Friday, February 24, 2012

A little of everything (una mica de tot)

A friend on the rocks

Strange ironic winter this is...Just when the cold finally arrived for a couple of weeks, bringing the un-hoped-for good friction to the project, i hurt my shoulder.  Just when i recover from the shoulder and get psyched for the project again, my skin gives way to bloody meat.  Unhelpful body, temperatures, and humidity going over the roof force me to digest the patience and humility pill, while contemplating (defeat) the possibility of climbing the project next year.  Oh well, maybe March will be colder, and maybe i will miraculously get stronger, or maybe like all the other mortals i will have to call it quits this time and look for another project for the spring time.  Not that there are few options.


In the meantime, between injuries and skin destruction, my journey of self-discovery continues, between empty spaces and full-blown inspiration, sunshine and icicles of short days and unending nights.  On the good side, i have started to enjoy running much more, as a relaxant rather than an obligation.  Having finally bought a map of my mountain, i have been exploring new places close to home.

Mysteries of the Collbato caves

Despite most of the time spent concentrated on the project (and my thesis), I managed to get on a couple of good lines outside it, such as the awesome Panxa del Bou in Desdentegada - a very highly recommended 7b+, one of the few overhanging lines in Montserrat.  The first part is very Margalef-like, and the surprise comes at the top, where a couple of heel hooks save the day when arriving at the anchor.  Or the classic Ultravox, another 7b+ in Vermell, much more of a pure Montserrat style.  This route used to be an eliminator project when a climbing competition was held once upon a time in Vermell.  Hard bouldery start leads to more relaxed, looong slab climbing past a roof, to the far-away anchor.  I am still not sure why the route has been prolonged all that way up, one has the time to count all the sheep and think about the history of the universe before reaching the top of this one - although the pure difficulty is concentrated at the bottom three bolts.  Finally, during a couple of cold days in Siurana, i sampled awesome 7as in el Pati and Coral Nou, and also tried the moves on yet another 7b+, Prado del Rei, that was less inspiring than i thought, with a boulder move at the bottom, and a crimpy escape 2/3s up.

Working Panxa del Bou, Desdentegada

Joan Maria on Prado del Rei, el Pati

Let's hope spring will be more relenting in terms of reaching the chains and finding new energy and inspiration for finishing old projects and starting new ones.  Let the game continue. In the meantime, thanks for belaying, sharing, and dealing with my good and bad humor days to Pedro, Andreu, Javi, Juan, Laia, Joan Maria, Robert, Albert, Patricia, Pau, and all other (virtual) friends.

 A random view on the run around my  mountain

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Books of the year - 2011

These are the books I have enjoyed very much during last year (and probably most of the few books I got a chance to read, given the strong paper-focus of my current career), worth remembering and giving a 2nd and a 3d thought...:

- Rorty, "Contingency, irony, and solidarity" (1)
- Douglas, "How institutions think"
- Kunda, "Engineering culture" (2)
- Glaser and Strauss, "The discovery of grounded theory"
- Kidder, "The soul of a machine"
- Rumelt, "Good strategy, bad strategy"

A very diverse bunch again, from philosophy, to anthropology, to ethnography, to strategy, but then again there is also a common thread to them as well.  Interesting to see the progress from 2009, 2010, and another 2010 as well (at least for me) - one of the big ones is the total lack of fiction, for good or bad that is.  As Mary Hatch says, academic writing strips us from any kind of creativity...Let's see what the future holds :)

and some of the more memorable quotes:

"To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations" (1, p. 5)

"The process of coming to know oneself, confronting one's contingency, tracking one's causes home, is identical with the process of inventing a new language - that is, of thinking up some new metaphors (1, p. 27)

"The ironist spends her time worrying about the possibility that she has been initiated into the wrong tribe, taught to play the wrong language game.  She worries that the process of socialization which turned her into a human being by giving her a language may have given her the wrong language, and so turned her into the wrong kind of human being" (1, p. 75)

The “organizational man, Whyte (1956) says, “must fight the Organization…for the demands for his surrender are constant and powerful, and the more he has come to like the life of the organization the more difficult does he find it to resist these demands or even recognize them” (2, p. 227)

Monday, February 13, 2012

A climb for a dream

When there is nothing to report on the personal climbing front except for injuries, recovery, and finally coming back to try the project all over again, there are always other people climbing and inspiring enough.  Thank you for being there and reminding us mortals to dream all over again.

Here is the Australian Monique Forestier, as shot by her as gifted husband-photographer trying his hand at the video production, Simon Carter:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A run through snowy Montserrat

Running, breathing, the soul of the mountain giving me strength, life inside it being so full, so strong, keeping me amazed, curious, always inspired.  Pulling the head up, out of the broken body, only up and away, counting the spires, breathing in the cold.  Breathing out.  The snow has come.

Only once every year, in a rare moment of weather indecency, it snows.  It is New Year, Christmas, and all other holidays at once.  It is snowing in Montserrat!

The blue is incredible, it eats up everything else, it destroys the little remains there are of the fluffy, white stuff.  Even the moon is curious, it also wants to check out this incredible feat, to participate in the party, to welcome the sister-white inspiration, the sugar-stardust covering the nude Goddess in a newly-embroidered wedding dress.

The needles-maids are all dressed up, every one of them with a proud white gorro, its own adornment, its own symbol worn for the dinner-party to be had at night, with Mr. Moon as the head guest.

Montserrat in snow, insanely beautiful, still green and welcoming.  Still ready to open its door and share everything it has, leave one wonder its trails in peace, look up its needles in solemn awe, dream up a little dream or suffer in silence, letting a sigh blow with the wind.  The scenery as the background, a still picture for a life passing by.  Stand by and look.  Sit down and paint.  Run away and take a picture, lasting figment of imagination, disappearing memory of a snow that will come back, year after year, century after century.  When we will be, when we will not.  The mountain looks and sees, a runner, a pink jacket, reflected in its mirror of infinity, as nude and cold as the rock, bleeding water over and over, sending a river, a tickle, a stream, all the way to the sea.  Al mar.

Time to forget, time to remember, time to smile, time to take a dive, down into the intestines, inside the mountain.  Infinite time of simultaneous forgetting, instant remembering, circles and ellipses in the air, the total lightness of being.

Curves, lines, diagonals, up, down, and over.  Vertical mountains, horizontal clouds, only shady people that come and disappear.  That domesticate, that leave, that dissolve in the cold air, or are erased, deleted, with one click of a mouse, with one word, with one email.

A chance encounter.  The surreal encounter.  Like home, like back in Ukraine.  Are you from TV3? No, I'm from the internet.  Don't worry, you will be famous anyway! Let's go, continue the ride.  The red wheel of fortune will turn and the white-faced horse disappears on the white-peppered road to infinity.

And the road remains, calling forward, looking backwards.  Frozen, immobile.  Full of sunshine, full of cold. Alice, where should we go from here?

I Am Vertical
by Sylvia Plath

But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them--
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.