The Millennium Way: An Interview with Alison Bagby

By | Guest Post, Stuff We're Psyched On, The Interior | No Comments

This post is only tangentially related to rock climbing. It has more to do with bragging about how awesome we must be, because the people discussed below consider us their friends. Alison and her husband Jeremy have appeared on this blog before, and it’s true that we are acquainted via the climbing gym. It’s true that they are both very strong climbers with impressive ticklists. But today, we’re going to talk about food, more specifically Millennium. Millennium is a vegan restaurant that serves incredible food and cocktails to match. Formerly located in the Tenderloin in San Francisco, they recently moved to a new location in Oakland, with much better street parking options. They’re open for dinner 7 days a week, and they’ve just started a Sunday brunch (and soon Saturday), as well as a weekday happy hour from 5:00-6:30. We wanted to know a few more details, so we asked…and then we typed it up. Enjoy! RVP: In a few words, what is Millennium? AB: Millennium is a globally inspired, upscale plant-based restaurant in Oakland, Ca. We work with small farms and change the menu constantly to showcase the finest local, sustainable, and organic produce at its peak. RVP: How long have you been involved with Millennium? How did you start out there? AB: I was hired as Assistant General Manager in January of 2007 after being persistent in response to a craigslist ad. RVP: When did you become a partner with Millennium? AB: I became a partner only in our new East Bay location. Chef Eric Tucker & I…

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Fighting the Fear, Part Deux

By | Bouldering, Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | No Comments

I have so many emotions when it comes to Bishop. It was one of the first places I ever climbed outdoors and it hooked me. I had been climbing for less than a year and Bishop made me truly fall in love with bouldering. The boulders are tall and scary, but the landings are flat and the approaches short. And the backdrop. It’s just an incredible atmosphere out there. It can also be chossy and grainy and sharp – and I love all of it. After climbing mostly indoors for the past couple months and setting some new standards for myself, I was ridiculously excited for our Bishop trip this past week. It was going to be as crowded as a Justin Beiber concert because of President’s Day, but we were going with a good crew and planned on just accepting the masses, or running away and climbing in more obscure locations. Before leaving for Bishop, I knew a few problems I wanted to get on, but nearly any problem in Bishop forces me to face my fear of falling. Spenser had mentioned that I should try the namesake problem on the Bowling Pin boulder. To be honest, I didn’t really take him seriously. I had a clear recollection of feeling like I was eons away from doing it last time I tried. It was decently steep, crimpy, and tall. Oh, and the nice slab finish. Ya right I did, however, realize that this was a perfect problem for me to project. It is within a doable grade range with…

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Fun is Life and Death

By | Birthday Challenges, Musings, The Interior | One Comment

“I am deadly serious about us having fun” – Michael Franti, In The Middle I think one of the secrets to happiness and success is to take the non-serious things in life seriously, and the serious things less so. Or, since we are the ones who decide what is serious and what isn’t, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that one must allocate their gravitas wisely for the sake of happiness, and survival. Proper Seriosity Birthdays generally fall into the non-serious category. How many times have we “celebrated” someone’s unique, fleeting existence on this planet by sitting in a crowded restaurant, lucky to be within earshot of the birthday boy or girl? How many birthdays do we let pass with little more than a few cheap “you’re old now” jokes? Answering for myself: many. As a child, comforted, cared for, and complacent, my birthday was an occasion for gifts. As an adolescent, I craved little except simple, good times. My birthday falls during the summer, and more than anything I remember wanting my birthday to be more like any other summer day than any other summer day, which at the time meant 2 on 2 basketball, deli sandwiches, and MarioKart 64 (or sports on network TV). Birthday Challenges are the opposite. We take a silly day and make it silly hard, and we try like hell to complete some silly goals. We even train for them. Why? Well, that’s a very involved question, but a short answer might be, “to…

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Hyperextension of the Volar Plate

By | Gym Climbing, The Interior, Trip Journal | One Comment

You know the sound that is created by pulling masking tape off of a wall? That, apparently, is a pretty good approximation for the sound of tearing ligaments. It was on Sunday, September 28th that I got my finger painfully stuck in a slot, hyperextending the PIP joint of my left middle finger. I went down the dark rabbit hole of internet research, fully convinced that, at the least, I’d broken my finger and contracted ebola. On Wednesday, October 1st, I saw Dr. Vedder at the University of Washington Hand Center at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle, WA. My close friend Evan, graduate of UW’s Physician Assistant program, recommended their clinic; he’d gone there when he injured the medial collateral ligament of the PIP joint of his ring finger (I think that’s what he injured…). I was checked in quickly, X-rayed quickly, and diagnosed within 45 minutes of walking in the door. I can’t really express how refreshing a breezy trip through check-in was. I knew I was in the right place when the nurse who took my height and weight remarked, “ah, another rock climber.” The X-ray showed this: Dr. Vedder tested my collateral ligaments and was not concerned about those, or that I had fully torn the volar plate (which would require surgery). He said I had partially torn it (which explains the tearing sound), and sent me off to the therapy room. It turns out that the key to recovering from this injury is movement. Scar tissue will tend…

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Top Rope Tough Girl

By | Bolt Clipping, Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | 5 Comments

Who can forget this amazing climbing classic?! I have a confession to make. I’ve been toproping. Frequently. I feel as though I’m cheating on bouldering. It’s been my obsession for years- unfortunately, my bouldering confidence wanes at times. One day I feel like I can climb to the top of anything I set my mind to. The next day, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I totally suck. How well you climb is directly linked to your confidence level. There’s no way around it. Just like with any other discipline, knowing that you can do it is a vital to success. I’m very aware that everyone has bad days, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my mental (and physical) struggle is not based on probability: it’s my lack of endurance. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been living on the road, rock climbing, for over 2 years and have gained little endurance. I am certainly much stronger than when we began the road trip, but I still get the feeling that one, or both, of my hands will spontaneously open up if I’m on the wall for over 30 seconds [not an experimentally acquired measurement, but a good estimate]. I also do not have a good gauge as to how long I can hold on once that inevitable pump sets in. I’ve never committed to climbing past it. Yep, I’m a sucker for letting go. This is further detrimental to my climbing since I am predominately a static climber who…

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Photo credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/shutterstock.com

Inspiration Found

By | Climbing, Food, Musings, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | 3 Comments

After a week of California vacation binge-mode, we are back in Chattanooga and feeling motivated again.  Sometimes a forced break really helps put things into perspective. Spenser talked a bit about our climbing haps in his last post, and this post is going to about another things we can’t live without: food. [No matter how much traction the Breatharian movement gets! Okay, but seriously, I know food can be an addiction, but this as a long-term sustenance plan is nuts.] While in San Diego, we figured we’d take advantage of our locality and head up to Encinitas to visit a company we were first introduced to at the OR show in January, GoodOnYa. Spenser knows that I am always on the lookout for good gluten-free products, and during the OR show, he happened upon the GoodOnYa booth. We were able to snag a box of bars during the show and devoured them over the next week. They were delicious and, for once, we were pleasantly surprised by each and every ingredient. My stomach is incredibly irritable, even beyond my Celiac Disease. I also don’t do well with soy (read: mad indigestion), so it’s an annoyance to find a gluten-free snack bar that fits the bill. Since we loved the bars and, even more importantly, the company ethics, we decided to pay the GoodOnYa office a visit and see if we could figure out a way to we could work together. They have a small office on the 101, and an…

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Go Your Own Way

By | Musings, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | One Comment

Do you ever feel as though you’re living someone else’s life? You’re going through the motions, but you’re more “floating” rather than “living.” Until this realization hits you. It always hits hard. Last time this happened to me was when I was decorating a cake at a gluten-free bakery in Oakland. It was supposed to be a temporary job, but now, a year had passed and I was touted as the ‘best person who could write on cakes’ in this bakery…with a Bachelor’s in Public Health. I really enjoyed working at the bakery but this wasn’t my passion. And this definitely wasn’t where I saw myself post-college. I felt like I was living the wrong life. Temporary had become permanent. I was in a rut. I gave my 2 weeks notice that day. I bring this story up because a similar feeling came over me as I drove the truck and trailer by myself up the windy road to Rocktown a few weeks ago. That day, I had hitched up the trailer all by myself. I had manuvered the entire rig down a crowded street in Chattanooga. I filled up the gas tank all by myself and then directed myself to Rocktown. After spending about half an hour parking the trailer in the “perfect” spot in the big open camping field, I felt exhilarated. All these tasks may not sound too exciting or difficult, but adrenaline has been coarsing through my veins since that morning. I had never done any…

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The Power of The ‘Book

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal | No Comments

The clouds have parted and a heatwave has now hit Squamish. But, hey, we’ll take that over the rain. We’ve lost a lot of good folks the past week due to the sub-optimal weather conditions and it simply being the “time to go.” There’s a small contingent of us left, but the season for tent villages in the Chief campground is over. I think most of us have stopped checking the weather report- we now understand we are living in a temperate rainforest and the rain gods will do what they please, without warning and for-better-or-worse.

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