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The Story of Me


Last Christmas my wonderful wife gave me a National Geographic DNA kit. (On our trip to Morocco, one of our travel companions had completed this process and I was fascinated.) Today my results came in. For the most part, if you know me, the results are not too surprising – lots of northern European action. But there are two points that are interesting. One, I am 18% southwest Asian, which any number other than zero would have shocked me. Two, I am 2.8% Neanderthal. Most people have somewhere between 1% and 4% Neaderthal DNA, and the average person has 2.1%. So now I have a built in excuse when I do something stupid! “I’m just a caveman…”

If you’d like to see the full infographic of my results, click here.

Here they’ve compared my DNA to a German and a Brit:



The Taj Majal

Blogging to you live(ish) from Ocotillo Wells. I write in praise of my Coleman brand, cabin style tent – The Taj Majal (called so as it is a excessively oversized testimate to my love for my wife). Over the five years we’ve been using this tent it has stood up to the elements. It has shunned the rain, blocked the sun, withstood the snow… And last night it stood up to a fierce, nasty wind storm. Granted, it was not a quiet night, and we and all our gear are now covered in a layer of desert sand. But she stood mightely and she stood bravely.

Blogged to you from my iPhone.

Save Trestles…AGAIN!

Thanks for all your help. However, UC Irvine’s Bren Center did NOT play host to the Commerce Department’s public hearing on the 241 Toll Road on July 25th. They feared that the turnout from supporters of San Onofre State Beach and Trestles would overwhelm the facilities at UCI, estimating that over 10,000 of you would show up. So the meeting has been moved. More on that in a bit.  For now…

The Feds Need to Hear from YOU!
Federal public comment is open right now, and will be open until Oct 2.

The Surfrider Foundation has an action alert asking the Secretary of Commerce to uphold the Coastal Commission decision here: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/tollroadappeal0408. If you have already completed this, their system will catch it.

And now for the moved meeting:


WHO: Surfrider Foundation activists, surfers, hikers and everyone who opposes the extension of the 241 Toll Road. It is critical that toll road opponents register to speak and attend the hearing to show their strong support for San Onofre State Beach.

WHAT: The U.S. Secretary of Commerce rescheduled public hearing regarding the controversial 241 Toll road extension.

WHEN: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:30 AM – 8:30 PM

WHERE: O’Brien Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Del Mar, CA 92014

For more information and updates visit SaveTrestles.org.

Even Eddie Vedder thinks it’s a good idea.


Casper's Wilderness Pics

At long last – pictures from the Casper’s Wilderness camping trip!

View Sweet Pics

Caspers Wilderness Park is an 8,000 acre protected wilderness preserve nestled among the river terraces and sandstone canyons of the western coastal Santa Ana Mountains. The park’s many fertile valleys are overtly complemented by specimen groves of native Coastal Live Oak and magnificent stands of California Sycamore. These areas are further accentuated by seasonal wildflower displays and running streams. Wildlife is abundant and can be readily viewed from any of the parks numerous trails.

Caspers Wilderness Park
33401 Ortega Hwy.( P. O. Box 395)
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 923-2210


EXTREME! Unicycles?

Mountain Unicycling (MUni)Give man a sport and he’ll inevitably take it to it’s extreme, pay-per-view conclusion. This holds true even for unicycling. I was out hiking in December and saw the craziest thing. (Yes, December. I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time.) So, I’m hiking downhill and I hear a tell-tale biker call “on your left” come from behind me. I expect to see a mountain biker, but instead find a unicycler barreling down the trail. He’s hoping over rocks, bouncing off trunks, pedaling like a fiend, and then he ate it right in front of me. I raced home and quickly Googled me some answers.

How does on offroad unicycle differ from a standard unicycle? Well offroad unicycles or “mountain unicycles” or “MUnis” tend to have a super knobby tire (like a mountain bike) and a handbreak (located under the seat). Perhaps the pedals and frame are a bit stronger, but I didn’t read that far into it. What did take my fancy was that there were clubs and fests devoted to this (emerging?) sport. And it seems to be most popular in Canada (eh).

For instance, check out the Moab MUniFest. (It’s weird how their sport is the way of the future, but their website is circa 1994.)

Wish to make fun? Well, talk to the Unipsychos of Calgary!


Crazed and Possibly Homeless Camper

We camped last weekend with some friends in Caspers Wilderness. We were a party of eight (and it was a party, I can tell you), so we needed two camp sites. When I made the reservations, I asked for two adjoining sites. And indeed I did get two sites next to each other, but they were separated by a brier patch of beaver tail cactus a la WWI trench warfare barbed wire. (We tried to get another site that was more “adjoining” but the rangers said all the sites were booked for the weekend. So whoever had site 38, but never showed and never cancelled – THANKS A LOT, YOU TURDS!)

Friday night was fine and fun. But in the late afternoon of Saturday, this crazy lady showed up at the site next to ours and claimed all she could see as her site, which left us with essentially a parking spot and a rocky patch (enough for one tent) next to the parking spot. She was adamant about having “site 35 for the next 14 days.” Essentially she was squatting.

Very diplomatically, Travis asked a ranger to come over and mediate the situation rather than argue. The ranger indicated that we were entitled to what we were using. But the problem was that we were trying to reason with crazy. You can’t reason with crazy. Luckily we had plenty of room on out other site and we made it work (a la the Tim Gunn talking bobble-head). And by the next morning the only thing on the site was one single tent. Just plain nutty.

But I know that crazy lady is still at site 35 in the Live Oak Campground at Caspers Wilderness until 28 March, 2008. Site 35 in Live Oak. I’m thinking of leaving a menacing looking lawn gnome in front of her tent. Though I am not sure if it is better to leave the gnome facing the tent for her to see when she wakes up in the morning, or standing at the door facing out for her to find when she returns from her crazy, homeless errands. I also feel bad for anyone else who has site 8 reserved for the next two weeks.

Camp Fire

Warning: Don’t touch this thing.

Blister Ball Thingy


The Forlorn Camper

My WTC group is currently camping in the Sierras just west of Bishop.  I caught a most unfortunate and untimely cold that prevented my going.  I have a brand new sleeping bag I was pumped to try out on this trip too.  It is a Marmot “Never Summer” that I got on super sale from REI for $107!

Instead I have taken up temporary residence on the couch and have come to learn that my favorite food is Ricola. Though I seem to only have claim to two-thirds of the couch now. I recently got up to use the restroom only to find my dog, The Nudge, curled up on the last cushion citing “Squater’s Rights.”

I keep looking at the clock and wondering what the group is doing “right now.”  Right now, they should be on their way back from a short hike to due at camp by 5pm for dinner and happy hour.

Snow Camp 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Actually this isn’t much of a resolution, nor is it resolutions plural. This is more of a goal for the year that probably won’t interest you much.Last year I completed the Wilderness Travel Course offered by the Sierra Club‘s Angeles Chapter. (In the last few years I’ve really become a fan of hiking and camping.) The course was super fun and I recommend it to anyone who has even a fleeting interest in hiking and camping.While completing WTC I learned about other sub-groups within the Sierra Club that group people together with similar interests – groups for photographers, kayakers, mountaineers, skiers, dog lovers and so on.One such group is called the Hundred Peaks Section. As you may have guessed from the name, this group is comprised of people who collect peaks. The group has a constantly updating list of peaks in Southern California (currently about 275) for hikers to summit. Once you’ve completed 25 peaks you may be admitted into the group. And once you hit 100 peaks you get a sweet patch and the satisfaction of knowing that you bagged 100 Southern Californian peaks.So my goal for this year is to get up to the requisite 25 peaks for admittance into the group. So far I already have 7 completed. Follow up goals of getting 100 peaks and finally all 275 are also on the agenda, but obviously I won’t complete those by this time next year.Let’s hope my knees hold up!