Climbing in Sierra Nevada: the Prettiest Road Goes up the Cliff

This is not my image, but this is what we climbed

It is 11 pm Pacific time. I am dreaming of granite walls merging with the sky, of snow patches hiding from the sun in the north facing gullies, of boulder fields and screes, of the city of rocks, of occasional pine trees and small lakes glistening far below, of an adrenaline rush, of fear and excitement, of happiness. I am dreaming of mountains.

I started mountaineering late, in my mid-twenties. It crept up on me over the years, slowly turning into an addiction. Why do I climb, spending days and weeks stuck in the mountains and on the cliffs, suffering through cold and heat, bleeding, eating power bars, sleeping on the rocks and fighting altitude sickness?

A journalist once asked George Mallory (one of the greatest mountaineers humankind has seen), “Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” 

Mallory answered, “Because it is there.” 

He disappeared while trying to climb Everest in 1924. His body was found 75 years later. Some time ago, I tried to explain to my mom why I climb. “Mom,” I said, “All the roads don’t lead to Rome. They all lead to a cemetery, but the prettiest one climbs up a cliff.”

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Dance Me to the End of Love

Tonight, Barclays Center sports arena is packed almost to limit of its seating capacity. 19,000 people came to hear Leonard Cohen. It is strange to see all these people quietly waiting for a performance to start. Barclays feels more like Lincoln Center than a sports arena.

cohen 1

The overhead lights dim and only cell phone screens glimmer in the darkness below me. The scene lights up in bordello red and blue and the band arrives. Seventy-eight-year old Leonard Cohen sprightly scampers across the scene, like a winner of the octogenarian Olympic Games. He starts the performance with ‘Dance me to the End of Love’. As his voice fills the stage, I am left to ponder on why I like him so much.

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Meet the Subway People

This is a stream of accidental images and encounters describing the people I see in the New York City subway. I will keep updating it.

Comments are welcome. Stories are even more welcome. Add them as comments and I’ll append them to the main file.

1.
A 300 pound guy and a 100 pound girl are holding each other hands.
And gazing at each other tenderly. Good luck guys.

2.
A plastic butterfly rides the black girl’s sunglasses.
Like Benigni in Night on Earth, driving a cab at night.
Nice boobs though.

3.
Fashionable holes on fashionable jeans.
Mosquitoes’ favorite.

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Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Birthday

taxidermy

What does a woman want for her birthday? Flowers? Jewelry? Shoes? Dinner in a nice restaurant? An intellectual girl may like an interesting book. A musically inclined one would prefer a ticket to Metropolitan Opera. In spring, a romantically inclined girlfriend would want a trip to Paris.

But, what does a woman do if she has already tried all of this boring stuff and she is searching for something new and exotic, unique and different?

If the woman in question is Yvonne, she will ask her boyfriend (i.e. your humble servant) to accompany her to a four hour workshop on…

ANTHROPOMORPHIC MOUSE TAXIDERMY

Honestly, I had no desire whatsoever to go there. My interest in mice = my interest in taxidermy = 0. My interest in mice wearing human-like costumes approaches absolute zero.

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Priest Alexander Shumsky on Mark Zuckerberg’s Visit to Russia

Priest Alexander Shumsky is an influential priest and writer residing in Moscow. His views are endorsed by the Russian Orthodox Church. I found this article as fascinating as it was repulsive.

Translated from http://ruskline.ru/news_rl/2012/10/03/lomonosov_ili_cukerberg

A few days ago a young American millionaire with the characteristic name of Mark Zuckerberg showed up in our country. He is the creator of so-called Facebook. Zuckerberg arrived as a big boss who cares not in the slightest for the aborigines. He even demonstrated it in the way he dressed – he wore a grey T-shirt. I wear this clothing under my shirt after I go to sauna. American Mark Zuckerberg strolled around in this underwear while meeting the representatives of our scientific and political establishment.

He came here like a thief, a TV anchorwoman Tatiana Mitkova told us. Apparently Mark Zuckerberg came for our bright people. He wanted good software and IT engineers, naturally young ones. Somebody would say, “Oh, he is not forcing them to go, he is buying them. Why do you call him a thief?” Formally speaking, Zuckerberg is not a thief; he follows the law, otherwise he wouldn’t be a Zuckerberg. But, as Vladimir Lenin used to say, “It follows the letter of the law but it mocks its spirit.” I think it’s a thieves’ law that allows some Zuckerberg to visit us and buy whatever he wants at his pleasure.  It was impossible in the Soviet times and we created great science, stepped first into the space, and built the best weapons in the world. What’s better for Russia – to ban Zuckerbergs from robbing my Motherland or this liberal one-sided system where we lose everything and gain nothing back, except Zuckerberg’s dirty T-shirt as memorabilia?

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Outdoor Clothing for Pregnant Men

I bought a gore-tex jacket from Patagonia online. It came in. I tried it. I shuddered. I wrote an email to Patagonia customer service. With pictures. Here it comes:

Dear all,

Recently I bought a Patagonia gore-tex jacket on the internet (M’s rain shadow 84470 LMA M). Over the years, I’ve worn a lot of Patagonia clothing and I’ve been quite happy. So, I didn’t expect any problems. The package came in, I tore the plastic apart impatiently, happily pulled the jacket out and inspected it. The jacket was quite good. The material was fine, pockets were nice, all the zippers were there, etc… Then I put the jacket on. And, I was in for quite a surprise. The jacket could comfortably clothe approximately 1.5 of me.

Hmm, I thought, maybe I got a wrong size. I looked at the jacket label and it said in plain English Men’s M. As in medium.  

Hmm, I said again, maybe I am not a medium size person anymore. Maybe, I suddenly lost lots of weight and shrank. I measured my weight and height – 160 pounds and 5’10”.

patagonia 1

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