Friday, December 28, 2007

My radio silence will get a little bit longer this weekend. Dev and I rented a cabin in Lyle, Washington for the holiday weekend. I don't think Dev packed the computer, so I will be incommunicado via text, email and blog for almost five days. Brilliance. I hope to have some pictures to show and stories to share when I get back.

All the best to you for the New Year (if I don't see you until then). And may it bless all of us with bounty and bliss in equal measure!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A sobering opinion piece about the Iraq War, war in general and history as a guiding perspective here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quote of the day:
"In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first."

-- Ambrose Bierce
So very sore today. Two days after jaunting to the mountain for snowboarding I feel a little like I got beaten. I had a lot of fun Sunday with former coworker and friend John Hart. We drove up to the mountain Sunday morning. John and I traded quips the entire way. John's sister's boyfriend Nathan sat in the back and quietly observed us during the drive. We arrived at Timberline lodge to splendid early season conditions. While not fantastic snow, the resort had groomed the snow enough to make it rideable.

I practiced some basics on the bunny slope (Bruno) for about an hour. John and Nathan both patiently hung out nearby. They rode down the bunny slope, but didn't need near the practice I did. At about 10 AM we headed over to Pucci to make our first run down the slopes. We rode down the easy part of main run Pucci to join up with West Leg Road. I tried to practice rocking side to side from front edge to back. My bindings thwarted me. My toes strap cam buckles kept slipping.

On a snowboard, the bindings strap across the ankles and the toes of the rider. The bindings attach the rider's foot to the board. The ankle straps also allow the rider to lift to heel edge off the snow so said rider can focus riding on the toe edge of the board. The toe straps provide leverage in the opposite direction, mainly they allow the rider to lift the toe edge off of the snow so he can focus riding on the heel edge. For a beginner, the heel edge provides the easiest and fastest braking possible. The rider rocks onto the heel edge and rotates the snowboard so that it sits perpendicular to the direction of travel. The heel edge bites into the snow and the rider slows or stops.

A lack of working toe straps complicates this process.

I fought my way down West Leg Road to get to the Jeff Flood Express ski lift. I fell about 30 or 40 times on the way. We originally planned to ride the Pucci chairlift up. The Pucci chairlift crew needed maintenance to fix something when we got to the lift. So we mounted up and rode all the way down to the next lift. The top of the chairlift presented me with another shortish, steepish slope to the day lodge parking lot. I struggled and feel down this slope. I cursed. We went into the gift shop and I bought the only toe strap replacements the carried. Overpriced at $40. Jon and Nathan and I monopolized the public ski tune bench to change out my toe straps. Then we checked our boards at the ski check and grabbed lunch.

The post lunch riding proceeded much better. I fell far fewer times on the two post-lunch runs of the day. I fell harder because I carried more speed. I carried more speed because I had more control. I had more control because I had working toe straps. So I guess I can say I crashed less often but harder because I had working toe straps. John stayed with me most of the day. He said he just wanted to get his legs back under him after not riding last season at all. He seemed smooth and in control the entire time. I felt clumsy slow and awkward following behind him. But I felt a marked improvement between when I first set edge to snow at nine that morning and when we crawled into the day lodge around 3:15 or 3:30 that afternoon.

The drive home passed quickly and uneventfully. I feel sore in a couple of key places and bruised in a couple of others. I skipped crossfit last night because I got so beat up by the slopes.

I am ready to go back soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Quote from Cristopher Hitchens latest editorial:
We are about to have the annual culture war about the display of cribs, mangers, conifers, and other symbols on public land. Most of this argument is phony and tawdry and secondhand and has nothing whatever to do with "faith" as its protagonists understand it. The burning of a Yule log or the display of a Scandinavian tree is nothing more than paganism and the observance of a winter solstice; it makes no more acknowledgment of the Christian religion than I do. The fierce partisanship of the holly bush and mistletoe believers convicts them of nothing more than ignorance and simple-mindedness. They would have been just as pious under the reign of the Druids or the Vikings, and just as much attached to their bucolic icons. Everybody knows, furthermore, that there was no moving star in the east, that Quirinius was not the governor of Syria in the time of King Herod, that no worldwide tax census was conducted in that period of the rule of Augustus, and that no "stable" is mentioned even in any of the mutually contradictory books of the New Testament. So, to put a star on top of a pine tree or to arrange various farm animals around a crib is to be as accurate and inventive as that Japanese department store that, as urban legend has it, did its best to emulate the Christmas spirit by displaying a red-and-white bearded Santa snugly nailed to a crucifix.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Today is Day of the NInja.

'Nuff said.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Scientists found a potentially, completely mummified dinosaur recently. Possible mummified organs! So very cool!