Friday, April 25, 2008

My cat died

My cat Spunky died a couple of days ago. She was 17 years old. It's been a long winter with my mom's cancer, and now this..

So I decided to go on a road trip to get out of the house. I took my cross country skis and went to Montana. I knew a dose of the cabin was what I needed. I stopped at Lookout Pass ski area (which is closed now) and climbed alone to the top where I took this picture. I guess it would be about 1500 feet of climbing. It's such a waste as there is so much snow, but I did have the whole place to myself and I was looking for solitude.

My skis climbed surprisingly well with their fish scale bottoms. It took me about an hour to get to the top. There was a crust on the snow. The whole way up I was wondering if I could force these skis into a telemark turn for the trip down with this crust. But it didn't matter, I was going to the top. No way could I ski down the trail I'd hiked up on. There would be no room to turn and I'd get going too fast. I'd have to ski down the face on my skinny skis. Kind of counter-intuitive, as you would think the trail would be safer. On the face, I'd do a step-turn traverse and telemark up-hill at the end of each traverse to stop myself. It worked perfectly and I zig-zaged my way down the mountain without falling. A good thing as there was no ski patrol to haul me away to hospital.

It was cold and windy when I got to the cabin. I went through the process of closing all of the valves and and started up the pump which I'd drained for the winter so it wouldn't freeze the pipes. It worked and there were no leaks and I had water inside. I built a fire, warmed the place up and went to bed. This morning I did some fencing. I thought about my old man who had built the fence. I could see the skills he had learned growing up on the ranch. He's gone now.
It's been a long winter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whitewater kayak

They've been letting more water into the river due to spring runoff from the mountains. Today I noticed that there were some people on the river with their whitewater kayaks.

I took this picture looking down from a bridge.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I smoke

I don't smoke BTW, but on the subject of smoking and ski lifts,..

Some time ago I jumped on a double chair with this old dude. He had to be in his seventies. As we left the ground he looked over and warned me in a stern voice, "I smoke!"

"Well that's ok," I responded, in a pensive tone, "As long as you don't catch on fire..." .

He got a big laugh out of that one, and we had a nice conversation the rest of the way up. :) Actually I was glad to be on the same chair and not down wind with regard to his smoking.

Here's a picture taken last weekend taken from the ski lift, when we thought spring had arrived. Yesterday it snowed all day in the mountains and may as well have been January. That made it tricky skiing as it was fresh snow over ice.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I don't know what it is about riding this gondola that I like so much. Perhaps all of those James Bond movies I used to watch,..dum da da da da dum dum dum,..

A picture from inside the gondola. I don't know why they bother with foreign languages. Perhaps foreigners smoke and throw things out of gondolas unless you tell them not to ?.. :)

I undid my boot buckles and enjoyed the ride back down after a nice day of skiing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


My FIRST POST on this blog was about polygamy and mothers day. My aunt came from a different time and place. She was old when I was young. She was the daughter of a second wife in a polygamist family on a farm somewhere in Utah and ended up running away. I don't know all of the details and I think my parents didn't want me to know or be exposed to such things and as a little kid I couldn't have understood it anyway.

When I see these FLDS women on TV now I think about my aunt and the way she was. I admire her courage for running away.

I've been reading the DESERET NEWS, which has been covering this situation. It is a Salt Lake based paper. A majority of the comments on each story are critical of the Texas authorities and the government in general. It makes me wonder,..

Blame it on Texas,.. (is that a country and western song?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clinton Obama debate

I just got done watching the Clinton and Obama debate. Here are my thoughts.

In the first part of the "debate" they asked questions about Clinton's remarks about sniper fire and Obama's remarks about gun ownership and religion.

I didn't think Clinton did a very good job trying to explain her remarks about running from sniper fire. She over-worded what she was saying and fell all over it. I think she should have said less. She was caught in a lie and I don't think there was any good way to recover from it. Less would have been more.

Obama did what I thought was a pretty good job of explaining his views on why people would fall back on religion and gun ownership when voting. I'd previously heard his remarks on the Charlie Rose show and knew that there had been spin on this in the media. On the subject of gun ownership later in the debate I thought he did a better job of defining his position than Clinton did, and it seemed more reasonable to me.

When the economy came up I thought Clinton came into her own. It was clearly something she was comfortable with, unlike explaining her sniper fire comments. I thought she did well in this respect. I thought she did better than Obama on the economy.

On the war I thought Obama was more reasonable with respect to withdrawing troops. I thought he had a clear focus with regard to the war and what to do. I didn't get that from Clinton. She stuck by her guns on numbers to withdraw but didn't really explain why. I got the impression she didn't know why.

My general impression was that Obama tried to get the debate back to the issues and Clinton tried to keep finding faults with Obama.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lock down!

I had to go to a company today that had a lobby with no receptionist and only a telephone with a list of names and extention numbers. It was at an electronics company that we do graphics for. They don't do work for the general public and not having a receptionist is kind of a trend here.

I arive at this place and go in this so lobby/ waiting area. Go up to the phone and find the extention number of the engineer I need to meet with and called him. He was at his desk and answered his phone and said he'd be down in five minutes. Most of the time people don't answer their phone and so you wait and hope they check their messages.

So I sat there waiting. Looking around. I'm the only person. Photos of circuit boards and stuff like that on the wall. A big poster thing that said what the company was about. Cheap but comfortable office furniture, and I got to thinking how it wouldnt' look too bad in my house,..I seem to always have this same thought in places like this,.. Safety information in a binder on the coffee table. (which I scan through) I was isolated in there, like one of those rooms where you could be on candid camera or something. I looked around for a hidden security camera, but couldn't find one.

After a while the door to the inside of the company opened and there was my contact and I went in with him. It was one of those security card doors. There was a coat rack with a bunch of blue anti-static coats so I had to put one of those on and some shoe straps so I wouldn't zap any boards if I happened to touch one. Standard protocol. We have our meeting and I get shown back to the coat room. I remove my coat and shoe straps and go back through the security door and back into the lobby alone. I head to the door that leads outside and it's locked! It was the end of the work day and they'd locked the door! I go back to the security door and of course it's locked! I'm locked inside the lobby, and most likely nobody else is going to show up as it's the end of the day! All of the employees go out a different door.

For some reason I had left the cell phone in my car. Didn't think I'd need it. So I go back to the receptionist phone. I only know two people at this company, the guy I just met with and a purchasing agent. We had just been to the agent's cube and I knew he was gone for the day. And my contact told me he was in a hurry to leave also. I tried his extention but no answer.

So I scaned down the list of numbers and decide to try shipping and receiving. I called shipping and receiving and a guy answers. "I'm a vendor locked in your lobby, could you send someone over to release me?" Five minutes later a guy in a blue anti-static coat opens the door and leads me to the door the employees go out.

I think we might have a safety issue here,..

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Riding fences

It was a beautiful day to be in the mountains and on my skis again, but I guess the best thing about today was the gondola ride that I got to share with Georgia.

I'd better come to my senses.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Trek and Greg Lemond part ways

I thought THIS was interesting. It's a pdf version of a powerpoint presentation given to Trek employees today about the company cutting off its relationship with Greg Lemond. Trek has been making Lemond bikes since 1995.

This all revolves around Lemond's criticizm of Lance Armstrong. Of course Armstrong won all of his Tours de France with Trek bikes and has an interest in the company.

I have a Trek bike. I have two Trek bikes actually. That makes me part of the Trek Family. I didn't buy my road bike because of Armstrong, I bought it because it was the it was the best product I could afford at the time, and I had a good relationship with the dealer. I'm not sure I'd buy one now after seeing this power point, but I wouldn't decide not buy one because of something Lemond said about Lance or Landis, or anyone else.

It does make sense that the Armstrong and Lemond part ways however. I can understand that, but My Gosh! To put something like this on their website.

I love the last page of the presentation. It's such a nice day,.. I can just imagine being a Trek employee today and having to get educated on how to think. Lemond's comments have been bad for Trek,.. They stopped short of saying Lemond's comments are wrong,..

Don't get me wrong. I have no great fondness for Lemond. He has a place at an exclusive ski hill in Montana next to Big Sky where only the very wealthy are allowed in. I find that disgusting.

Monday morning

Coming back to work on Monday was a drag. When I came in the office, it was stuffy and hot and smelled like three different sickening perfumes mixed with coffee and a lingering cigarette smell that someone had brought in with them from their car. After spending the weekend breathing in mountain sweetness this was a tough pill to swallow. To top things off, everyone was coughing and hacking, some from their habbits and others from lingering colds. As the cackling and coughing faded into my mind, I sat down in my cube. I looked out the window and tried to remember the mountain air.

It's now Tuesday morning,...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Rainier Beer

Today was the last day of skiing where I ski. They always have a "dummy jump" on the last day. People who know me well will be able to relate to this picture :)

Anyway, people make ski dummys and they compete to see which dummy can go the fathest. People go nuts over this, and everyone gathers to watch. Here is a photo of one of them flying off of the jump.

Here is a picture of one of the dummies flying off of the jump.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Body language

It's amazing how much you can tell from a person's body language. I was riding the chair with this kid who was on a snowboard. Me, this kid and an old ski bum. Of course I'm not an old ski bum :)

Anyway the two of us ski bums had this snowboard kid inbetween us. Three of us on a chair that holds six people. I'd ridden the chair earlier in the day with the kid. He was doing everything he could to act casual and relaxed, but clearly he was a tangled up mess inside.

"How's your day goin?" I asked. "I've come a conclusion." he said slowly with a strained smile on his face. I'm thinking, this should be interesting,.. The other ski bum was over on his side of the chair, a tall drink of water with sun glasses on sitting there motionless, his moustache hiding his smile.

"I need to keep focused on what I'm doing and not think about the other things that are on my mind." The kid said.

"That would be a good plan." I responded, after a short pause.

Here's a picture from the top this morning. (this picture will get bigger if you click on it, and that will give you the full effect)

I waited quite a while for someone to ski by so I could get this photo. It was cold too. Probably in the lower 20s and the wind chill was harsh. I had to keep my hand holding the camera inside my jacket until this lady finally skied by.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Uncle's teeth

My uncle had false teeth. And they didn't fit him very well. They would snap and pop when he ate. Either he didn't believe in Dentu-Grip or he couldn't afford it.

I remember one time we were driving across the prairie in his pickup truck. He was driving and I was in the passenger seat. I got a little concerned driving around with him. After all, he was pretty old. This was on a dirt road in the middle of a ranch. It was like he didn't understand what gear to put the truck into. When we started out he just moved the shifter around until it went into a gear and we started going. He'd put it in 3rd gear or something and let out the clutch. The truck would lurch and slowly go faster and faster until we were going about 40 or so. It was freaking me out. Of course there was no telling him. Well, one time I did tell him that he should slow down and to my surprise he did.

I looked over at him as we were bouncing along. His hands were clinching the steering wheel and he was looking straight forward. He had his mouth open and he was straining his lips to hold his false teeth in place.

One time I went on a trip with him and we stayed in a small roadside motel. It was out in the middle of nowhere. Our beds were seperated by a small night stand with a lamp on it. I woke up in the middle of the night and turned on the lamp and there they were, his teeth in a glass of water staring at me. And the odd thing about it was that they looked just like him,.. without everything but his teeth.