Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wow – Christmas has come and gone.

And, with it, the Christmas Movie season.

its-a-wonderful-life-530fp120810We watched most of our regular Christmas fare this YuleTide (which is, BTW, different from a RollTide)  although we found that we had left Rudolph and Elf at home.

We tried a new movie, as well – Jim Carrey in The Grinch, and I decided that I didn’t like it and won’t watch it again. Nothing against Mr Carrey, who did fine – basically, he was The Mask again, with a different shade of green, but he does that sort of role well.

No, what I didn’t care for was the fact that they changed the story. They didn’t just add filler (reasonable to expect for a feature film) – they changed the story in very material ways. In the original, the Grinch was the Grinch, and nobody knew why he was that way.

But in the Carrey version, this all changed: the Grinch, as it turns out, hated Christmas because *of the way that he was treated by the Whos*. This is important, you see, because the way that you are is always somebody else’s fault. It’s not your fault.

Icky-poo cooties. Please, have a little respect for Dr Seuss’ story – don’t change it to map to your own world view, Hollywood.

And speaking of Grinches – this year, we viewed Miracle on 34th Street (the original 1947, with Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Gwynne) and It’s A Wonderful Life on Amazon, and I couldn’t help but notice – both of these movies had 4.5 star ratings. Who is going to give either of these movies less than five stars? That’s just crazy talk!


…now our condo village.

I was on the chairlift with an older gent yesterday who said that this meadow – where our condo now stands – was once the 2nd most photographed spot in Colorado.

Funny – I didn’t think to ask what the most photographed spot was : )

This is my last workday before a three-week vacation; I woke up at 2:13, thinking about work stuff, and never went back to bed. It took me a while to actually get started working, though – but it’s still been a full day, justabout, already, although I have more to do.

There was a time when I never worried about work; it simply wasn’t anything to worry about. Then I changed jobs. Changing jobs is something that folks like me (programmer types) used to do all the time; in the ’90s, everybody just waved money at us and said “come do this!” “no, come do this!” But that stopped about fifteen years ago, and since then, I’ve worked for two companies – Fidelity for seven years, and GoDaddy for another 7.5.

It was easier to change jobs when my brain was more flexible; and this last change was difficult, because the *job* is so flexible; “agile” development seems to mean “bend over backwards to do three different things while riding a unicycle”. Let’s just say that it keeps me occupied.

Now I’m about to take my lunch break and head over to the ski hill for a few runs. Not a lot of runs, and not anything very vigorous, because I have – after all – been up since 2:13. But I’ll be skiing, and for a po’ boy from Flat Red Clay, Alabama, that’s a wonderment.



Here’s the forecast for tomorrow:


EndOfDaysI heard today that Durango schools are having to prepare for tomorrow – seems that there are bomb threats or whatnot, because some folks are using this Mayan thing to excuse all sorts of behavior.

If the Mayans were so smart, then they’d still be running things in Central America. They couldn’t tell that the Spaniards were coming, along with smallpox and typhus. Why would anybody believe that they could foresee the end of the world, down to the date?

Nobody would believe that. And I don’t believe that anyone does believe it.

But some folks need drama – heck, sometimes I generate drama in my own life. But I’m not willing to pretend to believe in the end of the world to generate it. And certainly not when we have thirty inches of new snow!




Last Friday, all we had to ski on was manmade.

Not anymore : )

Here’s a spot where I stopped on Styx today at lunchtime:

styxFluffy happy soft white bumps and jumps all the way down ; 0

THIS is why we live here – at least as much as we do.

Last night’s movie was “Family Man” – which qualifies as a Christmas movie because a certain magic happens at Christmas time. (SPOILER ALERT)  It’s a sort of “Scrooge” movie, in that the protagonist is visited by a “Christmas ghost” of sorts who forces him to see an alternate-universe “Christmas present”; however, the glimpse of this other world lasts a lot longer than a few hours. In the end, the protagonist has had his world-view changed such that he does something different than he would have done had the event not taken place.

I don’t think it’s a real “Scrooge” because the gentleman in question (Jack, played by Nick Cage) is not a bad guy at all; he is definitely focused on money, but he is also most definitely sharing that wealth with his underlings, none of whom are the least bit downtrodden. He is basically a very successful man who is reasonably happy as he is; the “glimpse”, however, shows him as he might have been, had he married his college sweetheart.

Now, I’m supposed to watch this movie as the man that I am – very happily married, fine family connections, well-adjusted (hey – you shoulda seen me twenty-eight years ago) and having a good life. I think that the movie is supposed to result in a guy like me patting himself on the back and telling himself that it’s a good thing that he didn’t go off and make a whole bunch of money and drive a Ferrarri.

But, at least for this happily-married man, that’s not the actual result. In fact, it’s sort of the opposite.

No, I don’t wish that I was not married to Ethel (who has recanted, at least a bit, that she ever told me to stop calling her Ethel. I think that what she wants is for me to call her Ethel, but for YOU to call her Kim, but I’m not sure. Watch this space)  – the idea of not being married to Ethel is a hard sell. If Ethel dumped me, then I would probably just start wandering around looking for a quasi-Ethel, preferably one less inclined to dump.

But it does leave me wondering – why have I done so little with my life?

I am God’s own underachiever. I’ve never done anything very well. Now, that is no doubt in part because I don’t have any talent for anything; I actually flunked the only aptitude test that I ever took. The poor lady had to look me in the eyes and say “Mr Puckett, I’m sorry to have to say this, but you don’t have an aptitude”.

But, still, I’m a reasonably bright human being; if standardized tests mean anything, I’m above average, possibly well above average, in intelligence.And I’m healthy, and not disfigured or disabled in any real way (when I ran a personal-worst half marathon a few years back, I tried to get my doctor to give me a disabled hanger for my car, but no such luck).

But I’ve never really DONE anything.

And it bothers me. That is the simplest component of what is called the “mid-life crisis” – a sudden realization that one hasn’t actually done anything with one’s time on the planet. My own mid-life crisis has been going one for about 15 years; Wikipedia says that it lasts 3-10 years in males. I reckon I’m the exception. I wonder if my mid-life crisis will go on long enough so that IT will have a mid-life crisis; maybe someday my mid-life crisis will go into therapy, sitting on a couch complaining that “I haven’t been able to get him to do anything with his life, and I’m running out of time!” ?

The worst thing is not just the awareness that I haven’t done anything; I think that what bothers me the most is that I’ve never had the gumption to really TRY. About ten years ago, I took on a project that (as was stressed to me ) was very important, and was very large. I completely immersed myself in this project, and executed it very, very well; but in the meantime, I had managed to offend some folks around me in some way, causing some alienation. So even though I got a lot of praise and recognition for the project, I also got some negative feedback; as a result, I became much less motivated to ever work that hard again at anything.

And, as I look back, that project was the exception; I’ve been so “easy does it” and “first things first” in my life that I’ve not done anything hard, and been a dilettante at everything. This might be because I’ve gotten tired of trying really hard to be good at something, and always coming up “just above average” – that whole lack of talent thing again.

But I suspect that what’s really held me back is just that awareness of a lack of talent; that fear of being no good. As long as I am not exerting myself with great effort, I could always tell myself that the reason that I haven’t done anything is because I”m a dilettante; this has protected me from ever having to face the ugly truth that maybe no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be a success.

In the movie last night, Jack, who was definitely a success, suddenly had to wonder what his success had cost him; but for me, a man who has the love of a good woman and a happy home life, it left me wondering why I had never really tried to be a success.

That’s the kind of thing that will wake up a fellow at night.

Here’s what the well-dressed runner is wearing these days:

tiderunnerCrimson and white ALABAMA mesh technical singlet;  crimson and white split-V shorts with houndstooth trim, and tech wicking socks with the ALABAMA logo and Big Al’s face – the mean Big Al, not the nice Big Al.

All of my runs these days are on treadmills, and so I have to keep as cool as I can. On of the gyms in which I run doesn’t allow me to run shirtless, so the tech singlets are a boon; I also carry a small fan to that gym, to help with airflow.

Currently holding steady at 40 miles/week; this may change after the mountain goes to everyday operations, and I start skiing (at least a few runs) every day. I’m doing one day with tempo, one easy day, one day with cruise intervals, one day with pure speed, and one long run day – that gives me two days off per week (from running).

I’m about to start three weeks of vacation, just because I have so much vacation saved up that I’m going to have to take it soon. My company has a “use it or lose it” policy…hmmm, actually, that’s not true. I could still wait a while before I would actually have to LOSE any vacation. But it doesn’t make sense to keep accruing this stuff without using it. I’m reasonably tired; it’s the holidays, so I think I’ll take the time off.

That may help me to adjust to running every day and still maintaining full training. And it will allow me to watch the bowl games, as well. Three weeks is a long time; who knows? Maybe I’ll get smarter during the three weeks.

((Actually, it’s my intention to work three or four hours/day during my vacation, doing some studying. I’m now doing a bunch of .NET stuff, and I’m weak in Microsoft technologies. Also Knockout is still out there, seemingly as opaque as ever. And I’m seeing Javascript syntax and constructions that I’ve never seen before; the darn stuff just looks funny. So I’ll be learning while I’m lazing).

Last night’s display at the local WalMart when we finished shopping:

twohundredThat’s not very common – in fact, I’ve never had it happen before.

Two hundred bucks is not an uncommon Wal-Mart trip for us, but two hundred EXACTLY was a little surprising.

Although I’m not very surprisable these days. Ever since I decaffeinated, I’ve been much calmer. It’s a lot like getting neutered, except that there’s no swelling or stitches involved.

It took about ten days for me to adjust to no caffeine, but once I adjusted, it was great. One of the benefits is that my energy levels are steady – I might take a nap at noon, but I generally feel the same all day long. No highs and lows dictated by how long it’s been since my last cup of coffee.

I considered myself a “caffeine addict”, but the truth is – functionally – I was more of an adrenaline addict. The way caffeine works (as I understand it) is that it causes adrenaline to trickle into the bloodstream; since adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone, you could say that coffee is “fear by the mugful”.

I don’t miss caffeine, although I do sometimes miss the lift that it gave – but that lift comes with the awareness of a crash later. This is better – much more comfortable. And calmer.

The guy at Sonic who gets his mind blown by a chicken asiago sandwich – twice? He’s not decaffeinated.

(“I before E except after C, or when sounded like “A” as in Neighbor or Weigh, or in weird words like “weird” and “caffeine”)

On Saturday, we drove down to Farmington, NM, to get some more framing done.

Here’s Framing Jesse at the Farmington Hobby Lobby:

FramingJesseWhen we first started remodeling this condo, we had several items framed at a custom frame shop here in Durango. I think we averaged about $150/frame, and that was with no matting. And it took a couple of weeks to get the framing done.

When we go down to Farmington, Framing Jesse knocks out five or ten items in less than an hour, and it’s less than $50/item – with matting and personalized care.

Here’s the piece that Framing Jesse is working on, above:

bangsomebumpsThis is the T-shirt from whence KimPuckett got her nickname, “Ethel” – the caption reads “Hey Ethel, let’s bang some bumps and hit the hot tub”.(edtor’s note: now that we have this shirt framed and on the wall, Kim has asked me to stop calling her Ethel, which I am almost pulling off, although there is difficulty involved. Stopping smoking was easier, although it was more uncomfortable).

We got quite a few new things framed this weekend, and now they are up on the walls – we’ve even got trail maps on the outside stairwell, along with a bunch of climbing gear hanging on the wall out there – the climbing gear could just as easily be stored in a closet, but doggone it climbing gear looks cool hanging on the wall.

Right now, the condo is getting a little overpowering, because we have all of our regular stuff, plus Christmas decorations. I’m thinking that next year, I’ll just get Framing Jesse to frame us up a Christmas tree, and that should save us quite a bit of floor space.

Sunrise over the Needles Mountain, as seen from my lower deck this morning:

needlesunriseIt snowed a little last night – not enough to make a difference, but enough to prove that, yes, it still snows in Colorado : )

They have made a lot of snow up on the mountain, though, and today they are opening the Six-Pack (6 person detachable lift on the front of the mountain) which means a few more runs, longer runs, and more of them – the 6-Pack gets up the mountain in about seven minutes.

This year, I’m taking my GPS with me, to get delta-h on each of the lifts; I’ve built a spreadsheet that will tell me how much vertical I’ve skiied, based on how many rides on each lift I take. One day in the early 2000s, I got over 50000 vertical feet in one day, riding the Saddle Back detachable at the Canyons, while patrolling. You do that twenty times, and you’ve skied a million vertical feet.

That’s not the sort of thing that matters to most folks, I reckon.

Today is the day of the Go Daddy Holiday Party back in Phoenix. Those are great parties, but they are NOT worth driving 500 miles each way – at least, not for me. I don’t drink, don’t overeat, and don’t stay up late enough to enjoy all the festivities : )

But today I am staring in the face of one of the problems that telecommuters have – we don’t get the same perks as folks in-office do. Specifically, in this case, everybody else has already gone home for the day to “prepare” for the party.

(to be fair – a lot of these folks went to Chase Field to actually prepare stuff for the party; our team has a lot of internal responsibilities. But it’s my pity party, so let me whine the way that I wanna whine : )

I don’t mind working this afternoon, but – doggonit! – a bunch of stuff that I’m working on requires other folks’ input or participation. So it’s going to be an afternoon of limited productivity. And working when other folks aren’t working, with very little actual return in the way of getting stuff done, is not my idea of fun.

So Cinderella will just have to clean up the ashes around the fireplace while his ugly stepsisters go to the Ball.

But, again, I am going skiing during lunchtime. And that’s a great view from the office, so I reckon it’s more than a fair trade : )


Here’s what I see out my door right now:


It’s about time. It’s been several weeks since our last snowfall – as you can tell by the patches on the hill – and it’s December 6th, so it’s really about time that we got some snow : )

The manmade stuff on the mountain has been just fine, but it is limited – I prefer more than one lift and one trail down : ) Silly and selfish of me, I suppose. Maybe I should ask God to stop the snow now, so that I can not have what I want?

“It is by self-forgetting that one finds” – the prayer of St Francis

I often live with that dichotomy – my selfishness is my problem, and it’s my ONLY problem. Getting what I want not only will not make me happy – the wanting itself is what makes me unhappy. Asking for His will, and watching what comes along, is what makes me happy.

But sometimes I forget this, and I want MY way.

This often happens when Ethel wants HER way.

This is not a recipe for domestic felicity.

So I’m best off when I can remember that not getting my way will make me happier than getting my way.

But I still like the snow!



Yesterday, I did a Purgatory Triathlon – run, ski, and golf : )

The running hurt, because my calf is not happy; the skiing was fine, but limited. The golf, however, had problems because of slow players in front of us on the 6th hole:

PlayingThroughHowever, the eight-point buck pulled his does off to the driving range and let us play through to the seventh hole.

I’ve always wanted to ski and golf on the same day – well, not always, as I could have done that in Utah easily. I talked about it then, but never put forth the effort. But now that Ethel plays golf, it’s a good excuse to get down to Hillcrest and swing a club.

And I was able to swing a club just fine, even with my Frankenhand ; Ethel took the stitches out on Saturday, and by yesterday morning the hand felt reasonable – stiff and sore in a couple of places, but one is not supposed to be gripping a golf club that tightly anyway.

I was informed at the golf course (by John Vickers, the local pro and a Florida fan)that a “Durango Triathlon” is ski, golf and CYCLE, but I’m not about to take up cycling.A bicycle seat puts parts of my body to sleep which should never, ever go to sleep. So I altered it for Purgatory.

…although, no doubt, I could cycle better now than I can run; this calf is a major problem. It hit me last week, and it is not going away.