, about 15 miles round trip.
We headed out and it was still raining. I really need to waterproof-wash my rain jacket since it likes to absorb rain rather than repel it. It still keeps you dry on the inside though. The 2.2 miles to Marcy Dam was really quick and we hung out a bit and did some snacking. By then the rain stopped, whew. We got going again and were going and going until we hit a sign a couple miles later that pointed towards Marcy. Everyone was a little puzzled. We all concluded we made a wrong turn somewhere and decided we might as well go up and over Marcy to the four corners and then hit Gray and then make a loop out of it back to the Loj. The trail was pretty crowded, more than usual. We kept passing groups and when we would wait for everyone else to catch up, the other groups would pass us. We would then pass them and repeat the process until we hit the summit of Marcy, which was packed. The views were pretty okay but it was socked in with clouds most of the time.
The trail down the back of Marcy was all ours. We got down to the four corners and looked at Marcy… completely clear! If only we had started a little later we would have had the nice view, but still be up there, and not down here…
We found some nice comfy sitting rocks in the stream that crosses the four corners and snacked and lounged around. We then headed over to Lake Tear of the Clouds, got water, and headed up Gray. There was actually a nicely beaten herd path to the top. I think that trail is by far the roughest I’ve ever been on. We lounged around the summit for a bit and then headed down.
It’s about 6 miles back to the Loj from the four corners. The slower group (Laura, Porche, plus the respective guy friends) split up into their own group and me, my brother, Dave, Heather (and her guy friend) went on ahead. Dave was mostly leading. I would like to know the secret of hiking as fast as he does. It just seems like he is walking leisurely, yet I take about the same stride as he does, with faster turnover, and can barely keep up.
After 11 hours and 17 miles we arrive back at the Loj. We happily strip off our wet stuff and lounge around making dinner and swapping epic backpacking stories. The slow group arrived about an hour after we did and joined the fun.
Sunday morning we were pretty beat. Some people were planning a short hike, some people were just busting out, and we debated what to do. If we went on any hike, our bodies wouldn’t be too happy, so we decided to eat some breakfast bagels and hit the road. And to think we were doing this every day on the AT… I got out of shape pretty quick.
Pictures can be found over here
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The next day after climbing outside is always so rough.Â You would think after having been climbing for years I wouldn’t be all achy the next day, but alas.
Saturday we went to the Catskills place and checked out the storm damage. Berry Brook Road (the main road) is in pretty bad shape.Â Everywhere that the brook goes under the road through a pipe was ripped apart.Â What tends to happen is that when the brook overflows it’s banks there is so much water that the pipe can’t handle it, so the water runs over the road and grinds it down.Â One house washed away and everything else looked okay.
Our road wasn’t nearly as bad as our neighbor said it was.Â She claimed three foot deep ruts in the road.Â Even the last huge storm in 96 that washed out our road wasn’t that bad.Â You can only go down so far until you hit bedrock, and it’s way less than three feet.
The road was obviously worked on since the flooding.Â We have a feeling the electric company that maintains that little section of road is responsible.Â Thanks guys.Â There’s only one section that’s bad.Â Whoever fixed up the road also pushed dirt on top of the drainage pipe along the road.Â Now we have a little frog pond there.Â There are in fact frogs living in it.Â That has to be dug out, we need some gravel on the road, and that should do it.
The house is okay, the pond is okay, the fields need cutting badly (but that’s what happens when you haven’t cut the grass for three years).Â The wood piles need to be redone and the chimney and house need repainting.
The last time at Little Falls it was a little rainy and we didn’t get much climbing in.Â Yesterday was really great.Â We got to the cliff and saw a ton of people. there were ropes everywhere.Â Uh oh.
We walked around looking for something to set up.Â There was a moderate route in the middle that wasn’t taken so we dropped our stuff, I walked to the top of the cliff and examined everyone’s anchors on the way to our route. I like to make sure that everyone else has nice solid anchors just in case we wind up hopping on someone else’s rope.Â I can count a half dozen times I’ve seen setups that I wouldn’t hang my camera off of.Â Everything was all good and I set up our anchor and went down.
Everyone else was really friendly and we wound up doing a ton of climbing all over.Â A guy I know at the gym showed up with his climbing partner.Â He set up an 11 that me and him both worked on and couldn’t finish.Â It was pretty fun nonetheless.
We stayed from about 10am to 3pm — a good amount of climbing.
It seems this week I’m reaching a new level in climbing.Â Yesterday was the fifth day in a row climbing: Friday (Gym), Saturday (Gunks), Sunday (Cannon), Monday (Gym), Tuesday (Gym).Â Yesterday I toproped an 8 for a warmup, lead a 9 for some more warmup, and then blasted up an 11 twice, and still felt pretty good afterwards.Â Since when Cindi would come to the gym we would just go bouldering, my percentage of time bouldering went up quite a bit.Â I have a feeling that was responsible for the recent progression.
I’m going to work on moving back to the normal schedule starting today, which means I’ll be climbing for a 6th day in a row.Â I’m feeling pretty good as of right now, so we’ll see how things go.Â I want to lead that pink 11- in the middle today.
If there is the possibility of backpacking for my vacation in September I should start training now so I can actually have a hope of pulling it off.Â The AT through Shenandoah National Park is roughly 110 miles.Â I’ll have to average 22 miles a day for 5 days.Â It’s just some walking, how bad can it be?
I’m thinking of doing two loops around the Tongue Mountain Range this weekend.Â I’ll get a nice starting point going.Â Hit up the trail Saturday morning with a standard 2-3 day load, do the 10 mile loop over the 5 peaks, camp out, repeat.Â The following weekend do two loops on Saturday, camp out, repeat.Â Should be fun.
I need to start bringing in a sweatshirt into the office since they keep the air conditioning on full blast throughout the day… it’s colder today than usual.
A friend of mine invited me to join him on the MS Bike Tour in Dover at the end of September. My brother, with his job and everything probably can’t actually join me on the previously planned climbing trip. I’ll see if I can get Nick or John to come along instead. Worst comes to worst I’ll bail on the climbing trip and do some backpacking in the Shenandoahs. Ideally I can do that all in one shot. Drive down on Friday and visit Cindi till Sunday morning, do the bike tour, and then bust to either climbing or hiking, and then bust out home.
There’s actually a slight problem with that plan though. If I’m planning on doing the 150 mile tour, I’m going to be really beat the next day. I could drive down the previous Friday, spend the weekend with Cindi (yeah this is sounding much better), do climbing/hiking/etc for the week, visit Cindi again the following Friday+Saturday, do the bike tour, and bust out home. I think that’s the plan now.
There’s also the fourth annual Shelf Road Shindig outside of Colorado Springs on the 8-9 weekend of September. I can’t miss that one, I should go get my airline tickets while they are still cheap.
September is going to be pretty busy, Most of the weekends are booked up with something occurring outside of New York.
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