Monday, April 21, 2008

Cost vs. Benefit

Well, I really wanted to go to Merle Fest this weekend. For fucks sake, it's Doc Watson's own festival!!! This man is 85 years old and can still pick a banjo better than the best of em. I can't say enough about him, he's a fucking savant on the banjo. In addition to that, It seems like such an eclectic mix of bands.

There are only two forces holding me back from jumping on the open road and driving down Route 95.

In order of importance...

1. Gas prices... There's something more to be said about this. There has been plenty of prophecies, speculation and predictions in the media as to what the tipping point will be to where gas prices will start to hinder people (read: Americans) from their recreational activities.

I've found mine. Here's a predisposition you should know. I've always been frugal, my friends and anyone that knows me beyond the casual relationship can attest to this but, I'm a cheap Charley.

However, give me a vacation and/or life altering experiences and I'm handing over money like a born again Christian at a church auction. I've found that music festivals have definitely changed my life, and as a consequence, I've recently made it a point in my life to try to attend as many as possible this summer.

But, after doing the math, it would cost me over $250 to see Doc Watson pick that banjo boy. Which seriously leaves me feeling disenchanted with the way things are.

So instead, I'll spend the weekend moping around and trying to feel useful.

2. Secondly, as insignificant as it might sound, it's a festival with no place to camp! As you may know from reading my previous blogs, I've spent $400 in camping gear. I crave the endless rows of tents, the impromptu noisey neighbors, the community fire pit, the instant communal society, the raw passion of "camping".

I'm going to Aiken Bluegrass fest. Aiken or bust. See you under the stars.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wiley Coyote and the Fire Trucks.

My mother, brother, his wife, and my two nieces came down from Rochester last Friday. I decided to entertain them by having a fire down by the river (no van involved). My brother and I get the fire stoked and burning just in time because it's getting really dark.

It's a beautiful night at 75 degrees and the river is as flat as a sheet of glass. Later, Kevin and I are lounging around the fire and drinking a few pops when what looks to be a medium sized dog comes barreling down the trail toward us. After a few "here boy"'s this wild Dingo looking creature jumps into the river, yelps and then goes quiet. We were absolutely baffled by what it could have been so we named it "The Swamp Monster".

Later that night after several more pops, a bag of Dorito's, and a few pulls of wine, I invited a few friends over. We're all having a great time when all of the sudden two fire trucks show up outside my house. About four firemen come rushing through the woods and immediately extinguish our fire. Major BUZZ KILL! I looked up and saw all of my neighbors faces pressed against their back windows. I could only imagine that they were wondering why the Woodbridge fire department was putting out a fire in the common area. It was at this time that I realized I needed to GTFO of my neighborhood for a bit.

Follow Up... two evenings later, I stepped out onto my back porch about 10:00 pm and heard some sort of bird shreaking in terror and the growling of some sort of Coyote. After listening to it for about 10 minutes, what I can only assume was a Coyote definitely got the best of the bird. I locked my doors and went to bed. It was a good weekend, and I'm now scared to camp by myself!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Mildly eccentric
Paranoid android (why I don't smoke weed)
Lover of people watching
Negative Nelly
Sucker for Reality TV
Culture junkie
Commitment phobe
Last minute extraordinaire
Diet Coke phene
Self reflective
Nervous Nancy (after my mother)
A Merry Prankster
Passionate about certain beliefs
Do the right thing Mookie

Friday, April 11, 2008

Alaska on my mind.

I'm heading to Alaska in June with a couple of amigos. One of which happens to be an Alaskan native. It seems that the closer the calendar gets to June, the more my thoughts are consumed by Alaska and what it looks like.

I've been watching too much Survivor Man marathons this Winter. I want to eat a raw salmon pulled from the Kenai River like Les Stroud.

Seriously though, on a related note about vacation and adventure, I want to point out the irony of life. When I was in college I had no money but I had an abundance of time that was more than likely wasted foolishly. Fast forward to the present tense. I have plenty of money but I lack the time to do anything with it.

As it stands now I receive three weeks of vacation per year. Ideally, I would like to have some sort of career where I could take a month to two months off and do some adventure travel or take a sabbatical to promote humanitarian causes in third world countries.

Closing thought... I guess it is safe to say that for the majority of working Americans it is hard to strike the right balance between time and money. In the mean time I'm going to keep plugging away at work and dreaming of adventure.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Gear -

Current Gear List:

  • Alps Fusion +20 Sleeping Bag with compression stuff sack.
  • Self inflating sleeping pad.
  • High Sierra Cirque 30 Daypack.
  • Princeton Tec Solo Headlamp.
  • Highgear SmartLatch Compass/Thermometer.
  • High Sierra Wave Hydration Pack - 70 oz.
  • Pacific Cornetta Aletta Grande Vacuum Bottle - 16 oz.

So... I am having a hard time trying to decide on which of these two tents I want. I have thought about it from a cost/benefit point of view but still can't quite make up my mind. It is obvious from reading through the specs that one of these tents offers significantly more features than the other tent. But what I keep wrestling over is whether or not these features are worth the extra $90.

Speaking of money, I won $125 at work the other day for coming in number one in our office March Madness bracket. God Bless Kansas for pulling that off! So realistically, I should not be fretting over an extra $90 bucks.


The REI tent is an ultra-lite backpacking tent. I like the open mesh (key component) and the color of the tent. I also like purchasing from REI in general. I am not sure how easy it is to set up though.

The Rock 22 is a three season, two pole tent (very quick set up) tent. The tent has a decent amount of mesh lining and has gotten a lot of good reviews. The North Face has become a fairly commercial brand over the past few years.

REI Quarter Dome - $259.00 Specs

North Face Rock 22 - $169.00 Specs