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Monthly Archives: February 2013

 

Well, through a surprising set of circumstances, I finally have my Christmas present from Floyd.

deerbuttkitchenI think that the deer butt goes nicely with the antler-pendant motifs – don’t you?

Ethel hasn’t seen it yet – she’s upstairs, working, on the phone, busy. I’ wondering how long it will take her to notice the new ruminant-rump addition to the kitchen.

I didn’t get the optional anus-mounted bottle opener, for the simple reason that we don’t open any bottles that would require such an opener. No sense in wasting money.

Well, we’re home. Alabama and back; Mom laid to rest, family and friends visited, old sites of interest (schools, homes, meeting houses) toured and noted. For those of you playing along at home, Huntsville, AL now stretches all the way to the LImestone county line on US 72.

Family and friends are doing well. Saw Jerry and Mary, missed Rich. Saw much of the extended family at the funeral, visited with brothers (and their extended families) more later. It seemed to me that everybody asked just how in the heck Ethel and I work full-time while living at 8840 feet elevation at a ski hill; seems that most folks don’t do that. If half of the folks who said that they were coming to visit do so, then we’re going to be busy around here.

Spent time with grandchildren; Sam is even more precocious. My granddaughters Kaylin and Hali, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a few years, seemed to be scared of the bald old man with the soul patch, but got along well with Ethel We hope to see them out here soon.

The UAH campus (my alma mater) is getting crowded, what with all of the new buildings; and my old junior college, John C Calhoun (aka UCLA – University of Calhoun in Limestone, AL, aka Tulane – Two lane out there, two lane back) has now taken possession of the huge old Chrysler plant at the south end of the UAH campus, reinforcing its status as a feeder school.

In Athens, we visited the duplex where Silas was conceived, and the house he was born into. The duplex seems to be running down; looks like the house has been bought and had rooms added on. Things change, you know. That’s why I’m a bald old man with a soul patch because things change.

I left my cell phone in the rental car in Nashville; the folks there were as good as their word, and they got my phone overnighted to me way up here in ski country. (The rental was a Fiat 500, which is the polar opposite of Ethel’s Volkswagen Touareg, but it’s got her thinking. 40 mpg, hmmm?)

Tomorrow I go back to work. I’m about ready to do that, even though I find I am exhausted. I honestly do not know why I am so exhausted, unless it has something to do with traveling across the country, the funeral, being busy visiting, and traveling back across the country – all while being a bald old man with a soul patch.

 

 

If you’ve seen this site recently, you probably noticed my last post about how we had snow lined up for a week.

Well, it looks like the storm went south.

We live near 9000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, and we love snowstorms.

But Scott$dale, AZ, got more snow out of this system than we did.

Image

Okay, we maybe got a couple more inches than Scott$dale did, but not that much more. And we actually want the snow, whereas it seems that Scott$daliens aren’t in favor of it.Especially on the freeway.

Haven’t posted because, well, my mother died. Before anyone reacts – this is a good thing, really. Mom has been failing for a long time; Alzheimer’s set in a year or so ago, and she’s been bedridden for many months, having lost interest in food or drink a while back.

Now, Mom is – as Ethel pointed out to me from the Bible – “fully restored”. And “fully restored” in this context means that she’s with Dad, and that is a thought that makes me smile : )

Mom never looked up after Dad died, and that was sixteen years ago. She’s spent most of the time since then missing him and worrying about the rest of us. When I think about her relaxed and happy with my Daddy – yep, there’s my smile again : )

I’d hate to be one of those folks with no faith. That must be miserable – for more reasons that one. I’ll bet that they are grumpy, and probably cuss like Scott$daliens stuck in the traffic in the snow : )

I tell you what – some days, you simply can’t figure out what those days think that they are doing. Who do they think that they are?

forecast

If you look across the above graphic, it’s obvious that every day and night has decided to snow – except…what’s this? Oh? Friday night is Mostly Cloudy?

So…Friday night obviously thinks that it’s special – that it doesn’t have to snow like all of the other days.

(great – now I’ve got The Pretenders, “Brass in Pocket”, in my head – “I’m special! (special!) – so special! (special!) I got to have some of your – attention! Give it to me!)

I do hope that the other days get together and force Friday Night into conformity. Diversity is all fine and good, as long as everybody is snowing!)

It’s a good thing that it’s supposed to snow all week, as the storm that we were supposed to get today went south – we’ll still get maybe 10 inches out of it, but Taos is (as I understand it) getting hammered.

Right now, it looks like we are heading up to Aspen for the weekend. Now, I’m not an Aspen guy – I don’t have the first bit of Gucci anything. But I hear that there’s some good skiing up there, and our friend TwoBuddha gave us some comps that he’s not going to be able to use, so I’m gonna take my ski pants with the duct tape patch and go ski Aspen. We’ll probably start in the morning on Snowmass, and hit Ajax and the Highlands separately that afternoon, This will give us three new trail maps for the wall : )

While we’re up there, we’re going to ski Sunlight over in Glenwood Springs, because we can – it’s a perk of our Purgatory pass. And Ethel just likes anything about Glenwood Springs ( think purely because Doc Holliday died there, but I have to admit – it is a nice town).

According to the NWS, it looks like Aspen is getting snow all week, as well.

UPDATE: another hit on NWS Silveron shows that Friday night has succumbed to peer pressure, and will be snowing with all his friends. 

Yesterday, after we’d skied a while, Ethel drove me over to Silverton for lunch.

I like going to Silverton anyway, always, but for some reason we had not driven north of Cascade Village this season. EVERY time we pull out of the drive, we turn right – to the ski hill, to Durango, to points west or south.

But yesterday, we finally headed north, and ate at the Brown Bear Cafe, which is where we usually eat in Silverton.

After lunch, we like to head over to Smedley’s and buy a chocolate. But Smedley’s was closed, so – after some discussion – we drove up to Ouray to go to Mouse’s and get a chocolate and coffee (decaf, for me).

We Intended to get “a chocolate” – but when we got in line, Ethel freaked. So here’s what we got:

candiesHere’s what we’re looking at:

1) A sea-salt caramel

2) Chipotle truffle

3) Milk chocolate Rocky Road

4) Dark chocolate coconut cluster

5) Dark chocolate taffee

6) Cherry dark chocolate pecan bark

7) My decaf, with cream

8) Ethel’s black coffee

Here’s the wierdness – next to all of that sugar and chocolate and nuts etc, my decaf was sweetened…with Splenda : )

We went out to the car, but instead of going home, we drove up through Ridgeway, across the Dallas Divide, and down to Telluride.

We’ve been talking about moving to another ski town – somewhere where we can ski every day, AND stop by the store for butter, go to church or to a meeting without a forty-minute drive. We’ve talked about Crested Butte and Steamboat, and even considered going back to Park City.  But we’ve never considered Telluride, because it’s just TOO DARNED EXPENSIVE.

But Ethel was talking with a local the other day whose kids moved to Telluride, and live in Mountain Village, which was, as he said, “affordable”. So we figured that we’d check out Mountain Village.

When we drove into Mountain Village, the first thing we noticed was the size of the free-standing homes – they reminded us of Deer Valley, except a) the lots were much larger, and b) the homes had slate and beams instead of river-rock and logs.

Excuse me – where are the affordable homes?

We drove on in, and the next thing we noticed was this – Telluride ski area is not in Telluride, it is in Mountain Village. Telluride has been there forever, but Mountain Village is all new construction that has been built up around the ski area itself, so nothing is too far from a chairlift.

We found an open house in some condos, walked in, saw the price of the condos, and after I gently re-inserted my eyeballs back into the sockets, we talked to the realtor and told him our price range. He told me to shut up and go clean the toilets and take the trash out pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows, and allowed as to how they had some offerings at that price point.

And they did, and they were quite nice. And they had stuff even more affordable than that – we can get a condo much smaller than the one that we are in for only about 3.5 times – per square foot – what we paid for this one.

Understand – some of these are, while not quite ski-in ski-out, very close to the lifts. And the views in Mountain Village are the best that I’ve ever seen,. anywhere – amazing.

The strange thing is – the Pucketts are completely capable of going to lunch in Silverton, and then – unplanned – driving over Red Mountain Pass and down through Box Canyon to get candy (and artificially-sweetened coffee) in Ouray, and then driving over to Telluride and considering buying a condo.

I tell you, something’s WRONG with us!

 

harlemshakeI’m 54 years old.

I don’t even know what a Harlem Shake is. Given my upbringing, I would assume that it’s a soul-food flavored ice cream drink.

However, the folks on my team at Go Daddy know what a Harlem Shake is They did their own version last week:

EchoShake

Okay, that’s a development team. Development teams are known for suddenly ceasing productivity when confronted by foam or rubber toys, or if somebody quotes Python’s “Holy Grail”.

But it seems that the dysfunction goes deeper than a single development group. We have quarterly Town Hall meetings, where the executives give us the latest poop on what’s happened and what is about to happen.

This is from last week’s Town Hall, with the true corporate movers and shakers, ah,  moving and shaking:

GDHarlem

No, I was not doing any Harlem shaking, as I am safely ensconced at 8840 feet in the San Juan Mountains. I missed all the fun.

Now, however, comes the real challenge – getting Ethel to put on the helmet and goggles…

(I have no problem shaking. At my age, the only problem is shaking without having anything fall off).

Ethel has become a powder junkie.

It happens, you know. If you have to ski in powder, eventually you learn to ski in powder, and then – suddenly  you’re a powder snow skier.

I’ve got a nice video of Ethel making powder turns the day BEFORE the biggest of the last big dumps. My free version of WordPress won’t let me load a video, so you’ll have to trust me and click this link:

Ethel Making Powder Turns

No, this doesn’t look like a Warren Miller video – but I can attest that, when you’re doing this, it FEELs like a Warren Miller video. She’s been skiing in much deeper powder than this – and on steeper slopes – but this just happened to be when I was around with the opportunity of catching a vid with my camera.

 

Now, I don’t watch the news, at all.

But it’s impossible to get away from this image, if one leaves one’s bathroom with one’s eyes open:

StuckMy father-in-law would (they say) drive across the county to save five cents per gallon on gas.

Maybe he couldn’t do math. Or – just maybe – he was willing to lose money to keep those “price-gouging so-and-so’s at the Conoco” from getting his money.

But – from what I hear, and the way I see it – this current fiasco is going to cost Carnival a whole lot more than five cents a gallon.

Cost of the rescue:                                                 Millions (can’t estimate)

Cost of giving everybody a “free cruise”:            Maybe another five million

Cost of having CNN broadcast, over and           Umptylebem Gazillions
]over, the fact that you had all of these
passengers sign a waiver, so all you are
going to  do for these passengers is “give
them a free cruise” :

Now, it’s no skin off of my nose – I have no interest in a cruise. As I understand it, the main purpose of cruises is to provide a venue for unlimited drinking and overeating, and I ain’t allowed to do either one.

I have considered the possibility of one of those Alaskan cruises – but, hey, I’d rather just move to Alaska. (“Take big bites. Moderation is for insects” — Lazarus Long)

Now, let’s just say that I DID want to go on one of those Alaskan cruises. If I did, I would certainly go on Carnival Cruise lines.

Why?
1) They are disaster proof. How often does this sort of thing happen?…well, have YOU ever heard of this happening before?

2) I suspect that Carnival Cruise Lines tickets are going to be VERY CHEAP in the very near future, because most folks won’t want to have anything to do with them.

But, then, I’m perverse. As I said, most folks aren’t going to want anything to do with Carnival after this. Heck, I might even get a nice stateroom : )

Here is what one of my screens looks like right now:

VS2012That is Visual Studio 2012, with the C# solution that I’m currently working on in it. In order to scrunch it down small enough to fit here, it became illegible – which is a good thing.

Don’t let it bother you – I can’t read it, either, even at 1680×1050 : ) I mean, I can see the LETTERS, but I can’t READ it!

But I sure have been writing it. This current project seemed like a minor change, but (to paraphrase Will Smith in MIB) dang! I spent some time this weekend, and a long day yesterday, and a long day today – and I ain’t done.

It’s a Tuesday, and on Tuesdays, Ethel and I go to town – to make a 5:30 meeting, run errands, and then make an 8:00 meeting. Well, this project has me in a 5:00 meeting to review the progress, and Ethel is in a meeting now that will last her until 5:30, so maybe we’re not going to town tonight after all.

Heck – I haven’t had time to change out of my ski clothes : )

Now, I’m not complaining – our employers let us live in Purgatory, after all, and let us ski at lunchtime. I’d be willing to work harder than I do now for the privileges that we have now. What’s killing me is that I’m still learning .NET – no, wait. That’s a ridiculous statement. EVERYBODY is still learning .NET. I mean that I’m a .NET beginner, at least from any production code standpoint.

It’s HUGE. There is SO MUCH TO LEARN in this brave, new world that I have given up on ever learning it all; heck, even if I could learn it all, they’d change it with the next version.

The whole time that I’ve been doing just about everything else, Microsoft’s development platform has been growing – in size and complexity. It’s like walking into a conversation in the middle – a conversation at the UN, without interpreters. While your boss is looking over your shoulder and wanting you to solve the problem that the diplomats are all talking about in different languages.

I’m sorry. I’m oversimplifying the case : )

 

Here’s the snow this morning on the rail over the hot tub:

hottubsnow

You could almost see through that thin wall of snow.

But there was no seeing through the stuff on the hill – 14″ in the previous 24 hours (and that was of 5:45 AM, so figure another four inches on top of that by the time the lift opened) on top of the previous 15″ from the last two days. And it’s still dumpin’.

This morning’s skiing was NOT the epic experience that I was hoping for, for several reasons:

1) My friend Dan, who was the liftie on #1 this morning, opened the darn thing up ten minutes early. Now, that sounds great, but if he opens up early and I’m on time, then I’m late. And that’s no fun.

2) My first run down, I took a route to the top of Catharsis that is usually groomed, or at least skied out, but it wasn’t this morning, and I lost a lot of time chuffing through thigh-deep snow on flat ground.

3) After I got going, that run was great – until I hit the jump from the cat track onto Lower Catharsis, and realized in the middle of the air that I was about to land in a field of very large bumps – very SOFT bumps, it’s true, but the fall I took a) twanged my hamstring again, and b) I lost my pole. THIS IS A VERY BAD THING, as I spent the next fifteen minutes looking for that pole.

So by the time I got up for my second run, most of the terrain on the front side was already skied through – you could still get fresh lines, but it was a bit more work. I did head over to the trees on Styx- the first time this year – and the snow under there was as deep as I’ve ever seen it. Wonderful!

I couldn’t go to the back side, because “Work”, but my last run I hit Sxes (N.B. – if you look on the Purgatory  Durango Mountain Resort trail map, you won’t see anything called “Sixes” – but we have the old 1993 Purgatory map on our wall here, and it has a run called “666”. That run is now called “No Mercy”, but when I was skiing with a local yesterday, and he said that we should do “Sixes” it took me just a minute to figure out what he meant) and Sixes was in great shape!

N.B. – that “local” I skied with yesterday – Joe, a nice guy and a Georgia fan (his wife is an Arizona fan, so we have some great talks) is a good skier. Now, I was starting to think that I was a pretty good skier, but the first run with Joe taught me otherwise. He’s the best skier I ever skied with; he went to college at Western in Gunnison, while skiing Crested Butte, and his roommate and ski buddy was Seth Morrison – so he was skiing with a world-class extreme skier about the time that I was driving from North Alabama to Boone, NC to ski ice five to ten days a year.

Sheeeesh.

Well, if nothing else, I got two things out of this experience: 1) Humility, and 2) An awareness of just how much better one can be than I am now. That last bit doesn’t indicate how much farther I might go, but instead how much farther there IS to go. (read: a long, long way).

It’s still dumping out there. Tomorrow, though, I’ll probably wait and ski at lunch, as I don’t think my hamstring can stand any more heroics on my part : )

…and they don’t really mean “Cliff”, either.

CliffArea

It’s just not that big a cliff. And the landing is great – very steep, which means soft.

I suppose that I should have shown the whole sign, which would have included the dropoff – but it’s no big deal.

At any rate – I took Ethel down Styx today for the first time; she’d never been in there. It is usually a black bump run, but the last two years they have groomed half of it (skier’s left) in February so that folks who don’t want to ski a top-to-bottom black bump run can enjoy Styx, as well.

(I’ve said this before – to get to Styx from the six-pack, you have to cross Hades. Now, that doesn’t make sense out of the gate – everybody knows that you have to cross Styx to get to Hades, not the other way around – however, a case could be made that, if you’re already IN the afterlife, which the name Purgatory seems to imply, then you’d have to go through Hades to get to Styx – and since Styx is actually along the ski area boundary, then that means if you cross Hades and then Styx, then you’re out of the afterlife, which (in this case) would mean that you”ve made it to US Highway 550, aka the “San Juan Skyway”, which is pretty nice on it’s own).

I’ve been doing the small drops on Upper Catharsis, but the landings have gotten FIRM – but this landing is so steep that firmness isn’t an issue.  I need to get used to dropping off of the higher end of this cliff, and making a sharp turn, if I’m ever going to be ready for Corbet’s.

(This would be a GREAT snow year to do Corbet’s – they’ve already had over 20 feet of snow in Jackson. Unfortunately, this is NOT a great FINANCIAL year for me to go to Jackson. Oh, well. Them’s the breaks.)