Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mojave Xmas

I went to Mojave National Preserve for a few days of vacation. It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, partially due to George's inability to rockclimb. Instead of thru-hiking from one end of the park to the other, I did a couple overnighters, and then just runs and day hikes. I stopped on the PCT in Angeles National Forest on the way home, as well as Carrizo Plain National Monument, where I came upon a family on a pig hunt who had rolled their minivan. Thankfully, they were OK. I righted their van and pulled it off to the side, and gave them a ride to a hotel.

Solar Power

Keystone Canyon

A random wash I explored

that George had to be carried down.

Carruthers Canyon

Carruthers Canyon

Wind scratching

Good morning

Mid Hills to Hole in the Wall Trail

PCT near Gobbler's Knob

Lucky hunt, SOL drive home

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wild: Stupid CGI Fox

The GZA and I saw Wild. It was pretty not-good. Not terribly bad, but also not good.

There were only a few awful lines of dialogue that reeked of trite Oprah-esque 'live your best life' platitudes, so I wasn't exactly repulsed by anything, but I didn't get drawn in by anything either. Visually, the movie wasn't terribly impressive--it was largely filmed in central/eastern Oregon instead of on the actual PCT, and I could tell. The CGI fox also sucked. How hard is it to train a fox to stand there and stare at you for 20 seconds before running away? That's what every fox I've ever seen did without any training, so I can't imagine training one would be that much more expensive than crappy CGI. Anyway, you shouldn't visually expect Brokeback, or Sweetgrass, or Into the Wild.

Story-wise, I actually like the book more than the movie. You got to know more characters, and became more invested in their story. Both the book and the movie are told non-linearly through flashbacks. In the book you had time to care, but not in the movie. Oh, you got hooked on heroin and cheated on your husband a bunch and your father was abusive, but got over those problems in under two minutes each? I'm not so invested.

Also, inspiration does not strike you as you are walking the last 100 yards of a long hike. Sorry if that leaves you without an easy voiceover for the last minute of your movie.

I am of course biased by my having read the book and hiked the PCT. I often dislike movies based on books and complain about the differences if I've read the book too recently, and I'm obviously going to be pretty particular about a PCT-memoir. But generally I enjoy hiking movies even if I know they're not great (e.g. The Way Back, The Way, Tracks). I'm surprised Wild has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes. I'd give it a B-, and after trying to account for my biases, I'd expect it to have around an 80 on RT. I don't think Reese Witherspoon's acting was Oscar-worthy, but Laura Dern did a very good job playing her mother.

Because I'm a sucker, I did tear up at a scene with this song, though:

2015 Race Schedule

Jan 11: Tilden Orienteering (BAOC)
Jan 31: Fremont Fat Ass 50K OR Ordnance 100K
Feb 21: Montara Mountain 50K
March 7: Way Too Cool 50K (lottery)
March 21: 4MPH Challenge
April 10-11: Zion 100M or Lake Sonoma 50M (lottery)
April 18: Mokelumne 50M
May 2: MeOw! Marathons
June 6: Bone Tempest (off the radar)
June 20: SF Solstice 24 Hour
July 31/Aug 1: Tushar 100M
Aug 22: Waldo 100K (lottery)
Aug 29: Tamalpa Headlands 50k 
Sep 5: Rogaining in Henry Coe
Sep 12: Plain 100
Sep 19: IMTUF 100
Sep 25-26: The Bear 100
Oct 10-11: Euchre Bar Massacre

That would be 16 ultras, including five 100-milers, with three Hardrock qualifiers in three weeks, and three insane off-trail bushwhacking events, plus a couple orienteering events. I've never done more than 8 ultras in a year before, but I am unlikely to get picked in all the lotteries. I'm not 100% sure about all these, but I'm quite excited about many. I will be teaching a course at USF on Mondays Spring Semester, and an 8-week summer course at Cal from late June to mid-August, so that rules out trying Barkley or trying for too many summer races, but I didn't get into Hardrock or Western States anyway. I also doubt I can afford to do all these, but thankfully the majority of them are within a 3-hour drive.

Also, running friends, are you on Strava? I have avoided it until now, because of the whole Stravasshole thing, but I automatically linked my Garmin account to it a few weeks ago, and then a good hiking friend joined, and I found a handful of friends, and I'm finding it quite motivational to get an e-mail every morning saying how much further than me you all ran. So join!

UPDATE: Was picked in the Way Too Cool lottery, forgot to put in for the Lake Sonoma lottery, and added Tamalpa Headlands 50k.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Research Transparency

I've been busy the last two days with the annual meeting of my employer, the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). Thursday morning we did a training session on registrations, pre-analysis plans, the Open Science Framework, R, RStudio, git, GitHub, writing a project protocol, and the Harvard Dataverse. (Maybe we bit off more than we could chew in that session?) Thursday afternoon we heard from some of the leaders in the research transparency movement: Ted Miguel (Berkeley), John Ioannidis (Stanford), Brian Nosek (UVA/Center for Open Science), Jack Molyneaux (Millennium Challenge Corporation), Victoria Stodden (UIUC). Friday we heard about recent research in transparency, including my presentation of a draft of the Manual of Best Practices in Transparent Social Science Research. People seemed to really like it.

My slides and the draft manual are all on my github account. If you're into research transparency, we're encouraging open participation to make the manual better. (I'll make the wiki/readme better soon to make that more straightforward--it's a LaTeX doc, so you edit the .tex file and read the .pdf. GitHub and Software Carpentry have excellent online help guides if you're unfamiliar with how to use version control.)

Monday, December 01, 2014


Thanksgiving with gf and some hiking friends I haven't seen in too long. Pleasanton Ridge, American River, Truckee, Sierra Buttes, Downieville, North San Juan, Yuba River, Nevada City, Berkeley hills.


California Poppy

One with gills

One with slime

The Destroying Angel

Jack O Lanterns, not chanterelles

Friends came over

My little brother can fly




Coral mushroom

We camp


Sierra Buttes

Pleasanton Ridge