Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Trad Gear Purchase

After my second year attending the JTreeTweetUp in Joshua Tree National Park and third time leading a climb on someone else's gear, I finally decided to purchase my first piece of protection: a Metolius Master Cam #3:
So begins my rack. It would have made more sense to begin with a set of nuts, but I'd like to think having one thin-hands (fingers for most) size cam might make me a more appealing climbing partner. I haven't made it out to the various parks in the Berkeley hills much since joining the belay staff at Ironworks, but as my rack slowly grows, I'll make more of an effort to get out there and practice my placements. 
I've watched plenty of climbing porn but I haven't ventured much into informational videos; I thought the one above was good. No replacement for getting out with an experienced partner, but how else will I distract myself from the pile of job applications I should be submitting.

I found the cost of outdoor pursuits prohibitive until I became passionate about climbing-- while I certainly don't have the means nor inclination to purchase a lot of expensive gear for climbing or camping, I've begun making room in my financial life for things like building a trad rack and getting a decent pack with a good hipbelt.

It's hard making room for non-basic survival expenses (rent, paying off debt, etc.), but I'm trying to maintain an attitude of abundance, knowing that I'm equipped with the skills necessary to manage the balance.

But first, before the gear: must find a regular trad climbing partner based in the Bay Area, preferably East Bay.

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Persimmon in the Style of My Family

(For Sean, whose grandfather gave him a bag of persimmons, prompting the question, "anyone know how to persimmon?")

One of the highlights of autumn is the ripening of the persimmons in my parents' backyard. Not sure there'll be any left by the time my mom visits in a few weeks, but it turns out that persimmons are readily available in the markets here, too, and I am not the only one who likes them in this house. Hurrah. 

I didn't encounter people eating persimmons like an apple, skin and all, until I reached adulthood, and I just can't embrace it. The tannins from the skin are just too much.

The following photos illustrate how I grew up eating (Fuyu) persimmons:

1. Fuyu persimmon
2. Kiwi-brand pointy knife.
Using the point of the knife, cut out the stem bit.

Like so. 

Then, peel away the thin skin.

I peel it in my hand, but I only have two hands with which to peel and take photos.

I like trying to get it all off in one long strip.


Naked persimmon. Empty persimmon skin.

If you want to get fancy like the Khmer grannies I grew up with, use the point of the knife to cut a zig-zag around the equator. 

After getting all the way around, wiggle the knife in between the cuts to loosen them.

These are not as symmetrical as the ones my aunties would make.

I like to slice them into discs. This is more difficult when they have seeds.
Just found out my parents are sending me a package of persimmon, pomegranate, and cherimoya from their backyard using a Vietnamese bus service. Yesssssss.