Monthly Archives: November 2011

Now where am I going? – Physical edition


Today’s Music: Stray Cats

I can get within 5 miles of my target on a 500 mile trip. It’s that last mile that kills me.
But I’ve gotten smarter. I have a GPS for the car. I have maps. And I have a compass.
Actually, I own several compasses. I have analog ones, digital ones. I have GPS, I have them bundled in other tools.
When making screened t-shirts was on my list of things to do, the front logo was a compass.

It came with the car!

I love my compi (plural). When I’m on a car trip, I take note of where I’m going, and never fail to laugh during the large east/west section of I-95 North/South. It makes me feel kind of smug that I, outdoor adventurer, have a better idea of my bearings than the guys that built a road from Florida to Maine, but couldn’t even get the orientation of the road correct.

But sometimes I’m on foot.

Fits in my pocket!

For that, I have this little gem. It came with a carabiner! It has a little Canadian flag as a souvenir of where I bought it!
It worked for two whole weeks!
But the key ring on the other end holds all my keys, so I keep it even though the compass doesn’t work anymore and is not worth the effort to recharge and recalibrate. Besides, I have an Android.

It's on my phone!

With a compass App! It’s pretty accurate. It also has other features, and with the phone’s GPS, I can keep a record of my path and (more importantly) find my way back out.

Which has been really helpful sometimes. When I remember to turn it on.

Though, there are times when electronics are just persnickety.

I could have been an arm model


So I can align my watch with the sun and adjust the bearing dial to find general direction. Doesn’t work as well at night though…

Of course, sometimes I’m not tramping about on roads or through the woods. Sometimes I’m doing it underwater.

I could have been a hand model

Sadly, I have no idea how to use this underwater. But it’s really cool. And is my second favorite compass I own, behind…

My wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) gave me this, one of the first gifts I ever got from her. It means more to me than a lot of other things I own, because for me, it’s a perfect gift. It’s small, it is elegant and it works.
I love this little box compass.

So there’s really no reason for me to get lost in the world anymore.

Next time we’ll do the Metaphysical Edition…

Friday Foolishness – With a bit of Serious too


Today’s Music: Gossip (A great band that never caught fire. Check ’em out!)

First off – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a great idea, with a terrible execution. It protects media producers, but goes way overboard – if a kid posts a YouTube video of themselves singing a Justin Bieber song, they can be sued for piracy and infringement.
While they are guilty of many things for singing Justin Bieber, piracy probably isn’t one of them. Congress should write a law that is more specific to the problem, instead of this, which is very general and can be applied almost anywhere.

If you agree, please click the black bar over the logo, or here if the bar isn’t above and sign the petition.
If not, hey, that’s cool too.

And on to the silliness…

Last week, we asked about jellybeans!
And The winner is “STEAK! (Because jellybeans suck)”. I couldn’t agree more.

Although, kudos to Brian the Kwyjibo, who actually used logic for this (really?!?) to not choose Black Licorice so that he wouldn’t be eaten, or as he says…
“I voted for black licorice after a little internal debate, because I also like pina colada. But then I thought, Wait, what does he mean when he asks “What flavor of jelly bean would you be?” If I wanted someone to eat me, I’d pick black licorice (or pina colada) since those are the best. But if I wanted to survive, I’d definitely NOT choose one of those.”

And now what you’ve been waiting for, This weeks Friday Foolishness Poll:

Again, voting ends Thanksgiving night at 23:59.

While you wait for the results, please enjoy some Cat Juggling.
Roll the ugliness…

Clutter is Bad for the Head, UPDATED


Today’s Music: Huey Lewis

What a difference a day makes.

And I’m feeling much better myself. Just after that small bit of tidying.
Go figure…

ALSO, Friday Foolishness is almost here. So if you haven’t yet, check out last week’s poll and vote.

And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Clutter is Bad for the Head


Today’s Music: Howard Jones (Acoustic)

The inside of my head looks like the top of my desk.

Organization? Who needs organization?

And it would be very simple to fix my desk: look at everything that’s there and sort it into piles. Move my trash into the bin. Pull out the stuff that needs attention and put it in the space on the left, file all the rest in its appropriate cabinet.

Clearing my head would be more or less the same process. Stuff the noise and clutter into a back bin to be dealt with (or ignored) later*. Keep the important stuff on top, and deal with all the routine stuff as…well…routine.

But for some reason, I can’t seem to do it. I don’t think there’s more on my mind than usual. I’m just having a harder time controlling it than usual. Might be that I’m fighting a slow battle with a cold that is threatening to sack me. Might be that I have a family obligation coming up next month and no time off to tend to it, so what do I do about that? (Seriously, if anyone has ideas, I’m open to them.)

I’m just feeling run down lately. I’ve been forcing myself to make dinner when my wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) and I finally get home, and sometimes that means pulling out the appropriate takeaway menu. My wife has even had to do some of the ironing (which I usually do) because I’m just too damned wiped out to pull my butt off the couch.

So the days come and go. And this is my little sad rant about it. But now its off my chest. And is just annoying me.
I’m gonna get a shovel, bellow my rallying cry** and dig my way out of this pile. Can’t let it all drag me down.

If I did, how would I make it surfing Sunday?

Yep, that's a wave at my beach!

*I find it’s very nice to leave things on my schedule that I can just ignore. Frees up time when I’ve blocked out space for something I know I’m not going to do.

**SPOON!!!!

An Adventure – Learning to Ski


Today’s Music: Tori Amos

So, here we are, in the ongoing series of “Learning to” Adventures posts.

Some of my best skiing days have happened when I was hung over. I don’t recommend that condition for actually learning to ski though.

This picture isn't me, but could have been. Many times.

Skiing (from Urban Dictionary): somethin a person does in the wintertime to convince oneself that he or she is actually enjoying the 10 degree weather.

The first thing is to get the right clothes.
The first time I went, I wore jeans. And fell a lot. All the dye in the denim seeped right through the top 20 layers of my skin, and I had blue legs through February.

Second thing is have a sense of humor.
You’re going to fall. No way around it. If you can laugh about it, you’ll be able to get back up and learn to stay up that much faster, thereby freeing yourself to laugh at the poor bastard behind you who just did a fantastic slow-mo windmilling flop. While not moving.

Third thing is to get a teacher.
By teacher I mean not just someone who knows how to ski, but someone who can teach it.

Let me explain.
So one winter, Ronnie and Meat decided I should learn how to ski. Sure, why not.
We trundled up to the mountain, and I got my rental gear and lift ticket, and we headed up the mountain. To the top.

Much scarier with planks strapped to your feet. And no idea what you're doing.

This was the lesson, as explained to me by Meat: Ronnie’ll go first and show you what to do. I’ll go behind you to pick up your stuff (see top pic) and tell you what you did wrong.

One thing I learned about cold mountain air – it clears hangovers fast. Well, that and terror.

For those of you have never been to Hunter Mountain, the main skiing face faces east. That means it is softened by the morning sun. Which means?
Exactly. When the sun crests and begins to set in the west, the east face freezes back up. Into sheet ice.

People out west mock the east coast snow. And justifiably, because their’s is much softer and fluffier.
But lemme tell you, if you can ski the east (especially someplace like Hunter), you can ski anywhere.

Back to the lesson.

The fourth thing is to Zip. Up. Your. Jacket. All the way.
We’ve already established that you will fall. At some point, you will probably Yard Sale (again, see top pic).
That’s where both your skis come off and shoot in opposite directions, your poles bounce off to God-knows-where, your hat is half buried in the snow behind you, a glove may have come off, and your lungs are twice their normal size from all the snow forced down your throat as you belly surfed down the hill.
Zipping your jacket will keep at least one square yard of snow off your chest.

Having fun yet?

Looks ridiculous, but it does work.

Good. Because it isn’t all horror. By the end of the day, I was able to use my modified snowplow to zig-zag down the mountain in one piece. I was skiing!

Meat and Ronnie gave me my first lessons in skiing parallel too (as opposed to snowplow), and this gave me (barely) enough control and (way too much) speed to be able to zip down the mountain making some truly…unique maneuvers.
I had so much fun, I eventually forgave them for their wtf teaching method.

Once I could ski at a level near theirs, we needed to add some tricks,
like the Daffy, and the Backscratcher

I've done this! And landed well!

I've done this! The landing was hilarious. And painful.

Now, my wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) and I try and go skiing at least once a year. I taught her the basics, and she very wisely (and relationship savingly) decided to take a real lesson. She gets better every year. And so do I.

Looking back over this, I think the most important part of learning to ski is to do it because it’s fun, and you want to enjoy it.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with blue legs, or a belly full of ice, or a broken rib (that one really sucked, but I skied the rest of the day anyway), and no big stupid grin to show for it.

Bought these after I knew how to use them. They were great, but their time has passed...

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go see what lift tickets will be this season, and try on my ski hat…

Yes, I do wear it in public. Sometimes, I even wear it to work.