I So Will

When I'm running around Greenlake I have this weird tendency to think every other runner I see is a seasoned expert no matter what their apparent physical condition is. Like everyone is having an easier time than me. This is obviously not true, some of those folks are on their first run of their lives. Some people I see running are probably smack dab in the middle of a truly amazing life transformation. I would probably put myself in that category.

Yesterday Laura and I got back from a one-night hiking adventure out to the Foss lakes (Trout Lake, Copper Lake, Little Heart Lake and finally Big Heart Lake). This was about 7.5 miles in with about 3300 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say, it was damn exhausting.

We made camp and set up the tent. The mosquitoes were aggressive as hell, so we promptly climbed into the tent and relaxed until dinner. As we were laying there we started talking about our Pacific Crest Trail hike planned for later in August. 7 days of hiking with about 10 miles per day. After what we had just done, the thought of getting up the next morning only to strap the pack back on and hike another 10 miles seemed crazy. Am I ready for this? I've been on a lengthy hiking trip before, but I was 18 at the time, and that was only for 5 days.

So, I've decided if I want to have anything other then a miserable time on the PCT, I better step up my training. There's no way I'm skipping the PCT just because I didn't do enough conditioning. But at least that is a detail I'm in complete control over, I just have to do it. And I will. I so will...

Mature Audiences

Laura and I enjoy watching Workaholics on Hulu. The show is pretty funny and goofy, not super intelligent or anything, just basic immature toilet-type humor. The strange thing is that we are warned before every show that it is "intended for mature audiences only". I can't imagine a mature audience laughing much at the jokes that come up on a typical episode of Workaholics. It's pretty funny though, if you've laughed at Office Space, you'll probably like Workaholics.

Another interesting observation: I've noticed that a lot of conversations with friends and family contain discussions about television shows. "What shows have you been watching" is a common question. I don't want to drone on about a "technological revolution" or the wonder of "the internet age" or lament about the ways the internet changed what was familiar. I do think it's interesting what has become of TV shows, and the advent of "binge watching". I don't do a ton of binge watching, more then a couple episodes of anything is usually enough (with a few exceptions).

What have you been watching? How many episodes would you consider a binge? What is (are) your favorite show(s) of the last 5 years? I'd have to go with Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, The Wire, a nod to The Sopranos even though it isn't from the last 5 years...

Balls Out

KatiRose and I played an open mic Tuesday at Tim's Tavern in Greenwood. It would be the first time we've played publicly where no one showed up. I don't mean this in an ill-humored, brooding sort of way or anything, it was actually interesting to be in that position. Can we still put on a good performance where no one knows us and our weird style? Would people still laugh at all the appropriate spots? I can't say they found us terribly funny, but they nodded along, clapped at the end of all three songs, and treated us very fairly.

Tim's Tavern is so blue-collar it makes Bruce Springsteen seem every bit the millionaire he really is. 4 out of 5 guys had wiry hippy pony tails. The average age, not including us, was about fifty. It was a very casual atmosphere with a very relaxed dress code. So relaxed, in fact, that there was a gentleman in attendance wearing a pair of old basketball shorts that had a giant hole directly in the crotch (he was commando). He was sitting there, fairly drunk if I had to guess, legs unselfconsciously akimbo with his balls unambiguously exposed. At one point, I think I even spied the glans of his penis.

Overall it was a terrific experience I wouldn't mind repeating. Next time we'll give a little more advanced notice and we'll get the Chapsy Army out in full force, exposed glans and all!!!

4 Degrees Warmer

I received an e mail this morning to inform me my previous blog at 4degreeswarmer.tumblr.com is now 5 years old. I started that blog soon after my stage 4 diagnosis when I needed a way to let everyone know how my doctor's appointments were going and how that process was coming along without having to contact each person individually to let them know. It was a real time saver. I left that blog after about a year due to issues with the comments section or something like that, and I made this blog you are now reading. If you'd like the entire back story, float on over to that tumblr blog, it's all still there. I don't remember if I wrote anything worth reading, but there you go.

Now that I think about it, it's not the entire back story. It's just the story from the stage 4 diagnosis. I still had a history of cancer treatment that stretched another year and a half before that. I wish I had started blogging back then, to record my impressions about what I was going through. Those chemo days were really hard. It was so much more difficult then it even seemed at the time. I know that doesn't make much sense, but that five-or-so month run of chemo was basically hell. I still didn't think my situation was truly dire until all that was finished, nine quiet months passed, then I found out about the disease progression. Then I knew.

But I'm still here. And I'm climbing mountains. And I feel fucking awesome. Tomorrow will be a day-hike out to Melakwa Lake where we'll practice setting up a rain shelter to cook under. I know I just ended that last sentence with a preposition, but I'm going to just ask you, the reader, to accept it and move on.

Bryan Made Me Do This

Bryan made me want to step up my game if people are going to be compelled to comment on my writing. So here goes:

Through the cloud's part, sunlight pours down on beams of diaphanous translucence.  The surface of Barclay Lake is positively alive with the intense sparkle of the sun's specular reflection, appearing as diamonds of the purest clarity sprinkled upon an undulating black silken membrane. Somewhere, far off in the distance and above our current altitude, a waterfall sursurrates it's unbroken soft song. A trout, compelled by hunger, leaps to dine upon a gnat whose guard has been lowered undoubtedly by the tranquil mood. Then another trout leaps. Then another. The friscalating dusk light brings with it a brisk evening chill as it heralds the onset of night. Ever the diurnal creature, my head now lain upon a pillow of clothing stuffed inside a nylon sack. Heaviness draws at my weary eyes, and soon I am overtaken in sleep's tranquil rapture.

Barclay Lake

Laura and I took our first little mini backpacking adventure together last weekend to test out some new gear we've acquired. It was a short little hike, only just over two miles in from the trailhead to Barclay Lake. The weather was perfect for hiking, dry but not too hot. The lake was gorgeous with Bearing Mountain rising like a four thousand foot rock wall rising almost directly out of the water. It was early enough in the season for it not to be be overrun by other backpackers, there were a few day hikers and families through the afternoon, but once dusk started to settle it quieted down very nicely. We threw rocks, chilled out, tried out my new stove, ate some Mountain House brand backpacking food (the lasagna with meat sauce wasn't too bad at all), chilled out some more, relaxed on the beach, kicked the hacky sack, relaxed a little more, watched the sun set, did a little more chilling out, then crawled into our new MSR tent (which we named Mr. Saul Rosenberg). The whole experience was a complete success! We're looking forward to our next trip to Melakawa Lake next month. That should be a slightly more comprehensive trip with quite a bit more altitude gain then Barclay Lake. Bring on the summer!

Sacred Thursdays

Every Thursday for the last few years my dad and I have gone to a different restaurant for dinner. I suppose we've missed one or two Thursdays here and there, but not many. This Thursday tradition of ours is a sacred thing. My old man comes up after his work day ends, we usually shoot the shit for an hour or so, then watch an episode of some show, then we go to dinner. 

It started out with Breaking Bad. We were going to the same place every week back then (The OLD Canterbury) so we could pack in two episodes per night (and sometimes three, you know how Breaking Bad can get, am I right?). I think it was somewhere around the end of that show when we decided to go to a different restaurant each week. Living in the city like I do, there's a lot of places that are walkable, and so many more within a short drive, it didn't make any sense to stick to one place. 

We really wanted to keep track of the restaurants. For a while I was keeping the receipts, but they faded fast, illegible in a few month's time. I remember some of them, of course (the Pink Door, The Wurst Place, Serious Pie, Smith, Lunchbox Laboratory, Paddy Coynes, Pinkies, Von Trapps, Vito's, Olympia Pizza, 22 Doors, Charlie's, Broadway Bar and Grill, Eastlake Bar and Grill, Skillet, The Comet, Moe's, Oddfellows, The Elysian, Julia's, etc...) but certainly not most. If I see a place, I remember being there, but there's no record of all those places we sought out. Over a hundred restaurants. 

So, we decided to start reviewing each place on Yelp. It's a great way to keep track of how many places we've visited. We're not too far into it, we really should have been doing this from the beginning, but today I posted our thirtieth review (for The Matador in Ballard). It's funny to me reading back to our first couple reviews that were just a few sentences, but it didn't take long until we were giving more comprehensive reviews. "Comprehensive" might be a code word for "verbose". 

The Gig

The gig last night was a huge success! The venue was small and intimate, there was standing room only, and even that was on short supply. Everyone was responsive and positive, it was a really great time. Huge thanks for everyone who turned out!!!


This summer Laura and I are going to be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from Snoqualmie pass to Stevens pass. The PCT runs from the Mexican boarder up into Canada, the 70 mile stretch we're hiking is just a small portion, but it's said to be one of the most scenic. I haven't done an expedition like this since my first summer out of high school when I hiked in the Canadian coastal mountains with Young Life. 

I'm looking forward to pushing myself farther then I thought I could go, finding out there's almost always more gas in the tank then I thought. Realizations like that are commonplace when you're way out in the wilderness like we're planning on being. 

I'm also looking forward to a re-evaluation of the difference between "need" and "want" that can become so clear as you get farther and farther from a cell phone tower. 

I'm also looking forward to redefining what it means to be living with stage 4 cancer. I really hope, even if it's just in some small way, I can be an inspiration to other people who find themselves in a situation similar to mine. Stage 4 is not the end, people. If you think about it right, it can actually become the most rewarding thing to ever happen to you. It certainly has for me. 


Chapsy's first ever show is this coming Wednesday! I'm pretty dang excited about the opportunity to play more then 3 or 4 songs like we normally do at an open mic. I know nearly nothing about the venue, just that it's in a brewery. Hopefully ALL of Chapsy's minions will be out to support us and show this place just how loud we can be (I'm looking at YOU, Alexandra!!!).