Max Seigal Photography

Hey Everybody!

My good friend Max Seigal has a new photography website, which everyone and their dog (and other pets) should be checking out right this instant! Here’s the link (I’ll make it real big so you can’t miss it):

Max Seigal Photography


Max and I have known each other since college: classmates, friends, rock climbing partners, travel buddies… ah, what memories (some, like the time I indirectly puked on his foot, or when we trekked up to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal, are more epic than others). I’ve been along on many of his photography trips, and have slept through a number of his award-winning shots, including the lightning strike at False Kiva (the first picture you see on his website. I wrote about it here: The eyes of this place). It’s hard to stay awake at night when you have to sit in the dark for long periods of time. He was worried that we were going to get struck by lightning, or soaked to the bone in the pouring down rain. I sat up, remember saying, “Oh look, that’s some big lightning,” and then immediately fell right back asleep. My mom did always used to say that you could send a marching band through my room and I wouldn’t wake up.


Myself and Max, about to chow down on some delicious quesadillas in Moab, Utah.

I’m also asleep just out of the frame on the left in his self-portrait at Delicate Arch with the Milky Way (in both Personal Favorites and Night Shots). I tucked myself out of the way behind a rock, determined to sit there and enjoy the night sky. It was cold, so I had brought a down sleeping bag to sit in, and, well, when I’m warm and tired and it’s dark I tend to fall asleep. Max actually didn’t even know where I was, and had to call out for me a few times so I didn’t get left behind.

I also almost got lost trying to get out to the Arch that night (actually, I believe it was technically early morning), because my headlamp battery was dying, and I could only see in a 1 foot circle around my feet. Which isn’t so bad when you’re on a trail, but once you’re on slick rock and relying on rock cairns to direct you, it gets a bit trickier. There were a few moments I thought about just sitting down and waiting for Max to come find me once he was done taking pictures. Luckily, I’ve been out to Delicate Arch a number of times, and was fairly familiar with the trail. And, another photographer had left some glow-sticks at a few strategic points along the trail, which helped.


Hiking the Narrows, in Zion National Park, with a bum foot. I think the freezing-cold water actually helped, because I went numb from the upper-thigh down.

He’d left me behind, as usual, because he was in a hurry to get up there and start taking pictures, I had to use the outhouse before I left, and I had badly sprained my foot just before we left on our trip and couldn’t really walk very well. In hindsight, I probably should have just stayed in the car. I should have also probably gone to the doctors and had it checked out, but we Smiths tend to follow the “walk it off” recovery method. Which could explain why my knee, which I dislocated a few years ago, still bothers me every once in a while (after my kneecap eventually popped back into place, it didn’t hurt as bad so I just kept working).

Well, while I reconsider my health/injury decision making, make sure you look at Max’s fantastic photographs! I shall include the link here again, so you don’t have to scroll up to the top of the page to find it:

Max Seigal Photography

Happy Picture Perusing!


Joby, myself, and Max, enjoying breakfast on the trek up to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. The porters and other people we met along the trail all got a kick out of our sweet hats.

I stay a little longer

Good-night! good-night! As we so oft have said

Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days

That are no more, and shall no more return.

Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;

I stay a little longer, as one stays

To cover up the embers that still burn.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

from Three Friends of Mine

I see you there, in your fleece zippered robe, bare feet, smile. We sit at the computer, watching a television show, giggling and exclaiming together. Three of us, brought together by your love. They laugh, secure in knowing they were chosen, they are treasured, the daughters of your heart. You keep asking if you can adopt me too, and I grin and say yes. First to bed, first to rise, you usually head upstairs before we do. They have school tomorrow, so we won’t be up late. I will ride with you, and after the school run we take the dogs for a walk before going for coffee. We will meet the guys at the coffee shop. We do this almost every school day; a routine, a ritual.

Now we are left, loving echoes and memories. We listen for your voice on the stairs.

NIght-night honey buns! I hear you say. I love you!

Love you Mom! Night Mom, love you!

Goodnight, I say. See you in the morning.

flower 2_615x461

Alice Seigal

January 14, 1957- October 23, 2013

Don’t Say Don’t Go

Peace Boulder, I’m heading to Wyoming for the summer!

For those who don’t know, I’ll be spending the next few months working with the Teton Science Schools, mucking around in the forest playing with birds (more details on that later). Literally mucking, or so I hear from my boss, who told us to bring rubber boots. Good thing I brought mine from home. In the part of Ohio where I’m from, not having a pair of mud boots is unheard of. Mud season lasts a good long while, and if you want to go out in the woods (which I do quite frequently) you need a pair of boots. As a result, rubber boots, like a coat (because the weather will be changing in about 5 minutes), are one of the many things I can’t leave home without. The list also includes a journal and pen, binoculars, bird book, camera, and climbing gear. You never know when the muse will overtake you, a cool bird that needs iding and photographing will be spotted, or when you’ll find a rock that needs climbing.

The car is packed, I’ve got western bird calls on my iPod, a giant jug of Bhakti Chai and a baggie of pickles. Let’s hit the open road! Wyoming, here I come!

road in Colorado



I shall leave you with this song: I Can Breathe Again, by Baywood (which is also on the iPod, along with the bird calls).


Baywood – “I Can Breathe Again” from Consequence of Sound on Vimeo.

Lyrics (for those of you who don’t listen to the words, which I’m suprised to find is a large number of my acquaintances. I guess I’m just a wordy person, I listen to the lyrics):


One of these slow weeks when, you don’t know where the time will go
I could just give in and send my self back to this world
Don’t say don’t go
Don’t say don’t you go


I lost myself to the snow and then
I found my way back home again
But I can only stay for awhile
Hey hey hey hey!

Now that I’m on my own I can
Finally I can breathe again
So I can only stay for awhile
Hey hey!


Step after step I jump in and step off the beaten path
As the long journey begins I walk the wild at last
Don’t say don’t go
Don’t say don’t you go


I lost myself to the snow and then
I found my way back home again
But I can only stay for awhile
Hey hey hey hey!
Now that I’m on my own I can
Finally I can breathe again
So I can only stay for awhile
Hey hey!

In addition to having some fantastic facial hair, Baywood also have an amusing bio, which can be perused on the Kick Kick Snare webpage here:

Baywood Bio on Kick Kick Snare

How To Walk A Dog in 6 Easy Steps

To fund my climbing/travel habit, I walk dogs 5 days a week for a company called Out-U-GO! Check out the website, and tell them that Lauren from the Boulder office recommended you.

Out U Go!

Every morning I receive an email of my schedule, print it out, and away I go. I walk all sorts of dogs who live all over the city of Boulder. Some dogs are small, like the toothless tiny Chihuahua, and others are large, like the 180 lb Newfoundland. Some are models of excellent behavior, some absolutely adorable little puppies who, in their excitement, drizzle on my pants, and others thoughtfully spread the contents of the trash on the floor so every time I visit I have to clean up that day’s kitchen trash.

I’ve walked dogs in the sun, in the snow, in the rain, in the cold. We’ve gotten muddy, tried to chase squirrels (I’m not quite fast enough), and had lots of tummy rubs and treats. For the most part, it’s a pretty good deal– I get paid to go outside and play with dogs all day.

how to walk a dog

In case you’ve never walked a dog before, here’s how it’s done:

1. Find a dog to walk. I recommend going through legit channels, as in borrowing a friend’s dog (with their permission), or joining a dog-walking company. Don’t just “borrow” some stranger’s dog, not a good thing.

2. Put leash on dog. There are all sorts of weird harness contraptions, so make sure you know how it works. It’s a little embarrassing when you take the dog for a walk and end up coming across the owner, who has to show you how to correctly put their dog’s harness on.

walking a dog

3. Go outside.

4. Walk.

5. Let the dog pee on as many things as it deems necessary. This will vary by dog, but is on average 500 different things during a 25 minute walk. These things may include, but are not limited to: trash cans, trees, bushes, the sidewalk, bikes, parked motorcycles, fences, various bits of grass, snow piles, dirt piles, the dog poop bag station, picnic tables, rocks, car tires, garden walls, and any place another dog has peed. I know all the good pee spots within a three-block radius of my regular pups’ homes.

6. Pick up poop. Repeat as necessary.

Simple as that!

How to walk a dog in Boulder

This wall is a regular peeing hotspot, especially the corners.

Only got $20 in my pocket

“I’m gonna pop some tags,

Only got $20 in my pocket…”

I hear that my little brother knows all the lyrics to the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, so if you haven’t heard it have him sing it to you. And if you can actually get him to sing it to you, please videotape it, because I would dearly like to see it.

Here’s the official “Thrift Shop” video, for those who might not have seen it. This is the unedited version, so there are a few objectionable words in there. Grandma, I just want you to know I would never use words like that, though I do shop at thrift shops.

This is what $20 (technically $19.40) will get you at the Goodwill in Boulder:

  • Three books: The Best Travel Writing of 2000 (edited by Bill Bryson); Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps (Dave Isay); and Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Annie Proulx)
  • A pair of Lauren Ralph Lauren jeans (which I suspect are brand new, as they are a bit stiff and still have the thread from the tag on the back pocket. Also, I’ve never understood the double ‘Lauren,’ but since my name is on there 2x I figure that means they’re extra super awesome)
  • A pair of Colombia shorts
  • A clear glass jar with lid


  • This sweet mug

beard face coffee mug

Yeah, that’s right. Be jealous.

Winter Nap

Because we just had more than a foot of snow dump on us here in Boulder (and I think there’s more coming), I thought I’d share this piece. It was written more than a few years ago while I was in college, while sitting in a coffee shop at a Kroger grocery store, watching the snow fall outside and my friend take a nap. 


snow on a bird bath


The snow falls outside. A sleeping face. Gentle twitching in the grey light. Ruffled red feathers on the branch. The feeder sees good business on these days. Chickadees move from branch to branch to feeder. Still only long enough to select the perfect seed. Everything is covered in a white powder, white, lightly frozen air. White cold. White nothing.

The face turns. Eyes flicker, remain closed. Warm socks, hot tea. All still, save the feathers, the snow. Heat inside, cold out. Soothing breath, calm, peaceful. Dark lashes, like feathers, on a lighter face. Deep footprints, shallower, filling imperceptibly. Cold magic. Large hands folded, resting. The snow piles higher. Red, blue, brown jostle for space. Chickadees are polite, waiting their turn. Cardinals come and go as they please, leaving the others to their mess. The snow falls sideways. It sticks to the side of buildings.

black-capped chickadee at feeder

Brown eyes open to the grey, the white, the cold. They close, a more comfortable position. The foot moves, subdued by eventual rest. Footprints are gone, colors are gone, only grey, only white. On the lee side of the feeder, feathers huddle, warm air trapped tight to bodies. Steady warm breath thaws the heart, the soul. The snow falls. Birds feed. Sleeping gently as the snow whispers its way down.

Dog Pee Conversation Of The Day

Ahh, the perks of being a dog walker…  and having (the best) weird friends. 


“Ellie the puppy was real excited to see me… and drizzled on my pants.”

“Now that I know that’s ok, I’ll make sure to do the same the next time I’m excited to see you!”

“You’re not cute enough to get away with it like she is.”



Picture link 


A Conversation About Gender Equality


“You know, men do deserve to get paid more than women.”

“Oh really.”


“And why is that?”

“Guys eat more than girls, and we have to spend more for food to fuel our bodies, so we deserve to get paid more.”

“I see. Well, girls have more hair than guys, and have to spend more on hair products, so they should get paid more.”

“Ah. Touche.”

avocado smoothie

Moral of the story: the opinions of those who like avocado smoothies tend to be a little off-the-wall.

My Soon-To-Be-Former Roommate Ramon, the House Centipede

I live in a basement, which means I have the pleasure of putting up with certain arthropoda tenants. The spiders and I have struck a deal: I leave them alone as long as they stay out of my bed, the shower (but only while I’m in it, free reign rest of the time) and the dresser drawers. Unfortunately, sometimes they break our treaty, and so have to deal with the consequences, which involves meeting their fates in either the flushing-whirlpool-of-death ( the toilet), or in the giant-tissue-of-smashedness (self-explanatory). In circumstances of extremely blatant disregard of our pact, both methods have been deployed.

The arachnids don’t really bother me all that much, although I do wonder what exactly their food supply is. I hope there’s not too much down there in terms of spider food… which is somewhat mean to the spiders I guess, but I’m sorry, I sleep there. I’m just weird like that, I prefer to share my bed with mammals only (like cats that knead me in the neck and little dogs that snore).

These dudes, however, are not my favorites:

house centipede in the basement

I caught him running across the carpet, heading towards the no-fly/crawl zones of the dresser and the bed, and was forced to take defensive action.

So of course I had to trap it under a clear glass, bring it upstairs, and take pictures (isn’t that what everyone does?). This guy’s too big to smash (a couple inches long), so he’s going outside in the cold once I’m done examining him. Which is probably more cruel, now that I think about it, than just smashing and meeting a quick end. Outside, he’ll maybe freeze (unless he makes it back into the house before the cold causes him to stop moving, which is entirely possible). Or, maybe he’ll be eaten by something else, in which case I’m contributing to the natural cycle of the world (or as much of the natural cycle lives in the backyard of a house in the city). Hopefully he’ll make a nice meal for some critter. I figure throwing him outside at least gives him a fighting chance (of finding his way into the neighbor’s house).

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what this is: and I shall tell you.

This is a house centipede. It has 15 pairs of legs, one pair per body segment (I counted). Now, according to the Pennsylvania State University website I looked up, the hind legs of females are twice the length of the body, which leads me to conclude that this is a dude, (though think I may be wrong). Those back legs look to be maybe the length of his body, but I’m not about to get in there with a ruler. Mostly because I don’t have one. Therefore, I named him Ramon (but it could be Ramona).

Ramon the House Centipede

Ramon can do tricks, and stand on his hind legs. Wave hello to the nice people Ramon!

All centipedes are venomous, though most don’t bite people, and if they do it only hurts a little bit. Or so I hear. House centipedes are believed to be from the Mediterranean region, and then somehow got to Mexico and the southern U.S. and spread from there. Talented little buggers.

(Though it should be noted that they are not in fact ‘bugs’. True bugs are insects of the order Hemiptera, which are aphids, cicadas, shield bugs and 50,000 to 80,000 other species. It should also be noted that most people find it annoying when you correct them about the difference between ‘bugs’ and insects– “not all insects are bugs, but all bugs are insects.” This is especially true when you follow it up with detailed descriptions of your Entomology class experiment involving opossum carcasses, species succession, and counting maggots– then they usually start gagging and wondering how fast they can change the subject. That class was awesome, though a bit smelly at times. Dr. Carreno, I want you to know that I considered further study in entomology, but birds won out by just that much over beetles).

house centipede caught under cup

“Because of their secretive nature, scary appearance and darting motions, homeowners typically fear the house centipede. In 1902, C.L. Marlatt, an entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture writes in Circular #48 – The House Centipede: ‘It may often be seen darting across floors with very great speed, occasionally stopping suddenly and remaining absolutely motionless, presently to resume its rapid movements, often darting directly at inmates of the house, particularly women, evidently with a desire to conceal itself beneath their dresses, and thus creating much consternation.’ Undoubtedly, the current favor of blue jeans as a preferred article of clothing has not appreciably reduced the angst felt by the household “inmates” when a centipede is seen scurrying across the basement floor.” (Penn State Entomology website, House Centipede article).

Indeed, the consternation of the household inmate was not reduced by the fact that said inmate was indeed wearing pants.

wave goodbye ramon

Adios Ramon.


And here’s a cool blog I just discovered that talks about house centipedes and the reproduction of other creatures:

How Animals Do It


The Coffee Shops of Boulder

As one of those writer-types, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Luckily, there are a variety of choices  in Boulder, so I can frequently change it up. Here are my impressions of some of them, in no particular order:


Brewing Market Coffee

Brewing Market Coffee, Basemar plaza.

Brewing Market off Baseline: Has fantastic pictures taken by the one and only Max Seigal (yes, this is a shameless plug for his photography business. I’m hoping that eventually he’ll pay me for referrals). Pretty good coffee, good chai (my favorite is the ginger chai), good loose tea. Small tables, but lots of plugs all over the place, especially in the front section. They like to fill the coffee cups up to the brim, so unless I put on a lid I always end up knocking into the table and spilling. I usually try to bring my own travel mug, it’s safer. It’s also close to home,which is nice for a quick escape. I also like the atmosphere, and all of the baristas I’ve interacted with over the years have been nice and friendly.


Starbucks off Baseline: I’ve only been there twice, both times early. It seems like a CU hangout, so I’d avoid it during prime study hours. There’s one nice biggish table with easy outlet access, and a few smaller tables. The vanilla spice latte is pretty good. I don’t especially like Starbucks coffee, but I have a gift card, and it’s hard to pass up free coffee drinks. Perk of having a school teacher mom– she gives you all the gift cards that she doesn’t use (thank you to all the band students at Copley-Fairlawn Middle and High Schools. And to whoever keeps giving a box of Candy Cane Joe Joe’s from Trader Joes– student of the year. Mom, this is the real reason I come home for Christmas. Just kidding– it’s actually for Grandma Cindea’s dinner rolls). I also have a Cheesecake Factory gift card, if anyone wants to go. I finally live somewhere that has a Cheesecake Factory, so I should probably use it up. (The fact that my review detours into Ohio should tell you something…). This Starbucks is also close to home, though the parking lot is tiny, and there are tons of college kids, even before 8 am on a Saturday (what college student gets up that early?). Makes for interesting people watching.


Starbucks off 28th: One of the baristas’ is named Lauren, and she complimented my earrings (they were gulls that day). She also had pretty snazzy earrings herself. Everyone who came in seemed to know the various baristas by name, and they seemed to know everyone who came in. Not every table has access to a plug, and it’s a little cozy inside, but I like it and have gotten quite a bit of work done there. If I’m not feeling Brewing Market, this is my go-to spot. Again though, I have a gift card.


OZO coffee

OZO Coffee Co.

Ozo Coffee Co. on Pearl St.: Noisy in the front, but they have Bhakti Chai. Can see the Flatirons from the front window. Friendly baristas. Small 2 person table is perfect size for one with a laptop and notebook. Quite a few people working, and having meetings, meeting up with friends. Woman with her small daughter having hot chocolate on a Tuesday mid-morning. Outlet placement not ideal, and I didn’t have one at my table (seemed like there should have been one, but there wasn’t). This is where I first met Lauren Rains, editor of Outdoor Minded Mag (with whom I am now interning). She says they’re serious about coffee here, and it has a good atmosphere  but she also likes Laughing Goat for the happy hour and live music. I’m cheap (and the drinks aren’t), and I have to park a couple blocks away for the free parking, so I don’t frequent the coffee spots on Pearl St. all that often.


Starbucks on Pearl and 15th: Again, gift card. Lots of head space, feels open, nice calm atmosphere. Seem to be fair number of plugs by tables around walls, but I got stuck with one in the middle (I really need to start getting out earlier or something). Internet seems to be a little slow, some pages take a few refreshes to load. Not unpleasant, I’d come here again. I find Starbucks drinks to be okay, not the best, but tolerable. Not as crowded as other shops I’ve been to, people seem to come in and leave with their drinks, not hang out all day. Just saw a guy sitting at a table by the door get up and open the door for a woman with a stroller. I like Boulder.


Vic's Espresso logo

Vic’s, off Walnut St.: Two levels, though I only spotted one plug on the upper level– wait, have discovered a second. Not too many tables, but on a Monday afternoon there was barely anyone there, four people total not including myself. Nice long tea list. Have a television that seems to only play annoying day-time TV, which is why I always have headphones. Dislike that they close at 6 p.m., since I usually only am free to write early in the morning or later in the evening.


The Cup, off Pearl: Ashley and I stopped by one night as we were wandering the streets, and bought a cup of peppermint tea to warm us up (and so we could use the bathroom). It was $6 for two. I mean, seriously? $3 for a cup of tea? Have yet to go back, though it does seem like it would be a good place to work, with lots of tables and a back room.


Laughing Goat Coffee Shop Boulder

Laughing Goat

Laughing Goat, on Pearl: Lots of plugs,  with a slightly battered/artsy feel. Good tea, haven’t had the coffee yet. Holed up for a long session of layout work with Lauren for OMM, and I really enjoyed it. Some of the tables seemed a little off-kilter, but mine in the corner was good. Some of the tables are good sized, others are teeny tiny (as in I could barely fit my 13 inch laptop on the surface).  I foresee many more long work days spent there.


Amante Coffee, off Baseline (the new one): new location, just opened up a few weeks ago. Don’t know that it’s been “discovered” by the masses yet, which means it’s pretty calm inside and not difficult to find an open table (or hasn’t been the few times I’ve been inside). Lots of outlets downstairs, and there’s a second level which has some relatively comfy couches and chairs, but only one discovered outlet. They also have Bhakti Chai (always a plus in my book).


There are many more coffee places to discover and many more words to write, so I shall continue my research and let you know when I’ve found the perfect work place.