Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, but no party

We aren't doing an official Halloween party this year.  It just wasn't worth the costume hassles when we are heading to Mexico early tomorrow.  That doesn't mean we lack for entertainment.

We started on Tuesday with a trip to Salt Lake City. We had a group of 15, all around our age, who went to Red Iguana for drinks and dinner and then went over to the Nightmare on 13th haunted house. It's been decades since I went through a haunted house, and it was small and boring compared to this.  The building was huge and wall-to-wall with different scary themed rooms.  The actors, sets and automation were all great.  It took us over an hour to get through it.  Fortunately, none of us elderly clients suffered heart attacks while we were inside. I told some people at Rotary we were going and they asked how old our kids were. I guess the correct answer would have been "50's and 60's".

Tonight it was the annual Halloween party on Park City's Main Street.  The kids come early for trick or treating from the businesses, but the real entertainment is the "dog parade".  It's really more of a dog mob.

We didn't think we were going to be able to attend this year's festivities, so Jasper's costume was a last minute (but half price) purchase.  The picture doesn't show it well, but he was a cute little pumpkin.
You can see him a little better in this shot with two little zebras.  Why buy a costume when you can just paint your dogs?
This was one of my favorite people costumes.  Simple, but very clever. It doesn't make sense unless you've seen Magritte's famous painting.
These three kids in white were hanging out in the alley for hours, never saying a word.  They were pretty cool looking and drew a lot of attention.
Lord knows there was a lot of butt sniffing.  In this case it appears to be a donkey sniffing a pumpkin's butt.
I am certain that if the dogs could have a vote, they would not have picked some of their costumes.
This is our friend Manette (who was with us for the haunted house).  She is struggling to keep her little "Poop Factory" in line.  Nice homemade costume!
I really like it when the humans and dogs go together.  This female pirate had two little dog pirates in tow.
This was the Yeti family.  Momma and Poppa are obvious.  The baby is a little dog that couldn't have weighed more than 5 pounds soaking wet. He had to be carried at all times or would have easily been squashed.
From left to right: farmer, duck, sheep and cow.  Very nice!
I like the costumes, but I couldn't figure out what the big furry monster had to do with his little football dog.
And we will end with this ad for Levi's button-fly jeans, much to the dismay of Levi's. What a great look.
Back home and packing for our first trip to Mexico.  You would think that with both of us having visited dozens of countries around the world, at least one of us would have ventured into Mexico.  Nope!

To make things better, the lows for Park City on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all forecast down in the teens.  Brrrr.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Transitioning from Fall to Winter

The snows we got about a month ago aren't that unusual.  It snows.  It's pretty for a day or so.  Then everything other than the highest, north facing slopes quickly melts off. This snow may be the real thing, forming the base for the ski season.

It is hard to believe that Saturday and Sunday were both in the mid 60's with brilliant sunshine, making it feel like the high 70's.  Today?  Four inches of snow at the house and a bit more is supposed to fall over the next day or so.
The ski resorts are happy to see the white stuff falling.  I was surprised to hear that PCMR had their snow cannons running this morning.  I guess they have to grab the cold weather any chance they get this time of year.

Of course no one is happier about the snow than Jasper.  He played and played until my arm got sore from throwing snowballs.
Our neighbor Hannah came over yesterday to spend some time cooking dinner with Julie.  She and Julie each made a pizza (from scratch) and then Hannah added one more mini-pizza.
Julie's holding up the one she made.  Hannah's is the one in the foreground that's already cut.  They did great work and I played my important role of "Chief Consumer".
Meanwhile, down the street the race continues: Sally and Monty's house versus the snow.  For a while the house was winning.  The weather was wonderful and progress was rapid.  Now they are waiting for trusses for the roof.  There's so much building going on that everything tends to get backed up.  We're all hoping they make a lot of progress before the big storms start rolling in. Once you get a roof on and doors and windows in place, construction can proceed throughout the winter.
We are going to throw our monkey wrench into the whole winter transition by heading to Cabo San Lucas on Friday.  Staying at the beach with highs in the upper 80s.  Bye snow!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A new phone

I have wanted to replace my iPhone 4s for a while but I wasn't sure what to get.  I waited for Apple to announce the new iPhone 5s and then went shopping.  For me it came down to the 5s and the Samsung Galaxy S4.  In the end, the S4 had a bigger screen, which I really like, but that wasn't enough.  I ordered a new iPhone and got it yesterday.

One nice thing about the iPhone's is that they hold their value well.  I was able to trade in my 32GB 4S for $200.  A 32GB 5S runs $299, for a net upgrade cost of $99.  Of course the real place they get you is signing up for another 2 year contract.

Things I like about the 5S:

  • Bigger screen than the 4S
  • 4G wireless support
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Much faster processor
  • Better camera
  • Thinner and lighter
Hopefully I will be happy with it for the next two years.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Trip to NC

Most years we get back to Raleigh in the fall to visit with friends and family and catch an NC State football game.  This year we changed things up a bit with a shorter stay in Raleigh followed by a trip to Asheville.  While Asheville was great, it meant that we didn't get to spend as much time with friends.

The weather forecasting experts predicted one day with some drizzle followed by a series of spectacular days with highs around 70.  Morons.  It rained on and off the entire time we were in Raleigh.  No huge thunderstorms, but cloudy and drizzly for five days.  Do weathermen really get paid or do they just solicit forecasts from people walking by on the city streets?

NC State's football team has a new coach and he hasn't had an opportunity to recruit yet.  Given that the last coach got fired for poor recruiting, the new guy doesn't have much to work with.  Still, losing to Syracuse by two touchdowns was UGLY.  Both teams looked terrible.  To prove that point, unranked Georgia Tech beat Syracuse yesterday, 56-0.  Syracuse sucks, but State sucked worse, and at home. And as you might expect at this point, it rained on and off during the game.

We did get to hang out or dine with some collection of family and friends, but there is never enough time.  Darrel, Jason and Steig were all kind enough to take off a day of work so we could play a round of golf.  I can't figure out why I keep trying golf.  It's hopeless. Great to hang out with them for a few hours though.

Asheville was the new piece of the annual adventure.  Before Park City, we had Asheville at the top of the list of where to go after Raleigh.  We wanted to explore a bit and see if it should be at the top of our list for after Park City.

We rented a condo downtown to see what it would be like living in the middle of all the action.  I think we agree that it is great to visit, but we both prefer more of a neighborhood and a lot more quiet.  We quickly got to "be close to town, but not in town".   Asheville has an astounding number of good restaurants and they are reasonably priced.  That makes it hard for those of us trying to lose some weight.  At least with a condo, we were starting each day with a nice healthy breakfast at home instead of going out.

The area around Asheville is gorgeous, with rolling mountains in all directions and lots of beautiful streams and rivers.  Still not sure if or when we might live there, but it was nice enough that we plan to go back and visit it again sometime soon.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lots of catching up

I am way behind on my blogging.  Nothing quite like a trip to throw me off (prep, travel, and then catch up).

I was driving over to our storage unit and noticed something odd outside the old Summit Honda building.  It is now the headquarters and manufacturing site for RAMP Sports.  They make skis and snowboards and have quickly become an important player here in Park City.

In front of their building was a big pile of scraps from their production processes.  Why throw all this crap out in front of your building?
To use as parts for the giant sculpture monster of course!  I'm not sure exactly what he is supposed to be, but I seem to remember hearing something about a Yeti. Whatever he is, he's big.
One more little event before our trip.  Every year the men's golf league ends their season with a best ball tournament called Da Monster.  It is a serious tournament, but with some really weird challenges.  They set up the course to be as hard as possible with the tee boxes back behind the blacks so every hole is very long, but they also tuck them behind trees and bushes, giving you only the narrowest hope of a shot. They also cut all the holes on the steepest part of the greens.  This means that if you ball doesn't quite drop in the hole, it will probably roll 10 - 15 feet back down the hill, giving you a miserable next shot.

Here's Rob Schumacher (golf teammate and builder of our house) in the snow on the 5th tee box.
Our foursome did pretty well, given that we didn't have any low handicap players, but we finished just out of the money.

Another beautiful morning

Friday, October 04, 2013

My favorite fall days

I just love it when it snows and the fall colors are in full bloom.  The maple trees were a big disappointment this fall.  They went from green straight to an ugly brown.  The aspens took a different path and are now in various shades of blazing yellow.
Up at Guardsman Pass, Jasper and I were romping in the snow shooting tree photos when he noticed a moose.  It actually turned out to be two young bulls and two cows. I put Jasper back in the truck, drove a few hundred yards and started shooting.
The moose were hanging out in the road, licking the salt.  After a few minutes, a car approached from Big Cottonwood Canyon.  It took them a while, but they finally decided the car wasn't going to leave, so they took off up the hill.
Another photographer had been standing about 50 feet above me.  Three of the moose decided the easiest path was right past him.  He took a few photos, but he certainly didn't make any quick moves.  That's a lot closer than I would want to be when you have two bulls during the rut.
The fourth moose had been lagging behind and took a different path.  She walked right past me and then right past the truck.  Jasper was in the truck with both back windows down.  He watched the moose walk by and never made a peep.  What a great photography assistant!
These are just pretty foliage.

I love when you get some interesting trees with dark storm clouds as a backdrop.
Later in the day I was driving past the Catholic church when I noticed horses in the field, with a backdrop of aspens.
I like this transition.  Starting from the front, white + brown = mottled white and brown.