Sunday, September 23, 2012

BASE Jumper's Prayer

My mind tends to wander while climbing ladders in the middle of the night...

Version 1:
As the world lays down to sleep
high above I prepare to leap
and if I die before it wakes
rest assured it was but fate...

Version 2:
As you lay yourself to sleep
the joys of freefall I soon will reap
but if I die before you wake
it mean I made a big mistake.

Don't Die.


BASE vs Skyjumpers: Who Wins the Ultimate 'Coolness' Showdown?

Thirty-four years ago 4 Lake Elsinore Skydivers threw up a middle finger and hucked themselves off El Cap in Yosemite thus birthing the modern day sport of BASE jumping. Ever since this day there has been a struggle between BASE Jumpers and Skydivers. This struggle has lasted several decades and covered many topics such as risk, legality, ethics, and politics just to name a few. However, since this blog is satirical in nature, we're going to address the only topic that REALLY matters to jumpers....

Who is cooler?

In order to do properly determine a winner we need to discuss this objectively. With that being said we'll be exploring the three most important areas when it comes to the Coolness Factor: Clothing/Gear, Women, and Attitude/Style.

Skydivers: First off, we have to remove the coolest skydiving suit from the equation, the wingsuit, since it is used in both sky and BASE. With that being said we are left with mostly brightly colored body suits that are not comfortable, not appealing, and are more reminiscent of a Super Hero costume than a freefall aid. 
BASE Jumpers: I've said it before and I'll say it again, at best BASE jumpers look like drug dealers, at worst hobos fighting over a half eaten hot dog found under a park bench.
Winner: Skydivers - As much as it pains me to say, despite the fact that most skydivers look like they belong on the cover of a Special Village People Edition of Marvel Comics at least they don't have holes in their socks. 

Skydivers: Ah, women in skydiving. In today's declining skydive world full of skygods, tandem factories, and ever increasing regulation by the fun police, skydiving women are playing their part to help bring fun back to the sport. I know stereotypes are bad mmkay...but let's face it, they're based on reality. For the most part skydiving women are attractive, exciting, a little crazy (ok sometimes a lot crazy), brash, and best of all sexually assertive.
BASE Jumpers: BASE chicks are rare gems. I don't really know what to say about BASE chicks other than that they are awesome. (And if I said anything bad I know several that would try to kick my ass.) They are hot, daring, and don't give a flying F*** what people think of them. If you manage to find a BASE chick just hang on for dear life and see where the ride takes you.
Winner: BASE Chicks - Look, in my book, if you're stylin then you're a winner, but I just gotta give the point to the BASE ladies on this one. There is nothing hotter than a chick taking a deeper delay than you did just to call you a pussy at the bottom. 

Skydivers: Skydivers are all over the board on this one. Some are at the DZ for fun, some are there to compete, some are there to teach, and some are there to prove something. This purpose greatly impacts attitude. Some jumpers are real laid back and easy going while others are hyper and in your face. In skydiving, poor performance or bad decisions can get others hurt or killed. Hence more regulation. The goal in skydiving is to perform well. Because of this most jumpers attitudes are critical and constantly looking to improve technique and skill.
BASE Jumpers: BASE jumpers are also all over the board, but with one key difference. Most BASE jumpers just don't care what you, or anyone else for that matter thinks. BASE is a selfish and personal sport. We jump for us and no one else. We jump when we want, where we want, off what we want, with who we want, and best of all no regulation! If you screw up, you're gonna get hurt or die, but you're not gonna take anyone else with you. The goal in BASE is not to die. You accomplish that and you're having a good time. Because of this most BASE jumpers are much more relaxed. Besides, how can you take life seriously when your sport involves intentionally putting yourself in mortal danger and the measurable goal is how close can you come to dying without actually going in?
Winner: DRAW - This one is too close to call. The sports are just too different and jumpers themselves are just too unique to be able to objectively compare this area. (I will say the "fringe" jumpers of skydivers saved this one from being a BASE win. So kudos the the FFers, WSers, and Swoopers.) 

So who is cooler?
Answer: Skydivers

Easy, BASE jumpers just don't care about being cool. 

Besides, it's not cool to be cool anymore. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Mormon BASE Jumping Conspiracy

BASE jumpers have managed to spotlight themselves in the media once
again recently. Not long ago two jumpers decided to throw themselves
off the headquarters of The Church of Latter Day Saints (more commonly
known as the Mormons) in Salt Lake City, Utah. They really can't be
blamed as the building was just begging to be jumped. Unfortunately
the Mormons didn't see it this way and along with releasing the
security footage to the media they decided to press charges against the jumpers. 
What you must understand is that the Mormons weren't upset the building was
jumped, but rather that it was so blatantly day blazed. You see, the
Mormons were the originators of modern BASE ethics. Huh? How does that
makes sense? Well, I'm going to let you in on a secret that very few
people realize: the Mormon faith is really just a front for America's
oldest BASE jumping crew. Sound crazy? Probably, but when talking
about people that enjoy throwing themselves off buildings for fun words like
"crazy" don't really amount to much. So why I am outing this base
jumping crew? Because the only crew that matters is mine, and if
you're not in my crew, then your crew sucks.
So what's this business about the Mormons really being a BASE jumping
crew? It's true, the evidence is out there, they have just done an
exceptional jobs of covering it up.

Location, Location, Location
First lets look at the obvious. What is Utah known for? Mormons,
skiing, and Sundance. Pretty much in that order. However to the BASE jumping community it's something else, a playground. Not just any playground either. Utah is like going to the park only to find out Chucky Cheese opened a new outdoor location featuring the world's largest ball pit. Much like a child that will hide their favorite toy from the neighborhood kids, the Mormons have done an excellent job of keeping this cliff jumping Utopia a secret from most of the world. Let's look at how the Mormons ended up in Utah in the first place. According to history (which is always accurate) they were chased across the country looking for Zion and eventually settled were no one else wanted right? Despite what
historians say the Mormon movement west was not an exodus, but a very
calculated campaign to secure some of the country's best BASE jumping
land while convincing the rest of the world they really didn't want
it. After all, the majority of society only desires things because
other people also desire them, therefore, the trick is to convince
someone you really don't want it. Negotiating 101.

Joseph Smith
So let's talk about this Joseph Smith guy. First of all, "Joe Smith"
is probably the best name you can give to the authorities when busted
for BASE jumping and has been done many many times throughout history.
It's the perfect, anonymous, simple, and easy name to think of when
staring down the business end of a taser belonging to a trigger happy adrenaline induced jacked up wannabecop park ranger after hopping a fence or landing from pure
bliss. "Damn buddy, did you just see what I did? As if my brain is
functioning properly at the moment. Get the gun outta my face, a
smoke, a beer, and maybe a post jump dump and then we can talk."
(Sorry, ADD is a common trait among BASE...damn look at that antenna!)
Ok, so back to good old Joe Smith. The Mormons claim Joseph Smith was
a prophet. He had supernatural powers that allowed him to find
treasures. Treasures huh? Allow me to share some BASE lingo. An object
that is prime for jumping, has a great landing area, and low bust
factor is often referred to as "golden." A crew's best, highest
profile, and most prized object is called "jewel" or in some cases
"crown jewel." So it's quite safe to say Joseph Smith really was
searching for treasure, but not "normal" treasure, he was scouting for prime BASE

Golden Plates
So what's the deal with these Golden Plates Joseph Smith found, read
out of a hat, and eventually became the Mormon teachings? Remember the
"treasure" he was searching for? The plates never physically existed,
but were a metaphor. The original Mormon teachings were actually the
first BASE Ethics, or the rules BASE jumpers use to protect their
"golden" objects. Make sense? Thought so. (Don't try to tell me this
is any less rational than any other religious story you have ever
heard.) As far as the issue of Smith reading the plates from a hat,
well, that is just another example of historians muddling the meaning
based on the language of the past. You see, in Smith's day, saying "he read
it out of his hat" is the equivalent to today's saying of "he pulled
it out of his ass."

There is plenty of other supporting evidence (for example its common
knowledge most jumpers have addiction issues, hence the Mormon rule
against intoxicants) but my ADD has kicked in and I feel like going
outside to play. All this talk about jumping buildings has me quite
aroused. So there you have it. The truth about the Mormons. Take it as
you will - fact, fiction, conspiracy, or the ramblings of a


Church Office Building from Marshall Miller on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Neighbors Think I am a Drug Dealer

It has recently come to my attention that my neighbors think I am a drug dealer. It's both humorous and obvious looking back at the past evidence that has no doubt led them to this conclusion.
1) I keep to myself.
In a "typical" situation I don't think this would be a big deal. However in my case everyone where I live is overly friendly. Everyone has kids but me and everyone seems to know whats going on in everyone else's lives. Sure I'll say hi if I pass someone but I don't ever stop to try and talk to anyone. After a few months they all pretty much got the hint that although I live there, I don't really wish to be a part of their community.
2) My car is too nice for where I live.
I definitely don't live in a bad part of town. In fact it's a very nice part of town, but the community itself...well let's just say it's far from being gated. When you pull into my parking lot you can instantly tell one car does not fit - mine. Typically there is a positive correlation between how nice someone's home is with how nice their car is. I don't fit this mold because I have different priorities. I don't spend a lot of time in my home so it's quite modest and that suits me just fine. However, I spend a lot of time in my car and like something that is comfortable and reliable. Unfortunately I've been told the combination of being a young male, driving a luxury car, living in a modest home screams drug dealer.
3) People coming and going at all hours.
I tend to have people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. If you're familiar with BASE jumpers then you already know we rarely pass up a good opportunity to jump. If the conditions are right then chances are my crew is organizing something. Since my place is centrally located and close to one of our favorite objects it tends to be the meeting point. Combine this with the fact that most of us work during the day, the best wind tends to be at night, and we are less likely to be seen at night, and you have the perfect recipe for my friends to come and go when "normal" people have already called it a night.
4) "Shady Looking Characters"
I don't mean any offense, but let's be honest here, jumpers tend to look a little shady. This is especially true when getting ready for a jump. In keeping with old school ethics we tend to wear dark, loose fitting, nonbranded clothing. Throw on a pair of heavy duty boots and a beanie and suddenly we completely look like we're up to no good. Frankly I find it downright amusing for people to see me wearing cargo shorts then glance down to see my tightly laced full ankle boots. 
5) Strange looking bags.
Ah the stash bags. One thing I KNOW has got to be bugging the hell out of me neighbors is the stash bags. I mean, if you saw 5 to 8 "Shady Looking Characters" coming and going in the middle of the night all wearing identical giant black shapeless bags on their back wouldn't you be a little suspicious? One neighbor has chatted with me a few times while wearing my stash bag. His darting eyes during the brief conversation make it painfully obvious he is just dying for me to volunteer to him what's inside. I don't however, if he wants to know he is going to have to work up the courage to ask. At that point I will probably just ho hum and avoid answering. He doesn't need to know what's inside...and if I told him the truth he would probably think I was lying anyway.
6) I leave town a lot for short trips and pack "too much."
Another thing I know is driving my nosy neighbors crazy is how often I leave town and how much I pack. BASE trips come up fairly often, typically take a couple to a few days, and we usually plan on hitting a few different objects both slider up and slider off. Trips like this means a lot of gear: 2 Rigs, Gear Bag, and Clothes Bag. Every time my neighbors see bags or a suitcase they have to be friendly and ask "Wow, look like you are gonna be gone a while! Where ya goin?" I'm typically as vague as possible, tell them I am visiting some friends and will be back in a couple days. Now, even though they don't say it, the look on their face clearly says they don't understand why I have at least 4 bags if I am only going to be gone a couple days. It's especially amusing when someone see's me heading to the drop zone in the morning, and coming back that same evening, because I typically have around 4 bags then too. Sometimes I just feel like saying "Hey...if had enough drugs to fill these bags I would NOT be living here."
7) Strapping and stowing of firearms in the parking lot.
OK, I know this one sounds pretty obvious, but a few of my jump buddies like to carry. Because of this we are frequently moving firearms around in the parking lot. Either from one car to another, or from the glove box to the hip, vice versa, etc. I suppose this one is entirely avoidable...but who doesn't want CCW BASE?

Based on all this "unusual" behavior I really can't complain too much of what my neighbors think of me. I am after all up to no good, they just have no idea what I am really doing. The result of being labeled as a drug dealer means my neighbors no longer try to talk to me as often, which suits me just fine. Classic misdirection. However, it's going to be quite amusing one day when the cops knock on my door and to their disappointment they are not going to find any drugs, but they will find a LOT of nylon.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Man Arrested After BASE Jumping from Downtown Chicago Building

SW was arrested this week for BASE jumping off a Downtown Chicago Building. Typically busts like this are best kept quiet but since it's made national news and is being reported by dozens of news sites includes Reuters and The Huffington Post then what is the harm?

Situations like this suck. In this case it appears SW at least took the necessary precautions. It is reported he was busted at 2:40AM on a Sunday morning doing a solo. So unless he was jumping near the bar district it looks like he really was trying not to be seen. (Because who in their right mind would jump from a building by a bunch of bars right as they are letting out...especially as their very first 150ft) Anyway it could have just been a case of wrong place at the wrong time and SW didn't see the cop. If you're jumping in a downtown area there are going to be cops...that's just the way it is. If you're lucky then no one ever looks up when they hear your canopy open. Everyone just assumes some poor fool is getting shot in the alley because the human brain reasons that loud bang in a downtown area has a much higher chance of being a gun shot than a parachute opening.

Two unfortunate things came from this bust:
     1) The building is burned, at least temporarily. Which sucks, because reports vary but claim he jumped somewhere between the 20th and 25th floor so it was either a low freefall, or more likely a static line. Apparently the building will eventually be over 90 stories tall however....which means in the foreseeable future there will be a Slider Up Downtown situation. The mere thought gives me a tingly feeling in my nether regions. As long as it's left alone then the B will be rejumpable however. Road trip to Chi-town anyone?
     2) SW was arrested for "reckless conduct." Reuters reports "The officer took actions to prevent danger to pedestrians in the area, himself, and vehicles." How many spectators pedestrians have ever been injured by a BASE jumper? None. That's how many. Yet every  time an Urban story makes the news it is sensationalized and the public gets all rabble roused as if thousands of BASE jumpers are going to start falling out of the sky like hail crashing  all around them smashing their poor foo-foo Yorkie as they take it for a midnight stroll. 

In all honesty part of this sport is not caring what the public thinks. It's easy for us to use their misinformation to our advantage. The less truth they know, the easier it is for us to do what we love most. It's just unfortunate some use this misinformation to rally against us. They can rabble all they want though, I will forever be an Urban Night Ninja.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Satan; the devil.
any evil spirit; demon.
a diabolically cruel or wicked person.
a person or thing that causes mischief or annoyance: Thosechildren are little fiends.
Informal . a person who is extremely addicted to some pernicious habit: an opium fiend.
Informal . a person who is excessively interested in some gamesportetc.; fan; buff: a bridge fiend.
a person who is highly skilled or gifted in something: a fiend at languages.