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CHASING MOUNTAINS: CATCHING UP WITH ANTON KRUPICKA

"I’m inspired by the mountains. I enjoy looking at a landscape and then integrating myself with it by moving quickly and efficiently over the terrain."
"In college, I was a triple-major; I have degrees in Physics, Philosophy, and Geology. Of course, like most people, almost 10 years later I’m obviously not directly using any of those."
"Ultimately, I connect with anyone who is trying to live authentically and is truly excited about it. That’s where my motivation comes from and I get inspired whenever I see other people in that same pursuit. It doesn’t matter what the activity is—-running, climbing, skiing, surfing, cycling, art, music, writing, whatever—-or how good you are at it. If you’re psyched and pursuing it in a way that feels rewarding and true, I’m going to be inspired.”

The San Francisco 49ers are my favorite sports team, but I literally cannot tell you a single name or tidbit of information about a single person on the roster. However, I can tell you anything you can read on the internet about ultrarunner Anton Krupicka.
Tony is one of my favorite human beings in the universe. Here’s a cool, soup-to-nuts interview that he did with Zeal Optics, covering ultrarunning, mountain climbing, and inspiration. If you don’t like him at least a little after reading it, we probably wouldn’t be friends.

CHASING MOUNTAINS: CATCHING UP WITH ANTON KRUPICKA

"I’m inspired by the mountains. I enjoy looking at a landscape and then integrating myself with it by moving quickly and efficiently over the terrain."

"In college, I was a triple-major; I have degrees in Physics, Philosophy, and Geology. Of course, like most people, almost 10 years later I’m obviously not directly using any of those."

"Ultimately, I connect with anyone who is trying to live authentically and is truly excited about it. That’s where my motivation comes from and I get inspired whenever I see other people in that same pursuit. It doesn’t matter what the activity is—-running, climbing, skiing, surfing, cycling, art, music, writing, whatever—-or how good you are at it. If you’re psyched and pursuing it in a way that feels rewarding and true, I’m going to be inspired.

The San Francisco 49ers are my favorite sports team, but I literally cannot tell you a single name or tidbit of information about a single person on the roster. However, I can tell you anything you can read on the internet about ultrarunner Anton Krupicka.

Tony is one of my favorite human beings in the universe. Here’s a cool, soup-to-nuts interview that he did with Zeal Optics, covering ultrarunning, mountain climbing, and inspiration. If you don’t like him at least a little after reading it, we probably wouldn’t be friends.

According to my computer, I haven’t used my DSLR since 2013. Since these photos were taken in the last days of March 2014, I’ll admit to two things: 1. I’m ashamed to admit that, and 2. I am rusty as hell… And I’m not ashamed to admit that.

I dusted off my big kid camera (Literally. I had to actually clean it.) to go on an adventure hunt that my friend Lanny had coordinated in honor of my visiting her for the weekend in San Jose. She recruited her urban explorer counterparts to take me to an abandoned hotel somewhere in those parts of California that are all rolling green hills and two-lane highways, with the occasional factory or vineyard. We were the only four living souls in the structure. The walls were crumbling and covered with dirt and spray paint, a storm was rolling in from the northwest, but you could tell that this had once been a luxurious space with curved banisters, marble floors, and amazing views. 

All four of us are similar: photographers and explorers, but it was fascinating to see what we were each drawn to: Wei to the big picture panoramas of the dilapidated structure, Ian to the graffiti, Lanny to the four of us. I was turned on by the lights and shadows, and the textures of the crumbling walls and rusted wires (more coming soon).

The storm caught up to us, and we arrived back at the car wet, with hundreds of shots all together. Lanny and I wrapped up the day with several restaurant visits and an hour well-spent at the used book store. 

At the end, I realized that there are few better ways to spend my time, and I hope I don’t let my big kid camera collect dust when there’s so much world to see, eat, and know.

andreakisasi:

I just heard about the passing of Leonard Knight last month.

Leonard Knight built Salvation Mountain in Niland in the California desert. I visited last Summer with a few friends. By that time, Leonard had already retired to a convalescent home in San Diego, but other fans and friends had taken over to welcome us to his opus, chiding us for not wearing white long sleeves in the July desert heat, and making sure we drank enough water on our visit. They showed us the flatbed truck where Leonard had lived.

We sat at the top of the God is Love mountain, and Sara told us the research that she had done on Leonard. He had made several failed attempts to build a monument to the belief that God is Love before he finally erected the adobe mountain we had just climbed. It was hot. I imagined him laying adobe in the desert heat, painting layers upon layers of donated housepaint. Sweating. There is nothing that I’ve ever wanted as badly as Leonard wanted to build that mountain to spread the word that God is Love.

I’m not a religious person and, until recently, I never considered myself particularly passionate. I couldn’t relate to Leonard, but I was awed by him. Today I came across this video, posted to the Salvation Mountain Facebook page in the days after his passing. Hearing him now… I totally get it.

lannysphotosketchbook:

Going through former photo shoots and working on processing then better with Lightroom. First up is a the shoot I did with @andreaki. So grateful she put her faith in me to photograph her. I want to shoot her again now that I’ve learned even more with photography. #photoshoot #losangeles

A re-edit on a shot from my header photoshoot, which was some time ago in some year that is in the not-that-distant past but that I can’t specifically remember because I don’t understand time very well, but was a really fun day, regardless.

lannysphotosketchbook:

Going through former photo shoots and working on processing then better with Lightroom. First up is a the shoot I did with @andreaki. So grateful she put her faith in me to photograph her. I want to shoot her again now that I’ve learned even more with photography. #photoshoot #losangeles

A re-edit on a shot from my header photoshoot, which was some time ago in some year that is in the not-that-distant past but that I can’t specifically remember because I don’t understand time very well, but was a really fun day, regardless.

On Writing About The Bachelor

I was coerced into watching this show the first time. I was bribed with the fact that Jean had multiple leftover half-empty bottles of wine, and she swore up and down it would be funny. My philosophy was No Bottle Left Behind. So I went over to her apartment and I watched with sad, dead eyes as Vienna and Tenley declared their love and faith for Jake, using cliches from cheap 90s romantic comedies, and as he listed generic reasons to love both of them, and also wore a shirt that was made of cheap fabric and looked like it had been hand-colored with a pink highlighter. I thought, “This show is fucked.” 

But I was hooked.

Maybe it was the wine - that happens to me on first dates sometimes.

And, just like with other wine and first date situations, I kept watching. I watched more seasons, and as every season ended, I thought, “Never again with THIS bullshit.” I was wrong. And then, as the next season started, I thought, “There’s no way this is going to end well.” I was right.

Until, finally, a few seasons later, I got it into my little head to recap the show on my blog. It was a lot of work. Watching and re-watching. Never missing an episode or an opportunity to transcribe when a contestant said a sentence that was not, in fact, a sentence.

Oddly, I’m still doing this. And, even more oddly, over the years, it’s become something that I look forward to. I love the moment when someone does something horrible that I know I will call back to throughout the season. I love when someone is forced to dance or sing or do something they have no ability to do, to “prove” the devotion to someone. I love when people message me, telling me how much I made them laugh today. I think I love that part the most.

You can read my Bachelor recaps here. Or not. They’re not for everyone. Really, they started just for me.

I’ve been a guest on my friend Peter’s podcast three times so far.
We didn’t start out as friends, though. We started out as two people who use the internet and live on opposite ends of the continent, until one day he invited me to join him on his podcast. He said that we should talk for a while, maybe about The Bachelor, and maybe we’d make something cool together. It was a pretty exciting and flattering invitation.
I was concerned at first, because I hate talking on the phone (which is essentially what we would be doing - talking on the phone and recording it for playback) and we didn’t know each other and I was worried that I’d be bored or he’d be bored and then his listeners would be bored. But since I can’t say no to nice people who flatter me, I gave it a shot.
And I wasn’t bored. And he wasn’t bored. And we talked for 2 hours that night (don’t worry, only an hour and 17 minutes made it to air).
So, we became friends. Friends who would occasionally podcast together because we had (if I do say so myself) amazing pod chemistry. It turns out that Peter is a great person to be friends with if you’re a creative, because he loves creativity, much like myself. Before and after (and during) each podcast, we’d talk about various creative pipe dreams and he would always tell me to just try it. Just try it once and if it sticks, great! And if not, who cares!? We talked about how we had these great non-blog things: his podcast, my… well, the fact that I don’t really have a blog anymore but I still want to write things… and how those things had no home… yet.
One day Peter emailed me with a small idea that, eventually, after a few more emails and some phone calls and a long solo roadtrip (because I do my best thinking on solo roadtrips), we decided to start The Hooray Collective. A place for creatives to be creative, and that’s it. Creatives need to create, not commit themselves to promoting, hosting, editorial calendars, etc. Just create.
Today with two steady podcasts, 29 regularly-scheduled bloggers, 2 vloggers, some clever flat design from Swappy, and a little bit of fanfare, we launched The Hooray Collective. Already, I can feel this community warming up and starting to grow and, you know what? I’m just as excited and anxious as I was on that first podcast. I think this is going to turn into something great.

I’ve been a guest on my friend Peter’s podcast three times so far.

We didn’t start out as friends, though. We started out as two people who use the internet and live on opposite ends of the continent, until one day he invited me to join him on his podcast. He said that we should talk for a while, maybe about The Bachelor, and maybe we’d make something cool together. It was a pretty exciting and flattering invitation.

I was concerned at first, because I hate talking on the phone (which is essentially what we would be doing - talking on the phone and recording it for playback) and we didn’t know each other and I was worried that I’d be bored or he’d be bored and then his listeners would be bored. But since I can’t say no to nice people who flatter me, I gave it a shot.

And I wasn’t bored. And he wasn’t bored. And we talked for 2 hours that night (don’t worry, only an hour and 17 minutes made it to air).

So, we became friends. Friends who would occasionally podcast together because we had (if I do say so myself) amazing pod chemistry. It turns out that Peter is a great person to be friends with if you’re a creative, because he loves creativity, much like myself. Before and after (and during) each podcast, we’d talk about various creative pipe dreams and he would always tell me to just try it. Just try it once and if it sticks, great! And if not, who cares!? We talked about how we had these great non-blog things: his podcast, my… well, the fact that I don’t really have a blog anymore but I still want to write things… and how those things had no home… yet.

One day Peter emailed me with a small idea that, eventually, after a few more emails and some phone calls and a long solo roadtrip (because I do my best thinking on solo roadtrips), we decided to start The Hooray Collective. A place for creatives to be creative, and that’s it. Creatives need to create, not commit themselves to promoting, hosting, editorial calendars, etc. Just create.

Today with two steady podcasts, 29 regularly-scheduled bloggers, 2 vloggers, some clever flat design from Swappy, and a little bit of fanfare, we launched The Hooray Collective. Already, I can feel this community warming up and starting to grow and, you know what? I’m just as excited and anxious as I was on that first podcast. I think this is going to turn into something great.

The One With The Pork

The strategy that McDonalds uses with regards to serving McRibs and then taking them away is Pretty Standard Marketing Genius. The McRib is back. At no point does the McRib come back and not get talked about,  even among my groups of friends who are either: mostly healthy people who wouldn’t touch one with my hands, or really food-centric folk (like myself) who still wouldn’t touch one with my hands. Well, once upon a time, the McRib came back and I ate one… just so that I could write about it. There’s some insight into the kind of girl I am, friends. I ate a McRib so that I could write 500 words about it. For free. I did not get paid. In fact, I’m pretty sure I paid for my own McRib. Sad? No. No. I like stories.

This essay originally appeared on http://caffeinate-me.com on 10 January 2010.

dd xmas_nicole_mcribs_tv 012

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into food. I watched old school cooking shows with old school cooking show personalities like Martin Yan and Graham Kerr. Then The Food Network came around and I grew into the habit of having my favorite television chefs on in the background of everything I did. When I started traveling more, I started eating more. I’ve eaten food from street vendors and food from three-Michelin-star restaurants and loved it all. As much as I want to be vegetarian, I can’t, because I want to try everything. If I could steal anyone’s job, I’d love to be Anthony Bourdain, even if only for a short while.

So, yes, I love food, and I think about it pretty much every day.

I read a lot of food blogs and local food websites, too, and it was on one of these websites that I found out that the McRib was coming back to Los Angeles.

Cue blowing of my mind. See, the McRib… It is a joke, no? It is a strange pop culture phenomenon that disappears and reappears as if to tease us, right? And no one actually eats them… right? All I knew of the McRib was the one episode of The Osbornes where they get them in the drive-thru and Jack, drunk or high or whatever he was into at that time, yelled, “The McRib is back!!” Which is what everyone says when the McRib comes back. I think it was part of their advertising campaign. But I had never eaten one.

The thing about the McRib is that it comes with a certain lore. And I thought that I didn’t know anyone who had had one. It is the stuff of legend. As in, most people say, “No, I’ve never had one! But I know a guy…”

Turns out? I know a guy! But being the food-ousseiur that I am, that wasn’t good enough for me. I want to BE a guy!

So, out of morbid curiosity, I ate a McRib.

But not before I did a ton of really disturbing research. For example, did you know a McRib has 490 calories and 1040 mg of sodium? (To put that in perspective, my daily calorie allocation is less than 1500 and daily recommended allowance of sodium is 2400 mg.) Also, did you know that the meat in the McRib is grey when not covered in sauce and that the “ribs” are only stamped on one side? That’s… creepy.

The best word to describe a McRib is “CREEPY.” They are CREEPY.

In case you don’t know, the McRib is a ground pork patty - shaped like ribs! - dipped in cloyingly sweet BBQ sauce and topped with pickles and onions on a soft, oblong bun. Doesn’t it just sound creepy? Well, it IS creepy. However, the truth is, they’re not terrible in terms of taste. I’ve had worse things.

The positives of the McRibs are the soft bun and the way the pickles and onions complement the protein. Oh, and, obviously, the wonderful McDonald’s french fries. The negatives? Well… ground pork could be a non-terrible thing. I like sausage. However, this pork was not sausage-like at all. In fact, it wasn’t pork-like at all. It was slightly rubbery and spongy, like a giant chicken nugget, except that it was PORK, and it was SHAPED LIKE RIBS. And the sauce was slightly overpowering, probably to cover up the weirdness of the pork. Should I be putting pork in quotation marks right now?

Overall, I don’t think I’ll be eating any more McRibs. But I’m happy to say that I did it, and I survived, even! But, going forward, I think I’m going to stick with delicious french fries and pre-10:30am visits for Sausage and Egg McMuffins with iced mochas. Mmm… McDonald’s breakfast - now THAT’S what I’m talking about.