Photo Preview: Tally Rock Gym’s Potluck & Climbing Party

Last Monday, May 2, Rich graciously allowed me to coordinate a little summertime celebration for the members of Tallahassee Rock Gym. The concept was simple – the rock gym is always closed on Mondays, so to give climbers something to do on this lame day, we opened up the gym for members under one condition: you had to contribute something to the potluck.

Not too shabby, eh? There was also a crowded refrigerator full of bratwursts, hummus, veggie patties and more. We did a bit of grilling, a bit of climbing, some slack-lining, and a whole lot of sitting around in front of the gym. Our faithful members brought more to the table than any group of humans could possibly consume in one sitting, which resulted in us attempting to stuff our face with as much as we could. Things got messy, and I quickly got lazy.

Have I mentioned lately how wonderful it is to have a chef as a friend? Raul cooks some of the meanest dishes I have ever tasted, he’s a true culinary artist. His risotto is to die for, mmm. For the potluck, he cooked up a batch of chicken wings doused in sour orange marinade and Adobo seasoning – my kind of man! Speaking of men I love, check out this great shot I got of Nick Seale arriving at the festivities.

We ended the day with juggling lessons from AJ on the slackline, and a surprise cameo by Anthea, who proved herself to be the world’s best dog for playing catch.

Great day overall, and a big thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate a day of climbing, food, sunshine and Tally Rock Gym love. I’m going to miss the gym so much during my trip, even though I’ll be out in some of the best crags in America – nothing compares to home!

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Stuck at the Train Tracks, Perfect.

I’ve waited years for this moment, and here I finally am: stopped by one of my train buddies waiting to cross the tracks before the rock gym. A silly thing to be thrilled about, but this moment is unlike any other of my day. I see trains roll by on a daily basis while I’m climbing at Tally Rock Gym, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to hit one on the road.

The train halts everything – or everyone trying to pass at least. You’re just sitting idly, with no where to go and nothing to do but watch the giant toy train screech and sputter by. It’s undeniably peaceful – I highly recommend the experience. You have no choice but to relax and enjoy the dull rumble of the chugging locomotive. I just wish I had my camera.

My favorite compartments belong to CSX and Union Pacific. Next time you encounter a train, keep an eye out for art along the sides of the compartments. The two best I’ve seen thus far are a giant ‘Seasons Greetings’ mural that encompassed an entire compartment, and an enormous beluga whale painting that was on the bottom half of a CSX segment. Life is just full of little surprises, eh?

On a serious note: I vow to recover from this writing hiatus I seem to have taken. Expect an exciting post from my trip to the Everglades, where I learned how to cook alligator tail from a lovely lady named Kay. And hello, Richard Stanley! Mikey says you’re a fan, I appreciate the readership.


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Update on Sender, Rescued Climbing Pup Extraordinaire

Since last November when we first found a sweet beagle pup at the bottom of a mountain in Tennessee, Sender has been the unofficial mascot of the Tally Rock Gym. She hung out at the rock gym, spent a few months in Tampa fighting off deadly heartworms, and even went missing for a few days on her own little adventure.

This weekend, Niko and I had the honor to babysit Sender while Jeff was in Gainesville for a climbing competition. Honestly, Jeff is lucky we returned her at the end of the weekend – Sender is the most well-behaved, sweet heart of a dog.

Deathly allergic to anything cute and fuzzy, I made Niko promise that Sender wouldn’t sleep in the bed with us. What happened two minutes after we snuggled up? Sender snuck her way directly in between us. I couldn’t even be upset, she was too cute and slept like an angel the entire night.

Niko was manning the rock gym all weekend, so Sender and I got to play out in the beautiful Tallahassee spring weather. We went for drives around town, and Sender nearly jumped out of my window after making friends at a stop light.

We spent the majority of our weekend at the rock gym, but we weren’t climbing. Sender and I attracted customers by sunning ourselves out on the front dock of the gym, and I think Sender may have gotten a better tan than I did!

We toured Railroad Square a few times, and Sender made a bunch of friends who were blown away by her amazing story.

I’m still in awe as to how any human could possibly abandon this amazing creature. She’s six years old, and has a heart of gold. Did someone raise her, then just decide to ditch her once she caught deadly heart worms? I simply can’t fathom how cold your heart would have to be to look Sender in the eyes and then dump her at a gas station.

But you know what? If that foolish owner hadn’t left Sender at the Kangaroo gas station at the bottom of the mountain that houses Little Rock City, we never would have be blessed with her company.


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Horse Pens Part II: My AE-1 Photography

I’ve kept you waiting long enough, here are the best photos from the FSU Climbing Club’s trip to Horse Pens 40. I’ll be heading out on another climbing adventure on Wednesday, so I’ll come back with loads more pictures and stories to share! The shot I took of my pal Jeff climbing at HP40 turned out much better than I expected, which was a definite confidence booster in terms of photographing future climbing trips with the AE-1. Enjoy:

In other news, I am once again impatiently awaiting the arrival of my coveted climbing shoes! According to my FedEx online tracker, the package is on the delivery truck – so now I’ll just have to stalk my front windows until my Katanas arrive!

Also, if you’re in Tallahassee, come by First Fridays tonight in Railroad Square! The Tally Rock Gym will be open extra late until midnight tonight, and I’ll be there giving $5.00 belays to anyone who wants to try climbing. Even if you’re not into climbing, all of the warehouse galleries will be open, Star Seas Cafe will be celebrating its last weekend, and all the good folks in Tallahassee will be out having a great evening.

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Tasty Thursdays – Star Seas Cafe in Railroad Square is Closing its Doors on November 6th.

Folks, it is with a heavy heart that I spread the news that the charming red caboose at Star Seas Cafe will be serving its last parfaits and spicy black bean burgers this weekend. On Friday, they’ll be serving their usual tent-style dixie cups of beer for a few bucks during First Friday, and hopefully I’ll be able to snag one last chicken salad sandwich. Saturday evening, they’ll be hosting a farewell party from 5:30-11:00. The entire evening will be accompanied by live bands, like The Popheads and Justice of Funk.

This was the first film shot taken with my old Canon AE-1; the caboose of Star Seas Cafe. (Photo by: Katie Boue)

This Railroad Square staple always satisfied my munchies when I spent long days at the nearby Tally Rock Gym. The first time my old roommates and I decided to live together, we were stationed at a cramped little table in the old caboose, munching on burgers and fresh fruit. I’ll miss their gooey brownies, their granola parfaits drizzled with honey, their not-so-sweet sweet tea and the twinkling of their outdoor string lights. With both Bakin’ N Bacon and Star Seas abandoning the Railroad Square Warehouse district, I simply do not know what I’m going to do when the munchies strike while I’m climbing at the rock gym. I suppose I’ll have to stick to my usual everything bagel down the road at All Saints Cafe.

Star Seas, you will be missed! Thank you for all the tasty treats, the Railroad Square camaraderie and everything that you’ve shared with the hippies and hipsters of the humble warehouse collection. We are all sad to see you go, but can’t wait to party with you one last time this weekend.

It’s the end of an era.

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Life Lessons at The Red Caboose

Since the days of my disdain for older people, I have grown to have a deep appreciation for the insight and experiences that my parents, professors and older peers can provide. Yesterday, I was privileged to meet up with my human rights professor, Ray Ruggerio, for a long afternoon spent sharing stories while sipping on iced tea outside of StarSea’s famous red caboose in Railroad Square. There are only a small handful of teachers that have had as strong an impression as Ray has on my academic and personal outlooks. His tales of worldly travels, advice on academic pursuits and general outlook on life are truly inspiring.

I was blessed to be Ray’s student for three years, studying the realm of human rights. With his guidance, I produced my proudest work: a twenty page research piece entitled “Genocide of Homosexuals in the Holocaust.” I worked on that paper for more than two years, and with Ray’s help it evolved into a true example of my academic success.

Anyways, I wanted to share some of the greatest bits of wisdom that I gained during my three hour lunch with Ray. Some of these are directly from his words, and others are thoughts that I developed while basking in the Tallahassee breeze with my adored professor. (And one occasion that occurred on my way home.) These are words to live by, ideas to base your lifestyle around.

  • Measure your life in threes. This was the easily best bit of wisdom that Ray shared with me. Think about it, your life is hardly measurable on a yearly-basis, but counting by threes really makes sense. For instance, I am entering my next life cycle in a month when I turn 22. This clicked for me, because I am undoubtedly at a point in my life where I see major shifts in priorities, passions and opinions. Celebrate birthdays, but measure by threes.
  • Always give more than you receive. In fact, don’t think about receiving at all. If it happens, great – if it doesn’t, continue to give. The moment a relationship becomes about getting rather than giving, the entire dynamic has changed.
  • Write a letter or note by hand. Perhaps only once a week, but get back into the habit of handwritten communication. Send your parents a simple note of love, write a ‘Thank You’ to someone who helped you, contact a long lost friend across the country. Our cyber-driven generation has lost appreciate for the art of snail mail.
  • Escape your materialism. This is something that I have been working on for a while. I began college consumed by notions of money and status, and I think that everyone will come to realize that paper currency does nothing for your soul. Surrounding yourself with materialistic foolishness blinds you from the natural glory that surrounds you. Maybe it’s just me, but hiking to the top of a mountain and watching the birds swoop down the cliff-side is vastly more satisfying than working forty hours to be able to afford a new piece of expensive material. The people that truly matter in your life won’t care about what you’re wearing, what you’re driving or what kind of house you live in. The quality of your spirit is what will make the difference.
  • Wave to little kids. On my way home from lunch, I was driving through a rough side of Frenchtown. I saw a group of little children approaching the sidewalk I was about to pass, and watched as their mothers yelled at them to slow down. As I cautiously drove past, the children began to wave at me with expectant smiles. I waved in return, and their beaming grins were an indication of how much my simple gesture meant to their innocent souls. Take time to appreciate little ones, and their untainted love for the world around them. Kids have the best spirits, and we could all learn a thing or two from their simple outlook on life.
  • Unplug to tune in. I plan on discussing this at great length in an upcoming post, but the basic concept is as follows: take out your ear puds, unplug your iPod, and tune into your surroundings. I used to trek across campus blasting my music and ignoring everything around me. One day, I left my headphones at home and was unwillingly forced to walk to class without my iPod. During my short journey, I realized how much I was missing out on when I tuned out. Birds are chirping, sorority girls are telling laughable anecdotes, and people are paying attention to what’s going on around them. Try it, I promise you’ll be impressed by the difference it makes when you unplug and tune in to the greatness surrounding you.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but you can bet that I’ll be back with loads of positive life lessons and positive ways of approaching the world. I wish I could share everything that I took away from the time I spent with Ray, but there are some amounts of wisdom that cannot be translated into words, but can only realized through experience. I bid you adieu, my loyal readers. Until next time, keep spreading the good vibes.

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Cinco de Mayo

Feliz Cinco de Drinko! Or a few days after, I guess. I had an interesting day, to say the least. It started out pretty normal with me dropping my boyfriend off at his first day of summer classes, running to the bank, then naptime. Everything went downhill after I met up with the boys for a circuit workout at the Rock Gym. The circuit ended with a climbing a traverse lap around the gym, leaving me dripping in sweat and struggling to catch my breath. The obvious after-party for our grueling workout session? — Momo’s.

Now, this is where the trouble starts. First we hoped into our friend Nick Seale’s ‘truck’, or rather, his rusting red Bronco with the top sawed off to create a convertible effect that left my legs itching from the moist seat upholstery that had been left exposed to bare the abuses of the weather. We picked up a small handle of tequila, and headed back to Momo’s for some free pizza and Mexican cervezas. Ay, yi yi!

One giant slice of pizza, one Corona, one Modelo, and one tequila shot later, I was on the road to a hangover. I’m a lightweight, what can I say? To top it off, after we left Momo’s we headed back to the liquor store where I let the Liquor Loft employee talk me into buying a six-pack of Imperial on the promise that I could come back and bitch him out if it wasn’t good. Eric bought more tequila, naturally.

We brought our purchases back to the Rock Gym, and here is where the story goes blurry. Two Imperials downed, and I was certifiably d-r-u-n-k. Attempts to climb were feeble, so Jeff and I headed off on an adventure around Railroad Square with beers and camera in hand.

The rest of the day is a blur of pretty flowers, a van painted like the Mystery Machine, a pitstop at Jeff’s apartment, passing out at Niko’s house, and somehow making it back to my house in time to feed Starsky for the evening. Where memory fails and I run out of words, I’ll let photographs fill in the blanks. Enjoy.

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