Monday, December 25, 2006


So this idea was a brainchild of my brother and mine. We had recently watched the Sony bouncy ball ad, which inspired a way to one-up the present we gave my nephews and nieces last year (about 300 feet of blue bubble wrap).

So here you go. This is my first attempt to use Windows Movie Maker, and I had around 3 minutes to fill, and only about 1:20 worth of raw footage to work with. All in all, I thought it looked OK, for a hack job attempt at making a video.

Yeah, Christmas is a lot more fun when there are kids involved.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Does I look smarter?

'Cause I is. I just finished my first half of law school. I can't tell you how it feels to be able to say that. I went out on easily one of my worst notes by writing a pretty lousy exam answer. And unlike my last post, this time I mean that it was pretty crappy. I had no idea what the question was asking, so I just started barfing up everything I knew on the subject, and hoped that most of it stuck. Nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that you studied your brains out for the last four months, only to watch it all slip through your fingers in three hours. I hate finals.

Anyway, I've learned enough to know that I won't do myself any favors by worrying about it now. Can't do anything about it any more.

So, yeah. I'm done with the first half. I have a shload of papers to grade before I take off, but other than that, I have the next month off. Wow does that feel good! See lots of yous guys in a couple of days!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Final Numero Uno in the books

So I just finished my Evidence final. Final Numero Uno. I'm not convinced I did all that great. I would love to tell you all the reasons that I think I didn't do well, but it's complicated. But, I think I can sum it up. Here's a shot of me after my professor took one look at my exam.

I can handle the dunce cap. I mean, heavens know I wore it enough through grade school. But the sailor outfit, complete with knickerbockers and knee-high socks? Come on. Let a guy keep his dignity.

Actually, I don't think I did all that badly. Everyone thinks they did terribly. So if they're right, I just have to do less terribly than them, and I'll be fine. So here's hoping everyone else was stupider than I was when they wrote theirs.

Next up: Con Law! YEAH!!!

Actually, the only really good thing I can think to say at this moment is that one week from now, I will officially be 1/2 of the way done with law school.

(Update: OK, I decided to edit this post b/c I didn't like signing on to my own blog to that kind of a greeting. Just a bit unsightly).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

One for the ages.

33-31. BYU WINS!!

I'm not going to lie. I felt like I might throw up when Utah took the lead by 4 with 1:19 left. I mean, it would take an epic collapse of their defense to let this one slip through their fingers, right? Give Beck credit. That was an amazing drive, and an unbelievable throw. That had to be a 40 yard throw across his body while he was running the other way. You can't teach that.

What a finish. That was one for the ages.

Better luck next year, chumps. Let me know when you're done licking your wounds. I'm anxious to hear your excuses.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

On we go, to vanquish the foe!

It's been 5 years since I've been able to run my mouth about BYU beating the Utes, so there's quite a bit built up. So I thought I'd get at least a little bit of an early start. You chumps are gonna die.

Don't worry though, I hear that the Amway "Hey, We Want To Sponsor a Bowl Game Too" Bowl is looking for an eligible team. Keep your fingers crossed.

On another note, my computer is back from having the cancer. For those of you who don't know, my hard drive decided it would be funny to take a crap on me a few weeks before the semester ended. I narrowly avoided losing all this semester's work. Like a genius, I hadn't been backing up faithfully. But I've learned from my mistake, and yesterday went out and bought a ridiculously huge external hard drive. I wonder how long it's going to take me to fill up half of a terabyte...

Oh yeah, UTAH SUCKS!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TSA made me do disgusting things

So I just flew back from Utah on Sunday. When I unpacked my bags on Monday morning, I found a nice little card from the TSA, ever so courteously telling me that my bags had been inspected. I didn't think anything of it, as I'm used to having the TSA poke me, prod me, make me take my clothes off in public, shoot puffs of air at me, wave weird looking magical wands at me, and so on.

As I pulled out the ziploc that had my toiletries in it to brush my teeth, I noticed that there was a hole in the baggie. I didn't think anything of it, so I went to brush my teeth. As I started to brush my teeth, I realized, "That's not what my toothbrush normally tastes like!" Apparently my toothbrush had fallen out of the bag and sat on my waders, which were still damp from fishing a few days before, which had infused stank wader smell/taste into my toothbrush. These waders are 6+ years old now, and any of you who fish know what old waders smell like. Can you say tom cat?

So if any of you are in the market for a fairly new toothbrush, let me know. I'll give you a good deal.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Next best thing (not really)

I was supposed to go fishing today. But the forecast was calling for 2+ inches of rain in the area we were going to fish, so we decided to scrap the trip. Sucks too, because I had been planning this trip for three weeks now.

So in lieu of the huge fish I was destined to catch today, I thought I'd post a project I've been working on in class for a few weeks now. It's also kind of a shout out to anyone from the Africa program that still might be checking my blog from time to time. Thought you might get a kick out of it.

But don't be too impressed. It's the only thing I know how to draw.

Friday, October 06, 2006

School is back in session

Prior to coming to New York, I had 6+ year streak going. That's how long it had been since I went fishing without catching at least one fish. I don't care how unimpressed by that other people are, I think that's pretty impressive. Last year in December I went fishing in Pulaski, fished the entire day and didn't catch a thing. All I had to show for the day were feet that were so unbelievably cold that it still hurt to walk on them a few hours later. Can't be good for you, but if that's what it takes to catch a steelhead, I'm game.

So today I went fishing on the Ausable River in the Adirondacks. It was gorgeous up there, and I have to admit, some of the Adirondacks almost approximate what a real mountain is. Anyway, the river was gorgeous, though wading it was pretty tricky. --I pulled one of the most athletic moves in the history of sport fishing today to avoid falling in, and avoid breaking my fly rod, all in the same move. I wish I had it on tape. You would have been impressed, trust me.

Anyway, my point is that New York rivers have been kicking my trash. Between the two fish I caught today, I caught about 11 inches of fish. Sad, really. It's like learning to fish all over again out here, only I have this stupid "school" thing hanging over my head, keeping me from doing the fishing I want to do. Makes it hard to cut off the learning curve, you know?

This is my buddy Carter sneaking up on what proved to be another monstrous 6.5 inch brown.

Anyway, I thought I would post a few shots that show a gorgeous New England fall day. You really can't beat the falls out here. It's nature's way of being nice to you because it knows what it's about to do to you with the coming winter.

So, yeah. That was today. I stood in cold water all day, and didn't think about school, law, or anything of the sort for a full day. Fantastic day.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A dish best served cold.


Being the only BYU grad at my school, I drew a lot of heat last year for BYU's struggles, as Mendenhall began the process of digging the program out of the abyss left by the prior regime. I can't tell you how good it felt to watch BYU throttle the vaunted TCU on both sides of the ball last night.

The poetic justice wasn't lost on me either. One of the first wins in TCU's 13-game winning streak came last year when quality MWC officiating ruled that, in OT, TCU's running back had broken the plane of the endzone before the ball came lose, giving them a touchdown. (BYU recovered the fumble in the end zone, which would have ended the game, if ruled a fumble). If you haven't seen this picture by now, this picture should show you why I'm still a little bitter:

So it felt VERY good to watch the Cougs end what never should have been that long of a winning streak to begin with.

Oh, one more thing...

Utah sucks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The highlight of my day


Some of you may remember a couple of my lame goals from last year. The first one was to use a Bic rollerball pen from start to finish. I accomplished that before finishing the semester. The other one was to go through law school without buying a highlighter. Well, as I found out, they only have the BarBri table during first semester, so in spring semester, my formidable stock pile began shrinking, instead of growing. I was down to my last two as of Monday. In actual fact, I had fully planned on giving up on my goal and buying highlighters soon. Really, the only thing that stopped me from doing so was procrastination. It was a sad realization, but I simply needed to go buy highlighters.

But then, out of nowhere, today I get a text message from a buddy, telling me that the BarBri table was set up, selling courses to 1L's. This is a very good thing because it means highlighters and free mini candy bars. Just like that, I'm back in the game! I took a total of 6 today (I gave one to a friend that needed one). I have a different strategy this year, so I'm going to amass a pile to be reckoned with.

It's kind of sad, really, when I think about it. I'm paying an unholy amount of money for these reviews (I may have to take out a separate loan just to pay for the review sessions, no lie) to help me pass the bar exam a couple of years from now, and I'm feeling like I pulled one over on them by taking probably $20 worth of highlighters through the courseo of my lawschool career. Stay tuned folks, because you're witnessing the birth of a negotiating genius...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

No nerds here.

OK, so since my last post, I've gotten a little feedback from a few people who don't have the spine to leave their opinion on my blog, so they email me instead. Let me say this very clearly: SPACE CAMP IS NOT NERDY!

As I mentioned to a friend (with horribly misguided opinons), no self-respecting kid who ever saw the movie came away NOT wanting to go to Space Camp. Where else are you going to get to eat french fries cut like the space shuttle, ride a centrifuge that makes you almost puke up the freeze-dried ice cream you ate at lunch? Nerdy? Pffft. I choose not to dignify some statements by responding to them.

But the responses I've received led me to blow off school work for a minute tonight and look through my binder. Here are a couple of our projects we were working on during the week I was there:

I'm not sure why I was so concerned with burns covering a large part of the body. I had probably just finished a first aid merit badge, or something; I don't know. But don't worry: Dr. Young had it all locked down.

Five years or so should do it, right? It's OK if it's not enough though. You'll note we had a contingency plan.

This one was my favorite:

In all fairness, our counselor (not a mormon) suggested we put the bit about the mormons in there. We weren't going to do it, but he encouraged us. It was interesting though, because it gave me my first taste of people giving me grief about my religion. Quite a few of the kids from other groups, who had all been cool to us up until we presented our project to the larger group, refused to talk to us after that, including this really cute girl (her name was Lisa, and she was from Tennessee, and she had a HOT accent) that I kinda dug. Later, when we were launching our rockets, one kid wouldn't let me look at the grasshopper he was stuffing into his model rocket (it wasn't even the kind with the payload bay for shooting insects into the sky either; he was just kind of cramming the thing in the middle of the parachute) because he told me the grasshopper didn't like mormons. Stupid grasshopper. Must have been bitter for what our seagulls did to his cousins.

The most ironic part was that a couple of our group weren't even mormon, but thought the idea was cool anyway, so they caught all the flack that we did for no reason.

--Come to think of it, why were the non-mormons so OK with blasting us into space? Wait a minute...!

So, yeah. In addition to being one of the coolest weeks of the first 12 years of my life, here are some other reasons why it was cool:
  • I got to ride a plane for the first time in my life.

  • I got to run on the horizontal people-mover escalator things in O'Hare Airport, annoying the ever-loving crap out of countless people trying to use them how they were meant to be used.

  • I got to see a huge part of Chicago lose power at once from the air as we took off.

  • I bought a T-shirt for my mom that she STILL wears when she gardens. That's got to be one of the toughest T-shirts in the history of T-shirts b/c that thing still looks brand new.

  • I was in Space Camp, y'all, Space Camp. Seriously, how many of you can say that?

  • Yeah. It rocked. Nothing anyone says to the contrary can change that.

    So all you nerds (you know who you are) can go play Magic, The Gathering, or go to a Star Trek convention or something, and leave me alone about the cool things I've done in my life.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    I have a desk!

    OK, I have a riddle: What do you get when you combine a generous grant from the Brent D. and Janet R. scholarship fund, 9 hours of assembly time that I did not have this weekend, a drill, hammer, and a couple of cuss words? A desk that I can actually feel like a student while sitting in front of, that's what! Check it out in all its majesty. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty confident that I'm a little bit smarter just for having it in my room

    Having a desk means a couple of things for me:

    1) I can finally unpack all of my stuff from the boxes its been sitting in since I sold my condo in May, 2005.
    2) My fly tying stuff is back out in the open, where it rightfully belongs. Not that it will get used any more this year than it did last year, but it's the principle of it.
    3) I had to unpack those boxes, and I was reminded what a sentimental pack rat I am. You wouldn't believe the stuff I found when I unpacked these boxes. Here's a sampling:
    3a) My binder from Space Camp in Huntsvill, Alabama. Yes, I went to Space Camp approximately 16 years ago, and I still have the binder, a polaroid of me in a space suit, and the picture I took of a counselor there (I also got his autograph) because our counselor told us he was Mike Tyson. He didn't look a thing like Mike Tyson. The similarities were that he was black, and he had a gap in his teeth. Other than that, they didn't look a thing alike. But because I was very trusting at that age, and having grown up in Provo, could count the number of black people I had seen to that point in my life on my hands and feet, I thought, "Wow, the T.V. really does make people look different. After all, our counselor certainly wouldn't lie to us..." and took a picture of the dude and got his autograph.

    3b) A regular sized cassette tape and a microcassette tape. I have no idea what is on these tapes, but I'm pretty sure I made them while I was a missionary. Because I no longer own a tape player, I can't find out what is on them, but for some reason, I can't make myself throw them away.

    3c)About 8 old binocular lense cleaning rags. Hey, you never know when you might need 8 soft rags to clean optics.

    3d) Speaker wall mounts for speakers I no longer own.

    3e) TONS of letters people wrote me on my mission. Most of these are from people I haven't heard from since then, bt I still would feel rude if I threw them away.

    The list goes on... Meanwhile, I'm still stuck with a ton of clutter, and a small apartment that seriously lacks closet space for putting such things. It's driving me crazy b/c I hate having lots of stuff filling up floor space. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and throw it all away, but you never know when someone might ask me a few questions about the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters, and I would hate to be without my only reference book on the subject.

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Live Big.

    I'm just not sure there's anything I can add to this.

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Star Struck

    So I was just up at Sundance to watch a concert. I was walking up to the ampitheater with my parents when I noticed Ben Stiller and his wife standing in front of us. We were trying to play it cool, because that's what we do in our family, and not stare, or act like gushing morons seeing a movie star for the first time. Or at least, I like to think that's the case. The truth of it is that we were trying to play it cool, but we all rubbernecked at one point or another. At one point, my dad turned around to look at them again, and then turned back around and said, "Huh. He's not that big of a guy, is he?" Nothing too bad about that I guess, except for the fact that I'm fairly confident that they heard him say it. Good one, dad. Good one.

    It made me stop and think though. I'm glad I'm not a celebrity. Stuff like that would have to get old. I mean, I'm in the limelight enough as is for being unbelievably gorgeous. Imagine if I not only had that attention, but the attention of everyone wanting to look at me because I was a star, and not simply because I'm as good looking as I am. I just don't think I could handle it.

    Believe me, when you look as good as this, life is much rougher than you might think.

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Back in the U.S.A.

    OK, so I totally loved Africa, but I was realizing the other day that it's good to be home. Here's a list of things I miss and don't miss.

    -Being the only white guy around.
    -Getting to see incredible new places and things, and meeting new people.
    -Having nothing to do and all day to do it while in a foreign country.
    -Going on cool safaris every week.
    -The people.
    -Not having a cell phone in my pocket.
    -All the incredible friends I made with the other students in the program.

    Don't miss:
    -Garbage burning in the streets everywhere.
    -The lack of vehicle emissions standards.
    -Being treated like I'm rich and stupid because I'm white.
    -The crisis of conscience you get when you have a dirt-poor 9-year-old beg you for money, but you know that s/he'll just buy super glue to huff with any money you give him/her.
    -Catty in-fighting between some of the girls in our program.
    -Being on the other side of the world as my friends and family.
    -Malaria medication.

    So there you have it. Great to be back. I think it was the most fun summer I've ever had. I highly recommend going to a foreign country with a group of incredible people. --Particularly Kenya. If you get the chance, jump all over it.

    Friday, July 28, 2006


    WARNING: This blog entry contains graphic pictures of awesome stuff, including blood and things dying. Don't look at them if you don't want to see cute animals getting killed by other cute animals.

    But first things first. I just got back from the Masai Mara national park for a two-day safari. Here's how it all went down:

    Right now the great migration is going on. The zebras started a few weeks ago, and are still moving through the area, and are currently being joined by the buffalo. This is pretty impressive to see, because there are something like 250,000 wildebeast moving through the area right now. That almost makes up for how ugly they are (but now quite). There are still tens of thousands of zebras around as well.

    We got there in time for the evening game drive on Wednesday night. We were able to find a lioness and a cub. They're beautiful and everything, but they don't make for exciting viewing in the evening. We watched them sit there and yawn for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, there were about 50,000 tourists just like this one surrounding them, so it was difficult to get a decent picture of them without a van behind them. I did manage to get this one though.

    That was about all we saw that evening. The next morning, we got a sluggish start. Our guides told us we didn't need to get going until 8:00. I'm still not sure why they did that, but nobody complained because it meant we got to sleep, and considering that we just finished finals, nobody complained much. Unfortunately, the big predators do most of their hunting in the morning. So we missed the prime part of the day.

    We did spot a bunch of vultures circling around, so we headed over. On the way, our driver spotted the cheetahs. There were three of them, and they still had blood on their faces. They just kind of hung out there before walking right past our vans. It was pretty cool to see how little fear they had of getting close to the vans.

    This turned out to be a lot cooler of a picture than I thought it might be. Just goes to show that you never know which ones are going to be the really cool ones.

    We were headed to the River Mara, where the wildebeast cross every morning. Owing to our late start, and our van bending an axle on a bump, we got to the river after the wildebeast had crossed it for the day. That was unfortunate because there are a lot of crocodiles in the river, and they take out wildebeast fairly regularly there, and I was really, really hoping to see one of those ugly suckers get taken down. So we missed all that action. But we did see about 40 hippos there.

    There are a couple of points of interest. One, the hippos. Two, the prolific amount of bubbles coming up about 1.5 meters behind the head of the hippo. Fortunately nobody lit a match then. It could have been catastrophic. The other cool thing is the two crocodiles behind the hippos sunning themselves. The more obvious one was probably around 12 feet long. The one that looks like a log was huge. They didn't move a bit the whole time, so we never got to see how long the big one was, but it had to be around 18-20 feet long. It was amazing. I would have loved to see one of those chomp a wildebeast. Oh well...

    At this point, we were in the middle of a very hot day, and the animals don't move around much when it's hot, so we headed back to eat lunch while the animals were lying down to get out of the sun, and come back out in the evening when they're more active. This marked the river crossing. I thought it was kind of a cool shot.

    This is what happens if you put sunscreen on, and then stand up in a safari vehicle on a dusty road behind another vehicle.

    This one is one of my most prized photographs from the whole summer. It's of a guy we named Herman the German. He had a blossoming spikey mullet. It was choice. I thought it was funny, so I decided to take a picture of him as our van drivers below us were talking to each other. What I didn't anticipate was my flash going off in his face. He gave me a dirty look after taking the picture, and everyone in our van laughed.

    Later on, we caught up to a couple of males hanging out on a huge rock outcropping. It was awesome to sit and watch them, but it was overcast, and nearing twilight, and we were looking into the sun, so it was difficult to get the light to cooperate with us. I managed to get a couple of OK photos, but nothing to scream about.

    There were killer skylines everywhere you looked. It was seriously amazing.

    So the next morning, we got out and on the road at 6:30. Some of our group had to catch a plane later on that afternoon, so we didn't have a lot of time to deal with, but it was a last ditch effort to see something get killed. We saw a ton of buffalo, but no word of anything getting killed. Then, as our driver was heading in to take the people to the airport, a call came in on the CB, and he flipped around and started driving like a mad man. He didn't tell us what was going on, but when he drove probably 45 miles an hour over a wash board road, I figured there was something worth seeing.

    This was the first thing I saw when I got there. There were about 15 lions that I saw in total. The older lionesses had wounded the zebra, and were letting the younger lions hone their hunting skills on it. That allowed the zebra to stay standing for a lot longer than usual, and allowed us to see a kill in process.

    They had taken a pretty sizeable chunk out of its hind quarter. Half of the time the younger lions were trying to eat more than they were trying to kill it. Zebras have it rough. Particularly this one.

    Unfortunately, my battery died right after I took this photo. There was lots more cool stuff going on, but I didn't have any battery left to get it. I did get some decent video footage, and maybe once I'm back in the states with a decent intronet connection, I'll put the video on here. Until then, trust me when I say it was awesome.

    Also unfortunate was that we didn't have much time because of the people that had to catch their stupid flight. We did get to watch for about 10 minutes, but then we had to head back. I'm glad I got to see what I did see, but I was in the middle of seeing one of the coolest things I've ever seen, and had to leave before it got good. 5 minutes after we left, they took it down and finished the job. 10 minutes after that, they started hunting another zebra. I don't know if that hunt was succesful or not. But our other van did get to stay back because nobody in that van had to catch a flight. I kicked myself pretty hard because I started to get on the van without people for the airport first thing in the morning, but changed my mind at the last second. So they got a front row seat to a pride of lions finishing off a zebra, and starting to eat. To say I was a little jealous would be the understatement of the year.

    So those are some of the highlites. Unfortunately, those don't really begin to show how amazing of a plaze it really is. The only way to appreciate it is to see it yourself. So call your travel agent... Seriously though, if you get a chance, Masai Mara is NOT to be missed.

    So my Africa trip will be over in a few days. I'll be back in the states soon, and back to not having anything all that cool to blog about, unless you like hearing about what a second year law student is studying, in which case, consult professional help.

    I'll be seeing some of you soon.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Miscellaneous pictures

    So stupid school has really been cramping my African vacation. I was going to try to go to Cairo last weekend, but it didn't pan out. But, as a friend of mine put it, what's Egypt got anyway? A bunch of sand, a few pyramids, mummies, sewage problems and terrible attitude toward women. So I guess I really didn't miss out much.

    Also, finals are next week, so I have to do some studying. BORING!!

    Anyway, I figured I'd toss a few pictures on that none of you would have seen yet. Hope you enjoy.

    From my dhou trip in Lamu. The guy has to stand on the board to counterbalance, and keep the wind from blowing the sail boat over. It was good entertainment just watching the guy walk back and forth along the board.

    I took this one from the top floor of this guy's house in Lamu. I stopped to ask him a question, and the next thing I knew, he took me all over the place to help me get a few pictures. It kind of gives a feel for what it looked like there.

    How come donkeys always look depressed? Seriously, when they made up the Eeyore character, they hit it right on the head. Every one I saw looked like its mother had just died.

    This was taken in a clandestine fashion by my friend, Chris. This German fellow was walking across part of the glacier on the top of Kilimanjaro when he fell down and smacked his head on the ice. I'm probably lucky it didn't happen to me. I only blacked out once, and I caught myself before I hit my head on a rock. Anyway, Chris got the shot, and then the girls in our group got mad at him for taking the picture. They said something about being insensitive, or something; I don't remember. I almost tried to take a picture of him, but by the time I got there, there were too many people around him to get a picture. I'm sure if the guy saw this picture, he'd be glad someone took it.

    This is where we stayed the fourth night on the mountain. This spot was about 14,200 feet, or something like that. Blah blah blah--I'm like a slide show, but in written form, inflicting you with painful detail of everything going on in the shot.

    This one is definitely on my list of my favorite shots I've taken this whole trip.

    This was taken from the summit. I was in a total altitude-induced haze at this point. It was one of the weirdest feelings of my life. Kind of like coming out of anesthesia, but colder, and more wind. Anyway, that's another big mountain in the background (forgot what it's called). You can look at all of them on Google Earth. I checked it out the other day.

    That's Chris. I just liked how this shot turned out.

    And finally, I really struggled with whether or not I was going to post this shot. A few weeks ago, I let the beard go for a while, and it was getting out of control. I don't have a beard trimmer with me, so I decided to shave, but before I went to that extreme, I decided to see what the old molestache would look like on me. Judge for yourself:

    Seriously, that's just scary. If I had kids, I wouldn't have allowed myself to be around them until I shaved that thing off. It still gives me a full-body shiver when I look at that picture.

    OK kids, that's all for now. Next week I'll be watching the wildebeast migration. I guess there's a pretty good chance of us seeing a lion or crocodile, or something take a wildebeast down. I so hope I get to see that. So if things go well, the next post I throw on here will have some great blood and guts. Here's hoping...

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Dallas: 1 Kilimanjaro: 0.

    I climbed the world's tallest free-standing mountain.

    Heart palpitations, heavy breathing, halucinations, light headedness, sweating profusely, vertigo, difficulty thinking clearly, stumbling over words... No, I'm not talking about my first date with Jessica Stein, I'm talking about my assault on Kilimanjaro. --Or should I say Kilimanjaro's assault on me? Let me sum it up by saying this: Coolest...Climb...EVER!

    They say that even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so I figured I'd make the first step as dramatic as possible, especially considering that I wasn't sure if I would make it to the last step.

    We started out below the rain forest area. We hiked through a few villages, complete with kids coming out and asking us for candy. Before long, we got into the rain forest area, which felt incredible. Perfect temperature with a hint of humidity. It was even greener than New York. Even the trees have plants growing on them. At one point I counted 4 different types of plants growing on the branch of a tree.

    The first few days were actually not all that difficult. We made it to this camp site on the second day. We had our guide, Victor, up front setting the pace the whole way, and we pretty much poked along at a snail's pace. It was pretty aggravating for a while, but then I realized that I should probably listen to Victor, considering that he's the expert on the mountain and all. Anyway, the slow pace gave me lots of chances to take some cool pictures, and not be totally sore the next day, so I have no complaints.

    By the fourth day, we were at pretty serious altitude. We were around 14,200 feet above sea level, which was an all-time high for me. By the time we made it to this camp, one girl from our group had dropped out due to altitude sickness. She puked 20+ times during the night before, and that morning. This picture is at the camp, where someone from another group was also suffering from altitude sickness, so the guides pulled out some type of portable hyperbaric tent, or some such thing. Our guide tried to explain what it did, but I never understood him completely. I think it might just concentrate the oxygen enough to help someone recover from hypoxia. Anyway, they had the guy in there for about 4 hours before they let him out, and then they took him back down to lower altitude.

    The camping spots were incredible, as were the stars. You can see the Southern Cross in this shot, which comes to The Dally News courtesy of my friend, Brittany (Britney, Brittney, or however you spell it.)

    The fifth day is where the mountain really upped the ante. It got cold, and really windy, which meant that the Chacos had to come off, or face the possibility of frostbite. The hike to Kibo Hut was a lot rougher than it looked like it should be. We stayed the fifth night at Kibo Hut, which sits at 15,615 feet above sea level. (That's almost 2,100 feet higher than King's Peak, the highest peak in Utah, for those of you keeping score.) You can't really see Kibo Hut in this picture, but it's there. We had to walk across the saddle behind me to the foot of the mountain, which sounds pretty easy. But once we hit even the slightest uphill climb, we had to move at about .5 feet a second. It was the most frustrating thing ever, because if you moved any faster, you would feel like passing out almost instantly. I lost count of how many heart palpitations I had. The wind was also blowing at around 40 mph across the area, so it wasn't comfortable.

    We got into Kibo Hut at about 2:00. We took a break for a few hours, and during that time, the girl that they had to take down earlier due to altitude sickness came waltzing into camp. Apparently they got her down to the first camp, and she felt a lot better, so she talked the porters and the rangers into letting her try again. She climbed almost 7,000 vertical feet to catch back up to us before we attempted to summit. Pretty incredible, considering how difficult it was just to make it to the base of the mountain.

    Summit day actually started at 11:00 PM of the same day that we made it to Kibo Hut. We got up, ate a little, and then started to climb at midnight. It was well below freezing, and the higher we got, the worse the wind got. At about 1/3 of the way up, one of our party just collapsed without warning. He was pretty loopy, but came to quickly. He decided it would be best to head down b/c he was walking like he was drunk, and we were getting into the steep part of the mountain. Not long after he headed down, I started feeling vertigo pretty badly when I held still, and felt like my heart was going to explode when I was moving.

    We made it to Gilman's point, the first part of the rim of the crater you reach, by about 6:00, just as the sun was rising. Orion was just setting, which was cool, because it's my favorite constellation, and I haven't ever seen it in July before. It was also amazingly beautiful, which was a big bonus. Meanwhile, I was delerious, freezing, suffering from altitude sickness, and otherwise not in the mood for taking pictures, which is why once again, this photo is courtesy of Brittany. Like a jerk, I didn't take that many pictures from the top of the mountain. Fortunately I have friends who did.

    Pretty much everywhere you looked on the top of the mountain was gorgeous. I don't think there are too many other glaciers this close to the equator. Unfortunately, at the rate things appear to be going, this one might not be around too much longer. The glacier has been shrinking dramatically over the last 10 years. Most people attribute it to global warming.

    5895 meters = 19,453 feet. That's really high. So were the three porters who, while this picture was being taken, were smoking pot immediately to my left.

    When we got to the bottom of the mountain and left the national park, I found a fellow cougar. I thought it was awesome, especially when I noticed how stoned he was. Seriously, check out the dude's eyes. That made the moment all the cooler. Go cougs!

    So that is a glance at Kilimanjaro. It ruled. I've climbed it. You haven't.

    So my time in Africa is drawing to a close. Not too many adventures ahead of me, and then I'll be back to having a lame blog. But in the meantime, I've got one more cool trip for sure in a few weeks, and possibly a trip to Cairo, Egypt in the meantime. As usual, I'll keep you posted.
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