Friday, 28 September 2007

I hate computers...

What a week. I went in to work on Monday morning, and everything seemed quite normal until about 10am when the incidents and crisis calls started to appear. Without going into too much detail, a fairly major customer facing system was having serious issues and only me and one other colleague would be able to help - niche techno area and all that, the upshot of it being that I didnt leave work until 0100 on tuesday morning. Drove home listening to what I thought was Ricardo Villalobos' new fabric mix, but it wasnt, it was Ivan Smagghe at Wasabi (where is this? theres one on London road, but I didnt think they booked DJs), arrived home and dialled in again, was online and working until 6:30am when I felt rather ill. Went to sleep till 1300, got up and worked from home until 0030 on Wednesday am. Things looking much better by now, but still no root cause established. Slept till 930, drove to halifax, worked till 1900 and went home to sleep.

As the start to the week had been so horrendous I took Thursday morning off. It was cold and I have lost weight (the W plan diet?) so had high hopes of achieving something. Warmed up and felt tired, but light on my arms. Did a bigger splash comfortably - excitement building - i usually find that quite hard, did it from the sloper and again, it all felt pretty good - awesome! drink more coffee and have a rest. The next go was good, my sequence held, I climbed positively, took the sidepull and started to press with my left hand, but as I applied presure so my hand shot from the sloper leaving a greasy paw print. Think the cold was from the wind which was north easterly - Rubicon is a south facing edge which means the wind would be blowing over the top of the edge, basically meaning that it was still beside the rocks and not actually that good nic. Had a few more goes where it looked possible, even considered changing my sequence to use something besides the sloper (which I was comfortable matching but not moving up off it) but in the end I waned and sacked it back to sheffield.

Worked from home the rest of the day, went to Thyme Cafe in the evening and that was that. Back in the thick of it today. Dont know when I will get away, but at least I have arranged to come to Caley with Ed tomorrow. Am looking forwards to being normal and climbing again.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Cream crackers

Well, I am knackered. Its 0407am and I am at work. At home, but working. I was in work until 0100 (from 0730 - 17.5hrs in the office) then I drove home and now am dialled in and on conference calls. I'll be working through till 0600 when I will hand over to someone else and go to bed for a few hours. Take the reins back at lunchtime. Probably.

Its great my job - most of the time. But when the shit hits the fan it fully hits it and stunts like this take place.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Methane poisoning

I was tired on Friday night. Tired, and gagging for a pint. Did some hoovering and persuaded the monster we needed to go to Tescos, which is convieniently situated next door to the pub. One became two and before long we were giggling in the curry shop opposite - all thoughts of cooking long gone. Had a nice curry that had the unfortunate side effect of making me pump noxious death pumps all through the next 48 hours.

Went to the board with James on saturday morning to grind off some skin. Discovered I shouldnt put too much store in what the car thermometer reckons. It said 13.5degrees so by rights, it should have been a good session (not that temps are the only determining factor in having a good session) but it wasnt. Hands went hot and soft soon after arriving, and the energy levels were ok, but not good - deceptive I would say. Anyway, much methane production from both, discovered Cocoon - the sound of the seventh season on my iPod which sounded great and that was that. Nothing else happened of note on Saturday.

On Sunday, my efforts to involve the honey monster in climbing continued, with the poor little monster getting dragged to burbage south despite complaining of a cold and flu like symptoms. It was quite warm and a bit damp, but just nice to be out for a climb walk. Should have gone to the pub in the evening, but our 0550 start really puts me off sunday night pub. Will make the effort next week.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Fuck all this Zen shit, I just wanna burn you off...

With a lot of excitement and anticipation I set off to Rubicon with the intention of closing another long standing account. On Tuesday I climbed from the start to the end three times. Failing either on the last move or worse, touching the finishing jug but not holding it. On Tuesday however, it was markedly cooler.

Kinda wierd conditions - ok to be out, and quite allright for bimbling - but not condusive to hard sendage. Have a massive hole in my tip now too. Gave up and went up the Dale to try the Hulk. Managed to dismount horizontally at high speed to my ass. This dented my confidence and further goes were thus thwarted. The Thing looks possible, but I need some foot beta. Very strange movement...

And now its raining. But, I need to let my skin recover, so its not all bad. Back to it next week. Got some new non-downturned shoes ready for the grit. Anticipation of climbing on brown rocks is growing too. Back to Brad Pitt I suppose, also WSS - on which I hope to attend a training seminar if the reclusive Adam long can be coaxed from the Plantation. Would love to do the Joker too, people keep saying that would be ok for me, which is like the kiss of death - 'Oooh, you'll piss up that youth' they say before watching me fail on the first move 1000 times. What I need is someone who I am desparate to impress (or burn off).

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Fecal league

Yesterday was one of those magical cold clear days that as a climber you get excited about. Some people would consider it heresy to head to the white rocks in such conditions, but I have fish to fry that need it to be cold, and whilst its still dry I will still be going. So - warmed up, felt good, put in some good links and it honestly looks like it could be on - possibly even the next time I go. Refined my sequence, finding a new foot hold but didnt close the account.

Someone has been pooing in the bushes at Rubicon. Have you no bowel control? go for a shit before you go to the crag. Its disgusting - theres bog roll barely concealed in most of the bushes along the path side, the worst bit is a big turd right underneath the sissy. If you have to go when you're out - go well away from the climbing and walking area and bury your mess. Honestly.

There was previously a dog poo under kudos wall, which prompted a discussion of if you put your pad in a poo (by accident), which is your preferred poo? dog or human? I think in my fecal league table I would sooner put a pad in a doggy do.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Blood diamond

Cold this morning. Autumn is here. Not sure whose role it is (or whether its even necessary), but the time may have come for Gritstone open season to be declared. Simon Moore and I once spent an entire winter visiting the Kudos wall at Rubicon however, certainly - if it stays dry I will keep going.

Return to Monday night heroes club at the board. Cubitt already there when we arrived - we being Lee, me and the good doctor. Zippy turned up to set some problems on the moon board which apparently Ben has been asked for by a South African banker. He's pretty strong this banker (climbs font 8a) so Zips was looking for some hard moves to test him. I got all excited and joined in with the setting for 10 minutes, and this poor banker guy has now got to deal with a Morton whirly gig leap for a crimp. I wanted to call it Blood Diamond but we figured he might seek us out and shoot us. TITS (This is the school... - tenuous reference to the film).

I'm climbing tonight (the monster is working late), and feel really that I should go out. Its a lovely day (so far) and the forecast is for rain tomorrow. Plus, this could be the last of the after work outdoor climbing nights. But, boom boom big guns is coming to sheffield and planning to be at a wall. And, I climbed last night. I shall leave work early and decide on the way back.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Lesbians, Zola Budd and a Drunk Grieve

I have had an uncharacteristically boozy weekend. My intentions for friday night were to go to the school meeting, come home and have an early night. Then Seb started buying drinks, and Keith offered (very kindly, and probably not knowing how far away from the sheaf I live) a lift to drop my car off (nearly ploughing into the back of me on Sheldon road!). The school meeting revealed nothing new in terms of the councils much feted fire inspection - I believe the outcome of that is still uncertain. It seems the council have actually been pretty good at offering support and thus far Seb and Roy (and Nic) have been doing sterling work meeting with their representatives, but are getting to the end of their tether regards going to meetings/sitting on comittees. In essence, the outcomes of the meeting were that the building costs the council £35000 a year to keep open (Costs £50k total, rental income £15k). If it is to remain open we need to take over management. It is not thought that there is much appetite amongst the other building users, or indeed from the climbers. We started the board to train rather than to manage a building/attend community focus groups with lesbians. Two outputs have been identified, firstly a team of motivated individuals will attempt to determine alternative accomodation, and secondly all members will be asked to contribute £150 to the school account to indicate that they wish to remain members of the board.

The reason for the deposit is to gauge interest. If noone pays, theres no point looking for a new home, as its obvious noone cares. We expect to widen membership to 40 places, and will be asking members to suggest others who would be prepared to pay to join. THis should absorb the 10 on the waiting list.

It was also obvious from the meeting the reason they only sell Leffe in halves. Seb got leathered!
The scarf belongs to the honey monster, who joined the party after the meeting. Ben moon and Andy Cave turned up at about 10pm and Seb crawled across the pub to greet them, as only Seb can. We put him in a taxi at the end of the night.

I was hung over on Saturday and spent the day being stupid and knocking into things. Saturday morning Tor club was cancelled as a result, and because we had a lunch arrangement at 1215. Went to the works in the afternoon. Didnt climb on the comp wall at all (because I didnt think I would be up to it) and had a suprising amount of fun on the other surfaces. The 'training' wall has been reset and was actually quite good too. I do still think it wants to be steeper, but it was good to hang out somewhere else for a change. Barbecued Saturday night before going out to a bar called Penelopes for a birthday party. Feeling supersonic after gin and tonics, there was reggae, dubstep, roots, house music, techno, soul, jungle - loads of stuff. However, whilst I enjoy each of these genres individually, the selection was so eclectic it changed every other record which was hard work from the dancefloor. Fair enough - play what you want and by all means mix it up, but when the style changes so dramatically every few minutes it leaves the punters lost. Anyway, I got a cab home at 0300 but didnt have any money. The people I was sharing with got out at broomhill so I got that far with no money. Started walking home - quite boring, so decided to run. Cant run in flip flops so decided to carry them, the pavement was hurting my feet, and the road was quiet and I reasoned that running down the white line would be nice and smooth. It was but this meant I had to dodge onto the pavement at high speed when cars went past (which, at 0300 in the morning, is reassuringly infrequent). Got home, had a shower, went to sleep. Honey mOnster home at 0800!

I was as fresh as a fish when I got up at noon on sunday. Amazing. Perhaps two nights on the sauce is the way forward? walked for her car, went to a farm shop and quested (unsuccessfully) for Rivelin quarry (apparently its rubbish anyway). Home to clean the car to within an inch of its life and then lord of the ringpieces. Lee, Adam and co all doing the quiz, and whilst tempted I dont need any more beer, plus, clearly I cannot be trusted to only have one.

On the way to work this morning I heard that Colin MaCrae has died. He was an amazing driver and Mike posted this clip on UKB, testament to the skill of the man :

I dont know why I cant embed this video. Here it is...

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Ibiza finale

When I last wrote, we were in between the morning and evening stages of space. I had a sleep, we ate out, picked up jasper carrots son and got back to the club for about 1130. I had a sniff around and located myself in the discoteca (inside) bit. Firstly there was someone called dave phillips on, and he was playing boring prog. Then a thin ill looking man called ivan smagghe took over at 12 and it got better. James allerton and I discovered we could nustle in next to the booth giving a birds eye view of the decks. It was obvious that something was afoot when the engineers made space for a third deck, and then the wizard himself arrived. Dressed as ever in black jeans and a black t shirt he carried a smallish record bag which he sifted whilst ivan played his last 15 minutes. Jeff queued his first record whilst the engineers installed a 909 and finished plumbing in deck three, and then - the show began. Starting slowly to blend with ivan, but fast moving on a gear and getting into more familliar mills territory, an hour passed with nothing more than a gentle lift in tempo and the usual flittering elfin finger touches flying over the mixer. Then came the 909 - wow. Live drum programming over the mix - incredible. Jeff fades the 909 in and it just gets harder and harder, the purity of the sound being created live is noticeably clearer than that of the pre created records and it adds to the supercharging effect on the mix. A quite incredible 3hrs of techno - taking us till 5am. Left and got a cab home. James and I went for a walk through ibiza town to find food. Almost noone about - strange. Slept till 10am - rubbish! Could have done with more but got up and went out anyway. Walked to the old town, drank coffee, tried to sleep, went over to san antonio to watch the sunset. Had some tea and a bit of cullys herbal cigarette - did me no favours and I had to leave. The last day (yesterday) was spent on talamanca beach which was delightful. Flight home went without incident, and I am off work today, so plan on doing washing and going climbing.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

We love sundays...

Last night was fine. I resent going to the same restaurant twice when I'm somewhere new to be honest, so it was with a bit of disappointment that I took the group to el faro in ibiza town. I have been at least twice before. But it is nice. Ibiza town has two tiers of restaurant - super bling expensive nice ones and paper napkin ones with photographs on the menus. Finding somewhere which suits all in a big group can be desparate, and I knew that they would have room and did staples for the less adventurous eaters, as well as fishy treats for those who want it. Disappointed by the food quaity to be honest. Was very expensive and although a nice setting, you are paying for that rather than quality food. I think my standards are higher than 5 years ago mind, so perhaps it was never that good.

Continued on to a bar in the harbour where we watched fireworks and drank more. Home about 0200. Alarms set for 8am. Drank plenty water.

All too soon it was time to get up. Felt really really bilious. Not a happy camper. Made cups of tea and headed out to get a taxi. The reason for such an unseasonally early start was the ticket requirement to be at space for 10am. Felt so dodgy all the way there. Nearly had to ask to be dropped off at the side of the road to be sick, but held it together. All the others seemed to be in a much better state. Don't know why I feel so bad, but I do (did). There's no queue and we get in the queue for security. Burly security man motions me to show hinm the contents of my bag, which contains beach essentials and evo magazine. He pulls this out and starts reading it! No further searching is conducted but we share an appreciation of the audi rs4 which in spite of the language barrier we agree is more understated and a better by than an m3. In the club its sparsely populated and there's only music indoors but its good music - deep proggy tech house played over a thrilling sound system. The timbre of the bass is stunning, deep throated and LOUD. I still feel sick. Make it to the toilets, where a power poo seems to lift my spirits. Head out and enjoy the music for another hour before getting a pass out and sacking it.

Eat a breakfast. Much better. Cully goes white at the mention of food and finds a bin to be sick in. Gaz takes a turn for the worse and makes a tactical retreat to the hotel. We push on to the beach where some intend on sleeping, but in the event - noone can. So, this is written from the beach, which is nice. The sun is out, there's a nice breeze, and I've been in the sea. Right, that's it for now. Gonna have a snooze then its disco party all night long... Ulp!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Bora bora turbo tanning.

Saturday started slowly. Must have been drunk last night. Felt stupid all day. General group slowness meant that it was 1200 before we managed to exit the hotel. Got the bus to playa d'en bossa where we have been ever since. Its years since I have been here and whilst there are some structural changes (new buildings and the like) its not really that different. So, much sun through the day today, there was a suggestion of pacha this evening, but with space at 10am and no artificial enhancements (for me anyway), I'm gonna go for dinner, have some beers and then get some sleep before the ruckus tomorrow.

Ibizarre 1

I'm drunk and I'm in ibiza. Been a long time. Flight terrible, got turned back 40 minutes out as stewardess ill. Wished I was james foley. Arrived at 1030 - should have been 730. Never mind.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

WORKing clasS hero

I should have been rubbish last night, so I'd planned either to have a very easy session at the board, or just to go to the works and get an easy circuit done. I wouldn't have climbed at all, but the Honey monster was going to the gym, so I had time. Its ages since I have had four days on, my fingers and arms felt tired, but once warmed up I felt ok. Some new problems on the barrel at the works which climbed well. Having dispatched those, I realised I had only one problem to do and I would have done everything on the comp wall. On completion of that I wondered if it would be possible to do all the problems on the comp wall in a session. Sam and I agreed that if I completed my goal I could have free entry for life and the keys to his car. By half six, the deed was done but as I already have free entry for life he made me a brew instead. Still waiting for the car keys.

I'm waiting for the gnome to make the brews and I'm scanning behind the counter for stuff to squirrel away when I clap eyes on this :

Ned 'freehally' graces the cover of climbing's worst magazine - Gravity. How Gravity is still in print I do not know. The quality of this publication is appalling. The pictures are out of focus, pixellated and poorly composed (not all of them), and it desperately needs proof reading.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

HommeZone - reunited...

The Honey monster works as a recycling officer for Tameside council, and from time to time opportunities arise for her to do some overtime, usually delivering leaflets or even distributing recycling bins. These opportunities seem to be really well paid and require little or no thought, so when they come up, she usually jumps at the chance. Last night was one of these opportunities, which I capitalised and went to Rubicon. I planned to warm up there and go to Cressbrook, but there was no wind and approx 16 degrees so figured it would be dingy and rubbish - stayed at Rubicon.
Bit of a reunion - first of all Ed Robinson (who doesnt count, as he never went away, but of course is now a fiance...) then Simon and Aaron. Its always a pleasure to catch up with people you havent seen for ages, but I do sometimes worry that I am gabbing too much when I should be climbing. This leads me to cut short my sentences or finish conversations as I feel I havent done enough climbing. Which is rude.
Ed has just been away to San Sebastian, and I am about to go away to Ibiza for five days. Its amazing that you honestly believe when you first climb after having even such a short time off that you will be rubbish, and you will have lost loads. Honestly, it stresses me out thinking that I will have to spend two weeks getting back to where I was when I get back from holiday! Obviously, this mini break in ibiza is too short to matter (I hope) but its on my mind when on holiday. I dont know how these people who take two months off a year cope to be honest - although some sport science thinking seems to suggest that its the way. Resting is the most important part of training and all that. TC used to say that I did too much and that I was overtraining. I argued it was allright for him as he had built his base level up so that he didnt have so much to do to improve, whilst I needed to put the effort in. Then in the last two years I definately do less, and I think I am climbing better for it. Then you hear about stuff like Rich Simpson doing two sessions in a day - 35 hours of climbing a week! So, I dont know what the answer is.
News on the school front : Seb sent out a mail saying that the council had carried out a fire assessment on the building on friday just gone. We dont know the results of this yet, but cynically it would appear the council have found a device with which to empty the building. Certainly it will not meet any sort of fire regulations, so it seems possible that the fire people will insist the building be closed as it presents a risk. At best, some sort of smoke alarm may be fitted. Discontent is growing amongst the campaigners as endless red tape and bureaucracy drags on. There is to be a meeting on the 14th to discuss the future. The three endpoints are :
1: Destroy the boards
2: Relocate (private)
3: Relocate (public - boards go to a wall)
Gavin makes an interesting argument; that the whole philosophy of the school in the first place was a collective of like minded individuals creating an elite training facility which would take standards to a new level. The boards themselves and location are, in effect, irrelevant. Certainly, there are lessons to be learnt, such as the nature of the holds, the angle and so on, but we shouldn't mourn the loss of the board itself - this is an opportunity to create afresh. I think some outcomes are assured. These are that the school as we know it is on borrowed time and that subs for members will likely go up if the board continues elsewhere.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Seasonal variation

Had a reasonable session at the board last night. Its a couple of degrees cooler which makes quite a difference. For the first morning in months, the car registered single figure temperatures on the way to work. Will soon be the time for the brown rocks again. Remember the rules : May to september - white rocks remember, October to April - brown rocks for thrills. Ok, I made that up and its shit, but its early and I couldn't think of anything better.

Yesterdays polish dilemma was solved by him not turning up. I do still feel I am being a bit of a twat by thinking I dont want to let him in, and it is a good thing that he is trying to arrange to come with a member, but there's something about it all that irks me. I was chatting about it to a friend yesterday who likened it thus : "If you went into your local and started leaning over the bar and filling your pintglass yourself you'd expect to be not welcome again!". I think this hits the nail on the head. Its not that I have something against Dave, its that I know he has been letting himself in, and thats pissed me off. Anyway, I wonder if rman reads this and has told him? If you are reading rman - I cant believe I have been burnt off by you. When I catch you I am going to break your legs.

Anyway, I am now going to make a statement of something obvious, but that I was struck to appreciate last night. Before going to the board I made a strong coffee. I made sure I ate a couple of hours before, I didnt eat too much and I had slept ok. My session started strong but started to tail off early. I had nothing with me, so I couldnt supplement to get it back. You need to graze during training rather than load up before if you are to avoid crashing.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Pre Ibiza training schedule

"Without doubt the best conditions at the tor this year" said Nige to Adam on Saturday morning whilst pacing about a deserted Raven Tor. Where was I when these freakish cold near perfect conditions were being experienced? Nursing a hangover in Sheffield. Well done. Consider it training for the coming weekend in Ibiza. Sister came over on friday night and we went for dinner at Catch. Nice evening - got drunk. Saturday started slowly with a walk a long the top of Curbar, cut down into the woods at froggatt and back to curbar gap. Finished with tea and cake in Calver cross roads where, whilst waiting in the queue minding my own business, a large blond polish man bounded over and demanded to know when I was next going to the school...

It was Polish Dave. He wanted to know whether he could come to the School as my guest. I said he could - but I didn't explain that there is a two guests per member rule. Climbing at the board is part training, part hanging out, the energy in the room is dependant on the people in it - overly competitive is not good, neither is too chilled. There's a mysterious mix of the right elements which can electrify a session. Part music, part banter, part collective psyche and in the right constituent parts has the effect of making you pull harder. Its not that I dont think I get negative energy off PD - I dont know him to judge what vibes he gives out, but the formula for a good session seems to have more success based on known quantities. Perhaps its that he has been sneaking in by himself thats p155ed me off and now I dont want to let him in legitimately. Gonna have to change the front door code.

It rained on Sunday so I took the monster to the Climbing works. Too hot in summer, too cold in winter - Ah well. Rounded the day off in the Rising Sun doing the quiz with a team of brainboxes. Dont know what the score was but managed to get in some more pre-Ibizarre training again - it all counts.

Britain's best bum doctor - Dr James Foley, has just been to the County with Lauren. Everyone's 'getting my GF into climbing' plans seem to be progressing apace. Paul B has been taking Natalie to the works, and she seems to be going well. Will this change the face of climbing in the future? will there be a team of girls roving about the crags competing with the boys? Will there be an all boys together backlash? On the subject of the County, there's some talk of a weekend there (presumably boys only) on the penultimate weekend in September. 22nd, 23rd? keen?

Plans for climbing this week are as follows : tonight was going to be all about the board. BUt the promise of Polish Dave and the current good conditions are making me think I want to go to the Tor. Coupled with which, Nige has just rung and suggested as much. So it might be the tor tonight. Ed says he is going to rubicon. Wednesday then might be the board night. Friday I fly to ibizarre, but not until 1500, so have chance for an early morning tor or board. depends how it goes tonight I suppose. Then I will be in ibiza until next tues. Wednesday I am off work, so I might go out then....

I am delighted to report that Ed 'The human pinching machine' / 'boom boom big guns' Robinson made the lovely Colette cry whilst on holiday somewhere spanish. No, he didnt show her his button mushroom collection - he proposed marriage. Presumably when he managed to catch her, she accepted his proposal (no doubt at gunpoint), so big props to those two.