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The Abyss – Death Valley Feb 2015

Abysmal Canyon, actually. I love the name because “it is way past Bad”. Quite a few years ago, Ram and I were invited on the first descent of this canyon, and it seemed like a good way to start this year’s Death Valley trip. We have learned that hiking up from the bottom 3000 feet is easier on the body than hiking down from the top 3000 feet, plus from the bottom does not require a time-consuming car-spot. And we had LUKE to get us...

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Observation Point Canyon – Feb2015 – Long Raps!

Just a month prior, we had a particularly great trip through this canyon. So it seemed a good choice for a sunny February Sunday, for these peoples who had done a few canyons in Zion. After a bit of shenanigans, we had ourselves a shuttle driver, used to driving farm equipment so my Pathfinder should not be a problem, allowing the entire day to be dedicated to going downhill, excepting a few minutes here and there. We, this day, was Lynn Bufka, Jack Hasslebusch and Mike...

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Mystery Canyon Zion – Feb 2015 – A downclimbing challenge!

Mystery Canyon. Oh my heck my favorite canyon in Zion… well, sorta. I have many favorites. Kinda strange, this weekend in February, to do my two almost-most-recently done canyons, Mystery and Obs Pt. That is the canyons that fit the agenda, and such are the curve balls that life throws one’s way. Last trip through Mystery, all of seven weeks ago, Amanda had mentioned that she and Chad had downclimbed almost every rappel during the previous summer. Conditions then, meaning in December (a bit colder and...

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Sundance2015 M10: Meru

I thought I was seeing a climbing movie. Boy was I wrong. Or at least, I’ve never seen a climbing movie LIKE THIS! At the Q and A, someone stood up and asked: “this is so dangerous, why do you guys do this?”  Wait, did they just walk in off the street? Were they on their phone for the whole time?  Did not we just see an intense, deeply personal movie that is PRIMARILY about this very topic? The Shark’s Fin on Meru is an...

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Sundance2015 M9: Hellions

I try to see one horror movie each year at Sundance. Not that I am into horror movies, but heck, if I am going to see one, it otta be a good one, and in a crowded theatre. I saw a quite good one a couple years ago, so maybe I am trying to recreate the past. This year’s choice was Hellions, mostly because it fit into my schedule. This is the coming of age story of a young woman, complicated by an unexpected pregnancy....

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Sundance2015 M8: Brooklyn

Not all Sundance films are tiny scrappy foreign low-budget affairs. Hey, WHITE GOD  had a fairly substantial budget, though I’m not sure it is going to get picked up and shown in theaters in the USA.  BROOKLYN is not a low-budget film. Showing independent but real-budget films at Sundance bumps up the film’s serious cred, and gets some buzz out that hopefully launches excellent films like this into more theaters and before more audiences, when it gets released. BROOKLYN is a coming-of-age film for a...

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Sundance2015 M7: Unexpected

I was somewhat less psyched for Sundance this year than I SHOULDA BEEN, and did almost zero preparation. Alicia called a couple weeks ago and said – “I can buy you 5 tickets in the next half hour – what do you want”. Well, basically, she made some suggestions and I accepted. My usual Sundance fare is heavy on documentaries and heavy, heavy flicks. Last year’s theme was “Violence”, and I am quite happy to move on from THAT theme. Alicia tends more towards dramas…...

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Sundance2015 M6: Stockholm, Pennsylvania

A coming of age story of a young woman, with an interesting premise. Leia was kidnapped at age 4 and held in a basement for 17 years. She was told the outside world had essentially ended, and she had to stay in. Ben took care of everything, until discovered. Leia is rescued and returned to her “family” – what happens next? Quite a take-off point. It could have gone many places from there, but I gotta say, I think the filmmaker got it right. Everything she...

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Sundance2015 M5: Prophet’s Prey

My oh my. This is some seriously messed up stuff. More deserving of profanity than Mr. Cobain’s personal torment, but since I’ve had a couple days and movies to get extracted from the evil madness of Warren Jeffs, I can speak without profanity. But first, what this movie is NOT about. It is not about Polygamy, even though this LDS group is generally called “The Polygs” (ph: Po-ligs). There is nothing inherently wrong with polygamy – it is just one of many religious practices that...

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Sundance2015 M4: The Overnight

While my range of movie genres is large, sex comedies are not usually within my circle of interest. Something about being a frustrated guy of a certain age, I kinda don’t need more stimulation in that arena. But I got a ticket for this one so… This is perhaps the least sexy sex romp ever. Almost chaste, you know, with nude adults and a few off-screen sex acts. Perhaps because the writer/director was not trying to draw in the voyeur, but was working the genre...