roblog - Official Blog of Rob Hurvitz

31 Mar 2002 - 11:05:41 PM
The Mt. Si Chronicles, Part IV

Sorry to keep you all in suspense about the class hike up Mt. Si that happened yesterday. It's kind of anti-climactic, anyway.

Woke up way too early in order to get to Sim's by 6:30 am. Four of us carpooled to the trailhead, arriving around 7:45, in a light but steady rain. Sim and Chris (who drove) hit the trail right away in order to set some stuff up at top. My daypack contained all the required gear, which felt like less than 30 pounds. Maybe 25. There was no 30 pound pack enforcement, which I was somehow expecting, and that boosted my confidence. I went through the pack check, put on a few pieces of rain gear, and shut the back of Chris's well-worn Isuzu Trooper, locking my hiking poles inside. Oops.

I think I was the last student to leave the parking lot, and I forgot to check the time. The rain let up very early on, which was nice because I could then remove my rain jacket. I felt pretty good, actually, even without the hiking poles -- I finally bought a Camelbak hydration reservoir, which helped a huge amount, I think. The snow level on the trail was still around the 2.5 mile mark, and about half-way through the snowy section, I passed an instructor who had just put on her in-step crampons. She kindly let me borrow her hiking poles for the rest of the way to the top.

I'm not sure of the exact time I reached the top, and nobody seemed to be checking hiking times. So, I don't know how long it took me to hike up. Kind of anti-climactic.

There was still a lot of snow on top, but no visibility. Fortunately, though, there was no wind at all -- not even a breeze.

So, yeah, all in all, it was good. And I never want to hike Mt. Si again.

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28 Mar 2002 - 1:17:26 PM
Amid the flurry of hits my Updates from the Road pages have received from people searching for prostitutes and massage parlors in the far-flung reaches of the world, one came through from a search for "life size jar jar binks statue pepsi." I'm hoping it's unrelated to the prostitute/massage searches...
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27 Mar 2002 - 11:42:46 PM
I just realized that my pack was actually around 35 pounds for my last Mt. Si hike, instead of 30. That makes me feel a little better about my two hour twenty minute hiking time.

Also, a book update. I finally, finally, finally finished writing the first day of Jaipur. Two more long days in Jaipur to go, and then the last week should be relatively quick.

Wow -- three posts in one day. I need to get a life.

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27 Mar 2002 - 12:46:52 PM
For the past several months I've been wading my way through Roughing It, by Mark Twain. It just takes me a while to read Twain's travel books, I guess. It took me even longer to get through The Innocents Abroad. Anyway, here's a quote I quite like, from a chapter about Hawaiian temples:

There was a temple devoted to prayers for rain -- and with fine sagacity it was placed at a point so well up on the mountainside that if you prayed there twenty-four times a day for rain you would be likely to get it every time.

Living in Seattle may or may not have influenced my particular bias towards this quote...

There was, actually, another quote much earlier in the book that I loved, but that was pre-roblog and now I can't find it again. I didn't see it at TwainQuotes, either. Oh well.

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27 Mar 2002 - 11:00:50 AM
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been casually collecting the 50 State Quarters®. The other day I got a couple Tennessee quarters in change -- first time I'd seen that one. I still don't have Kentucky, and Ohio has just been issued. Yet another thing I'm behind on, but, then again, this is pretty low priority.

I got an email from my dad, in which he attached a jpeg of himself, and have decided to share it with my loyal readers (all two of you). If, by chance, you happen to run into him, feel free to say hi. He's friendly enough, but not quite as blurry in real life.

my dad
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25 Mar 2002 - 10:36:33 PM
The Mt. Si Chronicles, Part III

I hit Mt. Si once more, this time using Sim's hiking poles. They felt like they were making a big difference, but it still took me two hours and twenty minutes to get to the top. At the rate I'm going, I think I'll be ready for the class sometime this fall. Unfortunately, the official hike is this Saturday. Maybe when I get a Camelbak that'll take off another ten minutes. Oy.

I got a late start, too. Didn't start hiking until 3:00 pm and met a lot of people on the trail who were heading down. Reached the top, dumped out around 25 pounds of water, and headed downhill. Put on my headlamp about halfway down, and hiked the last two miles in darkness (okay, so there was a rising full moon, but it was mostly obscured by trees), following a little circle of light bobbing along the trail in front of me. Kind of like a will o' the wisp. Lesson learned: Headlamps are really handy.

The snow had retreated to the 2.5 mile marker, roughly, which was encouraging. Maybe by Saturday, it'll be up to the 3.5 mile marker -- it's supposed to be a warm week. The top, at least, ought to be free of snow.

Oh, I found my Swiss Army Knife. I took my old daypack, which has 50 billion pockets, and basically shook it upside down. Voila! The knife reappeared. My new daypack, by Serratus, has only a few pockets but 50 billion straps.

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23 Mar 2002 - 12:34:03 AM
My old officemate Alan Taylor just redesigned his website,, and added something called Luciferous Logolepsy (not for you verbophobes out there). LL's search functionality is pretty handy. Check it out.
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21 Mar 2002 - 10:21:02 PM
The Mt. Si Chronicles, Part II

I finally got back to Mt. Si today, this time with a 30 pound pack, and the hike to the top took me 2.5 hours. Aargh! I can probably shave off a few minutes by using hiking poles and also by finally getting one of those Camelbak things, but it's down to just over a week before the class hike.

There's been an unusual amount of snow around here this month, and Mt. Si was not unaffected by it. The snow level's down to the 1.5 mile mark of the trail, instead of the three mile mark on March 3rd. Tons of snow on top, and a fairly strong wind, although not enough to knock me off balance this time. I can't even imagine how snowy Mailbox Peak must be now -- the little mailbox at the top is probably covered up.

I got a bit of a late start this morning because I couldn't find my Swiss Army Knife, not that I really needed it for the hike. It wasn't where it should've been, though, and I spent way too much scouring my place looking for it. Never found it, either, although I never did check the freezer, which is where George Carlin once said should be the first place to check when looking for something.

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20 Mar 2002 - 3:24:36 PM
Weird. It's snowing in Seattle again.

Had lunch at Yea's Wok, which, despite being located in the nether regions of the eastside -- a strip mall in Newcastle -- is one of the best Chinese restaurants around here. My fortune cookie read: "You've got a way with words, maximize on it." My translation: "Finish your damn book."

So I'm going to take a refreshing walk through the snow to Vivace Roasteria and do some scribbling this afternoon. Yeah, I know, life is hard... :-)

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20 Mar 2002 - 12:12:56 AM
My lighthouse page got a hit via a Google search for "pretty pictures of lighthouses." That makes me happy. (My page came up #8, too.) I'll have to get some more lighthouse pics up. I've got heaps of them.
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19 Mar 2002 - 4:20:47 PM
The WAC's Basic Climbing Class starts tonight. We're supposed to have read the first three chapters of Mountaineering: the Freedom of the Hills, and I now have three hours left in which to read chapter three. It's been years and years since I've taken anything resembling a class, and yet my study habits haven't changed a bit.

After perusing pages and pages of blogstickers, I ended up creating ten of my own. I stuck them over there on the right. That's the latest news about my blog. Oh, I also wasted some time today coming up with a rather jaundiced looking smiley: In keeping with the basic design of this page, it's not very pretty, but I like to think it has that DIY edge going for it. Yeah, total DIY, baby. Well, maybe not. I'm not in the habit of using smileys, really, but it's nice to know one's there in case of an emergency.

Oh, one of the things I bought in Canada over the weekend was a spanking new pair of 5.10 Moccasyms. Can't wait to try 'em out.

Yeah, I guess I should go read chapter three.

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18 Mar 2002 - 2:10:09 PM
Another meta-post. My hat page has received a few hits via, a search engine I'd never heard of before. Apparently it's an image-based search -- if the page doesn't have any pretty pictures, it won't come up in its results. Guess I'll have to start adding random pictures here -- wouldn't want to deny the dittoheads the pleasures of my blog...
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18 Mar 2002 - 1:39:52 PM
Uh oh. I just stumbled across Blogstickerstm. This blogging thing is getting out of hand. And now I'm wasting my time trying to figure out which blogsticker I want to affix to the right column. Maybe I'll just make my own.
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17 Mar 2002 - 10:53:17 PM
A new winner in the most puzzling search result referrer: "google search: asian snuff stories -bottles -bottle -music" brought up my bookshelf. I'm not touching that one.
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15 Mar 2002 - 11:52:57 PM
Hey, I'm in Vancouver and decided to splurge on internet access. One loonie gets me ten minutes of geek time. So, I have five minutes left to babble away. Lucky you.

Um, yeah, not much to say, really. The hostel's very nice -- the private room is excellent, actually, although I'm not quite sure how to turn off the heat. It's got that sauna thing going. Got a recommendation for brunch tomorrow -- Sophie's on Arbutas and 4th. A very "local" thing to do, supposedly.

The dinner this evening was quite good, and I was pleasantly suprised to find out that I am, in fact, in the wedding party. I'll be the ketubah bearer. Pretty exciting. Oh yeah, I finally met Shari, the fiancée. She's very cool. I'd say more wonderful things about her, but my time is out.

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15 Mar 2002 - 11:07:29 AM
Where does Accuweather come up with there weather descriptions? Their current (as of 10:26 AM) description for Sunday is: Clouds and sun with a chance of snow or rain; cool. Thanks, Accuweather. (But then again, that's Seattle for you.)

The weather's looking promising for a Mt. Si hike on Monday, though, after I get back from Vancouver. I should have one of those nifty Camelbak hydration thingies by Monday. That ought to help me shave a few minutes off my Mt. Si hiking time. A pair of RoboTrousers would be useful, too.

It's going to be a busy morning. I need to frantically pack for the trip to Vancouver, and my old friend Eric, who I've known about three months longer than Jon, I think, will be flying in to Seattle and driving to Vancouver. On the way, he'll drop by and check out my condo. Which reminds me, I need to frantically pack...

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14 Mar 2002 - 10:27:27 PM
It's been sort of a frustrating week. I never got out to Mt. Si because I was hoping the weather would dry up a little, and I haven't done any writing on my book since last Saturday. Where does the time go?

I was planning to hit a café this evening and do some scribbling, but instead I ended up at REI, browsing through gear, checking out prices. I'll be up in Vancouver, BC, this weekend for my friend Jon's wedding, and will swing by MEC to see if there's much of an exchange rate discount. There's so much gear that I'd like to buy. Too bad I'm unemployed...

To save money on lodgings for the weekend, I decided to slum it at the Jericho Beach hostel, but I did splurge for a private room -- $55 Canadian a night. The hostel, as it turns out, is very close to the Brockhouse Restaurant, where the wedding will be held.

I've known Jon for 20 years or so, but I've never met his fiancée. Go figure. Anyway, it should be a fun weekend.

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14 Mar 2002 - 12:43:41 AM
Lots of little things... I saw David Kilgour (of The Clean) and Lambchop at the Croc this evening with Greg. David Kilgour was very cool, and Lambchop was fun but mellow.

I've been obsessing over my referrers the past week or so. My bookshelf has been getting a lot of hits from people searching for Bharati Mukherjee's short story "Orbiting" from her collection, The Middleman and Other Stories. My best guess is there's a college class or two that has read the story, and the students are looking for free literary analysis on the web. Instead, they've found my pages... (Most of the bookshelf hits, actually, seem to be from folks looking for literary analysis.)

About half of my CD shelf hits seem to be from people searching for actual CD shelving -- furniture, not a list of my music collection. The other half are searching to buy Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs audiophile recordings of various albums. MFSL went out of business several years ago, but according to their site, they're going to be releasing new stuff, which is wonderful news.

The most puzzling referrers, though, have been for my travel diaries. I've gotten hits from people searching for "vacancy in relaxing massage for men in london" and "body massage parlor of goa and their pictures". I hadn't realized my trips have been so... exotic.

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10 Mar 2002 - 11:45:57 PM
I scanned in three more lighthouse pictures today, two from Oregon and one from far northern California that I'd taken last October during my roadtrip to San Francisco for a friend's wedding. I also found two pictures of Indian lighthouses I'd scanned in last September, but for some reason I'd forgotten to update the page to list them. Go figure. Anyway. Enjoy.

Went to the Yet Another Book Club (YABC) meeting this evening. This is the third book club I've gone to in the past 2+ years. The first one I got roped into by a guy named Ion, who was leaving Seattle for the east coast. At his goodbye party, Ion persuaded me and some other guy to take his place in the book club "to uphold the mantle of masculinity." In my mind it's called the ex-Ion book club. The other guy never showed up to any of the meetings, but I've been a fairly regular participant, even though I keep meaning to quit. Next month. Yeah, that's it, next month I'll quit.

The second came about a month after the first. I found out about it from someone entirely different, mainly because he found out I'd already read the book (Geek Love) but also because it was the California Renegade Book Club (CRBC), and I happened to be a California renegade.

I went to a couple of the CRBC meetings, but then missed a couple, and the group was disorganized enough that my email got dropped from (or never made it onto) other members' mailing lists. I didn't pursue that matter. Oddly enough, I did get an email out of the blue about a year later inviting me to a meeting, but I didn't bother with it.

Which brings me back to the YABC. I found out about it almost at random, and the meeting went really well, I thought. So I'll stick with it for a few more meetings, at least, to see how it goes.

Yeah, I think this entry's long enough. Good night.

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10 Mar 2002 - 1:34:38 AM
Went to Jack Straw Productions' Studio 1 for the Popstar Assassins' Live Room recording this evening, and it was the best set I've seen them play. Then went to the Croc where PSA played yet again. I think I've had my fill of PSA for a while now.

I've been meaning to scan in more lighthouse pictures. Soon, soon. I've started looking at referring URLs coming in and found out my lighthouse page has gotten a few hits via various search engines. I guess I have to start being respectable now...

I also finished All the Names this morning, but haven't updated my bookshelf page, yet. So much to do, so much to do.

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8 Mar 2002 - 6:02:33 PM
The weather ended up being pretty nice, if a bit chilly, but I spent too much time dilly-dallying around my place to get out to Mt. Si. It's about a six hour commitment, driving out there, hiking, driving back. I did go to the gym, though, and spent half an hour on an exercise bike. So, yeah, it was something.
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7 Mar 2002 - 11:20:47 PM
Hey, it's snowing in Seattle! This is the first time I've seen it snow here in March. I walked home from the café amid all the fat flakes floating down around me. Caught a few on my tongue. It's times like these I'm glad I have a covered parking space.

The weather's not looking particularly agreeable for hiking Mt. Si tomorrow, although there'd be a good chance of having the trail all to myself. Maybe Monday. I'll spend some time on that Climber thingamabob instead...

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7 Mar 2002 - 1:47:39 PM
Here's a quote from José Saramago's All the Names I quite like:

It would be too simple to say, as do some stubborn optimists, that the space designated for the dead obviously begins where the space for the living ends, and vice versa, perhaps adding that, in the outside world, things are arranged in a similar fashion, given that, apart from exceptional events, albeit not that exceptional, such as natural disasters or wars, you don't normally see the dead mingling in the street with the living.

I'm more than half way through the book, and, yeah, I'm liking it.

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6 Mar 2002 - 11:56:38 PM
Well, a little over a page done today, plus some editing of yesterday's page. At this rate, I might get through the first day of Jaipur sometime next week.

The day's excitement, though, was about my friend Bill's comic strip project, Unshelved. It's "gone viral," according to Bill. The strip's about a smart-alecky but lovable librarian named Dewey and his wacky adventures in the library (I'm not very good at catchy synopses...). Anyway, it got mentioned on a couple days ago and then spread out from there to dozens of librarian web sites and blogs. His traffic's gone way up.

I spent some time at the Vertical World gym this evening, doing a little climbing and using the Climber (basically a stairmaster). I'm tentatively planning to hike Mt. Si again this Friday, see if I can get my time down some more. This getting in shape thing is hard...

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5 Mar 2002 - 10:16:07 PM
Hmm, well, I wrote another page of my book today. I'm currently working on the Jaipur chapter, and I'm about a third of the way through the first day. When I finally get through Jaipur, I'll only have three more chapters to go: Agra, Delhi, and Post-India. Can't wait until I'm done scribbling it all out. Then I'll just have to type it all in.

I started working on it last June, so, yeah, it's taking much longer than I wanted. One page is roughly 300 words, though, which isn't a very impressive writing pace. I really should be spending more time scribbling. Then again, that applies to lots of things -- I really should be spending more time getting in shape for the climbing class, or reading, or looking for a job, etc.

It is progressing, however, no matter how slowly, and I'll be very happy once it's done. In the meantime, this blog is a nifty new way for me to complain about it. Thanks for listening -- I feel much better now.

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4 Mar 2002 - 1:21:13 PM
I just heard on the radio that my friend Tim's band Popstar Assassins will be appearing this Saturday (3/9) on KEXP's program The Live Room. PA has been getting some press over the past year, which is pretty cool. Maybe they'll be the next Harvey Danger. (That's a joke, Tim!)
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3 Mar 2002 - 10:06:42 PM
The Mt. Si Chronicles, Part I

I hiked Mt. Si today. I hiked Mt. Si about two weeks ago, as well. Why? Well, I'm trying to get in shape for a climbing class I signed up for through the Washington Alpine Club. One of the class requirements is to be able to hike to the top of Mt. Si with a 30 pound pack in two hours.

Two weeks ago, I went with my friend Jon and carried a 20 pound pack. It took me three hours and wiped me out. Last week I hiked up Mailbox Peak with three other unemployed guys, and I staggered to the top also in three hours, but it was a much harder hike than Si. Today I carried a 25 pound pack and reached the top in two and a half hours. So I'm getting there.

It was amazing the difference on Si between two weeks ago and today. The amount of snow on top was noticeably less, and there wasn't even a breeze. Two weeks ago there was a gale force wind blowing over the top -- it knocked me off-balance several times. Today there were guys hanging out with their shirts off, sunning themselves. It's one of those Seattle things, I guess: You hike four miles up a mountain in order to sunbathe. I forgot to pack along my tanning mirror, though. Oh well. Maybe next time.

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1 Mar 2002 - 6:06:57 PM
Well, I've had a pretty good day so far. Had lunch at Olympic Korean BBQ in Bellevue with some ex-dscm folks (no dscm link, sorry). It was a very decent Korean restaurant -- in Bellevue, of all places. The regular menu was a little pricy, but the lunch specials were very reasonable.

Back in Seattle, I found out I'd received my tax refund -- direct deposit gets two thumbs up from me. Then I hung out at Vivace Café, where I scribbled out another page of my book. In case you don't know, I'm writing a book about my trip to India last year. It's something to do while I'm unemployed -- keeps me out of trouble. I'll probably write more about my book and/or cafés in a later blog.

So, yeah, it's been a pretty good day.

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