Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whacky golf

I have blogged numerous times that I mostly suck at golf.  Today I went out with Greg Glynis an reaffirmed my crappy skill level for 14 holes. Then, out of nowhere, for the last four holes:
  • Par 4. 9 iron to 18". Tap in birdie.
  • Crappy par 5
  • 195 yard par 3. 6 iron to 6 feet. Missed birdie by a few inches. Tap in par.
  • Long par 5. Sunk a 10 foot putt for birdie.
I go a year between birdies and I had two and almost a third in four holes. Even with all that I shot a 97.  So what does this mean?

Does it take me 14 holes to warm up?
Do I lose interest after 14 crappy holes and stop thinking?
Did God feel sorry for me?

No matter what the answer, I am quite certain that it will all be lost whenever I get out for another round.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quit Running?

So, I'm supposed to stop running because it is damaging to my knee.  Instead, I am supposed to be biking.  In the past two or three weeks:
  • One close friend was mountain biking and broke four ribs, a collar bone and a collapsed lung (surgery)
  • Another close friend was mountain biking and broke her jaw (more surgery)
  • Julie was a candidate for jury duty. It was a case about a car hitting a road biker.

This is supposed to be the good stuff?  I think I might go back to running, perhaps with a suggestion from Tim Huntley. Take a look at Tim's blog entry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Changing Folliage

It's hard to imagine that the trees are already changing colors.  For God's sake, there is another week before we even get to September.  Perhaps this is a result of our drought.
This is a more dramatic change of colors, from the fire I blogged about recently.  You can see the edge of a large condo complex right behind the burn line.  That had to get exciting!
I'm guessing that the asking price on this land might have dropped a bit.  If nothing else, the land doesn't show as well.
If I get to pick, I am hoping for the trees to change to some bright colorful colors.  Everyone is expecting that they will just go straight to brown since its so dry.  But that certainly beats burnt black.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chicago with the Donnelly's

Julie and I flew up to Chicago for a long weekend to meet her cousin Kathleen Donnelly and Kathleen's husband Bill. These are the couple from Michigan that we join to see Wolverine football games every year.
We got in a day before the Donnelly's and started with a visit from our Chicago-based friends Stuart and Laurie Jones. They were kind enough to drive in through Chicago traffic to meet us for dinner.  They've been doing a substantial house remodel so next time out, we need to go visit.

Our stay was at the Palmer House Hilton, which is a gorgeous and perfectly located hotel in downtown.  This is the same place we stayed for Seth Benson's wedding a few years ago.  They were running some great rate specials this summer. Nice lobby!
The hotel is only a couple of blocks from Lake Michigan. It was a busy weekend along the docks, with parties going everywhere. I miss having a waterfront in Utah.
We went on a boat ride that did an architectural tour up the river and then popped out into the lake. To get out to the lake, you have to go out through a lock that raises and lowers the traffic by about a foot and a half.  I found it amusing that while you are out in the busy, windy, wavy Lake Michigan, you don't have to wear your life jacket.  However, while in the calm, smooth, protected lock, every person in a small boat had to have one on.
Chicago's architecture is very interesting, especially with a guide to explain the history and relationships between buildings.  I liked this one with the ivy growing way up the side and a reflection of the building back across the river.
Chicago is a big, impressive city. I've been around a lot of tall buildings through my travels, but walking the streets of Chicago almost always has me gawking up.  Huge buildings, one after another.  They form a deep concrete canyon, but the buildings are often pieces of architectural art.
To make everything more interesting, there was a big airshow going on.  They anticipated 2 million people watching over the two day show.  The highlight, as is often the case with these shows, was the Blue Angels.  How would you like to be watching from the top of one of these buildings?
You really need to appreciate it when a hotel goes so out of their way to make your stay an excellent one.  After dinner one evening, we returned to our room to find a bottle of champagne and a note that said "Mr. and Mrs. Baker,  Happy Anniversary!"  We felt bad for them so we called the hotel, told them it was delivered to the wrong room and had them come pick it up.

The next afternoon we had a new bottle of champagne. Same card. This time, we decided to thank the Baker's and the Palmer House Hilton for their thoughts.  The bottle went home with Bill and Kathleen.
There's so much to do in Chicago.  We caught a show at Second City.  We found a new restaurant called Trattoria #10, an excellent source of fresh pasta.  Julie and Kathleen found some shoes on a bodacious sale.  We even got a brief visit from Michael, Bill and Kathleen's son, as he was trekking from Madison to St Louis for business.

A great weekend, certain to be repeated!

The Bible Is My Guide

You may have seen this already.  It is fairly old but has found a new life again on Facebook.  A friend emailed it this morning and I felt I just had to post it.

I get so sick and tired of hearing someone pick one abstract phrase out of the bible and use it as an excuse for a behavior, even though they ignore huge parts of the text in their day-to-day lives. It is laughable to hear them explain how some phrases are meant to be followed explicitly and yet others are fine to be ignored.

On her radio show, Dr. Laura said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Schlesinger, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as quite informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yet Another Forest Fire

While we were in Chicago, there was a wildfire right over by the Jordanelle Reservoir.  This is about 3 miles from our house.  Fortunately the winds were blowing back towards the water and highway 40 makes for a great fire break.
The fire fighters were awesome, on the ground and in the air.
This was shot as the fire got to the reservoir.
This was shot the next morning.  It burned a large chunk of land, but they kept it away from all the buildings.  It came very close to some condos and the water processing plant.
No harm, no foul, but it reminds you of how big a risk fire is around here.  I think of fire as Utah's answer to hurricanes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Data storage for PCs

Think getting 64G bytes on a flash drive is pretty amazing, how about storing (and recovering) 700 Terabytes in one gram if material?  They have been trying for years, but it looks like someone has really figured out how to store computer data using DNA.

This is a good read.

Not only are things changing, they just keep changing faster.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Visit from Down Under

Our close friends Bruce and Carol Kahn left Utah a few years ago to live in Australia.  Every once in a while Bruce comes back to the states for some work and family visits.  He came into town Monday, so we only got a brief visit before we head to Chicago.

We did dinner at Windy Ridge's Taco Tuesday last night.  We hadn't gone this year and I have to say that their success has resulted in a change for the worse.  They have raised their prices a bit, but it is still cheap.  The bad news is they have really made the tacos "a spoonful of meat in a small tortilla shell."  Definitely a huge drop in quality.

Today Bruce and I hit the links at Mountain Dell's Canyon course.  I am pretty certain we didn't break the course record for highest or lowest scores.  I played consistently mediocre and Bruce bounced back and forth from outstanding to really unfortunate.
 It was a nice day and the course was in pretty good shape.  I just wish all the wildfire smoke would clear out.  It was very thick today.

Looks like the entire Kahn clan will visit Park City for some skiing in January. Looking forward to it.

And I can't end without a photo of another interesting sign.  Sometimes you just have to wonder what series of events led to its necessity. Nice to see something like this somewhere other than just NC.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Park City Planning Commission

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

A few years ago, I submitted my name for a vacancy on the Park City Planning Commission. The positions are appointed by the mayor (Dana Williams) and the city council. No big surprise when I wasn't chosen.  I followed up with a conversation with Dana asking what I needed to do to be in a better position next time.  He suggested getting into Leadership Park City and continuing to expand my local non-profit work.

I pay attention.  I am in this year's Leadership program. I served on the board for Friends of Animals Utah.  I am on the advisory board for the Utah 1033 Foundation. I volunteer with the Swaner Nature Center.

So, another vacancy on the planning commission comes up.  Once again, I submit my name. This time, I know I don't really have a chance.  They were holding their interviews on a day when Julie and I were vacationing in California.  The only alternative I was given was a phone interview.  That told me they already either knew who they were picking, or at least knew it wasn't me.

No sour grapes.  I am sure they picked a good candidate, but I have learned that this clearly isn't going to be my "fit" in the Park City community. 

And we end with a classic...

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Moose are Moving In

A week or so ago, I posted about a young bull moose who was hanging around the neighborhood eating all our plants. He came back last night and was in our front yard tasting some Canada Reds.
He looked over at a neighbor's condo and thought "Cool.  I am digging this neighborhood.  Open house!"  He read the sales sign to see if he recognized the realtor.
"What the hell?  I'm just killing time and eating trees."
"I'll just head up to the front door and knock"
"Too small.  No place to poop.  All the trees are on the outside. They don't accept moose cash.   I'm leaving."
Sure enough, he headed down the hill to dine at another set of condos.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A serious ouch

On Friday, I went for a bike ride with our part-time neighbors, Miriam and Greg.  All three of us were on mountain bikes, but we were on either roads or packed gravel paths, about as flat as it gets in Park City. 

This is Miriam and Greg. Yes, I know they aren't on mountain bikes, but I am limited to the photos I have.
Miriam was a ways behind us when she came around a blind corner to find an oncoming boy and his father, on her side of the path.  She swerved to miss them and ended up in the ditch.  After a 911 call and an ambulance ride to the hospital, they discovered she had four broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and worst, a collapsed lung. 

I've had some cuts and bruises from biking, but nothing like this.  We are hoping she comes home from the hospital this afternoon.

Things I have learned, beyond the obvious suggestions of "try to stay upright":
  • If you hit hard enough, you can actually collapse a lung without a rib puncturing it.  
  • The big fear for recovery is pneumonia.  If you don't take deep breaths, clearing out the lungs and getting the meds in deep, you are very susceptible. Of course, with broken ribs, taking deep breaths is extremely painful.
  • You aren't allowed to fly for 4-6 weeks after a collapsed lung.  
  • You don't have to be bombing down a narrow mountain path to hurt yourself on a mountain bike.  What happened to her could have easily happened to any of us.  Scarey.

Sam Joyce

This weekend, my uncle Sam passed away.  Sam is my dad's only sibling. He was a lifetime IBMer from the days when IBM was the most respected company in the world and working there truly made you part of the "family".  Back then, IBM stood for "I've Been Moved" and Sam and his family lived up to that.  California, Connecticut, Germany,... finally Raleigh, about 7 miles from our house.

This is Sam on a visit to our house in Crofton, MD. My guess is something around 1970.
Sam had to cope with Parkinson's but he did it remarkably well, year after year.  Finally he ended up at the Mayview nursing home.  No one really wants to go to a nursing home, but if you do, Mayview is a nice choice.  The people there became more than caretakers.  They were friends.

When I would go to visit, we would roll down a block or two (Sam in his wheelchair) to a restaurant and after lunching, cruise around the neighborhood for a while.  This photo was from one of those jaunts. The only downside was that Sam, as a UNC grad, was wrongly convinced that they were better than NC State.  I would spend some portion of each walk explaining the err of his ways.
Our thoughts go out to my Aunt Martha and their daughters, Sara and Nancy.Sam was a great gyu and we will all miss him.

UPDATE: Sam's obituary was just published and gives a lot more information about his life.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Visiting in California

Getting behind on my blogging....

Julie and I made a trip to California this past week. Our first stop was in Laguna Beach to visit Jim and Carmella Saunders, great friends and neighbors from back in Raleigh.  Jim's company has a condo which is primarily used for business, but provides an occasional place to vacation.
As you can see, the view from the condo doesn't suck.  There's something wonderful about being on the ocean where you can hear the waves and feel the breeze.  You have to like the weather along the California beaches: highs in the mid 70s and lows around 60.
The Saunders have two beautiful daughters, Alexandra (right) and Brianna (left).  They were kind enough to let us steal their bedroom for our visit.
Another terrible evening, as viewed from our condo.
It wouldn't be California without some odd people.  These folks were having a very lethargic, easy going protest.  The sign?  "Give me liberty or give me hemp!"  Huh?  Does that mean give me liberty or I'm going off to smoke some dope?  Perhaps give me liberty, or by the way, can I bum a joint?
Julie and I went for a walk around Laguna Beach.  We decided this was the least walkable town we have ever been in.  First, every neighborhood and apartment complex is fenced and gated.  I think Jim had it right when he said "these are to keep the other rich people from coming in and stealing something." Second, sidewalks seem to seem to be few and far between.  Thank God they have a free transit system.  I would hate to have to walk on the main road to get to the Main St area.

We found a place to walk up into the hills, but this sign was a serious warning, especially with Julie's foot hurting.
Right around the corner from that sign, they were excavating a lot to build a new house.  Think this is a steep lot?  That's a full sized piece of heavy equipment up there.  I would love to see the house when they are done.  The garage is going in at street level where the dirt ramp is on the right.  The house will have not one, but two elevators.
These are the ladies sitting on the back of our whale watching boat.  It was a little chilly out on the water, but the weather was great for mammal spotting.
The picture sucks, but that is a blue whale.  We saw them a number of times but we were a good ways off and all I had was a pocket camera.  They say a blue whale is as big as 40 elephants.  I believe it!
In addition to the whales, we had some excellent, close-up views of dolphin.  They were swimming around our boat and would cruise along right in front of us.  Unfortunately, a big wave a swamped all of us on the front of the catamaran and my little lens had salty water on it.  I could wipe it off with my shirt, but it also had salty water on it.

By the time I got the camera cleaned up, we were on our way back to port.  No more dolphins but we did see some sun bathing seals.
On Friday night we caught a show called The Pageant of the Masters.  This was a very unique art exhibition and if you are near Laguna Beach in the summer, you should definitely go.  They combined painting and humans on the stage to "copy" some of the works of the master painters.  It's very hard to describe, but essentially the humans are so well integrated into the look and feel of the painting, it is almost impossible to know for sure whether they are live or a painting. Click on the link above for a better description.

From Laguna, we rode an hour north to Santa Monica. After some shopping and people watching, Julie and I said goodbye to Jim and Carm and went to visit with another friend from Raleigh, Liz Hervatic. It was Liz's birthday, so we celebrated with Liz's fiance Karen, her sister Cindy, and Cindy's boyfriend.  I popped back to Park City the next morning, and Julie stayed another two days to visit.

California is such and interesting place.  The beaches are gorgeous, but the water is frigid.  The temperatures are incredibly comfortable, but every morning starts with a blanket of fog.  The scenery is gorgeous, but because of that, traffic is bad and housing prices make Park City look like an affordable housing project.  So far I think it has to stay in my list of great places to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there, or have to pay taxes there.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Yet Another Full Moon

I was a little ticked off that after staying up late to watch the Olympics, I still woke up early.  It turns out it was photography destiny. When I took Jasper out to go to the bathroom, I noticed that the full moon was in the last 5 minutes of setting.
This is one of my favorite things to see here in the mountains. The full moon always sets just as the sun comes up.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Not quite a Master Gardener

My dad became a Master Gardener in NC.  I thought I was fairly good at growing things until I came to Park City.  I have mentioned in my blog that I got a plot at the Summit County Community Garden.  So far it has been a bust.  I could become a certified Inadequate Gardener.
Does this look like a great tomato harvest?  Perhaps I just have giant hands?

I think I will be getting a good bit more by the end of the season, but it took me a while to realize that the "great" soil we were planting in looked nice, but actually lacked any nitrogen.  That was after they finally got the irrigation working consistently.

Live and learn.