Monthly Archives: January 2014

…it doesn’t exist.

Or, if it does, then it lives under a bubble, and it is not subject to weather.

Read the last line of this Hazardous Weather Outlook:

Hazardous…That’s right.


Now, you might have to look at that for maybe a minute before it makes you say “Huh?”

After seeing this for some months, I finally contacted the Webmaster for the site:

Dear Webmaster –

For the last good while, Hazardous Weather statements for this area have


Uh, don’t you mean EASTERN two thirds of Utah and Wyoming?

…and he responded:

jim, the grand junction office is responsible for daggett, uintah, grand, and San Juan counties. the SLC office for the rest of utah along with uinta county wyoming.

hope that answers your question.

Okay, dear FCD reader – would that have answered YOUR question, had your question been mine?

I simply could not understand what he meant, so – silly of me – I persisted:

So it seems that it SHOULD be saying “eastern two thirds of Utah and
Wyoming”, instead of saying “western two thirds of Utah and Wyoming”.

It seems that I’m being silly in persisting, because:

> no, SLC has the western 2/3rds of the state basically, while grand junction does hazards for the eastern third. seems you have it backwards. 😉

I should have realized where we were going here, but I wasn’t. I thought we were trying to forecast the weather for an area; it seems that we are, indeed, actually talking about government offices and their turf. But I didn’t understand that quite yet, and said:

Well, to say “Wyoming and the western two-thirds of Utah” leaves the
eastern third of Utah unaccounted for : )

Okay, his answer finally allows the sun to rise over Marblehead:

> As stated earlier, it is accounted for by the NWS grand junction office. Their product covers that area, including zones and warnings/watches. This is based more on radar coverage and proximity rather than state borders nationwide.

So what the local NWS site is doing is saying something like the following:

“We’re not going to tell you what the weather is like all over your area, because we are – or might be – in a bureaucratic snit with the Grand Junction office. We’ll tell you what it’s like in Southwest Wyoming or in western Utah, even though that’s two different geographic regions, but we won’t include the information from the Grand Junction office, even though that is the geographic area between these two forecast areas, for some reason that we’re not going to tell you about. Nanner, nanner boo-boo.

In addition, we’re not even going to understand your confusion over why we are giving you the weather for western Wyoming and western Utah and leaving out eastern Utah. We’re just gonna look at you as though you were stupid, stupid, stupid.”

(editor’s note: that last line came about because last night Ethel and I watched “The Rainmaker”. Jim&Ethel give it Two Thumbs Up!)

I might drop this as being a simple misunderstanding because I am, indeed, “stupid stupid stupid” – but as my co-workers came in this morning, I said to each of them “This weather warning is for Southwest Wyoming and the western two-thirds of Utah” and each one of them, individually, screwed up their faces and said “Huh? What about eastern Utah?”

Without exception. They ALL had the same confusion I did.

So, if I am stupid, stupid, stupid, I’m in some really smart company : )

N.B. – this leaves one wondering why the SLC office does forecasts for western Utah and southwest Wyoming, but not eastern Utah. Why do they skip a hundred miles of mountains inbetween? But I’m not about to ask that question : )


Hmmm…I feel like we’re not communicating : )

Here is today’s Shot of the Day from the Canyons Resort, which is where we ski:

shotofthedayThis is on the ridgeline north of the 9990 lift, which is where most of the extreme-ish terrain is at the Canyons.

It looks like a great picture!…until you see the bushes in the distance just to the right of the skiier, and then you look past that and up and you’ll see open rock outcroppings. Bare rock – in late January – in the Wasatch Mountains? That’s GOT to be a sign of the Apocalypse.

…oh my goodness – now look just to the LEFT of the skier – is that bare rock on the ridgeline?

Just between you and me, you shouldn’t be seeing ski tracks on packed snow on that ridgeline in January. In fact, you shouldn’t even be seeing the ridgeline. At most, you should be seeing tracks through deep snow dropping off a large overhanging cornice.

I just took a look at the Utah snowpack totals, and this area between Provo and Ogden in the Wasatch are currently at 64% of normal. Less than two-thirds of what we should have. I’ve never seen such a low snow year in Park City, although I understand that they have had some lean winters during the eight years that we were gone.

(An interesting thing about that snowpack map, linked above – it shows Escalante, down in the south-central to southeastern part of the state, at 111%. This fits with the winter that Purgatory and Wolf Creek Pass, in southwestern Colorado, are getting – basically, they are getting bombed. Fantastic deep stuff).

I reckon that this is the way that things are, and thus they are the way that they are supposed to be. And, truth be told, the skiing this weekend at the Canyons was still better than most anything I ever experienced back East (southeast or northeast) other than on rare occasions. The bumps were great, and the weather was wonderful.

But I had expectations that moving back to Utah would move me back to what I remembered of Utah, and I reckon that ol’ chestnut that we get from the mutual fund companies applies here as well as anywhere – “past performance is no guarantee of future results”.

However, at the end of the day, we’re sliding on snow, and that’s great, and I’m living in Park City, Utah, and that’s great, too : )

Without giving any names, I’ll simply post a picture of an NFL player who has been at the center of much discussion the last few days:


Here’s a redacted transcript of what he is saying at this time:

“Well, I’m the best corner in the game…When you try me with a sorry receiver like [another player] , that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me…Don’t you talk about the best, or I’m going to shut it for you real quick.”

It’s not surprising that a professional athlete might talk like this. As I’ve often noted, college players get penalized if they have outbursts that call attention to themselves; in the NFL, they seem to get bonuses. One more reason that I don’t care for pro football.

What is surprising to me is how many people think that this is somehow *commendable*.

I suppose that a proper rephrasing of that thought is that I am surprised that so many people think that braggadoccio and arrogance are virtues; they LIKE seeing somebody act like that.

(I read where somebody was wondering why this was called “arrogant”. Hmmm…lessee what Merriam Webster thinks:

ar·ro·gance   noun \ˈer-ə-gən(t)s, ˈa-rə-\

: an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people

Okay. The answer to the question “why is this called arrogant” is “because we speak English”)

A long time ago, I wrote a paper that compared Beowulf with Chaucer’s Knight. The idea was to see how the concept of “Hero” had changed with the advent of Christianity. And the main difference was the change in the idea of VIRTUE.

In Beowulf’s time, virtue meant “excellence”, and it seems that (lacking mass communcation) the only way that you would know how excellent a hero was is if he told you. Out loud. Repeatedly.

However, by Chaucer’s time, virtue meant behavior corresponding to Christian ideals – most especially, humility.

Beowulf himself was a braggart, and that was expected of a hero at that time. He was so boastful, I can imagine him as a Hip-Hip gangsta:

Yo, yeah, I done come across the big sea
Cause I be hearing dat y’all be needing me
I be a bad <expletive> wi’ a long resume
O’ poppin’ monsters and demons in de heat o’ de day
And drinkin’ mead wi’ my hoes while de udder knights crash
Don’t be messin’ wi’ my armor, and just pay me in cash…

We have, as a culture, come to appreciate humility and self-deprecation. We find the braggart boring; we assume that most boasts are lies.

Or, rather, that was how we WERE; obviously, the culture has now split. Now a lot of folks find self-aggrandizing behavior to be some sort of ideal, and they look for models to emulate.

I reckon that’s what we get when we value *diversity* – difference for the sake of difference. In biology, “diversity” is what comes from MUTATION – and most mutations DIE.

Which may happen to our culture.

But if it does, we’ll probably brag about it.

…and some dogs are an insult to the phrase “dumb dogs” : )

Last night, Ethel finished her supper, and then put her plate on the floor for Lucy to lick clean. (we are rednecks, after all). Lucy was sitting on the couch when Ethel did this.

And, rather than jump down on the ground to eat, Ethel left her hindquarters on the couch, and stuck her head down into the plate to finish it off.


This image was taken after Lucy had started to slide off of the couch; I couldn’t stop laughing earlier long enough to get up and take the picture, and it took me a few minutes to regain my composure.

It’s been another quiet week in Summit Park; training for the Half Ironman, some skiing, a lot of Buffy (finished Season One and started Season Two; Faith hasn’t shown up yet). And we’ve watched some good movies – Jim-n-Ethel give “Riddick” Two Thumbs Up.

Life is getting smoother and more predictable, to some extent, which only means that we’re being lulled to sleep while the next tidal wave builds up.

UPDATE: It has come to the attention of the Editors that the foregoing post erroneously reported that “Ethel left her hindquarters on the couch” …while this is a true and valid statement, it was not Ethel who stuck her face in the floor to eat while her hindquarters were on the couch, but rather Lucy. Thank you for your support.

I don’t know what that means, but I do know that it’s what my friend Ian posted when he put up a pic of him on his bike on FaceBook. I think it means “When I’m sitting on this bike in my dorky britches, do I look funny?”

So, go ahead. Critique my position. See if I care : )


I’ve reached the point where sitting on a bicycle, pedaling like crazy for three hours, and going nowhere, seems normal. I suspect that having the Media Room of Masochism fully outfitted helps; this last Saturday, during my Three Hour Tour, I finished off the last half-hour of Ghost Rider, then started on some Gin Blossoms – first the Live in Chicago DVD, then the 20th Century Masters video DVD.

I reached a point, during the first iteration of the video for ‘Till I Hear It From You‘, where I crossed boundaries of distance, dimension and species, and became a Trans-dimensional Space Goat!


(Editor’s Note: the aforementioned video has nobody with a BMI over 15. Where do they GET these people? Is there some sort of Slacker Concentration Camp?)

I’ve been falling off the pace for my Half Ironman training; I’ve had some kind of Upper Respiratory mess, that has left me feeling pretty bad. And the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to work and go to meetings and do all of that other stuff during the week, and then make up the lost training time on the weekends.

Well, that hasn’t been working; spending my Saturdays riding the bike for three hours, then skiing for four hours, then trying to swim for an hour has left me with leg cramps and not much swimming yardage in the logs; in addition, it has left me with no gumption at all to do my full run and then ski on Sunday.

So this must stop.

As of this week, I’m front-loading the week with training, to leave my weekend with as little cleanup as possible. This morning, I hit the bike for an hour, then the mill for an hour, and even did a teensy bit of upper body work. Tomorrow, at lunch, I am going to the pool. That is carved in stone, and written in the stars; the die is cast, and the gauntlet has been thrown down.

Then I’m going to do the same pattern on Wednesday and Thursday, and, lastly, gonna do about 2.5 hours on the bike on Friday morning.

There. I’ve said it, and I’m glad. That’s my position. Critique it all you will : )

Last night, right after dinner, Ethel told me to go upstairs and change clothes.


Now, at our house, in the evening, “change clothes” means “put on your Bama Jammies”.  So that’s what I did, wondering why Ethel wanted me in my pajamas that early.

Well, it seems that my sweetie pumpkin had picked up the perception that maybe I was a little beat up.

If you’ve been playing along at home, you might have noticed that in less than a year,

1) Mom died.
2) We finished up a 100 day ski year while working full time.
3) I ran into job trouble and started looking for a job.
4) We decided to sell our house, and started staging it.
5) I lost my job. On that day, the house went on the market.
6) The house sold in a week.
7) I accepted a position (after comparing three offers vigorously) in Salt Lake.
8) We finished packing up the house and moved everything into a storage unit in Salt Lake. I THINK we made the offer on this place the day we got to Salt Lake.
9) We moved in with a friend and lived out of suitcases while waiting to close.
10) We took a vacation on a Mexican island in the Caribbean, which would have been restful, except for the fact that we did five dives, I kept running, and I wrecked a motor scooter and had to be treated for that. A lot.
11) We got back from Mexico and I started my new job.
12) Three weeks later, I left for five weeks of intensive training in California, being away from my sweetie pumpkin longer than we ever imagined would happen, while she moved us into the new place.
13) While in California, I started training for a Half Ironman. (I neither biked nor swam before, to any great extent).
14) I got home and started the REAL training for this job.
15) I was training for this *(&^%$#@! Half Ironman while we finished moving in – during football season, which greatly limited our available time.
16) Ski season started.
17) Alabama lost their last two games, and then, on Monday, Auburn lost the National Championship – for the entire SEC.
18) Tuesday was a rough day at work.

So, as I said, Ethel noticed that I was a mite beat up, so she put me on the couch, and she put in Season One, Disk One, Episode One of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

It was like having grandma’s cooking, or smelling Mom and Dad’s house.


We watched the first two episodes : )

Ethel puts Lucy, the World’s Dumbest Cocker Spaniel, out our back door to relieve herself, and then scoops up the refuse in a little blue bag.

Then she saves up the little blue bags, because you never know when you might need some Cockerpoop.

cockerpoop“And the Angel shall open the seven bags, and in the seven bags shall be seven poops, each yea and verily like unto the last”.

It was another gorgeous weekend in Park City, Oootah – too gorgeous. We got 3-4 inches of snow, max. This is the lowest snow year that I’ve ever seen in Utah.

On Saturday, we went skiing first, to get some of that fresh stuff, and then I came home and did a three-hour ride on the trainer watching the Vandy game, and a short run on the mill, then watched a movie with Ethel.

On Sunday morning, we went to the valley – at the gym, I did an hour and fifteen minutes on the mill, then swam for a half our, then went to see a friend get baptised. We then went out for lunch and stopped by the grocery store before going home; by the time we got home, given my level of fatigue and the poor skiing, I only made it as far as the downstairs couch, and then I was out for the rest of the day. HARD out, as in “couldn’t muster up the gumption to get out from under the blanket”.

I have no idea what’s wrong with me, but something is wrong.

I reckon I ought to see the doctor, but I don’t know what he can tell me. I have no real symptoms, other than a vague sore throat and some mild difficulty breathing. It might be a sinus infection or bronchitis, or it could be asthma again – my first winter in Salt Lake, back in ’98-’99, I contracted asthma as a result of exercising down here in the valley during inversions.

I’m not doing that much these days – at least, not outside –  but I am older, and the inversions are worse (they tell me) so maybe just being down in the valley is enough to knock out a feeble little old man like me.

(N.B. – a week from this Wednesday, I become even feebler, littler and older. Dang).

Okay – now this is going to hurt a little bit…

Ouch..there, now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? It was? WHY?

We lost two football games this year. After the game last night, Ethel says to me, and I respond, thus:

“You know, this is how the fans of most teams feel all the time.

“Then why do those fans watch college football?”

There’s really nothing more to say. I’ll probably finish out this season watching football – heck, the snow isn’t any good in Utah right now, and that’s much rarer than Alabama losing a bowl game – but I’m not sure that I’ll be watching next year.

Following college football is almost a part-time job. For about fourteen weeks, my Saturdays are lost, along with Thursday (and sometimes Friday and even Wednesday) evenings… and then when bowl season starts, Church Is Out.

But it only matters because I pretend that it matters. That just doesn’t make good sense.

First came the Bear, of course (that’s in my life. There were two coaches before Bear Bryant that won national championships at Alabama – Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas). Then I was young, and things came and went easier.

Then there was a drought, until we got Little Bear, Gene Stallings. Gene coached at Bama for six seasons, and only one year after the SEC split into divisions did he did he not win the SEC West. Oh, and he picked up one of those national championship thingies.

Then there was an eleven year period of wandering through the desert like Moses and the Israelites, through Three Mikes and a Fran, until Our Dark Lord blessed us with his presence, and we entered the Promised Land.

The first season was ugly – sure, it was a winning season, but it wasn’t the Days of Glory. But the next year we went undefeated through the regular season, only to lose the SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl. But hey – it was his second year, and we went through a full SEC season with no losses. Losing to Utah wasn’t fun, but things were definitely on the upswing.

Then it happened – three NCs in four years, and the year we didn’t win, Michigan State paid the price. (I used to say “That sound you just heard was Kirk Cousins being sacked again”, but after last night, it’s more likely it was AJ McCarron).

In the last three years, up until the Kick Six, we had lost two games. In the last five years, we lost five games.

This is the first time since the Dark Lord showed up that we’ve lost two in a row.

So it’s taking a bit of adjustment on my part. And maybe – just maybe – I won’t have to do this again next year.

I don’t mean “I won’t have to suffer us losing”. I mean I might not watch at all.

…at least, that was my attitude for a few weeks, after the Auburn loss. I simply could not imagine getting excited about playing Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

After all, it’s not every day that this happens to you:

kicksix…but when it does, it feels like a punch in the belly. All the wind goes out of your lungs, and you wonder if you want to inhale again – because, if you do, then the pain keeps right on going.

But, eventually, one recovers to some extent, and realizes that an 11 win regular season ain’t all bad, and playing a legendary power like OU in a legendary setting like the Sugar Bowl beats being slapped in the belly with a wet fish.

So today I’m wearing my Bama boxers and my Bama socks and my Roll Bama Roll “Home of the Swinging Cactus” t-shirt (thanks, Floyd!) and my Bama watch and a Bama hat and Bama hoodie. (That’s everything but the pants. I don’t have any Bama pants. Hey, family – Christmas idea for next year!)

And I’m looking forward to the game, and hoping that it’s not what most folks call a “good” game. When most folks use that phrase, they mean a nice, competitive contest that comes down to the last few minutes. I think that a good Alabama game is us ahead 35-0 at halftime, so that we can put the 2nd and 3rd stringers in and give them some game-time reps.

I’ve found that my rampant partisanship has expanded to include the entire SEC, even the “expanded” SEC teams of aTm and Mizzou.* The SEC is currently 5-1 in bowl games (and that’s not really fair; I’m not sure that one can call the remaining 25 folks in crutches and traction who are still flexible enough to pull on a Georgia uniform an “SEC team”). And here’s an interesting thought – except for the Orange bowl and the GoDaddy.Com bowl, every bowl game after Jan 1 has an SEC team in it.**

It’s really kind of crazy – no SEC team played in a bowl before Dec 30. New Year’s Eve had two SEC teams and New Year’s Day had *three* SEC teams.

And there are still folks out there saying that the Pac-12 is the “conference of champions”. Huh.

(This much is true – every Pac-12 conference championship has been won by a Pac-12 school).

Now, I’m not one much for polls – I don’t think that 99% of the population believing that New Mexico is a furrin country makes New Mexico a furrin country. But polls do show what people think, and I am to some extent curious.



* That is, I support aTm and Mizzou when they are playing teams outside the SEC. When they are playing other SEC teams, I root against ’em – cause we can’t have the new kids on the block doing too well too often too quickly, now, can we?

** The Orange Bowl is a BCS bowl, and there are already two SEC teams in BCS bowls, and that is the limit allowed. And the GoDaddy.Com bowl has conference tie-ins to Conference USA and the MAC or WAC. So, every bowl game after Jan 1 that is allowed to have an SEC team has one. Yeah, I”m partisan : )