Sunday, August 30, 2009

Golf terms from my perspective

There are a number of golf terms in golf that if someone didn't tell you the definition, it would be almost impossible to guess. How would you know a slice goes right or a hook goes left? A hook is too much left, but a draw is good left, not too much and not too little. Chips? Pitches? The only one that makes sense from my perspective is handicap.

This is how they adjust players score so everyone can compete, no matter what their level. You could have watched me play in this weekend's tournament and without understanding much about golf, guessed "damn Steve, you sure play like you're highly handicapped." "Steve, you sure seem to have quite the handicap when it comes to golf."

Golf hates me.

The only other term in golf that comes close, is one letter off. For golfers like me, they could change the term shot to shit. "It took me three shits to get to the green." "Steve, that was a big shit you made from the 14th tee!" Not exactly pleasant, but considerably more descriptive.

Hard to imagine I had my best round ever about three weeks ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our new hospital

I went over to do the open house tour of our new Park City regional hospital. It's about 7 miles from the house (only 5 if you run over the mountain). The guys who did Tiger Wood's knee surgery are the Orthopedic group. Not too shabby! Everything is so new and shiny. I even got to look at the fancy Life Flight helicopter on the helipad.

This should do most of the basic surgeries, physical therapy and such. For an ICU or anything like cancer, you still get to make the journey down to Salt Lake.

I like the idea of the open house but what in the world is this? The driveway up to the hospital was lined with flags from what must be every country on the planet. I felt like I was driving to an open house for a new United Nations building.

I think I finally figured it out. These flags must just be leftovers from the 2002 Olympics. Why bother with other banners when you can just throw these up for decoration?

The hospital opens in mid-September. I don't plan to have to use it this year.

A visit to Sundance

Julie's mom, Joan Fernane, is in town visiting this week. Always looking for fun things to do, we drove over to Sundance and up the Alpine Loop. Sundance is a small ski resort, filled with antiquated ski lifts. Not my favorite for skiing, but the scenery sure is gorgeous.

Yes, that's a big pile of snow at the base of the cliff. Looks like it will survive until this winter's snows start adding on.

Joan and Julie, hiking over to see Sullivan Falls.

Julie and I, just before riding the ski lift back to the base of the resort. Yes, we all wear hats. The sun out here is just so intense. There's no humidity and you are at about 8,000 feet. They say that for every 1000 feet of elevation, the sun's rays are 7% stronger.

If you don't like heights, riding the chairlift down can be nerve racking. You have such a big exposed feeling and it is quite steep.

It is hard to tell without blowing up the picture, but there must be 1000+ pine cones on each tree. We had such a wet May and June that the trees were having a fantastic summer.

After lunch at the Foundry Grill, I wandered out into the stream bed and started taking pictures. Hard to do the long delays without a tripod.

From Sundance we went off to Bridal Veil Falls. This is a really cool waterfall, just off a major highway. Notice the thirds. The top is a smaller, more traditional waterfall. The middle is bigger, spread out, and creates a lot more spray. The bottom has some slope and is filled with boulders. That gives is an almost lace-like appearance. Double click on the picture to see it better.

I want to go back in the winter to take some shots of the ice climbers.

And a wrap-up shot of Julie and her mom in front of the falls.

I'm stoked about going back to these areas in a few weeks to try and catch the fall colors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A quick view of the Tour of Utah

There is a six day bicycle stage race here in Utah. If you watch cycling, you might recognize Dave Zabriski who is competing. Levi Leipheimer was going to but still hasn't recovered from the injury that knocked him out of the Tour de France. Today they started the stage from Main St here in Park City.

No, they don't get to use motors, but only an hour after getting home from my half marathon, there was no way I was scampering down the hill by foot, so I hopped on the scooter. I liked the idea of parking my scooter next to this Harley.

The start of every bike race just seems like a coordinated mob.

They did two and a half laps around Main St before heading out for a long ride over to the Snowbird ski resort. These were just warm-up laps and there was no real racing going on.

Even without racing, you can see the thigh muscles on these guys as the amble up the street. Damn! Those would sure help my skiing.

They turn down Deer Valley Drive, heading out of town so the real racing can begin. I think the cones were to keep them out of traffic, but we have so much construction going on, you just can't tell.

Here are some more artsy shots I got. Unfortunately, my camera wasn't clean, I didn't know where the riders were going, and I didn't get to look at anything I shot until they were done. Doesn't make for great pictures. I wish they did another five laps so I could improve my technique. I think my second round would be much better as I see what worked and what didn't.

Park City Half Marathon

Some good news and bad news on this morning's run. Compared to the half I did six weeks ago, this one was harder and 2500 feet higher in altitude. Just the same, I did it about 5 minutes faster, or about 20 seconds per mile. I came in 39th out of 700 runners. Given all the athletes around here, I'm happy with that. But that's all the good stuff.

The bad news is that my 7:52 pace, while faster than the 8:00's I need to qualify for Boston, doesn't project well enough. As an approximation, I should run a half marathon at a 7:30 pace to be able to do a full at 8:00's. Not looking good for the home team. Still, monstrous improvement since my first three mile jog back in April.

Steve's happy little breakdown:

Mile 1 - 7:45, flat but crowded. Get out of my way.
Mile 2 - 8:05, starting uphill
Mile 3 - 7:43, more uphill, but got free of the crowd
Mile 4- 8:06, gradual uphill
Mile 5 - 8:18, tilting uphill more and I'm slowing down
Mile 6 - 8:21, damn I hate running uphill
Mile 7 - 8:20, still uphill, at the turnaround, all downhill from here
Mile 8 - 7:27, weeeee! This is easier
Mile 9 - 7:41, damn the girl I'm following runs fast (got 2nd in 25-29 age group)
Mile 10 - 7:32, starting to flatten back out
Mile 11 - 7:31, slight downhill, I'm getting tired
Mile 12 - 7:58, I don't remember that uphill being a downhill the other direction
Mile 13 - 7:18, some guy passed me and it pissed me off. Nice ot have some kick left.
Last bit - :46, I can smell the barn

My total was 1:42:57.

My thanks to all those people who I followed to keep a good pace. Without them I might still be running. I am sure I made them feel like Julie and I do when we have Jasper on single-track trails. He follows you, but it always feels like if you stop, he'll run right up your butt.

Six weeks until the St George marathon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bob Roll from Versus' Tour de France coverage

Julie and I wandered up to The Canyons ski resort this evening to hear a chat with Bob Roll. If you don't watch the Tour de France on TV, there is almost zero chance of you having ever heard of this ex-bike racer, now TV commentator.

Bob is very entertaining to listen to. He is obviously a story teller at heart and he certainly seems to have seen and done a lot. Some Tour listeners grew tired of him talking about the Tour DEEE France over and over again. This evening he made it clear that he has no love for the French and enjoys going out of his way to butcher the language. Actually, he seemed like he could do fairly well in either French or Italian.

It was a fun way to hear more about cycling from a guy who had been a professional during the rise of Americans in the sport (Greg Lemond, Andy Hampsten,... ) and has now covered several tours for OLN, which became Versus. If you get to see him somewhere and you enjoy cycling, it is definitely worth the time.

And like so much entertainment here in Park City, it was free. Yeah free!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Llama's can be overwhelming

Whenever I head over to Home Depot and have the dog in the car, we take the slower frontage road instead of highway 40. We do this in hopes of finding either llamas or mini-donkeys out in the big field. Today we hit the jackpot. The llamas were there and about 100 feet from the road.

As soon as I let Jasper out of the truck, he ran over to the barbwire fence. Instead of being scared, the llamas came briskly over to meet him. Now Jasper starts getting weirded out.

One by one they would reach over the fence or through it, trying to figure out what this little black dog was all about. Jasper wasn't thrilled about going nose to nose with them. They were big, bold and numerous.

After the meet and greet was over, we headed on to Home Depot for bird seed and fertilizer.

Looks like we'll keep taking the frontage road. Can't miss all the excitement.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First snow

I couldn't get a picture because of the clouds, but the mountain tops got their first snow yesterday morning. We could see it from our house, but we only got rain.

Looking for the wall

My long runs are getting longer, right about the point where you start hitting "the wall". For those who haven't experienced it, the wall is when you eat your glucose stores down to empty and start burning fat and muscle for energy. It's your body's way of saying "I hate you."

The winning time for the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase last Saturday was 1:52. That's 16 miles, with 3,000 feet of up, then down, on single-track trails, at a 7:00 minute per mile pace. I have to guess the guy who won (he is from NC) is an alien. If he isn't, and we are visited by aliens, I hope they find him first. That should scare the aliens a bit.

I went out this morning and ran 17 miles, then walked 3 more. I have to trick myself to avoid getting lazy. If I ran by the house at 12 miles, I would tend to stop and call it a day. So at mile 12.5, I was 7.5 miles from home, all uphill. My brain stills notices that the free buses are driving by and would be a nice alternative.

It was a decent run, but I felt tired the whole time and was dead at 17. I am hoping that this is because I had a tough speed workout on Wednesday and a tough hill climb workout on Friday. It this isn't it, I am in trouble for my marathon. The good news is that I only have one more really long training run before the marathon.

Now for one of the things that just amuses me: You read about the health recommendation of getting 8 cups of beverage per day. They say most people don't get enough. My morning
  • Get up and weigh myself
  • Drink 8 oz of water
  • Drink 16 oz of coffee
  • Eat a big bowl of oatmeal
  • Start running
  • Drink 20 oz bottle of gatorade
  • Drink another 20 oz bottle of gatorade
  • Refill water bottle and drink 20 oz of water
  • Finish running and drink 32 oz of gatorade and eat a cliff bar
  • Get home and drink 12 oz of diet coke and eat lunch
  • Weigh myself
At 2:30 in the afternoon, I have had 16 cups of beverage and still lost 3 pounds of water weight. Even harder to believe that the temperatures never got above 65.

The next big test for me is another half marathon race on Saturday. It's a tough one with the first 7 miles heading uphill.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Odds and ends for the week

Played my first round of golf at Mountain Dell. It's the public course you see when you drive up I-80 from Salt Lake City. Actually, there are two very nice public courses there. I can't explain why it took me 5 years to play there.

When we got down around the lake, there was a gorgeous reflection. The lake was absolutely still and it looked like a mirror. This is pretty unusual in the mountains. There is almost always some breeze and it only takes a few mph to ruin the mirror.

This is Rob Schumacher. He built our house and consistently beats me in golf by about 10 strokes.

And this is Doug Drexler. He is a Park City Mountain Host and worked the same day I did. He chooses not to keep score, but just to remember his best golf shots. Very much Zen golf.

You can spend all you want on pet toys, beds, and such but they often seem to choose the free versions. Cosette is napping in a piece of packing paper. Her latest toy favorite is a four foot piece of string. Perhaps as consumers we overspend.

We are probably a bit too much like parents when we call our dog Jasper "best dog". Just the same, he really is about as good as we could ask. I had him chasing a frisbee in the park when a young boy came over and asked to throw it. Jasper played fetch with him for a while, even though the boy could only throw it 10 or 20 feet. He made heroic diving catches which made the boy feel he was great at throwing. Then his little sister came up to play. Jasper was just as gentle as could be. He even fetched the frisbee when she threw it (dropped it at her feet).

Best dog.

And of course we just keep going to hear the free music. You just can't beat a nice picnic with free tunes and 4000 of your neighbors. From left to right, Julie, Renee and Loris.

and the guys.... Bill and Stan.

It's been a nice week, but right now it is in the low 40s and raining. We're supposed to go see Elvis Costello at an outdoor concert this evening. Could be a mess. It will definitely be damp and very cold.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A little like Disneyland

You just don't know what you are going to run into around Park City. This morning I was driving through Park Meadows, a very residential neighborhood. I had to wait for these nice people to get their hot air balloon out of the street before I could drive by.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today's visitors

I saw this Downy Woodpecker walking up and down the flower stalks like he was eating a corn cob. He seemed quite happy and there are a million of these 4 foot stalks in my wildflower bed.

While trying to take pictures of the woodpecker, this little guy kept buzzing the feeder that was a few feet from my head. I think he just wanted his picture taken.

Mom Joyce comes to town

My mom flew out last Tuesday evening to visit. It was a busy week with a weird mix of weather.

We started with a plan to go to the Wednesday outdoor concert with some friends. The skies looked pretty dark and we kept getting a bit of drizzle. Our friends decided to tough it out, so we loaded up the car to go. Just as we were closing the back door, a big bolt of lightening hit the mountains. Enough for us. We went back inside. Then the rain and wind started. Our friends all packed up and the picnic moved to our house. Just as well.

We had a nice few days, but by Saturday it had started cooling down in a big way. We had tickets to the symphony (outdoors). You can see how mom and Julie were dressed for the event. That's hot chocolate instead of our normal wine. It got down to 37 at the house and we had our first frost of the season.

On Sunday the weather was perfect. I went out for a 15 mile run and then we headed to the Park City Silly Market. Its more arts and crafts than farmers market, but as you can see, it has become quite popular, especially on nice days.

Julie and mom (in her newly purchased hat).

We also hit the annual Luxury Home Tour. It is a fund raiser for the Peace House, a shelter for battered women. The houses we saw were nice and two were quite impressive, but my highlight was watching the 25-30 Lamborghini's come rolling down the mine road from Stein Erikson's. It was apparently some touring club. They had quite the collection of police cars escorting them, front and back.

Mom's on the plane heading back to Maryland. Safe to say a good time was had by all.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Kahn's in Australia

I mentioned that our friends Bruce and Carol Kahn had packed up and moved to Australia. Here are a few pictures they sent. Looks a bit like living in Hawaii.

Hannah got ripped off on the school year. She had just finished her year in the states and had to dive right back into it in Australia. Now she is going to a private school, very close to where they live. I love the uniforms!

Looks like a great place!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Park City Art Festival

Each August, Park City has a large Art Festival and about 40,000 people role into town to see it. I think it is only second to Sundance as Park City's biggest event. I read that it has now become one of the top 10 art fairs in the U.S..

The only way to really see the size is to take a picture from upstairs on the deck of one of the restaurants. I tried at one, but they were closed, just prepping for the dinner crowd. They kicked me out. Here you can see roughly one side of a third of the distance of one direction.

Julie and I spent some time Friday evening and then a return visit on Sunday. We were all prepared with measurements for areas in our house that need art. No such luck. Our only purchases were a few gifts. We did much better last year.

The shoppers were busy shopping. The artists tried to stay alert on their feet for yet one more day. This kid had it figured out though. He just curled up in a chair and slept as thousands of people walked by.

Hopefully next year will be more productive.

Things that just won't die

Have you noticed how things being made today just don't seem to last like "they used to make them"? I find that products seem to understand their warranty and fail just after it expires. Sometimes you run across the exceptions.

Back in January, Barbie Reid came out to visit us and do some skiing. Unfortunately she tore her ACL on the mountain. She got home, eventually had surgery and is now mending well. Not long after getting home, she sent us a "thank you for my visit and for ruining my knee" gift, a nice white lily. We water the plant about once a month if we remember. In response to all this love and attention, it has bloomed nonstop since we got it. This is going on 7 months!

I buy the dog cheap toys. One way to find them cheap is to get them off season, like Halloween pumpkin toys in December. Instead of having the traditional squeaker, this has an electronic voice that when squeezed says "Trick or Treat". We are at two and a half years and this $5 toy still talks.

And finally, before we started Ganymede Software, John Walker and I managed a group of people doing technical marketing for two of IBM's networking technologies: APPC and APPN. We made some marketing giveaways for conferences, including the luggage tag you see below. The technologies are now either dead or at least meaningless, but this luggage tag from about 1993 is still traveling the world!

I wish there was a much longer list of things that last incredibly well, but that just doesn't seem to be the case.