Monday, May 25, 2009


Somewhere above South Africa(n't)

Let's get some things straight here.

1] The *actual* number of people you can fit in an 11 passenger van is 25 + luggage. This is no joke. Not only am I serious, but it's not even rare or remotely bizarre. Quite normal in fact.

2] Trust me, your house does not suck. Don't believe me? Let's try an exercise: Get up. Now walk over to the nearest wall. Knock on it. Did it fall over? Is it made of cardboard? Now, go outside and look up at your roof. Is it being held down with large fruits or old spare tires? If the answer to any or all is "NO", then your house does not suck.

3] Your neighborhood does not suck. Don't believe me? Look outside your window. Is your house surrounded by any of the following: Barbed Wire, Electrified fencing, Attack dogs, or a wall no less than 8 feet in height? I'm guessing no. Well. The house where I am staying, as well as every house here, has ALL of the above.

4] Remember that time in elementary school when the black kid moved in to town and was in your class and everyone was sort of weird about it? Guess what, that was not awkward. Trust me.

5] Do you know what "necklacing" is? It's when you tie someone's hands behind their back, throw an old spare tire around their neck, fill it with gasoline, and light that shit on fire. Necklacing-to be certain-is for people whom are not interested in fucking around.

6] Monkeys are not scared of you. And they want your food. No matter what.

7] You have not lived until you have driven through S. Africa with the window down listening to THIS BAND on your iPHONE.

8] Running 56 miles in under 10 hours is beyond fucking insane. And the person who does it in 5:23 is not human. Remember that scene in Terminator where Arnold cuts his forearm open and peels the skin off and has a cybernetic endoskeleton underneath? I will bet everything that if we cut the guy who won the Comrades Marathon (56 miles) open, he will look the same.

9] When you arrive in South Africa, you do not ride an elephant to your final destination. I know, I was bummed too.

10] It is entirely possible to be vegan in South Africa. There's just one catch: IT FUCKING SUCKS.

They played La Roux in the Johanessberg Airport. La Roux! Crazy.

The Indian Ocean is warm and beautiful. Unlike all the food I have eaten in the last 4 days. 

That's Real Talk.

Ok. It's something hellish like 2am, and I have to get up in 5 hours to drive for 3 to go sport climbing at some place I can't spell. It's supposed to be magical. Many more pictures to upload. I'm learning a second language, I sound like an idiot. Newsflash I'm sure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Madrid. Chilling. So tired. Trying to find vegan food, thank you iPHONE.
Photo by Miles Cone, Army of One.

Aloha amigos! Como Estas? 

Prior to arriving in South Africa, me and my posse had a layover in Madrid.
When booking our flight, we had the choice of either a 9 hour, or an 18 hour layover.
At first, it seemed like a magnificent idea to hang out in the beautiful city for almost
a whole day. It would break up to trip to South Africa in to a 7 hour and then a 10
hour flight. Good plan right? 

Some key factors have been left out in the planning process: Sleep, showers, and 
overall energy. This resulted in falling asleep at dinner tables, collapsing in parks,
swollen feet from walking 12 miles in a day, fear, loathing, and madness.

But Madrid was amazing. Beautiful. Perfect weather. And great food.

It is now 11:24pm on Thursday in South Africa and I have slept essentially ZERO
since Tuesday morning when I woke up and left.

Me and Koba at Logan airport. Before the life was drained out of me.

Iberia dinner. Gross. Mrs. Dash? Really???

Barajas Airport is totally insane. I thought we took a flight to the future.

Bathrooms in Madrid win. 

Weather in Madrid wins. Madness and exhaustion had begun to settle in at this point.

Architecture in Madrid wins. I didn't even know what day it was or what my name was when I took this. 

Favorite picture from Madrid. 

Vegan food in Madrid wins, there's a FUCKING FLOWER on my veggie burger.

This was the view from the park in Madrid where we quite literally collapsed from exhaustion.


How the girls in Madrid manage to keep their legs as nice as they are, and still manage to eat FROSTING BURGERS is a wonder beyond imagination and science. 

Waiting for plane to South Africa, with the most sore feet of my life. 40 hours, no sleep.

Headed off to Durban for the weekend to chill near the Indian Ocean, watch Miles Cone, Army of One race in a double marathon (56 miles. That's effing nuts.), and do whatever else. Then coming back to go sport climbing in Strubens Valley on Monday. Then off to Kruger Wildlife Preserve for two days. Holy crap, I love this vacation. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009


So. One more day. To pack, to wrap up loose ends. To cross my fingers. To clear out the last of whatever is left in my refrigerator. To give hi-fives. To muster my strength and climbing fitness. To enjoy any sort of vegan treats that will not exist to me for the next 3 weeks as I travel across South Africa. I had really meant to get back up to Rumney to polish off Dr. No (13d) before I left, and had things all set to go for Saturday morning. But pre-trip to-do lists prevailed and I had to bail. Then on Sunday, a second attempt was made only to be shot down by rain. Rain which normally would not prevent one from going to Rumney. There are plenty of quality rock climbs 5.12 and higher to be played on even in the most serious of rains. But as my luck would inevitably have it, Dr. No is essentially a glorified boulder problem, and the crux involves gripping for dear life to a crappy sloper at the lip of the climb. Rain. Crappy sloper. No good. Or as my good friend Jon Glassberg has been known to say "Maaaann, fuck those wet lips." I'm pretty sure he was talking about climbing, wasn't he?

Dr. No (13d), a soon to be long forgotten climb, somewhere in a place known only to me as "The Americas"

At any rate, Dr. No will just have to wait. I have lots planned for my trip, and evidently, there are plenty of boulders at ROCKLANDS to keep my mind occupied. And I would wager that in two weeks from now, I will not even remember what country Dr. No is in:

H O L Y S H I T. That's a lot of boulders.

I'm serious when I say you should keep checking back. I will be posting what I can only imagine will be some amazing photos. I am not even that great of a photographer. But let's get serious for a second...on my agenda, Lions, Elephants, Great White sharks, 1400 ft. trad climbs (solos???), scenic paradistic (is that a word? I just made it up) vistas, two of the cutest little kids of all time, and more bouldering than I can ever begin to comprehend.

Dr. No can wait. Only a few concerns here: I am flying on Iberia Airlines? Has anyone ever heard of this? Am I going to end up on an island with John Locke? Fuck. Can I update my blog from that island? Also unrelated. New Star Trek movie is good as hell. And I honestly could not possibly care less about Star Trek. I'll update from the road.

Live Long and Prosper.

Friday, May 15, 2009


ALTAR OF PLAGUES are a metal band from Ireland. This already sounds like it's going to suck, I know. But bare with me here. ALTAR OF PLAGUE's new record "White Tomb" almost defies description. It conjurs up words like black metal, ambient, epic, atmospheric, chilling, and dare I even use the cliche' word grim. But it's much more than a black metal record. It has hints of more progressive sounds not entirely unlike NEUROSIS or JESU. Their Myspace page has this to say about the album:
"Inspired by the unique land of the Burren, Co.Clare, "White Tomb" explores current global condition. Earthly connections have been lost; everything is draining of character and colour.

A White Tomb remains."

Sounds serious doesn't it? This record IS serious. With songs clocking in at around 15:00. It takes some serious sonic aptitude to keep me from falling asleep. But don't take my word for it, just click below to download the album in it's entirety and enjoy it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I mean. Kinda. But not really. New York Hardcore legends Cro-Mags' singer Jon Joseph thinks so. Dude is almost 50. And fit as a fiddle. He has also just finished a book on vegetarian nutrition, training, and fitness called "MEAT IS FOR PUSSIES." While I can't say I agree with that as a title that screams open-mindedness or outreach, this is Jon "Bloodclot" Joseph of Cro-Mags we are talking about here. At any rate, the book will be available from Punkhouse so check it.

If this short video (and the title of the book) provides any insight in to what the book will be like, than I think it is safe to say it will be the best/worst book on the subject of all time:

John Joseph New York City Urban Warfare Cro-Mag Training from Polygraph Productions on Vimeo.

For those of you whom may not know who the Cro-Mags are, yourself and everyone who loves you a favor and go buy this album:

Monday, May 11, 2009


I have a pretty obvious obsession with Scandanavian things: synthpop bands, cold weather, hot people, excellent design, black metal, among other things. Here are a few more specific keywords you might consider typing in to Google and see what you think: Let the Right One In, Gentle Touch, Skitsystem, Vvork, Tyrant, Lene Egeli, and Watain.

The Norwegians have really outdone themselves with a new brand called Anti-Sweden. Makers of True Norwegian Black Denim. (HA!) They collaborated with a friend of mine whom I consider to be one of the most talented illustrators out there right now Justin Bartlett. The jeans be certain, completely amazing. Simple, a great fit, comfy, and with a hidden darkness that the only the wearer knows about.

And as long as I am at it, Justin who did all the insane illustrations for these jeans has also just made a new shirt/re-usable bag combo for purchase at SHIRTS AND DESTROY, whom ironically are just up the road from me. Annnnd just like an episode of Seinfeld, I bring this post full circle. Also check out more of Justin's meticulous design and illustration at his site VBER KVLT.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I should forewarn you that this post, and probably this blog in general will not be only about Epic Sends, big numbers, hard grades, first ascents, or other typical climbing blog spew. As a climber, I am interested not only in the numbers, the FA's, the hard sends, and so on and so forth, but also the PROCESS. Projecting something. Trying hard. Falling. Failing. Waking up early on a weekend with less-than-ideal weather conditions and little-to-no money for gas and going climbing anydamnways. Braving the swarms of spring time New England black flies and slipping all over a goddamn wet slab while trying to build a dry pedestal from little boulders so your climbing partner can reach the start holds of his project. Getting back on a climb you took a terrifying death-defying fall on last year just to prove that you are at least marginally badass. Free soloing the chossiest, sketchiest, wettest 5.5 in the world so you can get good shots of your friend on their first 12c. These are the things that make climbing so special and so consuming.

Today was one of those days. Rain forecasted. Humid, hot, flies so thick you had to belay with a hood cinched up around your face. But. It was a really excellent day. Regardless of the fact that Max, Alexa and I all had to retreat due to the fastest moving hellstorm of all time. The skies went from blue and sunny to apocalyptic in about 2 minutes flat, which then forced Max and I to have hurried final attempts on Parallel Universe (14a), and Dr. No (13d) respectively. But then we had the pleasure of hauling ass down to the car in Cambodian jungle rain. Which was fun. And I feel certain that both Parallel and Dr. No will go this week.

Alexa on Good Earth (12c)

Me staring down Dr. No (13d)

Crux move on Dr. No (13d)

Wetness the Fatness

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Check it. Free to download on iTUNES this week only is the incredible documentary DREAMRIDERS.

"DreamRiders is a documentary film featuring Bill Roulston, a divorced father teetering on a mid-life crisis and Nico, his eighteen-year-old son teetering on the edge of manhood. Ten years past a devastating divorce, a growing gap between them has birthed a quiet desperation in Bill to reclaim the love of his son. He proposes a bold plan to rekindle their relationship: a 4000-mile odyssey across America from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic…on bicycles. Bill, dreamer that he is, has never been on an overnight bicycle trip in his life. And Nico, who has never ridden a bike further than ten miles, agrees to go."
Highly recommended. God I love bikes. And movies. And free stuff.


In less than 2 weeks, I head off for South Africa. Now, to be certain, this trip is going to be amazing for many reasons. But one of the things I am looking most forward to is bouldering at The Rocklands for over a week. In the last year, I have achieved things I never thought I would in my climbing. I did my first V11 this past winter, and am centimeters away from summiting a 5.13d. I am 100% positive that this has all been achieved through one simple equation:

Try Hard + Train Hard + Get Psyched= Climb Harder than you ever would imagine.

Now I know, this sounds totally obvious. But really, I don't think people realize how much of a difference there is between a session at the gym, and a *fucking session*. I realized the missing ingredient for me all these years was trying things that were vastly outside of my ability while I am training. By sitting under the steepest bouldering wall in the gym 3 nights a week, and trying moves and problems that are for the most part, utterly absurd, I have made myself at least 35% stronger in the last year. So I feel like I am ready for The Rocklands.

I will be posting photos, videos, and updates on here of the 3 week excursion to South Africa as often as possible from the road. I think it's going to be totally insane. I can't wait.


I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to candycoat it. I LOVE HARDCORE. I honestly can not think of another form of music that possesses the energy and passion of hardcore. That said, it is a fairly rare occasion that a new band springs up that actually strikes me as great. REVEAL THE TRUTH, however, strike me as just that: great. Hailing from Florida, this band pumps out 7 jams on their self-released demo "Courage". This demo plows through energetic songs not entirely unlike Youth of Today or Side by Side. None of the songs clock in at over 1:45, making it even more reminiscent of older hardcore. This record is soon to be released on clear vinyl 7" on NO! records. But is available for download for free now:


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Nah, just kidding. I dig music.

If you do too, you might want to stick around. I'll be talking about it a lot. And climbing. And bikes. And probably food. And politics. Also, if I ever post anything on here that even remotely resembles haiku or poetry, please come to my house and fuck me up with a blunt object.

(I'm on drugs!)


This shit right here is definitely worth watching.