Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloweeen Dog Parade

We've always been back in NC for Halloween, so we've missed the annual Park City Halloween Dog Parade. This year I took Jasper down to be a part. Julie wasn't feeling well and stayed home, but I hooked up with Bill, Loris, and Hollie (the dinosaur dog) Benson.

It was a parade in a Park City sense. That means it was basically a mob the used gravity to eventually drift down Main Street. It had no start or finish. About 25% of the people were always heading the wrong direction. The dogs didn't seem to mind.

Jasper was dressed as a spider. I wasn't able to get many good pictures because I had the camera set up wrong, but with dog in one hand and camera in the other, I couldn't tell until fairly late.

I would guess there was a couple of thousand people and a few hundred dogs, most of which were dressed up. Jasper got to sniff a LOT of dog butt.

You just can't resist the little hot dogs. There was also a ketchup dog, but I couldn't catch them together.


and pumpkins...

and some potential embarrassment. You know when two women show up to a party wearing the exact same dress? I'm sure Hollie was a little ticked.

But the clear winner for pets was the guy dressed as Shrek, with his friend Donkey. It was a real donkey. Jasper was very well behaved around the dogs, but damn he sure wanted to sniff that donkey's butt.

Lots of humans were dressed up (I wasn't). My favorite was a friend of ours, Carol Lee. She gave us a look at what happens to Hooter's girls when they become Hooter's old women.

The dogs were so well behaved! With hundreds of them there, they just all seemed to get along. I only heard two barks the entire time. This will definitely be an annual event for us. Next year perhaps we will get dressed up and not just decorate the poor dog.

Running? Not so much.

I finished my marathon back on Oct 3rd. I was pretty fired up about my run and even more fired up about the 15 weeks until the next marathon. That should certainly be enough to bring down my times and increase my endurance.

I had a great plan. Take a week off with some very light running. Then start cranking it back up hard. Three or four very long runs were mapped out on the calendar.

What have I done? Run 3 miles, and then 7 in my light week and then torqued my back somehow. I wasn't doing anything strenuous. It just decided to have a spiking, incapacitating pain in my lower spine when my body moved in a certain way. To prevent that movement, every muscle in my back knotted up. I was walking like I had a corn cob somewhere it didn't belong.

It took about two weeks to really get things back in some reasonable relaxed, pain-free shape. Then the temperatures outside were in the teens each morning, with snow. Talk about a complete void of motivation. I finally got out for a short run today.

In case you are wondering, taking three weeks off from running does not do much to get you into better condition. Of course, as I type this I am drinking a lovely Pumpkin Ale from the Wasatch Brewery.

Off to the Halloween parade!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The end of fall

You have to love those late October days. The leaves are colorful. The sun is warm. Kids in their Halloween costumes. Maybe a few more rounds of golf. Raking leaves and then watching some football.

Oops. That was when we did fall back in North Carolina. As the saying goes: that was then, this is now.

The leaves are long gone. The snow has started to fall. It was 16 degrees out this morning.

And what is that noise we hear? The rustling of leaves in the trees? Nope that can't be it. The leaves are all on the ground. Ahhhh. It's the sound of the snow guns at Deer Valley and Park City. When the temps hit the teens, that's prime snow making weather and they have to get going. Too bad we didn't get the huge snow dump that Denver just picked up. Bastards!

It is pretty, so I guess I shouldn't complain. It's kind of interesting to see that the snow guns can make their own little weather at the mountains.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The three Park City monstrosities

In a few weeks we will see Deer Valley's first big hotel open. It is a St Regis and supposedly ritzy enough to eventually earn five stars. It's a big hotel, but they did a good job of hiding the bulk of it behind the hillside.

Next comes the Montage. It is being built next to the Empire Lodge at the top of Deer Valley. This is a huge place and while it is not terribly visible from Old Town, it is right in line with what were our prettiest views. It opens in December of 2010.

The big fight going on in the Planning Commission is the Treasure project. Lots of buildings, peaking at 11 stories tall. Over a quarter million square feet of underground parking. And all of this located right above historic Main Street, around the Town Lift.

Today I joined a small tour, lead by the developers, to walk the land and see what would go where. The developers got the approval for this project back in the early 80s when Park City was fairly dead. Now they want to build and very few people want to see anything built. I think it is going to add to our traffic problems and it will certainly be an eye sore. I just can't imagine why anyone thinks building lots of tall, modern looking buildings is a good thing for Park City.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Michigan for the Penn State game

It has become an annual event. Every fall we head to Michigan to visit with Julie's mom and family and to catch a Michigan football game with Julie's cousin Kathleen and her husband Bill. We've caught some great games over the years. This year, not so much.

We started the morning with breakfast at Angelo's. This is a historic family-owned restaurant. They serve a nice breakfast and on football Saturday's, you can expect an hour wait. My plate still has some pumpkin pancakes. Yummmm.

From the parking deck, one of these statues looks a little perverse.

The rain made tailgating a bit nasty. Every time we go out of the van, it would start raining again.

This is our view of Kathleen and Julie leaving after the first quarter. They went to watch in a dry, warm bar. Bill and I opted to stay in the cold, windy rain and watch Michigan beaten up and down the field. We left at the end of the third quarter when Penn State went up 32-10 and Michigan couldn't find a first down.

One last shot from the trip. Julie and I had an early flight out of Detroit. The sky was drop dead gorgeous. This picture was taken through a big window that caused all sorts of reflections and distortions. I wish they would ave let me pop out on the tarmac for a clean shot. Didn't feel like a day in the TSA dungeons.

It was a fairly short trip, but a nice one. We got to hang with Julie's mom, do some shopping, and have a wonderful breakfast in Royal Oak with Julie's aunt and uncle joining us.

Now, back to Park City for some snow.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Super marketing

Here in Michigan. Visiting a very nice mall to do some clothes shopping. they have a live show having something to do with Halloween. Like mall Santa's, it was a huge draw. This is early on a Friday afternoon.

I can't figure out the story. It appears to involve Frankenstein, a fairy princess and two butt-ugly elves.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bunny deer

We have the funniest looking deer out west. They are Mule Deer, but Julie and I can't get past the ears. We call them bunny deer.

Heading up to Michigan tomorrow for our annual football game. This one is Michigan and Penn State.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A joke from my mom

One day, in line at the company cafeteria, Bob says to Mike behind him, 'My elbow hurts like the dickens!! I guess I'd better see a doctor.'

'Listen, you don't have to spend that kind of money,' Mike replies.

'There's a diagnostic computer down at Wal-Mart. Just give it a urine sample and the computer will tell you what's wrong and what to do about it. It takes ten seconds and costs $10 - A lot cheaper than a doctor.'

So, Bob deposits a urine sample in a small jar and takes it to Wal-Mart. He deposits $10, and the computer lights up and asks for the urine sample. He pours the sample into the slot and waits.

Ten seconds later, the computer ejects a printout:
  1. You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water and Epsom salts found on aisle
  2. Avoid heavy activity. It will improve in 2 weeks. Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.

That evening, while thinking how amazing this new technology was, Bob began wondering if the computer could be fooled ..

He mixed some tap water, a stool sample from his dog, urine samples from his wife and daughter, and a sperm sample for good measure.

Bob hurries back to Wal-Mart, eager to check the results. He deposits $10, pours in his concoction, and awaits the results.

The computer prints the following:

  1. Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. (Aisle 9)
  2. Your dog has ringworm.. Bathe him with anti-fungal shampoo. (Aisle 7)
  3. Your daughter has a cocaine habit. Get her into rehab.
  4. Your wife is pregnant. Twins. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer.
  5. If you don't stop playing with yourself, your elbow will never get better!

Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart

Friday, October 16, 2009

A high school friend makes it big

Chris and his brothers Steve and Greg were all close friends of mine through school. I think this definitely puts Chris as our graduating class's "Most likely to have succeeded". Damn!

Christopher E. Kubasik Appointed Lockheed Martin's President and COO

BETHESDA, Md -- Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected Christopher E. Kubasik to serve as president and chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1, 2010.

Currently, Kubasik serves as executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's Electronic Systems business area, with 2008 sales of $11.6 billion, a portfolio of more than 1,400 programs and customers in 43 nations. Prior to his appointment to that position in 2007, he was the corporation's executive vice president and chief financial officer, responsible for financial strategies, processes and operations.

Kubasik received an Executive Engineering Certificate from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and has attended an Executive Program at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business. He also completed the Systems Acquisition Management Course for Flag Officers at the Defense Acquisition University, Fort Belvoir, Va. He received his bachelor's degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Maryland in 1983.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A few days in Zion

Wow. Now I get why they put a National Park at Zion. I've seen the pictures but they just don't convey the overwhelming size. You hear descriptions like "sanctuary" and "cathedral". They fit. It's hard to sit and look at your surroundings without a feeling of reverence.

This was the view from the balcony of our hotel room. The Watchman is 2800 feet high. Huge. Majestic. And just right there.

Julie, with a fairly dramatic background. This was at the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail. It isn't part of the main tour path, but was one of our favorites.

The paths on some of the trails get a bit hairy. There are huge drop-offs if you screw up. Fortunately they bolt chains to the wall to give you some help. This is near the top of the Hidden Valley trail.

It's tough to imagine that the little Virgin River could carve out so much rock. I guess you can do it slowly when you have millions of years. They say that over a year, the erosion is equivalent to 4 dump trucks loads an hour, 7x24.

The two lane road gives you some perspective on the size of the rock formations.

On Tuesday morning, it was mostly cloudy, but the sun would pop out for a minute here and there. The next half dozen pictures are all ones I liked because of their interesting lighting.

You can see one bright red tree at the bottom of the picture. I think in 10-14 days, Zion Canyon will be full of bright, colorful trees. Timing for another year?

Just awesome!

It is so easy to get sucked into the enormity of the canyon, you don't pay enough attention to the details. They are everywhere though. Look at how the rock has layer upon layer, but the layers have been shifted and twisted over the years.

Similar layers, but this time laid out as flooring.

This is from the Watchman Trail, right behind our hotel. There were lots of interesting trees on the hill, both dead and alive. I would like to get back there for a clear sunrise or sunset.

One last shot, on our last full day. Like the first picture, this one was taken from our balcony!

A wonderful trip.

I would recommend the Cable Mountain Lodge to anyone going to Zion. It's a two minute walk to the entrance and the shuttle buses. Rooms have small kitchens, which is nice when you're there for a while.

Our best meals were the Spotted Dog for breakfast, and Oscar's and Parallel 88 for dinner.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Choices of weather

Light snow here in Park City. Julie and I are driving down to Zion where it is suppossed to hit 80 today.

New pet shelter

Julie and I went out to tour the property and construction for the new Friends of Animals pet shelter. This is the organization from which we got our dog Jasper and our cat Cosette. They have a small "store front" in an outlet mall that they use to show the pets that are up for adoption. At night, the cats can stay there, but the dogs all have to either go to a foster home or a kennel down in Salt Lake.

Through donations and grants, the group now has a 100 acre plot of land out in Brown's Canyon, about 10 miles from Park City. They are making great progress on the building that will be able to house lots of cats and dogs. The upstairs has two small apartments so that there will always be a human on site. It should open this coming spring.

They spent a lot of time planning this facility and I was very impressed at the thought that went into it. How and where do you quarantine new or sick animals so they have no effect on any other animals? That impacts HVAC, cleaning supplies, feeding, bedding, .... How do you load the animals to head over to the retail outlet? You drive the van into the building so no animals escape and you can load in the rain or snow. What do you do if there is a major disaster and you need to house dozens or even hundreds of additional animals? They considered so many things it made me dizzy.

If you support rescue animals, this is about as good as it gets.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A wonderful day in the nighborhood

I've had a chance to see (and photograph) some spectacular scenery. The other day brought some of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed. It took a remarkable combination of fall color, snow, topology, blue skies and clouds. I can't imagine how infrequently it all comes together, even here in the Wasatch Mountains.

It can be easier to see them with a slideshow.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fall color in a snow storm

The aspens were past their peak yellows and starting to turn orange on their way to brown. A snow storm had rolled in so I ventured up to Guardsman's Pass. It was very cloudy but every once in a while a bit of sun would pop through to light up the leaves.

I went back the next morning after the storm had ended. I'll post some of those pictures later.