Where did July go?

Cats and dogs, nothing. It must be raining lions and bears this afternoon. The thundershower that moved in brings to mind animals of much greater size than the average cat or dog. Small animals don't boom like that. The forecast is for more of the same for the next few days. It doesn't exactly bode well for our plans to drive over to the east side of the Sierra's for some mountaineering.

A woman that we know had wilderness permits for the Mt. Whitney region for this weekend. Unfortunately for her, she sprained her ankle and had to get rid of them. So Tom and I have vague plans to drive to Lone Pine, meet the other two people who are splitting the permit with us, and do some climbing. I'd like to tag the summit of Mt. Whitney, and we've been making plans to do a superb-looking route on near-by Mt. Russell called the Mithral Dihedral. Our permit is for Sat-Mon nights (8/2-8/4) so that should give us time to hike in (Sat), do some climbing and hike out Tuesday. That's all if the weather holds. It sounds like we may get disturbingly wet.I hope we won't get rained out. July was a slow month for climbing, to say the least. I just realized that I only climbed two days in the entire month. Of course, one of those days Tom and I climbed Half Dome by the Regular Northwest route, something that I've been working up my courage to try for several years now. I am glad to report that it went smoothly. So, I wouldn't say that it was a wasted month, but I'm eager to get out more.

So, what have I been doing instead of climbing?

I've been reading and critiquing a friend's research proposal. He is trying to get funding to start a new lab in Germany, and I offered to be the “general scientific audience”. That took the better part of 3 days.

I've been working on revising the BSR article that I submitted. I lucked out and ended up being assigned two editors instead of only one. Between the two of them (and Tom's helpful input), I feel like the article has improved 200% since my first draft. Writing is easy. Writing *well* is much more complicated, and good editors make a world of difference.

I've been hanging out with our July housemates, Sue and Kail. They are getting ready to leave tomorrow, and we'll be sorry to see them go.

Yesterday, Tom and I drove to Oakhurst, and watched Pirates of the Caribean before doing our grocery shopping. Johnny Depp is great. I loved his character. It's a little weird to see a movie based on an amusement park ride, but it stayed true to its roots. A quick fun ride, and then it's over. Two coolers and a bag of ice allowed us to make the 1 hour drive back to our house with our groceries intact. It's taken us a long time to work out that strategy.

I am also reading a book called The Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman. It's about a Chinese boy who is traveling to America to get some holy scriptures for an old monk. Set in the modern day world, the interesting twist is his companion. He doesn't realize it yet, but he is traveling with the legendary Monkey King. It's not Moby Dick or Ulysses, but so far I'm really enjoying the new take on an old legend.