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On 12/3/2018 at 1:05 PM, NeverThatBored said:

Hey, following and sending good vibes your way!


Thanks for the vibes and welcome to my challenge, @NeverThatBored!



On 12/3/2018 at 2:03 PM, Raxie said:

Not sure how I initially missed an SL challenge but yay I found you! Following :)


Hope everything turns out as best it can with your hand!


Hey, @Raxie!! Glad you found me and thanks for the well wishes!



On 12/6/2018 at 11:16 AM, RES said:



Glad to hear the fingers will be fully functioning soon :) 


Hi, @RES, you're still way ahead of me. I still need to officially write up my challenge goals!

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Speaking of challenge and challenge goals, I had this elaborate ACRONYM/Tarot/Fire Fit/Truck Porn/TaiChi/Tuxedo Cat + whole lotta other stuff challenge planned, but I am ending up doing more of a slightly expanded and enhanced version of last challenge. So this one is going to be the ramp up to the "elaborate ACRONYM/Tarot/Fire Fit/Truck Porn/TaiChi/Tuxedo Cat + whole lotta other stuff" challenge!


As part of that I have upped my fruit/veggie intake from tracking and aiming for 5 per day average for the last challenge, to 5 as my daily minimum (at least 90% 0f the time). When I reach a 10 day rolling average of 6 per day, that will be come the new minimum, and so on up to 8. Once I hit that milestone, I'll decide If I want to go to 9 or 10.


Data driven goal notch ups, irrespective of challenge dates–a new experiment.


@rowan  The stair laps are not as bad as they sound. I'm starting easy and increasing my intensity and duration very gradually. I work in the second story of a two story building, and the stairwell is only about 30 feet away from my desk. I use the stairs as an active break at least three times per day. So far, I've worked up from an easy pace of 1 or 2 laps, down and back up, for a total of 5 or 6. Yesterday I hit 10 (3 x 3) + 1, and am going at a slightly brisker pace now. I work in the office 4 days per week and this week my total was 35 total laps. Working my way up gradually towards 60. I'll re-evaluate at that point and see if I want to make any changes. 


The stair laps are one part of my long term "Adventure of a Lifetime" goal that I started on last challenge. I'm being very mysterious about it as it's a big one and I have no idea how I am going to fit it into my life anytime soon–time-wise or financially. Also, I am estimating it will be a couple of years before I am physically and mentally ready. But I have a plan and a workout buddy with the same goal. I'm working up the courage to declare my commitment publicly.


Here are a couple shots from our first official preparation hike this past Saturday:



View north towards Telegraph Pass in the South Mountain Desert Preserve near Phoenix



View south and east on the Desert Classic Trail, which was our main route, about 2 miles of small hills and desert washes.



Turnaround point to go back to trailhead, looking north.


Other Goals

Vegetarian goal - not at my 90% by January 1 goal yet, running about 80%. Here's the typical batch that goes to work–breakfast is a berry/protein smoothie, lunch is either a salad-in-a-jar with cheese crumbles added or a green smoothie or whole wheat pita and hummus, snack of mixed nuts. 





I wanted to get in on the "Advent of Code" craze, but may have to settle for a "Twelve Days of Christmas" code challenge. Things have been very crazy at work and my finger, while gradually getting better, still swells up every day with use. Sore, but getting a tiny bit more movement each day. That's a win.

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On 12/9/2018 at 10:38 AM, Jakkals said:


@Jakkals - Hiiiiiii!!!!!!


What a link...wow! Made me think of something I read years ago, (James Hillman I if I remember correctly?) where he said something along the lines of the hero's journey for a woman was taken in reverse order from a man's hero's journey. (He at least did not dispute that women have a hero's journey, too.)


For men, they have to overcome their Warrior-oriented ego in order to transform and become a Magician, and women have to overcome their Martyr-oriented ego in order to transform into a Magician. A very culturally influenced view of course, but then we are all heavily conditioned by the expectations of the society around us, so I do see a lot of his view at work in most people's lives. Mine, included. 



11 hours ago, DarK_RaideR said:

Not sure if I want to laugh or cry reading that.


@DarK_Raider - My thoughts, exactly! I wanted to do both at the same time!


1 hour ago, RES said:



@RES  - I was driving home from work about an hour ago and the thought went through my mind, "I'm tired of living my life in fear of what other people will think."


Well, that was liberating. There are many areas where I really don't care, but it has taken me a long time and a lot of effort to overcome much of my conditioning (as above!). I've been hesitating putting my big goal out there for two main reasons - fear of failing and not wanting to have to explain or justify my choices to friends and family. 


I got home and opened up my laptop to see your post (and the Yoda quote in your signature!) and thought, "What am I waiting for? If I can't tell my fellow nerds, who can I tell?"


Going to go find a suitable photo or two...I'll be back shortly. 

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Sooooo, I'm back. :biggrin-new:




Last April, I was looking for something to read that was about as far away from computers as I could get. I found it while browsing Amazon. A hiking book with the Fool on it's cover caught my eye... Of course.




Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail


What the heck? The writing in the sample was alright and my interest was piqued. I expected a relaxing read and not much else, definitely not to get bitten by the thru-hiking bug.


A few months ago, I told my best friend what was on my mind and found that she has wanted to do the same thing for years! We made a pact to train towards it, starting with local hikes, then going to section hikes of the Arizona Trail (including the Grand Canyon), which stretches from the the Arizona/Mexico border to the Utah state line. Then we can figure out how to either section hike the PCT, or go big and do the 2,650 thru-hike.




I've always liked to hike and get out in the backcountry, and some of my best memories are of family camping trips out into some of the very same terrain the PCT goes through, but I'd kind of given up on it. Too old, too fat, bad leg, blah, blah, blah. And, believe me, my brain has thrown all that and more at me over the last 8 months. 





The above shot of a trail on Mt. Laguna in San Diego County, CA, looks so very much like places near Flagstaff, it makes me doubly homesick! This area, and the nearby Anza-Borrego desert, are where I would go to find solace during some very trying times. I ditched college classes, not to go surfing like so many other of my fellow students, but to head east, alone, out into the wildest places I could find. It feels like completing a circle of some sort. A spiral? Definitely a Fool's Journey, as opposed to a fool's journey.


What has taken hold of my imagination, as well, has been a long neglected desire to see the Sierra Nevada Mountains again. To revisit scenes from childhood vacations with loved ones now gone, yes, and to walk in the footsteps of one of my heroes, John Muir.



Famed documentary film maker Ken Burns recently said,

As we got to know him… he [John Muir] ascended to the pantheon of the highest individuals in our country;

I’m talking about the level of Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, and Thomas Jefferson,

and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jackie Robinson —

people who have had a transformational effect on who we are.”



Maybe the fact that I was also taking a botanical illustration class at the same time I was reading the above book, might have contributed to it, too. Or any of a dozen other things. I've concocted an elaborate set of reasons why such a hike would or would not be a good idea and played those against each other. It's an unfair fight, as on some deep level it feels so right. 





That said, there are a many, many obstacles, uncertainties, and fears to overcome. I truly do not know if I will be able to physically do it. All I know is that it is there to do. 


In the meantime, I am reading blogs and books, planning gear and food and other logistics, studying, and conditioning. I got to 11 stair laps today and my leg did fine. My friend and I are cheering each other on with every tiny step we take towards our goal.

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@RES - Yes, put it on your bucket list! Some of the most awesome scenery to be found anywhere.


@Jakkals - I read Wild soon after the book I mentioned above. I have kind of mixed feelings about it. It was interesting and has a certain emotional power to it, given Strayed's grappling with grief while on the trail. However, I read it at a time where I was much more interested in trail details and how to prepare for and deal with the rigors of such a hike.


One thing that kind of amazes me, as I read various accounts of people's treks, is how little most people describe the scenery and how little they know about the environments they are passing through. A few pictures - rattlesnakes, fires, and snow get a lot of attention, as do bears and elevation gains - and a few oohs and aahs. That's about it for nature. Beyond that, most writers focus on the people they meet or travel with and their personal physical difficulties and reactions to the rigors of trail life. Hardly anyone goes into the natural history of such an amazing hike, or the spiritual aspects of the journey. I must really be a nature nerd/mystic. I find those omissions to be a major gap. It does leave something for me to do, though... :D


7 fruits and veggies, and only 9 stair laps today. I was tired and much more focused on hand rehab today. Last night was a major turning point in my finger recovery. I was finally able to actively grip the steering wheel with my index finger, and on the way home from work used the stop and go traffic to alternately squeeze-grip the wheel and extend my finger a hundred or so times. Today I was doing a lot of mousing, so I took my squeezee ball and did grips and rolls and presses whenever I could. The increase in ROM is really noticeable today! I can now type the r, t, f, and g keys, if somewhat slowly. It won't be long before I can hit the rest.

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Aaaaand, it is still Tuesday here in Arizona. Which means...


Truck Porn Tuesday!!!!

Water on the fire




Brush trucks are small, but mighty!





This little guy doesn't carry much water, though. 


(Ford F-550XL 4x4 DRW cab and chassis; Ford Power Stroke 6.7-liter 330-hp engine; heavy-duty aluminum flatbed body; Darley 1.5 AGE pump with 20-hp Honda gas engine; Pro Poly 400-gallon polypropylene skid tank; 10-gallon foam cell; Trident Foamate around-the-pump foam system; Alexis custom stainless steel brush guard with integrated waterway; Akron Forestry front turret monitor.)





Notice the hose reel and tank in the top right of the picture on the back of a flat bed brush truck. There are several hose hookups on the lower left of the reel with handles to control the water flow. These would generally not be used unless there was some sort of additional water supply, whether pumped from a natural source or drawn from a "drop tank" or "porta-tank" filled by a tender (what most people would call a "tanker" - more on that in another post) as part of water shuttle operations in rural areas. 


But add in the little guy's best buddy, you've got a firefighting dream team...




Here you see two engines doing essentially the same thing that a brush truck and a tender could be doing. One brings water and dumps it in the portable tank for the other to draft from and deliver to the fire via hose lines.




There are numerous variations on the theme. In rural areas, hydrants are a rarity and water must often be brought from some distance away for both structure and wildland fire operations.


On structure fires, multiple tenders can drop tanks and shuttle back and forth from a water source to supply several stationary engines. On big wildland fires, where operations are highly mobile and the emphasis is on constructing containment lines, there will be lines of tenders coming in and filling multiple drop tanks. And if the road is wide enough, a line in the opposite direction, on the other side of the row of tanks, of brush trucks filling up before heading out to the fire line. 


Couldn't find any good wildland lineups, but here are a couple from trainings put on by a company called "Got Big Water."






And then there are other ways to deliver water...



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On 12/11/2018 at 12:59 AM, ShadowLion said:

"What am I waiting for? If I can't tell my fellow nerds, who can I tell?"

Exactly! Proud of you for aiming to brave that trail. Pretty sure I remember a documentary about a long distance runner lady that did it.


12 hours ago, ShadowLion said:

Truck Porn Tuesday!!!!

Gosh, every episode makes me feel like a 4 year old again! I mean, I was never really into fire trucks in the first place...

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On 12/12/2018 at 7:07 AM, DarK_RaideR said:

Exactly! Proud of you for aiming to brave that trail. Pretty sure I remember a documentary about a long distance runner lady that did it.


Gosh, every episode makes me feel like a 4 year old again! I mean, I was never really into fire trucks in the first place...


There have been some amazing times made by trail runners, averaging between 30 - 40 miles per day! I will be going MUCH slower - Ha!


It's good to feel like a 4 year old, on a regular basis! Along those lines, doing something just for fun...


I've had a cold the last 2 days and I'm taking a mulligan for Wednesday and Thursday on exercise and fruits/veggies. No appetite, little energy. Blergh. Off and on, I did have enough energy to play around with a little challenge from IBM CODERS. If you complete their AI/machine learning/Watson tutorial, you get entered into a drawing to win one of these:




And the project they had was to use machine learning to use drone photos of burn zones in the WUI (Wildland-Urban Interface - remember that term from the previous Truck Porn Tuesday?) to distinguish and count burned residences from intact residences. While it would be fun to win a drone, I was glad to have an easy, quick intro to their machine learning services and with an interesting project that has got me thinking of other possibilities.


One of the ideas I have been tossing around for awhile is how to get scenic views (as in hikes) into VR and some of the things I've found on the web are 360 degree photos and videos made (using a programming language I already know - yay for jump starts!), some taken by drone. Hmmmm... 

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Truck Porn Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Evening


I mentioned in the last Truck Porn Tuesday that there are water shuttles and staging areas where trucks and operations personnel will congregate. Here's a pretty typical example. Below you can see an engine drafting water from a portable tank, and an array of brush trucks, command vehicles and a variety of additional support vehicles. This picture is from an incident near Sedalia, Colorado, USA. An engine at the drop tank, 2 of the smaller, Type 5 or 6 brush trucks and a larger (probably a Type 3) truck on the left; another Type 6 brush truck partly visible in the upper right. (More on the engine typing system next time!)


Working your way from the center forward, there is a command vehicle, an ambulance, probably  a law enforcement vehicle in there, a couple SUVs for firefighters and gear, with another possible law enforcement vehicle hidden behind the support vehicle in the lower right corner. Looks like they may be getting some food and/or coffee there.


If you look in the middle of the picture, at the two guys standing in the road talking, you can tell who just came off the line and is giving an update to another guy who is just coming on shift. That, or maybe he belongs with the command vehicle behind him. He's not geared up and that's a mighty bright brush shirt. Isn't sun-bleached yet. :P





Learn how to identify the 6 different types of wildland fire vehicles in a future edition of Truck Porn Tuesday...

And see if you can figure out what type of engine is in this picture from the Mendocino Complex Fire in California

and the likely reason why they are positioned where they are in relation to the fire.



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Though the minis look like fun, I'm continuing with elements of this prep/prequel challenge here for now.


I'm taking PTO and having a retreat from Solstice to New Year's (with a brief break for Christmas with family) as part of my 60th year reboot. My personal "Twelve Days of  Nerdiness" is giving me the chance to trial run some challenge (and life) ideas and do some long range planning for my bigger goals, two of which run from now until about April 20, 2020. 


And, a little early, because I couldn't resist. Something for Christmas Eve...


Truck Porn Tuesday Xmas Eve


An aerial unit...







His aerial unit, including "reindeer"



Pretty flashy...



It may not be as flashy, but a brush truck can have fun, too








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