The Ultralight Backpacker Challenge

My experience with backpacking has come a looooong way.  When I think back to that first trip backcountry with Michael Fineman in 2002, I laugh at the naive boy I once was.  After going through Tom Neiman’s survival packing list (and ignoring the big disclaimer at the top that it was NOT intended to be an all-encompassing list, but rather suggestions to individually consider) … my pack for this first trip probably weighed 60 pounds.  Everything from jeans, to cotton sweaters, multiple swim trunks, water shoes, campground shoes, repair kits, extra fuel canisters (yes multiple) … you name it, I packed it.

Ah, what bliss these past 10 years have brought!  With each trip back to Montana, I evaluated the “necessities”, realized I never used those extra tent poles last time … and lightened my load considerably!  By my 2008 trip to Glacier Park with El Benno, Maximus, and BK Broiler, my pack weight was down to a cool 50 pounds.

And then Max set a challenge.

And as we all know, I do not back down from a Max challenge.

For our 2011 trip to Yosemite, Max and I were going to attempt Lightweight Backpacking.  Officially, lightweight backpacking refers to base pack weight (the weight of a backpack plus the gear inside, excluding consumables such as food, water, and fuel) of 20 pounds or less.  After months of preparation, weighing, cutting, weighing, filing, weighing, buying, sewing, and again weighing … I hit the trails with 24.6 pounds on my back and an additional 9.2 pounds in food/water.  I was 33.8 pounds lean … and that was for winter camping which included 4 lb. snowshoes!  If you subtract the snowshoes, I was at just under 20 pounds and it was fantastic.

But now a new bar has been set.

This summer Max, Gelperin and I will hit the trails again in a much warmer climate, and my base pack weight will be under 10 pounds as I attempt the Ultralight Backpacking experience.  I’ve been doing my homework, reading my books, and following the Gossamer Gear blogCome July 4th, I’ll be 10 pounds or less and running laps around Max. 

Bring it on.

$500 BIG Fantasy Football League … giddeeyup!!

The last 3 years I have been a part of a high risk/high reward Fantasy Football League.  Initially, it started as 16 teams at $500 a team … pretty steep, but when 1st place takes home 4k, certainly a worthy investment for the professional gambler and genius sports mind (both of which I am not).

However, this great league has crumbled apart.  Down to 12 or even 10 leagues, and only a $300 fee means the time and effort are no longer worth the investment.  And since I like to be in charge of things and have a few ideas to commish better than the previous one, I’m taking over.  In the words of Eurotrip, “I BUY MY OWN HOTEL!” … except, this time the hotel is a big ole cash bag of fooseball.  I sent out an inquiry about this back in February and found 20 possible interested parties … but times have changed and they may not all still be as eager beavers as they once more.  So I write this to see if you, yes YOU would like to join.  Football season is almost upon us, and gambling season never sleeps.  So, shuffle up and deal, start your engines, or put the women and children to bed and go looking for dinner … cause you are invited to come play!  Details below, email me if serious.

2010 “The Big One” Fantasy Football League
This league will have 12-14 total teams, and the draft will be sometime within a week of Labor Day (to be decided later based on actual players).  Official rules are being finalized now, but as a reminder, details of this league are below.  This will be the start of a great recurring league, all are welcomed to try to keep up.

General rules of “Touchdown Heavy” League:

  • 12-14 teams
  • $400 entry fee per team
  • $100 additional fee for pickups (unused money returned)
  • Rushing/Receiving TDs count for 6 points
  • Passing TDs count for 3 points
  • 100 yards rushing or receiving, or 250 yards passing earns 1 point (1 point for each additional 25 yards)
  • Field goals and extra points earn 3 and 1 point
  • Defense TDs or shutouts earn 6 points
  • We will use CBS Sportsline for the site, dr the ft will be available in person and online for remote teams.

“The Toilet Paper” provides a daily wipe.

As many of you know, I am an avid reader and follower of the comedian Aaron Karo.  It really scares me how often his comedic newsletters hit home. Its literally like we follow the exact same path in life and run into the same obstacles, problems, and drunk transvestites at Bachelor Parties,  (note to Mike Fineman: “Hey Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl!”).

In this month’s newsletter he talks about new birthday present wishes, and i had to chuckle at my own request this year … which was a vacuum.  My needs in gifts have come down things I can’t have (my neighbor’s better parking spot in the garage), or things I need but would never buy myself.  So, I got a vacuum.  I’m happy yet disappointed at myself at the same time.  If anyone ever wants to give me a Nerf gun or new board game next year, I will be quite pleased.

So anyways, in today’s newsletter he hinted at a new daily blog called “The Toilet Paper”.  I haven’t read it yet, but I did sign up for the daily email blast.  After reading the tagline on the website, how could I not?  So for any other people looking for a 2 minute laugh each day (and Marcus, maybe this one is not blocked for you either), join me in checking it out.

Bring Back the Love

So my good friend and former roommate, Mr. Marcus Magy, tells me that of all social media sites on this great planet … is the ONLY non-blocked website for him at work.  So, with his formal request to bring back the love to, I have come up with yet another idea.  My blogging time has been taken up with the Herzlcamp Blog lately – but its time to bring back the love.

I am a man of “to do list”.  If its not written down, I don’t do it, I don’t buy it, and I don’t remember it.  Ask anyone who has been in my home or office, I literally litter the place with yellow post-it notes and desktop widgets to keep my abreast of my growing lists.  Which means, the only way to make sure I update weekly on my blog … is to make a repeating to-do list item.  It is now on my calendar and google tasks list people, and I will do my best to post more often.  I’ve kept you all deprived and this needs to change, IMMEDIA… oops, Herzl Camp already started this summer … INSTANTLY.

“Would you please put some pants on? I feel weird having to ask you twice”

Did, umm… did Caesar live here?

Well, its that time of the year again.  Hello Neiman is off to Vegas, and who knows if I’ll return.  Maybe I’ll strike it big and move to Maui, maybe I’ll lose big and get buried in the desert … or maybe I’ll wake up in a Presidential Suite at Caesar’s Palace with a missing tooth, tiger in the bathroom and baby in the closet.  Hey, its Vegas … you never know.

Even though Alex just bought a car, I’m about to buy one, Fineman has a wedding to plan for, and Mikey V is … well, he’s a Vegas Virgin, I think it will be a trip for the ages.  I can already see the screenplay for The Hangover 2 in the making.  Of course, we all know who would be which character, but I felt it necessary to depict the group in an artistic rendition of the original cast.  Mikey V is the comedian (that isn’t allowed with 200 yards of a school … or Chuck E. Cheese), Sasha is the pretty boy sweet talker who steals money for children, and obviously I’m the straight shooter toothless wonder who thought he was going to Napa!  Oh, and Fineman?  Fineman is Doug.  We all know how he can play the disappearing act like no other, and well … he is the one getting married.  For the sake of the photo, though, I felt the baby needed a new head too.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!  … except for…

Tzedakah Bowl Champions 2009

Tzedkah Bowl Champs 2009 (C Ya!)

In 2007, we had a dream.  In 2007 we accomplished that dream.  In 2008, we lost the dream, but in 2009 … we won it back.

One of the best things the Jewish Federation of Minneapolis and St. Paul do each year, is an all day Flag Football tournament in the Metrodome on Christmas day.  For one day, the lackluster athleticism of the Minnesota’s Jewish Community shines, as the best of the best come out to compete in a pool-play and single-elimination tournament on the Viking’s home turf.  I know I’m no Percy Harvin, but our squad won the championship in our inaugural year (beating an ex-Gopher quarterback).  Last year we lost it to the notorious Ben Stein team, but this year we happily one won the title back again.

Congrats to my teammates (Ross, we missed you).  Here’s to being 28 years old and still competing with younger, stronger, faster, and healthier teams.

University of Minnesota hilariously “freezes”

“It’s the little people that made this freeze possible” -Will Holland

All I can say is that we were never clever enough to pull this off in my day.  Perhaps because Facebook didn’t exist, or perhaps because Northrup Mall was busy being polluted by animal rights protesters in cages and Jews for Jesus gospel preachers on soapboxes.  However, I was recently invited to an event called the University of Minnesota Freeze 2.0 set for September 14th, and definitely had a laugh.  Congrats to Will Holland for helping put this together, its funny as hell.  Check out the video from last year’s event above, and click the link above for info on this year’s freeze.  If you are in Minnesota, you should definitely try and join in.

Official statement:  This September 14th, we will participate in the 2nd Minnesota freeze. Participants will freeze in place on Northrop Mall on the Minneapolis East Bank campus for 5 minutes, stunning onlookers and creating an amazing sight to be a part of. This will be a great way to welcome our new freshmen to campus.

OYE. HelloNeiman goes back to New York!

my brotha from anotha motha

Well, it only took 3 weeks, but I am headed back to NY!  Jason J-Dog DUDE Froehlich is tying the knot in a couple weeks, so beforehand it is only natural that his closest guy friends get him absolutely obliterated in the Big Apple.  I’m not going to say that it will duplicate the infamous Bethesda Bar Crawl night, but there is a very good chance that The Hangover 2 is written from the activities that are about to take place.

For all you lovely lads and ladies in the NYC, I am sorry we won’t meet up.  This one night stand is written for one man, and I won’t have much time in between getting him wasted and getting him arrested to meet up with any fellow Hello Neiman NY members.

Eurotrip? Hello Neiman!

So funny story.  First it was the Appalachian Trail (sorry Benjie), then Australia, then almost Hawaii, and finally settled on Europe.  This September, Hello Neiman is finally adding “dirty American scum” to my list of personality traits.  Last night we finished finalizing the plans for my 4 country, 10 day European vacation with Mirra.  Rome/Vatican, Interlaken/Switzerland, Paris, Amsterdam … yeah its a lot in a little time, but after 28 years, its about time I saw the red light district.

Basic itinerary is set (meaning trains and hostels/hotels booked), but I’m looking for fun things to do and since everyone else I know went to Europe without me, fill me in on the must see’s and do’s while there!  I’m thinking I’ll have to relive the path of the Illuminati in Rome, kill a Caesar at the Colosseum, go Canyoning in Interlaken, buy a hotel in Bratislava for a nickel, drink a bottle of $500 French wine and pass out spread eagle in front of the Eiffel Tower, and at minimum … kick 3 robot dancers in the balls.

I’m ready for Europe, but is Europe ready for me?

G-Money and Nubian 3 headed to the NYC

“Fascinating! Semmi, look at this! America is great indeed. Imagine a country so free, one can throw trash on the streets!”

It’s been a long week here in DC, but I’m headed to the big apple tomorrow with Grant to show those Yankees (Hage, that is a historical, not baseball, reference) how well the Midwest Movement can party it up in the big city.  Going to see Letterman and Fallon, hitting up every Kosher deli in walking distance, hit up Broadway, check out the infamous NY club scene, pop in on some old family and friends, and basically have the usual weekend debacles … only this time drinks are twice as much, the streets are twice as crowded, and my 3 am Big Mac run will be twice as delicious.

New York City.  Since I’ve never really been there, I am sure I will fall in love and want to move there.  It happened with DC, it happened with Chi-town, it’s bound to happen with NY.  I think the bottom line is that I just can not be happy in a small-town wannabe downtown city like Minneapolis.  It’s time to see what a real night on the town is like in the city that brought us Gordon Gecko, Peter Parker, and Ninja Turtles.  Cowabunga NYC, let’s do this!