Just Another Blog
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Christmas Bonanza

Among other gifts, I received a 60 gb iPod, an extra-large Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, a food processor, bedding, boxes of wine, and lots of other goodies.

Christmas has always been a big deal in my family, and, frankly, my parents consistently spoil us kids. This has similarly led to us kids going large in terms of what we buy each other. My brother lives with his girlfriend who was born and raised in a lesser-developed Carribean nation. She finds the extravagance shocking, bordering on the obscene. She's right, too. Looking at the stacks of presents that were piled under their tree for three siblings and one girlfriend was enough to make me realize that it was just too much -- not that I'd have it any other way. When mom apologized and explained that two boxes filled with gifts hadn't even made it through the mail yet, it was just another exclamation point at the end of excess!!

Here are the presents I gave. It may appear that I had help from some Special Olympians wrapping these presents, but I actually did it all by myself.

Here's a peak under the tree. The bigger presents (electric guitar, gas grill) are hidden outside of the room, two boxes of presents have yet to arrive, and the camera angle doesn't quite capture all of the boxes.

See, even the dog knows there's lots of good stuff.

(This is a good shot too of his 3 missing front teeth. When you're blind, you run into stuff. Good thing he doesn't drink too.)

Here's my brother playing with the new gift that I bought him. I never really got him anything for his birthday this past year, so I upped my limit on him a bit.

Here was our Christmas evening meal. Since we exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, I was able to cook this 4+ pound New York strip roast in my new rotisserie. More excess.

The wine? Some sort of Latin tribute to the day, I guess. 1989 Franciscan Magnificat Meritage and the 1994 Dominus. Everyone preferred the Franciscan but me. My sister flat-out disliked the Dominus. It was 100 point wine, for goodness sake. I thought it was still amazingly deep and complex. It's good for at least another 5-7 years and continues to get better. I find it hard to imagine a much better steak wine. The Magnificat was drinking well for a 16 year old bottle. It was still showing fruit, and it had a very refined, if somewhat aged, structure about it rather like the dapper old gentleman in the light blue suit, grey bowler, and smart tie that you would've seen in church had you gone. It began to taste a bit oxidized after about half an hour, but the others didn't find that a flaw. That bottle traveled here from DC with me, so if nothing else, the condition of the wine validates my storage system. Kathleen provided Inniskillin Riesling Icewine as the after dinner treat.

I am not a religous man, and it is difficult for me to square the gift giving festivities with the day when I don't place any significance on the underlying nature of the celebration. I wonder how I would deal with the day if I were a parent. I like to think that I would refuse to participate and explain away both the religous and secular festivities. I realize, however, that it must be next to impossible to raise a small child and to explain to it why Santa Claus visits all of its friends but not our house. Still, despite my atheistic disinclination to participate, I am thankful for what I have received. I am thankful for parents that have always heaped presents under the tree. I do recognize how lucky I am to have been brought up in such abundance. And I do enjoy the gift giving.

Merry Christmas.

The New Pizza Shop

Near my sister's house features this logo and outdoor sign.

Am I the only one who sees this as just blatantly sexual? That is clearly a delta with a nub.

I haven't tried their pizza yet, as much as I enjoy eating out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Two Masters

The act of worshipping one muse doesn't preclude me from honoring another or even dreaming of a third during my slumber.

Fwd: Colorado Snow Alert for 12/20/05

Another powerful winter storm has moved across the state bringing nearly two feet of fresh powder to the slopes since Saturday. The Southern San Juan Mountains have been hit the hardest with Crested Butte reporting 11 inches new since Saturday and Silverton Mountain reporting 2-3 inches of snow falling every hour. As of this morning, Silverton had received 22 inches of fresh powder.

Beaver Creek has opened Royal Elk Glades expert terrain for its earliest-ever opening on Dec. 9th. Loveland's year-to-date snowfall totals are nearly double from last year and four feet ahead of year-to-date historical averages, having received more than 143 inches of snowfall this season.

With 28 powder days in the last six weeks and over 14 feet of powder already falling on Colorado slopes this season, Colorado is serving up the best early season skiing and riding in decades. Fresh powder snow is forecasted daily through the Christmas holiday. For the latest report on Colorado's powder conditions and to book a powder vacation package, visit Colorado Snow Central.

Two Sides

Can you hear your brain arguing cross-hemisphere with itself? Every thought, every situation, every possibility, every choice, every bad move, every wrong step, every faux pas, every step forward, every score, ,,, ,every one - all the time - every decision is denounced by logic and trumpeted by heart.

The different answers are sorted into columns and compared. Logic gives the heart her due but always wins the final tally.

But she shouts back, "Listen to the lyrics!"

It's a wise arguement he immediately realizes.

Is it really all just driven by the soundtrack? He frets it is, for he doesn't even have an iPod.

Another working day has ended ... packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes ... contestants in a suicidal race.

Ohhh, but I am so tired of those thoughts. Tired of thinking there's only one way to end the race. Change the background music.

And I will say thanks, if you're pouring my drinks. While the world waits for an explosion, a moment in time - when we'll be set free. So don't stay mad. Just let some time pass, and in the morning, you'll wake feeling new.

Oh, how I am sick of going to bed every night hoping for a better morning. Hoping to wake feeling new.

But don't forget ... you can change the soundtrack. In the morning, I can get through the day again - - - probably.

< as an aside, while trolling through his music, he wonders how it is that he has never seen Sonic Youth live. And he is sad. >

Some songs you listen to and you go, "Wow, I have always liked that song, and I will probably always like that song."

She keeps coming closer telling me, "I can feel it in my bones." Schizophrenia is taking me home.

Monday, December 19, 2005
Days Off

I got some skiing in during my time off. My seventh day up on the pass puts me at the breakeven point in early December. Additionally, I actually used the free Winter Park ticket from the Warren Miller Show. Here's how my week went.


I went to Breckenridge with my sister. We did not see a single cloud all day long. We skied groomers, and she got her new board, boots, and bindings tuned-in. The girl rides real fast now.


Dan, my sister, and I headed to Keystone. We saw one cloud in the morning, then nary a whisp.


...fell during the middle of the week and so did the snow. The morning report said nine inches of freshies at Vail, so we went. We agreed that it was more like six fresh, but heck, look at the picture: he's standing! We skied our way back to Blue Sky Basin and found heaven in those ideally spaced trees.


...was the last day to use the coupon from the Warren Miller Show at Winter Park for a free ticket. I hadn't been to WP in ages. I went with Jonny 6-Pack and some of his work mates. The day was hot and cold.


On the hot side was the women's downhill race that was going on. I first became aware of this when I was fidgeting with putting my ticket on my coat and looked up to see myself surrounded by the New Zealand women's ski team as evidenced by their exquisitely fitting uniforms. Outside I discovered these girls were everywhere. Skier girls have some amazing bodies! This was an unexpected treat.


On the cold side was the weather. We never saw the sun, it was cold, and it was occassionally very windy. There was a little bit of fresh snow, and at the end of the day we found a couple of pretty good runs. It was the worst of the days, but it wasn't a bad day by any means.


Photo credit to Graeme for the new photo there on the upper right. Credit to Picasa for the manipulation and to Photoshop for the resizing which is surprisingly unintuitive with Picasa.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Good Times Big Daddy Bacon Cheeseburger

Friday, December 09, 2005
Xmas Party

The company holiday party was last evening at Coors Field. It was a decent time and multiple people were kind enough to pass me their drink tickets. Bunches of wine at the ballpark were followed by beers and shots at the Giggling Grizzly. It made for a late night and an early morning, but it was quite the good time. Today at work I get free bagels in the morning and free lunch at Maggiano's in the afternoon. Tonight it's the Dandy Warhols. I'll ski one day this weekend, and I'm off all next week, so I can buy you presents or do some mid-week skiing. Despite a bit of a hangover, I'm feeling pretty good right now.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Oh, hey! I almost forgot to tell you about the skiing. I went to A-Basin on Saturday with Sward and my sister.

All morning we heard how Loveland Pass was closed, so we had planned to go through the tunnel and onward to Keystone. But when we got to US6, it was open, and we went over.

We had been in the car fighting traffic for two and a half hours by then, so we decided we just needed to get in the snow. We parked the car, took leaks, and headed to the top and then to the very top.

The first run we took was down Powerline. It runs right below the lift coming up but was boxed in by ropes keeping us from the rocky tops on either side of the run.

It had been skied but not heavily. No one was immediately ahead of us, and no one was delayed by our party.

The run was the first of my life where I'd ever had powder to my chest. In the steep parts with the deep parts where the snow had drifted and so had I, there -- THERE! I drove my entire body through the snow. The run was repeated and repeated again, later.

We skied of the Pali' lift too. We skied the West Wall. We skied across it; we skied down it; we skied off it -- ok, only Sward really skied off it, but the dude went off! He landed a 6 foot drop to a hidden rock with snow billowing around him, and he looked pretty doing it! He went on to demonstrate his mad skills in the terrain park pulling some solid daffy's off the lips.

Boy can ski. Need to figure out a way to slow him down.

Stopped for quick break. Sward: Burrito, beer Sister: Bloody Mary, Baileys Hot Chocolate Me: beer, shot, beer

On lift ride up, I implement a plan to slow Sward down. It is excellent but only marginally effective; the boy stil wants to ski fast. Real fast.

We go back out for a couple of more runs- hitting it from both sides of the mountain. Beautiful snow! - even if the light is so flat you can barely see. Just have to trust your equipment and your skills.

We run the courses. We run our course. We let the day run its course.

And we drove quietly back to the city.


It's two degrees here, and the mercury's dropping. Reminds me of my youthful holidays spent with my grandparents in Minnesoter.

Exercise May Be Important

... to the prevention of cancer. We just found out my dad has prostate cancer, so I want to remind you to exercise yours.


Well, the diagnosis was bad, but the prognosis is very good. A bone scan revealed nothing more than arthritic fingers, so the cancer is expected to be fully containable and treatable. Treatment will all go down sometime in early ought six. In the mean time there are 2nd opinions and opinions from doc friends and opinions from friends and cousins with prostate cancer to be gathered and considered.

I've heard it said that prostate cancer is something that you die with, not from. Still, it's always scary to mutter the big C when it's in your family - especially when you consider the genetic component of the disease. I'm glad it's looking good for now.

There Is No Meat

There is no meat in my house. None.

I'm not sure if this happens a lot or not. I can't ever recall being out of all meat previously, but I also don't recall thinking much about it. Right now, it feels odd.

There are almonds, but no meat - not anywhere to be found in this house.

Saturday, December 03, 2005
15 Inches

Is what Breck and Keystone have had in the past 48 hours with another 1 to 3 expected to fall during the day.

I hurt my knee three weeks ago, and it just won't quite stop bothering me, but I'm going to try skiing. Just because I tweaked it skiing, doesn't mean doing more will make it worse - though, of course, it could. Heading up with Sward and the sister with invites to go again tomorrow. Since the Broncos are 1-16 at KC in December, I'm a bit concerned that my time is best spent on the slopes. I'll wait and see how my knee feels before making any decisions.

Went and saw Walk the Line last night. Very good. Better than Harry Potter which I saw last weekend which was better than Jarhead which I saw the previous weekend. I love me some June Carter. That is for sure!

Now I need to get the morning flowing with some Kahlua, Baileys, and coffee. There 3 inches of fresh on my front stoop this morning and a chill in the air, but I have high hopes for this day.