Monday, December 25, 2006

A Very lonely Christmas

Well, this is the first time I've spent Christmas completely alone.  I mean, for those of you who know why I did, you know I had good reasons and good intentions.... but it still sucked.  I wanted to go skiing but even that didn't happen because it was Cimg7180
pouring where I wanted to go.  My cousins had plans in Seattle so I couldn't make it up there and I didn't even have enough gas in my truck to drive anywhere because all the gas stations were closed on Christmas Eve last night as I barely made it home running on fumes.  My advisor invited me to her place but I would have felt super uncomfortable and I probably would have felt completely stupid as I always do when I'm around her.  So... I ordered Chinese and just hung out all day... Oh well, atleast I know that it can't get any worse than this! 

I definitely plan on doing something fun for New Years!


SkiBowl on Christmas Eve

Today I drove up to SkiBowl to meet up with Aaron Hartz and his brother Gerald.  I got there before them and took a few runs before catching up with them at the bottom lift.  The snow was pretty crunchy off the trails and difficult to ski but once I paired up with the two local boys we were able to find some softer, deeper snow inCimg7185
the woods.   It's great to ski with people who grew up on the mountain who also ski as crazy as I do!  After a few runs we headed to the terrain park.  It wasn't a big one but it had a small kicker at the top and some banked c-rails that we all worked on for a while.  That trail actually ended up being one of my favorite on the mountain.  It was short but fun and easy.  Hopefully they will add some more rails and jumps to it as the season progresses.

At around 1pm the two brothers wanted to stop at the warming hut for some coffee, which of course I changed to beers for the holiday!  I asked for the darkest beer the girl had and when I got halfway through it I realized it was a 16oz of 7.8%, so I had a Cimg7186
small buzz going when I hit the slopes again.  The funniest part of the warming hut was when two guys picked up magazines above the fireplace of the roaring fire.  The one guy had 'Snowboarding' while the other guy..... 'Vanity Fair'????  I said, "what?  you have to be kidding me.... who the hell brought that up to a ski warming hut???"  Everyone turned around and got a good kick out of it and I think the guy was a bit embarassed to blantantly be caught reading that instead of the snowboarding and skiing magazines around.

We took a few more runs then ended up at the bar at the bottom for a couple rounds of drinks before the boys took off.  Somehow we got onto the subject of old school WWF wrestling... Does anyone reading this remember the match between Hulk Hogan and Macho Man during like the 2nd Wrestlemania... because I do... and as a kid itCimg7187
was one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen.  I don't watch that crap anymore of course because it has gotten completely out of control but back in the day when it was first getting popular... man it was cool.   Then somehow Brooke Hogan came up...and after thinking about I said to the guys in a drunken state, "No, seriously... I'd date the girl just to say that I was buddies with her dad Hulk Hogan!, come on... what better story can you have then telling your buddies you just got back from barbequeing with the hulk!" 

Hahaha.... anyway.... The guys eventually left and I waited around to see what the weather report was going to be for Christmas because I had all my gear to stay overnight in Government camp but after dinner and a beer I heard it was going to pour all night on Mt. Hood so I booked it home.  Atleast I got to ski in my Santa hat all day!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well, I got Tagged

Last night my buddy Brendan came over to watch Miami Vice with me and have a few bCimg7148rewskies.  It was all well and great until he got up to leave around 1:30am and I heard him laughing hysterically.  Yeah... my truck got wacked!  With toilette paper! 
When I got back from visiting home last week I heard a story at Bombs cafe over a few drinks that my buddies Chris Holm & Aaron Hartz's place was hit the tuesday I was at home by a bunch of girls.  The two assumed Anna did it but she didn't.  Although she did know who did it. 

Anna had bailed on us for the movie so of course Brendan and I assumed she must be in on it.... until I got an early morning call from her this morning saying that herCimg7151 Beetle got tagged overnight as well!  So.... Now I am at a complete loss as to who did
this.  I find it funny that Brendan's truck was left alone during the ordeal and that Anna and I were specifically targeted.  I doubt it was malicious and frankly I find it hilarious, although it sucked for 10 minutes picking up soaked 1-ply toilet paper off of rough pavement!  Still pretty funny.

So... no clue who did it but if I find out REVENGE WILL BE SWEET AND TWO-FOLD. 


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saving a Great White Shark

    A typicalGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_012 day in my life.... saving a Great White Shark.  Anna and I decided we wanted to get out of Corvallis today and head to the Coast to check out the ocean.  We're friggin' oceanographers and haven't seen the ocean in months.  Anna had a bit
of a hangover from a very rough night prior so we stopped at a restaurant named "Mo's"to get her some fries and a coke to kill it.  By the time we left the restaurant it was about 2pm so we decided to go for the short hike down the beach at South Beach State Park.

    According to our book on coastal hikes it was a 2 mile round trip down the beach.  P1010010
When we first hit the sand we discovered really long kelp that had been washed ashore.  I had not seen anything like it on the beaches of the Atlantic so I had a fun time swingin' it around.  They look like really long whips and would also be painful if one was to hit you.  They are also hollow inside and would make great beer bongs if so inclined... haha.  As usual with things I find from the ocean I gave them a bite.... didn't taste so good but they did smell like pumpkins oddly enough.
    We continued down the beach to where we could see two objects up ahead - a seagull staring at some sort of flopping animal.  I instantly could tell by the way the Great_white_shark_rescue_121606_003
animal was flopping around that it was a shark.  Sharks are more muscular and thus can't flip around as violently as normal fish when on dry land.  They simply have too much muscle and can't flex as far or as fast.  The Gull obviously didn't know what to make of the thing and was bright enough to stand 10 feet back to avoid it.  When we got closer I amazed to see that it was a baby GREAT WHITE SHARK!  It was very much still alive (despite a couple who walked by and said it was a gonner). P1010014
Anna, always caring, decided that we must save the shark.  We tried tossing it into the waves but it was too shallow and the shark couldn't swim very far.  So.... I decided to pick it up by the tail and walk it a mile down the shore to a long rock jetty that projected out to the ocean.  The shark was about 3.5 feet long and about 30 to 35 pounds so it wasn't very easy carrying it that way.  Plus, I kept looking down to make sure it didn't flex and take a chunk out of my calf which was about 5 inches from it's head.  When we were nearly to the jetty the shark suddenly twisted itself so that it's face was looking right up at me (must have taken a lot of it's strength seing that it was dangling by its tail).  The damn thing stared up at me for several seconds chomping it's jaws filled with razor sharp teeth as if taunting me.  It was really freaky to see because it looked exactly like a killer, just a hell of a lot smaller. 
    When we got to the jetty we waited until a big wave came in and started to go out again creating an off shore rip current that we tossed the shark into.  The rip currentGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_014
essentially followed the jetty all the way into the deeper water soGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_013
we knew the shark would be carried out to where it needed to be.  It quickly dissapeared under the water and we didn't see it again.  Anna and I climbed on the rocks of the jetty a bit to make sure it didn't get stuck in any of the rocks but we couldn't find it so hopefully it made it.  Hopefully I have good karma with great white sharks now.  I told him to tell his buddies to leave me alone when I begin to surf off the shore later this year.  Oregon is known for the presence of great whites in the waters offshore so hopefully now I'll be protected by my new killer buddy. 
    We hung out a little bit longer until the sun began to set and watched some boats Great_white_shark_rescue_121606_021
come in after a day of fishing on rough seas, and I do mean rough seas.  The breakers off shore had to still be 10-20 feet high from all the rough weather we've been getting.  I ended up taking a 30-40 foot long piece of kelp home with me.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but maybe Kenzie will have some fun with it when he and Jason get back from Christams with their family. 

Jon Ellinger (Aka Danger, Aka shark rescuer).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Home for a visit

Went home for a visit this past weekend.  It was short but was really nice to see family (all my family).  Traveling sucked as always.  On the way home I was stuck next to a huge football sized guy who crushed me up against the window and I had to deal with a few nasty Greyhound employees again.  That company sucks!  It was really great to see my famly again.  When I left I wasn't sure if I'd see my father again so it was exciting to hang out with again at home.  I tried to pick them up a DVD player but after I had everything hooked up it didn't work.  I swear my parents home is cursed for electronics! 

I got to spend a whole day with my girl Emily.  When I first moved out here I was pretty much overcome with excitement about graduate school and new friends and new experiences but as time wore on I thought more and more of her.  What I thought would be a fun summer relationship that I would be able to leave behind whenEmily_121106_001
I got here hasn't happened.  I think about her all the time and she thinks of me a lot too.  Being home with her really proved to me how much she means to me.  I love her and it's hard being in the situation that we are in.  Life is not easy as I have learned.  But if it is meant to be it will be.  I'm not asking her to wait for me and I'm sure she isn't asking that of me either, but to be honest I have no time for a relationship out here in Oregon anyways.  And any girl I meet out here I would have to compare to her and right now I don't think anyone could meet her standards.  I miss her a lot and I can't wait until she comes out to visit me.  The picture of us in front of her tree was taken about 20 minutes before I shaved my Oregon beard off. 

Tuesday night Emily and I met up with Rick, Mike, Mike Lomanto, Jess & Josh and myEmily_121106_003
friend Jen Miller from work at Wheatfields for some drinks.  They wanted to know all about my experiences in Oregon and I was happy to tell them all.  Hopefully some of them will be able to visit me while I'm out here.  Although they aren't really into the outdoors Emily_121106_004
(with the big exception of Jess) I think they would have a blast out here.  Jess dyed her hair blonder and looks wonderful.  Josh is a lucky guy.  Rick is still Rick (no classification for him) and Mike Lomanto has found himself a hot new girlfriend from work.  We all had a good time chatting before Emily had to bring me home to my parents.  It was so hard to say goodbye to her!  It was great trip home.... but way to short!

Anna and Brendan were gracious enough to pick me up from the airport in Portland and bring me back to Corvallis so I treated them to dinner (and a few tales).  Now back to research.... blah!


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Dreams of Everest

    So I've been watching a series on the Discovery Channel about an expedition to Everest for the past week.  I feel as if I'm watching my dream in front of me.  Some mountaineers in recent years look at Everest with disgust because of the drama that has unfolded on it, but I still look at it as one of, if not, my greatest challenges to overcome.  I don't know if there can be any feeling like that of standing on top of the world and getting there under you're own power.   After I get my PhD from here I plan to climb it, and every day leading up to my PhD I plan to train for it, both mentally and physically.  I still have a lot to learn about mountaineering but I feel I am in the perfect spot to perfect my skills with Hood and Rainier literally in my backyard. 
    I have read so much about Everest from books to movies, to personal accounts, newspaper articles, etc etc, and actually watching in detail in this series as men struggle up the mountain is amazing.  Some fail, some make it but from my own climbing experiences (which are minor compared to 8,000 meter peaks) I can still relate to how they feel.  I've turned around on climbs before and I've struggled under enormous pain as well to reach some summits.  But they are nothing compared to what people go through climbing Everest. 
    I have the utmost respect for Everest.  When I climb it I will know when to turn around and when to continue upward.  I will never challenge it, because when you challenge it you die.  I will summit Everest only when I feel the mountain will allow me to.  And in regards to recent climbs and mountaineering ethics I will not leave someone who is visibly in trouble, to get to the summit for my own selfish personal reasons.  Human life is more important than any mountain, even Everest. 
    Anyway, that is my 2 cents on one of my greatest dreams.  I will climb Everest, even if it means selling my truck, or living with my parents for a year to save rent or mortgage payments.  I've climbed over 200 mountains in the Northeast, and Western U.S.  It is a passion that will only die when my legs fail me.  Next spring there will hopefully be posts of me on top of Rainier and next year possibly either McKinley in Alaska or Kilamanjaro in Africa. 


Saturday, December 2, 2006

Parties on Van Buren

Van_buren_parties_12106_002Well, last night was pretty much the last time I touch booze untilVan_buren_parties_12106_004
I'm done with Finals and it was a doozy.  Brendan and I headed over to Logan's "Ugly Sweater Party" after
having a few drinks at my place first.  It was a good showing there and everyone (but Brendan and I) had on really really ugly sweaters.  I think Logan took the prize with the pitiful looking Christmas kitty on his. 

Logan's house is amazing.  There are all sorts of neat gadgets and nicknack's Van_buren_parties_12106_012everywhere, including two giant elk antlers laying near the doorVan_buren_parties_12106_003
which Levi found recently.  It's an eclectic gathering of objects from all over that are intriguing and entertaining.  Logan pulled out a brass bowl which makes a unique humming sound when rubbed with a clothed wand around it's circumference.  I of course had to play it while wearing the retro aviator glasses I also found on the shelf. 

After hangin' out a bit at Logan's we all moved down the street a couple blocks to our friend James' party extravoganza with 3 live bands and a ton of people.  There we met up with Ashley, Aaron and a few other friends.  Hartz and I walked across the Van_buren_parties_12106_014
street to the liqour store (very convenient) and picked up a coupleVan_buren_parties_12106_017
Forty's and some tall Pabst to wash them down with.  When we got back to the party the cops stopped by for a little bit but then left us alone thanks to some quick talking by one of the housemates.  I had a very interesting talk with my friend Eva and Aaron in which I found out a little too much about each of them.  Hahaha (see pic).  I ended up staying late and playing foosbal with a girl named Emily and her ex-boyfriend Levi (super cool kid and fantastic at Ultimate) until about 3 in the morning.  I don't know what I was thinking and I was pretty drunk, so it was a stumble to get home.  I'm not that hungover today thankfully and I'm glad I got that out of my system because today, tomorow and all next week I'll be living with my face buried in text books!  Wish me luck!