Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's almost spring

We all know there is a spring somewhere. It just isn't here, yet. We still haven't seen 60 degrees yet. Not even a brief pop. Last night we went with the Benson's to a great new restaurant called Silver. It's expensive but the food was excellent. On our way in, this was what Main Street looked like.

From dinner, we went to a play called the Park City Follies. It is a humorous, satirical look at life in Park City, focusing almost completely on events of the past year. It was great local entertainment, but here is what we came out to.

Alta got 20+ inches out of this storm. They normally get about 500 inches of snow per year. That seems like quite a bit to most of us. This year they are at 723 inches (a record) and have a 210 inches of snow as a base. Picture a 17 foot tall tree, covered completely in snow.

It was only 19 degrees here this morning, but the rumor is that we may see 60 by Thursday. Yeah!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Odd things we see

I love having a camera on my phone. You run across the oddest things and it is nice to be able to capture some of them.

On our first night back, we had to stop for some breakfast food. There was an entire display of fried pork rinds. I didn't know pigs came in so many flavors! We don't have this in Park City. Notice you can also get "fat back skins". Yum!

In complete contrast, we ventured over to the new Whole Foods at Strickland and Six Forks. It is a very nice, high end grocery store with a tendency to provide healthy food. I think they got carried away with these "organic baguettes". I am sure there is some way to explain how this is legitimately organic, but come on, processed white flour makes for white trash carbs.

Outside Salsa Fresh, on of my lunch haunts, I ran across the Jesus Saves / No Abortions mobile. It made for entertaining reading, but it looked like hell and you had to be about 3 feet away to read most of the stickers. Jesus needs a better marketing team on this one.

... and my favorite. I am sure the driver of the van in the picture above would refuse to order pizza from this delivery guy. I like their slogan.

Barbie's wedding

It was tough to see our friends Mark and Barbie Reid get separated and eventually divorced. The good news is that Barbie found someone (on and fell in love. This weekend we got to attend the wedding of Vernon and Barbie Dixon.

The wedding was held at an old estate north of Raleigh called The Sutherland. It was very pretty and seemed to have everything you could want for a nice wedding and/or reception.

As you can see from the picture, the gentleman presiding at the wedding could have been a "head jolly old elf". He had a wonderful infectious smile.

It was an evening wedding, with the vows and reception both outdoors. Fortunately the weather was nice. The night before had been rainy and in the 40's. I don't care what tents and tarps you have. That would be miserable.

The bride and groom both did a great job. The only little glitch came before the ceremony started. A woman, who I think was one of Vernon's sisters, was standing over by the sound guy's table and she passed out. She was back on her feet quickly and I think very few people even knew it happened.

My entertainment was the little ring bearer. I'm not sure who he was, but it is obviously quite the challenge to keep a little boy entertained during the wedding vows. He was yawning and fidgeting and squirming. You can tell that life manages to get on track pretty early. Already you can see that his little partner (the flower girl) has his butt back in line!

The bride and groom did the traditional dance. Clearly they had practiced and were much better at it than Julie and I. Two decades ago, we decided we would take some ballroom lessons before our wedding. Julie didn't excel and I was a total failure. Perhaps I can get on a TV show that combines Dancing with the Stars with The Biggest Loser. The biggest dancing loser?

Then something I hadn't seen before. Vernon is a musician. He had written a song for his new bride and he performed it for her in front of everyone. We were all very impressed.

And as the night ended, we got to toss rose petals as the bride and groom headed for their car.

Getting to see the wedding was nice, but what made it extra special was getting to see so many of our Raleigh friends, all of which either live or lived in our neighborhood, Duxford. From left to right:
  • Carmella and Jim Saunders. Carm is one of Julie's best friends. Jim goes on our Myrtle Beach golf trip every year.
  • Mitch and Erin Krohl. They bought our condo in west Raleigh and years later, became our next door neighbors in Duxford. Stalking us?
  • Alex and Judy Plavocos. Live two doors down from us in Duxford.
  • Julie and I
  • Stephen and Julie Kjellberg. They lived a few doors down and Stephen did the huge remodel on our house.
They are a wonderful group of people and one of the biggest reasons we miss Raleigh.

Sorry Alex, but I couldn't resist. You know how iPhone's now have a camera on both sides of the phone? One is for taking pictures of other people and places. The other is to shoot yourself for video chats. Somehow Alex's camera was set to the one looking back at him and he kept wandering around taking pictures of himself. Too funny!

Although the wedding was the big event we were in town for, we got to see lots of other people.

We stayed with Ken and Jennifer Polleck at the Polleck Estate (my name). They have a wonderful house, overlooking a pond, in a very convenient location in North Raleigh. It was good getting to see them, mooch some excellent accommodations, and have a great base to visit everyone from. Thanks Ken and Jennifer!

We got to do an Easter dinner with my Aunt Martha, cousin Sara, and my dad and his wife Colleen. In addition to the company, it was nice getting to have some Honey Baked ham. There isn't one anywhere convenient to us in Park City.

I had lunch with Chuck Terrien. Chuck, Julie and I all worked in the same department at IBM and he was the one who helped me discover my condo over in west Raleigh. We ended up living about 50 feet from each other.

Finally, I had dinner with John Walker, a very long-time friend, co-worker, co-business founder, skier buddy and much more. It is always a treat catching up with John's never ending series of adventures with his company Zenph Sound Innovations. They are doing work that may dramatically change the music industry as we know it. You should definitely visit their web site.

It was only a short visit, but we managed to pack in a lot of visits, a great wedding, and even some exercise along the way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Heading for NC

This afternoon it's 35 and snowing here in Park City. Time to make another trip back to NC. I checked the weather and it is supposed to be in the mid 80's and sunny the entire time we are there. It's going to be quite a shock to the body.

Our main reason for returning to Raleigh is to see our friend Barbie get married. I hope to grab some excellent pictures.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a difference a view makes

I was up on the hill behind our house this morning, playing with the dog as yet another snow storm blanketed the ground. Just walking around reinforced how much difference a few compass degrees makes in the battle of sun versus snow.

In our yard, which is on a hill facing south, almost all the snow has melted. We have a few inches, but that is just from last night's snow. The longer hours of sunshine have had their way with the snow.

Up on the top of the hill, the sun comes in at an angle because the sun is still fairly low in the sky and the ground is flat. There is still a good 18" of snow everywhere.

Over at the ski resorts, you go up about 2,000 feet and are on a slope facing north. They have still got 120" of snow on the ground.

It really is amazing that you can have that much variation in locations that are within a mile of each other.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A dive into something different

I have been looking for something to do to exercise my brain and make some money, without having to take a 40-60 hour a week job. It took me a while, but I have finally settled on doing what I was trained to do, develop computer applications. I have always enjoyed writing code, but haven't done it in a long time.

To make things more interesting, I have decided to program in the most exciting market out there today, smart phones and tablets. My start is writing apps on the iPhone and iPad. It should be an adventure.

Lesson 1: Apple does not allow you to write IOS code on a Windows computer. So I went shopping for a Mac. While the new MacBook Pro's are more powerful, I decided to stick with the smaller, thinner, lighter MacBook Air. It really is about the size of a small magazine.

Day 1 with my new computer seems to be going well. I am typing on it right now and I have the basics running.

One other point of amusement. I got a note telling me my new laptop had shipped and would arrive in two days. I clicked on the FedEx link to see where it was. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see that it was starting its life in Shanghai. Think we don't have a global market? It is very easy to get something from Shanghai to Memphis to Salt Lake to Park City in two days. Wow.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Closing day at Deer Valley

Julie and I went over to ski Deer Valley for their last day of the season. DV always sets a fixed closing date and shuts down no matter what the conditions are like.

Before skiing, we went to Snow Park for some breakfast. We had heard they have nice choices but we had never stopped there to eat. Can't say that will be repeated. The food was ok, but nothing special. It was very expensive (which is like Deer Valley), and the service was slow and confused (which is very unlike Deer Valley).

We skied a few runs with friends but then wandered off to do some bump runs on Red Cloud, one of our favorites.

It's just hard to imagine a resort closing with 11 feet of packed snow on the ground and almost 30" of snow in the past few days. It just seems so wasteful. The scenery looks like February with the sun a little higher in the sky.

One more week of skiing on this side of the Wasatch. After that, we would have to trek around to Little Cottonwood and ski Snowbird. I have to guess they will be open well into June or July. They are currently reporting 184" of snow at mid-mountain.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Spring skiing in Park City

After a week of skiing spring slush, a series of storms are now rolling through. Up on the mountains we had 15" of snow for yesterday's skiing, 9 more today, and they are calling for another foot or more by tomorrow morning. As much as I want spring to be here, this is some pretty damn good skiing.

It was tough to get pretty pictures with no sun and snow coming down, but it gives you an idea of what skiing was like at the Canyons yesterday. My "ski model" is Bill Benson. Sadly, Julie was working her last day over at Deer Valley and couldn't come out to play. She will be hitting the slopes this morning though.

The snow was quite a bit heavier at the bottom of the mountain, but up top it was about as fluffy as spring snow ever gets.

Off for another day! Deer Valley closes tomorrow and Park City and Canyons close next Sunday (the 17th).

Waterproof iPhone case

I kept getting snow in my iPhone when I take it skiing. Yes, I mean "in" the phone, not "on" the phone. The iPhone is probably not that different from other phones in that it prefers not to have water inside with all the electrical components.

Hence, my new high tech solution: Steve's Waterproof Disposable Phone Cases. I'll be selling them online soon. Yesterday I skied a foot of powder, had snow going all over me, and not a drop of snow on or in the phone.

The amazing part is that you can use the phone without taking it out of the bag. I was able to read everything, type texts and swipe pages. The only thing I didn't try was talking through the bag. Perhaps today!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Golfing in Myrtle Beach - 2011

This is something like our 26th year of golfing together at Myrtle Beach. Of course, to get there meant a plane ride from Utah. I flew American through Chicago, and then seamlessly on to Raleigh. Or so it appeared. Our plane had about 100 military guys deploying to somewhere. When they started unloaded the baggage, each one of them had a backpack and a duffel bag. It was nice to see that they unloaded the military baggage first, until I realized that they weren't going to unload anything else. Over one hundred people were left with no baggage, and of course, no word from American on the situation. My luggage arrived on the next flight and was delivered to my dad's house somewhere between 2:00 and 5:00 in the morning. Good enough.

Once down in Myrtle Beach, we were playing a round at each of the four Big Cat courses, just north of Callabash. Here is the gang, from left to right: Dave Allred, Jason Shive, Lewis Petree, John Steigerwald, Darrell Baber, Jim Saunders, and Mark Reid.

We got lucky on the first day. It was supposed to rain on us late in the day. While it was quite cool, the rain held off until later in the evening. Friday and Saturday were nice but windy. Sunday was drop dead gorgeous.

We always have to handicap our competitions. No matter who else is doing well, Darrell (my old roommate and best man) always seems to smoke us. I am just happy to have progressed from "the absolute worst" to "one of the worst".

On Saturday, we played the young guys versus the old guys. Because most of us went to college at the same time, we are almost all either just past fifty, or about to meet it. Surprisingly enough, the last putt, on the last hole, made it a tie. We have never had a tie on our dinner bet.

When you are playing at the beach, you are always fighting the wind and the water (which is everywhere when the course is 3 feet above sea level). Other times, you manage to find the one terrible place to land your ball. We were playing Best Ball, so our team got to snuggle up against one tree and try not to hit the other.

Some of the guys weren't drinking. Most everyone had a few beers. Dave and I were big fans of Captain Morgan and Coke. Here we have Dave in the standard Captain pose.

Except.... did you notice what was under Dave's foot?

Here is a closer view. It is not uncommon to see alligators on the courses, but this one was quite large. Notice the ball near his tail. I guess the sissy golfer decided not to go get it. The bad news is that he was just off the green.

In addition to our normal good time, I actually mixed in some good golf. On Friday morning, I played the best 8 holes I have played. That gave me 10 more to screw it up. On Sunday, I managed to putt better than I ever have. Perhaps it could be a good omen for improvement this summer.

.... and just to be balanced with my flights out, American canceled my flight from Chicago to Salt Lake, so I have a layover of over 6 hours. Even though flights have gotten more expensive, the airlines haven't sacrificed their shitty, unreliable service.