September 27, 2011

Happy Not-113 Day!

A quick check of my occasionally-reliable records indicates that on this day, September 26, one year ago, the high temperature recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 113°F. Yikes! I remember roasting in my apartment praying for the heat wave to snap. It was just absolutely miserable. No such worries today. It’s been a cold Summer and a chilly Fall thus far in Southern California. I find I’m starting to eye my skis sitting in the corner more and more frequently…

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April 15, 2011

My Sanity: Yours for $1.50

Here’s how it went down: my wife had my wallet. I needed lunch, so I broke into my emergency stash of credit cards, the ones I never use, activated one, and bought myself a hot dog. Then I waited for a billing statement that never came.

Eventually, I remembered using the card, and checked in to see why the statement was late. Of course, by then the account was overdue. According to the helpful bank representative, at some unknown point I’d switched that account to paperless statements. I mentioned I’d never gotten a statement, paper or otherwise…Would I like to pay the balance now, the rep inquired helpfully (more…)

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February 9, 2011

The Heater is Gray

Over Christmas I bought a space heater for my room at my parents’ house in Flagstaff, which tends to be cold. I liked the heater so much I decided to get another one when I got back to my L.A. apartment, which also tends to be cold. Problem was, the one I got in Flagstaff was black, and in California (in fact online as well) I could only find silver versions of the model I liked. No big deal…but I really liked the way the black heater looked. Is it crazy to care that much about the color of your heater? Maybe (more…)

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November 21, 2010

The Eagle (and the UFC) Have Landed

The Eagle (and the UFC) Have Landed

There are a number of conversations I’m dreading having with my son. One of them is in the process of just beginning, courtesy of the UFC commercials which inconveniently appear on television during some of the shows my son watches. In my son’s conception of the world, you see, grown men don’t hit each other in the face (more…)

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October 21, 2010

Predictions?

Some time ago, my mom began what is now an annual tradition: the prediction, every Fall, that the upcoming winter is going to be “The Big One.” One would assume this strategy would guarantee that when The Big One finally did arrive, my mom would have successfully predicted it, but unfortunately she had the bad luck to begin her forecasting career at the start of an exceptionally dry decade in the southwest. Winter after winter would thus come and go in our hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona, leaving us in shirtsleeves on Christmas, grumbling helplessly as the local ski area struggled to open (more…)

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October 8, 2010

Sierra Sightlines

An interesting question popped into my in-box yesterday: is it possible to see the Grand Canyon from the top of Mount Whitney? In fact I ask myself questions like this all the time, especially when I’m looking at shots of the interior Sierra and trying to identify distant peaks or other features on the horizon. Happily, I’ve found a free tool that is absolutely brilliant for coming up with the answers to exactly these kinds of questions. Can you guess what that tool is? Hint: it’s not evil…

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October 2, 2010

A Trip to the Gym

It’s official: after more than a year’s hiatus from working out, I went back to the gym today to try to get myself in shape for the upcoming ski season. I must say I approached this venture with no small degree of anxiety. After such a long break from exercise, starting with my back injury and then the birth of my daughter (and many, many sleepless nights thereafter), I was afraid I’d find myself hopelessly floundering when I hit the iron (more…)

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August 1, 2010

Skiing Meteor Crater?

Skiing Meteor Crater?

You have to feel like you’re on the right track as a parent when you visit Arizona’s Meteor Crater, and your three-year-old boy takes one look and asks if he can ski it. The answer to that question is a big, “Weather Permitting.” With the Crater’s rim around 5600′, it would definitely take an unusual series of storms to make any kind of ski descent feasible (more…)

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February 9, 2010

Avy Education: Motivation

Following up on my post about my reluctance to take an avalanche course, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what finally motivated me to bite the bullet and go take one. For starters, the opportunity presented itself. I had the money saved up, and I had some free time which coincided with dates that SMG was offering a Level I class. Also important given the past few winters, there was ‘interesting’ snow in the Sierra, with a big storm on the way. Conditions were good—who wants to take an avalanche class when the mountains are bare or boring? (more…)

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January 21, 2010

Avalanche Education: Reluctance

Avalanche Education: Reluctance

One of the questions that occurred to me while taking an AIARE Level I avalanche class this past weekend was, “What took so long?” I actually think that’s an intriguing enough question to warrant some attention. Why was I so reluctant to take an avalanche class? I’ve certainly been interested in avalanches for some time—and I’ve especially been interested in avoiding them (more…)

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